Showing posts with label Michigan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michigan. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

how CAN the kids be alright?

Nu had just raised their hand to answer a question in Spanish class; I'd just landed in my office and poured myself my first cup of tea. And then both of us got the news that Nu's school was on lockdown due to an active shooter. 

I've lived in fear of this since Sandy Hook, but there's no preparing for this kind of call from the school. Thankfully, it turned out to be a hoax. And everyone's okay.

But as I canceled my classes via email and sped to the church where families were supposed to pick up their kids, I kept thinking of this morning when we'd run a little late and Nu had to sprint to make the it on to the school bus... I kept wondering if I'd be wishing they hadn't made it on to the school bus. 

I guess there's always a low-key anticipation of this happening if you live in the U.S.. I remember not sending the kids back to school until well into the new year after Sandy Hook, although I didn't seem too bothered by a gun incident in a neighboring school district last month. The other time I had to pick up the kids due to a gun threat was when they were at ecocamp together.

This is a messed up way to live. I couldn't bear to be apart from Nu for the rest of the day after I picked them up... and I got absolutely no work done... Tomorrow, I'll make up for it tomorrow.

Pic: Students gathered in the football field from a news article.

Monday, February 06, 2023

un-Monday

It felt a bit like I was playing hooky today. 

After I dropped Big A off at the train station and my precious Bluey car off at the dealership for battery updates, L picked me up and we headed to Ted Black Woods for a hike. It was beautiful but super icy, so I was glad L had brought trekking poles for us to use... they saved me from wiping out so many times and made me feel like an all-weather champ. I'm wondering if I should put trekking poles on my otherwise empty birthday list...

I was back by 10:30 to hold meetings and work online for the day, so I got some stuff done. But I did spend nearly two hours stressing that the courtesy shuttle wouldn't pick me up in time for me to pick up Nu and then panicking when it didn't, so there was wasted time. The driver who finally picked me up in the nick of time was third-generation Lebanese and I enjoyed our talk about diasporas. (I asked him about the audio book he'd turned off when I got in--books are such a passport to conversation!)

Back home things fell into dinner, kid time, and class prep mode, but it still feels like an atypical Monday and a bit unsettling. It's not helping that I can't stop humming Young the Giant's "The Walk Home" with its lonely heartbreak and its messy homage to the wind telephone.

Pic: L's sneak pic of me using her poles at Ted Black Woods.

 

Sunday, February 05, 2023

tall portents

trees make me feel small 
and immense all at once
each connecting me to all
--the rich darkness of roots

under my breath I'll call
for a spring into existence
from extinction in leaf fall
--secretly yearning to be lost 

_______________________

Pic: Baker Woods with Big A.
 

Saturday, February 04, 2023

a time for ice hockey



Into the woven silence--shouts
--like applause in the quiet 
of song just ended 

O these joyful, prayerful wars 
--ice in the curve of a river
smiles up at the sky






Pic: The Red Cedar is frozen solid; when we rounded the corner, MSU students were playing ice hockey on it.

Friday, February 03, 2023

and so we abide

I've so crossed so many rivers this day
some over and over as night falls 
clouds scattering like children 
to a preferred rendezvous 

with you I mark the present of now 
rippling like the joy shining 
from syllables of a song 
just half recalled

and above all, the shock of welcome 
the glacial startle of kindnesses
that engulf what I've become
on this other side 
--------------------------------------------------------------
Pic: Red Cedar River/Beal St. Bridge

Thursday, February 02, 2023

"I could have danced all night"

I woke up feeling so light and unburdened because of Big A's job moving back to Michigan. And I've been dancing on air all day.

Big A started doing the budget and has been very gloom and doom, but nothing will bring me down. Financially speaking, we were not where we're expected to be before, and we won't be there now... or for a long time--but those precise details won't really impinge on our daily life and happiness. 

Pic: Scout and Huck super excited to see Nu off at the school bus stop. I feel like this too (about the move back to MI, not the school bus).

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

"a good-good day"

We've had such a grey start to the year, so when I saw the sun come up this morning, it already felt like the start of a good day...

Then... I acted on my impulse (and the lovely Nicole's encouragement) and auditioned for Sistrum, the Lansing Women's Chorus today. I'm in! (I think they take everyone who wants to sing 🙂.) 

And then... Big A signed the contract with a Michigan-based hospital! It'll take him until the next academic year (July) to transition out of Medical College of Wisconsin, but he'll be back at home full-time after that! Huge pay-cut and all, I'm so ready for this!

Pic: Sunrise through our only eastern window. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

blooms, fumes, and news

Yesterday when I was making an offering plate to take to the temple with At, I couldn't find a single bloom. The paperwhites and hyacinths that were so heady a couple of weeks ago were all past their prime. A new batch of paperwhites I'd started had grown very tall and then very floppy, but haven't produced any blooms. I ended up taking silk flowers and fruit to the temple... Today, my Christmas amaryllis (from LB and TB) is blooming in the tea garden! Long may it bloom.

I must remember to ask Nu if they want me to listen or problem solve when they start fuming. Nu has an ambitious essay project, whose working title is, "the undersupply of creativity in alternative music cultures under capitalism." It's a wonderful topic and I've listened to Nu share ideas about it for months now, but it may also be a bit too much for a fifteen-year-old who's struggling at school to accomplish on a timetable and according to a rubric. They're currently mad at their teacher, and I didn't help matters by intervening to say that actually, the structure and strategies their teacher proposed seem relevant and reasonable.

A long teaching day with bits of sparkly news: AH, a student from last term, stopped by to say they'd taken the Howard Zinn quote in my email signature to frame their senior dance presentation; KS, my independent thesis student, was named as a Fulbright finalist; students I nominated for the Barlow award have been shortlisted. (Those students have turned around and asked for me to write their reference letters, which I'm honored to do... But of course it does mean more to do.)

And--TA-DA--at the end of the day, I got to pick Big A up from the train station! Nu had already gone to bed, but Scout and Huck are thrilled he's back from Wisconsin (or "Piss-consin" as the puppies call it disrespectfully because they resent that he has to be there so much). 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Last (of) Christmas

We'd missed At two weekends in a row--the first because there was camping with college friends and then the rest of us went to Yellow Springs for Christmas #2. So it was really nice to have At visit twice this weekend.

There was dinner and chatting and watching the first episodes of The Last of Us, which both Nu and I remember watching At play as a game in a different mode of life. I remember how excited At was to show me how in that particular post-apocalypse vines took over the insides of buildings, thinking it would be an aesthetic I'd enjoy. How hard that child had tried to share something they enjoyed (video games) with me! I wish I'd spent longer slung out in those chairs in that childhood bedroom taking it in instead of rushing on to whatever else I'd thought was important. 

Today there was a temple visit, red envelopes from Lunar New Year, and grandparents' Christmas presents to pass on. Someday, no doubt, even this fleeting drop-in will seem a highlight of past life. 

Pic: Scout helping At open his presents from the Grandma S and Grandpa J.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

"Hello? Is it me you're looking for?"



Hello, dear deer... I'm sorry there isn't a lot of tasty stuff outside right now, but I noticed you were grazing on something, and you're welcome to whatever you found.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

no balance

Morning: A long visit with the CASA kids I advocate for.

Evening: A long dinner with At, Nu, Scout, and Huck.

My heart sore from thinking about Tyre Nichols calling for his mother. 

My back sore from shoveling our long driveway free of snow. 


Thursday, January 26, 2023

winter #76519

winds search me head to toe
volant, a waterfall of sound
their coldness is everywhere 
but also--so patient with me 

I listen: they tell me everything
dumb once upon a winter time
so loudly, intending to alert all
my personal emergency systems
-------------------------------
Pic: The backyard from the upstairs landing. It almost looks like a black-and-white picture... except for the pillows that I always fail to bring in every year...

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

So Much Snow!

A neighboring school district had a snow day (they had a gun incident yesterday, so may have taken this as a reprieve) but Nu had school and so did I.

Lots of shoveling though. Big A was prepping for his grand rounds lecture tomorrow, so I did the honors (without the benefit of the snowblower as I've never learned how to work it). We have a really nice shovel that makes things easy, but I was nevertheless sweat-soaked by the time I finished. It was so satisfying to look up the driveway and see how neat my work was.

I'm currently reading two novels, and it's a bit weird. I'm almost done with the new Kingsolver, Demon Copperhead, (which is in itself a take on Dickens' David Copperfield) but I dipped into OM's The Dream Builders and couldn't put it down, so I'm about halfway through that too. I guess I was curious if there were any versions of me in OM's novel... Ever since I found what I thought was a reference to me in an Amit Chaudhuri, I've been curious/wary. I just reread that nearly 20-years-ago post and realize many Indian girls would probably fit that description.

Pic: Trellises with scoops of snow in the back garden.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

book talk

to move out of no and never
look up to the untold 

It feels as if we've already 
lived forever

made the eternal arguments 
a hundredfold 

friend, tether me with books
cover me with pages

mix me in the breathlessness
of these mistakes

turn me to light and lightness
learn me to be courageous 
---------------------------------------
Pic: Books for reading groups at work this term. The first discussion was today at the President's house. Usually, a book that describes students as "consumers" would make me ditch it, but I had to read it so I did. Small colleges like ours are likely to go the way of the afternoon newspaper (i.e. into oblivion) if we don't innovate. Fair. We'll need to do that, however, without losing our idealistic core--our conviction that education impacts and improves lives and that learning to learn is the best form of future-proofing for our kids. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

Gong Xi! Gong Xi!

EM's cute story when she dropped off treats this evening (we got home too late yesterday with the snow delay) was that she used to think that "Gong Xi! Gong Xi!" meant "money! money!"

Nu is flush with cash, just having received some Christmas money, but was already counting the red envelopes to come.

Grateful for yet another new year, and grateful for friends who treat my kids like family. 

Friday, January 20, 2023

road trip talk

words walk away; walk me back
tangling and untangling the past
I look to the sky; birds don't care--
they sing wordlessly anyway 

you look for proof, for guarantees
I have only sympathy, agreement--
we're now the rain's own drum beat
a storm announced on this journey 

but we're in charge of where we go,
when we stop--our talk is like a trip--
is that insight? It feels like a lightbulb
in the sudden pop of the sun overhead 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

double bubble

The reflection of the graffiti doubled how colorful that patch of the bridge looked as L and I came around the bend, and it reminded me of Laura Gilpin's poem "Two-headed Calf." 

L hadn't heard of this amazing poem, so I found it on my phone and read it to her with my voice breaking at the end.

Then we finished up our walk and I headed into a day of meetings meetings meetings meetings.

And some good news from this week: two poems  accepted to an anthology of pandemic-era writing, and also accepted--an academic book proposal that the editor who wrote back characterized as "gentle and kind."

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

winter in two places

somewhere not here
someone I love finishes
a shift in the ER: 12 hours
in the dark, desperate hours 

over night... on his way home
dreaming of breakfast then bed
he nevertheless stops on the way
gently checks on someone else

huddled and sleeping in a doorway

way over here, I marvel at geese
standing on a layer of ice so thin 
it's almost barely a breath of frost
I watch as bit-by-bit the ice cracks 

and gives... and the geese settle 
into different spaces and poses
their refusal to panic at anything
to do with winter's fickle apparatus

my hunger, my yearning, are an infinity



Pic: geese (standing/sitting) on a very thin layer of ice. Red Cedar River. From Monday's walk with L.

Monday, January 16, 2023

all about that Huckie

When SD visited last year, one of the many things she did to ease my life was tell me about mobile groomers.  Our vet had stopped offering grooming services, and there are so many sad and scary stories about pet stores and mishaps, I was bit immobilized by choice. Then SD told me that people will come to your home and groom your puppies in their van in your driveway. How did I not know about this?!? 

Anyway, we've used Zoey's a couple of times now, and it's less stressful for both me and the pups. It is a bit of a running joke in the family though that every time Zoey posts a collage of Scout and Huck pics, it's almost always all Huckie because Scout looks so miserable in the most non photogenic way when he's not with family.

Cuddling with extra fluffy and nice smelling babies tonight.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Sunday (high) five

1) Another brilliant day--plenty of time outside with Nu, Scout, and Huck and a long walk with L. The next sunny day is a week away, so I was glad to have today. 

2) Dropped Big A off at the train station. Boo. Hiss. But really, the January schedule has been okay-ish so far. He'll be back in three days. I can handle it.

3) Completed Laura Vanderkam's time tracking challenge. I wasn't surprised to see it inconsistent except for the 5/5:30 am wake up, tea, and meditate; kids' breakfast and walk to the school bus on the weekdays; and family dinner time around 5:30 pm every day. Apart from those, things were very whimsical--I could be working, reading, goofing off, sleeping, or some combination of those at 1:00 am, and I guess I'm ok with that. Early mornings and late nights are times when it's just me, and I delight in that. No shame.

4) Lovely Sistrum concert this afternoon with LB. Some truly uplifting singing. Friends GJ and RS sing with Sistrum and love it; RS has been encouraging me to join as she thinks it would help me through some of the more life-y things happening right now. We'll see. 

5) At was so chuffed to find out from an older cousin that their grandfather in Sri Lanka was a socialist organizer--my baby labor organizer is going to want to talk about this all the time now, I just know. 😂🥰

how CAN the kids be alright?

Nu had just raised their hand to answer a question in Spanish class; I'd just landed in my office and poured myself my first cup of tea....