Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

Friday, December 02, 2022

wildest dreams: Taylor, Judy, Betty, Nu

Nu had to come to Alma with me to see the dentist, so there was a lot of Taylor Swift on our commute. I really wish I could have scored some Taylor Swift concert tickets as a Christmas present for Nu, but the online lines were interminable and the price was prohibitive--more expensive than any present I've ever bought anyone, probably. After a point, I just gave up.

But one of Nu's other dreams came true today--he was able to spend some time with Judy and Betty--MB's brindled mice. Nu has always loved mice--until today only in theory and as stuffed animals--and was amazingly gentle and confident playing with them. Judy and Betty--named for the sisters in White Christmas will retire from their work as lures for the kestrels MB is banding--so their job is to act cute and tasty--at the end of Jan. At which point, MB would like to offer them to Nu as a present.  It'll be an uphill battle convincing Big A, but Nu and I together can be pretty formidable. (I'm terrified and ick-ed by mice, frankly; but Nu enjoys them so much.)

Pic: Nu with Judy.

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...)


Saturday, November 26, 2022

outtake

I used the 20 minutes At stopped by (while on a call!) to get everyone into matching holiday jammies for an impromptu shoot so I could start working on the holiday card. 

I usually have so many pictures for the card and calendars, but this year between Nu's hospitalizations, Big A's "commute," and At being so busy, I just haven't been taking as many photographs as I usually do. 

Feels like this year went by really fast too.

Pic: Beginning of the video we shot; I'll grab a frame later for the card. 

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. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

gathering


At is headed over after his meetings and will spend the night here.

Big A is on his way home and will spend a week here. 

This is the part of the holiday I absolutely love. Nu, Scout, and Huck are pretty excited too.

Pic: Screenshot of a text from Big A. That isn't Huckie in the car, it's Mr. Flooferson (a stuffie the family gave Big A as a silly gift for his birthday last month).

Monday, November 21, 2022

second guessing

I remembered what 
it was like
                                to want something
                                then make it

after the beginning                  
before the end                         
                                 before the beginning
                                 after the end

to face carrying on                   
in this space                             
                                  between sympathy
                                  and responsibility

until we have enough              
will we know...                    
                                   when and then what
                                   is enough?

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

Pic: Sunrise with snow puppies

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. 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

strike to the heart

I was on an early morning hike with L as the rest of the workday was all meetings all day. 

When I glanced at my phone to check on time, I saw At had texted to say that he was going to be supporting striking Starbucks workers (#RedCupRebellion) on the picket line and had invited the fam to come too. I thought his text said 10-5, and was relieved because I could truthfully tell him I was going to be super busy... but then I saw he'd said 5-10... 

So I put on some snow boots and headed out on foot to the East Lansing Starbucks and hung out with At (whom I've missed so much especially since I went to Minneapolis and missed our weekly family dinner) and also his comrades for a while. They seemed to have lots of support via friendly honks.

At was in his canvas jacket and had shaved his impressive beard (bad timing as Nu said); I haven't seen this avatar of At's since HS, I think! I suggested a warmer coat and better gloves for outside work and offered to get him some from home, but he refused (even as he visibly shivered). So I reined in the rest of my mom prattle to just be there in the moment with my idealistic, altruistic, accomplished (and shivering) child. 

As we stood in the storm catching mouthfuls of snow as we talked, At remembered an anecdote (him in elementary school, in a hoodie, littler kid scared of him; I de-hoodie him and kiss his cheek, I ruined his cred). He said he'd been mad about it then, but thinks it's cute now.

Cute Pic: At's DSA colleague took this one. I love that At's sign says "All I want for Christmas is Solidarity" and mine says "Solidarity."

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

"(i carry it in my heart)"

I used to carry you 
on my shoulders
or on my hip

these days I send
a funny tweet
a loving text

should you emoji 
something...
anything

I'll know that you're 
fine or okay
and alive

-----------------------------------------------
Pic: I wasn't the only one surprised by snow today.

Monday, November 14, 2022

a Madrasi madcap history in pictures

One of the many, many reasons I love going to NWSA is because SR and I have been taking pictures in hats/headgear and calling it our "Madrasi Madcap series" because both of us have Madras (now known as Chennai but not while we were growing up) connections.

We hadn't been able to since 2019 as the 2020 conference was canceled and 2021 was online only. So we got back to it this year: it feels good to have fun.

In other news, I feel better AND continue to test -ve for Covid. Also: was reunited with all my loves and three of my classes yesterday, took Nu to the dentist, bid Big A goodbye for a week, and just generally jumped right back in to post-conference life. 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

full, fulfilling

Woke up after an hour and something of sleep (I went to bed after 4 am) feeling relieved and thankful about the elections--especially in MI, but lots of other reasons to celebrate too. 

There were 18 trans and non-binary state legislator candidates around the country and some of them won. The youth turnout was tremendous: students at U of Michigan, MSU, and other places made news by staying in line to vote even though it got really late. Wes Moore, AOC, Lucy McBath, Rashida Tlaib, Ihan Omar got elected/reelected.  But mostly--it could have been so much worse.

I'm always surprised that these contests seem so close--I mean it's like cuddly puppies + gooey cookies on one side and hateful detractors + dumpster fires on the other. The choice seems... obvious? As Zack Bornstein's tongue-in-cheek tweet summarizes: FASCISM IS DEAD IN AMERICA AFTER DEVASTATING LOSS 49.-49.3. Nevertheless, it felt wonderful to share the election news with Nu over breakfast, be happy about it with assorted neighbors, respond to a string of similarly ecstatic texts, and plan a neighborhood bonfire to celebrate. 

Big A and I made a checklist of things we wanted to do together and got almost all of them checked off. I leave for Minneapolis and NWSA early tomorrow and he'll leave for work the day after I return on Sunday so there was no time to waste. Both of us took meeting calls on our hike with our headphones on... but we still got to hold hands.

Pic: MSU Red Cedar Rapids w/ Big A.

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

election night to early morning

It's past 2 am and it's a teaching day, but I'm watching a handful of tight races, so I have "reasons" to stay up. Looks like there will be no upsets or surprises in MI. And I'm glad that Proposition 3, which creates a right to reproductive freedom and abortion access in the state, has passed. I am extra chuffed by this success because this was a motivating factor for many young people to register to vote, and it feels like it's their win.

I voted today too! My first time! (My Green Card status worked for decades, but 45's shenanigans made me so nervous, I opted for citizenship.) 

Things I remember from earlier today: The precinct election official had the same name as my dad. ๐Ÿ’— LB and TB (outside of the family, my biggest citizenship cheerleaders) took me out to breakfast after accompanying me to the voting station. ๐Ÿ’— At gave me some guidance on Prop 1 ๐Ÿ’—. Big A drove home after working in the E.R. last night ๐Ÿ’—, and then I took him to the polls. One of the poll workers asked if we were Nu's parents๐Ÿ’—.

Pic: Sunset on midterm election night; my first "I Voted" sticker ๐Ÿ’—.

Sunday, November 06, 2022

self-care prรฉcis

I woke up at my usual time, but stayed in bed as the sun rose and the skies got all rosy. Then I set all the clocks back and got on with the day.

UU today after a long spell--Nu hasn't wanted to go, so I've stayed home too, but Nu encouraged me to go today. It was strange not having a child to "clap out" to RE during the service. A new era! But there was meditation and singing, and all of that was good for me. Maybe I'll join the choir!

Other weekend highlights: celebrating At's congratulatory letter from Gov. Whitmer, a coffee date with HK, a meetup with BSL, a long hike with L, two quick and quirky books (The Marriage Portrait and Remarkably Bright Creatures), long soaks, and lots of time with Scout, Huck, and Nu. I consciously tried to do a lot of good stuff for myself this weekend (AND I'm looking forward to Big A coming home on Tuesday!)

Pic: Sunrise from bed.

Saturday, November 05, 2022

when you are here

I wonder about the machinery of birds
how love feathers my arms like fur
thoughts alight and leave like moths
when my cry answers your cry

The anxious outline of the day fades
falling asleep like a shadow at noon
some half-remembered song echoes
then my why answers your why


----------------------------------------------------------
Pic: Yard work with Scout and an airborne Huck.

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. ๐Ÿฅฐ

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, November 01, 2022

tiny, new habit

A new-ish thing I've been doing with Scout and Huck--early morning walks. It's just 20 minutes, and it's a multitasking beauty. It lets me make sure that Nu's walk to the school bus stop is a bit safer + see that Nu gets on the bus, I get to see beautifully starry skies, and of course these guys love it! There's so much excitement from the moment I pull on sweats over my pajamas and clip their leashes. 

If we pass by the bus stop at the right time, Nu'll say hello to Scout and Huck and they'll get so excited about it because it's IN THE STREET and there are OTHER KIDS!! After the big, yellow school bus takes Nu, we race home. Then... 20-mins later, I'm on the road to work.

But I get to do one fun thing with the babies before the to-do list on my calendar. 

Pic: Scout and Huck and their mid-morning snooze. My day didn't look like this... but this is certainly the dream.

Monday, October 31, 2022

barely a boo

Such a quiet Halloween around here! I just got these jack o' lanterns out in time. We usually decorate the intervening week between Big A's birthday and the day, but this year Diwali was in that week too, so I decided to go v e r y slow. 

At was at a conference, Nu was going to "couples-costume" it with a friend but then they decided not to. I wore one devil's horn at work (half devil, half child in a tongue-in-cheek literary ref). 

It was raining this evening on our quiet street and we got NO trick or treaters. 

Boo.

(Perking up now close to the witching hour watching [via YouTube] fabulously costumed students doing a funny and spooky concert in the college chapel. Looks like a totally full house over there.)

simply

A cold day, but beautiful.  Walks with some of my favorite people: L, Big A,  me... Pic: An icy Red Cedar River