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

Saturday, February 24, 2024

on a break (Winter Break)

It was so rude of Big A to cheerily text me "one more year" on New Year's day and then explain that in 2025 Nu would be off to college. I swear he has been dreaming about child-free living (precisely what I dread) for a long time now.

But we're on Winter Break at work and Nu had all-day plans with friends, so Big A and I took off by ourselves. We walked to the Breslin Center to watch the MSU women's basketball team post a 93-57 win over Rutgers, detoured to the horticultural gardens to see the orchid show, and then ended up at our favorite Sushi place before walking home to Huck and Max with our leftovers. I have to admit it was pretty nice and I can see us doing some version of this for a few decades after the kids are independent. 

Pic: I gave Big A matching Spartan hats at Christmas and promised to go to a game with him (he loves basketball). He got us tickets for a women's game because he knew I'd want to support the women's team. 

Monday, February 19, 2024

updates

Good:  Big A's test results came back--nothing terrifying to report.
But:     The original symptoms persist. 
*
Good:  My stretch of overwork and late work evenings is mostly over.
But:     This week I scheduled two more late work evenings for March.
*
Good:   Participating in a teach-in panel on Gaza with the college YDSA in mid-March.
But:      Worrying about bothsideism from fellow-panelists.
*
[Pic] 
Good:    Big A, Huck, Max, and me on a post-dinner walk with a fabulous sunset ahead of us.
 But:     Don't look too closely at Big A's left hand. Ha.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

some backstory... and a Boss Day

Some backstory to yesterday's poem.

Our grandmothers were first cousins, so Sunil was a distant cousin--although that doesn't matter much in the  Indian context (something that's unclear in the poem, and I should work on it). Our grandmothers were as close as sisters--closer, as they had no sisters and lived in a big joint-family mansion where they had private tutors--so they were together all the time. They were really close--they always talked about how they breastfed each other's babies so their babies would feel like siblings and think of them (their aunts) as mothers too.  

It didn't work out exactly like that. My mother would go to her aunt when she fought with her mom, but later there was some family drama (our grandmothers fell out in their sixties) and mystery (things people won't talk about). Stuff that came out as what Nicole rightly called "mixed things." Nance found the ending surprising--something else I'm working on. I was trying to express how it felt to have someone in my peer group die... like the beginning of the end. As I mentioned in a comment to StephLove, Sunil died of a heart attack, so that feels as though our bodies are going. 

Pic: It's the puppies' Boss Day! Huck and Max got new lick pads and love them. 

(It's not their actual Boss Day, but it was too bewildering for Scout and Huck when we celebrated them individually, so we picked the 18th of the month to celebrate a puppy Boss Day. Max's "smile" cracks me up.)

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

love notes

We (Big A and I) don't celebrate Valentine's Day. We celebrate other days like the anniversary of our first and epic date, etc. But I LOVE elementary-school-style Valentine's Days: Candy for all! Cards for all!

I tried to recreate a little bit of that olde magic in class yesterday with a "Pal-entine's Day" celebration--there was candy and stickers people could share with each other. I expected to merely be the facilitator but some people made little notes for me too. I love the one that said, "Thank you for creating an inclusive classroom for all and expanding my love of literature." I love my students. 

I already gave the fam their V-Day treasures and treats, and it was just Nu, Huck, Max, and me at home today (Big A is in Milwaukee). I felt Nu might need some extra love so I picked up a few treats (ice-cream, Krispy Kremes, Kit-Kats) when I gassed up the car on my way home and made some heart-shaped caramel and chocolate cookies. Nu's delight was everything. I love Nu so much.

And my gal-pals took care of me. Lovely LD sent me a Galentine's Day care package via mail that had some serious Sephora goodies and a powdered drink mix I can't wait to try on the weekend. JG said I was her favorite Galentine and sent me a picture from Costa Rica of a howler monkey (!), and I nearly lost it when KB said she was loving me "from afar" (I MISS KB!!!!). I love my women friends. 

Pic: A jumble of V-Day stuff on the counter today. Also: the Spring planting catalog arrived in the mail like a present from the universe. 

Monday, February 12, 2024

But after this week things'll slow down...

I saw this meme that's sometimes about academia and sometimes about adulthood recently. It goes: Being an adult/academic is saying "But after this week things will slow down a bit" over and over to yourself until you die.

Oh, I feel this so much. But also, things really are going to slow down after this week. I listed a long list of 'have to-be-dones' for myself last month and the deadlines on most of them have come and gone and I've done my best on each of them. The last of the colleague letters and student award letters went out today, our last campus visit was today, and one of our two speakers is presenting this week--which means my list has been significantly whittled down and the future looks so much more manageable.

Technically, that means I should be able to work on my projects for a bit. No more excuses.

Pic: From yesterday. Max and Big A in my tea garden where I'd gone to escape everyone. (Not successfully, evidently.)

Sunday, February 11, 2024

"easy like Sunday" (all day)

A quiet, restful day despite some other people's prescription-refill drama (Nu), leg cramp crisis (A), and general naughtiness (Huck and Max). I took care of what was needed and managed to make significant quiet times for myself.

I needed this so much!

Pic: Early morning hike with L and T in Baker Woods. Lots of trees have come down in the last couple of days--it has been very windy.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

seven on Saturday

1. Happy Lunar New Year! At a New Year celebration lunch this afternoon, EM told me we're supposed to rest today and do a minimal amount of work tomorrow. I can do that! 

2. The kids got little red envelopes of cash. I'm so touched when work friends and family friends treat my nearly grown-ass kids like their own niblings.

3. I got a nice ramble with L in Baker Woods today. It has been weeks since I hiked with L--She said she missed me, and I asked if it was my silliness she missed. "I missed all of it, Maya." She said diplomatically (and lovingly!). 

4. I got a long walk with Big A--it was grey and windy, but we did a "Super Sparty" and it felt nice to be able to stretch my legs after sitting at my desk all week.

5. At came to dinner tonight so I gave the kids their Valentine's Day presents a bit early. When will they be too old to get V-Day presents from me? I hope never.

6. In a first for us--we're now mooching off At. They subscribed to the Criterion Channel and logged us in on the big TV so we can watch it too. I like all of it.

7. Pic: The Red Cedar is kinda plain today. But the mallards are enjoying it and so are we.

Thursday, February 08, 2024

on not meeting expectations

I don't like my grade the student says
You're not from here, are you?
the student says

So where are you actually from? 
(India!) I thought so...
student smiles

I got the assignment wrong because
of your language (English?) 
the student says

It is so rude of you, the student says
to say... that my assignment 
didn't meet expectations
____________________________________________

Note: This came from a long and unsettling office-hour exchange with my one disgruntled student today. It felt demeaning and I was so... crushed. Luckily, it was also the day our PR team had alerted me to an alumni interview which spoke glowingly of me, so I had some balance. But I'd been working on a new version of our land and labor acknowledgment, so it also felt like I'd been wrestling with issues of prejudice all day. 

Pic: No pic today--it was too, too hectic. My Thursdays are so long that they've become standard Subway-for-dinner days--Big A picks them up between his clinic and hospital shifts.

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

and now we wait...

 

Home! 

Reunited with my human kids, puppy kids, and plants!

I demolished a large bag of Culver's fries on the way home and demolished all my remaining grading after I got home. 

Big A's doc gave us a hopeful update and now we wait for the actual results. Oh, the things I take for granted when I make plans and resolutions... 

Pic: (anti-clockwise) Max, Huckie, At, and Nu. I missed these sweet loves and my zillion plants in the tea garden.

Monday, February 05, 2024

Match

We made it back to Michigan! Haven't seen the kids yet as I'm currently in the hospital waiting room while Big A has his exploratory procedures. I hope to see Big A's doc in a couple of hours for some answers/counsel. 

Big A was asked not eat anything for 36 hours, so I've been fasting alongside him in solidarity. We're totally going to demolish a brunch on our way back home. 

Pic: From yesterday--we're kind of wearing matching shirts! Out on the balcony of our hotel room with the brilliant azure sea and the El Arco rocks in the background. (I'm wearing my heavy winter jacket in the hospital's waiting room today.)

Saturday, February 03, 2024

"Your mission, should you choose to accept it"

We've been having a great time. 

In large part this is because the kids have been so awesome about taking care of each other and texting us regular updates about their meals, plans for the day, school projects, and so on.(It also helps to know that EM and LB jumped in to be our emergency contacts in case they need rides or advice.)

All the human kids want--they said--was for Big A to learn how to make towel sculptures and redo all the towels every day.

The kids are kidding, of course.

Pic: The hotel's towel "bunny" that prompted this exchange.

#LaterPost

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

headed out

Big A's big medical appointment is next week, and we hope to find out what's going on/why he's losing weight/what to expect in the future/what we can do/etc. We have more questions than the minutes the expert will spend with us, probably.

But in the meantime, we're going to take off for sunny climes for a few days to just... I don't exactly know what... Was it Seneca who said we can change the sky above us but not ourselves? So I guess our worries will come with us, but we'll be worrying under warmer skies? 

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the next few days of our tiny break and will catch up with some picture posts when we're back.

Pic: It snowed in the night, and was a picture-perfect winter wonderland as I headed to work this morning. 

Thursday, January 25, 2024

from a place of absence

Scout's  harness in a Ziploc
stays a  door always ajar
becomes a souvenir in
a sweet completeness 
of loss... nostalgia

Scout's photo on the altar 
has guarded so fiercely 
hellish trails of regret 
just my two eyes...
all these tears

___________________________

Pic: Snow and sky in the backyard this weekend. The last couple of days have been so foggy... I've been white-knuckling it to and from work as visibility is very low, especially in low-lying pockets, and it's easy to imagine shapes where there aren't any and miss objects that only loom up at the last minute.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

"mid"

I like the way the kids are using "mid" to describe things that are stuck in the middle to mediocre range. Here's my mid list for today.

*    Another day of freezing rain and grey skies... but not quite as cold and there was a fair bit of a thaw too.

*    I won't have my car back for five weeks (they have to order a part from Germany)... but they gave me a newer model as a loaner.

*    I headed to the gas station for the first time in years (Bluey is all electric). It felt spend-y to fork over 50$ for gas... but I found a lucky penny.

*    Last semester, I grandly agreed to give a talk in January 2024... and now it IS January 2024 and my talk is on Friday.  Thankfully, I was able to use my writing group time to get some slides done... but it did mean that I didn't get any new writing done.

*    I love, love, love teaching... but I'm on two search committees (SIX campus interviews--four more to go), three committees that meet every week for a total of four hours, on deadline for two career reviews, on deadline for recommendation letters for people's grad school applications, on deadline for rewriting our land acknowledgment, making final arrangements for two different guest speakers to visit campus (PBK and Women's History Month), arranging travel for the student honorary convention, vetting papers and programming the WGS portion of the MASAL conference, CASA report due next week... And the list for the next month goes on and on. Each of these things is important and has its own bulleted to-dos, and by itself, each would be something I enjoy doing. But cumulatively, having them all clustered together like this, feels overwhelming. One day at a time, I guess.

Pic: I cropped out guests' faces since I didn't ask people if I could post. But now the focus is on the happy plates (everyone is in the clean-plate club!) from our dinner party on Monday. There were two writers with new books out at the table (Sophfronia Scott and Jan Shoemaker) and I enjoyed introducing them to each other and felt a little bit like I was hosting a salon. Bonus peek of Nu at extreme right. I'm the black blob next to the blue-purple sweater (Big A) at the head of the table. Huck and Max are underfoot. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

all the things

Wow. What a day. 

Freezing rain all day, so I moved my classes online and then was committed to sitting with my laptop all day.

I also got into it with the very pro-Hindu nationalist people on my WhatsApp. Hope springs eternal in a teacher's breast I guess. If even one of them stops to reconsider their exclusionary stance, that would be helpful. But I can't do this every day--it's exhausting and draining and makes me question what kind of world I'm living in.

Then Big A woke up grumpy and I pushed back (I mean, he's not a toddler!) and then we fought on text for a bit. Then he "hearted" something I had said in snark and then I felt bad and then the fight was over. Just like that.

My car has been in the repair shop since Monday and they don't know how to fix it--they're waiting on input from the tech team. I was so alarmed by this, that I texted "Is my Bluey [what I call my car] OK?!? 😭" to the family chat... except I sent it to the repair shop by accident... and they texted back "We should be hearing something today. Bluey has a bit of a boo-boo." And I laugh-cried in embarrassment. 

Motaz Azaiza the passionate Gazan journalist has evacuated Gaza. He did such great work, and I'm glad he's safe, and so humbled that he's only 24!

So many of my U.S. friends texted me in a panic about Trump winning the NH primary... but I don't know what to tell them. Is the option really "Genocide Joe?" The lesser of two evils just seems more like the other evil day by day. 

And finally: another day of back pain. Whomp-whomp.

Pic: An icy Red Cedar through the railing on the Sparty (not official name, I think) bridge. From my Monday walk. 

Sunday, January 21, 2024

journeys

Nu starts a new day of term tomorrow.

At is in D.C. giving a talk to an organizing group who sprang for air tickets, hotel, and honorarium. So cool. 

Big A has been on the volunteer list for Gaza for weeks, but there has been no movement, because the organization cannot guarantee safety for its volunteers. This is the first time I've been okay with him going to a conflict zone. Twenty years ago, when he wanted to volunteer for Iraq (partly because it would forgive his med school debt), I vetoed it. I was even wary when he volunteered for COVID relief in NYC in early 2020 when things were baaaaad. But I feel like this is no longer even a choice. It's not going to get better until everyone who can help, helps.  

In the meantime, I'm so grateful a colleague is willing to travel with the honorary students to their presentation in St. Louis. Because Scout fell sick while I was at the event last year, convention hotel rooms now give me anticipatory anxiety and dread. 

Pic: The holly bush outside has been frozen for weeks now, and is now pretty in a different way.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

winter afternoon

the book forgotten in my hands
this blood rush in my wrists 
leaves of light and insight 
quickly extinguished 

by my impatience for happiness
the dear, vulgar excitements--
where I embrace your 
suspended grace 

expecting your face will soften
when I say my wild gladness 
doesn't know where to end--
has only learned to bloom 
_____________
Pic: From this afternoon's walk with Big A. The Red Cedar is frozen upstream, but here by the rapids, there were crowds of mallards with their emerald plumage and ridiculous orange feet. 

Friday, January 19, 2024

infinitesimal

falling  where I  stand
fireworks and splinters 
of every moment's joy 
waving back like seas.
Every time  I  wonder--
if  this  is the  last time

Every time I remember--
it could be the last time 
I keep  up  conversations
with my body, its  borders 
while stars fall into my lap,
songs dissolve into laughter.

Pic: One of Max's many cuddly contortions with Big A.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Three on Thursday: What I Wore

Me: Walking down the hall...

Student: OMG, Dr. M! I LOVE YOUR OUTFIT!

Me: (grinning) Calm down, E, this isn't a belt--it's because I hurt my back.

What I wore: Ugly back brace.

*

Me: Looking all around my office, and then in a stroke of sheer genius patting the top of head... (nope), and then defeatedly asking student--"L, can you see my glasses anywhere?"

Student: (calmly) They're ON your face.

What I wore: Reading glasses.

*

Me: Chuckling to myself because there's a sign in the faculty break room that says, "Your mom doesn't work here! Do your own dishes." And At had rightly remarked that their mom DID work there and righteously asked why "mom" and not "parent?" And then I realized that despite all that, At had left some unwashed silverware by the side of the sink.

What I wore: A smirk. You know what they say about socialists and sinks.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

chapter by chapter

At came in to work with me today because they needed to see their old pediatrician, had the lunch I'd packed for them, and then took a nap in my office while I went to class and committee meetings. 

It felt like all the times when I'd bring the kids to work when their school was called off or when they were sick. My office is still filled with so many of the cards and posters they made back then. Their childhood--and my youth--went by so quickly... I miss the little At, the Baby Nu, the young me.

I am sad and worried about these chapter endings and the ones to come. I take faith in that Catherine Newman article I've read a zillion times and know things will be even better. But would I magic myself back to the old days? A hundred times yes. 

But also, is it okay to admit that there's a part of me that is excited for the next chapter? The simple pleasures of writing/walking/seeing friends whenever I want?

Pic: At curled up and fast asleep on my tiny office sofa. 

on a break (Winter Break)

It was so rude of Big A to cheerily text me "one more year" on New Year's day and then explain that in 2025 Nu would be off to...