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

Friday, April 08, 2022

the big sigh

After Nu heads up to bed for the day, I usually spend the rest of the evening cuddling with Scout and Huck... and usually Scout'll snuggle up to me and let out a big sigh. 

The big sigh is my sign that Scout is done for the day and is feeling content and happy.

Today was my version of Scout's big sigh--after all the travel and non stop busyness of the past couple of weeks. There was some prep for our house guests this weekend, but mostly it was working with these two guys at my feet, listening to the rain.

Wednesday, April 06, 2022

ah, youth

Kind of a super busy day ahead of Honors Day tomorrow... and full of the wins and victories (and cautions) that come from looking over and editing student research. 

But Nu came to me just before dinner with a research question of their own (hate speech in schools). And it was so cool to sit down and share some early research skills with Nu and talk about what we found. I feel like my kids (understandably) see me as a parent more than anything else, so it feels a bit special when I can help them with stuff that I didn't get good at in order to be a parent.

Also, for some reason I just found my student evals from December, and they were the kindest ones I've had in years! I wish I'd had this level of approval and support before I got tenure. Something that really touched me is how all of them used "they/them" as my pronouns because I'd indicated my preference for gender neutrality at the beginning of the semester. I never hear myself referred to in the third person in class or meetings, so I hadn't realized that they were being so lovely about it. Young people truly give me hope for the world. 

Monday, April 04, 2022

Hello, Sunshine!

Just kidding! It was the grayest, wettest, grossest day in a while so I'm glad the baby daffodils (narcissi?) are coming up to brighten this week. (And typing out "Hello, Sunshine," which used to be grad school best bud JW's address for me, made me miss her and grad school and Oxford sunshine so bad.)

If it will make your heart happy to see 11-year-old Prince being interviewed on Minneapolis TV in 1970, head here. Guess some people are cool from the moment they were born. 💓

If it will make you laugh-cry to read a championing of the patriarchal practice of coercive dowry in a college textbook, head here. ("Ugly looking girls can be married off with an attractive dowry" LOLOLOL-sob.)

Big A is back tomorrow, most of my editing duties will be done by tomorrow, and Nu starts a new therapy regimen tomorrow. To tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.

Friday, April 01, 2022

upcoming (re)union

A short lunchtime stroll to Luckie St. and MLK Square yielded this vista of daffodils and fountains.

Bought myself chocolate and a plug with a USB port (the hotel is so old it doesn't have USB ports to charge my phone) at the CVS and headed back. Traveling with just a backpack means I never buy/pack superfluous stuff anymore.

SO READY to get home tomorrow and see my three youngest (Nu, Scout, Huck).

And SO EXCITED for the successful unionizing effort at the Amazon warehouse in Staten Island. Do other people's family chats nerd out about things like this too? This news forward was the one text that received hearts amongst all the little bickering about whose turn it was to empty the dishwasher (while I'm gone) yesterday. #Atlanta

Thursday, March 31, 2022

so much shining

Proud of students who really seem to be coming into their own in a way I've missed. It's a combination of having done a great job presenting, being in a new city, attending other panels, learning, and networking with peers--so basically why higher ed has conferences in the first place. There should be more opportunities for students to share research. That is all.

Friend and colleague LV and I have resurrected the "the ten-minute chat" from their grad school days--you think it's going to be a ten-minute chat, but it ends hours later. I didn't know this term before, but I treasure this ten-minute chat format.

While the shine of student success and renewing bonds are legitimate, the shining in the blog title is more Stanley Kubrick than anything else. The elevator at this ancient Sheraton lets us off outside Room 402, we then have to walk past 84+ room doors before we get to ours. Really not a fan of this at all. Yikes. #Atlanta.

Monday, March 28, 2022


I found this video of two puppies bopping a balloon on the beach at sunset... and I want to go to there. I've watched the little clip multiple times and my heart rate steadies and lulls... this is the funnest "guided meditation" ever! Full video here.  

Otherwise it was a pretty busy--not always successful--day.  For instance, I realized I mailed a ton of documents without the form that ought to have accompanied it. [FacePalm]. And while I'm not teaching on sabbatical, I've stayed involved with student research--about ten of those projects are going to be presented soon, so each one is a separate saga of hard work and happiness.

The work day culminated in a department-wide meeting. I love that our chair has normalized remote attendance--they don't even ask if anyone needs a remote link, they just go ahead and arrange one, and every time there are a handful of us on it. This feels like a radical shift in inclusivity.

I can't be on a sunset beach with puppies, but at least I work with some good people.

Pic: from TheWorldOfDog

Saturday, March 26, 2022

"saying the word I was not supposed to say"

Nu and I went to The Vagina Monologues performance helmed by MacCurdy, the women's house I advise. 

We got a solid two hours of talking and joint DJ-ing in the car, an electrifying performance by some fabulous people, and lots of fun and supportive chats. I got a personal shoutout in the program notes + Nu told me that they're "so proud" of the work I do... 

(Nu's comment took me to Sarabeth Maney's picture of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and the way her child was beaming at her during KBJ's historic Supreme Court confirmation hearing. I mean, Nu wasn't quite as admiring, but then I haven't exactly been nominated to the Supreme Court either 😇.)

Feeling so grateful today for all of this.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Dinner and... an essay

At the end of the evening after hosting a proper sit-down dinner party after ages, there was a sense of accomplishment. Yet even as I was getting ready to send a friend pictures of his kid petting Scout... I could read text notifications from my cousins. 

One cousin had texted that their parents had had a house fire and that aunt and uncle were ok; another cousin seems to be trying to get a family in the Ukraine to safety, but only the mom had a passport. 

How we live our lives in the presence of ongoing tragedies is rationally irreconcilable with our good intentions and thoughts. Mari Andrew's essay, which Mel at Stirrup Queens pointed me to, is a wise consolation: "Someone has always clinked a cocktail glass in one hemisphere as someone loses a home in another while someone falls in love in the same apartment building where someone grieves. The fact that suffering, mundanity, and beauty coincide is unbearable and remarkable."

Perhaps someday I will be able to reach her conclusion that "The world feels so sharp and crooked right now. I, for one, am at a complete loss, and my feelings are all over the place—as they should be. But I'm appreciating my little moments of bliss like energy bars for the road ahead, and embracing my sadness in all its wisdom."

Pic: Nu and Huck paying attention to stories about the E.R. from dad.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

puppy snuggles and cricket memories

It was national puppy day, I think? I'm late as usual. I love this one with Huck's arm draped around Scout's shoulder... they're both lying on my feet (of course!),  which is why I couldn't get a fuller shot.

I've picked up the contradictory habit of watching movies in episode-length segments (it goes nicely with my other weird habit of watching multiple episodes of a show at one go). 

Anyway, finished watching "83" (in about four segments) and enjoyed how much old cricket lore came back to me as I watched it. It's a typical underdog sports story, and bit overdone in some parts, but I enjoyed it and yelped in surprise and delight when the real Kapil Dev made a cameo appearance.

Some of the nicest days in my childhood were when "pavillion" tickets to a match (passed on by cricketeer uncles/dad's work/well-connected family) showed up and we'd be allowed to skip school to spend all day at the stadium. Being stuck at school when a big match was on was the worst: kids these days don't know the painful suspense of finding out the score from the tuck shop radio or having to depend on friendly teachers who could bring us the latest from the teachers' lounge TV.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

wild and precious time

I chuckle/howl/bawl-ed so hard at this one.

I love Mary Oliver's "The Summer Day" poem so much and love that other people love it too and love that it became something people passed around in the pandemic. I mean there's apparently a whole Pinterest section on it.

But this Sarah Lazarus take on it is hilarious. We have literally been using this line of inquiry to make decisions on birthday plans, vacations, work duties.

Travel, especially, seems to require some unsentimental evaluation. I have some coming up: an honor society meeting with students early April; a site-visit for the big NWSA conference in May; and... do we dare plan a non-US family vacation in June?

Saturday, March 19, 2022

love + pizza + Pera

Scout and Huckie ate up all the extra love and any pizza that happened to come their way when BS and CF hung out with us this evening and we ate pizza and talked school (H.S. and grad) stuff and some of us drank some syrupy wine that's been sitting in the fridge since the Galentine's Day party. I love how intergenerational our group is--CF, me, BS, and Nu are each from/in different decades in life.

But we all enjoy Joe Pera. Which--in case you haven't seen it--feels kind of like a Mr. Rogers for grownups. Originally on Adult Swim, but super lowkey and calming and you can trust nothing awful will happen. Some weeks need a show like this. 

Plus, it takes place in Michigan (Marquette, to be precise), so us Michiganders are obligated to watch it. 

Friday, March 18, 2022

running, running

Having grad school feels today, I guess. It's application decision time everywhere, and students, friends, wards are waiting to hear where they've matched at grad schools and residencies and internships. I did my part by trying to get the admin stuff for MacCurdy (the women's house I advise) done. In fact, formatting it all for the board took so much time that I forgot to run before my massage. 

My (teensy) puritanical streak dictates that I do something physically strenuous before a massage. I have to "deserve" it. Well, I showed up in my undeserving state, and it was still a great massage. And I guess my muscles hadn't turned to slush overnight, as R, the masseuse, asked if I wanted to run a 5K with them. Yes! I like R a lot--they remind me of my Nu--and I'm happy we have plans to run together. 

Lots of cozy chats with people in different timezones (JG, mom, sis, cousins, BS) and finally finished Badhai Do, the gay Indian film streaming on Netflix that everyone loved so much. I went in wanting to like it, but it didn't grab me right away (maybe because of the small town affect and aesthetics?) but by the time the obligatory pride parade rolled around, I was (predictably) in tears. 

Dinner and cuddles with Nu, Scout, and Huckie and then off to read in bed. Big A is at work still (sigh/sob).

Pic: Another 2008 picture of Nu, which brought joy/guffaws to people who needed it today. One of my favorites.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

the wearing (and eating) of the green

At came to dinner after ages, and although we don't "celebrate" St. Pat's day, I appreciate the Irish so much for their anti-colonial struggle, especially as they shared that liberally with the Indian freedom movement--there's a reason our flags are nearly identical, right? 

Anyway, I had a dinner of mostly green veg, Irish Champ, and green cupcakes ready, but Big A and At missed each other by seconds. Nu and At found an episode of Derry Girls to rewatch, and they picked the one with the Ukrainian exchange student because...

Photo: Our entryway Ganesha has been decked out in some gaudy green this month.

Sadly, the family photo isn't here 

Sadly, the family photo isn't here 
the child mounted the front steps
as his dad stepped into the garage 
in timing orchestrated sitcom style
time pleats like a fin on a paper boat

as today's yellowing sun is ripening 
they are learning in a city of twilight
how to travel on paper boats that trail
hellos and loves in their soggy wake, 
the ridges now closing over; just water

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

can't stand

To see war advance in such excruciating detail across Ukraine in real time has been many things including terrifying and has induced a lot of helplessness and hopelessness... 

There's so much hegemonic and military brutality going on all over the world, all the time... 

It's a wonder we are able to function.

Today I had crippling weltschmerzen.

 I did not function.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

brighter days

I know I'm tired of "the white stuff" as StephLove called our March snow, so I'm choosing to look back at the birthday message JG and MB sent me a week and a half ago from a sunny beach in Moloka'i. 

In honor of this sweet photo, I picked Moloka'i as the next book to read. 

From reading the back of the book, I gather the protagonist gets leprosy... And it reminded me of the summer when I was nine and had a pale patch on my skin... And OMG, before I could get in to see the doctor, I must have had at least a dozen adults--parents, aunts, uncles, etc.--prick me with a safety pin. Each of them asking the same question: Did you feel that? OW! YES! It hurts! (One loses sensation with leprosy and they were trying to figure out how worried they ought to be.) It was maddening then but seems kind of sweet now.

I watered and tidied my zillion plants, managed a solid Sunday clean, set the clocks forward, and then soaked till I turned pruney. I was going to make a simple Spanish tortilla for dinner (Nu's chickens are laying everyday now and we need to use up the eggs), but I found some heavy cream, pre-roasted spaghetti squash, and red peppers in the fridge that needed to be used up as well so they went in there too. It was fine, but the apple-blueberry-arugula-cucumber-feta salad with red onion and balsamic glaze that we (maybe) invented was amazing. It's our second time making it this week!

Getting back to work after dinner, so tomorrow can feel manageable. We "Spring Forward" today, and it's supposed to warm up this week; I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, March 11, 2022


Serious face (and reading glasses) on for chairing the Michigan Academy WGS section conference proceedings. Just so incredibly invigorated by the work of students and colleagues who presented and happy to build some mentoring and networking in there too. 

I have another conference (SALA) coming up tomorrow where I will have to present a paper, and then poetry selections to finalize for Jaggery, tons of  22 advisee and committee meetings next week, and a campus-wide women's month presentation on the same day of Nu's first appointment with a new therapist. Add international and pandemic news, what I'm reading (Laurie Frankel's This is How it Always Is), surprise snow instead of spring today, and the knowledge that Big A will be home for just two days in the next eight and it has me feeling... panicky. 

But one step at a time will get me there. First step: finishing up my slides for tomorrow's talk. Second step: preparing to let tomorrow be another dry shampoo kind of day.

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

temple scene

The kids went to the Hindu temple with me over the weekend. As I was getting the offering tray of flowers and fruit ready in the kitchen, I yelled up at Nu to wear something respectable to the temple... please don't put on yet another emo tee with skeletons on it... 

And then I yelled up again: never mind.... 

I mean, Kali statues at the temple are practically wearing skulls as a necklace; my 14-year-old can wear what they want.

Monday, March 07, 2022

this thing on my finger

      The spinning diva offers: "if you like it then you should have put a ring on it..."
or else what, I remember thinking--we should date someone else
     or once there's a ring on it we'll belong to them?

I mean, I really didn't get it. After all, I didn't even get a proposal from you
I don't recall ever talking about marriage we just seemed 
to think we'd be together: Typical Pisces-Scorpio 

with trouble distinguishing where our bodies and destinies separated.
But we did say we didn't want diamonds mined from sorrow 
so in other historical ruin, we turned to my grandmother's

wedding necklace that had been broken down into tiny necklaces 
for her four daughters and then into earrings for many granddaughters
--the honor of this landscape retreats, struggles, is small

I haven't even worn that ring in years... it gets in my way.
Here--now: we're making dinner, my fingers slicing things and then 
slipping, and the blood and the nick on my hand lose a battle

pain knots into a big bow of something sure to heal by tomorrow
it calls for the return of care, reduces your grand calling as a doctor:
to a childish charge... the blunt and careful binding of bandaids. 

Then you're gone for two days but I wear this "disgusting" (our 14-year-old) 
bandaid you wrapped around my finger, extending this trivial thing, wondering 
about separation and affection had you only... put a ring on it.

I mean, I did say I was going to write teenage poetry when Big A is away at work (second para). Clearly, it wasn't an empty threat.

Sunday, March 06, 2022

everything's a seesaw

On the one hand, these strollers that Polish parents left at the train station for Ukrainian parents to use as they cross the border with nothing... on the other hand the racism against foreign students trying to leave Ukraine... Life continues to give with one hand and take away with another.

A read that gave me life last week was this mom's account of life with her trans daughter in Jezebel--unfortunately written to demonstrate the humanity of their lives in the light of the new laws against trans kids.

And I finally finished Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad. I don't know why I didn't read it when it came out, because everyone was raving about it. And I understand why everyone I knew was raving about it, because they probably felt it was about them--it's certainly very slice of hipster/Gawker-style life. I got stuck on the casual mentions of child sex abuse in the early part of the novel with the record producer in the 70s picking up teenagers. And then I kept procrastinating on picking it up again. But I finished the rest of it in one swoop this afternoon and it was brilliant. 

Saturday, March 05, 2022

flowers and sweets on the day after

My baby sister who loves birthdays used to think the day after one's birthday was the saddest day in the world. Today wasn't at all bad, however. (Although world news, which I had silenced since my family was trying so hard to make my day happy, is beginning to leak in around the edges.)

The traditional lush bouquet from my in-laws arrived today, and I knew who'd sent it even before I opened the card as there were fragrant stargazers at the center... I had told my lovely MIL a lifetime ago when she was doing the flowers for our small wedding that they were my favorite flowers. Stargazers still are my favorite flowers and I get a tiny frisson of extra love that she remembers still. (When I buy myself flowers, I tend to go for carnations as they are inexpensive and last at least a month.)

I had a walking date with EM at the horticultural gardens, at the Rose Garden to be precise. It was a lovely day (in the 60s!) so it was a fierce reminder that it was still March to round the corner and see no roses. We came back home to recover, drink tea and eat birthday cake and talk about projects and family. Then EM whipped out a giant box of Shatila pastries, assuring me they'd keep forever. But this box is so beautiful and so huge, I think I'm going to have a full on (outdoors) party to do it justice.

even greener

I play the laptop's keyboard like a piano  and also percussion, a beat without pain for the sunlight spreading thin as butter for the dr...