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

Saturday, July 09, 2022

picnic cookies and cat cafés

I headed to RS's mom's memorial service today. I was there mainly to support RS, but it felt poignant learning that her mom remade her life in her 40s--getting a divorce, going back to school, and becoming a social worker. The grownup grandkids, now teachers themselves, remembered fondly how she would take them on picnics to the hill behind her apartment complex and they'd feast on homemade sandwiches and Milano cookies. Fittingly, there were Milano cookies at the outdoor reception later.

While I was gone all afternoon, Big A took Nu to the cat café where Nu played with all the cats he wanted to and had a great time. Big A and I are both allergic (and I'm mildly  ailurophobic) so poor Nu has to make do with visiting. I've been informed that when Nu is grownup, he will live with cats and rats and that we can take allergy meds when we want to visit. I think that's very fair.

Pic: Nu making a cat friend (and Big A's reflection).


Friday, July 08, 2022

Make some noise (rattles, anklets, and whistles! O my)

More of Nu's kandi-craft... These little (they fit in the palm of my hand) star-shaped rattles make such a happy sound. The beads inside the rattle are heart-shaped. They're not visible, but it's very important to Nu that there are tiny hearts inside.

It reminded me a bit of the anklet in Silapadikaram The Story of an Anklet  and I was gratified that Nu remembered the plot-point about how there were rubies inside the heroine's anklet and only pearls in the queen's.  

We picked up Big A from the train station yesterday--horrifyingly for me and Nu who tend to be very diligent about masking--he hadn't worn a mask on the Amtrak, so we made him test at home. Also, WTH. I mean he seemed suitably chastened, but I thought we were on the same page about this.

And I got my Bluey car back! A couple I met on a shuttle in an airport parking lot a while ago told me about "Save A Deer" whistles, so I'm putting some on this weekend. Please stay away from me on the highway, deer!

Wednesday, July 06, 2022

starting over

Once in a while, I'll come across a piece of art--even something Nu has decided to throw away like this piece...

And I'll be overcome with hope for Nu, all of us, the world...

And I begin to dream again.

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

"a more perfect union"

Today At watched as the local Teamsters served management at his workplace papers indicating that At and his fellow workers had signed union cards; the National Labor Review Board will now conduct an election. He sent us a picture and said management was "pissed." 

It has been exciting to see the slow build to At's organizing--first it was just conversations with a fellow nerd, then more scripted check-ins with other colleagues, vetting different unions, trying to get a super majority of his colleagues on board--even roping me in to talk to an older south-asian colleague in our shared mother tongue.

When he first said he wanted to unionize his fast food place, I have to admit I thought it was a bit of a pipe dream and definitely did not think he and the other young people would make this much progress in under a year. Shows how much I don't know. Fingers crossed for their NLRB election. 

Pic: At made this button a while ago; now that things are public, he can finally wear it. 

Monday, July 04, 2022

reaching the threshold

it was always difficult for children
dangerous even 
if you know of a place where it isn't
please share it 

we may sway in decision, hover in hope,
curve like prayer,
ache to follow rumors as if they're friends
inviting us to hurry

but we won't know how--or if--we let go
of mourning
our feet full of splinters, tracing love over
fragments of safety

It's the fourth of July. We didn't have plans because we were supposed to be in YS. Also: things don't feel very celebratory anyway--it feels very What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?  This lines up with the memes that say: "Fourth of July has been canceled due to a shortage of independence" or "Frankly I don't think America deserves a birthday party this year." And then the news worsens with reports of mass shootings in Highland Park and Philadelphia and fires in Fort Worth...

Sunday, July 03, 2022

what could be

One more day at the reunion, and then we left for home a whole day early as Nu is (and hence we all are) in the midst of an unrelated crisis.

We managed to fit a lot into the 24 hours we were in YS, though. Peaches yesterday for reunion drinks, Glen Garden for flowers for Big A's mom with whom we were staying, Toy Company and Dark Star to keep Nu occupied, planned hangouts like the one pictured, and of course all the random running into old friends and neighbors. 

It's difficult not to feel a bit of nostalgia for the YS years and wonder...Will we ever move back there again? What might our lives have been like if we'd stayed?  

Saturday, July 02, 2022


In Yellow Springs, OH for Big A's high school reunion. I casually thought it was the 20th... but no it's the 30th!

Since we lived in YS (2008-2012), some are my friends too. But as the outsider, I was surprised by how much people remembered from 30 years ago. Everyone remembers Big A's infamous exploits (he'd have gotten juvie for his Ex-Lax cookies for sure these days!). But people were also saying to each other how kind people had been, how someone was the big sibling they didn't have at home, how they'd been made welcome although they were new in town. 

It was definitely a taste of the old YS--all the once high-schoolers in this picture from progressive, hippie, biracial, LGBTQ families or living near families who were--growing up in an environment like that must have been so formative for them. What it must have been like to take all of that for granted... 30 years ago. The person who went into the army right after high school said how he was asked if "gays should be in the military" and that he'd responded "gay people have always been in the military, maybe you didn't know it." These people must have pushed change in the world outside of their bubble.

Also: we've been having a bit of a tough time at home because of some teen behaviors/choices/consequences--this was a good reminder that high school isn't forever, and hopefully, we will just remember the mellow highlights in a few years.

Friday, July 01, 2022

Scout = Love

Surely no one deserves this much adoration... but it feels like Scout is giving me credit for being such a grown up today: getting Nu to multiple doc appts., taking multiple meetings, being supportive to Big A as he moves into his new office in WI, and rescuing all the plants in my office. 

Or maybe Scout's commiserating because I almost got my Bluey back. Bluey got busted when I hit that poor deer back in February, and has been in the bodyshop for a month (parts shortage, delay, etc.). They called to say Bluey was ready, but when Nu and I drove off down the street, all sorts of warning lights began to flicker--so we went back for a recheck. 

In any case, I needed an extra dose of love today, and Scout was right there for me.

Thursday, June 30, 2022


Nu is completing all the school assignments he missed when he was sick, and JG very kindly consented to be interviewed for the "life in the 1980's" segment. 

We'd had a gnarly start to the day where I suspected I'd have to take Nu to the E.R.; so I was particularly glad with how fun and normal the rest of the day actually turned out--first a long visit from JG and then winding down with the new season of Umbrella Academy after dinner.

Plus I updated details of vacation week as #LaterPosts!

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

All four present

I started the day with all my monkeys in a row at breakfast. 

A sunny moment in a day filled with other less fun duties. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

We're Back!

Relaxed, grateful, dusty, tired, frizzy, checked out, appreciative, super-tan, and worldly. Feeling all those things on this first night back from our week in Spain. 

It was exactly half the family (Nu, Big A, me) on the trip, while At stayed home with Scout and Huck. We (OBVIOUSLY!) invited At too, but he was kind of busy with organizing. We joked that At is afraid of being seen as the Bougie (not Boogey) Man. 

Feels so good to have Scout and Huckie curled on my feet, Big A on the other sofa, and the human kids in their beds upstairs...

Tomorrow I will work on Nu's educational, health, and therapy care, drop At back to his apartment, get ready for Big A to start his new job in WI come July, and catch up with ALL the work stuff I put aside for a week. 

But... right now feels... so good. 

(I'll update the past week from my travel journal as #LaterPosts when I get a chance.)

Monday, June 27, 2022


Seville. A leisurely, fancy breakfast with Nu to start the day. We marveled at the hotel's Covid precautions--each guest was given a pair of tongs, and everything from fruit to granola was parceled out in tiny jars to avoid contamination. Then we walked over to the Royal Alcazar and the cathedral after another stop for cafe con leche and a croissant for Big A.

Alcazar was beautiful. Much of the stone and tile ornamentation that had been removed from the Alhambra is in place here and the overall effect is lush and sumptuous. The scale is also quite a bit smaller that the Alhambra, as it seemed to be mostly residential rather than a fort. Again I'd have loved to wander around and get lost in the surprises and wonders at every turn. But Nu and Big A too seemed quite checked out, so we headed for the gift shop and then I headed off for some solo shopping after I parked them on the public benches in the city square.

I was done by noon and proud that I'd found a table for three at La Carmen where I thought we'd decided to have lunch--but it turned out that Big A had wanted to go to Casa Carmen. D'oh. And because I'm terrible with maps, a very grumpy Nu and Big A came to collect me. I was sorry to leave the nice place where the owner had kindly plied me with water and an on-the-house appetizer... especially when it turned out that the other place wouldn't open for a while. But we ended up at a nice restaurant and ordered a set of all-Spanish hits: olivas, croquettas, gazpacho, and paella. A small glass of wine for the grownups (and a small sip for Nu) to toast the end of our Spanish vacation.

I think we managed the week wonderfully, navigated all the small inconveniences and crises of travel skillfully, enjoyed each other's company and insights, and learned so much. I was happy and proud of us and told everyone so.

Next a very sleepy train ride back to Madrid, and quick walk in Retiro Park to wind down; then leftovers from lunch, ice cream, and thence to bed. 

Our flight back to the U.S. is at noon tomorrow.


Sunday, June 26, 2022


I kind of planned this whole trip around the wonderful world of the Al Andalus and the possibilities of convivencia and the historical evidence of people of different faiths and cultures living in peace and harmony. The Alhambra was everything I dreamed it would be--an explosion of bright, intricate design from floor to ceiling. The ceilings were especially detailed--vast as skies and symmetric and repetitive with motifs--I'd love to have something like that to gaze on--on sleepless nights. 

The Muslim palaces were simple on the outside, getting more luxe and ornate the deeper one went into the private areas; the Christian palaces were imposing on the outside and plain on the inside. Our guide was prone to saying things like "not all Muslims are terrorists" in an arch and noble tone, but was otherwise quite knowledgeable. 

Everything was such a delight: the softly burbling fountains, the formal meditative gardens, the private fruited courtyards... all with the maddening fragrance of jasmine, lilacs, and oleanders everywhere. I would have loved to wander around for a few more hours, but we had to catch our train to Seville. So after walking down the steep path to the city center for a handful of souvenirs, we headed back for our hotel and thence to the train station taking the slow train to Seville.


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Barcelona 2

We woke up early so we could get to the station early for our train ride to Granada: Six+ hours at 300+ kms/hour. Olive trees nearly all the way through. And I realized that this part of Spain is fairly arid--barely any rivers or lakes. A short walk from the station to our hotel, and then a lovely "linner" at the bar around the corner. Although last night's dinner was superlative, the very simple salad with tinned tuna and greens was a standout of the trip. 

When we went back to the hotel, it occurred to me how nice it was that at every hotel, they've had a third bed for Nu made up with neatly tucked-in sheets before we checked in. Today was the quiet and low-key center of our travel week: we'll go to bed early, knowing we can sleep in--if we want to.


Friday, June 24, 2022

Barcelona 1

Woke up in our futuristic space station-themed hotel room to a view of aeons-old surrounding hills. Big A watched a YouTube video to figure out why we were going around in an unproductive loop on the Eurail online pass--and he figured it out! Smooth sailing through all our other train reservations after this.

We had an early guided tour booked for La Sagrada Familia. Nu and I left early and walked around while we waited for the tour to start and Big A to show up after getting our train tickets. The tour started. Big A was in a taxi, but not there yet. When I asked the tour facilitator if we could wait a few minutes for Big A, I was told "He has lost his chance." I suspect we'll be quoting this for ages. 😂 I made up my mind to ask the tour guide a bunch of questions to delay our entry into the cathedral so Big A could join us. And then I screamed because someone ran up to me and whispered "Boo" in my ear. Big A!

La Sagrada Familia was more than I had even imagined. Even Nu was impressed. My sister remembered right away that I used to pore over a coffee-table book on Gaudi twenty years ago.... that's how long I've been waiting to see this. But nothing could prepare me for this ongoing, gaudy, excessive, earnest eruption of construction. And they have plans and reliefs all over the place, but the entire thing is a bonkers celebration of whimsy and religious fervor. 

It was a hot day, and we'd spent much of the morning outside, so after a tapas break we piled into a taxi back to the hotel for a siesta. While we were chatting with the driver he said that his favorite place in Barcelona was Park Guell, which was on our list for that afternoon--that made everyone in the taxi super happy. Post-siesta, however we found that tickets for the Park were sold out--so we peeked at what we could from the outside and headed to the beach. 

Beaches are my happy place, and the Mediterranean was particularly blue and mysterious. We left pink Big A in the shade of the promenade and Nu and I spent a long, long time walking on the pier and sitting in meditative silence by the waves. We had gotten news of the overturning of Roe and the possible domino effect on other personal protections at the start of the afternoon and that was weighing on me. Then began a string of texts from friends urging me to show up at the state capitol to protest.

It made me feel out-of-touch and selfish, but we had reservations for dinner, so we went. It was a small, earnest place that served us course after course of delicious, farm-fresh food for over three hours. And while we were wishing At had come too, he sent us a sweet picture of him at lunch with Grandma S who's visiting Lansing for a Banjo workshop


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Madrid ---> Barcelona

Breakfast buffet at the hotel, checked out of our room, checked our luggage at the front desk, and then off to the Prado. There was a line to endorse our online reservations, another to enter the museum, and another to be checked by security... but I'd do twenty more lines if I needed to for the Prado. 

There's no way to see and appreciate everything, so we made a list of essentials and started checking them off. We started off with Las Meninas (brilliant!), The Garden of Earthly Delights (fascinating and much smaller than I imagined), and a host of Rubens and Goyas. On the way, serendipity brought us sculpture gardens, Rafael, del Sartos, and so on.

Nu began to flag so we decided that Big A and Nu would head for the train station where they could rest and snack while I got another hour and a half to wander around. That was lovely of them and lovely for me. I found El Grecos, the Goya "Black Paintings," and then was blown away by this random find where I could see that A Portrait of a Girl with a Pigeon was the same model--only more grown up in Time Defeated by Hope and Beauty

Then I was wandering down the main hallway again and passed by the Las Meninas room again and spied the painting through two doorways--and it was absolutely breathtaking.The angles and light were so amplified, the dwarf's face the most defined of them all, the whole scene so chaotically domestic, and for a moment, it was like I was a part of that tableau--symmetrically contrapuntal to the courtier in the stairway who's also two doorways away. I just stood there for a while.

But I began to get some plaintive texts, so I headed to the train station to meet the fam--I didn't even stop by the gift shop. Got to the train station, drank the orange juice Big A had saved for me (they served the most amazing, freshly-squeezed juice everywhere!), went through security, got on our train, and traveled at 300kms/hour to Barcelona.

We ended the day with tapas in a lively city square filled with toddlers making friends, dogs ditto, fireworks (feast of St. John the Baptist), second-hand cannabis smoke, sangria, many plates of food, gelato from a nearby stand, and then off to bed.


Wednesday, June 22, 2022


Madrid is lovely--ringed by trees and hills and very pleasant 62 degrees. Our hotel room was ready by the time we showed up at 10 am and we were showered, changed, and ready to sort out our Eurail reservations at Atocha Train Station by 11. The Eurail stuff took longer than we anticipated although people were helpful--sadly none of us speak Spanish well. Big A nobly offered to stay in line and figure out the reservations while Nu and I took in the city. 

So Nu and I hopped on a tour bus. Sadly, I have to say the official tour of Madrid didn't speak to me--all the triumphal arches, statues, and royal excess were too redolent of deeply-layered colonial trauma for me. Then Nu fell asleep with his head on my shoulder. I enjoyed that and the evolving 20th century architecture of Gran Via and the bustling outdoor markets of the Mercado San Miguel where we hopped off to look for souvenirs.

By the time we met up with Big A at the hotel, no one had the energy to go out to dinner, so we felt silly, but ordered from the McDonalds around the corner. 


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

A tiny celebration (and an 'away' message)

Here's everyone! 

Happy reunion/belated Father's Day/end of current job contract, Big A.

I'm going sans laptop for a week--so I'll do #LaterPosts from my journal next week. 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

tiny celebrations

Loved this Louise Erdrich quote; I needed a reminder of sweetness and hope today. Life can be sweet even if it isn't so every minute. My reminders for today, yesterday, and tomorrow:

At UU today I learned that Opal Lee "the grandmother of Juneteenth" was 89 years old when she started the campaign to make Juneteenth (today!) a national holiday.

Last night when I called my dad to wish him for father's day, we talked for longer than usual, because he could hear me better than he has lately. That felt so lovely.

Big A will be back tomorrow, and we'll celebrate his Father's Day the day after that.

wild as me

night sticks in my throat growling, waits to see  what we pounce on next life slips by in a canopy  of breath, exhaling time ...scattering n...