Showing posts with label Culture as War. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Culture as War. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Grid Life


Day 1 on on the Laura Vanderkam time tracker challenge (since yesterday was mostly travel and touring);  Day 6 on Wordle (100%, Baby); and Day 0 of finding ways of minimizing administrative duties. 

My lovely colleague-mentor L had suggested that I disengage and use the sabbatical to good use--and I pared down campus engagement. But just today I got asked to join a search committee and a journal review board--and I said yes. It can't be helpful to anyone if I keep taking on every opportunity that flits across my timeline. 

Saturday, January 08, 2022

"little talks"


1)    This past week, I've had some tough conversations with Big A (diminishing family time); Nu (screen time and schoolwork); At (patchy/magical Covid protocol) so I'm glad Scout thinks I'm just the greatest. 

2)    B.E.S. asked if I would officiate at their wedding reception... I love B.E.S. (student>colleague>friend) and am beyond honored... but also have also have no idea how to go about it. 

3)    Scheduled a professional WGS talk in March--I'm more confident of doing alright with this.

4)    Lots of phone calls this weekend--in the absence of real meetups, these are the talks I love best!

I do not like this song, but since titling this post, it's my personal ear worm.

Friday, January 07, 2022

"Powerful beyond stage and screen"

My parents were such huge fans of Sir Sidney Poitier, they had us kids watch all their favorites on VHS. 

I must have thought of them as documentary, so imagine my horror and surprise when I got to the USA and realized that racism hadn't been neatly resolved decades ago.

But in these past decades, I've come to appreciate what an amazing trailblazer he was even "beyond stage and screen" as Bernice King notes. 

Rest in Power, Sir.

__________________

Vaguely related: I gave At this this Desmond Tutu apron for Christmas and the Rev. died the very next week; At gave me this edition of In the Heat of the Night and now Sir Sidney is no more. How jinx-y are we?

Thursday, January 06, 2022

"change not closure"


I heard of ambiguous loss only last year, but it was one of those moments that helped me understand a lifetime. Pauline Boss who originated that term (in grad school!!) has a new book out in which they urge that we prioritize adapting to change instead of forcing closure. It was a day of making some tough decisions with Big A (out of state job) and Nu (school-related stuff), so this was a helpful read. 

I've heard other people say the same thing — that they were more adaptable than they thought they could be. I saw it during World War II as well. I was a youngster then. People adapted and were extremely resilient and came through it, the ones that were still living. I see it again now. I'm again pleasantly surprised at human resilience. It's not true of everybody, but it's true of, I think, most of the people. And so I say this to people: Pat yourself on the back.

*Patting myself on the back.* 

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

anniversary

 


Yup, the anniversary of the most insane and scary thing I've witnessed in real time is tomorrow. 

Anyway, Jamie Raskin's book about this week last year is in my checkout cart--but I'm not sure if I'm ready to read it. 

Just his brave interview on Fresh Air nearly crumbled me. 

I am still not over Tommy Raskin (I may never be).



Thursday, December 30, 2021

a better next year


Everyone told me not to do any work over the break: I took their advice; I'm bored. 

This week--with its radio silence on my work email--reminded me how much of my workday is responding to scheduled events and corresponding about projects. I'll need to shift out of that mode over sabbatical so I have something worthwhile at the end of it. I really, really, really need to get in the zone with my writing projects. 

Despite the seemingly universal experience of having 2020 drag and 2021 sprint, I think I ought to compartmentalize more effectively after two years of practicing pandemic panic. That's going to be my big goal for 2022. 

Drove up to the office today to collect some books, water my plants, pick up mail, etc. and I had a lot of time to reflect. (Also feel like I'm on the verge of a big cry--but that could just be from loping through Bewilderment and being too tired to cry at 2 am or whenever it was that I finished it.)

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

abecedarian for 2021




                           OR

Anyway, innocence is a thing I overcome
By becoming a small offering of silence, 
Certain so many things never end at all.  
Destiny--these paths forking to multiply
Erupts into our endings and beginnings
Frames all the lessons I just won't heed
Unfolding in tedious, untidy symmetry

Monday, December 27, 2021

up and down

So many of my Lansing/MSU friends have started using this screenshot as their profile picture, so Nu and I had to watch Don't Look Up, which is the usual Adam McKay genius with many, many moments of cringe and chuckles. It's kind of an allegory for climate change, but works great as a read on the pandemic too. 

Speaking of which, Big A felt a bit symptomatic and we've quarantined him. We tried to order home tests, but of course nothing's readily available. I asked around, and the lovely SH who was saving some for the baby shower let me have a couple. 

He tested negative, but perhaps it's too early? I mean does one have to wait a while? This feels like taking a pregnancy test the day after sex.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

post-jolly

Still coming down from Christmas jollities, TBH. 

A couple of Boxing Day visits, but Nu felt a bit stretched thin, so we canceled another visit and headed home to cuddle up with puppies and veg in pajamas. 

I'm calling this Christmas a success. There was a moment on Christmas Eve, when the kids were poking holes in the books (On Tyranny Graphic Edition) I meant to send them to bed with, when I panicked hard about what to do if they didn't like any gifts the next day. But things were Hallmark-perfect on Christmas; all is well.

As I shared with people at Zoom UU this morning, Christmas with an adult child is an evolving celebration. I've been taking notes on how other people are navigating change, and my favorite one is where people go off to some place sunny--I can see that being Big A and me someday. 

Right now though, I'm off to watch the last ever ep of Insecure, which I've been hoarding as my secret Boxing Day treat.



Tuesday, December 21, 2021

stable


Big A is back; my back feels better; got cards and presents in the mail; a few visits (and presents); did our third session of family therapy; ordered in pizza; read together; watched Bob's Burgers (with Nu) and Station Eleven (after Nu went to bed); got my aunt's hopes up about a visit home; celebrated the end of the Kelloggs' strike... 

A long day... the longest day of the year... and it was cozy and a nice balance of Christmas with other good things.

Pic: multiculti altar w/ nativity scene

Thursday, December 16, 2021

bell hooks

Not bell hooks... and not at just 69...

I've learned so much from her since my first feminist theory class and I've always had her work in all of the classes I teach.  Students love how easy and joyous her work is and how richly rooted in love and community. I gave copies of her All About Love: New Visions to lots of people just last Christmas, including At who fell in love with it. 

(And I had to talk myself out of being irritated by people who used uppercase to spell her name in their canned tributes although it felt so disrespectful; and I have to look away from the early death of another black activist; and I'm sitting with Kaye Wise Whitehead's "It is sometimes hard to imagine being in a world when the geniuses of your time are no longer in it.")

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

more perfect (re)unions

Big A is back home after interviewing in Buffalo, NY where the chair kindly took this picture of him in front of the first unionized Starbucks in the USA for At, our little socialist. (Not sure how to tell it apart from the zillion other Starbucks facades in our universe, but...)

At was (predictably) thrilled and whooped. He'd been sending clips of the crew receiving the news of their winning votes and saying things like "I'm so proud of the Starbucks' kids" as though he's their uncle. At is 22, so this makes me chuckle.

I got grades finalized, welcomed the return of our internet, and had a nice long chat with JG who stopped by for a visit. We have an idea for a piece about disability and body horror (and humor?) that I'm eager to revisit.

Our chat ended abruptly because I had to go pick up Nu from school--I've been doing school drop offs and pick ups with Nu since our main road has been impassable for the school bus. But... we spied the bus on our way home today. I'm glad it's back, but I'll miss car chats with my Nu.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

a sad story without pictures

Pictured: Here's me at 1:00 pm all ready to go see Hadestown at 2:00 pm, just waiting for Nu and Big A to get their coats on so we can all walk over to the Wharton.

Not pictured: me at 1:15 when Nu and Big A decided it was too cold to walk and that we should turn around and take the car instead.

Also not pictured: me at 1:20 when we collectively realized that the reason we hadn't had power since 11 am or thereabouts was because there was a downed wire across our street. Also realizing this made it impassable for us to get to the Wharton.

Also not pictured: me at 1:25 begging Nu and Big A to walk to the show through the church grounds.

Also not pictured: me at 1:30 begging them to let me go to the show by myself at least.

Also not pictured: L and T trying to help me find my way--blocked at every turn by police and utility vehicles (if not by downed wires).

Also not pictured: me at 1:53 giving up.

Thursday, December 09, 2021

newsy



O, hello... it's me... with my adorable furry assistants... trying to be the best new effing co-chair of NWSA's conference in 2022 I can be. (Still not enough writing as I noted in March, but this is huge for me and I hope to learn a lot.)

In other news, I took great pleasure in letting fam and friends know that a Trader Joe's is coming to town--about 2-3 mins away from us. I foresee Big A biking over there for last minute groceries instead of Whole Foods. 

And in other gentrification news, I'm watching with horror--via friends and FB--the intersecting mesh mess of schadenfreude, transphobia, and anti-blackness in the latest Dave Chappelle vs. Yellow Springs clash.

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

Pic: We're all looking at Big A.

Sunday, December 05, 2021

the week that was

 


and I didn't have the energy to say anything 
since it was also
the last week of classes
the first week of Big A's new job
and so it goes.

I must note that Oxford, MI, the latest in the annals of school shootings, is an hour from us. I keep feeling lost after Parkland or after Sandy Hook when I kept the kids home until I had to send them back in the new year. And I'm realizing I've done this with varying intensity for the entire span of my children's public school lives.

Saturday, December 04, 2021

my eyes are... out here?

Vulvae and "no one needs a douche" stickers from my student's WGS symposium station this week. 💓

Today, I spent the morning interviewing students for scholarships and...

It was demoralizing that a couple of potential students with great GPAs, neurotypical presentation,  pre-med intentions... just wouldn't make eye-contact with me. 

And I understand these are teenagers who've spent close to two years mostly seeing people virtually or masked, but this was not about that.

I interviewed with a (male, white) colleague, and at every question, even if I had been the one who asked the question, they'd look earnestly at my colleague while they answered. One student who was otherwise equitable at dividing their time between interviewers, focussed solely on my colleague while describing their football success. 

I checked with my colleague to see if he had noticed it too--and he had. He said he'd tried to look at me while they were answering to model etiquette. (To no avail, apparently.)

I guess I'm lucky this doesn't happen all the time, but c'mon kids!

Saturday, November 27, 2021

for you too may have / questions about this story


                                                                             
                                                                      the tongue a knife probing                                          
our mom didn't tell this story 
till she was safe home again
how traveling to Chennai 
in the rains--she said--they 

                            the cleft palate of memory 
couldn't tell which was river 
which was road... and then 
went skidding into a ditch...
thanks to the gods--she said--

                           the smile tucked up in secret
thanks to all the gods some
villagers were passing and
they were kind and pushed
our car back onto the road  

                            the lips nudged into detail
then softly: but... they said
some mean things in Tamil 
like uncle is a terrible driver 
who shouldn't have a big car 

                             the gummy words murderous
even more softly: aunty and I 
were in the car, so they said
look at those fatty gundechis
just sitting on their bottoms

                             the mouthful of arguments
But I still told uncle we should 
reward them, give some... thing?
But he said no, that wasn't fine 
they might ask for more next time

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I know the generosity of Tamil people well. When I was pregnant with At, people would keep offering me food even if all they themselves were eating was a paper cone of sundal or peanuts. I am beyond horrified-ashamed-saddened that my family didn't offer anything--payment/a ride/money for coffee-tiffin to the people who may have saved their lives in the middle of a cyclone. (The cheeky, irreverent humor checks out too.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

in the news (and not in a good way)

 




Today was a lovely scramble to finish early prep for the feast tomorrow, welcoming grandparents and a bonus puppy, and day-drinking + eating cake (Big A's citrusy-pistachio masterpiece) for breakfast and lunch.

I'm thankful this isn't last year. 

But as a colleague's tweet reminds me, some of that is just my/our ennui and exhaustion with the pandemic and things aren't really going so well. 

Our state leads the nation in new cases and the lede photo for this NYT article, about the morphing re-formations of the pandemic, is from our local hospital system.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Karthika Deepam In Michigan

So I got my own lights festival after all 😁. KB drove down from Alma and took me to see the tree lighting downtown. Huge crowds everywhere, a lovely full moon, a lit up capitol building, a sparkly nondenominational tree, and holographic fireworks.

I'd been panicking on what to do about dinner since I would get home after five, but Big A stepped up and made his amazing Brazilian seafood soup and his famous tapioca pao and then Kate brought homemade chocolate macarons (with cardamom! because I'm Indian!) and we feasted.

I know some very good people. And they make delicious things.
 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

pooja-fun

I'm heartsore I cannot be in Pondycherry ("is it full of ponds and cherries?" baby cousin A asked once) tomorrow. 

The pooja is tomorrow, but I bet everyone's already assembling now--finding empty bedrooms, screeching helloes, making plans, and having so much fun for Kartika. As Big A reminded me so helpfully yesterday, it is unlikely that I will ever be able to be at Kartika pooja because it's such a busy time in the academic year. 

We usually did the big festivals like Diwali and Pongal at home or with the other side of the family, but the November full moon festival was always the big event for all the cousins on my mom's side. For many years after I came to the U.S., my favorite aunt would sweetly save the turmeric-soaked wristlets for me to pick up on my next trip home, but I haven't been back in years at this point. The nostalgia is hitting hard this year.

Baby cousin B has been sending pictures on cousin chat to keep me in the loop. This picture has so many of my favorite things--the sea, the little Ganesha temple, the tulsi maadam, the new swimming pool, the effortless green everywhere... Gah. I just wish I could be there for at least 24 hours.