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

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

s/unlit

In the midst of mounting excitement about the start of the new school year, it was a shock to hear two people who'd been at the college died unexpectedly on Monday. I didn't know either of them very well, but I knew of them; I feel their loss. 

Tall T, a student who graduated about five years ago was a basketball star and while I never saw him play, I knew him from his work in the admissions office, met him when he accompanied new students to my office, and appreciated how he helped me troubleshoot software problems more than once. I am particularly grateful for the way he tried to reassure me that these problems happen to everyone. I can see his smile as he says we shouldn't worry about it to me and the students we were assisting. I hadn't seen him in a few years, and it makes me sad that now I never will. I'm sad his smile--that used to dawn slowly, indulgently--is no longer in this world somewhere...

J worked in the janitorial department--I don't think I ever met her, but her four kids go to college here and E, her oldest, was in my environmental literature class. I remember J through the concern E had for the chemicals her mother was exposed to on a daily basis. So this is a tenuous connection, but that's how I met her--through E's words; that's how I held her in my head, my heart, and classroom. 

I'm grieving for T and J and their families. Death is so weird in its finality... and yet we're such a small community that every person presence reverberates in us all. 

Pic: Huge and droopy sunflower

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

only connect


so open that door 
or open this book
I open my mouth 
wait for an answer 
                           ...answer always already  
                           the knocking of my heart
                            promises folding around  
                             surrounding me like love
                                                               ...love you, for I love you 
                                                                 and I know how I love you
                                                               every one of you, I know you
                                                               can remind me of no one else 


Pic: Picnic at KV's... so many generations of women and children. I appreciated this lovely summer afternoon with Nu: destressing, snacking, reconnecting, and cuddling babies. (It was especially welcome after an all-morning, in-person meeting for our departmental re-visioning.)

Monday, August 15, 2022

India at 75

After a few writers shared it on FB, I've been reading this WONDERFUL collection of 75 writers on India's 75th birthday from PEN all day and bugging my cousins to read it too.

Each piece is so beautiful in its own way and every piece is so poignantly regretful about the way the promise of India--a secular, multicultural, pluralistic democracy--is sliding out of grasp. 

The slide towards authoritarianism and religious fundamentalism in my country of birth (and my country of residence) makes me sad on a daily basis. I nearly cried when one of my cousins said that since everything is only about Hindu values now, we wouldn't have the friends--Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Parsi, communist, atheist, etc.--we'd had if we were growing up in India today. 

I tried to share something from the PEN anthology, but how could I pick just one? 

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Easy like Sunday...


A sweet, fulfilling, and unhurried day from UU in the morning to yoga in the evening. Weekend chores completed, some prep for the weekday started. 

Some things didn't happen--Pride got rained out on Saturday, grocery shopping didn't happen today... we did get Insomnia Cookies delivered both days though 🙃.

My sense of content is overlaid by the knowledge that there's a train ticket back to Milwaukee on Big A's phone for tomorrow.

And that Nu and I start school next week. I should remember to do weekends like this when we're back. 

Pic: (secular) stained glass at UU Lansing. 

Saturday, August 13, 2022

rakhi talk

I felt overtaken by the news yesterday, but it was a good day for my little family. 

At came over and the four of us headed to the movies (for the first time since the pandemic?). We saw Nope (I'm still processing). 

Back home, we had a nice puja for Rakhi. Traditionally, sisters tie rakhis on their brothers' wrists, but we've been bypassing gender and species rules for years now, so At, Nu, Scout, and Huck all promise to love and protect each other. I wish my sister and I had done this for each other instead of bemoaning the fact that we didn't have brothers all those years ago. We always did the love and protection--we should have gotten the bracelets too.

Pic: Nu's bracelets at breakfast this morning (I forgot to take photos yesterday). 

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Sir Salman

Really unsettled today by the stabbing suffered by Salman Rushdie, whose brilliant and provocative work is the basis for whole disciplines. I and hosts of others made academic articles/positions/reputations based on his work. And he was always so amiable and cordial every time I met him. 

I'm not a fan of his later work, recent politics, or aspects of his personal life (I stopped buying his books when he supported Roman Polanski), but I cannot forget how breathtaking and eye-opening Midnight's Children was when I first read it or how poignant Haroun and the Sea of Stories was when it came out ... I remember thinking I didn't know you're allowed to do this with language... I didn't know you were allowed to write about this... 

I hope he makes a full recovery. 

Back in 2006, I copied this extract from an article in The Telegraph:

It has not escaped his attention that living under a fundamentalist threat was once a solo occupation for him. Now we all are.

"That's true," he says cheerfully. "And I think we all are in the end making the same choice that I made all those years ago which was, you just have to get on with your life. You know, in the end, that is all you can do."

Wordle to the rescue

 Wordle scores are really worth nothing, but somehow they turned out to be super important to me this summer. 

This summer has been a time of disruption: Big A's new job in a different state (WI since June-July); Nu's health (ER in May and June, outpatient all July); stalled house and roof repairs (since May and ongoing). I want to acknowledge how these big things led to lots of secondary issues: I got no significant writing done, my garden and garden plans were obliterated, bills are mounting, ditto anxiety, and on and on. 

Wordle to the rescue. Turns out that at least once a day, I can control and solve something. And Big A and I use the same starter word, so there's an unofficial competition. I currently hold the family crown for solves in the least number of moves--solving over a hundred games on the third move. I see my stats and give myself a moment of applause.

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

selective


I took this picture of three generations of Big A's side of the family today. Perhaps the only picture of these three together we'll get this year as Grandpa G heads back to NC for the rest of the year.

Would you believe I made them pose for me in a strip mall parking lot after lunch at Grand Traverse Pie Company?

It kind of a looks like they're in a garden to me. I guess that's my super power? Haha.

And I guess the important thing is that we found time to make this happen despite everyone's crazy end-of summer and vacation schedules.

Monday, August 08, 2022

adult-child

In my head At may be a baby/toddler/kid/young adult... but in actuality, he's 23; an adult. And  relationally speaking, also my child. Navigating being loving and supportive without being intrusive has been something I've been conscious of working on for a while now. 

Parenthood's most persistent fear has been about losing my kids (to disaster/ill health). So it was horrifying to read about another take on this loss in the pull quote on this article about parent-child estrangement in The Atlantic: "you can be a conscientious parent and your kid may still want nothing to do with you when they’re older." 

The article then goes on to say that there are usually reasons for parent-child estrangement even if it has to do with how the parent and the child see the past differently. 

Very yikes. A cautionary tale, I guess, but what can anyone do about the past anyway?

Pic: Eyde Woods; The Red Cedar River muddy post rain.

Sunday, August 07, 2022

puppy pile


One of the grownups at the get together today was allergic to dogs, so Scout and Huckie had to stay in their room. 

Three of the little ones decided to stay in there with them because "puppies shouldn't be in timeout by themselves." 

(Not pictured: my big kids, At and Nu, who are around somewhere.)

Friday, August 05, 2022

unexpected sweetness

When we dropped Big A off at the train station the other day, I noticed a huge new sports complex on Service Rd., so I took L and Nu to see it on this morning's walk.  

Except--by the time we marveled over how quickly the complex had gone up and commiserated over how we wouldn't be able to traipse over the fields as a shortcut as we used to--there was a very long and slow train stuck on the tracks blocking our way home. 

Thankfully, Nu suggested we go to Chapelure, and thankfully, I carry a credit card on the little pocket on my phone so we did. Coffee for L, tea for me, a three-course breakfast for Nu, a chance to sit on the patio and pretend we were in Paris (Nu had a croissant), and it was an unexpected treat on an ordinary Friday morning.

Pic: When LB and TB came over for dinner, they brought this arrangement of flowers from their garden. It's arranged in a sundae glass and has two straws it it. So cute!

Thursday, August 04, 2022

sweet set

A sweet evening for Nu, Scout, Huck, and me with JG and EM today. A lot of jabbering, joking, and joshing. JG used to do standup comedy in NYC and EM won't take any BS, so it was very lively.

EM brought the most delectable set of sweets from Make it Sweet.  

JG brought me a Turkish porcelain plate to complete my "set." (Nu and I won the first one at a U.N. quiz a couple of years ago; then I picked up the second one when KB was moving offices and discarded stuff; now thanks to JG, I have a third one.)

Pic: sweets and my "set."

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

haphazardly

I sent a 15-second loop of the Red Cedar flowing under the Spartan Bridge to the family chat, because I felt we could all use it today. 

*

I walked A LOT today: four miles with Nu, two miles with Big A after Nu's medical appointment and my NWSA meeting, and then another four miles by myself because I felt kind of jumpy and wanted to tire myself out. 

*

SD, my dear friend of 25 years who lives in DC and was going to spend the rest of the week with us here, had to postpone her trip due to a Covid exposure. But we already have a new date and new plans: she's going to come in the last week of September and maybe visit one of my classes, so I'm excited about that. 

*

An unlooked for bonus is that I'd arranged for small dinner parties tomorrow and the day after to entertain her. Those gatherings are still happening, so it'll still be somewhat convivial around here.  

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

(Work in) Progress

I was blown away when I saw this de-construction of progress, and am pinning this for myself and everyone I know. I hope I remember to refer to it when Nu feels he's backsliding or At feels he's stagnating or students feel overwhelmed.

[It fits perfectly with how I'm hating on civilization and our definitions of progress right now because I'm rereading Karen Joy Fowler's We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves.]

Big A is in town, so we did a "Books and Burritos" night, going to the bookstore and swinging by At's branch of Chipotle. It's At's Boss Day, so we'd planned it around surprising him... he was more like taken aback. Later he texted: "Sorry I looked bad and was so stressed." That very nearly broke my heart. Their NLRB election date is 8/25; we're all crossing fingers and holding our breath...

Sunday, July 31, 2022

something else


I know I don't need this 
poem at the end of the day
go ahead, tell me, I'll listen

frown/yawn/warn at this 
sorry summary of the day 
go ahead, tell me, I'll listen

say I should forget all this 
as I look away... every day
go ahead, tell me, I'll listen

hush-shout me, for you have
a wounded song of your own
go ahead... tell me... I'll listen



Pic: Fiesta Monarca at Casa de Rosada. Nu and his friends are on sitting on the grass f a r a w a y from the dancers.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

perfection

Whatever else this summer throws at me, I got this one perfect summer day in: not a single looming deadline; a long chat with my sister; a long walk with Nu up to the Spartan statue at the stadium and back (the full Sparty!); yoga with Big A (via Portal); picked up sticks in the backyard with Scout and Huck (and it made them CRAZY); finished my book in the hammock (Cheryl Strayed); ate mangoes and cherries and chocolate all day; soaked in the tub till I got pruney because my phone, which was on shuffle, magically played all the best songs; ate leftovers from dinners past for dinner; shared a mango creamsicle with the puppies; played Truth or Dare with the fam; made plans with EM and SD; got a chat with At and got him on the family calendar for next week. 

My peace. My priorities. My pleasure. 

At the end of the day, perhaps I shouldn't have eaten a whole BAR of hazelnut Chocolove, but at the time it seemed both imperative and enjoyable.

Pic: My view from the hammock.

Friday, July 29, 2022

two puppies, some bunny, and a people's history

I can kinda see me wedged here between the end of the sofa, Scout's nose nuzzling me, Nu's butt, and (somehow) Huck's tail in my lap.

And I'm mostly awed by the bunny ear attachments to Nu's sweatshirt. Nu worked on them all this week, and in true punk fashion sourced everything from what we already had.

Earlier in the day we headed to my office and, on the commute, we listened to Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. Nu's first time. I think it's time.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

on the outside


Tried something new today--took Nu along on a small hike with L.

I missed being outside, but I didn't feel comfortable leaving Nu by himself because of all the health stuff. This way, both of us get to be around each other, get some fresh air, and build our stamina. 

It was a good start. The only downside being Nu wore his Doc Martens and got a blister and then wished he'd listened to me--I hate being right sometimes.

Pic: This was our best "ussie" via our reflections--waving creepily at our reflections in the Red Cedar River was L's idea.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

"a rocket of heavenly delight"

Last night just as I was falling asleep, the phrase "a rocket of heavenly delight" popped into my head and in those few seconds, I was SO CERTAIN that I'd discovered SUCH A brilliant creative phrase. THE MOST.

When I woke up for the day, I wasn't sure what I'd meant by it or what I would use it for. I know it was some tongue-in-cheek riff off of The Garden of Earthly Delights, but I wasn't sure of the how, why, or what. 

Nu thinks that I maybe meant it as a paean to the Spain trip where we got to see the triptych at the Prado? 

Or maybe this is just what happens when 2 am becomes the time you fall asleep.

Anyway, like Kanye, Nu didn't graduate from outpatient care, he just decided he was finished. So we're home with exercises and things to monitor and follow up on. We started a new show Heartstopper, which I find adorable. Nu critically noted that the show--about two gay teenagers--is written by a woman, but he appears to be charmed nevertheless. 

Having a somewhat normal day and knowing that we don't have to report to outpatient in the morning is like being on a rocket of heavenly delight nice. (Ok, I'll stop trying to make "a rocket of heavenly delight" happen... I can see it's not going to happen.😏)


Monday, July 25, 2022

Thinking about "The Mother"

A long time ago, I read Lydia Davis's "The Mother" from Break it Down. Here it is in its entirety: 

The girl wrote a story. “But how much better it would be if you wrote a novel,” said her mother. The girl built a doll-house. “But how much better if it were a real house,” her mother said. The girl made a small pillow for her father. “But wouldn’t a quilt be more practical,” said her mother. The girl dug a small hole in the garden. “But how much better if you dug a large hole,” said her mother. The girl dug a large hole and went to sleep in it. “But how much better if you slept forever,” said her mother.

Although I read it so long ago, it's always in the back of my head as a reminder of how not to "fix things." While that chilling paragraph is about the specific dynamics of mother-daughter relationships, I think it works for parenting/teaching/editing/being a friend or partner too. There are more of Davis's stories here.

s/unlit

In the midst of mounting excitement about the start of the new school year, it was a shock to hear two people who'd been at the college ...