Showing posts with label Teaching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Teaching. Show all posts

Thursday, November 12, 2020

"Stare at each other like TV"


Probably one of my favorite lyrics right now, and not constantly in a romantic way. Sometimes it's the little ones I want to stare at... also trees.

In other news, Covid cases have been spiking on campus, so I'm moving everything online especially as students are being encouraged to go home. It's so disheartening after so many have been so vigilant and careful. And my classes were going to share research presentations next week too. Anyway.

Like most people, I feel I've normalized some stuff like going to the store, getting massages, etc. because it felt nicer not having to worry for a ninth month. But we ought to be worried

This story about a smallish wedding reception (55 guests) leading to "three separate Covid-19 outbreaks that infected 178 people, putting three into the hospital and killing seven more" where "none of those who got seriously ill or died even went to the wedding, and many lived 100 miles away" is a sad and awful unsnooze call for me. I don't know that I could live with being the cause of someone's decline+/-death in this way.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Believe in open-minded people



Dr. Ibram X. Kendi in our Presidential Speaker series (via Zoom) tonight and here's my question and his response.

How do you decide whether or not to engage with someone who may put you in a position where you have to argue for your humanity/human rights?

Well, remember there are people who are close-minded and people who are open-minded. 

So someone may believe in voter fraud, and you may bring them some sources and say: there is no significant voter fraud. 

And they may say: [I] don't trust your sources

So you ask them: Ok, what sources do you trust? 

And you go and find material from those sources and they say: I don't trust those sources anymore

Those people may have closed minds. And when a person's mind is closed, I try to not spend my time on them unless they are really close to me. 

I'm going to spend my time with the open-minded people. 

Monday, November 09, 2020

And the leaves are gone

Just two weeks ago, we had this.

Another busy day, but busy like treading water and informed by sadness every now and then. 

I keep getting messages about students being on "medical leave," which is code for "tested positive for Covid," so I'm worried about them. In one class, it's all the students to whom I've had to mime pulling up their masks as reminders, so I worry too about what they did when I wasn't around and who else might have been impacted by all of this.

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Ding-Dong; Be Gone!

Where were you? I had just finished interviewing prospective students for scholarships, when Big A showed up with a grin, and Nu and I knew right away. 

A bit anticlimactic ultimately--I blame CNN's rampant use of the thesaurus for two days of headlines (Biden on the cusp, on the verge, on the threshold). On the other hand, it solidified B's lead well beyond conjecture and allowed saner Trumpers to back away (?). Don't know; don't care RN TBH.

Here, Scout is tired of election news as the rest of us watch Vice-President-elect Harris and President-Elect Biden's speeches and marvel at decency and parseable sentences and earnestness on the podium. 

Big A teased me about my (presumably wide-eyed) gawking--but no shame here. Who believes in America's possibility more than an immigrant, after all? Lots and lots of work ahead to be sure, but now there's a chance where before there was only survival. 

Friday, November 06, 2020

And Another One

This is the other snake--from yesterday. Today has been very homebound. But also, today is yet another repeat of yesterday. 

Is it possible to be full of nervous energy and simultaneously enervated? Yes, yes it is. Time to call it, CNN!

I was kind of glad to have a planner full of class and meetings at hourly intervals all day, so I could go from one to prepping for the next. I may have rambled at a few of them (two nights of low no sleep will do that to me) and then the internet was all cute and hide-and-seeky-y. But I managed. The day is done.

But I've done so little at home today except find time to cuddle with everyone for comfort. We're still eating pizza from yesterday... I mean after all, Big A did order four pies for three humans. 

Nu and I had planned to make another batch of the awesome "Pumpkin Spice and Fundamental Rights" cakes we made on election day. We gave/swapped so many away and Nu and Big A want more. As they reminded me, they want more, they want more, when you like something, you want more! But the baking will have to wait until tomorrow.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

"Zero at the Bone"

I met one of Emily Dickinson's narrow fellows this morning, while out with L. In fact, we met two. 

TBH, I thought the rest of the day would hold more excitement, but it was just a pattern of waiting, a fever of refreshing between class work and meetings, and ultimately not much else.

I was nervy all day--too nervy to make dinner--so we got pizza from Jolly Pumpkin, vegged, and watched an ep of The Queen's Gambit--and lo, all of this was good, but I kept checking Twitter for something better.

Monday, November 02, 2020

The Future



At was briefly in town so he could deliver his absentee ballot to the drop box. !YAY! Also, it's the second of the month and hence his 'Boss Day,' so he got even more extra hugs and presents and picked dinner (mint chicken again). 

Because he's the best big sib ever, he roped Nu into researching all the school board candidates. I love this picture of my human babies so serious and so oblivious to me.

This morning at a student-vocation discussion, the lack of students' "grit" was generally mourned. I dissented--this generation's lives are challenging in a way ours never was.

(Scout's tail behind Nu's chair as he petitions for more pets, lol.)

Thursday, October 29, 2020

My Panel / My At

To be clear, my colleagues and I did not fight about cancel culture and statues--but we did deliberate.  

Yet apparently, it didn't stop people from watching the panel discussion as though it were a prize fight at the MUN House (per At). If I look amused in the top right corner it's because At was asking some cleverly self-deprecating question online. The corner of the laptop abutting the screen is his! Togetherness! Yay!

(OMG, I love that fellow. I have to admit, I lost all professional composure when a late arrival rehashed the "statues are history" tack in Q&A and At's deadpan riposte on the event chat was: "I got my history major by staring at a bunch of statues.")

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Peak Peek

I think we're at the peak of color this week. Added bonus was a blue sky, no grey midwestern 'dome' today!

Paths are crisp and crunchy; we're still inundated with tasks and deadlines; everyone seems to be holding their breath for next week.

Had a lovely chat with At, where he updated me on some health stuff and impressed me with the proactive and grownup way he had advocated for himself. 

Later in the day, another chat with At, this time a boisterous facetime with the younger sibs. And then a lot of heavy discussion with Nu over dinner prep and dinner being a sounding board as they excitedly invented their character for the D&D party BS is starting Saturday. (Bless BS!!) It's the most animated Nu has been in a while, and reading the D&D manual introduced them to a lot of words they didn't seem to know (diminutive, arcane...).

I planned to class prep alongside Big A as he watched some cycling videos after dinner (these are just as impossible for me to understand as the unboxing craze all the kids were about a few years ago!) but I set aside my laptop for 'just a few minutes' and fell asleep on top of him and had to start all over again.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

50/50

 


Yesterday's Vijaya Dashami offering was an almond and apricot honey cake. (All gone!)

Dussehra is one of the many opportunities to renew and reset in the Hindu annual calendar. And I spent yesterday hopeful for all kinds of pandemic and election magic.

Today I quietly panicked in the car on my way home from teaching and made a list of things we'll need to stock up on. (Not because I anticipate shortages, but I DO NOT WANT to be out there.)

Friday, October 16, 2020

A breath from the past


Eyde Woods, Red Cedar River, Wednesday's hike with L.

(Have been in class/in meetings/on calls/on the couch all day today.)


Thursday, October 15, 2020

These shoes weren't meant for walking

My shoes; At's socks
But as I put my lunchbox, and my briefcase, and my purse into the passenger side of the car and as I was beginning to take off my jacket before walking around to the driver's side to get in and finally get home, the car door shut on me and beeped like Knight Rider. My purse with the key was right there on the passenger seat, so I didn't think I could be locked out. But... Oh, I was. I tried the trunk, thinking I could crawl in, but it wouldn't open either. I couldn't go back to my office (my keys were in the car); I couldn't call AAA or Big A (my phone was in the car); It was nearly 8 and I was hungry and tired and couldn't get a snack (my wallet was in the car). 

So I walked over to At's (I'd just been thinking I hadn't seen him since Nu's birthday... and writing that I realize it's been less than a week, but it has been a long week!). He tried the door too, but nothing. So we made the call, and Big A got on the road to bring me the spare key, Nu in tow since it was dark and I didn't want Nu to be home by themselves. (Big A initially demurred about having to drive all the way, and I was instantly mad thinking about all the times I drove into NYC with little At and Baby Nu to get him after a late shift at Bellevue. But he quickly did the right thing, and no one got yelled at. Ha.)

So an hour till reinforcements arrived, and my sweet At offered to feed and water me and sit with me on the MUN House porch (outsiders aren't allowed into student housing to minimize Covid exposure) to keep me company. But I was too keyed up, so I asked if we could walk around, and borrowed some socks from At, and we did. I kept telling him he should go back to work on the delayed deadlines and midterm extensions, but we kept walking and talking, and then Nu and Big A were there, and there was a teensy family reunion in the Heritage Parking Lot. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Monkey Mind




I've been lighting a candle for morning meditation lately. It helps, but of course my "monkey mind" still has random thoughts jumping in and out. 
 
Today these two things kept popping up: 
1) bits of a student essay in which they despaired of the election and worried that they may be stripped of the right to marry.
 
2) the look in an advisee's eyes when I ran into them in the hallway. Their eyes were crinkly from smiling (behind their mask) but the eyes were tired, sad, and trying hard to be brave. 

Clearly, work/home separation doesn't work very well with teaching.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

On my way home


A long teaching day, classroom observations, many small fires, a handful of delayed deadlines, tired to the bone (two hours of sleep!), and hungry...

But I got to see At for a bit--both of us masked--and give him a 'backhug' and a (new to him) Du Bois for his Boss Day (tomorrow); a small but affectionate pre-class chat with my mom; knowing I will see NuScoutHuck in minutes...

Then a leg of this rainbow (such an intense VIOLET!) and a go-go-go green light--and there's a definite feeling of "yes" in the air.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Pardons <> Gardens

The other day, L and I wandered into the Rose Garden and were delighted to see serendipitous blooms just everywhere. (It's the end of September!) And then we ripped off our masks and stuck our noses in to take in all the scents. Sometimes there, we're humming this silly oldie (and then it reminds me of Chennai and CR who taught me that song).  

But that day was not today. By 9:00 am I had already been in two meetings, and between regularly-scheduled meetings, a CASA-training webinar, student conferences, and  a faculty-wide caucus, the intensity continued until 5:00. Sometimes I had to use two monitors to juggle my overcommitments.

But the spoooooky syllabus (Culture and the Supernatural) for the second seven-week course set to start next week is all done!

Friday, September 25, 2020

Anachronism


How can it be... that at an academic workshop... of over 30 people... in the 21st century... 

It seems I'm the only person of color?

Monday, September 21, 2020

So Many Meetings

So Too many meetings, an eternal leap--just so 

But some things are useful; anyone could do this. 

They say I mean a thousand things--warning:

I may have cried about it and made it important

but it's just the spin of the world, a spell shortened.


Doubts nest together like spoons--they question

smarts or scope or if I'm dope. I'll fiddle with my 

mic, memorize hopes cresting the tip of prayer,

behind my curtain of tongue, my blanket of sleep

and an inevitably unreadable ticking to tomorrow.



(Here I am bundled up for sitting outside for hours in barely 60 degree weather, looking like a fool, and I kinda secretly love it.)


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Homing

The start of Week Four of the semester, and here I am getting home (while it's still light out even!) like some freakin' pandemic champion. School and class feel more manageable. I got corrected on ableist language by a student while lecturing, and responded without (too much) defensiveness, and consequently feel like a good person.

Back in the before times while we were hosting 4Fs (Fun Friday Film Fests) BS used to say that turning into our driveway made her feel like she was in a Studio Ghibli movie. I see bunnies, butterflies, deer, turkeys, geese, groundhogs, and chipmunks all the time, so--same girl, same!

Also, the kids find it hilarious that in some low-key way, I'm always expecting a pony to pop its head over the slatted side gate to say hello when I get home. (I've never had a pony in my life.)

Friday, September 11, 2020

A Lot

There's been a lot of this all week--gray, grainy, grimy weather and consequently there's been a lot of basic, blah moodiness. 

I'm pretty proud of how we've managed to come through three weeks of in-person classes with no spikes in our Covid numbers; of my students who are journaling like champions; my Nu who seems quite businesslike in handling their own online learning... 

And yet, everything is simultaneously sad and difficult--and feels like a lot to handle. 

In today's virtual faculty meeting, my colleagues were mostly on mute and off camera (by request), and it just emphasized how I never see them in the hallways anymore. And then at the end... the retirement resolution for JG--who'd shown up to my job talk, befriended me the summer I moved to MI, has been mentor and sister and friend...  and it was too, too much. I went looking for someone to give me a hug and got some from Nu, Big, A and (of course!) Scout  + Huck. "Surrogate hugs" as I explained to JG--the renowned hugger--in a call later in the evening through a third or fourth round of tears.

I'm trying to remember that when I took this picture at the end of some long day this past week, I thought I could see glimmers and shafts of light--what Pix and I and other Sacred Heart School kids used to call "heavenly blessings" when we used to try standing in these sunlit spotlights before exams. I can barely see them in this picture, yet I know they were there. 

Saturday, September 05, 2020

Beginning

 

Today's quiet beginning--the Red Cedar River, someone's rock cairns, a blue heron waiting by the rapids, the solid comfort of L's footfall, patience, and advice by my side...

The rest of the day was gloriously kid-centered--only fair as I hadn't seen At all week, and actually--hadn't seen much of Nu all week between breakfast and dinner. The 21-year-old and the 12-year-old have been busy in the first weeks of school... as have I.  I did a ton of stuff before 10 am, including conferencing with a colleague about a new course. Then Nu and I drove up to Alma, bringing At's (delayed) Boss Day presents and treats with us. We met At at the MUN House and took a walk away from campus, each of us taking turns to call out which way we should head next. Then back-hugs and presents, and declarations of love. And love.

Nu and I headed to the new bookstore helmed by D whom we loved as our pastor when we used to go to Mt. Pleasant UU. And we visited, and congratulated, and browsed, and bought a pile of books. Then on to the antique store next door where I found a few bird-themed tchotchkes and Nu found old teddy bears (Big A's grandmother Louise--whom Nu never met--used to run a teddy bear hospital, so I find Nu's attention to teddies especially endearing). Then a conversation at the store with D and J  about their child K--an old student--and all three of us fittingly so happy and proud of her grad degree and the important work she's doing. One more stop to drop off a present for Nu's friend K and then finally back to Lansing. 

But wait! There's more! Nu actually has another outdoor playdate later in the evening--watching the new Mulan outdoors at a friend's place, and I drop them off. For the first time in months, Nu is not at home when I am. Next stop, I zoom to a virtual retirement party for J and M, and after an hour and half of stories and memories, I get choked up saying goodbye, although there's no way J and I won't be friends for a few more decades at least. 

And then after the nonstop social rush of the day, the absolute loneliness of the evening hits me. At is at college, Nu at M's, Big A napping before his night shift, Scout and Huck napping alongside him and not even caring about dinner time...  

Then the puppies wake up, and I feed them. And Big and I settle in with leftovers (the remains of the coconut soup and pao he'd made for my Boss Day yesterday!) to watch the first ep of Raised by Wolves--which is terrifying. I keep exclaiming about my heart thumping so hard--until Big A reaches for my wrist, counts my pulse, and tells me I'm fine. I'm so not. Doctors are so literal. Haha. 

Now to stay awake until it's time to pick up my Nu...