Showing posts with label Conversations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Conversations. Show all posts

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Robins in the hood


Although we're still wintering, we have a lot of robins. We had a pretty mild winter up until that snowstorm, so I imagined they had overstayed. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Thaw


I looked up from my desk to this glorious sunlit sky in my sliver of office window. Being here physically was relief and sustenance after the torture of trying to make things go right with Nu yesterday.

Reading students encountering Laura Mulvey, Hanif Kureishi, and Shauna Singh Baldwin, introducing a new class to invitational rhetoric, referencing an old student's lesson plan involving the 'Red Rover' game... everything felt like a fresh spring--at least in my soul.

By the time I got home to little Nu, the 'sad' part persisted, but the 'mad' part had melted away.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Regression redux


I am the most gullible jackass in the history of parenting; the resident 13-year-old scam artist has been faking schoolwork again. I don't get it, it seems like it takes more work to fake it than to actually do it? They seem quite blithe about it and completely oblivious to how vile this behavior is. I feel bad for them and their teachers, and my whole body just hurts. 😞

I've managed to limp through my to-do lists: grades, student updates, and class prep are done. I even got outside, and it was chilly and windy enough that it numbed my pain about Nu for a bit.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Weekend Magic

Three long, snowy hikes (with LB and BS), one long-ish run (5 mi), two short yoga sessions. I can't remember when I've had a weekend so full of physical activity before. Two raucous and movie-heavy sleepovers with Nu and Scout and Huck; sadly, not much contact with At--I mean, a picture of a nice omelette he made himself on family chat--but he seems to be mostly ok.

Finished Oona Out of Order--which was meh at best, and frequently irritating--but I grew to care about the characters after all although I didn't care for their idea of gentrification as a beneficial development. Started Marlon James' A Brief History of Seven Killings. Again. I couldn't get into it when it first came out and I remember being roundly castigated for it by world lit friends. I've been humming and channeling a lot of Bob Marley (because I MISS my mom so much) recently, so I'm giving Seven Killings another go. It's intense. 

Also intense, Judas and the Black Messiah, which I watched with Big A. Fred Hampton--especially how much he did at so young an age and how much he could have gone on to do had he not been assassinated has been a trigger for me--but the film was oddly heartening. Especially as Akua Njeri and Fred Hampton Jr. seem to have been such a central part of the film's making.

I disengaged from most work all weekend. And something that helped was that I didn't get a single work email! Is this everyone deciding to institute strong boundaries since we work from home so much these days? On Friday, which was a "Reading Day," I sent out an inquiry on behalf of an advisee and my senior colleague reminded me to "take the day off." Knowing everyone is doing it, and that it would be rude and interruptive not to, makes it so much easier for me. I still have some grading to catch up on, but hope to get it done by Tuesday when I will have to face people in real time again. That's not magical thinking, although I did wish on the beautiful and magical wishing tree BS gave me this weekend. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

"Bloom! Bloom! Bloom where you're planted"

Meetings started at 8 am and ended after 7:30 pm today. Such a FULL non-teaching day with everything from curriculum planning and faculty training, to new protocols for CASA from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).  

Lots of support from Nu and Big A who told me they were proud of me. That was unexpected and felt SO NICE! Also, when I was being hugged by those two, I was surprised anew by how much taller than me Nu is now--their face is still such a Baby Nu face!

We liked the vegan dinner I made today (a nicely-sauced stir-fry of Impossible meat and rice noodles topped with mint, julienned peppers, and shredded cucumber) a new-ish, Vietnamese-ish palate with our usual ingredients. We watched a bit more of Korra, (which is sad, neoliberal apologia compared to ATLA) and will probably finish the series this weekend. What's next for us? Perhaps Schitt's Creek, which we've tried twice but can't seem to get beyond episode 4 or 5. A colleague-friend said maybe we should just start from season two, and perhaps that's just what we'll do.

I don't remember going outside today; it's still freezing with snow up to my knees. I did spend some time in the tea garden where we have everything from floppy paperwhites and ratty poinsettias from Christmas to the cyclamen showing up to say, Spring, suckas. The cyclamen gave me such a pang of nostalgic yearning for Greece where it would grow even in the rockiest niches. And apropos of that tiny synaptic nudge, that super-insistent song the sisters taught us in school, "Bloom! Bloom! Bloom where you're planted" started playing in my head. I think I'm trying.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Concise Bharatha

This isn't my birthplace and I am 

louder for my heart is misplaced;

I dwindle but first I do no harm.

Then I turn calm, you must come 

too--time shrugs on, on its own. 

*

He hugs the walls when he walks

my sister says of our dad.

We should have bars in the shower 

my husband says of my dad.

I think of my dad--


mightiest of his four brothers

how he sat all his brothers on his 

meaty biceps--or was that Bhima

also second-born--I'm confused

by the words rolling in my mouth.

*

It's easy to break, ask water--what's 

next in the shadow of time's coming.

Of first learning to trust every day's 

ordinary dance, stepping to calm, 

to harm; saying: I'll take it.


--------------------------

Notes: 

My father actually has six brothers, but my youngest uncle is seventeen years younger than dad and so the five older brothers were routinely referred to as the Pandavas in dad's childhood. Dad, although affected by polio as toddler, was somehow also the strongest and sportiest brother--captain of several teams in both school and college. 

I routinely confused stories about dad and Bhima when I was a kid. Still do. I don't know if seating all the brothers on his arms was a dad thing, a Bhima thing, or a dad thing inspired by Bhima... and I'm not going to try to find out. Naturally, I was shaken when my sister told me this morning how weakened he's become because he looks not very different in photos and when we video chat. 

The Mahabharatha because it is so long (the longest!) and has so many embedded frametales sometimes works on me as a reminder of how life is transient. Lives get lost in that huge narrative, and somehow recognizing individual insignificance is calming? Here, I'm reaching for an abridged version of that fatalistic calm.

Distance is a huge in the pandemic, and I yearn to see everyone 'back home' knowing it may not happen for months or even this year. So the other part of what I was trying to do was to call back to the old country "Bharat/Bharatha."


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Ordinal

The view from my "classroom" (previously the yoga/zumba room) in the rec center. There's something mesmerizing about that speckled sky and the in-between-classes emptiness of the walkways. 

I sat in a pool of sunshine during group discussions as I didn't know if the sunshine would last until I was out of class. (Reader, it did not.)

But... I'm all caught up in class, fit in about seven different student meetings (everything from honor societies, to MacCurdy, DEI, and Honors Day), got in a quick visit and hugs with At, drove home listening to the impeachment case, ate the egg sammies Big A made for me (the rest got Culvers per Nu's Boss Day request), celebrated Nu, hung out with Scout and Huck, ate a ton of chocolate... all of it satisfying different points of my soul. 

A full day of meetings tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

WFH*

I didn't meet the health-check requirements at work, so I declared today a WFH day. I had to. 

Pre-pandemic, it would have been a day where I talked myself into showing up, because canceling three classes over flu-like symptoms would be "weak." But in the pandemic, it was the responsible thing to do, and I talked myself into assigning asynchronous work and emailing an FYI to my chairs in ENG and WGS. 

I'm likely experiencing side effects from the first Moderna shot I received yesterday. But what if it isn't? What if that doofus, with his mask worn as a chinstrap who came up to talk to me at the store this weekend and was so upset I told him to back off, gave me Covid already?

I ended up monitoring the important stuff and sleeping a significant amount. But up until about 4:00 pm, I felt a fair amount of anxiety from knowing I wasn't where I was supposed to be. Then I peeped Big A and Nu taking a walk in the backyard with Scout and Huck, and the day shifted into home-mode. 

__________

*Everyone uses "WFH" to mean "work from home," but it'll never not look like an abbreviation for swear words to me.

Sunday, February 07, 2021

cozy and kind

I stayed cozy today. The temporary wallpaper in the little alcove is new... I'm still inordinately pleased with the fake stove-space heater and fake sheepskins.

Long run (for me, i.e. 5 mi.), Challah from L, marveling about Fred Hampton with At, sleepover with Nu and the puppies last night--those are some of the highlights. The rest was work--finally got acceptance letters and contracts out to the poets we'd picked last week. 

Big A is at the end of a longish break (12 days) from work in the ER. He's been working--on papers and paperwork--but he's been home and it has been extra cozy. We were reminiscing about how "when we were younger" and he worked in the ER so much more, a break like this would invariably start with a giant fight about something inconsequential. We seem to have gotten better about managing hopes and expectations and overall, we're just... kinder to each other.

Friday, February 05, 2021

A Date!


Courtesy my CASA director and the child advocacy program.
I got into child advocacy because the work soothed my soul--
who knew it would save my life in this most visceral way...

Thursday, February 04, 2021

afterwards/afterwords

our arc bends 

from the brutality 


of everything we

carry, when only 


fragments of story

are ours to control 


We know we are every

-one, belong every

 

place, matter some

-times in epilogue



Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Parent Yawp

Just after I bragged about Nu, they're off-track with schoolwork and all of their attendant accountability/integrity issues again. 

Is the lesson that I bragged to soon? Bragged at all? Will Nu be able to get past this? Will I? UGH. I feel so helpless watching this child squander so many chances. 

Pic is to remind myself of a less complicated, cuddlier time... 

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Catch Up

Despite the big freeze, there was a long walk-and-talk with BS on the Nemoke Trail yesterday.  BS never fails to surprise me with how strong and vulnerable and beautiful they are... what a gift to to have them in my life and Nu's... They plan to postpone their wedding date by a year because of the pandemic. That is the kind of responsible and resourceful action that defines so much of what they do.

Lots of catching up on work with the new issue of Jaggery, Canvas, grading and class prep. Also, Feminist Bookclub meeting today--we read Ijeoma Uluo's Mediocre. I didn't make it into the Zoom, but EM and MW went on my rec and judging from their texts post-meeting seem to have loved it--so I feel like I did my best to keep ole LFB going.

Big A has put himself in charge of groceries since he has had the vaccine and we did some meal-planning this morning. This--meal-planning--is new for us, because I like to cook extempore based on what veggies have been delivered to us and what I feel like. But he's doing multiple weekday dinners because I get home from teaching kinda late TTR, so I've given up my primary-chef privilege. Groceries (to be delivered to At too) and meal-prep notwithstanding, dinner was Acapulco to celebrate Nu who has caught up with their schoolwork! They've really clawed their way back, got such a kind and celebratory email from their homeroom teacher (teachers have been AMAZING in the pandemic!), and I'm proud of this kid for working hard and learning some life lessons on the way. 

Today is the deadline to pick in-person or virtual school for Nu for the March-June period. Big A pointed out that kids rarely get hospitalized even if they do catch Covid and that Nu might do better with some in-person instruction. Nu noted that the kids who plan to go to in-person school are frequently the ones with very conservative backgrounds and that that might put them in danger from more than just the pandemic. That decides it--virtual school it is! 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

At Last...


Four years ago, At and Nu were newbies to protest and I had a houseful of students. So much to love then and now. 

What will I do now that I don't have to be horrified every SINGLE second that we've Twittered our way to some new calamity? Huh?

I didn't get to watch the inauguration in real time, but took in a few texts here and there and then a Zoom to toast the new admin so "things feel more real." 

I really missed my WGS folks who have helped me keep my sanity in the last four years, mostly by making ad hoc traditions of marches and protests, and linners

I so wish we could be together in solidarity and community again. 

Monday, January 18, 2021

I Said, I Say

I said, I say

I'll rearrange for  my fingers to speak

to the clouds

unfolding like a migraine confession


I mean, I mean 

You've cried so much, your eyes

drop like pebbles

and wait to show you a way home 


I try, to free 

the mistakes I made as a parent

then I draw you,

my love, as a silent self-portrait

***********************

A detail from a mural in the Children's Garden (early morning walking date with L!).

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Side Eye

At sent this picture--in which Scout appears to be eyeing At a bit judgmentally as he packs to leave for college--to family chat. Surely offering At the book about doggies is Scout's attempt to make At reconsider his decision?

Talked to At on Twitter and chat today; and gosh--I miss him fiercely. Spent some time settling things in his room and ended up clearing out a decade's worth of video games, Popular Science, and Make Magazine. We've been in this house only four years and only four years in the Alma house before that, so this stash somehow made it through three moves. Yikes. 

Also yikes, as I leaned to get another piece of mail from behind At's bookcase, I twisted something in my knee and it has felt progressively weird. It feels... feeble now, although it didn't when it actually happened.

Finalizing all the syllabuses and diagnostics for first week today. And I'm laughing at myself because the smallest things get me excited sometimes.  My latest tweak is so superficial--I changed all the font to Garamond--and I'm so inordinately chuffed about it. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

"Beam Me Up"


Mostly teaching prep and house/meal prep (my Imperfect Foods box came) today. 

Big A was mostly experienced as a napper in various settings around the house (he's coming off a spate of nightshifts). 

This "Beam-Me-Up" action in the sky is from a long walk with Nu and B.S. and it made us chuckle. Lots of talk, sharing, support, and a huge, delicious loaf of BS's banana bread that Nu and I loved (i.e. have almost finished) this afternoon.

Rumpus Room sleepover tonight with Nu, Scout, and Huck, because At left for college this morning and this is how we cope. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

You already know

You already know 

trees understand: even a pale wilting sun 

is better than none; I am human,

I love as a reversible history. 

You already know

If you call me "sunshine," I will answer

also: "they who love sunshine," try--

I've called prayers into every reverie.