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

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

Thursday, March 31, 2022

so much shining

Proud of students who really seem to be coming into their own in a way I've missed. It's a combination of having done a great job presenting, being in a new city, attending other panels, learning, and networking with peers--so basically why higher ed has conferences in the first place. There should be more opportunities for students to share research. That is all.

Friend and colleague LV and I have resurrected the "the ten-minute chat" from their grad school days--you think it's going to be a ten-minute chat, but it ends hours later. I didn't know this term before, but I treasure this ten-minute chat format.

While the shine of student success and renewing bonds are legitimate, the shining in the blog title is more Stanley Kubrick than anything else. The elevator at this ancient Sheraton lets us off outside Room 402, we then have to walk past 84+ room doors before we get to ours. Really not a fan of this at all. Yikes. #Atlanta.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Glory (and alleluia)

I'm headed to Atlanta with our Honors students for a convention. I'm both proud and nervous for them and mostly nervous about the cursory supervisory care I've cobbled together for Nu through family and neighbors.

Pic: I woke up from a quick plane nap and through the window I could see the shadow of our plane on the cloud bank ringed by a rainbow halo. It felt really special while it lasted. And... I looked it up on the internet, and it's called a "Glory!" At the link, they described thusly: "Glories are most commonly seen from planes and on mountain tops on misty days. The glory is always seen around the observer’s shadow." "Pilot's Glory" is an alternative name for this phenomenon. My picture doesn't quite do it justice; there are better pics at the links.

I did not know about glories, and am so glad to have learned something new while traveling (that's unrelated to how frustrating it is when people are such inconsiderate babies about masks).

Monday, March 28, 2022


I found this video of two puppies bopping a balloon on the beach at sunset... and I want to go to there. I've watched the little clip multiple times and my heart rate steadies and lulls... this is the funnest "guided meditation" ever! Full video here.  

Otherwise it was a pretty busy--not always successful--day.  For instance, I realized I mailed a ton of documents without the form that ought to have accompanied it. [FacePalm]. And while I'm not teaching on sabbatical, I've stayed involved with student research--about ten of those projects are going to be presented soon, so each one is a separate saga of hard work and happiness.

The work day culminated in a department-wide meeting. I love that our chair has normalized remote attendance--they don't even ask if anyone needs a remote link, they just go ahead and arrange one, and every time there are a handful of us on it. This feels like a radical shift in inclusivity.

I can't be on a sunset beach with puppies, but at least I work with some good people.

Pic: from TheWorldOfDog

Saturday, March 26, 2022

"saying the word I was not supposed to say"

Nu and I went to The Vagina Monologues performance helmed by MacCurdy, the women's house I advise. 

We got a solid two hours of talking and joint DJ-ing in the car, an electrifying performance by some fabulous people, and lots of fun and supportive chats. I got a personal shoutout in the program notes + Nu told me that they're "so proud" of the work I do... 

(Nu's comment took me to Sarabeth Maney's picture of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and the way her child was beaming at her during KBJ's historic Supreme Court confirmation hearing. I mean, Nu wasn't quite as admiring, but then I haven't exactly been nominated to the Supreme Court either 😇.)

Feeling so grateful today for all of this.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Dinner and... an essay

At the end of the evening after hosting a proper sit-down dinner party after ages, there was a sense of accomplishment. Yet even as I was getting ready to send a friend pictures of his kid petting Scout... I could read text notifications from my cousins. 

One cousin had texted that their parents had had a house fire and that aunt and uncle were ok; another cousin seems to be trying to get a family in the Ukraine to safety, but only the mom had a passport. 

How we live our lives in the presence of ongoing tragedies is rationally irreconcilable with our good intentions and thoughts. Mari Andrew's essay, which Mel at Stirrup Queens pointed me to, is a wise consolation: "Someone has always clinked a cocktail glass in one hemisphere as someone loses a home in another while someone falls in love in the same apartment building where someone grieves. The fact that suffering, mundanity, and beauty coincide is unbearable and remarkable."

Perhaps someday I will be able to reach her conclusion that "The world feels so sharp and crooked right now. I, for one, am at a complete loss, and my feelings are all over the place—as they should be. But I'm appreciating my little moments of bliss like energy bars for the road ahead, and embracing my sadness in all its wisdom."

Pic: Nu and Huck paying attention to stories about the E.R. from dad.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

puppy snuggles and cricket memories

It was national puppy day, I think? I'm late as usual. I love this one with Huck's arm draped around Scout's shoulder... they're both lying on my feet (of course!),  which is why I couldn't get a fuller shot.

I've picked up the contradictory habit of watching movies in episode-length segments (it goes nicely with my other weird habit of watching multiple episodes of a show at one go). 

Anyway, finished watching "83" (in about four segments) and enjoyed how much old cricket lore came back to me as I watched it. It's a typical underdog sports story, and bit overdone in some parts, but I enjoyed it and yelped in surprise and delight when the real Kapil Dev made a cameo appearance.

Some of the nicest days in my childhood were when "pavillion" tickets to a match (passed on by cricketeer uncles/dad's work/well-connected family) showed up and we'd be allowed to skip school to spend all day at the stadium. Being stuck at school when a big match was on was the worst: kids these days don't know the painful suspense of finding out the score from the tuck shop radio or having to depend on friendly teachers who could bring us the latest from the teachers' lounge TV.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

the return

home seems habitual
the way it sings to us
tells us special things 
no one else will

the joy of sitting here 
ruined with utter love 
or something edging
it up until 

the singularity of life
skimming the years
dims these currents 
into standstill

so we jump narrative
rewind our best parts
outside the visible
--ask for a refill

Pic: Big A is back! We were at our desk trying to work on a project, but Scout and Huckie thought they needed to check in on us.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

wild and precious time

I chuckle/howl/bawl-ed so hard at this one.

I love Mary Oliver's "The Summer Day" poem so much and love that other people love it too and love that it became something people passed around in the pandemic. I mean there's apparently a whole Pinterest section on it.

But this Sarah Lazarus take on it is hilarious. We have literally been using this line of inquiry to make decisions on birthday plans, vacations, work duties.

Travel, especially, seems to require some unsentimental evaluation. I have some coming up: an honor society meeting with students early April; a site-visit for the big NWSA conference in May; and... do we dare plan a non-US family vacation in June?

Sunday, March 20, 2022

mud and miracles

Just the perfect day for a barn-raising at Tender Heart Gardens, the queer gardening collective Nu and I joined up and fundraised for. We spent a couple of hours getting muddy, prepping beds, setting up mulch, etc. etc. etc.

It was perfectly bright and sunny; plus, with yesterday's rain at our backs everything was so much easier to clear and tackle. SS, LAS, BS, and CL came to work alongside us... there were dozens of volunteers this time! 

My mom-style snacks weren't laughed at by the cool kids, I was able to hand off CL's birthday presents in person, and Nu and I went to a deli with SS and LAS in our muddy clothes for lunch before coming home to thorough showers and a nap.

I planned to use just the top picture, which I took myself, but then this second picture showed up and I found my bossy stance hilarious, so here I am.

SO excited for the change of seasons and cautiously hopeful for the pandemic's waning. 

Saturday, March 19, 2022

love + pizza + Pera

Scout and Huckie ate up all the extra love and any pizza that happened to come their way when BS and CF hung out with us this evening and we ate pizza and talked school (H.S. and grad) stuff and some of us drank some syrupy wine that's been sitting in the fridge since the Galentine's Day party. I love how intergenerational our group is--CF, me, BS, and Nu are each from/in different decades in life.

But we all enjoy Joe Pera. Which--in case you haven't seen it--feels kind of like a Mr. Rogers for grownups. Originally on Adult Swim, but super lowkey and calming and you can trust nothing awful will happen. Some weeks need a show like this. 

Plus, it takes place in Michigan (Marquette, to be precise), so us Michiganders are obligated to watch it. 

Friday, March 18, 2022

running, running

Having grad school feels today, I guess. It's application decision time everywhere, and students, friends, wards are waiting to hear where they've matched at grad schools and residencies and internships. I did my part by trying to get the admin stuff for MacCurdy (the women's house I advise) done. In fact, formatting it all for the board took so much time that I forgot to run before my massage. 

My (teensy) puritanical streak dictates that I do something physically strenuous before a massage. I have to "deserve" it. Well, I showed up in my undeserving state, and it was still a great massage. And I guess my muscles hadn't turned to slush overnight, as R, the masseuse, asked if I wanted to run a 5K with them. Yes! I like R a lot--they remind me of my Nu--and I'm happy we have plans to run together. 

Lots of cozy chats with people in different timezones (JG, mom, sis, cousins, BS) and finally finished Badhai Do, the gay Indian film streaming on Netflix that everyone loved so much. I went in wanting to like it, but it didn't grab me right away (maybe because of the small town affect and aesthetics?) but by the time the obligatory pride parade rolled around, I was (predictably) in tears. 

Dinner and cuddles with Nu, Scout, and Huckie and then off to read in bed. Big A is at work still (sigh/sob).

Pic: Another 2008 picture of Nu, which brought joy/guffaws to people who needed it today. One of my favorites.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022


I found a stash of our Flickr photos online while looking for something else and took a screenshot of this one; originally taken in 2008 with my Nikon D40X on some unremembered mini golf course. 

I don't know why I love it so much--no one's even actually smiling... but Big A is holding the kids both so protectively and the kids are so tiny and portable and healthy and it just seems like a snapshot of a simpler time.

(In other news, my campus-wide presentation went ok, but didn't reach the numbers we'd projected; I do wonder if it was a good use of 15+ sabbatical work hours... but if I didn't do it, it wouldn't get done... and it deserved to get done.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

can't stand

To see war advance in such excruciating detail across Ukraine in real time has been many things including terrifying and has induced a lot of helplessness and hopelessness... 

There's so much hegemonic and military brutality going on all over the world, all the time... 

It's a wonder we are able to function.

Today I had crippling weltschmerzen.

 I did not function.

Monday, March 14, 2022

thawing pains

the day's a disaster though
its song summons laughter
rolling like water over sun 
blinking on/off like a halo

snowy realms are escaping
vulnerable with empathy
whole worlds liquefying 
like tears into spring mud

Scout hands his paw to me
warm as a steady blessing
while I lie to my mother:
saying everything's alright

Pic: Neighbor CC's from her canoe on the Red Cedar

Sunday, March 13, 2022

brighter days

I know I'm tired of "the white stuff" as StephLove called our March snow, so I'm choosing to look back at the birthday message JG and MB sent me a week and a half ago from a sunny beach in Moloka'i. 

In honor of this sweet photo, I picked Moloka'i as the next book to read. 

From reading the back of the book, I gather the protagonist gets leprosy... And it reminded me of the summer when I was nine and had a pale patch on my skin... And OMG, before I could get in to see the doctor, I must have had at least a dozen adults--parents, aunts, uncles, etc.--prick me with a safety pin. Each of them asking the same question: Did you feel that? OW! YES! It hurts! (One loses sensation with leprosy and they were trying to figure out how worried they ought to be.) It was maddening then but seems kind of sweet now.

I watered and tidied my zillion plants, managed a solid Sunday clean, set the clocks forward, and then soaked till I turned pruney. I was going to make a simple Spanish tortilla for dinner (Nu's chickens are laying everyday now and we need to use up the eggs), but I found some heavy cream, pre-roasted spaghetti squash, and red peppers in the fridge that needed to be used up as well so they went in there too. It was fine, but the apple-blueberry-arugula-cucumber-feta salad with red onion and balsamic glaze that we (maybe) invented was amazing. It's our second time making it this week!

Getting back to work after dinner, so tomorrow can feel manageable. We "Spring Forward" today, and it's supposed to warm up this week; I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

and another one


I did it and it seemed to go well and it was very gratifying. Extra thanks to Nu, who helped me position and photograph slides and thanks to the two fellow panelists who said they'd already put in orders for the text I'd worked on. 

Also, I surprised myself by finding enough time to run 4 miles (a lot for me), pre-prep a stir-fry for dinner, check in with LB and KB and wash my hair. Sometimes a big event day has me shoving everything else aside, so this felt like a moment of growth. 

I rewarded myself by finishing the novel I'd been reading, and am unwinding in the bliss of not having to show up anywhere--in person or virtually--tomorrow.

Friday, March 11, 2022


Serious face (and reading glasses) on for chairing the Michigan Academy WGS section conference proceedings. Just so incredibly invigorated by the work of students and colleagues who presented and happy to build some mentoring and networking in there too. 

I have another conference (SALA) coming up tomorrow where I will have to present a paper, and then poetry selections to finalize for Jaggery, tons of  22 advisee and committee meetings next week, and a campus-wide women's month presentation on the same day of Nu's first appointment with a new therapist. Add international and pandemic news, what I'm reading (Laurie Frankel's This is How it Always Is), surprise snow instead of spring today, and the knowledge that Big A will be home for just two days in the next eight and it has me feeling... panicky. 

But one step at a time will get me there. First step: finishing up my slides for tomorrow's talk. Second step: preparing to let tomorrow be another dry shampoo kind of day.

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

slips and slides

I started the day walking with L, who will be away for a month. It wasn't the best day or time for a walk as it was pretty icy, but I couldn't pass up the chance to say goodbye to L, whom I'll MISS SO MUCH. Not even 20 mins in, I slipped and fell "very gracefully" as L assured me 😁😂.  

Not usually an office day for me, but I had to prep with some students for upcoming conference presentations, so I headed in. Plus I was putting together goodie bags for International Women's Day anyway--it started as a cozy and convivial MacCurdy Event, and I'm not happy about its distant-sterile pandemic avatar, but it's better than nothing. Fun chats with colleagues and dean during drop off...

While rushing home so I could take a virtual meeting, I realized that (a) my day was very busy and people-y for someone supposedly on sabbatical (b) filling my day with so much busy work is a clever and virtuous way of NOT doing the writing I'm supposed to be doing. 

Pic: Office nook--I repurposed the top of an office supplies box as a tray.

Sunday, March 06, 2022

everything's a seesaw

On the one hand, these strollers that Polish parents left at the train station for Ukrainian parents to use as they cross the border with nothing... on the other hand the racism against foreign students trying to leave Ukraine... Life continues to give with one hand and take away with another.

A read that gave me life last week was this mom's account of life with her trans daughter in Jezebel--unfortunately written to demonstrate the humanity of their lives in the light of the new laws against trans kids.

And I finally finished Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad. I don't know why I didn't read it when it came out, because everyone was raving about it. And I understand why everyone I knew was raving about it, because they probably felt it was about them--it's certainly very slice of hipster/Gawker-style life. I got stuck on the casual mentions of child sex abuse in the early part of the novel with the record producer in the 70s picking up teenagers. And then I kept procrastinating on picking it up again. But I finished the rest of it in one swoop this afternoon and it was brilliant. 

on a break (Winter Break)

It was so rude of Big A to cheerily text me "one more year" on New Year's day and then explain that in 2025 Nu would be off to...