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

Monday, May 20, 2024


I walk this earth 
as though 
I own those skies


daylight and delight
wet, velvety
evening and night 
Pic: Someone's home and everyone's happy, but Max is the absolute best at showing it! (I love the way he's wrapped his arm around Big A's wrist!)

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Six for Saturday

1) Drama in the morning! Nu and Max discovered some grey, eyeless, blobby newborns by the picnic table on their morning walk. We googled to learn that they were rabbit kits. We're not sure where the mama is, so we did as the article suggested and covered the kits in a tic-tac-toe pattern of sticks. If the pattern remains undisturbed in 24 hours, it means the mama did not/could not return to them and they'll need to be taken to an animal clinic. I hope these babies survive the next 24 hours--they seem so vulnerable and exposed. 

2) Another delivery: the new side gate arrived! Not only is it not made of rotting wood, but it is also bright red and looks so good against our blueberry-colored house. 

3) LB and I had a date in Old Town for some thrifting, boutique browsing, a stroll on the river walk, and brunch. I got some cheeky stickers and had dinner for brunch. 

4) It's the day of the MSU horticultural plant sale. We thought we were too late for it, realized we weren't, turned around, and brought back two cartloads of plants. I planted all afternoon long.

5) The neighbors are starting a community garden at the end of our cul-de-sac. I took some lilies from my MSU horticultural haul. I went in the dress and sandals I wore to brunch with LB, so I just stood there decoratively for a while taking pictures and airily suggesting where people could plant things. LOL.

6) I looked for tickets to the musical Six online to find they were all sold out. And then miraculously BOL called to pass on their tickets as they didn't feel well. But I was bone weary, had just taken a leisurely bath, and was looking forward to eating leftovers and relaxing--so sadly, I decided to pass them up. I wonder if I will kick myself for this decision tomorrow. 

Pic: Neighbors are hard at work while I was on my phone.

Friday, May 17, 2024


I think that was a solid vacation--it didn't feel "fake" to me at all. I had a lovely time, meeting people Big A works with was nice, and the kids did a terrific job of caring for themselves while we were away.

I made At breakfast like I used to in the olden times and we had a lovely heart-to-heart before they left to go back to their place. Big A is off as well--to Milwaukee to work with residents. We made sure to get some time today for a long walk, a soak, and yoga before he left.

JG and LB came over for tea. I love when I can get friends from different parts of my life together! I wanted to make them the watermelon tea I'd had at the Heard Museum cafe (green tea and muddled watermelon). But it was a hot day, so I went with watermelon juice instead (it was heavenly with some agave and lemon, I might add a scrape of ginger root next time). 

Nu has a sleepover to look forward to. And also presents from the trip, although they don't know it yet!

Pic: It's all a rush of green and water back here. At the Red Cedar rapids with Big A.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

mountain peak and a domestic peek

Another early morning hike. The peak was approx 2500 feet above sea level, with the last couple of turns like corkscrews. I caught sight of the steep pitch of the mountain and feared for my tender body slipping and crashing into boulders and cacti. I had a small panic attack, and then screwed my courage to the sticking place and carried on until I made it to the top. Big A was the perfect partner--promising to pick a careful path and offering to physically hold my hand but not pushing or coaxing me into doing it. It was cool and drizzly and spectacular when I got to the top.

We stopped at Del Taco (BEST DONUT BITES EVER) and then returned to our hotel room to shower, nap, and get to the airport for the trip home. 

When we got home, we opened the door to see all the sibs eating takeout and just hanging out together. It was a lovely tableau and a peek into how well "sibs' week" had gone.

Pic: From the top of Two-Bit Trail in the Phoenix Mountains this morning.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Mother's Day mess: It's a fine one, don't worry!

MIL was in town, so we had a big Mother's Day brunch like we used to have when we lived in Yellow Springs. I dug up some Lily of the Valley (just going bonkers in our front yard) for some pretty arrangements, baked spice cupcakes with lavender and rose petal frosting, and put together a row of salads people could nosh on by themselves or fold into something from the bread basket. 

(When I was planning this, I thought I'd have to make a trip to the store because we were nearly out of croissants, but then I put together an assortment of bread from the bread bin--bagels, sourdough, 21-seed--along with the last of the croissants and saved myself a trip. Plus it looked fancier. Plus things that needed to get eaten got eaten.)

I spent a lot of time at Scout's memorial (Scout was the OG mama's baby), finished a ton of garden maintenance, got a long soak, read for a couple of hours, chatted to post-shift Big A, and played sounding board to Nu (yes--it would be nice to make a get-well-soon card for your friend).

All that was really nice. But as I'd admitted when I was out with my girlfriends on Thursday, I was sad. At had told me earlier this week--after I'd asked a few times when to expect them on Mother's Day--that they'd be in Chicago to take in a concert. As I lamented to my girlfriends, it's on the calendar (the family one too) and I'd have been totally ok with it if At had just told me themselves ahead of time or if it were a trip for work or something. OR, the girlfriends said--if At had said they were going to attend a concert, but had made plans to celebrate with me another day. Ok, that too. 

Most of all, I disliked feeling like I was being high-maintenance or precious about Mother's Day--our plans are simple, usually we just spend time together in the garden. As it happened, At stopped by after the concert for a quick visit with a card detailing an elaborate plan for the 24th. It was as if my girlfriends had manifested this nice turn of events for me! So we have a M.U.M. Day (Make-Up Mother's Day) and yes, this too is something we've done before

Also: At said the concert sucked. 

Also: Don't even ask about Nu.

Pic: An "ussie" of me with the kids this evening: Huck, Max, At, and Nu on the other side of me.

Friday, May 10, 2024

a feast

There is a strange loneliness that descends at the end of a semester. There are all the goodbyes of the last day of class, commencement, putting various organizations into dormancy... and then, the solitary grading, and then the suddenly empty days. 

I hadn't realized I'd been missing people until the happiness of a full table at dinner tonight (CF is here for the weekend as are MIL+husband+puppy). 

I'm currently reading a book by a Persian-American (Daniel Nayeri's Everything Sad is Untrue) so I just threw a lot of Persian flavors into everything I made--preserved lemons and carrot pickle in with the chicken; Za'atar into the roast potatoes, handfuls of pistachio, rose petals, and cardamom into the cake mix!

My people were a feast for sore eyes! It was like a feast after famine! A love feast! A moveable feast!

Pic: The Red Cedar from the Eastward Walking Bridge with CF this afternoon. Sadly, this is not a picture of the amazing Aurora Borealis that played out across our skies while I was taking a nap with Huck and Max.

Thursday, May 09, 2024

it's old and faded now

Although we always felt some pity for her by that point in our visit 
when our Dorakanti grandmother would lament that though she'd yearned for daughters 
all her life, all she had been given were six sons 
and that was why she loved her granddaughters so much
my sister and I would remain stiff and unbending. 

We had heard that Dorakanti grandmother had been mean to our mother 
when she was a new daughter-in-law 
and that made her eternally unpleasant in our eyes. 

We were stiff as scarecrows inside Dorakanti grandmother’s embrace
stiff and unfriendly to the children from next door summoned to play with us
and our interactions with the special snacks made for us were cursory.

We paid attention when it was story time, but only silently
and only because it was dark and no one could see our eyes stirring to the story 
the punctuating “umms,” which were our duty as audience, needlessly parsimonious and slow.

Dorakanti grandmother’s stories were strange in that they never began with a “once upon a time.”
They all began, “in a place,” “in a village,” “in a town.” 
It was as if these stories where the prince fell in love with the princess 
after chancing upon just one filament of her preternaturally long and fragrant hair 
or where the young prince battled tigers to impress his mother
--as if these stupid, unnatural things had happened just a few weeks before we came to visit.

And at the end of the story when the prince married the princess 
or the young prince was crowned, there would be a big celebration 
and grandmother would launch her punch line:
“That was when they presented me with this sari,” she would say, 
holding her sari out for us to touch, hoping we would scoot closer to her. 
It’s old and faded now, but it was rich and shiny when they gave it to me.” 
And we’d reach for her sari politely enough, 
even knowing that our fingers would be snatched up and kissed, 
but we’d remain curled up around ourselves, my sister‘s hand in mine.

And although I'd will myself to fall asleep quickly
knowing dad would take us home the next day
I'd wake as grandmother stroked our limbs before she left the room
stretching each of our legs in the half darkness to their furthest length 
so we'd "grow tall in our sleep" and not take after her.

Pic: Max getting his zoomies out. All I have to say to this puppy I love so much is "I'm going to CATCH you, Maxie!" That's it, he'll play keep-away for the next five minutes. Scout played this way too, so I enjoy this on so many levels.

Monday, May 06, 2024

weirdness, madness, and freaking the eff out

Weird: I thought I'd gotten poison ivy on myself from digging up myrtle to transplant. I could feel the blisters forming because I saw those pointy leaves in clusters of five... until I remembered the rhyme was "leaves of three/let them be" and realized I was ok...  and wouldn't you know it, the blistering sensation went away by itself. What a psychosomatic weirdo. 

Mad: I've felt so strange all day with the news from Rafah. Online acquaintances have basically been saying goodbye because there is nowhere to go--this is where they were told to go to be safe! People in power (Egypt, Qatar, USA, Israel) in the meantime are offering/accepting/rejecting ceasefire terms. The dissonance is so huge. I'm grateful for Macklemore's release of their single, "Hind's Hallfor amplifying the issue. Is it great art? Is it even hiphop? But I ain't mad about that.

Pic: Freaking Out: Max and Huck in a prelude to what Big A calls "face-fighting" where they growl and groan and mouth each other's faces. They're playing--sometimes with toys--and they never clamp down or bite, but it freaks me out every time. 

Sunday, May 05, 2024

It's beginning to feel a lot like... Spring!

A full weekend! 

Lots of people: foraged for more morels with work friend TR; met Baby R with the whole gang of girlfriends today at lunch; celebrated At yesterday with the whole fam at dinner; chatted with LB, SM, JB, And JA at separate times when they stopped by; and got lots of FaceTime and phone-calls in as well.

Lots of yardwork: Big A and I worked for hours on the pond yesterday and today and are so close to closer being done. We both found the perfect place to find stone edging--Big A online and me from driving past the place on my way to work--and... it turned out to be the same place! I like working with Big A on this project. I guess we could have hired someone to do this work, but it was spend-y + I like that this way I will always remember us creating it together every time I catch a glimpse of it.

Pic: The backyard looks so green. I'm going to treat myself to a visit to the plant store tomorrow!

Saturday, May 04, 2024


Still feels unreal that At is now a 25-year-old, but we made it official with birthday biriyani, presents, and cake today. I think about all the versions of At and how much I love them all.

My love didn't falter even when At made us watch an Orson Welles documentary called Fake (I think! It had its moments, but I was so tired from continually being on my feet--for at least 12 hours by Big A's estimate--I had to frequently be nudged awake.)

Pic: At wearing some birthday presents (red rain jacket, silver hoops) and taking a bow before blowing out birthday candles. Nu, Big A, Max, and Huck are in there at varying levels of visibility too.

Thursday, May 02, 2024

cheers to 25 years

It's At's birthday and she turns 25! TWENTY FIVE! I can't believe my baby is that old (nearly 30, my mom said rounding up in her characteristically comic way last month, and we've all been quoting it to At all the time since). And what's more, I can't believe I've been a parent for that long. Goodness! Where does time go?

At is out with friends today (I had a brief and raucous phone call), so we'll celebrate at home on Saturday. 

In the meantime, I celebrated JG's return from her 12-week trip to Costa Rica and Panama (she brought me gifts!), LB's birthday (I brought her gifts!), the Child Advocacy Art exhibition opening (where I met so many lovely people who care about advocating for children), and (after a quick dinner with Nu, Huck, Max, and Big A) ended the day at a wonderful guest performance by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra with EM at the Wharton. The Mozart was comfortingly sublime and the Piazolla version of Vivaldi--which I'd not heard before--was energetically otherworldly. 

Walking home through dark and empty streets after the concert with the music still in my head and the smell of lilacs in the air, I felt quite drunk with contentment.

Pic: Child Advocacy Art Exhibition with JG, MZ, RM, TV, NP, and more.

Monday, April 29, 2024

when newness comes

so many mornings
winds are sighing
curving in prayer
commas to care

so many mornings
your words flood 
me, washing away
any origins of joy

but some mornings
I imagine just being 
a door flung... open
speaking  yes  easily
Pic: At, Nu, Max... At calling to Huck over her shoulder. #CherryTree(s)

Not pictured: Me at the very tippy-top of my league on Duolingo Arabic!

Sunday, April 28, 2024

oh, snap(shot)

Pic: I am well-loved tonight. Max and Huck are "hugging" me. 

Earlier this day, I tried to take a cherry blossom family pic outside, but the recent storms had already brought all the white blossoms down and our pink tree and Scout are, of course, missing.

But also: Nu built a bench to go by the new pond, Big A spent hours trenching (finally acceding) to my specifications, At stopped by for dinner--all shiny and dressed up--just as I took the pot of rice off the stove. Watching the kids clear up after dinner, their clearing-up choreography still aligned so seamlessly, reminded me of all the golden years we've had as a family.  

I'm grateful for these days of small kindnesses and great love.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

a night different from others: four answers to questions unasked

1) The MSU Gaza solidarity encampment moved indoors a couple of times yesterday because of storms but was back outside today. Morale is high. Lots of arts and crafts and some teach-ins about in-state weapons manufacturers. The university authorities have (wisely? cynically?) allowed the encampment to go on until Monday in the hope that many students will go home after graduation weekend. 

2) On Engie's recommendation, I'm reading Elizabeth Moon's Remnant Population and it made me want to reread Amitav Ghosh's The Nutmeg's Curse because of all the references to terraforming, so I am. Both books really pack a punch individually and in tandem. 

3) I've made a couple of shifts with writing projects that have helped. Firstly, instead of thinking I "have to..." I'm framing things as "I get to..." It makes a big difference whether I think "I have to finish my context notes and they're yet another actionable item on my list..." versus "My poems got accepted, I get to finish these context notes, yay!" Secondly, I'm trying to remember editors exist. Instead of obsessing over every possible nuance, I'm just going to turn things in and let the editors let me know if they want me to make changes. (Haven't actually done this yet; famous last words.)

4) Pic: Passover seder at our friends' tonight; Nu was relieved not to be the youngest at the table responsible for asking "the four questions."

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

my beautiful baby

 It has been a year. Some days it feels like yesterday, some days it feels like a distant dream of love.  

There have been tears every day, every day I've journaled has been tagged "ScoutDay." But I'm not racked by sobs as much as I was in the beginning, I don't wail and keen out loud in a way that terrifies the people I'm with. I'm more "civilized" in my grief. And in some odd way, I feel more love. 

Scout was a very special love. Something I haven't mentioned here before is how he was a champion for people. The only times Scout barked at people was if they were being too loud. Big A and Nu tend to yell when they get upset, and Scout would have none of it. As Big A said, when Scout barked at you, it was a reminder to tone things down.

I love you, my darling, my beautiful baby. I wouldn't change anything about our life together except wish it had been longer. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

puppy condo rules

Although I don't spend much time in there, our puppy "condo" is one of my favorite spaces. Max and Huckie dislike being in there by themselves (and Scout would complain SO MUCH), but it's nice for them to have a room in case a guest is uncomfortable around dogs, or they're wet, or got into something stinky. 

I like the puppy-centric art and the family pictures and all that--but my favorite part is the old mat that says "Wipe Your Paws." And I like that it faces outwards as if reminding those of us visiting to be respectful of the puppies' high standards for cleanliness. 

Pic: Max and Huckie pouting in their condo.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

the other one

I keep feeling like I'm missing something. Part of it is the usual anxiety of final grading and checking my sums a million times as I'm bad at numbers. 

But it's also a season of sadness and grief. I don't know how we've made it a whole year without Scout, whose anniversary is on Wednesday... 

The cherry tree blossomed and reminds me of organizing the family to take a picture every year. Last year's picture makes me sob

Last fall, a storm took out the pink cherry blossom tree, so it's like a note from the universe that things will never ever be the same again.

 Pic: White cherry blossoms against the sky. I miss our pink cherry blossom tree and the mix of pink and white across the sky.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

busy for a Saturday

Huck and Max were a bit lonely today. 

Nu was hosting six people for a sleepover and was way too busy for the littlest sibs. Amusingly brusque, as a matter of fact. It was a little glimpse of Nu as a host or perhaps a parent.

At was in Chicago for the Labor Notes panels. From the pic shared on family chat, I thought At was wearing a retro pantsuit--no, she was rocking a retro skirt-suit.

Big A was off to his 36-miler Barry Roubaix after a muffin-centric breakfast of champions.

And I was off to commencement--probably the happiest day in the academic calendar. I always clap for each of our ≈400 graduates, whether I know them or not. And then after the ceremony, we form a gauntlet for the graduates and it's just such a thrill and such a treat to see so many familiar faces from over the last four (or five) years and celebrate their big step up... and get goodbye hugs from some of them.   

Pic: In my robes for commencement. It always feels like I'm cosplaying as a medieval English cleric. Nicole had suggested angling up for full-length selfies. I guess this is an improvement from my previous selfie attempts as you can kind of see my plaid pants, but I need longer arms.

Friday, April 19, 2024

the kids are better than alright

I love how the the student protests on Columbia University's west lawn have grown despite the 100 arrests yesterday. I'm so moved by their celebrations of both Shabbat and Jumma this evening and exhilarated by the way the repression by school authorities is inspiring students on other campuses (UNC, Boston, CUNY, Yale, Princeton, Harvard, OU) to protest in solidarity.

Our own At is away in Chicago as an invited speaker at the Labor Notes conference. One panel is about "building a multigenerational movement for democratic unionism" and another is on "rebuilding the worker movement" by "salting" from the inside. At the Labor Notes conference, two anti-genocide protestors were arrested and then "de-arrested" after other protestors stood around the police vehicle and chanted for over two hours.

Pic: In the meantime, I attended (boo!) a fairly corporate event, but it was necessary and they were earnest and made me this personalized charcuterie board. (I don't eat salami (if that's what it is), but everything else was delicious.)

Saturday, April 13, 2024

coming along

After we dug a bigger pond in December, the weather got wintry, so we didn't get to work on it. But yesterday, we wrestled the pond liner (it weighed over 300 pounds!) into place and started filling the pond.

Today I spent nearly eight hours pulling the liner tight and anchoring it with dirt. This involved digging a trench alongside the outer wall, lifting and folding the liner, and then shoveling the dirt tight around it. I counted it as today's workout. 

Nu was with friends and Big A is in Milwaukee, so it was just Huckie, Max, and me. But it was SUCH A LOVELY DAY, it felt like a blessing to be outside.

It still looks pretty messy and I still have to find a way to edge it so the pond liner is hidden under more natural elements. Sometimes garden projects take years to look pretty, but I'm not known for my patience.

Pic: The sun smiling on my labors. I love the heart-like indent at the top of the pond. MSU dorms in the distance.

ugh edition

Alice Munro died... last week. I only just found out. Although it seems like she hadn't written since the Nobel Prize, I liked knowing s...