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

Friday, March 04, 2022

March Forth Again!

Birthday dinner with Li'l, Big, and Baby As as I used to call them a million years ago on this here blog... and also a necklace almost as big as my head.

I started the day hiking with L and then hung out with Big A and just talked and texted with family and friends all day long. There was an hour of massage therapy in there somewhere too. We ended up making 1100 dollars with the birthday fundraiser and at the end of the day there was a pistachio-raspberry cake with candles.

I learned about March Forth (March Fourth) just a couple of years ago, I think--but I love that I can claim this day for a birthday. In writing news today, I got a shoutout from Mel over at Stirrup Queens and a newer poem was published in Waxing and Waning

So happy in my heart. 

Thursday, March 03, 2022


I feel like I did bring some Florida sunshine back with me... it was bright and beautiful all day, and I didn't even have to delve into this delightful loose-leaf tea I found in St. Pete.

I got to wake up TWO human babies for breakfast (At had spent a few nights here to take care of his sibs) and the rest of the day was full of small surprises and mercies. 

For instance, the accounting on my work credit card--always a chore (with multiple logins and approvals) went SO smoothly. I got in a couple of walks with AK and S when I made my sabbatical-style weekly office visit for student meetings, advising, and committee meetings. 

And we got Subway for dinner as a pre-Birthday treat.

And also--we may be getting a bit ahead of ourselves-- but since we're "between variants" as the more pessimistic/realistic members of the family would have it, we started planning a family vacation. And then Big A started insisting that we book right away, like TODAY. And I told him that it reminded me of attending some free day cruise where someone did a timeshare presentation and kept insisting that I buy one TODAY since the offer would not be available tomorrow. 

That part didn't go over too well.😁😂

Wednesday, March 02, 2022


I started a fundraiser for my birthday for the first time ever, and it's just not getting the traction of my other Facebook posts. I couldn't use the Facebook fundraiser template since this non-profit does not have a 501c3 classification, so this isn't being promoted by Facebook, and I wonder if the GoFundMe link is making it algorithmically inaccessible. In any case, it's not working very well.

I'm bad at asking--and especially bad at asking for money--so just sitting with this for a bit.


Tuesday, March 01, 2022


The obligatory blue skies + blue waters pic from our quick trip to St. Pete, Florida. Big A gets CME classes; I get to eat breakfast in bed, visit museums, eat ice-cream, and (this is the most important part) walk around in summer clothes.

We're back tomorrow, but it has been a nice break from winter and the ordinary. It occurs to me that while the length of our trips without the kids (usually 2-4 days) hasn't changed, our childcare givers have moved from  grandparents > paid sitters > friends > (and currently) our young adult child.

Rooftop fireplace, drinks, appetizers, and then back to watch the SOTU--a buzzkill with how things are in the country/world. While I don't agree with Pres. Biden on things (don't extra fund the police, cancel student debt!) his kindness is solid. I noticed today when he was talking about the seventh grader with diabetes, he said the child needed insulin to stay healthy--not that he needs it to stay alive (the child was right there and it was gentler). And he gave another shoutout to the LGBTQ community and trans kids, which made me cry. Kindness after cruelty will do that to me.

Saturday, February 26, 2022


We (Nu and I) had plans with CF today. We were supposed to see the Kahlo exhibit and then come home to hang out and pet puppies and eat pizza and watch the movie remake of Nella Larsen's Passing together. 

I'm not gonna lie--after the accident yesterday, I wanted to just cancel it all and stay home and worry about the war in Ukraine, racism against refugees, the poor deer, and my Bluey. But this morning I woke and decided I did NOT want to think about anything on that beyond-my-control list. So Nu and I bundled up and walked to the museum, met up with CF, and spent a satisfying couple of hours together transformed by--and transcendent with--art. 

The picture is of Detroit-based artist Beverly Fishman's piece "Recovery". I love how the angles of the work play on some of the unusual angles of this Zaha Hadid building (a little bit of which is visible in my pic). And I loved, loved this part of the artist's statement: "The notion of recovery is central to the experience of the exhibition. In the face of a global pandemic, along with the ever-pressing need for wider social, racial, and environmental reckonings in the United States and abroad, it is all the more important for people to seek out moments of solace." 

So that happened. Then CF went and got their car while Nu and I ordered the pizza. Then we got home and hung out and petted puppies and Nu took a nap and CF helped me find the VIN number on Bluey and take more pictures for the insurance company. I didn't have the energy for a whole ass movie, but we watched three episodes of Abbott Elementary (so about the average run time it would take to watch a whole ass movie, ha) but its wry teaching humor fit better than a more serious reckoning with the world. 

I'm still in recovery mode.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

it's the end of the day and I feel fine

Hung out with bestie KB, whom I just adore, today... We usually walk, but today we went to a museum and had lunch and went shopping and book browsed and caught a movie and... just hung out all day... like we were playing hooky from school.

And we were talking about how when we were young things just seemed to be getting better--you know? The Berlin Wall fell, Nelson Mandela was released from prison, hate was considered to be evil... and today there's war everywhere and bombs dropping on Ukraine. 

But being around KB is a balm. And now I have this song stuck in my head.

Pic: Here I am at the Joseph Tisiga Scarecrow Exhibit.

Monday, February 21, 2022


Paul Farmer, a personal and global hero, passed away today. It seems a bit precipitate at just 62... Many of my early conversations with people who are now lifelong friends and colleagues started with discussions of his work and vision. I wish we would honor his life by doing away with the IPRs preventing us from vaccinating the whole world against Covid immediately. 

In happier home news: Nu had invited a friend over for a sleepover this evening. Yet this isn't about them.  Nu and their friend claimed the rumpus room and puppies, so Big A and I decamped to the guest room--which has a huge TV unlike our bedroom--with our pizza and pop to hang out.

And then we kept calling it our "own sleepover."

Although, you know, we're married and all. We took turns checking on the comfort and safety of the original sleepover kids, watched two whole movies, did some puzzles, and then finally went to sleep (in our regular bedroom) around 2 am. We really miss each other when he's off at work. 

Saturday, February 19, 2022

still winter

These frosty guys! 

Some mix of of bunny rabbit/Yoda/puppy/lion cub. The way they race to be the first to jump on me when I show up makes me feel like the most loved mama in the whole world.

More snow today. Nu had school canceled for a snow day yesterday, which made their four-day Presidents' Day weekend a five-day one! 

If it weren't for the pandemic, it would have been a good time to take off on a small adventure by ourselves. As it is, Nu has some extra hangout time with friends.

I'm ready for Spring, but I'm glad my babies are enjoying the winter that's still here. Huh, it looks like they're predicting a "reverse spring" for us this year.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

zooming to nostalgia

When the invitation to attend a state of the art talk with so many of my old professors showed up, I RSVPed right away. It was some of the usual suspects from the Thursday Poco Seminar and it  took me back to being a student in Oxford in the first decade of this century--late as usual, racing past the tourists and townies and fellow students to get to Wadham College by 5:15. Usually I didn't bring my bicycle because there'd be wine and/or we'd go to dinner with the speaker and it would be easier to split a taxicab with someone.

It was at 5:00 GMT today, so although I tuned in at noon, it felt like one of those evenings. Lots has happened since then: jobs, publications, promotions; and on the other side: relationships, marriage, kids. It's wild that my profs are still the leaders in the field; it's crazy that I still show up on their acknowledgements pages from time to time. 

There is one person on this panel who is newer, very likely much younger. They mentioned in their introductory remarks that they felt "intimidated." I assumed they meant because of the august company--but no, they meant because they had to cover a lot of ground in very little time. And that, my friends, is one of the many reasons why although both of us applied for the same job at UCLA Berkeley in 2012, only one of us got it (and it wasn't me).

Monday, February 14, 2022

here and now

This is from yesterday's hike with L. I'm glad something nice came of it since a few minutes after I took this pic, I slipped on some black ice and ended up flat on my back. I didn't at all feel winded or embarrassed (it was L, after all) and I was thankful that I'd been wearing the very thick hat my in-laws gave me. 

My neck hurts today--not sure if its because I lifted heavier weights than usual, slept wrong, or because I did something to it when I fell.  Anyway, my personal physician will be home tomorrow and I can get checked out then. 

In the meantime, I've been binge reading To Paradise, and getting intensely Edith Wharton vibes from the first part set in a sort of alternative Gilded Age. I also watched The Last Duel, with its immersive medieval ethos. Two historical periods in one weekend is a bit much even for me.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

where it hurts

This part of my hip, which is hurt, is also the exact spot Scout likes to rest his fuzzy chin on--it's just the perfect gentle pressure.

I earned this afternoon+evening reading To Paradise, drinking cinnamon tea, eating chocolate, the puppies in my lap/on my legs. Big A is at work, I dropped Nu off to visit a friend, and I worked like a fiend yesterday.

I'm coming to the end of the day with deep satisfaction, apparently some days it takes very little to get there.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

"A Pedagogy of Kindness"

An older article, "The Pedagogy of Kindness" has been making the rounds on social media again and is a good reminder of how much unlearning those of us teach have to undergo. Elite institutions (in my case, Oxford) especially reinforce ideas of privilege, proving oneself, thinking of your cohort as competitors, etc. etc. It took reading bell hooks and June Jordan to discover more inclusive and compassionate forms of learning and teaching are possible. 

June Jordan's electrifying statement in "Outside Language:" “None of us has known enough tenderness” has been my mantra in the classroom for decades now. 

Anyway, I was in my office for meetings today and a kind student gave me this beautiful calendar to say thank-you. Other students may say thank you by undertaking research, accepting additional responsibilities, pioneering new activities and events, or confiding personal struggles--all of which happened today too. I'm so lucky to be doing this work.

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

a smiley one

Today went better than I imagined. 

Big A was back--we hung out and hung out and hung out and then hammered out some details on our book project; At dropped by unexpectedly to pick up some mail and give Nu a teddy bear from the Sinn Fein store; the three painkillers the vet gave Scout have put him in a happier--and loopier--mood; I got Nu's prescription filled easily and the somewhat transphobic pharmacist didn't give me the runaround this time.

Best of all, I wasn't expecting to have the whole fam together at the dinner table tonight, but it happened! (Although Scout decided to sit at my feet instead of with everyone else.)  So I took a pic for my mom (and me!). 

Monday, February 07, 2022

the lovey

One of my favorite pictures of Scout as a puppy: hugging his lovey and watching for the water vole to swim past in the old house. He would get so excited when he saw water voles or bunnies that he'd sit down like he couldn't bear the weight of his surprise. Scout was always the sweetest of my babies.

Anyway long neuro appt today for Scout (from 11 am to nearly 4 pm) and they found some things but are going to pass us on to the ortho dept. They weren't letting anyone but patients in, but I was so anxious that I couldn't understand them on the phone--it was like I lost my capacity for language. So they brought me into a tiny exam room and went over everything with me again. 

I remember pointing out his weakness and everyone trying to convince me that I was imagining it. No one thinks I'm imagining it anymore, it's that obvious.

Time is terrifying sometimes.

Friday, February 04, 2022

Boss Day*

It has been a long and busy week, but it's my "Boss Day" (*translation below) today and I knew things were looking up when I saw this "baby rainbow" in the grey sky at the end of my cold ass walk with L this morning. 

I had a massage with R, my lovely gender-fluid masseuse; some Christmas gift cards to spend; and got some tasty treats (milk chocolate pistachios). 

At showed up for dinner, and I got to play Hot Ones at dinner with the fam. The best part was doing a 15-minute Tai Chi session before At left (with Nu, Big A, and the puppies sort of joining us from assorted places around the rumpus room).

Also: I got Wordle in two. 


*Boss Day must be the best thing I ever made up: we celebrate everyone's "birthday" every month. My birthday is on March 4th, so it's my Boss Day on the 4th of every month--At is on the 2nd, Nu the 11th, Scout and Huck the 18th, Big A the 23rd, and so on. I get the "Boss Baby" a small present (usually a book and some treats) and they get to pick dinner (home/restaurant) and a family activity (show/game). It makes for a nice mini celebration every week. We celebrate the puppies on the same day, because it was too confusing for them if only one of them got special treats. I thought I'd link to a few Boss Day posts, but there were too many when I searched "Boss Day."

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

practicing panic

for my head is full of sound
loose in its orbit

like a character in a cartoon
I refuse to choose

perhaps the moon will rise 
out of my chest

into skies of hope-rage-love
bigger than loss

yet for now I'm just watching 
alert from afar

feeling like a new  w o u n d
waiting to scar

Pic: So the storm came and the snow stayed. I took this picture from bed this morning, cozy in the knowledge that Nu's school had already declared today a snow day.

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

the body we lived in

loss hovers here--already a ghost/
formless the way these ghosts are
one hand on my chest, squeezing/

another hand signing what shape
it may take, /how it may unmake 
--with a ghost laugh so loud, /I cry 

"remember!" I want to say; /I ask--
"remember?" there's a way home
crawling amphibian up my spine 

but I'm still waiting/ to be found
my arms outstretched--embracing
/unarmed and ready for the rack

Pic: A hawk (?) by the Red Cedar, spied on my walk with Big A today. 

There was the body of a dead squirrel in the hawk's talons. (Big A kept asking me not to look at the bird and not to go closer. We both agree I tend to be much braver/foolhardier than he is.)

I'm also thinking about bodies and how they can be--or seen as--just one thing or another (/) because of what our poor little Nu said at the pediatrician this morning, and because that child, Brendan Santo, was found recently.

Monday, January 31, 2022



I feel Huckie's tail blur and Scout's blissed-out face... BS and CL came to dinner, Big A was back...

Table, tummies, and hearts full.

Grateful to be ending January on this note.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022


A breakthrough in family therapy for Nu and Big A--a moment just beautiful in its vulnerability. I am so proud of these two stubborn people who don't give up. 

And a welcome breakthrough on an essay I'm working on just as I was falling asleep last night. I was too tired to even scratch out a note for myself, but it lingered when I sat down to work the next morning. Like all the best solutions, it was there all along! 

In other news, I'd sent out a flawed proposal and instead of being rejected, one of the evaluators messaged me backchannel to revise and resubmit--which I did. It reminded me of this story on bias I heard on the radio detailing how well networked people benefit from excuses and clemencies unavailable to others. I never thought, I guess, that I would be on the receiving end of such benefaction. 

And of course, putting it all into perspective--the James Webb telescope has settled into its permanent orbit and I wonder what else we'll learn about ourselves. 

Monday, January 24, 2022


Finally at that stage where the Red Cedar is frozen solid and the crazy college kids have cleared patches to play hockey on it. A day that was prettier to be in--with the snow falling lightly--than it was to photograph.

But I went outside today. I started some good sabbatical habits--working steadily through the day until it was time to pick up Nu. Got a proposal sent off; whittled the chapter that was at 20K down to 11K. It needs to be at 8K--so I guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow. 


In the midst of mounting excitement about the start of the new school year, it was a shock to hear two people who'd been at the college ...