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

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.

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. 

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.

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...

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. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Pongal 2021


Most years we're already back at school before Pongal comes around and the usual celebration is something hurried when the sun is no longer high in the sky.  

This year, we got to celebrate in the sunshine and make our offering at a reasonable daytime hour, with fragrant narcissus and paperwhites rounding out the pongal rice and jaggery laddu on the offering tray. To the millenary vedic sun salutation sloka*, which I was translating for the kids as I went, I added a prayer for enough Vit. D to help us through the pandemic. 

Cousin P had sent the cousin groupchat a set of truly lovely pics of their traditional celebration replete with sugarcane, outdoor hearth, and silk-clad kids. So I sent this pic back to balance things out. 

Not pictured: The very un-Pongal looking kids, one in the Phoebe Bridgers limited edition Punisher sweater they got from their older sib and the other human kid in the pink Mean Girls/Karl Marx mashup tee I gave them.


----------------------------
*Japakusuma Samkaasham Kashyapeyam Mahadhyuthim,

Tamorim Sarva Paapagnam Pranathosmi Divakaram

[You radiant as the Japa flower, heir of Kashyapa, the creator of days

destroy my darkness and all corruption I pray to you, O Sun.]

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Wednesday's Insanity

What an extraordinary day. Woke up to news of Georgia electing Rev. Warnock (John Lewis' pastor) and Ossoff (a sometime John Lewis intern) to the senate. Breakfast felt like an upbeat celebration. In hindsight, I wish we'd had more time to sit with this moment.

At 3:00, Nu was on their daily online-school-accountability call with Grandma S, and were told that they really should go watch the news. So we did. Watching the storming of capitol buildings by white supremacists was surreal, frustrating, and infuriating. Activists from ADAPT and BLM certainly did not get the 'I'll open the gates, hold your hand going down the stairs, and take selfies with you' treatment from the police. 

By 4:00, I was in a meeting with one of the finance guys at work who wasn't interested in the news and kept referring to higher ed as "our industry." I can't help thinking this kind of obliviousness and corporatization contributed to the mess we're in.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

By degrees


Poor Scout paid the price for repeated counter-surfing with an upset tummy. At and Nu paid too, as they got to clean him up and change the couch covers in the rumpus room. That's been the excitement today.

In other news, the pandemic rages on, and I'm dismayed at how many people on my social media and WhatsApp seem not to have let it affect their holiday plans that much. I know people have to do whatever gets them through this time, so I keep my thoughts to myself and I've never actually said anything. But it feels personal--Big A has to deal with it in the ED and the rest of us at home have been making all sorts of accommodations and adjustments around it. And of course none of this protects Big A or us if the rest of the world simply carries on in pre-pandemic ways.

Anyway.

Nu is beside me, purposely mumbling things into the Apple remote and laughing their head off at the AI suggestions. Also, Nu has been following me around for the past few days telling me about people they know vaguely at school. For example: I know N vaguely. Once they just asked me in gym: "Are you gay?" And I said "yes." And then their friend K shouted, "I knew it!"  Several rounds of three-degrees-of-middle-school later, I'm beginning to sense how much my usually too-cool and happy-to-be alone kid must miss the daily social interactions of being at school.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Out with At





I thought At would be embarrassed by my mask vigilantism while we were out on the riverwalk, but actually, he approved. He kept joking that I might have sounded more authoritative if he'd dressed better--he had to raid the hall closet for hat and gloves and has on a Doctor Who hat and flip-top mittens from Nu's elementary school days. Not quite intimidating enough despite the hammy pose in this picture.

We saw a license plate that said "DRKING," which the new 21-year-old misread as "drinking" and then wondered if the missing letter was because it mimicked how a tipsy person might slur their words. I pointed out that it was probably "Dr. King"--and we laughed about his misreading and over-reading.  

And then At: Well, either way, that license plate is probably going to get them pulled over. Regular cops/ Racist cops. [makes weighing/shrug/balancing gesture.]

Gulp. 
 

Friday, November 13, 2020

The stuff of horror

Tomorrow is Diwali and I want to get this down in the hope that I will be able to set it aside for a little bit. I've been carrying it around since yesterday when I read a thread on Mona Eltahawy's Twitter (since then, I've seen a few news outlets calling it the "Kashmore Tragedy"). The details are so horrific I can't say them out loud without choking and I don't really think I could pass it on to anyone else.  

But the story keeps going around in a loop in my head, knotting now and then around the old nodes: the precarity of being a single mother; how difficult it is to love and grow a girl child in this fucking patriarchal world; the horror of captivity and unending rape; lives where people move across the country for a job that pays about 250 dollars; knowing people are out there victim-blaming--saying things like 'bad choices' and 'where is the father?'; what care and support are available to the mother and child; why support wasn't available to them previously; the courage it took for the mother to go to the police instead of prolonging the cycle; if the police treated her with respect; the bravery and compassion of the ASI (assistant sub inspector?) using his wife and daughter as decoys to catch the rapists; were the ASI's wife and daughter given a choice in the matter; worried for the ASI and his family now that his name and likeness are all over media; knowing there's so much more abuse I'll never even know from within safe spaces in families, communities, and professional + emergency services. Why are so many men/humans such trash? 

On the Enby parenting group, one parent recently asked what our own lives might have looked like if we had the freedom of gender choice we support for our children. I know I've always wished for genderlessness, especially in professional settings. And in so many other settings, I'd have loved the possibility of having what Wanda Sykes calls a "detachable pussy."

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Believe in open-minded people



Dr. Ibram X. Kendi in our Presidential Speaker series (via Zoom) tonight and here's my question and his response.

How do you decide whether or not to engage with someone who may put you in a position where you have to argue for your humanity/human rights?

Well, remember there are people who are close-minded and people who are open-minded. 

So someone may believe in voter fraud, and you may bring them some sources and say: there is no significant voter fraud. 

And they may say: [I] don't trust your sources

So you ask them: Ok, what sources do you trust? 

And you go and find material from those sources and they say: I don't trust those sources anymore

Those people may have closed minds. And when a person's mind is closed, I try to not spend my time on them unless they are really close to me. 

I'm going to spend my time with the open-minded people. 

Friday, November 06, 2020

And Another One

This is the other snake--from yesterday. Today has been very homebound. But also, today is yet another repeat of yesterday. 

Is it possible to be full of nervous energy and simultaneously enervated? Yes, yes it is. Time to call it, CNN!

I was kind of glad to have a planner full of class and meetings at hourly intervals all day, so I could go from one to prepping for the next. I may have rambled at a few of them (two nights of low no sleep will do that to me) and then the internet was all cute and hide-and-seeky-y. But I managed. The day is done.

But I've done so little at home today except find time to cuddle with everyone for comfort. We're still eating pizza from yesterday... I mean after all, Big A did order four pies for three humans. 

Nu and I had planned to make another batch of the awesome "Pumpkin Spice and Fundamental Rights" cakes we made on election day. We gave/swapped so many away and Nu and Big A want more. As they reminded me, they want more, they want more, when you like something, you want more! But the baking will have to wait until tomorrow.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

"Zero at the Bone"

I met one of Emily Dickinson's narrow fellows this morning, while out with L. In fact, we met two. 

TBH, I thought the rest of the day would hold more excitement, but it was just a pattern of waiting, a fever of refreshing between class work and meetings, and ultimately not much else.

I was nervy all day--too nervy to make dinner--so we got pizza from Jolly Pumpkin, vegged, and watched an ep of The Queen's Gambit--and lo, all of this was good, but I kept checking Twitter for something better.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

What is this?



Sanford Woods; I felt trippy when I saw this in the viewfinder.

Also mystifying: how on earth this race is so close after all the cruelty and negligence that has been on display.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

My Panel / My At

To be clear, my colleagues and I did not fight about cancel culture and statues--but we did deliberate.  

Yet apparently, it didn't stop people from watching the panel discussion as though it were a prize fight at the MUN House (per At). If I look amused in the top right corner it's because At was asking some cleverly self-deprecating question online. The corner of the laptop abutting the screen is his! Togetherness! Yay!

(OMG, I love that fellow. I have to admit, I lost all professional composure when a late arrival rehashed the "statues are history" tack in Q&A and At's deadpan riposte on the event chat was: "I got my history major by staring at a bunch of statues.")

Sunday, October 25, 2020

"Global crises can only be solved globally."

And some other gems to "make our planet make sense" from Ambassador Andrew Young at the UN's Past, Present Progress event. 

An obvious statement, yet so deserving of amplification in these times. 

Sometimes one forgets how things used to be. It gave an added urgency to discussing the new ENG civic discourse and social justice pilots today with AP.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Aglow

An earlier than usual morning ramble with L yesterday, and then this odd, technicolor surprise when we rounded the MSU greenhouses. We took picture after picture under the tolerant eye of the MSU police parked outside.

And apropos of yesterday, I want to remember how the thought of going to the interview without seeing L made me so panicky... L is everything I imagined the USA to be, and I'm lucky the universe brought me to her in 2016, the most disconsolate point of my American dream. 


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

A is for... Apple Pie?



Big A drove me to Detroit for the citizenship interview so I wouldn't be nervous and he and Nu quizzed me over and over yesterday so I'd be prepared. 

When we returned home, LB and TB brought over apple pie with "USA" pricked into it... We were all crying in the driveway, and L said the NYT said it was ok to hug, so could we hug? But I'm just around so many people every day, I didn't think it would be good for her.

The very kind agent said the swearing-in wasn't likely to be before the election. But MI has same-day registration, and a girl can hope.