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

Monday, February 20, 2023

echoes

They played Pachelbel's "Canon in D" on the radio this morning as I was working and it immediately reminded me of my sweet, kind friend CJ. 

She was the student director of the writing center where I worked for my stipend in my first year in the U.S., and she'd invited me over to dinner. She and her philosopher partner were very into classical music and so I started jabbering about this absolutely magical piece I'd heard earlier that day although I didn't know what it was called. Then I started humming it.

CJ and L listened so seriously and then CJ ID-ed it as Pachelbel's "Canon in D" and helpfully added that it was a baroque piece and very famous and lot of people played it at their weddings and so on. 

I've since been to lots of weddings where they did indeed play "Canon in D" and it's CJ I think of every time. I'm so happy to be in touch with her again even it's mostly from a distance.

Pic: Grandpa R (Big A's dad) visited yesterday and I got a picture of the three generations... with iterations of similar foreheads.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

chances

Family dinner yesterday. Lots of discussions and decisions... The most exciting of which is that At, Nu, and I plan to travel to Bangalore in August. Big A can't go because he'll be in a new job, but thinks we shouldn't delay as it may be the last chance for the kids to have a good visit with my parents. That... sounds awful and I disagree (fingers in ears, la-la-la-la-la). But in any case, it made us not even blink at the steep ticket prices.

Also in the throes of writing my CASA report this weekend, and I hate how the world has so few safety nets and will not allow people a decent second chance to bounce back from long-ago mistakes.

Pic: Huckie being cute and charming the older sibs. Chances are Scout is by my chair as usual. 

Saturday, February 18, 2023

new trails

After work meetings yesterday, KPB and I walked the Meijer Trail until we couldn't anymore. Lots of fresh snow to stomp through, a brilliant blue sky, and although this was our first hike together--our strides and conversation were perfectly matched up. 

My usual hiking companion L is recovering from an injury and will be leaving for a month starting tomorrow, and my bestie KB (who made the intro to KPB) is too far away now, so I am extra grateful for this connection. 

Pic: The Meijer Trail in Alma; I cannot bring myself to hike the MSU trails just yet.
 

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Hope is an active verb

MSU students are protesting at the state capitol; they arranged themselves as if they were in the kind of lockdown they've been prepared for all through school. 

Michigan currently has a governor and a legislature that is democratic and has introduced state bills 76-86 for gun reform. Some of these may have stopped the shooter before lives were lost. 

Fear--> Anger--> Resolve-->

Time to call my representatives about SB 76-86.

Pic: via Twitter.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

zoom zoom zoom

Worked from home today. 

Then Nu and EM showed up around the same time in the afternoon. 

Nu took over the rumpus room with screens and snacks and EM and I set up at the dining table for a Zoom workshop presentation of our Hope-O-Calypse project. We had a tech producer for the conference and cool Radio Lab-style banter going for a while. 

I should make better notes for myself for our next time (in April) but the hour passed too quickly and attendees loved it and the chat was full of OTT love and praise. The tech producer said they'd send us the chat history tomorrow and I plan to save all those comments and compliments. 

EM and I processed Monday-night's incident some more. She had been on campus just as things began to get dangerous, but said in retrospect she hadn't felt scared enough. I'd felt that way too despite sheltering in place with lights off. Have we just rehearsed these scenarios in our heads too much? 

A quick dinner (combination of store-bought and freezer) and then off to Sistrum rehearsals (via Zoom today as I couldn't handle leaving the house just yet). 

Pic: It was super windy when Scout, Huck, and I took an outside break. And if you zoom in, you can see a train.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

"How Many More?"

I don't think I feel normal... I feel kind of numb... sad... strange...

I heard on the news that there have been 67 mass shootings in the U.S. (where else?!) just since the start of 2023--a mere 45 days ago. I don't know what it'll take to disrupt this awful pattern.

Haven't slept in the last 24 hours (like not even my usual 4-5 hours) but didn't want to cancel classes because I had canceled classes just last week after the active shooter hoax at Nu's school. I ended up taking (having to take) Nu to work with me because their school was canceled. 

Classes were a bit somber because so many students had high school friends or cousins who go to MSU, but we made it through with the help of V-Day candy I'd stocked up on--in both classes students brought me candy too... that made me smile. Also, making me smile (quizzically), students framing their thoughts with "I was listening to the police scanner yesterday and..." Is this something people do now?

Attended an online prayer-vigil meeting for the students who were shot this evening. May make it to the anti-gun-violence rally at the capitol tomorrow. 

Pic: MSU spirit rock with the message "How Many More?" Photo by Colin Jackson, NPR reporter.

Monday, February 13, 2023

sheltering in place

So... there was a mass shooting on the MSU campus this evening. Three people were killed and five are critically wounded. The shooter is still at large. 

Helicopters are hovering, sirens are blaring, I've locked the doors, set the alarms, turned off the lights, and am trying to keep Scout and Huck calm. Nu is, thankfully, safe in bed and fast asleep.

I'm learning that a lot of my friends listen to the police scanner. Friends in class and at meetings have had to shelter in place for hours (it's now past midnight).  And I guess this is now national news as friends are texting from Texas and Minneapolis and DC and so on. The shooting started at Berkey Hall (where I used to teach) and the latest shots were heard at Hubbard Hall (across the street from us). 

Actually though, I'm not feeling particularly scared. I dozed for a while and woke up a bit worried that I might feel sorry if the shooter showed up at our place since everyone is after them... This is uncool as there are people dead... but I guess I imagine that people who do this are not ok themselves...

Pic: I tried to take a picture of the moon this morning when Huck, Scout and I walked with Nu to the school bus stop, but Scout was jerking me around as usual and I ended up with this sequence of cool blurs. That tall blur is Hubbard Hall, where law enforcement is concentrated right now.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

words, words, veggies

Earlier this week, I was invited to say a few words about love at today's UU sermon. I started with one of my favorite writers--the late, great June Jordan who wrote at the intersections of feminism and anti-racism and her statement that "none of us have known enough tenderness." How right she sounds--and how I want to do everything to change that. 

I teach, so I'm no longer afraid of public speaking, but my heart rate certainly galloped when I climbed up to the stage and saw all the rows of semi-familiar faces. Nu was such a great support and hype-person all morning.

Pic: Superbowl? More like super foods bowl. Haha. Nu and I were so charmed that that tomato is so Valentine-themed. It reminded me of my long-ago peace tomato.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

trains, complaints, and all the feels

Last week when At was here for dinner, we watched White Noise, the new film based on Don DeLillo's 1980's novel. Earlier this week, I was shocked by how presciently that movie mimicked this week's train derailment in Ohio... I was pretty weirded out by how the news photo of the derailed cars looked identical to the movie scene with derailed cars. It turns out that some the people affected by the Ohio derailment actually acted in the film?!? That's a bit too 'life mimics art' for me.  (Also: our house is close to a train track, so my interest in these calamities tends to be emotional rather than rational.)

Today, I left the fam after Nu's Boss Day Sushi dinner to do drinks and a movie with girlfriends... I don't think I've done that since early 2020. I had dessert instead of a drink as I'd been working since 5 am and thought I might fall asleep if I had a drink. Guess what? I fell asleep anyway--it's difficult not to in those super comfy reclining seats. But that's ok. Being silly and chatty and loud was the point anyway--all that I got to do. 

Pic: Huck, Scout, Big A, At, and Nu in the rumpus room when I said goodbye to them.

Friday, February 10, 2023

winning

I got so much paperwork: forms, proposals, petitions, registrations, reminders, scheduling, ticketing, etc., etc., etc. done today.

This is not the kind of writing I enjoy...

And I'm freaking out a bit with how much more there is to do and all the deadlines that are creeping up. 

One deadline I'll need to fulfill this weekend is to write letters of recommendation for three wonderful students whom I'd nominated for an award... the same award. They all deserve to win it. I wish we had more awards to hand out instead of making all of them compete for one. (It would make my job much easier too.)

Kareem Abdul Jabbar's generous vision is what I want. In "What I think About LeBron Breaking my NBA Scoring Record, Jabbar says: "In the months leading up to LeBron breaking my record, so much was written about how I would feel on the day he sank that record-breaking shot that I had to laugh. I’d already written several times stating exactly how I felt so there really wasn’t much to speculate about. It’s as if I won a billion dollars in a lottery and 39 years later someone won two billion dollars. How would I feel? Grateful that I won and happy that the next person also won. His winning in no way affects my winning."

Pic: View from the Bogue St. Bridge with Big A.

 

happiness as a puzzle

your postcard from there--is happy you're not here 
morning has already withdrawn into itself  
this sun shines as cold as a moon
*
your news from the doctor is called "not happy"
decades grow like blessings on my body
I wish I could send them to you 
*
and somewhere, a grim chorus of earthquakes 
I'm overcome by measuring the ever afters  
without "happily" prefacing them

_______________________
(unrelated) Pic: Huckie being cute; Scout's somewhere under there too. 
Notes: Sending JG and MB off to Portugal, BS's diagnosis and treatment, 20K + people dead in Turkey, Sistrum chorus rehearsals yesterday, rainy-ass day today.

Wednesday, February 08, 2023

striving for ordinary

We tried to have an ordinary day around here. After watching several youtube tutorials, Nu made pots de crème, which were sublime. So I guess the day was elevated into something special. 🤗

But there were no scary phone calls... no panic... no being terrified in the moment and traumatized repeatedly after...

I could get used to this.

Pic: Nu's pots de crème (in repurposed Mentos gum containers).

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

how CAN the kids be alright?

Nu had just raised their hand to answer a question in Spanish class; I'd just landed in my office and poured myself my first cup of tea. And then both of us got the news that Nu's school was on lockdown due to an active shooter. 

I've lived in fear of this since Sandy Hook, but there's no preparing for this kind of call from the school. Thankfully, it turned out to be a hoax. And everyone's okay.

But as I canceled my classes via email and sped to the church where families were supposed to pick up their kids, I kept thinking of this morning when we'd run a little late and Nu had to sprint to make the it on to the school bus... I kept wondering if I'd spend the rest of my life wishing they hadn't made it on to the school bus. 

I guess there's always a low-key anticipation of this happening if you live in the U.S. I remember not sending the kids back to school until well into the new year after Sandy Hook, although I didn't seem too bothered by a gun incident in a neighboring school district last month. The other time I had to pick up the kids due to a gun threat was when they were at ecocamp together.

This is a messed up way to live. I couldn't bear to be apart from Nu for the rest of the day after I picked them up... and I got absolutely no work done... Tomorrow, I'll make up for it tomorrow.

Pic: Students gathered in the football field from a news article.

Monday, February 06, 2023

un-Monday

It felt a bit like I was playing hooky today. 

After I dropped Big A off at the train station and my precious Bluey car off at the dealership for battery updates, L picked me up and we headed to Ted Black Woods for a hike. It was beautiful but super icy, so I was glad L had brought trekking poles for us to use... they saved me from wiping out so many times and made me feel like an all-weather champ. I'm wondering if I should put trekking poles on my otherwise empty birthday list...

I was back by 10:30 to hold meetings and work online for the day, so I got some stuff done. But I did spend nearly two hours stressing that the courtesy shuttle wouldn't pick me up in time for me to pick up Nu and then panicking when it didn't, so there was wasted time. The driver who finally picked me up in the nick of time was third-generation Lebanese and I enjoyed our talk about diasporas. (I asked him about the audio book he'd turned off when I got in--books are such a passport to conversation!)

Back home things fell into dinner, kid time, and class prep mode, but it still feels like an atypical Monday and a bit unsettling. It's not helping that I can't stop humming Young the Giant's "The Walk Home" with its lonely heartbreak and its messy homage to the wind telephone.

Pic: L's sneak pic of me using her poles at Ted Black Woods.

 

Thursday, February 02, 2023

"I could have danced all night"

I woke up feeling so light and unburdened because of Big A's job moving back to Michigan. And I've been dancing on air all day.

Big A started doing the budget and has been very gloom and doom, but nothing will bring me down. Financially speaking, we were not where we're expected to be before, and we won't be there now... or for a long time--but those precise details won't really impinge on our daily life and happiness. 

Pic: Scout and Huck super excited to see Nu off at the school bus stop. I feel like this too (about the move back to MI, not the school bus).

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

"a good-good day"

We've had such a grey start to the year, so when I saw the sun come up this morning, it already felt like the start of a good day...

Then... I acted on my impulse (and the lovely Nicole's encouragement) and auditioned for Sistrum, the Lansing Women's Chorus today. I'm in! (I think they take everyone who wants to sing 🙂.) 

And then... Big A signed the contract with a Michigan-based hospital! It'll take him until the next academic year (July) to transition out of Medical College of Wisconsin, but he'll be back at home full-time after that! Huge pay-cut and all, I'm so ready for this!

Pic: Sunrise through our only eastern window. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

blooms, fumes, and news

Yesterday when I was making an offering plate to take to the temple with At, I couldn't find a single bloom. The paperwhites and hyacinths that were so heady a couple of weeks ago were all past their prime. A new batch of paperwhites I'd started had grown very tall and then very floppy, but haven't produced any blooms. I ended up taking silk flowers and fruit to the temple... Today, my Christmas amaryllis (from LB and TB) is blooming in the tea garden! Long may it bloom.

I must remember to ask Nu if they want me to listen or problem solve when they start fuming. Nu has an ambitious essay project, whose working title is, "the undersupply of creativity in alternative music cultures under capitalism." It's a wonderful topic and I've listened to Nu share ideas about it for months now, but it may also be a bit too much for a fifteen-year-old who's struggling at school to accomplish on a timetable and according to a rubric. They're currently mad at their teacher, and I didn't help matters by intervening to say that actually, the structure and strategies their teacher proposed seem relevant and reasonable.

A long teaching day with bits of sparkly news: AH, a student from last term, stopped by to say they'd taken the Howard Zinn quote in my email signature to frame their senior dance presentation; KS, my independent thesis student, was named as a Fulbright finalist; students I nominated for the Barlow award have been shortlisted. (Those students have turned around and asked for me to write their reference letters, which I'm honored to do... But of course it does mean more to do.)

And--TA-DA--at the end of the day, I got to pick Big A up from the train station! Nu had already gone to bed, but Scout and Huck are thrilled he's back from Wisconsin (or "Piss-consin" as the puppies call it disrespectfully because they resent that he has to be there so much). 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Last (of) Christmas

We'd missed At two weekends in a row--the first because there was camping with college friends and then the rest of us went to Yellow Springs for Christmas #2. So it was really nice to have At visit twice this weekend.

There was dinner and chatting and watching the first episodes of The Last of Us, which both Nu and I remember watching At play as a game in a different mode of life. I remember how excited At was to show me how in that particular post-apocalypse vines took over the insides of buildings, thinking it would be an aesthetic I'd enjoy. How hard that child had tried to share something they enjoyed (video games) with me! I wish I'd spent longer slung out in those chairs in that childhood bedroom taking it in instead of rushing on to whatever else I'd thought was important. 

Today there was a temple visit, red envelopes from Lunar New Year, and grandparents' Christmas presents to pass on. Someday, no doubt, even this fleeting drop-in will seem a highlight of past life. 

Pic: Scout helping At open his presents from the Grandma S and Grandpa J.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

no balance

Morning: A long visit with the CASA kids I advocate for.

Evening: A long dinner with At, Nu, Scout, and Huck.

My heart sore from thinking about Tyre Nichols calling for his mother. 

My back sore from shoveling our long driveway free of snow. 


Wednesday, January 25, 2023

So Much Snow!

A neighboring school district had a snow day (they had a gun incident yesterday, so may have taken this as a reprieve) but Nu had school and so did I.

Lots of shoveling though. Big A was prepping for his grand rounds lecture tomorrow, so I did the honors (without the benefit of the snowblower as I've never learned how to work it). We have a really nice shovel that makes things easy, but I was nevertheless sweat-soaked by the time I finished. It was so satisfying to look up the driveway and see how neat my work was.

I'm currently reading two novels, and it's a bit weird. I'm almost done with the new Kingsolver, Demon Copperhead, (which is in itself a take on Dickens' David Copperfield) but I dipped into OM's The Dream Builders and couldn't put it down, so I'm about halfway through that too. I guess I was curious if there were any versions of me in OM's novel... Ever since I found what I thought was a reference to me in an Amit Chaudhuri, I've been curious/wary. I just reread that nearly 20-years-ago post and realize many Indian girls would probably fit that description.

Pic: Trellises with scoops of snow in the back garden.

puppy condo rules

Although I don't spend much time in there, our puppy "condo" is one of my favorite spaces. Max and Huckie dislike being in the...