Showing posts with label Kidding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kidding. Show all posts

Monday, March 04, 2024

I march forth

It's only my fourth year of knowing my birthday doubles as "March Forth Day," but I'm carpeing everything I can out of the diem. 

It's the Monday after break, so there was tons to do. Plus, I had to send an overdue change of schedule postponing everything to both the publisher and editor. But I owned up and did that like a grown-up. Then I found some time to take myself out for a long walk and a long soak and read for an hour amidst my plants. 

Evening was dinner with the fam at Ruckus Ramen, and then back home for presents and cakes (pistachio-raspberry-lemon + a Whole Foods Chantilly cream with fruit as At is allergic to pistachios.)

I am ever so grateful for every minute of this. 

Pic: At's friend H took this picture of us (Big A, Nu, me, At). H also drew me a "three-legged cat" for my birthday, which I know I will hang on to for a while because... memories. 

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.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Hello, it is me I'm looking for

Today was mostly spent in what my dad would call a "funk." But I'm on my winter break and I'll funk if I want to.

I still managed to renew my Driver's License, arrange catering for a campus event next week, and finalize the speaker series for Women's History Month. 

I feel sad and helpless, and I told Big A that I was going to take my emergency prescription medication, but I didn't (I'm always "saving" it in case I have I bigger crisis). I drank a lot of tea instead, clung to him like a baby monkey, and then rallied to make up and make an amazing dinner (rice with arugula, five-color veggies + beans braised with miso, sesame oil, and nori). 

And then as a reward, I found birthday cards in the mail! They were such a sweet surprise and such a cheery pick-me-up.

Pic: Also immensely cheering, my fuzzy welcome committee. Max and Huck always pop up to say hello as I unlock the back door.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

in solidarity

Overwhelmed by the sacrifice of Aaron Bushnell, which I had barely begun to process yesterday.

 Heartbroken/Awestruck. 

What an empathetic, sincere, radical, and idealistic soul... What a lesson in being true to his conscience and his long history of mutual aid. He had recently been deployed to Israel as a U.S. airman, and I want to question why we're getting involved in the fighting rather than the peacemaking too.

Speaking of which, nearly 100,000 people in Michigan voted "uncommitted" today to challenge U.S. complicity in the Palestinian genocide... the goal had been to get 10K votes. I dislike how the media has painted this as an "Arab-American and Muslim" issue when it's really a humanitarian issue. So yes, Dearborn, which has a large Arab-American population, voted approx. 75% uncommitted, but Washtenaw, which has no significant Arab-American presence, also voted approx. 25% uncommitted. I don't have numbers for Ingham where Big A, At, and I voted. The "Listen to Michigan" campaign was started just about three weeks ago, so this is impressive.

Aaron Bushnell's sacrifice and the uncommitted votes are also a hopeful sign of humanitarian solidarity and moral clarity for me. It is difficult to go on day after day knowing we're actively vetoing ceasefires and sending arms to kill civilians but having to act like everything is normal.

Pic: I was at work today, and wanted to get a closeup of the "touchstone" LK made me--it is actually beautifully planed wood with copper insets that are almost like constellations. But then I got a bit distracted by the sunlight filtering through my office plants. The "toys" are a miniature Freedom Rider bus that KB gave me from her visit to the Legacy Museum and an auto-rickshaw my mom gave me after Nu and I had an adventure in one last year. 

Sunday, February 25, 2024

that's what they said...

I love when we're at dinner and random stuff comes up. Hilarious accidental texts, work wins and woes, getting into AP classes, general advice in both generational directions, stories about parents, "do-you-remember-whens," hair compliments, everyone making the same joke about Nu's American Idiot tee at different times, Huck and Max going crazy for samosa wrapper crumbs, everyone finding different ways to warn me not to succumb to AI-generated grief tech to deal with the anniversary of Scout's passing, plans for the week, the barely-contained excitement about my upcoming birthday... 

I love these people so, so much and am so grateful for this life with them.

Pic: A big, squeezy hug at the end of dinner. Nu, Big A, At.

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.

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.

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

Monday, January 29, 2024

the sisterhood of the caring hearts

I turned in my CASA report today ahead of my deadline. (I feel like a true grownup for not waiting until the last minute.)  

The kids in this particular case are very young and also extra affectionate and it's truly a delight to be around them. I couldn't meet the kids during the day because we were hosting a campus visit for one of our Writing Center Director candidates, so I met the kids at their therapist's this evening. While I was getting an update from their therapist, the eight-year-old and then the five-year-old came up to tell us that we looked "just like sisters."

It made both of us chuckle because their therapist is a very white lady with short hair and we look nothing alike. And then the kids looked a bit confused we didn't agree. The only thing the therapist and I have in common is that we are both safe adults who show them love and care. I wonder if that made us look "just like sisters" to these little ones who don't have enough safe adults in their lives.

Then that thought depressed me for a while. Kids deserve so much more.

Pic: I was invited to jump this "Ninja" course. I don't think I got it right even after many patient demonstrations.

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. 

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.

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. 

I march forth

It's only my fourth year of knowing my birthday doubles as  "March Forth Day," but I'm carpeing everything I can out of t...