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

Monday, March 06, 2023

here and there

Back to work today; got lots done. 

(And lots more to do... always lots more to do.)

What I'm not doing this month: Going to that conference in Egypt I was invited to. 

What I am doing this month: Plotting a study trip to the U.K. in May. Panicking a bit that the exchange rate is not working in our favor. Calling in favors so my students can have a memorable time.

Pic: my birthday flowers are happy in the jungle tea garden.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

chances

Family dinner yesterday. Lots of discussions and decisions... The most exciting of which is that At, Nu, and I plan to travel to Bangalore in August. Big A can't go because he'll be in a new job, but thinks we shouldn't delay as it may be the last chance for the kids to have a good visit with my parents. That... sounds awful and I disagree (fingers in ears, la-la-la-la-la). But in any case, it made us not even blink at the steep ticket prices.

Also in the throes of writing my CASA report this weekend, and I hate how the world has so few safety nets and will not allow people a decent second chance to bounce back from long-ago mistakes.

Pic: Huckie being cute and charming the older sibs. Chances are Scout is by my chair as usual. 

Friday, February 10, 2023

happiness as a puzzle

your postcard from there--is happy you're not here 
morning has already withdrawn into itself  
this sun shines as cold as a moon
*
your news from the doctor is called "not happy"
decades grow like blessings on my body
I wish I could send them to you 
*
and somewhere, a grim chorus of earthquakes 
I'm overcome by measuring the ever afters  
without "happily" prefacing them

_______________________
(unrelated) Pic: Huckie being cute; Scout's somewhere under there too. 
Notes: Sending JG and MB off to Portugal, BS's diagnosis and treatment, 20K + people dead in Turkey, Sistrum chorus rehearsals yesterday, rainy-ass day today.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Last (of) Christmas

We'd missed At two weekends in a row--the first because there was camping with college friends and then the rest of us went to Yellow Springs for Christmas #2. So it was really nice to have At visit twice this weekend.

There was dinner and chatting and watching the first episodes of The Last of Us, which both Nu and I remember watching At play as a game in a different mode of life. I remember how excited At was to show me how in that particular post-apocalypse vines took over the insides of buildings, thinking it would be an aesthetic I'd enjoy. How hard that child had tried to share something they enjoyed (video games) with me! I wish I'd spent longer slung out in those chairs in that childhood bedroom taking it in instead of rushing on to whatever else I'd thought was important. 

Today there was a temple visit, red envelopes from Lunar New Year, and grandparents' Christmas presents to pass on. Someday, no doubt, even this fleeting drop-in will seem a highlight of past life. 

Pic: Scout helping At open his presents from the Grandma S and Grandpa J.

Friday, January 27, 2023

"Overseas Citizen"

I opened the envelope very carefully, sending up prayers, knowing I'd done my best with the documentation, trying not to carried away by the hard shape I could feel through the envelope...

And I now have my "Overseas Citizen of India" card! It looks like a passport, and it means I don't have to apply for a visa to visit India--the idea that I would need a visa felt so alienating to me and had been one of the reasons I didn't apply for U.S. citizenship until I'd lived here for 20+ years.

Pic: When I opened the envelope containing my OCI card at the altar. 

Saturday, January 21, 2023

so long, farewell

Yellow Springs goodbyes are always hard, but a forlorn farewell committee baying and glaring morosely when we're just going to fetch takeout is a bit too much.

We're in YS for a long overdue Christmas with Grandma Sue and Grandpa John as they had Covid at regular Christmas time. 

Pic: Scout, Huck, and Izzy wondering if they'll ever see Big A and me again.
 

Friday, January 20, 2023

road trip talk

words walk away; walk me back
tangling and untangling the past
I look to the sky; birds don't care--
they sing wordlessly anyway 

you look for proof, for guarantees
I have only sympathy, agreement--
we're now the rain's own drum beat
a storm announced on this journey 

but we're in charge of where we go,
when we stop--our talk is like a trip--
is that insight? It feels like a lightbulb
in the sudden pop of the sun overhead 

Saturday, January 07, 2023

alignments

At came to dinner and a cuddle (pictured) today. 

Because I'd just posted about cuddly Scout, It reminded me how despite being different species, our babies Scout and At are alike and Huck and Nu are alike. 

If we moved up a generation, Scout, At, and I are alike and Huck, Nu, and Big A are alike. The way we act, respond, our temperaments, almost everything. The first set tends to be smiley, gentle, tender; the second set tends to be serious, ferocious, and staunch. In a crisis, you want the second set--they're the ones who'll stare people down (Nu), stick to a plan (Huck), and bark orders (Big A). 

Not sure how much of this is true, how much of this is forcing some absolute structure on to truth, and how much of this is pure family myth-making and mythology. 

Anyway, it was a good cuddle, and I'll have to make it do for a while. Next week, At is off to "a cabin in the suburbs" with some college friends.
 

Sunday, January 01, 2023

this day doesn't have to mean anything about the year to come...

I'm reminding myself that nothing about today magically repeats 364 times. 

On the surface, lots of sweet things about today: a long hike with Big A, another hike by myself, a long chat with my baby sis, a small hangout with LB and TB, a long bubbly soak with Big A, a sweet treat delivered by L, dinner with the fam, a travel board game after dinner, and puppy + human cuddles throughout. 

But... I had also wanted to fit in some yoga, which didn't happen and I never even made it to the month-long online "Binders" writing workshop that started today. It was as though the unrelenting greyness of the cloudy day we had here seeped into everything I enjoy.

Also, I'm still in my reread of Anna Karenina and (a) I want to be done and reading something else especially since... (b) the love affair has dwindled into depressing territory and... (c) I still glaze over when Levin goes on about cooperative farming (sorry about that to the socialists in my life). 

Finally, I got a rejection on something I'd submitted via Submittable. I was sad for a while, then I just went ahead and submitted to two other places. I do hope I can keep that kind of obstinate energy going all year long. 

Pic: Playing "Around the World." Quite challenging! Nu won this evening's game. I better go commit some flags to memory before we play again. 

Saturday, December 24, 2022

'twas the night before...

Happy. 

Prepped food for Christmas (the pudding for brunch and the biriyani for dinner), tidied, watered the thousand plants, found ribbons for remaining presents, etc. 

Then candlelight carols with Nu at UU. Very sparsely-attended today because of the weather and bad roads. It didn't occur to me until we were already there (having white-knuckled and slid a lot of the way) that we could have Zoomed in. D'oh.  So many people, including our Rev., have had their holiday travel plans dashed because of the snow and winds. 

I'm piecing my family together--we picked up At on the way home. Everyone got the version of grilled cheese they wanted and then there were spirited discussions of Disco Elysium and then a watch of The Glass Onion. 

It's a good thing I got my "movie nap" in. After our traditional Christmas Eve presents of pajamas and books, At stayed up talking--head/feet in my lap--until nearly 4 am. I miss this child so much. The book At's leafing through in the picture is the present I'm proudest of... It's a copy of Abolition. Feminism. Now. signed by all four authors!

We'll sleep in tomorrow, since Christmas proper will start whenever Santa Big A gets in from his night E.R. shift...

Friday, December 16, 2022

it takes a village...

Dinner at home for some Humphrey Fellows who are working out of MSU this evening. 

HY joked that he'd experienced two things for the first time in his life: (1) building a gingerbread house (2) seeing dogs get fed with a spoon. (#2 is me. I feed Scout and Huck under the table--with a separate spoon--because it makes them happy to be with their pack at dinnertime.) 

I had to charm Nu and Big A--who tend to be less social than At and me--into stepping up as hosts. But as always all the complaints are pre-guests; after guests are actually here, my loves are generous and delightful. My winning argument today was for them to think how kind everyone was to me when I was an international student. 

It was lovely learning a bit about families and hopes and careers in different parts of the world.

Pic: A gingerbread village under construction.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Five on a Friday

1) Worked on finishing yesterday's leftovers and bought absolutely nothing today as usual. 

2) (I don't judge people who Black Friday since learning, that for many families, it's a chance to buy things that may otherwise be outside the budget. Also, I think my fam's at a different place as we've reached a stage where neither kids nor grownups need a lot. Yes, I may previously have been judge-y about going straight from being thankful to buying more crap the very next day.)

3) Exactly one month to Christmas now and I think I have a good idea of what everyone is getting. I may add a bookmark or sticker here and there, but for the most part I think it's handled. 

4) I was invited to a conference in Alexandria (Egypt!!) and I think I'm going? It's in March so there's plenty of time for things to get canceled/for me to flake out and change my mind. But I've always wanted to see the pyramids, so I've said a tentative yes.

5) Pic: Lots of early morning walks with Big A now that he's here. Yay!

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

gathering


At is headed over after his meetings and will spend the night here.

Big A is on his way home and will spend a week here. 

This is the part of the holiday I absolutely love. Nu, Scout, and Huck are pretty excited too.

Pic: Screenshot of a text from Big A. That isn't Huckie in the car, it's Mr. Flooferson (a stuffie the family gave Big A as a silly gift for his birthday last month).

Monday, November 14, 2022

a Madrasi madcap history in pictures

One of the many, many reasons I love going to NWSA is because SR and I have been taking pictures in hats/headgear and calling it our "Madrasi Madcap series" because both of us have Madras (now known as Chennai but not while we were growing up) connections.

We hadn't been able to since 2019 as the 2020 conference was canceled and 2021 was online only. So we got back to it this year: it feels good to have fun.

In other news, I feel better AND continue to test -ve for Covid. Also: was reunited with all my loves and three of my classes yesterday, took Nu to the dentist, bid Big A goodbye for a week, and just generally jumped right back in to post-conference life. 

Sunday, November 13, 2022

limbo

On my way back home. Here's a view from the airplane--Minneapolis below, serene and radiant cloudscape above, and me in the middle.

I have a hoarse throat (too much talking/Covid); a headache (not enough sleep + lots of stress/Covid); and back and body aches (too many books from the book exhibition in my backpack/Covid).

I'm double KN-95 masked (just in case) and there are no tests available at the airport. So I guess time and the Covid tests sitting in the guest bathroom at home will tell.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

that's all, folks


This is it: the highlight of my day/week/month...
I'll remember her kind and complimentary words forever.

Pic: with Angela Y. Davis. #NWSA2022

Friday, November 11, 2022

"women, life, freedom"

More NWSA: An embodied dance-exploration inspired by Hafiz, a raucous in-room party with trays of Hmong food, a surprise visit from my bestie KB, and a day full of panels where I just learned SO much... 

But the standout of the day, for me, was the panel on the Iranian Women's Protest/Revolution. The panel organizer had assembled a stage and a screen full of Iranian activists and scholars who provided historical context, cultural parsing, and commonsense advice (keep up the solidarity, don't speak over or for Iranian women). 

There was a Zoom bomber who tried to disrupt the proceedings, and there were some harrowing moments before he (yes, it was a he) was booted out. It reiterated how these rallies for equality are prone to disruption through mockery and malice... and in so many places with violence. Which is probably why the Iranian slogan resonates: Zan! Zendagi! Azadi! (Women! Life! Freedom!)

Pic: Panel on the Iranian Women's Protest/Revolution.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

the Hill

Terrific first day of NWSA in Minneapolis! I feel like we've been working on getting it off the ground for nearly a whole year and it's such a thrill to see it take off. At this point, this fabulous convention has momentum and doesn't even need me... it's quite a thrill. 

Got to see both Anita Hill and Angela Davis today. The Anita Hill conversation was sobering (she has no remaining faith that SCOTUS will rule fairly). It also made me think about coming to political consciousness with the events of 1990-91 and how it must feel to have a lifetime of wonderful work always evaluated in the light of one's sexual harassment. 

At the book signing, I wanted to thank her for being a role model for people everywhere and how much her example guided me through my own Title IX mess, but the line moved too quickly. Thank you, Prof. Hill. 

Pic: Beverly Guy-Sheftall and Anita Hill in conversation. 

full, fulfilling

Woke up after an hour and something of sleep (I went to bed after 4 am) feeling relieved and thankful about the elections--especially in MI, but lots of other reasons to celebrate too. 

There were 18 trans and non-binary state legislator candidates around the country and some of them won. The youth turnout was tremendous: students at U of Michigan, MSU, and other places made news by staying in line to vote even though it got really late. Wes Moore, AOC, Lucy McBath, Rashida Tlaib, Ihan Omar got elected/reelected.  But mostly--it could have been so much worse.

I'm always surprised that these contests seem so close--I mean it's like cuddly puppies + gooey cookies on one side and hateful detractors + dumpster fires on the other. The choice seems... obvious? As Zack Bornstein's tongue-in-cheek tweet summarizes: FASCISM IS DEAD IN AMERICA AFTER DEVASTATING LOSS 49.-49.3. Nevertheless, it felt wonderful to share the election news with Nu over breakfast, be happy about it with assorted neighbors, respond to a string of similarly ecstatic texts, and plan a neighborhood bonfire to celebrate. 

Big A and I made a checklist of things we wanted to do together and got almost all of them checked off. I leave for Minneapolis and NWSA early tomorrow and he'll leave for work the day after I return on Sunday so there was no time to waste. Both of us took meeting calls on our hike with our headphones on... but we still got to hold hands.

Pic: MSU Red Cedar Rapids w/ Big A.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

it was going to be a good day

The roofers are finally gone/done (for now at least). So I did hours of yard work to celebrate the removal of the scaffolding that killed my plants. After living under tarps and boarded up skylights since June, it was glorious to clear up the tea garden and hang out in the sunshine with Scout and Huck.

Then Big A called to say he was sick and then it turned out he has Covid--again. (He'd had it May 2020 when he went to help out in NYC.) I kind of want to go to Milwaukee and bring him home, but he thinks he should quarantine in place.

Now I can't think about anything except how he's there all by himself with no one to help.

Things I rescued today:

* a groundhog. Max is swift and silent when he gives chase. Nothing but the jingle of his tags gives him away. I rescued the groundhog by r...