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

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Happy Pongal!

SO glad the sun came out for Pongal today! 

I went out with a little offering for the sun and Scout and Huck-- good Hindu babies that they are--accompanied me. 

(Of my other babies: At was off camping with friends and Nu was taking a well deserved nap after working out with Big A this morning.) 

The last couple of years our Pongals have been heavy with snow.

Not today though.

Nice one, 2023!

Friday, January 13, 2023

when I can't make up my mind

the constant urgings of the morning
then time scatters what comes next 

regret is everywhere like graffiti
discontent sinks in like stones

there are more than just two options
one can't really outspend them all 

I know I'll hope I know I'll hope 
I hope I'll know I hope I'll know 

Pic: Graffito on my walk with Big A this morning. (MSU, under the Farm Lane Bridge.)

Thursday, January 12, 2023

address uh-oh woes

It felt so good to stand with Nu in December--talking and snacking as we set up an assembly line for getting the holiday cards in the mail: putting on address labels and stamps and inserting the chatty newsletter and sealing the envelopes... 

Only, at least two of the cards we sent out have been returned to us because the little label indicating the delivery address seems to have fallen off. Yet another friend posted a picture of our card sans their address--at least their address label fell off after it was delivered to them.

I don't know whom these sad returned cards were addressed too, so I'm feeling self-conscious, wondering if people think I'm that rude dummy who didn't send them a card this year. 

I guess the lesson is check the work of teens who're not into the task that means so much to you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

a second day of sunshine this year

We're getting fancy in Lansing, MI
the day no longer seems some
element to overcome

the sun shines like it does on TV
skies turn from blank openings
to bliss in a blue abyss 

(tree shadows too have RSVP-ed 
to be on guard, fend off the look
of a picture postcard)

Pic: Second day of sunshine in Jan 2023. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

great starts

My friend Oindrila Mukherjee's novel "The Dream Builders" was launched today. Here she is with her fabulous book and a cake version of it too. After the launch, reading, Q&A, book signing, and helping with clear up, we hung out with tapas and wine, celebrating until late with her local and Atlanta friends. 

I got home after midnight, and hung out with Scout and Huck for a while (they were the only ones up), too tired to actually go to bed. It's after 1:30 now, so I really should get up and go to bed as I'll have to wake up at 5/5:30 to help Nu get to school...

The first day of classes went well. For the first time in a while I don't have the same students in more than one class, so it felt very liberating to make the same silly icebreaker jokes without feeling like I'm repeating myself. Ha. 

(Oh... and I was one of the few people who was masked at the book launch. One of the guests who'd come from Atlanta, and WHO WORKS AT THE CDC, said they put away their mask because no one else was wearing one, but now that I was masking they felt more comfortable...  then they pulled their K-95 with a flourish and wore it. What the what?!?!)

Monday, January 09, 2023

sitting pretty

The new term started today, so I got a walk with Big A in while it was still dark out. The pretty fairy lights in the MSU dining hall caught my eye and my camera caught the pink and blue sky above it. 

Little did I know that we'd get sunshine for the the FIRST TIME THIS YEAR later today. It was so lovely to see blue skies and sunlight. To our south, The Detroit Free Press started joking about it too: "Multiple locations across metro Detroit are detecting a bright, yellow, shining orb in the sky. We're working to confirm what exactly it is before it disappears." Good one, Freep!

Finalized the syllabuses and published the online material today. Contacted classes, independent study students, and the travel term. Did paperwork, finished up the last of the LORs, and the remaining journal review. Sent my apologies to an editor for work I won't be able to send him until later this week (hopefully). I think I've done all I can for the moment, but catch myself going over class materials obsessively... as always, I'm so excited/anxious for the first day (tomorrow).

Sunday, January 08, 2023

an ode to rest

How like a winter hath my absence been
so what if I've been busy with sleep
the machinery of the day lets me be
in a time of year filled with starting:
I am the weight of flowers on a grave 
I am the songs of stones grown older 
I am the circle spreading boldly in me 

What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
I only have to close my eyes to find all--
fancy is longlegged, dashes fast and far
history recedes like a corridor of dreams
fades into quietness on each side of sleep 
dark, dawn become the same masquerade
so yes, my friend--begin the year with rest

Note: Stanza first lines from Shakespeare's Sonnet 97 that begins:
"From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen! 
What old December’s bareness every where! 
How like a winter hath my absence been..."

Saturday, January 07, 2023


At came to dinner and a cuddle (pictured) today. 

Because I'd just posted about cuddly Scout, It reminded me how despite being different species, our babies Scout and At are alike and Huck and Nu are alike. 

If we moved up a generation, Scout, At, and I are alike and Huck, Nu, and Big A are alike. The way we act, respond, our temperaments, almost everything. The first set tends to be smiley, gentle, tender; the second set tends to be serious, ferocious, and staunch. In a crisis, you want the second set--they're the ones who'll stare people down (Nu), stick to a plan (Huck), and bark orders (Big A). 

Not sure how much of this is true, how much of this is forcing some absolute structure on to truth, and how much of this is pure family myth-making and mythology. 

Anyway, it was a good cuddle, and I'll have to make it do for a while. Next week, At is off to "a cabin in the suburbs" with some college friends.

Friday, January 06, 2023

school friends

I'm glad it's this way. 

Lunch date with JG hosting and KB visiting this afternoon. JG used these pretty bracelets (mine serendipitously matched my sweater!) as napkin holders and after we'd all exclaimed and immediately put them on, someone claimed the bracelets had sisterly solidarity power, so we smushed the bracelets together to activate.

I want to always be this way, with dreams and silliness and love. With KB wrapping a Prince magnet she found in the airport for me in colorful magazine paper, with JG calling me as I drove home to talk some more and keep me company. For being able to share details about my family's tough year, and to have plans for road trips. 

We're not "school friends" formed in the crucibles of elementary/high school/undergrad/grad school, but each of us arrived at our teaching institution in different decades and found each other. I'll always push back against the rhetoric of "we're like a family" in the workplace, but work is where we meet our kin(d) sometimes. I'm grateful for all of this.

Thursday, January 05, 2023

the long arc (a poem for Scout)

I keep walking backwards 
from want to hope
they tell me I use 
"hope" to cope

my pulse beats with regret 
and distress though
it's true they too 
worship hope 

I know I keep disappearing
into a gratefulness
parroting prayers
to survive

remembering to thank ancestors 
(the ones that petted wolves)
who knew love would
arrive as you 
Pic: Scout the champion snuggler... his arm over my leg 😍

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

1, 2, 3, journeys

How do you comfort someone who's lost a sibling? I had no adequate words, but I made my way over anyway bearing a tiffin box with dinner, snacks, and two funny DVDs. I found the vase in a thrift store last week, and this week matching flowers showed up for me to take to my grieving friends. I'm ashamed to say that when I was younger there were times when I'd avoid such visits. Thankfully, I've learned--mostly through people's kindness to me--how showing up is important. Life has been a long journey of learning about all the stuff that is not about me at all. 

Speaking of long journeys, I finally finished Anna Karenina. Big A, the judgmental monogamist, approved of how Tolstoy delineates the awfulness of an extra marital affair although T does it without ever resorting to moralization. I myself was heartily sick of Levin, supposedly a stand in for old Leo himself, by the end though. 

In other journeys, KB's flight out of Minneapolis was delayed by over a day, so JG has postponed our reunion lunch from today to Friday--just after my first committee meeting of the new year. That left me with a suddenly wide open day that I used for course prep, an extra long walk, an extra long soak, and extra reading time before I went to get Nu from school. It's my "Boss Day" so the extra time for indulgence was compulsory! 🙃

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Going Away... Giving Away

Pic: Big A is the most colorful presence on the Red Cedar River on our New Year's Day hike; he's headed back to work in Milwaukee this morning. 




Also, I love our Fretail Store so much, I'll walk around finding things other people might want that we're not using. Extra set of bowls? Sandwich maker? Present from last year kids claimed to love but did not even open? Nutribullet? Goodwill and  Salvation Army policies give me the creeps, so knowing things will go for free to people who want them is great. I saw that Apartment Therapy had a really nice list of places to donate specific items as well. 

Monday, January 02, 2023

Jan energy

Wrestled the Christmas tree down and did a deep clean of the house. Any remaining glitter will just have to be absorbed into the aesthetic. All the Christmas cookies, sweets, and treats have been finished off. Most back-to-school work has resumed. 

We're basically in full-on January mode. "Ready" may not be the right word, but I'm certainly eager to get the year started.

Pic: Still delighted with last year's snow globe find... I didn't add any to the collection this year.

Sunday, January 01, 2023

this day doesn't have to mean anything about the year to come...

I'm reminding myself that nothing about today magically repeats 364 times. 

On the surface, lots of sweet things about today: a long hike with Big A, another hike by myself, a long chat with my baby sis, a small hangout with LB and TB, a long bubbly soak with Big A, a sweet treat delivered by L, dinner with the fam, a travel board game after dinner, and puppy + human cuddles throughout. 

But... I had also wanted to fit in some yoga, which didn't happen and I never even made it to the month-long online "Binders" writing workshop that started today. It was as though the unrelenting greyness of the cloudy day we had here seeped into everything I enjoy.

Also, I'm still in my reread of Anna Karenina and (a) I want to be done and reading something else especially since... (b) the love affair has dwindled into depressing territory and... (c) I still glaze over when Levin goes on about cooperative farming (sorry about that to the socialists in my life). 

Finally, I got a rejection on something I'd submitted via Submittable. I was sad for a while, then I just went ahead and submitted to two other places. I do hope I can keep that kind of obstinate energy going all year long. 

Pic: Playing "Around the World." Quite challenging! Nu won this evening's game. I better go commit some flags to memory before we play again. 

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Farewell, 2022

A good last day with two long walks with LB and BSL to round off the year. 

A raucous dinner time with Scout and Huck underfoot, and Nu, At, and Big A at the counter for parathas--the person waiting for me to finish the next paratha were in charge of running a round of Truth or Dare. Some calls to grandparents, the traditional new year presents (calendars and something inspiring), a few eps of Joe Pera... and then At was off to a show with friends, Nu was on with friends online, and I joined PM's write-in for the new year on Slack (where I started and abandoned a poem based on PM's prompt). 

And then, as Big A, Scout and Huck napped inches away from me, it was 2023. 

Friday, December 30, 2022

then there were three; bookclubs for two; one day to 2023

A puppy playdate for Scout and Huck with Henry was the most exciting part of today. They were doing some electrical work at JL's so she hung out here and we got caught up. (Unlooked for excitement was when little Henry thought it would be ok to pee in my tea garden. He immediately stopped midstream when JL shouted "no." I was kinda impressed with his level of control, TBH 🤣.) 

I've been gifting some friends a bookclub-for-two: I'll get both of us copies of the same book so we can read and discuss together. It feels like an experience or together time gift, and the "thing" part of it is still books, so it's not wasteful (they can be passed on or pulped or whatever). Anyway--I did that with Emma Kline for JG and Shilpa Gowda with JL. We plan to start this one in Jan.

The rest of the day was all course prep, writing work, a couple of quick meetings, getting more letters of recommendation in. Then sushi with Big A and Nu.

Almost can't believe it is the weekend, month's end, end of the year already... 

Thursday, December 29, 2022

sunrise sonnet

I can taste the new year in this new day
pulling me awake with its splash of light
my voice and sight fused with throbbing,
thoughts buckling, shaking free answers
and origins, shouting hellos back to life
sometimes with "?" sometimes with "!"
because who the heck knows certainty 

I feel carried like the five-year-old who 
fell asleep just before the final turn home
the steady hand on my back unnecessary
except to comfort me, a kiss in my hair
tells me I'm not a burden, but a delight...
carry me even if I think I'm conning you 
carry me for a while / to feigned eternity 

Pic: Sunrise on waking (through the landing window). The snow had all melted by the end of the day--it was close to 50 degrees here today!

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

finish soft not strong

the year will grow dark 
like a lovers' room 
a beautiful failure 
of sleep

be tender and selfish: watch 
wants freeze and fall...
away like fugitive 

but come, don't let me forget 
how this week's thaw--like
last week's freeze--is sure
to return

Pic: Mallards on The Red Cedar.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

merrier and brighter

It was a little brighter and a little bit warmer today. We're all still in "no work" mode. This week is when we'd usually head to Yellow Springs for our "second Christmas," but MIL is still recovering from Covid this year. 

In the meantime, it's deliciously lazy and indulgent over here. As Lansing Facts (our city's parody account) tweeted: "We're working hard with the help of the top science faculty at MSU to determine What Day It Is"

Pic: Scout and Huck (still in their Christmas sweaters) in the snow.

Monday, December 26, 2022

coming down

Yesterday was lovely. And somehow everyone said it was the best Christmas ever. Yay! 

I'm taking today off. We're still snowbound and we have yummy leftovers and new books and cozy jammies and need for nothing else right now.

(Apart from the usual holiday management, driving duties on our ice-rink roads enervated me: I was on call to give L&T a ride from the Michigan Flyer at 10:30-11:00 pm last night and took At to work at 6:00 am today.)

Pic: The kids watching Laal Singh Chaddha (loosely based on Forrest Gump) with me yesterday.

the waiting game

Just waiting to go home to Scout and I'm in that space where everything feels surreal, and other people seem alien. All I've done to...