Showing posts with label Weather. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Weather. Show all posts

Friday, June 14, 2024

reading between the flowers

I think teenager Cass makes a terrific point in The Bee Sting when she is irritated with the ubiquitous nature themes in poetry: “You go to class and discuss famous poems. The poems are full of swans, gorse, blackberries, leopards, elderflowers, mountains, orchards, moonlight, wolves, nightingales, cherry blossoms, bog oak, lily-pads, honeybees. Even the brand-new ones are jam-packed with nature. It’s like the poets are not living in the same world as you. You put up your hand and say isn’t it weird that poets just keep going around noticing nature and not ever noticing that nature is shrinking? To read these poems you would think the world was as full of nature as it ever was even though in the last forty years so many animals and habitats have been wiped out. How come they don’t notice that? How come they don’t notice everything that’s been annihilated? If they’re so into noticing things? I look around and all I see is the world being ruined. If poems were true they’d just be about walking through a giant graveyard or a garbage dump. The only place you find nature is in poems, it’s total bullshit." 

And I think of the message Mohamed Hussein in Gaza put out this morning: "This flower has bloomed next to my tent as if to tell me not to lose hope, that tomorrow the war will end, and everything will become beautiful. Life will surely blossom again."

And I think that's why. That's the answer to Cass. Hope enters our lives and stays as long there is a single bloom.

Pic: These flowers have bloomed next to our house as if to tell me...

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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 repeatedly panic-screaming Max's name and grabbing his collar and giving the groundhog room and time to waddle away. I didn't realize how ridiculously slow groundhogs are (and almost cartoonishly silly looking with their overbite and all). It's not Nicole's bear adventure, but it was already too much for me. 

* a volunteer oak sapling that had grown almost as tall as the house but had come unrooted in the high winds... I'm rooting for it, I hope it will root too.

* a chapter that almost died from all the cuts I made last week. I'm hoping I can stitch it together tomorrow.

* my office plants, who were happy to see me despite not having been watered in two weeks.

* some bland black bean burgers with a splash of Bitchin' Sauce. So much protein, and my family didn't even realize dinner was vegan. 

* myself from the slow burn of anxiety. It was almost grad-school level anxiety... I realized it was because the book I randomly picked via Kindle Unlimited (Ruth Ware's The It Girl) is set in one of my grad school locations. The murder's not helping, that's for sure.

Pic: Big A, Max, Huck (and me) on our evening walk. Huck just trots along happily. Max wants to chase everything that moves (and that includes falling leaves).

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

kindness-torture and polite-fights

I was walking back home to dinner (which I wasn't making BTW, it was Nu's Boss Day and we were getting Pokè) when I started getting inundated with texts asking where I was, if I was ok, did I need a ride back, etc. etc. So many texts! Ooof. I wasn't late to dinner or asking for help. Tamils would call this anbu thollai--kindness-torture. (Vaguely related to that other oxymoronic term the East Asian polite-fight.) I probably do this too... but sometimes you just... gotta let people be. (Or perhaps I'd miss it if it went away? IDK!)

Pic: Max and Huck (the fuzzy brown blur by the back door) exploring the yard after Big A completed the first mow of the year (there'll be another one around the start of fall). The plantings around the pond are beginning to come in nicely, but not fast enough for me. 

Monday, June 10, 2024

an early start

I don't want to die
I want to keep on
opening 

wide as a song
wide as a wound

someday I'll learn
to tell the difference
between

my quiet body
my silenced body

know the future meant 
to be for me--I'll get 
there yet
___________
Note: I'm not sick, just thinking about death because of last week's losses.
Pic: The deer are out there eating all my flowers, so I planted some annuals in these birdbaths, tugged some moss over the shallow roots like a blankie, clipped some craft birds onto the chains, and hung these constructions up in the tea garden to enjoy.

Sunday, June 09, 2024

mama's beach day

The girlfriends and I took off to Saugatuck for the day. I was so excited about this trip to the beach that I didn't get a wink of sleep last night!

I guess I hadn't been to the beach "by myself" since grade school--it has always been with family and kids. And I'll do that again this summer, because I love that... But there was something very freeing about heading out by myself. I didn't have to check on anyone or their water bottles, sunscreen, Epi-Pens, or pack extras of anything, prep meals and allergen-free snacks. I had my sunglasses and hat... and I was gone.

It was lovely. We talked all the way to the beach, had brunch, did a couple of garden tours, blissed out in the sand for hours, wandered the little boutiques for hours (we picked up a little present for BOL who couldn't go at the last moment), and had dinner before we headed home.

This next week is the one with deadlines and work meetings, and today was the perfect way to prepare for it. 

Pic: Lake Michigan is beautiful and fierce. 

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

scenes from a marriage

Big A and I have one major road to cross before we get on the riverwalk. Today, while the pedestrian lights are flashing, the first lane of traffic comes to a complete stop and the second lane is slowing down, so I get in the crosswalk...

But the car in the second lane keeps coming and I sort of freeze in the crosswalk. A pushes me aside as the car screeches to a halt and then he's in the driver's face yelling...

But the driver...

They're looking at me, or actually my legs, and it's so ridiculous I start laughing, and as he joins me, A is laughing too.

I'm glad we had that moment of adrenalin-fueled levity (and also that I didn't die or get dismembered), because we just heard that someone we used to be close to died unexpectedly. A really lovely person, MM was an OB-GYN who found homes for many unwanted and/or orphaned babies. (I used to fake berate Big A for not bringing home "work" babies like our friend MM did.) Anyway, suddenly they're dead and we're headed to their visitation tomorrow and looking into planting some trees as a memorial. I will miss MM, and also MM's kids are the same age as At... surely, it's too soon for it to be our generation's turn? (I know the answer is it's never too soon.)

Pic: The unidentified vine that's growing up the side of the house across the cladding. I think it's so pretty, but I know A is going to want to chop it down.

Monday, June 03, 2024

preparing for June

            may our rage be bright
            our actions free
            our healing soft

whether our pride waves
all year round or
only in June

              may our love be loud
              our words proud
              our touch safe

when it rains, may we learn 
to be as water 
and rise up 
___________
Pic: Some bunny. We still call them "baila wabbit" because Nu used to as a toddler. 


Saturday, June 01, 2024

connections

I hear my mother calling
--calling on the phone
(not from the porch)

then she asks for my name
her voice a green flame
of sudden language 

my eyes round as our earth 
I tell her my name 
play her game 

memory, fantasy, truth...
have all gone missing
but aren't missed
_____________________________
Pic: A turtle and some hatchlings sunning themselves on a rock in the Red Cedar. Another long walk by myself

Friday, May 31, 2024

it's going down at the (book) club

Pic: Today my bookclub people were so delighted with the verdict finding Trump guilty on all 34 felony counts--JS brought a grocery store cake whose icing read "34 Convictions" and CD had a bottle of wine whose label had been altered to say "34 Crimes."

(We were discussing The Bee Sting--I could have talked about it for another 24 hours. Our next book is Percival Everett's James--the Huck Finn re-vision.)

Bonus: My WTF dream in which I was upset because in addition to my real life kids, I had twins who were killed in a bus accident. I didn't seem to be grieving them, I was upset because (a) I hadn't put their names on the Father's Day T-shirt I had made for A (IRL, I've put Scout's name on it, of course) and (b) I couldn't remember the name of the second twin. In the dream, I went round and round wondering if it was "Collin" or "Mike" or "Asa--" all real life twins I know. I was so relieved to wake up and remember I never did have twins.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

a few ways of looking at a headache

I had a headache this morning and thought it might be 

because of the pressure of an approaching deadline (maybe)

because the A/C tech was here and the quotes for repair were so high (maybe)

because of crying over the soul-crushing news out of Rafah (maybe)

because I'm worried about the kids (At and Huck in particular) and have been missing Scout extra (maybe)

and then I realized that I was actually a bit hungover from yesterday's watermelon margaritas.

Hmm.

Pic: I took an Ibuprofen and a long walk along the Red Cedar by myself to clear my head.

Monday, May 27, 2024

looking back; looking forward

Different people brought different memories of the veterans they wanted to memorialize... JN is working on a book based on their father's letters from WWII; everyone remembered at least one person who'd served; I mentally dedicated today's gathering to the righteous Aaron Bushnell. 

We talked about plans for the summer... "I'll be over here just baby-ing" BOL said. It was easily the most electric announcement of the evening, but the middle schoolers and high schoolers were just as enthusiastic about being done with school and sleeping in. Long after most people had left, EM, SI, and I sat in the dusk as the remaining kids played Cornhole, planning tentative day trips to the beach at Sagatuck and the Art Institute of Chicago.

(Trying hard to remember that hopelessness is a tool of oppression, so celebrating community and the many things we can achieve by organizing.)

Pic: Early in the evening. I forgot to take pictures of our picnic later. BOL's baked mac was a hit, as were JN's lavender and rosewater cookies and my red-white-and-blue berry cake. (I went with strawberries instead of raspberries as they were fresher... Thanks, StephLove, I got the the idea from you!) 

Sunday, May 26, 2024

M.U.M. Day 2024

M.U.M. (MakeUp Mother's Day) was scheduled for today; we celebrated and my heart is so happy and very full.

The kids and I did a ton of work together on the veggie plots, which were overgrown with weeds. We cleared the beds, laid down netting (last time underground animals ate a lot of the veggies), added new soil, and planted peppers, tomatoes, kale, a variety of herbs, and some marigolds.

Nu finished fixing up the small drink tables for the outdoor seating area and then headed off to a birthday swim party while At and I finished up the veggies. We quaffed some lemonade while we admired our hard work and headed indoors for lunch over Atrangi Re, which was on my mind since the songs had come up on my playlist. It's fun (great songs!) and funny (the new pandemic is called "David" and rhymes with "Covid").

And then in the evening, we headed to see Furiosa. At had texted me around 1:00 am to say they were so excited they couldn't sleep--and don't ask me how I know, but it was this movie and not the vegetable gardening they were excited about. 😄 One of my favorite pre-movie moments was clustering in my bathroom with Nu and At putting on "chrome" makeup like the warboys. The movie was solid, and our theater-catered food dinner was ok. After we dropped At off, Nu and I settled in with ice cream and watched Fury Road, which I will love forever. At and I saw Fury Road NINE times IN THE THEATRE, dragging different people along with us each time (Big A, K.B., Nu, my mom) and multiple times at home--it remains to be seen if Furiosa will achieve that same status.

(Mourning Rafah and Scout in my mind throughout this day while celebrating my other kids, harvests, futurity, and hope for a better world.)

Pic: As the kids got to work on the veggie plots this morning. Max's ears!!!

Saturday, May 25, 2024

another six on Saturday

1) If you're watching Bridgerton Season 3--the person playing Lady Stowell (minor character, she's the one signing to her debutante) is someone I went to school with!
2) Out to dinner with friends yesterday and when I was in the minority on something AI-related, EM announced to the table that she was going to be on my side because she's my "Ride or Die." She beat Big A to it. It was epic.
3) I have no more professional tasks left this year--I've written all the letters of recommendation, completed all the committee work, reviewed all the articles... nothing left to do but stop procrastinating and work on my own damn projects!
4) To which end I joined a writing group this week for accountability and dedicated writing hours. I love that (a) its called "Summer Scrivening" (b) we meet only Tues, Weds, and Thurs--in a way that feels civilized and respectful of summer.
5) Speaking of summer... it's almost here! I prepped everything for Monday's Memorial Day picnic, but I forgot the raspberries for the red, white, and blue cake (I have blueberries and cream). I'm consoling myself that it's probably for the best, as raspberries turn so quickly. 
6) Pic: Huck and Max waking up from their nap. Max's waggety tail wakes up first.

Friday, May 24, 2024

and again

from my heart comes 
songs of wonder
as days emerge

again the world is light
whirled very green--
every understory 

claiming back each wan 
winter moment
to silence

returning them as a jubilee
of buds tight at the heart
of growing things

their excited celebration
the crooning I use 
to soothe 

human, animal, vegetal,
--all the children
to sleep, leap--

into memory--like starlight--
born from something 
years ago

yet blossoming... arriving
just in this moment
for me
____________________________________
Pic: All the green things (grass, weeds, leaves, mossy tree, river) in L's backyard earlier this week. 

Thursday, May 23, 2024

crossed lines

A long chat with my mom who is back home from staying with her newly bereaved sister for a week and everything is Just. So Sad. 

My aunt wants to stay in her house because she has memories (I used to fall asleep watching TV and he would settle my head on his shoulder, she said. SOB). But people are worried about her living on her own. Last year, the family had a collective meltdown when I, a grownass woman, took public transport by myself, so I know a bit about how that feels. 

My aunt is increasingly estranged from her only child who seems to be treating her badly. Plus her in laws and kid seem to be more into how the property is going to be divvied up etc. instead of consoling her.

I also heard my dad CRIED when he tried to console my aunt. This is my mom's BABY sister, and she was eight when my parents got married, so he's been there all along, and he's so sad for her. 

Naturally, this made my mom worry about my dad's heart and health.

And then I got a play by play of several family members sniping at each other, a video of the accident someone recorded and only my mom and her brother have seen, the sweets she took to one of the rituals, plans for the ashes, how amazing my sister has been ordering food for dozens of people at my aunt's, the CONSISTENCY of my uncle's corpse... etc. I hadn't talked to my mom in a week and it was a VERY LONG catch up, is what I'm saying.

My favorite story about my aunt is when she was eight and starry-eyed about her new brother-in-law (my dad) and excited about her oldest sister's wedding in general and managed to insert herself in nearly every wedding photo frame until the photographer had to give her candy and plead with her to allow him to take some pictures of the bridal couple by themselves. I've seen my parents' wedding album; this appears to not be apocryphal at all. (smile)

(And I'm struck again by what is time? That eight-year-old with her crossed arms and sassy stare... how does life take us from there to this sad and lonely place?) 

Pic: This one makes me chuckle ruefully. It's from last week's hike when I wore bike shorts and now I have a tan line halfway up my leg so it looks like I'm walking around in thigh-highs all the time. Is there anything I can do about it?

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Mudita

for LVK

Of summer plans, my friend says 
"Maybe we can make it a point 
to get arrested for a good cause."
I demur for I fear brute hands on 
my body--but eff it--ok, I'd do it
it would be "good trouble"

my body is but a prayer; my hopes only loud songs
flowing to the river, its hairline starting summer
                      
I know it would be to follow love
and not the law--to hold the hands 
of those beloved children again, 
to fold food and kindness 
and safety into them--
it would be good
___________________________
Pic: Wild Phlox all the way to the river in LB's backyard. 
We walked along the river for a long while.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

ugh edition

Alice Munro died... last week. I only just found out. Although it seems like she hadn't written since the Nobel Prize, I liked knowing she was in this world. I will reread some stories in her honor tonight.

Bluey (my car) has been at the dealership since JANUARY. I'm so used to just plugging in to charge since 2019, and I am so over going to the gas station every few days now to pump gas in this loaner they gave me. Plus, I miss Bluey! 

Our air conditioning isn't working. We were told it wouldn't last the season when we moved in eight years ago, so I should be thankful we got those extra years... and I am. (But still salty we probably have to spend $$$ now.)

U of M used chemical substances on their students and took down their encampment (Tahrir) after 30 days. It happened at 5:30 am and the organizers sent a text requesting people to show up... but I was asleep. Many of the Jewish Voices for Peace students are now in hospital with chemical burns. How can a university attack the students in their care!??

Pic: The solarium smells so good because one jasmine blossomed. Just one. I had to peer closely and follow my nose to find the one true bloom (bottom right). I can't imagine how heady it would be to have the whole bush in flower! (I mean I know how heady it would be from my India days, but I'd be delirious with happiness if I could replicate that here.)

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Six for Saturday

1) Drama in the morning! Nu and Max discovered some grey, eyeless, blobby newborns by the picnic table on their morning walk. We googled to learn that they were rabbit kits. We're not sure where the mama is, so we did as the article suggested and covered the kits in a tic-tac-toe pattern of sticks. If the pattern remains undisturbed in 24 hours, it means the mama did not/could not return to them and they'll need to be taken to an animal clinic. I hope these babies survive the next 24 hours--they seem so vulnerable and exposed. 

2) Another delivery: the new side gate arrived! Not only is it not made of rotting wood, but it is also bright red and looks so good against our blueberry-colored house. 

3) LB and I had a date in Old Town for some thrifting, boutique browsing, a stroll on the river walk, and brunch. I got some cheeky stickers and had dinner for brunch. 

4) It's the day of the MSU horticultural plant sale. We thought we were too late for it, realized we weren't, turned around, and brought back two cartloads of plants. I planted all afternoon long.

5) The neighbors are starting a community garden at the end of our cul-de-sac. I took some lilies from my MSU horticultural haul. I went in the dress and sandals I wore to brunch with LB, so I just stood there decoratively for a while taking pictures and airily suggesting where people could plant things. LOL.

6) I looked for tickets to the musical Six online to find they were all sold out. And then miraculously BOL called to pass on their tickets as they didn't feel well. But I was bone weary, had just taken a leisurely bath, and was looking forward to eating leftovers and relaxing--so sadly, I decided to pass them up. I wonder if I will kick myself for this decision tomorrow. 

Pic: Neighbors are hard at work while I was on my phone.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Reentry

I think that was a solid vacation--it didn't feel "fake" to me at all. I had a lovely time, meeting people Big A works with was nice, and the kids did a terrific job of caring for themselves while we were away.

I made At breakfast like I used to in the olden times and we had a lovely heart-to-heart before they left to go back to their place. Big A is off as well--to Milwaukee to work with residents. We made sure to get some time today for a long walk, a soak, and yoga before he left.

JG and LB came over for tea. I love when I can get friends from different parts of my life together! I wanted to make them the watermelon tea I'd had at the Heard Museum cafe (green tea and muddled watermelon). But it was a hot day, so I went with watermelon juice instead (it was heavenly with some agave and lemon, I might add a scrape of ginger root next time). 

Nu has a sleepover to look forward to. And also presents from the trip, although they don't know it yet!

Pic: It's all a rush of green and water back here. At the Red Cedar rapids with Big A.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

mountain peak and a domestic peek

Another early morning hike. The peak was approx 2500 feet above sea level, with the last couple of turns like corkscrews. I caught sight of the steep pitch of the mountain and feared for my tender body slipping and crashing into boulders and cacti. I had a small panic attack, and then screwed my courage to the sticking place and carried on until I made it to the top. Big A was the perfect partner--promising to pick a careful path and offering to physically hold my hand but not pushing or coaxing me into doing it. It was cool and drizzly and spectacular when I got to the top.

We stopped at Del Taco (BEST DONUT BITES EVER) and then returned to our hotel room to shower, nap, and get to the airport for the trip home. 

When we got home, we opened the door to see all the sibs eating takeout and just hanging out together. It was a lovely tableau and a peek into how well "sibs' week" had gone.

Pic: From the top of Two-Bit Trail in the Phoenix Mountains this morning.

reading between the flowers

I think teenager Cass makes a terrific point in  The Bee Sting  when she is irritated with the ubiquitous nature themes in poetry:  “You go ...