Showing posts with label Projects. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Projects. Show all posts

Saturday, November 18, 2023

a pedestrian diagnosis

To keep this simple: Neither of my walking companions have been available recently--L has been away in Oregon all month long and Big A's work schedule is jam-packed. 

I haven't been getting out much without them, and both the lack of walks and companionship are doing a number on my brain.

I'm glad I figured that out... now to make the time to take myself out for regular walks.

Pic: I took a book and hung out on the banks of the Red Cedar today. It was such a mild and lovely day.

Monday, September 25, 2023

a bridge so near

They've positioned the walking bridge across the Red Cedar. Never have I ever been so invested in a construction project! There are several walking bridges on the riverwalk towards Spartan Stadium, but this is the first one east of campus and right across from our street. They're calling it a "river trail expansion" and it would let us walk/bike all the way to Lake Lansing.

Did I say "invested"? I meant excited. I dragged Big A over to see it all up close at the end of our walk. And he kept warning me not to touch it as if I was a toddler with no self control. 

As if. 

Also: Super happy about the successful end to the WGA strike and fingers crossed for the SAG people. I'm on tenterhooks about the UAW strike; I've been dipping into Chapter 13 of The People's History for inspiration and optimism.
Pic: The new walking/bike path this afternoon after workers had left for the day.

Monday, September 18, 2023


L told me they were building a bike and walking path along the river away from MSU and across from their house at the beginning of the summer. 

And I've loved watching the various little earthmovers and pavers work on this project for a while. 

It's been mostly done for a while now except for the bridge... and this week Big A and I noticed that they have a bridge ready to go. It looks like all they have to do is use that big red crane to position the bridge to span the river. 

Also: It occurred to me yesterday that not spending as much time with L as I usually do (our individual travel plans and illness patterns and work schedules have been bonkers) may also be impacting my sense of wellbeing...  L is the absolute best.

Pic: Construction on the east Red Cedar riverwalk project underway.

Saturday, September 16, 2023


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.

Monday, September 11, 2023

missed connections

I had a tough time getting to meetings today: two were booked for the same time, there was no Teams link for one, and the Teams link wouldn't work for another from my phone. I was at the vet's dropping Max off for his surgery for that one and couldn't troubleshoot. A less than ideal and embarrassing start to the week; but that's just how it goes sometimes.

I got lots of other prep work, grading, and editing done. Onward!

Here's that Nick Thune "Missed Connections" song for a giggle.

Pic: Sunrise over our street as I waited for Nu's schoolbus.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

out and about

A service day with my new first year seminar class; youth advocacy will be the focus of our semester-long project. We got started today by getting on a school bus for a tour of the public school district, which incorporates very different neighborhoods from regular homes to mansions to farms to trailers to condos to... anything you can think of.

I learned that some students ride the bus for two hours to get to school!

And I saw a handmade poster that asked "Are you an American or are you a Democrat?" I'll be musing on that one for a while. It was close to a cluster of houses displaying the confederate flag--make of that what you will, I guess.

Pic: Our school district superintendent and my FYS class on the school bus.

Monday, August 14, 2023

the gloaming

I always think of the gloaming as a place (like a glen, a clearing in the glen, as in "they went into the gloaming and were lost") until I remember it's a time--it's just twilight, that strange gloomy time. 

Here's Max, my big goofball, my KoolAid guy, hanging out with me at the end of a long day when I went in to work and took meetings (office plants are watered and doing fine) and also weeded and trimmed in the secret garden. It looks lush now although the only color deer will consistently allow us are spikes, dragon's breath, and geraniums, there are some roses and white phlox in there too. 

I went into the plant section when I stopped for groceries earlier, and the attendant tipped me off to a giant sale coming next week. Will I be brave enough to replace some perennials then? We shall see. Also mums are in the store already and I'm not ready for that.

Pic: Max in the gloaming.

Friday, July 14, 2023

show (and tell)

Pictured: Me, headed home from the Refashion show after walking for JN's line--the one she's calling "Ex-Boyfriend's Shirts: He Deserved It." (LOLOL). All the clothes JN showed today are made from men's shirts and are so comfortable + a bit cheeky. I loved being in this show--unlike shows twenty years ago, it seemed rich and diverse with people of all sizes, genders, body mods, etc. This is the way it should have been to start with?

Not pictured: All the work I did on that one writing project today. I keep thinking I just need one more day to complete it... and it's felt like that way for the past two weeks... I can't wait to be truly done!

Wednesday, July 05, 2023

Wild: fires, fireflies, and fireworks

We started the day with an air quality advisory about smoky air from the wildfires. But... it seemed (by smell and sight) like any other summer day to me. 

Nu and I picked At up from work and went to FedEx to get pics for their Indian visas. I was so happy to have them both with me, I was being silly behind the photographer--making funny faces and tap dancing. At promptly got a fit of the giggles, but Nu who had to take their glasses off for the picture, couldn't see me at all, and managed to keep a straight face in the picture. 

When At, Nu, and I took Max and Huck for a walk around the back... fireflies! Their appearance is so magical every year. And this year, because I've been taking baby pee-pee pants Max out so much, I haven't missed a single day of their joy-inducing luminosity.

When I dropped At off around eleven, there were fireworks in the sky as we drove through old town in Lansing--I'm glad I got to see them even if a day late--I guess I had missed their fiery simulation of all my favorite things (like flowers, like stars) yesterday after all.

Pic: A fuzzy picture of the surprise fireworks through the windshield.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

resisting the spiral

Getting caught up with mail this weekend, the card from the Humane Society (I thought it was going to be a request for donations) turned out to be a sweet and unexpected gut punch. It was a note to inform me that SV--a colleague I've met a total of two times--had made a donation in Scout's name. What a lovely and thoughtful gesture--I'm making a note of it as something I can do for other people in the future. 

My email notifications have got me feeling a bit overwhelmed. On top of all the other work things that haven't let up, a service thing (ACUE) I was invited to seems like it will require about eight hours of dedicated time weekly for the next month and a half when I'd allocated just one hour, and... ack. I really need a break.

I've managed a handful of hours on my writing project and a ton of hours on research, so there's something solid in that column. I have writing projects with EM, BR, and Big A that will need my attention too. I guess I'll have to sit down and make decisions about time and what exactly I'm hoping to get done with each thing and why. After I get through this week. After I get through this week. After I get through this week. 

One of my goals for this weekend was to read in the hammock with a popsicle. I didn't make it. 

But I did get a ton of lovely hangs with family and friends (LB, EM, LBT), Nu picked Poke for their Boss Day dinner today--so that was delicious and low/no effort, and as I realize every time I take Max outside--it's so very lovely and everything seems so soft and fragrant from our sweet summer rain this weekend. And also, in this good column, three poems I submitted to an anthology were accepted! My second anthology acceptance this year!

Pic: A still from Big A's video of Max and Huck playing together. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

The British Museum: just saying no (to cultural theft)

Everyone in class is tickled by the fact that the British Museum is older than the United States. And everyone in class is outraged about much it owns and how it "loans" (ha!) stuff back to countries and communities of origin. 

We prepped for our visit by reading lots of poems linked to artifacts at the museum. Some of what we read:
W.B. Yeats “The Second Coming” 
Thomas Hardy “In the British Museum” 
Daljit Nagra "Hadrian's Wall" 
George the Poet “The Benin Bronze” 
John Keats “On Seeing the Elgin Marbles” 
Percy Bysshe Shelley “Ozymandias”
Seamus Heaney “Punishment”

Then we waded through museum studies videos and articles to work our way around themes of cultural appreciation, appropriation, colonial theft, etc. At our visit, I polled the group to see if they thought we ought to--as the museum suggests--make a donation. They went with "Hell no!" 

Pic: Under the beautiful dome of the British Museum today.

Sunday, May 07, 2023

balance sheet

Things I've done: Stocked the fridge, used up all the fridge veggies, watered all my plants, finished class prep for the next week, talked with/texted everyone, cleared brush, distributed the morels we found yesterday, read a ton, cried about Scout, spent extra time with Nu and Huck, fought with Big A, made up with Big A, took long soaks and longer walks...

Things I've not done: actually packed for the two-week trip to the UK my students and I are leaving on tomorrow. Yikes.

Pic: Walk with L in Baker Woods. Trillium in the foreground! L and I found this patch right as we were wondering if we would see some. It was like we had magically summoned them. Trillium! 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

(AI) Art Class

If it takes a special kind of nerd to sit in a classroom on Sunday afternoon, I am that nerd. 

EM and I signed up for an AI art workshop around my birthday--I'd asked friends to give me experiences/donations to RDC this year since I already have so much stuff, and this was EM's pick for me. (Let the record show I tried to make her take me to Cocaine Bear, but she balked. Even birthdays will only get you so far. Ha.)

I enjoyed the heck out of the fact that our instructor for this very new tech was a very old person. Take that, ageism! EM and I played with style and color all afternoon. It was fun, especially since I'm not an artist in real life. But like Chat GPT with writing, Dall-E is just ok. 

Also (pet peeves coming up next): I thought the point was to get AI to do the boring tasks so humans could have more time for creative ones, not vice versa. It also bugs me when corporations (via AI) steal samples from artists to make stuff (it doesn't bother me when those roles are reversed).

Pic: "Holi in the style of Marc Chagall" by Dall-E2. Love the colors, but the expressions are off; the two on the right look especially tortured.


Sunday, February 12, 2023

words, words, veggies

Earlier this week, I was invited to say a few words about love at today's UU sermon. I started with one of my favorite writers--the late, great June Jordan who wrote at the intersections of feminism and anti-racism and her statement that "none of us have known enough tenderness." How right she sounds--and how I want to do everything to change that. 

I teach, so I'm no longer afraid of public speaking, but my heart rate certainly galloped when I climbed up to the stage and saw all the rows of semi-familiar faces. Nu was such a great support and hype-person all morning.

Pic: Superbowl? More like super foods bowl. Haha. Nu and I were so charmed that that tomato is so Valentine-themed. It reminded me of my long-ago peace tomato.

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."

Thursday, December 08, 2022

as for myself

I've sunk narcissus bulbs
into dark, stony places 
                                                 pushing them down into dirt
                                                 hoping they'll rise...
my random presents to myself
mirroring blessing
                                                  as the weeks arrive, curving
                                                  into Christmas
I yearn for their spiky baroque
their green resilience
                                                  to lift color into the cold air
                                                  rustling me to worship 
for a fragrance--so like flames  
to rescue me from winter

Wednesday, October 05, 2022


Taught all my three classes today, then drove back home, packed for about 25 minutes, took two meetings back-to-back from 4-5 pm, bid hurried goodbyes to Nu, Scout, Huck, and Big A, and was on the road with EM by 5:08 pm.

We're off to Purdue U to present on our transdisciplinarity and pedagogies of hope project at a roundtable. Since that's a mouthful--we usually refer to it as our "Hope-O-Calypse" project. 

We asked: "How might humanities scholars understand the meaning, nature, and strategic value of hope in an increasingly dystopian world and disrupt the prepackaged narratives of capitalist constructions and military-energy regimes? We consider a range of theoretical and pedagogical approaches to the question of how our fields of study might develop concrete strategies to help people (including our students) understand the enormity and complexity of these problems while simultaneously equipping them with ways to respond with agency rather than despair."

Anyway... here we are... EM and me... saving the world (or at least trying to)... riding off into this yolky sunset.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

and that's (not) a wrap

I came home to the roofers hard at work with Tyvek wrap around the front of the house too. Older pictures I've posted show we've had that bright blue tarp up on the back roof for a long ass time

And while we've looked forward to this day for over three years, nothing could have prepared us for the all-day hammering, trampled garden, and glass from the skylights everywhere. (Thankfully broken skylight glass is clumpy and cubed like car windshield glass--not slivers.)

And now we hear the roof beams are rotted and need replacing ($$$). Plus they need to be ordered and that will take time. I know there's a crying jag coming my way any time now.

Friday, June 03, 2022

moment of Zinn

Sometimes I peek over the edge of the abyss with my kids and feel their outrage, earnestness, and helplessness all over again. I am proud of their empathy and compassion... and also, I worry about how difficult their lives are becoming.

My annoyingly (probably) long email signature has forever quoted Zinn: “Human beings are not machines, and however powerful the pressure to conform, they sometimes are so moved by what they see as injustice that they dare to declare their independence. In that historical possibility lies hope.” 

I want to continue to hope... to act in "however small a way" in the service of what we all deserve. And if that means supporting my kids in the difficult choices and services they want to contribute to the world, then so be it.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

"work it real good"

A working lunch--which I couldn't eat. Shouldn't people serving a set lunch make meat, croutons, nuts, and other things people cannot/might-not-want-to eat add-ons rather than plate it all together? (Sorry this is a bit of a pet peeve; I don't eat meat and my kids are allergic to nuts.) 

But I got some oars in at lunch. And I shared this article about faculty exhaustion, which is important because everything about the last three pandemic years has been additive and nothing has been moved or withdrawn to make room for the extra stuff we've taken on.

Got some other campus work done, delivered flowers and cards to two young admin colleagues who finished their M. Eds, took flowers and card to MB who'd had shoulder surgery, and then set off for a long walk-and-talk with JG. It was the perfect, fluffy-cloud day for it--and as always, my mind is clearer after I get some JG time.

At various points I also got to collaborate on an NWSA statement on the Roe opinion and then I really got into Lauren Groff's Matrix. This is a book that kept showing up in my recommendations, and I kept resisting because nothing about the title or the book cover indicated it was about MARIE DE FRANCE and a HISTORICAL NOVEL--I'd thought it was sci-fi!!! Loving it, BTW.

Pic: The bike trail in Alma with JG. 

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...