Showing posts with label Puppies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Puppies. Show all posts

Monday, August 07, 2023

how could I live so far away?

how could I live so
far away?
I guess I didn't know 
I could
life is such a hard thing 
to chance
you can leave a place
and then find
it always stays on you 
like fine sand

And Ten Notes From Today: 
  1. Mom, aunt, sis, and brother-in-law are sick; At and Nu appear to be recovering. I feel so conscience-stricken about my germy kids and worried about everyone else with a side of I told you guys to mask up when we were in the car together!
  2. I may be developing misophonia... and also the bands of howling street dogs were... interesting the first couple of nights, but not anymore.
  3. Big A has already neglected my flowering plants to death. But Huckie and Max are well loved, so I'll keep him.
  4. Had to say goodbye to family who came up from Coimbatore and Chennai to hang out with us... I miss them already. 
  5. Esp. VM and AA--seeing them wrap At and Nu in the same kind of unconditional love that saved me when I was a teen has been such a joy.
  6. It's Monday, so we've had to stop partying all night. I haven't left the house all day.
  7. I got so much cash on Amazon India gift cards, which I cannot use from the US, so I've ordered a ton of stuff and it remains to be seen if we'll receive it before our departure date.
  8. A realization that I have a very special position in the family as the oldest grandchild/nibling--it's nothing about me, any ol' baby landing into this family just waiting to love on their big sister's baby would have done. I just happened to luck out big time.
  9. The class I picked up as an overload due to a colleague's sudden departure was cancelled. Alleluia. I did it mostly out of a sense of duty--the extra cash would have been nice, but the extra time will be sweeter.
  10. I had a Zoom meeting with my editor in NZ this morning. It was a fairly routine meeting, except when they sweetly said "you get to weave the web," I was taken aback because I heard it as "you get to wave the whip." Umm, no.
Pic: At's picture of me by the sea last week. (Pondycherry)

Saturday, August 05, 2023

living loud

When Big A texted at 10 past midnight to see if I was still up, I texted this picture of family waving back at him--it's only ten past midnight, everyone's still here! 

You won't find Nu in this picture because it's late and they'd had their fill of social interaction. 

And you won't find At in this picture because their fever had spiked and they're in bed after we went to the hospital earlier in the evening for a consult, tests, and antivirals. (There's a chance it could be dengue, although we haven't been bitten by a single mosquito, and of course it could be Covid--either of which could complicate things by a whole lot.)

I've had some lovely conversations with my dad on this trip thanks to his amazing new hearing aid. This morning he was telling me about a sib who died in infancy and their family dog who died from grief soon after (that's the family story, anyway), and I started to cry about Scout. My dad was upset about making me cry, but actually, it was such a relief to be able to do any of this--talk to my dad, talk about Scout, hear a story I've heard 10,000 times before, etc. 

Pic: Part of my loud and lovely family. The sheet of paper in VM's hand is a blueprint for the big family reunion being planned for next year. (Bangalore)

Sunday, July 30, 2023

last day

I over watered my zillion plants hoping they'll be ok while I'm gone for the next two weeks at least, took a long two-hour walk by myself to say goodbye to all my favorite places for a while, took a long soak, finished all the pesky chores, submitted materials a week ahead of deadline for the course I got suckered into, helped At and Nu with their packing, made a hearty breakfast casserole that'll serve us tomorrow too, played with Huck and Max all day, and just said goodbye to the garden and the fireflies and Scout at his memorial...  

At is already here tonight, and it was so lovely to pop into both human kids' rooms to say goodnight.

Just a few more odds and ends to squeeze into my bags and I'm ready!

Pic: Max, Huck, and Big A. I'm going to miss these guys so much!

Saturday, July 29, 2023


In some poses, Max looks so much like Scout that I wonder if I'll have trouble telling them apart in photos when my memory dims. 

But this pic won't be confusing. 

Scout hated to be picked up and Max loves being Nu's little baby, because of course he's ok with whatever Nu does with him--Nu is like a god in Max's world. 

Max got his second set of shots earlier this week and is all ready for the real world. He seems to love visitors already. He probably needs to be around other dogs, because he can't... bark! It's cute and funny how he makes all sorts of sounds from whale whistles to mousey squeaks... and his bark sounds so silly. Huck barks very rarely and isn't much help here. It'll be something to work on when we get back from India.

Speaking of which... our houseguests couldn't come this weekend. They caught something (non Covid at last check, but still contagious) and we're going to see my elderly parents... so we're replanning for next year. With all that suddenly free time because of their absence, I packed.

And our three check-in suitcases are ready; I managed to fit all the stuff my sis had delivered here and my own gifts for everyone (I went overboard with the niblings as usual) all sorted, listed, and packed away. It's just a matter of throwing some clothes, books, and my ziplock of products into my carryon at this point. 

Less than 48 hours to go. 

Pic: Nu, Max, and Big A hanging out while I make dinner.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Oh, the places I've been...

StephLove and NGS were curious about the list of places on my bio, so here goes. Actually, that list is somewhat abbreviated and I had to add a couple more places for continuity. Also, I count places where my sister and parents live as a dual home as well, even if I only visit for a couple of weeks here and there. 
  1. Madras (Tamil Nadu state), India: Birthplace. In the traditional way, Mom moved back to her parents' seven months into her pregnancy to have me. Dad visited us every weekend.
  2. Cochin (Kerala state), IndiaWhen I was around three months old, mom and I moved (back) to where Dad worked.
  3. Vizag/Vishakapatnam (Andhra Pradesh state), India:  We moved because of Dad's job. This is where my sister was born. We attended Timpany School.
  4. Madras (Tamil Nadu state), IndiaWe moved back to Madras where both sets of grandparents and our vast network of cousins and family lived. I went to Holy Angels Convent and Sacred Heart schools and graduated from Stella Maris College.
  5. Kodaikanal (Tamil Nadu state), India: I taught at Kodaikanal Christian College for a year after graduating.
  6. Columbia, S.C.: I went to the University of South Carolina on a terrific teaching assistantship, making more money than I had ever earned in my life up to that point.
  7. Jerusalem, Israel:  University of J; Grad fellowship
  8. Utrecht, The Netherlands:  University of U; Grad fellowship
  9. Princeton, NJ:  Institute for Advanced Studies; Grad fellowship
  10. Chennai (Tamil Nadu state), India: My birth city changed its name...
  11. Columbia, S.C.: Back for a bit; At's born here.
  12. Oxford, U.K.  Went to the University of Oxford for my doctorate on a scholarship that paid almost as much as my current salary. 
  13. Delhi (National Capital Territory), India: Sis and parents moved to the capital city for a couple of years for sis's job.
  14. Bangalore (Karnataka state), IndiaSis and parents moved for sis's job. They're here now.
  15. New York, NY and Springfield, NJ: Big A's residency at NYU; finally married Big A; Nu's born in NYC; started this blog.
  16. Yellow Springs, OH: Big A's hometown, we moved there after his residency for his first job as an attending. 
  17. Alma, MI: We moved for my job; adopted Scout and Huck
  18. Lansing, MI:  Moved as Big A had a fellowship at U of Michigan and Lansing is halfway between Alma and Ann Arbor; adopted Max.
I really don't want to move anymore!

Pic: Puppy attack! Max first and Huckie right behind.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

a forgotten summer list

Between the travel and deadlines, I totally forgot to make a summer list this year...

But summer things are still happening anyway. At a breakneck pace these days.

We're entertaining for the next three days (three very different things), have houseguests the weekend after, and then it's off to India... eep.

And as Nu said dolefully: when we come back from India, summer vacation will almost be over. I wanted to redirect and say we ought to enjoy the moment and that we have a whole month left, but NGL--I lowkey feel the way Nu does too.

Pic: Big A, Huck, and Max roasting veggie dogs.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Max-imum love

Max is a delight. As At says, he's completely unselfconscious and a "goofy-ass" puppy. Max is pure puppyness: He sits down and then unintentionally ends up rolling over; he trips over himself; he sploots; I once saw him pay attention to a deer jump over the fence and then for a while he picked up his feet and leapt like a deer himself; when I sweep up a mess, he moves his head like he's watching a scintillating tennis match.

Nu hasn't laughed quite like this... in years. Nu hasn't been adored quite like this... in years. Max wakes Huckie up to play whenever he wants to, he cuddles up to Huckie because he wants to, when it's dinner time Huckie eats at least partly out of competition. Max is so good at animating poor grieving Huckie. Scout would have loved Max.

Big A and I both tear up when we talk about Scout--that doesn't look like it will change any time soon (never). I expected that. I didn't expect that we'd have reasons to laugh quite so much despite it all. I'm surprised at how much my heart can still grow.

 Pic: Nu and Max playing 'Pat-a-cake'

Monday, July 17, 2023

pushing luck

I found FOUR four-leaved clovers while walking with Max and Huck this evening. 

(At least I think they're clover? They might well be shamrock or oxalis or some other weed.)

(Anyway, they were in a patch with other mostly three-leaved things, so I'm counting these lucky.)

I got lots of respect for this feat from At (who came to dinner today) and Nu. It reminded me of a long ago moment in 2008... 

I'm keeping one for myself; the other three are for some people I know who need a good shot of good luck too.

Pic: four-leaved clover haul on the kitchen counter.

Saturday, July 15, 2023

the ones we live with

Big A gave me a big Buddha statue for Christmas in 2015. When I sat the Bodhisattva outside the front door of our old house, Scout and Huck lost their minds and barked at him all day. He's weathered now from being outside in all kinds of weather... and when we moved to this house, he sustained an injury. A quarter-sized hole opened up in his thigh and we realized he was hollow inside. 

(I'm realizing this is a strange story--Buddha at Christmas, the puppies losing their calm around him,  him being hollow rather than fully filled [fulfilled] etc.)

Anyway, I love coming around the bend and seeing him every time I get home. And I love that a chipmunk family has been living inside him for years now (the hole in his thigh is their front door).

Today I managed to get a picture of one of the naughty chipmunks (they always dig up the planters on the front porch!) playing with Buddha's topknot. 

Pic: Front yard friends--a chipmunk on the Buddha. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

first draft

what is even in my head today
                       how ever did I find my way 
to blessing the sweet, the weird
                        to reversing to pressing
through these unmarked doors
                       looking for I know not what
becoming... I know not who
                        there's something here maybe
suffering but gently... gently 
                       showing me cracks in the floor
and letting me pretend I can 
                       read them like lines on a map

Pic: Bone Appetit! Huck and Max stole some dinner napkins and then played with them... together!

Monday, July 10, 2023

summer sanctuary

I met just one writing deadline (of three) on Sunday and I have a CASA report due tomorrow. Like Lawrence Kasdan says, "being a writer is like having homework for the rest of your life." I have to keep reminding myself that I'm doing the best I can. 

In the meantime, Big A keeps reminding me that it's summer. 

And Nu sweetly offered to go on a walk with me so I could talk through the knot in a writing project. We haven't gone yet... But I was so touched by their offer, which is exactly what I myself might have offered up to Nu or a student in a similar predicament.

Pic: Max insisting we take a break outside. I'm just so grateful for my patch of green, blue skies, a silly puppy, and time and health to enjoy them all.

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.

Tuesday, July 04, 2023

quiet and close

Oh, such a quiet 4th around here. Just Nu, Huck, Max, and me. I don't think I've said yet that Big A's prescription-related accreditations didn't come through in time, so he's working in Milwaukee for another month. Boo. He's back tomorrow for a long stretch though. YAY!

But it was such a lovely, bright sunshiny day and Huck sunned herself outside--something she hasn't done since Scout, so I was so happy to see her get some of her old pastimes back. 

Nu was too peopled out from yesterday to go out, so we stayed home. We had plenty of leftovers from yesterday too and that worked out perfectly as it meant I didn't have to cook on my Boss Day. We played with the pups and watched shows and I got really close to finishing up The Whispers--a book I picked up from Sarah's June reading list--it's practically unputdownable. I'm saving the last handful of chapters for the tub tomorrow.

Ten years ago, I think such a quiet holiday would have given me anxiety about not doing the right thing or FOMO or something--but I do what I want these days. (Also feeling way less celebratory with stupid/corrupt SCOTUS decisions in the last week.)

Pic: Huck sunning herself; Max a little further away wondering if he should pounce on her.

Saturday, July 01, 2023

(puppy-inspired) prayer (a doggerel piece) (made with Nu, in honor of Max!)

to just say yes
as never before
fast and eager
even if unsure 

I know now how
I may never fly
but yes to vistas
even if too high

Note: Made with Nu, in honor of Max!

Pic: Max with an assortment of disemboweled, decapitated, and dismembered toys. We'd just returned from NB's graduation open house and he was so happy to be reunited.

Friday, June 30, 2023

what it means when

I still have to name the day 
trees and clouds too--
a whole childhood
as constant as a backdrop 
unforgiven drama too
plus my tragic flaw
in a script guttural as grafitti 
plain as conflict too... 
close to call
what should I call this rush 
of happy-sad or sad-happy
touched with guilt 

Pic: Max and Huck are (to use Nu's word) "swarming" all over BL because they give the best scritches. I usually hide people's faces, but I didn't have to here!

Wednesday, June 28, 2023


Today, I am marvelous with waiting 
it barges in, changes everything
it becomes the answer
I'm like a Keats caught in the moment
or like a Cavafy lost inside it
it's almost an afterlife
there is rest, room, reason to believe 
there will be a rendezvous
with the still sky
with the whiteness of paper and screen 
and I will be mostly alone 
ecstatic with choice

Pic: Nu, Huck, and Max. Nu described this moment as "being *swarmed* with puppies."

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

notes on meetings and missives

*At our meeting today, one of my CASA kids said something that was heart-wrenching. It's a shame a crime how children have such little agency in their own lives.

* My sister sent me a list of the contents of sixteen boxes she's had shipped to me instead of herself (shipping costs to India are higher). I get to unbox everything this weekend and go shopping for big suitcases afterwards. I've been 'carryon only' these past few years, and don't have check-in size luggage anymore.

*I was at JG's for some long overdue hugs, presents, and catching up after her three months in Europe and then SD called while I was there to catch up after my Jamaica trip.  I'd always wanted JG and SD (friends from different times and places in my life) to meet, so I was able to do that over FaceTime today. (i.e. Once I figured out SD was on FaceTime and I removed my phone from my ear so she could see more than a nice closeup of my hair. Ha.) 

*Our UU pastor wrote to say that some youth from a rightwing organization have been showing up at meetings and services and targeting and "berating" members of the congregation. I've been too swamped to go to UU lately, but I'm sad this is happening and will try to be there in support this Sunday. (In similar news, JG's synagogue was informed by the FBI that they were the targets of a "credible bomb threat." What the heck is happening in Michigan?!)

*A punchy card from KB in the mail--I felt like she'd affectionately punched my shoulder and told me that I "got this." I felt very loved and also entertained because she memorably ended with "Fuck the assholes (but not really)." It's kind of funny and mysterious and my internal slogan since.

 Pic: Max post vaccinations at the vet yesterday, stolen from a post on the clinic's FB page.

Monday, June 26, 2023

"in the middle"

NGS celebrated the beginning of summer like a proper grown up at the summer solstice. I realized I've been celebrating summer since Memorial Day--when the public pools open--as the unofficial start of summer. The Solstice gave me a bit of a pang actually: the days are getting a bit shorter, it marks midsummer, and is a reminder that we're halfway through summer vacation.

In any case, we're certainly right in the middle of things--summer projects, deadlines, delays... all of it! 

Started the day with a work meeting on Teams and ditched the last fifteen minutes to take Max to his first vet appointment. This champion baby has doubled in weight and didn't whimper or even wince when he got his shots or his microchip. He also barfed like a champion in the car both ways though, and I was glad to have Big A so I could just cuddle Max while A did the gross clean up. Also: I was crying all day since it's the first time I've been back at the vet since Scout. There was a candle in the reception area (to request silence--when it's lit it means someone is saying goodbye to a pet) and Big A sweetly tried to block what I could see with his body, and get me to just go to the car, but I still caught a glimpse as I exited.

I locked my sad and grumpy self up for some deep work and then my last meeting of the day was a fitting. Who knew when I stopped modeling 20+ years ago that I'd have a chance at picking it up in someplace not New York again? Ha. It's for a friend who's designing for a local charity event called 'Refashion' where old materials are repurposed, and I'm honored to be helping. Nicole had warned about menopausal gains, and I realized when JN did my measurements that my "middle" measurements were different. Ha ha ha and c'est sera, sera.

Pic: A cardinal in the garden. I saw a hummingbird the other day too. Aren't both supposed to be visitors from the the other world? 

Note: Jimmy Eats World's "In the Middle" is not a song I particularly enjoy and yet it follows me around on every radio station I enjoy. 

Saturday, June 24, 2023

six exclamations on Saturday

MIL tells Max to get "four on the floor." I think he gets "sit" most of the time, but he hasn't worked his way up to rhyming slang yet. HA

L is off to Cuba with suitcases full of school supplies as everything is in short supply over there... I snuck in some silk scarves for our friends Y and C because I wanted them to have presents too. Later, as I pulled stuff off the pantry and freezer shelves to make dinner, I thought a lot about how I take having 'stuff' for granted. UGH

Big A, a U-Haul truck, and the last day of the apartment in Milwaukee. YAY YAY YAY

As I chatted to family at various points today (mom, aunts, uncle, sister, MIL), and answered questions people were asking, I realized things just aren't going smoothly for us. I tend to focus on good things (coping mechanism?), but... YIKES

I planted more geraniums and marigolds in the garden today. Not because they're my summer favorites, but because deer leave those alone most of the time. I try to give the deer a pass because everyone has to eat, but it's summer and there's a yard full of green foliage they could have with no rancor from me. Leave the flowers alone, deer. DANG

Pic: Nu and their Grandma S went to ukulele camp together and got their picture taken with the giant ukulele. AW

Thursday, June 22, 2023

"back to life, back to reality"

At and Nu were lovely while Big A and I were gone: they took care of themselves and the puppy sibs, attended Pride events together, hosted DSA-related meetings here, and kept the house neat through it all. So while I did a complete vacuuming, cleaning, and restocking of the house today, I didn't have to navigate any big messes--just the little ones that no one but me notices.

But I kept vacation vibes going with two long hikes with Big A. Then we vented and backup planned about the delay in his Michigan job, I worked on the garden (deer ate our hostas and annual flowers again), and Big A worked on replacing the mailbox that someone ran into last week. 

Also: I joined a new committee at work (the invitation came from someone I want to work with), am thinking about volunteering for taking on an extra overload course at work next year (we've had a sad and surprise departure in the department), and reassured an editor that I'll have work to them by the end of next week according to our schedule (I hope it's not wishful thinking).

We got home yesterday, but today felt like we were really back!

Pic: Big A with Huckie and Max. Not a very good picture, but it makes me smile--all of it: Huckie's side eye, Max's proprietary paw, the fact that Big A is still wearing the two-dollar bead bracelet I got him...

Things I rescued today:

* a groundhog. Max is swift and silent when he gives chase. Nothing but the jingle of his tags gives him away. I rescued the groundhog by r...