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

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Things I rescued today:

* a groundhog. Max is swift and silent when he gives chase. Nothing but the jingle of his tags gives him away. I rescued the groundhog by repeatedly panic-screaming Max's name and grabbing his collar and giving the groundhog room and time to waddle away. I didn't realize how ridiculously slow groundhogs are (and almost cartoonishly silly looking with their overbite and all). It's not Nicole's bear adventure, but it was already too much for me. 

* a volunteer oak sapling that had grown almost as tall as the house but had come unrooted in the high winds... I'm rooting for it, I hope it will root too.

* a chapter that almost died from all the cuts I made last week. I'm hoping I can stitch it together tomorrow.

* my office plants, who were happy to see me despite not having been watered in two weeks.

* some bland black bean burgers with a splash of Bitchin' Sauce. So much protein, and my family didn't even realize dinner was vegan. 

* myself from the slow burn of anxiety. It was almost grad-school level anxiety... I realized it was because the book I randomly picked via Kindle Unlimited (Ruth Ware's The It Girl) is set in one of my grad school locations. The murder's not helping, that's for sure.

Pic: Big A, Max, Huck (and me) on our evening walk. Huck just trots along happily. Max wants to chase everything that moves (and that includes falling leaves).

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

kindness-torture and polite-fights

I was walking back home to dinner (which I wasn't making BTW, it was Nu's Boss Day and we were getting Pokè) when I started getting inundated with texts asking where I was, if I was ok, did I need a ride back, etc. etc. So many texts! Ooof. I wasn't late to dinner or asking for help. Tamils would call this anbu thollai--kindness-torture. (Vaguely related to that other oxymoronic term the East Asian polite-fight.) I probably do this too... but sometimes you just... gotta let people be. (Or perhaps I'd miss it if it went away? IDK!)

Pic: Max and Huck (the fuzzy brown blur by the back door) exploring the yard after Big A completed the first mow of the year (there'll be another one around the start of fall). The plantings around the pond are beginning to come in nicely, but not fast enough for me. 

Friday, June 07, 2024

a longer table

At some point in the early Trump presidency years, I came across the saying: "build a longer table, not a higher wall." It really spoke to me, and I took it to heart. 

An intergenerational mix of loved ones to dinner tonight and we found plenty to celebrate and laugh about. 

(And the prep conveniently kept me too busy to brood. Yes, I know I have a deadline coming up, but I really needed this.)

Pic: We scooted a card table to our regular table and scrounged chairs from other rooms to accommodate all of us. Max and Huck are by my feet.

Monday, May 27, 2024

looking back; looking forward

Different people brought different memories of the veterans they wanted to memorialize... JN is working on a book based on their father's letters from WWII; everyone remembered at least one person who'd served; I mentally dedicated today's gathering to the righteous Aaron Bushnell. 

We talked about plans for the summer... "I'll be over here just baby-ing" BOL said. It was easily the most electric announcement of the evening, but the middle schoolers and high schoolers were just as enthusiastic about being done with school and sleeping in. Long after most people had left, EM, SI, and I sat in the dusk as the remaining kids played Cornhole, planning tentative day trips to the beach at Sagatuck and the Art Institute of Chicago.

(Trying hard to remember that hopelessness is a tool of oppression, so celebrating community and the many things we can achieve by organizing.)

Pic: Early in the evening. I forgot to take pictures of our picnic later. BOL's baked mac was a hit, as were JN's lavender and rosewater cookies and my red-white-and-blue berry cake. (I went with strawberries instead of raspberries as they were fresher... Thanks, StephLove, I got the the idea from you!) 

Sunday, May 26, 2024

M.U.M. Day 2024

M.U.M. (MakeUp Mother's Day) was scheduled for today; we celebrated and my heart is so happy and very full.

The kids and I did a ton of work together on the veggie plots, which were overgrown with weeds. We cleared the beds, laid down netting (last time underground animals ate a lot of the veggies), added new soil, and planted peppers, tomatoes, kale, a variety of herbs, and some marigolds.

Nu finished fixing up the small drink tables for the outdoor seating area and then headed off to a birthday swim party while At and I finished up the veggies. We quaffed some lemonade while we admired our hard work and headed indoors for lunch over Atrangi Re, which was on my mind since the songs had come up on my playlist. It's fun (great songs!) and funny (the new pandemic is called "David" and rhymes with "Covid").

And then in the evening, we headed to see Furiosa. At had texted me around 1:00 am to say they were so excited they couldn't sleep--and don't ask me how I know, but it was this movie and not the vegetable gardening they were excited about. 😄 One of my favorite pre-movie moments was clustering in my bathroom with Nu and At putting on "chrome" makeup like the warboys. The movie was solid, and our theater-catered food dinner was ok. After we dropped At off, Nu and I settled in with ice cream and watched Fury Road, which I will love forever. At and I saw Fury Road NINE times IN THE THEATRE, dragging different people along with us each time (Big A, K.B., Nu, my mom) and multiple times at home--it remains to be seen if Furiosa will achieve that same status.

(Mourning Rafah and Scout in my mind throughout this day while celebrating my other kids, harvests, futurity, and hope for a better world.)

Pic: As the kids got to work on the veggie plots this morning. Max's ears!!!

Saturday, May 25, 2024

another six on Saturday

1) If you're watching Bridgerton Season 3--the person playing Lady Stowell (minor character, she's the one signing to her debutante) is someone I went to school with!
2) Out to dinner with friends yesterday and when I was in the minority on something AI-related, EM announced to the table that she was going to be on my side because she's my "Ride or Die." She beat Big A to it. It was epic.
3) I have no more professional tasks left this year--I've written all the letters of recommendation, completed all the committee work, reviewed all the articles... nothing left to do but stop procrastinating and work on my own damn projects!
4) To which end I joined a writing group this week for accountability and dedicated writing hours. I love that (a) its called "Summer Scrivening" (b) we meet only Tues, Weds, and Thurs--in a way that feels civilized and respectful of summer.
5) Speaking of summer... it's almost here! I prepped everything for Monday's Memorial Day picnic, but I forgot the raspberries for the red, white, and blue cake (I have blueberries and cream). I'm consoling myself that it's probably for the best, as raspberries turn so quickly. 
6) Pic: Huck and Max waking up from their nap. Max's waggety tail wakes up first.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Six for Saturday

1) Drama in the morning! Nu and Max discovered some grey, eyeless, blobby newborns by the picnic table on their morning walk. We googled to learn that they were rabbit kits. We're not sure where the mama is, so we did as the article suggested and covered the kits in a tic-tac-toe pattern of sticks. If the pattern remains undisturbed in 24 hours, it means the mama did not/could not return to them and they'll need to be taken to an animal clinic. I hope these babies survive the next 24 hours--they seem so vulnerable and exposed. 

2) Another delivery: the new side gate arrived! Not only is it not made of rotting wood, but it is also bright red and looks so good against our blueberry-colored house. 

3) LB and I had a date in Old Town for some thrifting, boutique browsing, a stroll on the river walk, and brunch. I got some cheeky stickers and had dinner for brunch. 

4) It's the day of the MSU horticultural plant sale. We thought we were too late for it, realized we weren't, turned around, and brought back two cartloads of plants. I planted all afternoon long.

5) The neighbors are starting a community garden at the end of our cul-de-sac. I took some lilies from my MSU horticultural haul. I went in the dress and sandals I wore to brunch with LB, so I just stood there decoratively for a while taking pictures and airily suggesting where people could plant things. LOL.

6) I looked for tickets to the musical Six online to find they were all sold out. And then miraculously BOL called to pass on their tickets as they didn't feel well. But I was bone weary, had just taken a leisurely bath, and was looking forward to eating leftovers and relaxing--so sadly, I decided to pass them up. I wonder if I will kick myself for this decision tomorrow. 

Pic: Neighbors are hard at work while I was on my phone.

Friday, May 17, 2024


I think that was a solid vacation--it didn't feel "fake" to me at all. I had a lovely time, meeting people Big A works with was nice, and the kids did a terrific job of caring for themselves while we were away.

I made At breakfast like I used to in the olden times and we had a lovely heart-to-heart before they left to go back to their place. Big A is off as well--to Milwaukee to work with residents. We made sure to get some time today for a long walk, a soak, and yoga before he left.

JG and LB came over for tea. I love when I can get friends from different parts of my life together! I wanted to make them the watermelon tea I'd had at the Heard Museum cafe (green tea and muddled watermelon). But it was a hot day, so I went with watermelon juice instead (it was heavenly with some agave and lemon, I might add a scrape of ginger root next time). 

Nu has a sleepover to look forward to. And also presents from the trip, although they don't know it yet!

Pic: It's all a rush of green and water back here. At the Red Cedar rapids with Big A.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

I guess we're not in Michigan anymore

Pic: A very different terrain from our usual hikes. It was uphill all the way (and somehow both ways) at the South Mountain trails today. 

My first saguaro in the wild--they had blooms on their tippy-tips! We also saw lots of hummingbirds, lizards, and quail. There were many snake holes, but I was lucky enough not to see any snakes. 

Big A, coming off a spate of several night shifts and never a fan of extreme heat, wilted a bit. But I was still hopping from boulder to boulder like a baby goat and jabbering away till the very end. We were running a bit low on water, so I even saved my share of the water for him. 

And at dinner, I polished off my meal and a significant portion of his. I feel like such a champ.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

drop by drop

My baby uncle, my mom's youngest sister's husband, was named for King Sibi who was willing to sacrifice his life for a dove. As a kid, I always imagined my uncle was kind.  

And he was. 

One of my earliest memories of him is as a newlywed trying to impress his new niblings (me and my cousins) with a party trick he'd learned at college. The objective was to drop a coin into a glass filled to the brim without spilling any water. 

My uncle would dip the coin into the glass, but then quickly withdraw it as if too nervous to actually let it go. He did this about four or five times and then finally released the coin into the water, where it sank without displacing a single drop of water. 

The "trick" was that every time he dipped the coin into the glass, he was removing a drop or two of water when he withdrew it--after doing this enough times, it became safe to release the coin because the glass was no longer as full. I think of this as the drop-by-drop method (like Anne Lamott's bird-by-bird, or AA's one day at a time)... an exercise in chipping things away through small and steady measures. 

My sister told me that our baby uncle died in a road accident today. The narrative arc between that newlywed trying to impress a gaggle of new niblings and today's news of dismemberment by an 18-wheeler makes no sense. It doesn't even seem real.

Saturday, May 04, 2024


Still feels unreal that At is now a 25-year-old, but we made it official with birthday biriyani, presents, and cake today. I think about all the versions of At and how much I love them all.

My love didn't falter even when At made us watch an Orson Welles documentary called Fake (I think! It had its moments, but I was so tired from continually being on my feet--for at least 12 hours by Big A's estimate--I had to frequently be nudged awake.)

Pic: At wearing some birthday presents (red rain jacket, silver hoops) and taking a bow before blowing out birthday candles. Nu, Big A, Max, and Huck are in there at varying levels of visibility too.

Thursday, May 02, 2024

cheers to 25 years

It's At's birthday and she turns 25! TWENTY FIVE! I can't believe my baby is that old (nearly 30, my mom said rounding up in her characteristically comic way last month, and we've all been quoting it to At all the time since). And what's more, I can't believe I've been a parent for that long. Goodness! Where does time go?

At is out with friends today (I had a brief and raucous phone call), so we'll celebrate at home on Saturday. 

In the meantime, I celebrated JG's return from her 12-week trip to Costa Rica and Panama (she brought me gifts!), LB's birthday (I brought her gifts!), the Child Advocacy Art exhibition opening (where I met so many lovely people who care about advocating for children), and (after a quick dinner with Nu, Huck, Max, and Big A) ended the day at a wonderful guest performance by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra with EM at the Wharton. The Mozart was comfortingly sublime and the Piazolla version of Vivaldi--which I'd not heard before--was energetically otherworldly. 

Walking home through dark and empty streets after the concert with the music still in my head and the smell of lilacs in the air, I felt quite drunk with contentment.

Pic: Child Advocacy Art Exhibition with JG, MZ, RM, TV, NP, and more.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

oh, snap(shot)

Pic: I am well-loved tonight. Max and Huck are "hugging" me. 

Earlier this day, I tried to take a cherry blossom family pic outside, but the recent storms had already brought all the white blossoms down and our pink tree and Scout are, of course, missing.

But also: Nu built a bench to go by the new pond, Big A spent hours trenching (finally acceding) to my specifications, At stopped by for dinner--all shiny and dressed up--just as I took the pot of rice off the stove. Watching the kids clear up after dinner, their clearing-up choreography still aligned so seamlessly, reminded me of all the golden years we've had as a family.  

I'm grateful for these days of small kindnesses and great love.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

a night different from others: four answers to questions unasked

1) The MSU Gaza solidarity encampment moved indoors a couple of times yesterday because of storms but was back outside today. Morale is high. Lots of arts and crafts and some teach-ins about in-state weapons manufacturers. The university authorities have (wisely? cynically?) allowed the encampment to go on until Monday in the hope that many students will go home after graduation weekend. 

2) On Engie's recommendation, I'm reading Elizabeth Moon's Remnant Population and it made me want to reread Amitav Ghosh's The Nutmeg's Curse because of all the references to terraforming, so I am. Both books really pack a punch individually and in tandem. 

3) I've made a couple of shifts with writing projects that have helped. Firstly, instead of thinking I "have to..." I'm framing things as "I get to..." It makes a big difference whether I think "I have to finish my context notes and they're yet another actionable item on my list..." versus "My poems got accepted, I get to finish these context notes, yay!" Secondly, I'm trying to remember editors exist. Instead of obsessing over every possible nuance, I'm just going to turn things in and let the editors let me know if they want me to make changes. (Haven't actually done this yet; famous last words.)

4) Pic: Passover seder at our friends' tonight; Nu was relieved not to be the youngest at the table responsible for asking "the four questions."

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Easter: rising to the occasion

Our egg hunt with the rhyming clues and then Easter brunch went on till nearly 2 pm, so the day seemed shortened, but there was still plenty of time for other stuff like a leisurely two-hour ramble by myself.

I even managed to get the last pesky details of a five-person panel proposal worked out; finished up the Works Cited page for an article that was accepted; made a sleep playlist (it's 4:30 am and I'm typing so it's probably not the success I thought it would be, but it is lovely); and need to work on some "context notes" for three poems accepted to an anthology. But also tomorrow is soon enough.

Pic: A partial pic of our buffet before people got there. The kids and I have been making those little boiled-egg chicks with carrot beaks and sesame eyes and cheese-filled pepper "carrots" since they were tots!

Saturday, March 30, 2024

a Wilde arrow

Other people probably already know this, but TIL John Ruskin taught Oscar Wilde at Oxford. In my head, they're very unlike each other: Ruskin a socialist political economist, and Wilde a socialite playwright--but ultimately, I guess, they're both social reformists. (It's a pity how much the whole homophobic case against Wilde weighs on my internal summary of his history.)

I looked Wilde up because of the beautiful lines "And flashing down the river, a flame of blue!/ The kingfisher flies like an arrow, and wounds the air." in his poem "Magdalen Walks." It made me want to check if Wilde had attended Magdalen College. (One of the first and lasting things I learned at Oxford was that you're supposed to pronounce it "Maudlin.") He had. He'd had three years in Trinity College, Dublin, and then another four years at Magdalen--which makes this the longest undergraduate journey I know. 

It kind of connected with my own day... EM joined us for dinner and one of the things we talked about was how we each got interested in Greek mythology. Someone EM knows got into it because its pansexual worldview was different from their own social environment, EM herself got into it because the women in it can be powerful, and I got into it because at some point I followed some childhood book about comparative mythologies and became enamored of Greek culture. Wilde read classics at Oxford--so that's how I'm going to close this loop.

Pic: Redbud beside the Red Cedar from a walk yesterday. Today was grey and rainy all day. (I didn't see a kingfisher, but I will think of them "wounding the air" the next time I do.)

Thursday, March 28, 2024

a day to be proud...

1) of my WGS students who set up 25 wonderful interactive booths to discuss subjects as varied as the female gaze in films, non-binary erasure, abortion access in MI, and mental health for athletes. At this point, all I had to do was backstage manage with tape and pens and flyers and fruit snacks.

2) of Nu who went out with friends for the second day in a row after mentioning their renewed depression. Knowing they understand friends can make you feel better and that they have friends to draw on and the energy to make plans, feels like progress. 

Pic: Students making me SO proud. We were all buzzing with that energy that comes from a performance even as we took the displays down. 

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Happy National Puppy Day!

Happy National Puppy Day!

Max turns a whole year old tomorrow!

Huckie always looks like a puppy...

TIL that Chopin's Minute Waltz was inspired by a puppy chasing its tail. In fact, it's even known as Valse du petit chien!

It was a cold day, with snow still on the ground, but we played outside under blue skies and sunshine and then napped like champs. (I'd done all my weekend chores in anticipation of being out of town, so there was nothing to do today but make chicken soup and check in on Big A now and then.)

Pic: Max and Huck in conversation.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

spring forward anyway

We woke up to snow on the ground, but it's Spring in my heart anyway.

Big A wimped out because it was cold and windy, but I took a long walk in the snow anyway.

It's too early to start the garden like I want to, but I started an array of herbs in planters indoors anyway.

Pic: Basil, thyme, rosemary, and mint growing in the solarium upstairs (the blue and red pots). Our quirky old house has lots of inconveniences, but its passive solar design means there's lots of light. I might as well use it for something good.

Friday, March 01, 2024

Five thoughts and things on Friday

1)      If yesterday's post was blessedly whine-free about Gaza, it was because I whined on FB, where I've mostly absented myself since October, instead. And then my people stepped in full of strength and sympathy and support. How can I not believe in the potential of this world when I'm surrounded by so much kindness and love?

   2)     Almost too much love. Just kidding...

  3)     But actually, I was late getting home because a workplace chat went on and on and then late to book club because Big A kept on prolonging our soak-and-chat and late getting home to dinner because there was pre-birthday cake and jollities at book club and then late for a friend's pooja because the dinner I made (couscous salad with almonds, felafel, and a ton of veggies, + the spicy feta dip a book club friend insisted I take home) was amusingly deemed merely "a side" so Big A got some shawarma wraps to top it off. At that point, I decided it would be best just to send my regrets to the pooja people. And so I did.

4)      I also got all the plant care, cleaning, and settling done today so I can take the rest of the weekend off to relax and luxuriate in birthday love and prep for reentry into the work week. 

5)       Pic: A snapshot of my very whiny FB post. Soc med circles are so weird. I bet if this was on Twitter, someone would have told me to STFU already.

Things I rescued today:

* a groundhog. Max is swift and silent when he gives chase. Nothing but the jingle of his tags gives him away. I rescued the groundhog by r...