Showing posts with label Sabbatical. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sabbatical. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Hola from NOLA

I'm in New Orleans with Big A who is conferencing. 

It's 90 degree weather, gulf breezes, views from our 34th story hotel room on Canal Street, remote work, and long walks by myself during the day... and hotel bars, takeout, and hangouts with Big A in the evening. 

We might be the only people masking in the hotel (full of emergency medicine doctors because of the conference) like at all, and were a handful of people masked in the airport and on the plane. 

This is absolutely non essential travel for me, so a part of me is puritanically and vindictively whispering that if I get Covid because of this trip, I deserve it. But right in this moment, I'm having fun.
 

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is important because everything about the last three pandemic years has been additive and nothing has been moved or withdrawn to make room for the extra stuff we've taken on.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. 

Monday, May 02, 2022

"the sense of an ending"


It was such a solid workday. The six of us worked from 7 am figuring out and finalizing conference details with no breaks except getting up to stretch on the hour. Even lunch was making notes and sharing docs over sandwiches. 

At lunch, one of the servers asked what we were up to and when I told her we were arranging a huge women's studies conference, she said she wished she'd taken a class when she was in college... in the 70s. She remembers the fight over ERA and how it laid the "foundation for everything." So I was telling her about the Mrs. America show on Hulu, and her name was Sally--so we sang a bit of "Ride, Sally, Ride."

At the end of the meeting I was so tired, especially as there was a lot of new (to me) software and platform-ware. I went back to my room caught up with the fam, and napped for a bit. 

Those of us from the meeting still in town met up for a great dinner at a small Somali restaurant where they gave us a private booth because we were the only women there. This was my first time meeting in person (all of our other meetings had been on Zoom) so there was a strange mixture of familiarity and the excitement of sharing some of our favorite stories about ourselves. 

We were still joking and laughing at something and calling goodbye to our servers as we were walking out of the restaurant, and then we started to fall silent as we passed the TV on the counter and each of us silently read the blithe chyron stating there was a leaked "Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade." 

___________________________

Pic: Sharing on family chat the fancy welcome swag bag the hotel gave me when I checked in and the uninspiring view from my room.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

commencement day

The amazing Robert Pinsky, our commencement speaker today, gave a talk he'd titled "A good idea, a bad idea, and a joke." The joke, he warned us, was unfunny but would save everyone thousands of dollars and many hours of psychotherapy. Here's a paraphrase. Patient tells the doctor: "it hurts when I do this..." Doctor replies: "Then don't do it."

But an unscripted funny moment was when Pinsky was describing how hair sprouts on the human body, using his fingers to mime sprouting at his head, then his armpits, and then the whole auditorium kind of held their breath wondering if he would go further. (He didn't). 

It was bittersweet saying goodbye to advisees and students who graduated today. I went in early to finish writing congratulation cards in my office and was touched to find cards students had crammed into the doorjamb or slid under the door. I thought I knew whom they might be from as I collected them, but I was wrong. None were from advisees or people I had done big, important things with/for. For the most part, these cards referenced small conversations and interactions. I kind of sat with that for a while. The idea that small things had been so important in someone's life made me feel... TBH... a bit anxious, actually. It's easier to do a finite number of big things than it would be to be open and supportive all the time. 

Pic: A screengrab of me doing the faculty marshal thing with the staff/mace and all. I kind of like the extra shoulder width and overall height academic regalia gives me.

And I couldn't help remembering that this happened at last year's graduation.

 

Thursday, April 21, 2022

a reminder that "doing the most" is not an accolade

April showers, check; April flowers, check.

I'm excited my favorite part of the year (the warm part) is almost here. I'm not even sad/mad that my sabbatical is now officially over (as this is finals week). I think I've garnered a few professional responsibilities and established some working/writing habits I can continue over the summer. 

In the meantime (just) today: I helped lead a WIAB meeting, joined an AC shared governance team, drafted a SLSA proposal with EM, and wrote up a panel and roundtable for the SA caucus.

OFC. 

SMH.

Pic: Daffodil Hill near the Radiology Gardens

Monday, April 18, 2022

Monday dun-day

Yes, it's still pretty dun and uninteresting out, and it even snowed all day today although it didn't stick... but the hellebores (lenten roses) are coming up in a nice reminder that even in Michigan, spring is here. 

Theres a lot of birdsong so it sounds like spring and it even smells like spring.

Wow, I sound like I'm trying to convince myself. 🙃  

Also that's Huck in the picture, Scout stayed by my side. I hope we get to do this again this spring.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

the sun rises

A sunny Easter day. It started with a meaningful and mindful heart-to-heart with Nu, and it got better when we got to sit and sing together at UU. Big A returned; At stopped by for dinner (the puppies and I got really excited).

We had our usual Easter egg hunt in the backyard with rhyming clues. (I rhymed "elm that fell" with "morel"--and they didn't get that one easily--oh, well.) Then a very early dinner together, and a very short round of Coup.  I even got a nice walk-and-talk with At before sending him off. Tried to watch Severance, which people seem to love, with Big A but didn't make it past the 20-minute mark. 

I'm grateful for the quiet, quality time with loved ones this weekend.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

the bitterness of mustard seeds


"Men!" she says, rolling her eyes
sputters: "Think--even the Buddha causes suffering."

I heed her assembly of outrage
the mustard seeds going off like grenades in the pot

it is true, yes, no one is to blame
Where do you keep scars? Can he see or imagine hers?

See her desire colliding with his wisdom
see her as the collateral damage of this one's own theology 

He might say it's nothing personal--it's true 
perhaps exactly what's missing, in his insistence on moving on  

on nights there is thunder, there is rain
I feel this whole world as an angry woman I do not blame

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

as I lay me down to sleep


it's time for me to be embedded 
into the dark

it's time to kneel at night's altar
quieten thoughts

to swallow answers into silence
and survive 

for I'm too wild for sleep to be
anything pure

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

in a season of dependence

over here, I'm trying to find the language we lost 
we're the canoe and and I slipped the oars
while asking questions
we're so small

strangeness crawls up my arms, nestles by my ears
little baby bugs overflowing their home 
telling me their stories
about being better

because we cannot know what we do not know
and we're flooded already with memories
we imagine how it will be 
without us 

that canoe thawed free from direction and labor
swept up in the recovery of unknowing
finding new neighbors
in sea and storm

Monday, April 11, 2022

tree fellers and friends

I was as excited as a toddler when I saw this little tree feller in the backyard. We've had four trees come down this last winter and I haven't been able to plan any outdoor events because it looked and felt inhospitable (and unsafe) with tree limbs everywhere. 

My favorite part of this picture is that when the driver saw me--with my phone out and dramatically miming taking a picture and asking if it would be ok--he very kindly paused so I could take one. As I mentioned to the kids in family chat--this is way more than they ever do for me. And the little monsters... had the gall to go "ha-ha" on that comment. 

L is back from her month-long trip, so I got a long walk with her this morning to catch up and it made me realize yes--lots of things have changed in a month: I'm more hopeful for Nu; I know what At's plans for the year are; I'm getting used to Big A's work-related absences. A lot of sadness with each of those situations, but growing acceptance too.

And then while the rest of the world was busy doing Monday things, I treated myself to a movie with KB. At her request we saw Everything Everywhere All At Once--and overall, it was clever and compassionate and I love the idea of an older woman cast as a superhero... still, the middle section and its fight scenes felt overwhelming to me. 

Sunday, April 10, 2022

some "uppy" for my heart

Into this gloriously sunshiny, blue sky day, I fit in goodbye brunch with our guests, a UU service with Nu (now with singing!), a read in the garden that turned into a snooze (with puppies!), a long walk along the Red Cedar, a full house post-guest clean, and then... At showed up for a surprise visit. 

Scout was so excited by this last development (or maybe it's the five pills he's been taking every day) he didn't wait for an "uppy" and just jumped up onto the couch by himself. 

That made my own heart very "uppy" too.

Beautiful Anne Lamott words here for more heart uppy-s. 

Saturday, April 09, 2022

din-din dinners

Nu's friend is over for a sleepover this evening and my friend/colleague SS and their Connecticut family are too. I wondered what the two highschoolers and SS's new college kid--all of whom had never met before--would have in common... But in less than 20 seconds they were talking, arguing, and enthusing about books and shows the three of them had read/watched. I guess that's what books and show do--knit us a common experience. The three of them are off in the rumpus room watching Princess Mononoke with the puppies. I needn't have wondered/worried.

I rarely take pictures of our dinner party table because it feels discourteous to my guests--the food is for them, not my camera. But SS's spouse did. I loved making them a feast (90% of it vegetarian). Just this morning, I read an article on hosting dinner parties Modern Mrs. Darcy linked to with mounting dismay. I agreed with most of the bullets (don't clean before--clean after, make a ton of food, accept help, and so on). But don't change the menu?! No desserts requiring silverware?! That seems like a recipe (ha) for monotony. And contrary to the article's advice, I already have counters cleaned/clear, boxed lunches for guests and fam, and am now off to spend more time playing board games. 

Thursday, April 07, 2022

Honors Day

Oh, I was so proud of my students today. They totally owned their work and I heard raves about them all day. And I just saw a tweet about one of their presentations from a local pastor who'd happened upon it, loved it, and wanted to tell the world about it. Some extra love because the paper was about douching and manipulative rhetoric in medical, marketing, and makeover culture. (It started out as a poster presentation a few months ago.)

The special thing about Honors Day is that sometimes you get to meet families too. And they are so excited and proud of their kids sharing their research and fielding questions, my heart just grows and grows. My department members are really good about talking to families and telling them (truthfully) how proud we are of their kids, and we might get to hear some nice things our students shared about us. I was thinking about all these interactions on my way home and smiling at adding memories to my things to think about whenever I have my next bad day at work. Like: You know your students today were rock-stars right? Your light as a teacher has clearly lit them up as well. Like: My kids tell me (I've had two of them in classes) how you've just changed the way they see the world. Like: I remember you from when we came to tour the college and you talked to us. Like: I guess you're the reason she wants to be an English Major?


Anyway, I was both exhilarated and tired by the time I got home, so I was glad there were leftovers for Scout, Huck, Nu, and me to eat (cheesy scrambled eggs from breakfast for Scout and Huck; chicken, potatoes, and veggie hash for Nu; curry, kootu, and yogurt rice for me). 

And then a hearteningly civil email exchange with a colleague who leans transphobic and was participating in one of those moral panics about school bathrooms that keeps coming up. And another late-night email exchange trying to help an advisee graduate. Oh, and did I say I stopped by the accountant's to pick up our tax docs and drop off At's tax docs  too? And I got a cute journal for Nu at the bookstore--can't wait to give it to them on their Boss Day (Monday).  I really think I should get out from under these puppies and go to bed now. 

Wednesday, April 06, 2022

ah, youth

Kind of a super busy day ahead of Honors Day tomorrow... and full of the wins and victories (and cautions) that come from looking over and editing student research. 

But Nu came to me just before dinner with a research question of their own (hate speech in schools). And it was so cool to sit down and share some early research skills with Nu and talk about what we found. I feel like my kids (understandably) see me as a parent more than anything else, so it feels a bit special when I can help them with stuff that I didn't get good at in order to be a parent.

Also, for some reason I just found my student evals from December, and they were the kindest ones I've had in years! I wish I'd had this level of approval and support before I got tenure. Something that really touched me is how all of them used "they/them" as my pronouns because I'd indicated my preference for gender neutrality at the beginning of the semester. I never hear myself referred to in the third person in class or meetings, so I hadn't realized that they were being so lovely about it. Young people truly give me hope for the world. 

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

"I get sprung"

The crocuses are here and... Big A is here!! It's also pretty sunshiny out today and students' research work is coming along nicely. (Not my research work, but--you know--one can't have everything.)

Anyway

let's begin once upon a time, with a house
we can fill it with hope and surprise

(we raise our eyes to the sky in greeting
use whatever rains down as anchor)

let's begin far, far, far away with a feast 
we can open mouths wide in laughter

(we press bites and bruises into pretty fruit
after we steal some answers and quiet)

Monday, April 04, 2022

Hello, Sunshine!

Just kidding! It was the grayest, wettest, grossest day in a while so I'm glad the baby daffodils (narcissi?) are coming up to brighten this week. (And typing out "Hello, Sunshine," which used to be grad school best bud JW's address for me, made me miss her and grad school and Oxford sunshine so bad.)

If it will make your heart happy to see 11-year-old Prince being interviewed on Minneapolis TV in 1970, head here. Guess some people are cool from the moment they were born. 💓

If it will make you laugh-cry to read a championing of the patriarchal practice of coercive dowry in a college textbook, head here. ("Ugly looking girls can be married off with an attractive dowry" LOLOLOL-sob.)

Big A is back tomorrow, most of my editing duties will be done by tomorrow, and Nu starts a new therapy regimen tomorrow. To tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.

Sunday, April 03, 2022

A Gentle Reader

A Gentle Reader
I say a prayer--for books to carry me
imagining ballads sweet at lunchtime
in an inventory of lives, distant loves
and for plain books to cry to at night

how light is soft and rich like a fire
how it smolders at the beginning
how embers fade like falling love 
stranded in the chaos we've made

we think wars are everywhere as usual 
within and without--as we like to say--
see shields surrender, becoming songs
in books that have already cast me out

Pic: Hyacinths, heady with scent, are coming up all over the house in various pots and things I stuck them in. (Here: game table in the tea garden; our outside is still wet and muddy.)

Saturday, April 02, 2022

(I love big cities but) I'm glad I'm home


It's a daily becoming
telling life from sleep
the memories wakening
overnight just like magic

It's still drizzling when 
I return four days later
like early spring weeds
my body a little sapped

but still strong, unbroken
as a promise once made
without noticing, tasting
a bit sticky... & unspoken 

#Atlanta

Friday, April 01, 2022

upcoming (re)union

A short lunchtime stroll to Luckie St. and MLK Square yielded this vista of daffodils and fountains.

Bought myself chocolate and a plug with a USB port (the hotel is so old it doesn't have USB ports to charge my phone) at the CVS and headed back. Traveling with just a backpack means I never buy/pack superfluous stuff anymore.

SO READY to get home tomorrow and see my three youngest (Nu, Scout, Huck).

And SO EXCITED for the successful unionizing effort at the Amazon warehouse in Staten Island. Do other people's family chats nerd out about things like this too? This news forward was the one text that received hearts amongst all the little bickering about whose turn it was to empty the dishwasher (while I'm gone) yesterday. #Atlanta

after this ending another ending

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