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

Saturday, July 24, 2021

"memory-keeping"

Ten days ago, photographer Danish Siddiqui was killed by the Taliban. I know people who don't know his name, but would recognize his images right away. What images! Siddiqui's image of the Rohingya woman keeps showing up in my dreams a lot lately (I've been rereading Sea of Poppies and I think my brain's conflating things). 

SV, who's quoted in this New Yorker article, calls his work "memory-keeping, at a time when we have lost our capacity to think or remember." Here are some other galleries of his work in remembrance

Thursday, July 22, 2021

"How to Live in a Burning World Without Losing Your Mind"


Today I'm really feeling Liza Featherstone's essay in The New Republic: "How to Live in a Burning World Without Losing Your Mind."

"I’m in no condition to receive this news. I can’t tolerate more worry, death, sickness, sadness, or pain—more mothers and grandmothers dying, and maybe even less bearably, children.

I’m not alone.

We are in the middle of another wave of horrific climate news, but many of us are too traumatized to pay attention. The more loss and horror we’re facing in the rest of our lives—whether from the coronavirus and opioid pandemics, economic upheaval, or the ordinary awfulness of cancer and death—the less equipped we are to take it in."

Monday, July 19, 2021

beyond

 

Family trip to Detroit today for the Beyond Van Gogh exhibition. It was trippy and magical.
The kids shared a Dr. Who episode featuring VVG, and perhaps that's why I found myself squeezing Big A's hand and tearing up in the immersive hall as all the beautiful brushstrokes began to swirl around me. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

island times


Off to San Juan Islands --> 
Friday Harbor --> 

Day tripping to Cattlepoint, the lighthouse, lawn games, barbecue, dancing, laughing and snarking on cousins' old Chennai stories about 27D (bus # not Apt. #), cousins learning to play the parai, slideshows, baby cousins, laser-point astronomy demos, and chatting until I fell asleep on someone's couch... 

I have this seascape with the seagull on "loop" mode on my phone and know that I'll come back to this when I need a mental/emotional breather.


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

child


"Guess what I am,"
says the child
snuggling next to me
fists under their chin
trying to--"look cute."

And so I guess: A baby bunny rabbit?
A kitten? A puppy?
Nope. Nope. Nope.
I'm so wrong.

They are, "A Baby Praying Mantis."
I guess I've always 
known they'd keep  
making me smile.




Words: Nu; July 31, 2012. 
Pic: The trans-flag kandi Nu made today.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

weather or not

Rain again today; lots of it! But we snuck some other stuff in there as well. 

Met up with DD and TD who are visiting Lansing after 15 months for a walk outside and a catch up. 

Pride Parade was rained out, but the kids and I went to Salus Center's open house and my gay babies got some merch to supplement the stuff they got at our in-home pre-Pride party yesterday. 

I made "leftover rice" for dinner (rice from Indian takeout; bean and corn salsa + tomato, cilantro, and onion salsa from our pre-Pride-party's "rainbow nachos;" veggie sausage, seasoned potatoes, frozen veggies, a pinch of garam masala, and a couple of teaspoons of ghee... voila).

Then the weather alert system started going off on the radio and our phones, and tornado sirens started up too, so we all trooped into the basement (Scout and Huck anxious, Big A needing to sleep before work) for an hour and half of weather-mandated family time ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜‚.

[Pic: We found this highly apropos duo of national flags outside Salus! My parents were so delighted by this photo ๐Ÿ˜‡.]

 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Thursday, June 17, 2021

starting summer

No working stove yet, but I'm getting quite good at making do with L's electric skillet... I might even be thinking of getting one. Luckily, picnic-style food works great right now.

Finally got the kids' to share their summer fun lists. After weeks of begging ๐Ÿคจ. Maybe that's more of a "me" thing?

Lots of other little traditions are making their way into our lives. At, for instance, will share a reading and then schedule a long walk to talk about it. This happened quite organically, and I LOVE it. Right now he has me reading Shawn Wallace's The Designated Mourner. 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

"and also with you"


MC's ordination today: KB drove here from Alma and then I drove us both to the church. It felt a bit like a road trip and I did all the chatting and checking-in my heart desired. The ordination was communal and loving and there was lots of singing (and cake afterwards). I loved it all.

My first car trip with someone outside the family; first gathering with strangers; first church service in over a year. You'd think I'd have needed and thus attended more services online this past year, but... no; I haven't. 


[Pic: Detail from St. Paul's in Jackson, MI]

Sunday, May 30, 2021

reentry

This green in the woods felt unreal as we stepped in... so bright and lovely, it almost felt... fake? 

My post-pandemic--or at least post-vaccination--reentry experience has felt similar. Each decision and action--though intentional and deliberated--feels fraught and uncanny. My calendar is slowly filling up with long-awaited events, but I consider and reconsider and second-guess everything for ages.  

But that's probably for the best. Today I (zoom) attended the feminist book club after a hiatus. I remembered that the last time I was here, I bolted because I had a mystery panic attack. 

As EM said earlier today, it's "weird to be around other people." Even for me--living with a lovely houseful and having taught in person all year long--agoraphobia seems to manifest every time I consider an event/interaction/outing. Yesterday I hiked with Big A and didn't wear a mask. I had been persuaded by pronouncements that outdoor transmission is highly unlikely (+ did not want to stand out like a freak). But it took some stern talking to myself. And even admitting I enjoyed being maskless outdoors feels odd somehow. But I did, so there. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

not/normal

 

It's close to 2 am, and I'll (have to) be up again at 6 to get Nu ready (chat, cuddle, breakfast) for (online) school. 

I know I fell asleep with the puppies (and Big A who was writing up charts) just after Nu said goodnight. And then I woke up not twenty minutes later, heart pounding and panicky--for no reason I can think of. This happens A LOT. At least when this happened during the teaching year, there were deadlines and notices and tasks and grading. Nothing now--I've been consciously trying to vacation. I can't do much about the pandemic. What's up, monkey brain?

Anyway, at least I got to finish Olive Again. I'm feeling the lines Olive typed up: "I do not have a clue who I have been. Truthfully, I do not understand a thing." The second half of the book made me yearn to talk to my MIL and some of the older friends from UU, whom I haven't seen in a while, right away.

[Pic: Under the fronds of a huge tree--a European Weeping Beech--on the riverwalk yesterday.]

Sunday, May 23, 2021

easy like Sunday afternoon


For decades, the best summer afternoons have always been about lemonade, chatter, cards, snacks, sunshine, novels... Now I have puppies underfoot to make it even better. (And it's not even officially summer yet!)

(I needed this interlude today--I made an impulsive grocery trip to get some ingredients for Big A's Boss Day dinner and OMG all the unmasked people.)

Over on Scroll, a shortlist of seven philosophers who can help us build back a better post-pandemic world.

Friday, May 21, 2021

conflict



Sometimes it's called a "conflict," but it may look like people asking for their right to live.


[Pic from At's protest outside Rep. Elissa Slotkin's office this week.]

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

perspective

I'm reeling today from finding out that someone I knew as a kind and overly chivalrous person is in prison for sex crimes. Multiple 16- and 17-year-olds had accused him and I absolutely believe them--I'm just shaken (and shaking my head) about how different (and misleading) my experience of this person was. 

He was famous/semi-famous, and I expect the case was media fodder in the UK for a while. I feel awful that I've sometimes used his early English music ensembles in classes... I will not do this again.

(Pic is of our only east-facing window; I wish we had more. The tradescantia and pothos cuttings I pinched off and stuck into candleholders have rooted and are taking off. Funny how that works.)

Thursday, May 13, 2021

dissonance

On the one hand: Getting to hang out with dear (vaccinated) friends at a brewpub (first time in 14 months); planning to get Nu to a walk-in vaccination clinic this weekend now that vaccinations have been approved for the 12 and above set.

On the other hand: Whatsapp messages on cousins' chat sharing fundraisers for treatment for people they personally know; Facebook posts about relatives in India sick and dying.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

"make me a channel"




Two colleague-friends on the third floor have birthdays this week, and what a perfect time (plus a privilege and a pleasure) to share the work of Sophfronia Scott (who'll soon be on our floor) with them.

Otherwise a busy, busy, busy day with meetings starting at 8 am and student grading, consultations, and some cheerleading/handholding throughout. 

Because I was personally in a funk (™my dad) last week, I forgot to say how proud I am of my students who did a wonderful job with the WGS symposium and then over-performed on Honors Day despite all the pandemic-inherent obstacles. Hearing their idealistic and confident descriptions of why their humanities research was important made me tear up more than once. And one of my sponsees took the humanities Kapp Prize.

AK wrote me: You know your students today were rock-stars right? Your light as a teacher has clearly lit them up as well. While that's clearly a kind overstatement, and I don't want to take away from my students' clear sense of agency and genius--it nevertheless made me feel like I was doing good in this world. Even if only as an intermediary.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

onwards

Not justice and not even accountability--but a gruff reminder from the universe that progress is possible when we participate in all the ways we can witnessing, filming, challenging, protesting, sacrificing, mourning, writing, reliving, watching, feeling, waiting.... 

I was on my way home, but had to pull over to the side of the road when the verdict was read out. 

Later, driving past Ithaca, I watched a police car speeding down a side road parallel to the highway until it disappeared. 

Felt surreal.

[Mural: Aziz Asmar in Idlib, Syria]

Sunday, April 18, 2021

sweet/hurt


My sweet Nu made me a matching rainbow kandi bracelet and taught me how to trade it proper P.L.U.R.-style.

Definitely the highlight of my weekend.

I'm worried about Covid spikes in MI and even more worried about the tsunami of numbers coming out of India. Extremely worried for my parents who got their second vaccine shot last week, and are experiencing some persistent and alarming discomfort / symptoms.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

CW

I'm awake for all the usual wrong reasons

and     Adam Toledo      Adam Toledo 

Adam Toledo     Adam Toledo.

Adam Toledo              Adam Toledo

And now     FedEx Indianapolis.

mass shooting       police shooting

police shooting     mass shooting

Adam Toledo      Adam Toledo

           Adam Toledo

Friday, April 02, 2021

Daffodils Etc.

It's spring in England, and my mother visits,
So there is her readiness in colonial desire 
like urgent rain--where squandered things 
find great reception. Electronic billboards! 
Gargoyles in Oxford! Museums are free!
Hunger satisfies easy when you're eager.

Until one day at the grocery checkout she sees
daffodils--papery, plastic-wrapped, "solitary"
not a "never-ending line," "dancing," or "gay."
And Amma--at least a third-generation learner 
of Wordsworth's praise--is first silent in disdain,
her outstretched words rebound as if swindled:
"This? This is what he made such a fuss about?"

In her contempt, I hear comparisons--to the
languor of unkempt jasmine, lotus, plumeria... 
the warm, unlocked softnesses of oleanders, 
parijaths, ixoras... In her derision there hides 
history's list of pain, the sharp bite of the ruler 
when she couldn't say "jocund" right (at least).
And Babu: fish and chips were disappointing too.

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

I first wrote about Amma's reaction here--so many years ago.

Picture is from Daffodil Hill at the Radiology Gardens earlier this week; they seem to have been bigger this time last year?