Showing posts with label Dinner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dinner. Show all posts

Saturday, January 21, 2023

so long, farewell

Yellow Springs goodbyes are always hard, but a forlorn farewell committee baying and glaring morosely when we're just going to fetch takeout is a bit too much.

We're in YS for a long overdue Christmas with Grandma Sue and Grandpa John as they had Covid at regular Christmas time. 

Pic: Scout, Huck, and Izzy wondering if they'll ever see Big A and me again.
 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

five pups tonight

I spent many hours on the sofa in post-pizza and post-teaching lassitude this evening, accompanied by Scout (at my hip) and Huck (by my feet) and Floof (on the bannister). The fourth pup is me ("Pup," "Puppy," and "Princess Puppy Dog" have been nicknames from different loved ones--one of whom has a birthday today). 

The fifth pup is in this poem by Charles Simic (Simic died recently and I've been thinking of this poem about how we don't deserve dogs--or war--a lot). 

On this Very Street in Belgrade

Your mother carried you

Out of the smoking ruins of a building

And set you down on this sidewalk

Like a doll bundled in burnt rags,

Where you now stood years later

Talking to a homeless dog,

Half-hidden behind a parked car,

His eyes brimming with hope

As he inched forward, ready for the worst.

 

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Sunday (high) five

1) Another brilliant day--plenty of time outside with Nu, Scout, and Huck and a long walk with L. The next sunny day is a week away, so I was glad to have today. 

2) Dropped Big A off at the train station. Boo. Hiss. But really, the January schedule has been okay-ish so far. He'll be back in three days. I can handle it.

3) Completed Laura Vanderkam's time tracking challenge. I wasn't surprised to see it inconsistent except for the 5/5:30 am wake up, tea, and meditate; kids' breakfast and walk to the school bus on the weekdays; and family dinner time around 5:30 pm every day. Apart from those, things were very whimsical--I could be working, reading, goofing off, sleeping, or some combination of those at 1:00 am, and I guess I'm ok with that. Early mornings and late nights are times when it's just me, and I delight in that. No shame.

4) Lovely Sistrum concert this afternoon with LB. Some truly uplifting singing. Friends GJ and RS sing with Sistrum and love it; RS has been encouraging me to join as she thinks it would help me through some of the more life-y things happening right now. We'll see. 

5) At was so chuffed to find out from an older cousin that their grandfather in Sri Lanka was a socialist organizer--my baby labor organizer is going to want to talk about this all the time now, I just know. 😂🥰

Sunday, January 01, 2023

this day doesn't have to mean anything about the year to come...

I'm reminding myself that nothing about today magically repeats 364 times. 

On the surface, lots of sweet things about today: a long hike with Big A, another hike by myself, a long chat with my baby sis, a small hangout with LB and TB, a long bubbly soak with Big A, a sweet treat delivered by L, dinner with the fam, a travel board game after dinner, and puppy + human cuddles throughout. 

But... I had also wanted to fit in some yoga, which didn't happen and I never even made it to the month-long online "Binders" writing workshop that started today. It was as though the unrelenting greyness of the cloudy day we had here seeped into everything I enjoy.

Also, I'm still in my reread of Anna Karenina and (a) I want to be done and reading something else especially since... (b) the love affair has dwindled into depressing territory and... (c) I still glaze over when Levin goes on about cooperative farming (sorry about that to the socialists in my life). 

Finally, I got a rejection on something I'd submitted via Submittable. I was sad for a while, then I just went ahead and submitted to two other places. I do hope I can keep that kind of obstinate energy going all year long. 

Pic: Playing "Around the World." Quite challenging! Nu won this evening's game. I better go commit some flags to memory before we play again. 

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Farewell, 2022

A good last day with two long walks with LB and BSL to round off the year. 

A raucous dinner time with Scout and Huck underfoot, and Nu, At, and Big A at the counter for parathas--the person waiting for me to finish the next paratha were in charge of running a round of Truth or Dare. Some calls to grandparents, the traditional new year presents (calendars and something inspiring), a few eps of Joe Pera... and then At was off to a show with friends, Nu was on with friends online, and I joined PM's write-in for the new year on Slack (where I started and abandoned a poem based on PM's prompt). 

And then, as Big A, Scout and Huck napped inches away from me, it was 2023. 

Friday, December 30, 2022

then there were three; bookclubs for two; one day to 2023

A puppy playdate for Scout and Huck with Henry was the most exciting part of today. They were doing some electrical work at JL's so she hung out here and we got caught up. (Unlooked for excitement was when little Henry thought it would be ok to pee in my tea garden. He immediately stopped midstream when JL shouted "no." I was kinda impressed with his level of control, TBH 🤣.) 

I've been gifting some friends a bookclub-for-two: I'll get both of us copies of the same book so we can read and discuss together. It feels like an experience or together time gift, and the "thing" part of it is still books, so it's not wasteful (they can be passed on or pulped or whatever). Anyway--I did that with Emma Kline for JG and Shilpa Gowda with JL. We plan to start this one in Jan.

The rest of the day was all course prep, writing work, a couple of quick meetings, getting more letters of recommendation in. Then sushi with Big A and Nu.

Almost can't believe it is the weekend, month's end, end of the year already... 

Friday, December 16, 2022

it takes a village...

Dinner at home for some Humphrey Fellows who are working out of MSU this evening. 

HY joked that he'd experienced two things for the first time in his life: (1) building a gingerbread house (2) seeing dogs get fed with a spoon. (#2 is me. I feed Scout and Huck under the table--with a separate spoon--because it makes them happy to be with their pack at dinnertime.) 

I had to charm Nu and Big A--who tend to be less social than At and me--into stepping up as hosts. But as always all the complaints are pre-guests; after guests are actually here, my loves are generous and delightful. My winning argument today was for them to think how kind everyone was to me when I was an international student. 

It was lovely learning a bit about families and hopes and careers in different parts of the world.

Pic: A gingerbread village under construction.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

long + dull

It's not the temperatures I mind at all. The lack of sunshine might kill me though. I'm looking forward to the solstice so I can feel the edges of daylight lengthening its way into Spring soon

I've been awake for 24+ hours now... I woke up from a post wrapping party "nap" at 11 last night and have just stayed up finishing up the gift sorting and wrapping and "evening out" family presents so everyone gets the same number of  "presents" (five--down from eight last year). The presents are themed, so I can just move things around until it looks like everyone gets the same number of packages although the actual item count may vary. My kids won't care if one of them seems to get more, but this such an ingrained habit now. 

Drove in to work today and puttered around doing homey stuff--took some Christmas treats to my favorite offices on campus, watered my plants, cleaned my office, swept, dusted, tidied. Decluttered my desk and swapped out some table lamps. A colleague needs stuff for their new home, so it gave me some incentive to be ruthless about anything I'm not actively using. Finally got to straighten that one picture that hung crooked and drove me crazy. It wasn't in "my" bay, but the neighboring modern languages bay, which usually always has people in it--so I'd held off until today. Created a chatty nook just outside the English Bay by pulling together abandoned furniture in the hallway--it's a very nice focal point as one comes up by the east staircase now. Tidied up the English Bay sitting area, retired the old periodicals and copies of the college newspaper and arts journal, and rearranged student informational material. I've been told a couple of times that I should let housekeeping or student interns do this stuff rather than do it myself, so it felt good to do all the things without making people uncomfortable. I was such a good little elf. When people come back things will seem neater and nicer even if they can't put their finger on it. 

I got home to everyone (Big A, Scout, Huckie, and Nu) napping. I listened to old Tamil film music as I made us a gingery soup and cheesy corn muffins (jalapeños on top for the grownups) for dinner. I was happy to see Nu eat. He's been home sick for a couple of days: negative for Covid, but the poor baby had a fever and was miserable. He was finally well enough to go back drag himself to school today though. Winter break starts tomorrow, so thankfully, there'll be additional time to relax and recover more fully. 

Pic: A week's worth of cloudy days in the forecast. As dull as today's post!

Saturday, December 10, 2022

grey skies, glassy river

At's coworkers S and H, who had worked until 11 pm, came over after their shift to strategize for their first bargaining meeting on Monday. For fuel, I made them tea to go with the iced cookies we had. They worked until nearly 2:00 am--their quiet murmurs punctuated by shouts of laughter. How hard and joyously these young people work! 💗

At and I were up again around 6:00 am to make breakfast tacos. Then I dropped At off at the bus for Detroit where they're meeting up with friends to go see Connor O'Malley. Back home, Nu took today to "decompress." 

I did too. I took a long ramble by myself, started rereading Anna Karenina, did yoga with Big A (tech-y: via Portal and a Mirror lesson and doggy with guest appearances by Scout and Huck on my camera), soaked, snacked, made a sweet-potato-apple-"sausage"-spinach soup for dinner. Then on to student meetings and grading.

Let me be weird: At got home late last night after Nu had already gone to bed, so I thought Nu would want some At time at breakfast, but Nu decided for a Saturday sleep-in instead. Fair. Also, At was in a hurry this morning and didn't say goodbye to Nu. Understandable. The thing is... ever since I read Cheryl Strayed's Wild, where the siblings become estranged after their mom dies, I've been hit by the fear that my kids will lose touch with each other as grownups if I'm not around. 

How's that for a nice morbid thought? Ok... back to grading.

Pic: Grey skies and a glassy Red Cedar River; I love the curving tree in the foreground.

Thursday, December 01, 2022

imagine: rice, flour, oil, sugar, and beans

I post some version of this reminder that food banks benefit most from cash donations every year. This is as much for me as for people I know. It's always tempting to add extra peanut butter-beans-cereal to my grocery cart to feed my "larger family."  It's always satisfying to imagine that some other children (and I always imagined they were children) would be able to make a snack out of things I'd picked up. And of course when the kids were younger, it was a tangible way to teach caring. But giving to food banks is not supposed to be about how it makes me feel. 

So I've been good about cash contributions. 

But when The Refugee Development Center in town started taking up in-kind donations for Welcome Boxes, I signed right up to bring rice, flour, oil, sugar, and beans. If I were displaced and in a new place, I imagine I could make something my family might recognize from those supplies. I would want to.

There is a passage in Robert J.C. Young* that always resonates with students--where we're asked to imagine ourselves as refugees, to imagine the break in the daily routines of living... like discussing the day's menu with a neighbor. I think about that passage often. 

Anyway, Nu and I dropped off lots of supplies this evening. I could have easily done it before I picked Nu up from their remedial (whole other story!) class at school. But I kind of liked the idea of doing something together that would get Nu out of their own thoughts and social loops for a while.

* Also, that book is the ONLY time ever where I'm listed right next to Homi Bhabha (in the "Acknowledgements").

Monday, November 28, 2022

dear diary,

Messy, turbulent reentry into the work week today = not a single photo taken. I'm trying hard to stay calm and remind myself of all the big, small, and daily crises people are facing so I can look beyond the forgotten deadlines and damaged expectations cluttering up this last week of instruction. I always forgive these, but staying compassionate does feel challenging sometimes. Mantra: I'm neither the target nor the source of all this; I can let it flow past me. 

Small successes in getting budget approval for books to gift to our capstone students; workshopping final projects; two important sets of e-introductions--a DEI one (SJ-EM) and one for our MFA (SS-WA); finishing up the last of Thanksgiving by folding the pumpkin gravy and the roasted veggies into a sambhar; and a truly lucky and important breakthrough in my CASA case (like OMG, it was mind blowing, and I now know exactly how to frame my report) . 

Went to work with sunrise; headed home with a sickle moon in the sky. But that's ok + these days are short. Dinner with the fam, a snooze with my Scout, and then to bed. (I stayed till Big A fell asleep and then crept out of bed to read... memories of doing this every day with the kids when they were littler made me smile. Guess I do this still with Scout and Huck daily...)


Friday, November 25, 2022

Five on a Friday

1) Worked on finishing yesterday's leftovers and bought absolutely nothing today as usual. 

2) (I don't judge people who Black Friday since learning, that for many families, it's a chance to buy things that may otherwise be outside the budget. Also, I think my fam's at a different place as we've reached a stage where neither kids nor grownups need a lot. Yes, I may previously have been judge-y about going straight from being thankful to buying more crap the very next day.)

3) Exactly one month to Christmas now and I think I have a good idea of what everyone is getting. I may add a bookmark or sticker here and there, but for the most part I think it's handled. 

4) I was invited to a conference in Alexandria (Egypt!!) and I think I'm going? It's in March so there's plenty of time for things to get canceled/for me to flake out and change my mind. But I've always wanted to see the pyramids, so I've said a tentative yes.

5) Pic: Lots of early morning walks with Big A now that he's here. Yay!

Thursday, November 24, 2022

thankful

These once baby people set the table and set us up for a good time. 

We usually do some version of saying what we're thankful for--sometimes filling whole sheets in alphabetical order. This time we went around the table taking turns with the alphabet. I  was very embarrassed when I got a bit stuck on "O." 

Also, I was a pill trying to edit people's choices: "say you're thankful for "Dad."" Thankfully, my family loves me and thinks I'm hilarious. 

And then, my darlings started with an abecedary of insults... we couldn't think of anything for "G." 

Later, a quick walk down the street, crisp with leaves and fragrant with neighbors' wood stoves, to join LB and TB's riotous feast where we saw old friends and lots of new people. At was a bit of a rockstar what with their appearance in Michael Moore's Substack and what not. And then everyone piled into the car to take At back to their place. 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Sunday stream (of consciousness )

Woke up slowly this morning, enjoying the darkness, then a quiet sunrise, then my tea, and meditation before having to talk to anyone.

Some quick chats with my India fam and early-rising friends and then on to the day in earnest. 

Despite my no-Christmas-before-Thanksgiving rule, I've made progress on a couple of adopt-a-family and some welcome boxes for refugees. Less altruistically,  I ordered some tees and stickers for the fam at TeePublic. I'm blanking on what to get people this year--I don't think people actually need anything and I'm tired of things not being used. I'd rather give to causes--the kids really seem to appreciate that more than anything else, anyway.

Nu changed his mind on going to UU so I headed out there by myself today. NB, one of Nu's friends, did the reading for all ages beautifully--signing as they read. So for a while there were two people signing in ASL on the dais, and it was very balletic. I really do want to learn ASL. I wished Nu had come... to see NB and also because it was apple cider-cinnamon donut communion day. Also really--what could be more "real Michigan" than revering apple cider and cinnamon donuts?

An afternoon visit to the Broad with RS and LB, for the Zaha Hadid retrospective where--surprise--my UU pastor was also there. Back to mine for tea and a debrief with R and L and then on to dinner and cuddles with Nu, Scout, and Huck. 

(I CANNOT WAIT FOR BIG A TO COME BACK ON WEDNESDAY.)

Looking ahead, I'll be back at work tomorrow, where the semester is beginning to find closure. I'm so chuffed when we get to this part of the term and students are finding their feet with research work and my job seems more supportive than instructional. 

Pic: Our group at The Broad Art Museum this afternoon. 

Friday, November 04, 2022

"look for the helpers"

Scout and Huck aren't really helping here while I'm trying to fit some yoga into a crazy-busy day. 🥰

And also, Mr. Roger's message for kids isn't really the best thing for grown ass adults...

But I've been so lucky with helpers lately whether it's EM shouldering more of our collaborative work than she needs to, people at work cutting me a whole lot of slack around after-hours responsibilities, all the people reaching out in support, or Nu making the best sandwich I've ever eaten (for my Boss Day today).

Things might not be great right now, but everyone in my life understands and is trying to help. I'm so grateful for that.

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

one big (and lots of small) thing(s) done

The honorary inductions went beautifully. The student EC-led ceremony was perfection and my behind-the scenes-work paid off in a seamless and stress-free way. 

That's one big thing off my calendar--after the NWSA convention is done next week, I'll have so much less on my plate from a work standpoint!

I scheduled a ton of meetings after my three classes because I was going to be staying late for the induction anyway (five meetings actually: one social, one committee, one curricular, one NWSA, and one financial). I'm proudest about the financial one. I now know how to file an expense report versus hoping someone from the financial office will rescue me--not even dreading the filing deadline tomorrow, because it's already all done!

I went to work in early morning mists and drove home with a brilliant half moon. At had hung out with Nu while I was at the work thing. So I got to see and hug all four kids when I got home. (I'll never stop wishing this happened every day.) Then I chatted with At as we folded his laundry and I dropped him back to his place in Lansing. Time to relax with a big bowl of biriyani (I made it 24 hours ago for At's Boss Day today) and whatever bad show I can rustle up. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

falling asleep thoughts

Here's Huckie looking so much like Falkor in The Neverending Story (ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah aah ah).

I think I termed Scout Falkor before, but nah, it's Huck. 

Got a ton of work, grading, and prep done. Discovered that Nu really likes chickpeas today. Did lots of planning for Big A's birthday. Did my laundry too, but can't count it "done" until I put it away (which will probably take 3-4 business days 😏).

I'm going to bed and it's not even 1:00 am yet! Nice!

Monday, October 17, 2022

autumnal

Long (good!) teaching day. It's like clockwork: midterm comes around and I realize I love my students. Things have been difficult at home this year, so I worried I wouldn't be able to connect... but Whoomp, There It Is! "I'm taking it back to the old school/'cos I'm an old fool." I'm glad to know my heart still works.

Big A is back in MKE; Nu hung out at a friend's until I got home; roofers didn't show again; I got to see At on a live podcast last night; Nu and I got most things checked off our list today. There are some yays in there. 

Pic: Scout calling Nu to come in for dinner.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

"L(ove)" Notes

  • L and I were both feeling feeble and fragile (L is post-Covid and I'm post-Covid-shot) so we went for a gentle stroll in the woods behind L's house. I thought this turn in the river was absolutely breathtaking. 
  • L is just the best at sharing her view and the river--she lets the whole street keep their kayaks in her yard.
  • Also, when I called my mom this morning, I got a whole carful of aunts and uncles, which was fun. When I told my mom that I was sick from the Covid booster, she said, "Oh, you did that? We're not even wearing masks over here, everyone is fine." My mom does her own thing, so I didn't say anything. However, when I archly relayed this story to L, she rightly pointed out that *I* had had a bunch of people in my house for pooja a week ago and that everyone has their own magical thinking about Covid. She's not a friend who always agrees with me 😃.
  • Nu needed some extra kindness today, and L was the one to give it to him when he brought L some salad for dinner.

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....