Showing posts with label World. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

how CAN the kids be alright?

Nu had just raised their hand to answer a question in Spanish class; I'd just landed in my office and poured myself my first cup of tea. And then both of us got the news that Nu's school was on lockdown due to an active shooter. 

I've lived in fear of this since Sandy Hook, but there's no preparing for this kind of call from the school. Thankfully, it turned out to be a hoax. And everyone's okay.

But as I canceled my classes via email and sped to the church where families were supposed to pick up their kids, I kept thinking of this morning when we'd run a little late and Nu had to sprint to make the it on to the school bus... I kept wondering if I'd be wishing they hadn't made it on to the school bus. 

I guess there's always a low-key anticipation of this happening if you live in the U.S.. I remember not sending the kids back to school until well into the new year after Sandy Hook, although I didn't seem too bothered by a gun incident in a neighboring school district last month. The other time I had to pick up the kids due to a gun threat was when they were at ecocamp together.

This is a messed up way to live. I couldn't bear to be apart from Nu for the rest of the day after I picked them up... and I got absolutely no work done... Tomorrow, I'll make up for it tomorrow.

Pic: Students gathered in the football field from a news article.

Monday, February 06, 2023

un-Monday

It felt a bit like I was playing hooky today. 

After I dropped Big A off at the train station and my precious Bluey car off at the dealership for battery updates, L picked me up and we headed to Ted Black Woods for a hike. It was beautiful but super icy, so I was glad L had brought trekking poles for us to use... they saved me from wiping out so many times and made me feel like an all-weather champ. I'm wondering if I should put trekking poles on my otherwise empty birthday list...

I was back by 10:30 to hold meetings and work online for the day, so I got some stuff done. But I did spend nearly two hours stressing that the courtesy shuttle wouldn't pick me up in time for me to pick up Nu and then panicking when it didn't, so there was wasted time. The driver who finally picked me up in the nick of time was third-generation Lebanese and I enjoyed our talk about diasporas. (I asked him about the audio book he'd turned off when I got in--books are such a passport to conversation!)

Back home things fell into dinner, kid time, and class prep mode, but it still feels like an atypical Monday and a bit unsettling. It's not helping that I can't stop humming Young the Giant's "The Walk Home" with its lonely heartbreak and its messy homage to the wind telephone.

Pic: L's sneak pic of me using her poles at Ted Black Woods.

 

Saturday, January 28, 2023

no balance

Morning: A long visit with the CASA kids I advocate for.

Evening: A long dinner with At, Nu, Scout, and Huck.

My heart sore from thinking about Tyre Nichols calling for his mother. 

My back sore from shoveling our long driveway free of snow. 


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. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

Gong Xi! Gong Xi!

EM's cute story when she dropped off treats this evening (we got home too late yesterday with the snow delay) was that she used to think that "Gong Xi! Gong Xi!" meant "money! money!"

Nu is flush with cash, just having received some Christmas money, but was already counting the red envelopes to come.

Grateful for yet another new year, and grateful for friends who treat my kids like family. 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Christmas #2

Happy for second Christmas. Happy to be back home.

I got some special things and books I hadn't known I should want--can't wait to start reading them. The kantha quilt and ceramic stovetop cookware we took the grandparents were very appreciated. 

Also, we sang so many Christmas carols and songs, it started to snow. 

So the roads were a bit anxiety-provoking on the way back. 

But it gave us lots of time to talk about important stuff like how both books published by my friends this year (Tale of the Dreamer's Son and The Dream Builders) have "dream" in them and what does that mean?!?! In other words, a lot of jabbering away. Or we were listening to the 90s station and trying to remember what we were doing that year. In 4th grade a very young Big A tried to get cute girls to notice him by offering to draw portraits of their Cabbage Patch dolls. Oh. My. Heart.

Pic: Our goth elf delivering presents.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

double bubble

The reflection of the graffiti doubled how colorful that patch of the bridge looked as L and I came around the bend, and it reminded me of Laura Gilpin's poem "Two-headed Calf." 

L hadn't heard of this amazing poem, so I found it on my phone and read it to her with my voice breaking at the end.

Then we finished up our walk and I headed into a day of meetings meetings meetings meetings.

And some good news from this week: two poems  accepted to an anthology of pandemic-era writing, and also accepted--an academic book proposal that the editor who wrote back characterized as "gentle and kind."

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Sunday (high) five

1) Another brilliant day--plenty of time outside with Nu, Scout, and Huck and a long walk with L. The next sunny day is a week away, so I was glad to have today. 

2) Dropped Big A off at the train station. Boo. Hiss. But really, the January schedule has been okay-ish so far. He'll be back in three days. I can handle it.

3) Completed Laura Vanderkam's time tracking challenge. I wasn't surprised to see it inconsistent except for the 5/5:30 am wake up, tea, and meditate; kids' breakfast and walk to the school bus on the weekdays; and family dinner time around 5:30 pm every day. Apart from those, things were very whimsical--I could be working, reading, goofing off, sleeping, or some combination of those at 1:00 am, and I guess I'm ok with that. Early mornings and late nights are times when it's just me, and I delight in that. No shame.

4) Lovely Sistrum concert this afternoon with LB. Some truly uplifting singing. Friends GJ and RS sing with Sistrum and love it; RS has been encouraging me to join as she thinks it would help me through some of the more life-y things happening right now. We'll see. 

5) At was so chuffed to find out from an older cousin that their grandfather in Sri Lanka was a socialist organizer--my baby labor organizer is going to want to talk about this all the time now, I just know. 😂🥰

Thursday, January 05, 2023

the long arc (a poem for Scout)

I keep walking backwards 
from want to hope
they tell me I use 
"hope" to cope

my pulse beats with regret 
and distress though
it's true they too 
worship hope 

I know I keep disappearing
into a gratefulness
parroting prayers
to survive

remembering to thank ancestors 
(the ones that petted wolves)
who knew love would
arrive as you 
------------------------------------------------
Pic: Scout the champion snuggler... his arm over my leg 😍

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

1, 2, 3, journeys

How do you comfort someone who's lost a sibling? I had no adequate words, but I made my way over anyway bearing a tiffin box with dinner, snacks, and two funny DVDs. I found the vase in a thrift store last week, and this week matching flowers showed up for me to take to my grieving friends. I'm ashamed to say that when I was younger there were times when I'd avoid such visits. Thankfully, I've learned--mostly through people's kindness to me--how showing up is important. Life has been a long journey of learning about all the stuff that is not about me at all. 

Speaking of long journeys, I finally finished Anna Karenina. Big A, the judgmental monogamist, approved of how Tolstoy delineates the awfulness of an extra marital affair although T does it without ever resorting to moralization. I myself was heartily sick of Levin, supposedly a stand in for old Leo himself, by the end though. 

In other journeys, KB's flight out of Minneapolis was delayed by over a day, so JG has postponed our reunion lunch from today to Friday--just after my first committee meeting of the new year. That left me with a suddenly wide open day that I used for course prep, an extra long walk, an extra long soak, and extra reading time before I went to get Nu from school. It's my "Boss Day" so the extra time for indulgence was compulsory! 🙃

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Going Away... Giving Away

Pic: Big A is the most colorful presence on the Red Cedar River on our New Year's Day hike; he's headed back to work in Milwaukee this morning. 

Boo. 

Boo-hoo.

*

Also, I love our Fretail Store so much, I'll walk around finding things other people might want that we're not using. Extra set of bowls? Sandwich maker? Present from last year kids claimed to love but did not even open? Nutribullet? Goodwill and  Salvation Army policies give me the creeps, so knowing things will go for free to people who want them is great. I saw that Apartment Therapy had a really nice list of places to donate specific items as well. 

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 31, 2022

Farewell, 2022

A good last day with two long walks with LB and BSL to round off the year. 

A raucous dinner time with Scout and Huck underfoot, and Nu, At, and Big A at the counter for parathas--the person waiting for me to finish the next paratha were in charge of running a round of Truth or Dare. Some calls to grandparents, the traditional new year presents (calendars and something inspiring), a few eps of Joe Pera... and then At was off to a show with friends, Nu was on with friends online, and I joined PM's write-in for the new year on Slack (where I started and abandoned a poem based on PM's prompt). 

And then, as Big A, Scout and Huck napped inches away from me, it was 2023. 

Friday, December 30, 2022

then there were three; bookclubs for two; one day to 2023

A puppy playdate for Scout and Huck with Henry was the most exciting part of today. They were doing some electrical work at JL's so she hung out here and we got caught up. (Unlooked for excitement was when little Henry thought it would be ok to pee in my tea garden. He immediately stopped midstream when JL shouted "no." I was kinda impressed with his level of control, TBH 🤣.) 

I've been gifting some friends a bookclub-for-two: I'll get both of us copies of the same book so we can read and discuss together. It feels like an experience or together time gift, and the "thing" part of it is still books, so it's not wasteful (they can be passed on or pulped or whatever). Anyway--I did that with Emma Kline for JG and Shilpa Gowda with JL. We plan to start this one in Jan.

The rest of the day was all course prep, writing work, a couple of quick meetings, getting more letters of recommendation in. Then sushi with Big A and Nu.

Almost can't believe it is the weekend, month's end, end of the year already... 

Monday, December 26, 2022

coming down

Yesterday was lovely. And somehow everyone said it was the best Christmas ever. Yay! 

I'm taking today off. We're still snowbound and we have yummy leftovers and new books and cozy jammies and need for nothing else right now.

(Apart from the usual holiday management, driving duties on our ice-rink roads enervated me: I was on call to give L&T a ride from the Michigan Flyer at 10:30-11:00 pm last night and took At to work at 6:00 am today.)

Pic: The kids watching Laal Singh Chaddha (loosely based on Forrest Gump) with me yesterday.

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 23, 2022

Ready?

 

Ha. This Venn diagram. I did all the things yesterday and that included being in what the image terms "the depths of meijer hell" (Meijer is our supermarket chain). I got home feeling accomplished and stocked up and ready for the storms and also the celebrations; just praying that the electricity would stay on and that there would be no emergencies that would require me to leave the house or drive. 

Since yesterday, I've learned that there was a fire at a nearby apartment complex and over thirty families were displaced. And then someone else posted that their boyfriend had ridden the bus to a warming center the city was supposed to open, but it wasn't open. And an old person died--curled up in a parking lot. All this is so messed up. Certainly not what I wanted to be thinking about... but it's so cold and so close by, avoiding it would be additional cruelty. We've already done a little less for ourselves and a little more for others this year, but I had to find ways to dig a little deeper today. 

Oh, the snow did come down and it was beautiful. I must remember to take pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

altar for all

I came away with some unlooked for presents this morning. Not just the satisfaction of checking things off ahead of the storm, but kind things. When I went to check in on my CASA kids, their grandmom snuck me a tray of homemade treats to take home. The college bookstore bag a colleague/sister/friend pressed into my arms revealed a beautiful painting of an archway in Fez--it went on my altar right away. 

Things are getting crowded on my altar: what with a Hindu mandir (birth religion), a menorah (from Big A's father's side), a nativity (my catholic school upbringing), a Tibetan singing bowl (MIL), finger cymbals (bhajan group), and various pride-themed bead (Nu) and union-themed button (At) crafts from my kids...

And I love it; there's room for more! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

happy at the solstice

Nu and I went to the solstice festival this evening: merrymaking, noise-making, meditating... my hair smells like smoke and my heart is grateful for the promise of extra daylight tomorrow.
“...This is the solstice, the still point
of the sun, its cusp and midnight,
the year’s threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go of and becomes the future;
the place of caught breath, the door
of a vanished house left ajar...”
 Margaret Atwood, Eating Fire: Selected Poetry 1965-1995

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

missing, musing

Dinner pics from this Saturday make me miss Big A (dropped him off at the train station this morning) and At (back at his place). I also miss Nu looking so happy and animated hanging out with At and Big A's pizza skills (my spinach, goat cheese, and egg pie is always superb).

Bad news from both grandmoms today. MIL has Covid--it seems mild and she still wants us to visit post-Christmas as usual, but we'll have to wait and see. My mom has a lump/cyst on her knee and cannot walk for pain. On the phone, I could tell she was in tears from the pain--I nearly cried too.

We stocked up on essentials this morning in case we're snowbound because of the storm headed our way. I have some remaining errands and we'll for sure need fresh ingredients for Christmas dinner, but no point worrying. I'll cross that bridge when we get there.
 

how CAN the kids be alright?

Nu had just raised their hand to answer a question in Spanish class; I'd just landed in my office and poured myself my first cup of tea....