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

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

a Birthday Baby

So happy to celebrate At's 23rd! He'd celebrated yesterday with friends, and today was our turn.

I woke up a 4 am, landed in MI around noon, napped in the car after Big A picked me up, cooked till 4 pm (biriyani and sides)  while Big A made the cupcakes (red velvet) and Nu made a birthday card (My Little Pony) and wrapped presents, and then... At was here!

No big presents this year, but we got him some pre-revolution short story collections (Chekov, Gorky, Gogol, and Tolstoy) and a small bookshelf Big A and I found for his growing library. 

Scout and Huck were delirious with happiness (and so were we).

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.

Sunday, May 01, 2022

"Paisley Park is in your heart"

I have a two-night trip to Minneapolis coming up. It's work--we need to finalize plans for the November NWSA conference. 

But yes, I've pulled at least three purple-y, paisley things in my wardrobe to pack...

and I've already booked my solo ticket to visit the Prince Museum.

Squeeing (and not just in my heart).

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 


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).

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 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.

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.😁😂

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.

Friday, February 25, 2022

everything can change in a moment

Posts like this one about life in Ukraine put everything in perspective. I can't imagine... or maybe I can easily imagine having to leave a home you know to huddle in a subway station to escape the bombs raining down.

So in comparison, I guess we got off really lightly--Nu and I are fine, and I hope the deer who jumped out at us as we were on our way back from book club at RS's is fine too. There's no blood, and I hope that's a good sign. (Please don't tell me any different. I've never so much as run over a frog before, so this thing is nightmarish. My mind keeps replaying the second the deer landed in front of us and has me wishing I had been able to swerve harder.) As Nu said, if we'd left a few seconds earlier or later, things would be different. Both of us romanticize/anthropomorphize deer and get silly about them, so we've both been pretty down since it happened.

My poor Bluey, too, is so not fine. To make matters worse, Big A is away for work until Monday and only on the phone, so I'm just feeling extra alone in my guilt and misery.

Saturday, February 05, 2022

day tripping

An early morning traipse and it's off to Yellow Springs with the fam for a quick trip.

I'm going to have a nice visit with the in-laws without worrying about the list of conference-related stuff I have I've noted on my to-do list (register for my SALA presentation; book a hotel for the student honorary; plan out sessions for Michigan Academy; and solicit papers for NWSA). It's the weekend, and Monday will be here soon enough.

I always thought Nu listened to ABBA because of me/Mamma Mia!, but it turns out that my gay kid loves ABBA, and that playing ABBA Gold will get us halfway to Ohio. 

Friday, January 21, 2022

Looking up

Today was nicer. 

I feel normal(ish). 

Nu's long, fraught semester is finally over.

We had cuddly, chatty visit from At.

A soul-affirming planning meeting with the Tender Hearts Garden collective.

Started a good book: Lily King's Five Tuesdays in Winter.

Started an interesting show: Decoupled on Netflix.* 

And... JG sent pictures from Hawaii where they'll be till April, and I've been encouraged to visit.**


*Decoupled is clever and the skirmishes between protagonist novelist Arya and real life novelist Chetan Bhagat are uproarious. But the show tries to do that thing where it pretends like the only people who matter in India are upper-middle-class, English speaking folks. In fact, it treats people doing their jobs (security agents, wait staff, domestic workers) as the butt of jokes and that got a bit tiring for me. Also, in this day and age, even real people don't have to live with a name like Arya Iyer--so we certainly don't have to name a fictional character with every upper caste marker there is. Some of it is anti-South bias too? I mean, North Indians seem to think everyone from the south is Madrasi/Iyer.

**I don't think I will go--lately, I've seen too many indigenous Hawaiian activists begging mainlanders not to visit because of Covid. But it's still nice to have pictures. 

Monday, January 10, 2022


Sunrise over Lake Michigan on the Northside of Milwaukee (Atwater Park, maybe?). This was just lovely although the rest of the day was a drag. 

If we could afford to live overlooking the lake, I might move. But we can't, and I won't.

Sunday, January 09, 2022


A beautiful sunset over a stretch of industrial sludge outside of Chicago.

We're headed to Milwaukee to check out one of the places that offered Big A a research gig... and I already feel like nothing good can come of this trip.

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

an international call


If you called my extreme condition: you might 
diagnose sister love--but do you know  
about the side effects

when my phone tells me it's her calling
--nausea, dry mouth, anxiety, 
shortness of breath

she knows this and inserts a subject line 
even as I--"hello?" "All's well, Akka,
I just called..."

 international calls are ordinary yet hide
like a virus inside information 
 finding a way to threaten

despite the softness of my sister's voice--
noisy futures sometimes dance 
alongside the old world 

international calls will make me watch--
make me guess who'll partner next 
parents, cousins, other loves

"I just called..." she says "one million cases..."
she says "I wanted to tell you all
 to be safe and careful."

Of course there's no way to be careful enough
(home is: a high school student,
a fast food worker, an ER doc)

I'm in the literal woods now (the metaphorical 
end of the sea), until the sun unhooks itself 
from a cloud shaped like a headache

and sails into the sky without even a cough
just this high, bright, and bored god
bearing messages--but not for me

Pic: Sunrise at Baker Woods. The phone rang as I was taking this picture, and I panicked when I saw it was my sister as it was kind of an unusual time for her to call me. She was calling because we--the U.S.--topped over a million NEW Covid infections yesterday. She wanted to ask the family to be safe and careful. But how? 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021


Big A is back; my back feels better; got cards and presents in the mail; a few visits (and presents); did our third session of family therapy; ordered in pizza; read together; watched Bob's Burgers (with Nu) and Station Eleven (after Nu went to bed); got my aunt's hopes up about a visit home; celebrated the end of the Kelloggs' strike... 

A long day... the longest day of the year... and it was cozy and a nice balance of Christmas with other good things.

Pic: multiculti altar w/ nativity scene

Thursday, December 09, 2021


O, hello... it's me... with my adorable furry assistants... trying to be the best new effing co-chair of NWSA's conference in 2022 I can be. (Still not enough writing as I noted in March, but this is huge for me and I hope to learn a lot.)

In other news, I took great pleasure in letting fam and friends know that a Trader Joe's is coming to town--about 2-3 mins away from us. I foresee Big A biking over there for last minute groceries instead of Whole Foods. 

And in other gentrification news, I'm watching with horror--via friends and FB--the intersecting mesh mess of schadenfreude, transphobia, and anti-blackness in the latest Dave Chappelle vs. Yellow Springs clash.


Pic: We're all looking at Big A.


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 ...