Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Friday, February 09, 2024

check 1, 2,

Every day on my way to work, I cross four rivers: Red Cedar, Looking Glass, Maple, and Pine. 

I've been meaning to take a photograph of the expanse of the Maple for years now. But the access road off the highway is on my way to work. And I usually feel like I'm in a hurry, so I wasn't able to. 

Until today--I had an hour before my first meeting, so I took the detour. The Maple is the biggest of my four rivers (I think)--at least at the point where I cross it. The kids and I used to call it taking a deep breath of beauty because of all the sunrises on the way to school.

When I got to the lookout point this morning, it was a bit disappointing because the reeds were taller than me, and I couldn't really see the river. But it was very quiet and calm and smelled briny and rustic and there was a bright blue sky and sunshine... so I spent some time soaking it all in. 

And now I know. It's checked off my mental list. I don't have to wonder about the view from the outlook or feel regret about not making the time to take a detour.

Also: I'm SO relieved to be finished with Hello, Beautiful. Everyone seems to have loved it, but about halfway through I disagreed fiercely with a primary character's decision. Then I began to realize the writing couldn't really keep up and resorted to a lot of telling (v. showing) etc. 

Pic: Finally, I get to take a picture from the bank of the Maple River.

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

an infinity

the curl of this wave... like
the undeniable curl of a smile
the curl of my hand inside yours

I may be in love with 
the unbothered way it spills
over... of how its crimped cusp

holds in everything: 
laughter erupting unruly
the turns and returns of grief 

look how tightly it wraps
itself around us, so we know 
its whorl could swallow us whole  

Pic: Not Michigan. On the beach in Cabo a few days ago. 

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

and now we wait...



Reunited with my human kids, puppy kids, and plants!

I demolished a large bag of Culver's fries on the way home and demolished all my remaining grading after I got home. 

Big A's doc gave us a hopeful update and now we wait for the actual results. Oh, the things I take for granted when I make plans and resolutions... 

Pic: (anti-clockwise) Max, Huckie, At, and Nu. I missed these sweet loves and my zillion plants in the tea garden.

Monday, February 05, 2024


We made it back to Michigan! Haven't seen the kids yet as I'm currently in the hospital waiting room while Big A has his exploratory procedures. I hope to see Big A's doc in a couple of hours for some answers/counsel. 

Big A was asked not eat anything for 36 hours, so I've been fasting alongside him in solidarity. We're totally going to demolish a brunch on our way back home. 

Pic: From yesterday--we're kind of wearing matching shirts! Out on the balcony of our hotel room with the brilliant azure sea and the El Arco rocks in the background. (I'm wearing my heavy winter jacket in the hospital's waiting room today.)

Sunday, February 04, 2024

"bougainvillea, sing your song"

I grew up with bougainvillea brambles practically growing wild over all over the neighborhood houses, walls, and gates even under drought conditions. Needless to say, nostalgia plays a big part in how much I love these plants--got to love their hardiness and range of color too. 

Back home (in Michigan) I have two bougainvillea plants I got at the specialty nursery, and one manages to put out a few blooms in the summer and the other one is dormant (or dead :/). 

So it always surprises me when I'm in tropical climes and they seem to be growing untended the way they did in my childhood. (Especially if it's in the U.S.--they do that in California, Hawaii, and Florida AFAIK.)

In Cabo, they seemed to be using bougainvillea as hedges and cropping them pretty closely, but nothing could keep these plants from showing off a little bit. 

Pic: A Bougainvillea hedge. I took this as a reminder that we're on the cusp of Spring, and soon we'll be awash in scent and color. I took a long Boss Day walk by myself this morning to say goodbye.


Saturday, February 03, 2024

"Your mission, should you choose to accept it"

We've been having a great time. 

In large part this is because the kids have been so awesome about taking care of each other and texting us regular updates about their meals, plans for the day, school projects, and so on.(It also helps to know that EM and LB jumped in to be our emergency contacts in case they need rides or advice.)

All the human kids want--they said--was for Big A to learn how to make towel sculptures and redo all the towels every day.

The kids are kidding, of course.

Pic: The hotel's towel "bunny" that prompted this exchange.


Friday, February 02, 2024

"what a wonderful world" (It could be)

There are sights and colors I can barely believe  I am lucky enough to see. 

There is so much beauty in the world. 

And as I watch a street vendor chase his escape-artist toddler across the sand and scoop her up for an "airplane" ride back to his stand...

There is so much potential for joy.

There is more than enough for each of us in this world. Even now. If we could just love, help, and be kind to each other, what an absolutely wonderful world this could be.

Pic: Sunset over the sea and El Arco from our room. 


Thursday, February 01, 2024

"the days are long"

Cabo, San Lucas. 

Our wristbands are an open sesame to restaurants, bars, pools, clubs, spas, and tons of activities. 

All we've been doing is taking long walks together, carrying margaritas back to our room, napping, and figuring out our next restaurant every couple of hours.

And then when Big A is resting, I'm grading, monitoring my online class, liaising with colleagues, and answering emails.

I guess I can do this! (For another couple of days!)

Pic: We have funny elongated shadows!


Wednesday, January 31, 2024

"not blue, not blue"

Oh, the haze of the late afternoon sun, sky, sea, and being able to sink my toes into grainy, coarse sand. 

I can feel my blues lifting...

I found six tiny sea shells--one for each person in our family... And they might be the only tangible keepsakes I bring back. 

Pic: The view from our first hotel.


Tuesday, January 30, 2024

headed out

Big A's big medical appointment is next week, and we hope to find out what's going on/why he's losing weight/what to expect in the future/what we can do/etc. We have more questions than the minutes the expert will spend with us, probably.

But in the meantime, we're going to take off for sunny climes for a few days to just... I don't exactly know what... Was it Seneca who said we can change the sky above us but not ourselves? So I guess our worries will come with us, but we'll be worrying under warmer skies? 

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the next few days of our tiny break and will catch up with some picture posts when we're back.

Pic: It snowed in the night, and was a picture-perfect winter wonderland as I headed to work this morning. 

Sunday, January 21, 2024


Nu starts a new day of term tomorrow.

At is in D.C. giving a talk to an organizing group who sprang for air tickets, hotel, and honorarium. So cool. 

Big A has been on the volunteer list for Gaza for weeks, but there has been no movement, because the organization cannot guarantee safety for its volunteers. This is the first time I've been okay with him going to a conflict zone. Twenty years ago, when he wanted to volunteer for Iraq (partly because it would forgive his med school debt), I vetoed it. I was even wary when he volunteered for COVID relief in NYC in early 2020 when things were baaaaad. But I feel like this is no longer even a choice. It's not going to get better until everyone who can help, helps.  

In the meantime, I'm so grateful a colleague is willing to travel with the honorary students to their presentation in St. Louis. Because Scout fell sick while I was at the event last year, convention hotel rooms now give me anticipatory anxiety and dread. 

Pic: The holly bush outside has been frozen for weeks now, and is now pretty in a different way.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

pivot, pivot, pivot

So we're not headed to Yellow Springs, OH for our belated Christmas with Big A's family this weekend after all. We were holding off on a decision because of the storm and then between the snowstorm... and Nu's finals next week... and my back... and Big A's general fatigue... and the likelihood of Max drooling/barfing all the way... and Huckie's dislike of MIL's dog Izzy... We're just staying home.

I'm so disappointed and my MIL is too--because we're the main gift-pickers and givers, I guess? No idea when we'll reschedule as Big A's hours have been brutal lately. We're probably just going to mail things out next week.

It has nearly been a week since I threw out my back and I thought it would be better by now. I even imagined it was getting better, but no. Today was worse than ever, and I feel so disheartened. It's frustrating because I hurt my back trying out a new exercise routine to get stronger, and now here I am--unable to do anything but the most basic stuff.

Pic: No pics. I was too busy feeling sad and sorry for myself.

Monday, January 01, 2024


How tired the world
how long the way
how we have been 
survivors for over
365 days

may the new year 
be kind, enormous,
hold us in peace
may it gently--
24/7--teach us

to resist, to vary 
history's encore--
the hum of hope
its own language
in 2024
Other New Year's Day poems:

Pic: Our holiday card!

Wednesday, December 27, 2023


trees seem to really
need each other
waves too ...

even stones primordial
and lonely need
other stones 

for blessed are the homes
and families made of
what we have 

we could ask: why we are
inventing new

as our world falls apart 
as our words break
and separate  

misplacing m-o-t-h-e-r-s 
into emptily echoing 

Pic: A shelter made of branches we saw on the Pinckney Potawatomi Trail on Sunday. I wonder if they are live branches that will green in the Spring. I can't wait for Spring... we've now had several of these soggy, grey days that L calls "dome days," because it feels like a grey dome has been placed over us. We had to hurry back to the trailhead on Sunday because daylight was fading fast and as it turned out, there was no sunset--just a fading into darkness. We were glad to make it back to the trailhead before we had to use our headlamps. The nice part was seeing all the light displays in Pinckney as we drove home. 

Sunday, December 24, 2023

my good companions

Nu was a bit under the weather this morning and wanted to stay in bed. While I was getting peppermint tea and oatmeal to them, Big A took a look at me, gave me a tiny nibble of a treat and took me off for a hike on the Potawatomi Trail

By the time we got there, I was nice and mellow and then we spent four hours just scrabbling up and down the trail. It was slow going; on a flat surface we'd have logged 15-16 miles in four hours, but we got in just over ten miles because there was a significant amount of climbing. 

We were being silly and singing songs wrong and laughing and talking for the first couple of hours--we were mostly silent the last couple of hours as we tired, but that felt good too. 

We got back late + Nu didn't want to go + At forgot some meds and would be delayed, so we decided to stay home from the candlelight service at UU. Instead it was dinner and Rocky Aur Rani ki Prem Kahani (with just a little explaining about the old money-new money angle and the snatches of old film songs). 

When Nu was ready to head to bed, we did our traditional pajamas and books presents for the kids and they went off to bed happily laden with new books as usual. I prepped the breakfast pudding for tomorrow and then Big A helped me bring the kids' presents downstairs and put Max and Huck to bed. On to Christmas in earnest now. I am grateful I get to share this life with people who care so much for me.

Pic: Big A waiting for me at the top of a rise. I love how the tree roots criss-cross the path to make natural steps and terraces. Because The Overstory and Braiding Sweetgrass live in my head, I kept wondering if the trees do that to catch us in case we fall.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

hiding in plain sight

At the lovely dinner party this evening, no one spoke of Gaza although I know that every single person at the table is agonizing about it, whether because we've been talking about it (Big A, Nu, LB, and TB) or because I know from their socials how upset they are (AH, KG, LV). It's like we have a disease and everyone knows about it, but we have to bravely carry on without discussing it at the dinner table. I played along beautifully.

I was all full of effing holiday cheer in my Rudoph the reindeer overalls with the jingly red nose. And every time someone remarked on it, I was hard pressed not to sing this song

Because that would also be inappropriate for this group--some of whom I know from work. Something very much on my mind, because after years at this point, last night I dreamt about the person I brought a Title IX case against. No current students remember him probably--he was asked to leave on the cusp of the pandemic--but in my dream an alumnus visiting the department was curious as to why there was no picture of the abuser in the faculty "gallery." I let it go on for a while, and when the alumnus asked again, I burst out: "Because he was a serial abuser. We don't have his picture up because he abused people." 

And then my dream veered off into a seaplane ride and since the only time I've been on one was near Seattle, that's how it looked. And the only point of the ride was to ooh and aah over some baroque Christmas decorations visible from the air. 

Speaking of which, I am almost ready for Christmas! In fact, I was almost ready last week, but I wasn't happy with the way I'd wrapped some presents, so I went in and did them all over again. No one will notice except for me. But it kinda makes sense to me. I'm so excited to give people their presents.

Pic: A blue tit (I think?) hides among the red winterberries along the Red Cedar. Walk with L. 

Saturday, November 11, 2023


I can't prep Diwali food ahead of time, so I pottered around all day trying to prep everything else. I did the centerpiece, the party favors, and the porch decor. And not that anyone is going to inspect the garden, but I cleared a ton and raked all the paths and sitting area too. 

Big A spent hours trying to get the lights on our LONG driveway to work. People are going to have to park on the street and it would be so awful to walk up our driveway in the dark. Plus inauspicious for a festival of lights! 

BL (who was student, colleague, friend, sister, and is now my adopted nibling) is going to have a little station for people to paint diyas. I thought I had all the little earthenware lamps we'd need from my last trip to India...  But when I took them out today, I realized many of them have swastikas imprinted on them (not in a Nazi way, in a Hindu way--but I feel like I couldn't expose my Jewish friends to something like that anyway). I'm going to have to improvise.

I suspect I'm going to have to improvise a whole lot in the next 24 hours, actually.

Pic: Diwali centerpiece with (flameless, multicolor) tealights; the favor bags are in the background. I plan to fill in the gaps with a flower-petal rangoli. I'll do that tomorrow so they don't wilt before the party. 

Sunday, October 29, 2023


Positive: Big A picked me up at the airport this morning and I am reunited with my people, puppies, and plants. I missed them! (The first day away was glorious though.) 

Negative: On Friday, I finally ID-ed why I was beginning to feel anxious in my hotel room--the last time I was at a conference (late March-early April), Scout had suddenly (or so it seemed) become very sick. The beige of hotel rooms will forever be a trigger to that horror.

Positive: I took a walk to say hello the river, and it looks like the new eastward bridge is open! I'm very excited for this. I'm saving this walk for when I can go with Big A or L.

Negative: Between being out of town on Big A's birthday weekend and this NWSA weekend, I've missed every Halloween gathering in our town--I should find a way to make class extra scary on Tuesday.

Pic: The bridge is open! The bridge is open!

Saturday, October 28, 2023

conference reCAP

My panel yesterday went off well, I attended a ton of panels, got a ton of ideas to work into research or pedagogy, held elections, handed off my position as chair and its responsibilities, and yelled myself hoarse at in-room parties until late at night. 

I had to take another personal pause yesterday for a while, but this morning's plenary gave me hope and a new mantra. Lorgia García Peña brilliantly said, "There has to be peace for everyone; if only some people have it, that's not peace, that's privilege." I told her I was going to work that into a poem and she made me promise to send it to her.

I feel quite renewed intellectually and socially. It's amazing how many of these people I love although I only ever see them at conferences.

Pic: Taking the annual "madcap" picture with SR. We've been doing this for years now. I gave her a forehead kiss after she gave me the bracelet I'm wearing. I think we're yelling "feminist tigers" or something cheesy like that in the other pics.

Friday, October 27, 2023

small talk

the hours whisper: hurry, hurry 
deep in the day, as we wade in 
the news rippling like a rumor
in the safe normal of the world

what songs can we follow now
across borders certain to harm 
their traceless calm an unreality
their scenery silent... and empty

the willful trails worn into time 
still show in between... the wars
everyone wants the good stories 
of better worlds no one has seen
Scott Long, a fellow at the Human Rights Program at Harvard, has uploaded his entire (1700+ volume) library on Israel-Palestine to the cloud. The link is here.  I was horrified midday that many of the Gazan accounts I had been following were now silent; no internet, no landlines, a complete communications blackout. 

Pic: Still at the conference; here's a little station that says "Give Solace Take Solace" and a ton of PostIts with messages on them. Mine is the blue note that says "Be Curious, Be Furious."

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...