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

Sunday, September 24, 2023

It is told


I cast stones, follow them down
with my eye
everyone loves a happy ending 
                                                        a memory of my father, hand raised
                                                        to give me 
                                                        a high five or a hug or a wave hello 
the child irrevocably lost somewhere 
although only 
in books and movies and video games 
                                                       doesn't everyone love a good story?
                                                       even when 
                                                       it runs off inexplicably like water?
frequently, I too have taken to a bed 
planting crops
in the soft dust of worlds being born
------------------------------------------
Day: I didn't leave home today. I attended UU online, graded online for hours, read for hours, gardened and walked in the yard for hours, Nu met friends for dinner and was gone for hours, and then R stopped by to give me a massage--for one hour. I think that was the high point of my day. Spent some time being miffed with Big A, and that was the low point. (Raced through Jessamine Chan's School for Good Mothers and now am deep into Zadie Smith's The Fraud.)

Pic: Max and Huck at sunset yesterday. Golden hour; golden babies.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

company song*

the glasses fall
they bleed their wine 
our stories agree
on paths of memory

we're at last call 
see banter and comfort 
touch everyone
and as we're nearly done 

I thank you, all
you aimed for music 
told the song
of where we may belong 
-----------------

*Note: A ditty Nu helped me make as we put away last night's party. 

Pic: A handsome frog sunning himself at our pond. No kisses or crown needed.

Friday, September 22, 2023

"full hearts, can't lose"

Dinner party at our place this evening. My standing 2:00 pm EPC meeting got canceled, so I happily cooked from 1:30 to 6:00. I made too much food as usual, but was able to send people home with take home boxes. 

Lovely people, terrific conversations, and a happy evening. Nu had requested that they be excused as soon as they'd eaten, but they stayed at the table all evening because they were enjoying themselves. (I guess we teachers know how to talk to young people!)

Pic: Taken by VV, in whose honor this gathering was. While I'm posting just a screenshot here for other people's privacy, everyone looks lovely in it. (Except me--in black at the head of the table with Big A--I was saying "wow" and look hilarious. Ha.) 

Thursday, September 21, 2023

how they grow

My heart grows full. I feel really connected to my classes (ahead of schedule even... usually it's around midterm before I announce how much I love my students to the fam)

An old student announced a major career win on FB, and when I added my congratulations, they thanked me and commented, "your courses and kindness did a lot to shape my goals." That felt so wonderfully validating to hear--a reminder of good things I did in the past and hopefully will again. Also because when I think of this student one of the first things I remember is their kindness and brilliance. 

Pic: Max after he treed a squirrel (Kylo, I think). And just like that (IYKYK), Max looks like a big kid. There's still some puppy in his eyes and that infantilizing (yellow with polka dots!) harness Big A got him, but mostly grown up. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

an unfolding

I have been dreaming of people
invisible mountains I exhaled 
into existing

twisting, quickening and though 
short-lived as grass, are seeds 
spiraling in space

are tendrils--of time and desire
opening and expanding
nodding, knowing

a  presence  here to make up for
an absence there, everywhere
the whims of distance 

I... wonder at the un-being before, 
after--the gasp of busy-ness now
marks how life slips by 
---------------------------------------
Note: I did not expect when I started writing that in writing about the space we occupy, I would slip into--and invoke--ideas of galaxies. I think some of this came from dreaming last night--vividly--of people who were important for a season but I may never see again. And I miss Scout so much... my irrational search for him certainly spans every interpretation of "heavens."

Pic: I found this perfect and early autumnal tree in the grocery store parking lot!

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

"as bright as ten million suns"*

Ganesha Chaturthi today (basically, Ganesha's birthday)! I'm not super religious, but I do find joy, peace, and solace in celebrating the rituals I was raised with.

It was a teaching day, so I moved pooja until after work. I always fast on Ganesh Chaturthi until I can break my fast with the pooja offering, so it did mean that I fasted all day. It was extra interesting because I brought pumpkin cake and almond pastries to work to celebrate. 

But I survived hunger (and temptation), came home, made dinner, made a prasad-and-fruit-plate for pooja, had a peaceful pooja, and a nice dinner (and later cuddle) with the fam. 

#AdventuresInPracticingAMinorityReligion. There's a new Michigan bill that would make more minority religious holidays official state holidays. I appreciate how considerate that is, but also, the religious observances in Hinduism are so numerous, I doubt it it'll make more than a dent. Ha.

* Title: I love the sloka that compares the brightness of this god of beginnings to "ten million suns."

Pic: Huck and Max planning to take naps on me. (And yes, we got a third couch for the rumpus room so we can all sprawl a little more.)

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Why now?!

"Why now?!?" I asked BOL on our walk. Last year this time: Big A was working far away from home; Nu was in a difficult place; and I was trying to manage it all. My sadness would have made more sense then. I have to say I feel a bit blindsided and bewildered that I feel sad now. 

BOL said I was probably too busy putting out fires to let myself feel my feelings last year, and that they're coming to the fore precisely because I have some breathing room now. That immediately made so much sense to me, I told them they should be a counsellor or something. (They are a counsellor; so we laughed about that.)

Pic: Baker Woods with BSL this afternoon.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

kindling

I needed something. I can't be Mx. Congeniality at work, earth + den mother at home and then all mopey all the time on my own time. 

So as of today I have a new book (Zadie Smith's The Fraud), a new show (Sweet, Kaaram, Coffee), and a new language on DuoLingo (French, which I took last in high school) to help me reset my spate of mopey days. 

Big A is taking a pre-work nap after our lovely meal with AH and SD and Nu is off to movie night at a friend's. I have the house to myself for the first time in what seems forever to cuddle with Huck and Max and kindle something new to get me out of my rut. 

Pic: Max + the firewood and kindling we got out of the two trees that fell into our backyard in last month's storm. When life gives you downed trees, make firewood... or something like that.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

the things we (don't) carry

1) This morning as I was getting ready for work, my eyebrow piercing tinkled onto the bathroom counter. I instantly realized what it was and I felt such a profound sense of... relief. There was no mistaking it. It was relief. I got bilateral eyebrow piercings just about a year ago and went down to one about six months ago. I liked my piercing, and I thought it made me look and feel tougher. I'd wanted to get one since about 1997, so I'm glad I finally got to try it. Absolutely no regrets. But I don't think I'm putting it back in.

2) Max had his neutering surgery yesterday. I know it's the right and responsible thing to do and all that. But at the same time it feels like we made a decision for him and that part makes me uncomfortable. My very irreverent kids were making jokes about "twin balls" and yesterday's date--that also made me uncomfortable.

3) I have a wardrobe overfull of decades of clothes I could technically wear, but rarely do. And I never seem to have time to devote to a proper cull.  What has been working for me is to fill one donation bag every day. I just walk around shopping in my closet for stuff I think someone else might like and I'm finally freeing up some space (and sometimes rediscovering long ago favorites). 

4) It feels like I carry sadness--it's like a barrel my arms barely meet around--with me lately, and I wish I could put it on the things-not-to-carry list as well. Some of it is missing Scout and some of it is generalized worry about the other kids, my parents, deadlines, global poverty, the climate crisis, our finances, and so on and so on. But mostly it feels inexplicable, incessant... and exhausting.

Pic: JN's "giant vagina." JN made this when Michigan rep. Lisa Brown and then Senator Gretchen Whitmer performed The Vagina Monologues on the state capitol steps after Brown was barred from speaking in the senate because she had referenced her vagina. JN's sign had been hanging in the lobby of the local Planned Parenthood, but is now back with JN and is her latest piece of lawn art. We toasted to it this past weekend.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

take it easy

Already slowing down as I promised myself. And taking it easy. Theme sound tracks courtesy The Eagles; and also from Kadhalan (I'm always trying to translate this song and its references for my kids).

UU this morning after many weeks... Big A came with me, Nu didn't. I guess that at nearly 16, they get to decide if they want to go services or not. I always swore I would let my kids decide what religious practices they wanted to adopt, and I guess I get to show I meant it. I'm grateful that they're happy to do all the culturally relevant stuff like rakhis or Diwali... for now, anyway.

Nia at UU was water-themed and lovely. Also lovely was being able to add drops from the sea at Pondycherry to the communal column of water. The quiet moments brought a lot of thoughts of Scout and tears. I wonder if being away from UU was less about Nu wanting to sleep in and more about me not being ready to sit in silence with my thoughts.

After months of forgoing massages, I think l've got a schedule set up with RR who can make house visits. I hope I honor this commitment of wellbeing, time, and $$ to myself. I'm remarkably low maintenance with hair (Supercuts) and products (drugstore) so splurging on massage makes sense in my head. 

 Pic: Max, Huck, Big A, Nu, and At. Dinner with the fam! I miss At the burly labor organizer, but love the new look too. I pulled my chair away from the table this time to get Huck and Max in the frame.

Saturday, September 09, 2023

game on

Saturday is chore day around here, so after I watered and tended to the zillion (rough estimate) indoor plants, vacuumed, put away laundry, and cleaned, Big A and I set off for what we thought would be a long, chatty walk. 

If we'd been the least bit interested in American football, we'd have known that MSU had a home game today. After a summer of basically having all of campus to ourselves, we were startled to see a football stadium's worth of people pouring out of every street and building. I mean, it's their campus, not ours--but it didn't stop us from feeling somewhat affronted. Ha. 

And then I decamped to go do things with friends. As Nu hugged me goodbye as I was leaving, they dolefully asked if they were having dinner without me again (I got home late after student activities yesterday too). I felt momentarily guilty, but Nu and Big A take any evening I'm gone as a mandate to order junk food they love, so I know they actually have a great time. 

I had a great time with two sets of girlfriends too. 

Pic: We're pretending to be mannequins because we were all dressed up and there was this empty storefront. It's too bad the glare ruined the concept a bit, but I still love how fabulous the voluminous salwar suit my aunt gave me when I was in India looks. 

Thursday, September 07, 2023

my busy-ness

All my teaching days feel long this semester, so I'm going to stop thinking/saying that because it's not helpful. It is super helpful that Big A (and Nu) have dinner ready and the table set by the time I walk in through the door though. 💗

I'm grateful for the vacation weekend and a super busy social weekend coming up, but it does make everything feel a little more breathless and non stop. I'm going to prioritize some quiet and relaxation next week. (Promises, promises.)

I finally started giving people the gifts I brought them back from India and I feel like such a September Santa. And I finally washed the suitcase of clothes from my India trip. For the record, I returned nearly a month ago--but at least the backlog is getting addressed? Also: I'm all caught up with early grading and I managed to tuck in a walk with JG (and even VV who joined us halfway) into today--so yay me?

Pic: I'd planned to use a pic of Max post his first haircut today, but Maya proposes and Max disposes and all that--so instead, here's a picture of Max back from his latest "project" in the backyard.

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

"but Murugesha, Murugesha; do you have a trunk?"

This is officially a crazy story. I hope to do it justice.

A month ago, my old advisor at Oxford posted a sweet photo of herself at the door of her office on the socials. It reminded me of all the times I'd shown up at that office excited about an idea or terrified about exams and seeing her open that same door with that same welcoming gesture. I "loved" it obviously. She mentioned that a visiting cousin had taken that photo and I asked her privately if that cousin was from my part of the world (the name didn't sound like it was from hers). The cousin was indeed from my part of the world, and my advisor mentioned that her husband's aunt had married a South Indian cricketeer named Murugesh. 

Now Murugesh is a fairly common name, but the first time I heard it was because the person succeeding my dad at this one position in Vizag four decades ago was named Murugesh. And the only reason I've remembered that was this: Murugesh and his family would soon be occupying the beautiful company house with a full house staff and fancy furniture after we left. There was one table though that had turned a bit rickety, and we had shoved a trunk under it to stabilize it... but of course we'd be taking that trunk with us when we moved away. My dad made up this song about all the stuff the new family would enjoy in the company house, the final line of the song was "but, Murugesha, Murugesha; do you have a trunk?" (For the rickety table, LOL.) It had a catchy tune and we thought it was hilarious and over the decades, we'd sing a snatch of that song and laugh when it came to "but Murugesha, Murugesha; do you have a trunk?"

Back to the present: I asked my dad if Murugesh had been a cricketeer; he had. I asked my advisor if her cousin's dad had worked in Vizag; he had. It was the same Murugesh! (My dad had added an extra syllable to M's name for some old-timey flavor.) And then a spate of emails via my advisor about memories of that house, neighbors, romances that had transpired between the new family and our old neighbors, and then sharing the famous (in our family) song. (And yes, it was summer, but my advisor is a very busy academic with talks to give and books being published and whatnot... she was so kind to facilitate this discussion.) And because I happened to be visiting my parents when my advisor was emailing back and forth about this, it gave us so many nostalgic things to recall and enjoy. 

When I was six years old, I did not know that I would connect with the protagonist of my dad's song over 40 years in the future...

Pic: I couldn't find a pic of Woodroffe House in Waltair Uplands. But this is a picture of Waltair Club home to many childhood shenanigans and whose verandah kinda looks like Woodroffe. 

Monday, September 04, 2023

Ugh! Anyway! Onward!

Yesterday, as I packed my toiletries for this trip, I was congratulating myself on my foolproof method (a dedicated travel case with sample sizes, adding stuff like medication, foundation, etc. in as I used it the morning of travel). While getting ready for bed last night, I discovered that I didn't have a single tube of toothpaste or sunscreen or anything as I'd left the whole thing sitting on the bathroom counter.  Pride goeth before a fall, indeed. (I was able to borrow generic toothpaste and blindingly white sunscreen from the fairer-skinned members of my family.)

I got a very nice walk in the early dark with Huck and Max and some lovely pictures at sunrise this morning. Then I woke up Nu and Big A and we got showers and breakfasts and got on the ferry and then on the road before things got too crowded. 

I kept seeing puppies in the clouds on our way home--someone told me that when that happened it was Scout coming to visit... it was certainly a sky full of Scout and his friends today. It's my Boss Day, and Scout always got so excited when people sang the Boss Day song, so it seems apropos. 

When we made the reservations for this trip back in March, we expected to travel with Scout. When I had that t-shirt made with Scout and Huck's pictures on it for Big A last Christmas, little did I know we wouldn't have Scout with us for the next one... How unpredictable life is... it's no wonder I've been having more anxiety attacks lately. Ugh! Anyway! Onward! (I should embroider this somewhere as my motto.)

Pic: On the ferry back from Mackinac Island. I like this picture, because I can see Big A and Nu and me... and also Huck and Max on the floor and Scout's picture on the edge of Big A's t-shirt. (Also, I feel like a shiny insect in these sunglasses. And also, I cut my hair myself just before school started and think I did a good job.)

Sunday, September 03, 2023

"island in the sun"

Big A has biked over a hundred miles every day for the past four days, we're doing our part by waiting for him in at a resort on Mackinac Island.

A teensy labor day weekend vacation for us. We've sampled the requisite fudge and taffy, admired the gorgeous views, and smelled the horse poop (cars aren't allowed on the island, so horse-carriage taxis and drayage are the mode).

Vacations are good for everyone. I haven't seen Huck this excited and animated in a while; Max barfed in the car and is afraid of horses, boats, stairs, people who look at him the wrong way, etc. but enjoys each  adventure; Nu has dubbed this "horse-shit island" and has claimed they will never return here, but is full of jokes, confidences, and ideas. I owe an editor a bibliography, but I can find it tomorrow when we're back.

Pic: Lounging: A happy Huck, a mopsy Max, and a nonchalant Nu.

Saturday, September 02, 2023

summer retreat

every morning I try to learn
it's my  errand  as the  sun goes blind
I become  the  day's drama
the music of birds; the silence of birds

I've hammered desire into 
some general  theory of dispossession
shredding the faces of flowers
until they become a synonym of before

It is a question of attention
an experiment to re-turn these directions
to trust--quick--desire as true
pause as I pour more love into the world
__________________________________
Pic: Max discovers the hideout of Kylo, the black squirrel who regularly taunts the puppies. There's a train behind the tree-line too.

Friday, September 01, 2023

a DALMAC house

Big A is doing the DALMAC, the multi-day camping bike tour from Lansing to Mackinaw Island. He left yesterday, and the first stop on the tour is near the town where I teach. It's so silly, but we were SO EXCITED TO MEET at school this morning and I walked him to the water fountain so he could fill his water bottles. We hugged and held hands all the way and then kissed behind a pillar. 

There was practically no one around at 7:50 am, but in retrospect, this still seems silly. I have no idea why we're like this or when we're going to stop being silly and embarrassing.

Pic: A selfie Big A sent me at the start of the ride yesterday. I think he looks so much like his baby picture in this!

Thursday, August 31, 2023

until 2037

I heard the next super blue moon will happen in 2037... that seems like a very long wait. I tried (and failed) to get good pictures last night.

But as I waited for Nu's school bus (not with them, god forbid... I waited a respectful, nonchalant, and unembarrassing twenty paces away), all this loveliness just showed up.

Pic: Yesterday's super blue moon at sunrise this morning.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

celebrations

It's EM's birthday! It's my dad's birthday! AD is in remission! It's a blue moon! It's a blue moon and a super moon! It's raksha bandhan! 

After work, I was in and out of the house all evening taking soup to AD and pastries and presents to EM (whom we celebrated over dinner last week). Many folks do all this commuting everyday with their kids' activities and sports and... wow. It's a lot.

Our rakhi days are different from everyone else's. This year, only Nu is wearing their rakhi on their wrist; At is wearing theirs on their ankle (work doesn't allow bracelets), and Huck and Max are wearing theirs on their collars. The kids--human and canine--have been tying on rakhis and promising to protect each other for as long as I can remember. But the years are distinct. This is Max's first; we missed Scout. I looked back at last year's celebration, and it feels like a different pandemic world!

After dinner, we called my dad to serenade him with birthday songs and then went outside to look for the blue super moon. My city kids (pointing at a distant streetlight) "Is that it?" (Face palm.)

We finally found it later and higher in the sky--so, so lovely!

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

at night when

I walk  past  our  house 
again and again... again
with  our  dogs, actually 
silent  blue  super moon 
close  enough  to  touch 

I feel a bit like... a ghost
on the outside I can feel  
only flowing and falling 
the swallowing of places 
like  I'm  not  even  here

our windows like pages 
in a picture book, maybe
a  passage  from  a novel 
this bloom in your voice 
as I finally open the door

Pic: Nu, Max, Big A, & Huck. These guys! Being so cute when I returned from a long day of teaching. 
High: seeing new and familiar faces in class. + Being able to remember the names of a hundred or so new students. 
Low: Saying goodbye to JD, a dear colleague-friend who's moving to U of M.

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...