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

Saturday, July 31, 2021

what goes around




I'm in despair with the pandemic rubbish all over again. Thank the universe for people making creative memes...

In other not news, August starts tomorrow, and a look at my summer list tells me that we're doing alright. I even got to do one of my big maybes--sit by the ocean. But things I threw in there thinking we'd definitely get to them (hammock camping, firepit nights) haven't happened because it has been such a wet summer.

 Still a few precious weeks left...

Friday, July 30, 2021

today in vignettes

An early morning walk with L after SO MANY days. Between her travels and mine, it's been way too long. The Radiology Gardens (where I snapped this pic) had a fundraiser, and we bought a giant planter of coleus each and lugged it around with us.

At took me to the car dealership earlier in the morning to drop Bluey off for a two-year service. When the check-in person asked if I needed a loaner or a ride back home, I felt so proud telling them that I "brought my son." The son in question was amused that when he stopped to get gas, I hopped out to help him, but was so lost around all the slots and buttons after two years of plugging in Bluey.

A boozy cousin B called as we were getting dinner on the table. A bunch of cousins are getting together at his new beachhouse in Pondicherry and he MISSED me. I've been seeing pics on cousin chat since, and everyone is talking about a big reunion in December. Today I'm pretending (even to myself) that this might actually happen.

And today is officially the day Nu picked their new name. We had tried a name that started with "N' for a while. But then one day as I was getting dressed, I saw Big A's money clip with his initials, and the thought that At would be able to use it one day slipped into my mind...  I wanted that for Nu too. Nu's new name begins with "A" too, so they'll still be the "Baby A" who debuted here in 2007. And even better, it kind of starts the same way as their old name, so I can course correct before I reach the end and avoid slip-ups. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

edit



I will not fail fall falter--
what is history but 
a storm that left 
us all bowed

although not forever long
I watch waves touch
shores and ships
--be calmed 

(I remember how old colonizers 
told us of monsters on maps
even--while wielding:
their sword-gun-pen)


_______
Pic: Flying home--skies never fail to fascinate me.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

"memory-keeping"

Ten days ago, photographer Danish Siddiqui was killed by the Taliban. I know people who don't know his name, but would recognize his images right away. What images! Siddiqui's image of the Rohingya woman keeps showing up in my dreams a lot lately (I've been rereading Sea of Poppies and I think my brain's conflating things). 

SV, who's quoted in this New Yorker article, calls his work "memory-keeping, at a time when we have lost our capacity to think or remember." Here are some other galleries of his work in remembrance

Thursday, July 22, 2021

"How to Live in a Burning World Without Losing Your Mind"


Today I'm really feeling Liza Featherstone's essay in The New Republic: "How to Live in a Burning World Without Losing Your Mind."

"I’m in no condition to receive this news. I can’t tolerate more worry, death, sickness, sadness, or pain—more mothers and grandmothers dying, and maybe even less bearably, children.

I’m not alone.

We are in the middle of another wave of horrific climate news, but many of us are too traumatized to pay attention. The more loss and horror we’re facing in the rest of our lives—whether from the coronavirus and opioid pandemics, economic upheaval, or the ordinary awfulness of cancer and death—the less equipped we are to take it in."

Monday, July 19, 2021

beyond

 

Family trip to Detroit today for the Beyond Van Gogh exhibition. It was trippy and magical.
The kids shared a Dr. Who episode featuring VVG, and perhaps that's why I found myself squeezing Big A's hand and tearing up in the immersive hall as all the beautiful brushstrokes began to swirl around me. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

island times


Off to San Juan Islands --> 
Friday Harbor --> 

Day tripping to Cattlepoint, the lighthouse, lawn games, barbecue, dancing, laughing and snarking on cousins' old Chennai stories about 27D (bus # not Apt. #), cousins learning to play the parai, slideshows, baby cousins, laser-point astronomy demos, and chatting until I fell asleep on someone's couch... 

I have this seascape with the seagull on "loop" mode on my phone and know that I'll come back to this when I need a mental/emotional breather.


Tuesday, June 01, 2021

minding the gap




I think about this a lot; and I feel a lot of guilt and sadness. The panic some of my school friends in India are feeling about their kids being ineligible for vaccinations (because too young and thus unprioritized in the face of vaccine shortages) hurts even though I can access vaccines for my own kids.

I'm also dismayed--In an interconnected world, none of us is safe until all of us are safe.


Sunday, May 30, 2021

reentry

This green in the woods felt unreal as we stepped in... so bright and lovely, it almost felt... fake? 

My post-pandemic--or at least post-vaccination--reentry experience has felt similar. Each decision and action--though intentional and deliberated--feels fraught and uncanny. My calendar is slowly filling up with long-awaited events, but I consider and reconsider and second-guess everything for ages.  

But that's probably for the best. Today I (zoom) attended the feminist book club after a hiatus. I remembered that the last time I was here, I bolted because I had a mystery panic attack. 

As EM said earlier today, it's "weird to be around other people." Even for me--living with a lovely houseful and having taught in person all year long--agoraphobia seems to manifest every time I consider an event/interaction/outing. Yesterday I hiked with Big A and didn't wear a mask. I had been persuaded by pronouncements that outdoor transmission is highly unlikely (+ did not want to stand out like a freak). But it took some stern talking to myself. And even admitting I enjoyed being maskless outdoors feels odd somehow. But I did, so there. 

Sunday, May 23, 2021

easy like Sunday afternoon


For decades, the best summer afternoons have always been about lemonade, chatter, cards, snacks, sunshine, novels... Now I have puppies underfoot to make it even better. (And it's not even officially summer yet!)

(I needed this interlude today--I made an impulsive grocery trip to get some ingredients for Big A's Boss Day dinner and OMG all the unmasked people.)

Over on Scroll, a shortlist of seven philosophers who can help us build back a better post-pandemic world.

Friday, May 21, 2021

conflict



Sometimes it's called a "conflict," but it may look like people asking for their right to live.


[Pic from At's protest outside Rep. Elissa Slotkin's office this week.]

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

perspective

I'm reeling today from finding out that someone I knew as a kind and overly chivalrous person is in prison for sex crimes. Multiple 16- and 17-year-olds had accused him and I absolutely believe them--I'm just shaken (and shaking my head) about how different (and misleading) my experience of this person was. 

He was famous/semi-famous, and I expect the case was media fodder in the UK for a while. I feel awful that I've sometimes used his early English music ensembles in classes... I will not do this again.

(Pic is of our only east-facing window; I wish we had more. The tradescantia and pothos cuttings I pinched off and stuck into candleholders have rooted and are taking off. Funny how that works.)

Thursday, April 22, 2021

unsee, undo


The urn, a yearning
pressed into bruise
into battle

I know this word, I 
mouthed it until I 
learned its taste 

Save me;  save my 
past--words, bring 
me to rest

My heart breaks and breaks and breaks: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/21/system-has-collapsed-india-descent-into-covid-hell 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

"make me a channel"




Two colleague-friends on the third floor have birthdays this week, and what a perfect time (plus a privilege and a pleasure) to share the work of Sophfronia Scott (who'll soon be on our floor) with them.

Otherwise a busy, busy, busy day with meetings starting at 8 am and student grading, consultations, and some cheerleading/handholding throughout. 

Because I was personally in a funk (™my dad) last week, I forgot to say how proud I am of my students who did a wonderful job with the WGS symposium and then over-performed on Honors Day despite all the pandemic-inherent obstacles. Hearing their idealistic and confident descriptions of why their humanities research was important made me tear up more than once. And one of my sponsees took the humanities Kapp Prize.

AK wrote me: You know your students today were rock-stars right? Your light as a teacher has clearly lit them up as well. While that's clearly a kind overstatement, and I don't want to take away from my students' clear sense of agency and genius--it nevertheless made me feel like I was doing good in this world. Even if only as an intermediary.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

onwards

Not justice and not even accountability--but a gruff reminder from the universe that progress is possible when we participate in all the ways we can witnessing, filming, challenging, protesting, sacrificing, mourning, writing, reliving, watching, feeling, waiting.... 

I was on my way home, but had to pull over to the side of the road when the verdict was read out. 

Later, driving past Ithaca, I watched a police car speeding down a side road parallel to the highway until it disappeared. 

Felt surreal.

[Mural: Aziz Asmar in Idlib, Syria]

Monday, April 19, 2021

please distract me

I found some late hellebores and early daisies by the pond to distract me... Then work with students took up the rest of the day.

My social media is heartbreaking right now, with Indian friends looking for leads on plasma, drugs, ventilators, hospital beds... 

My sister and I were wondering if our parents should get tested--I was worried about further exposure, but apparently there are teams that do home visits. 

Late (very late) last night, a bookclub friend posted that their little one had broken their arm and that they were headed to the E.R. Big A was working in the ED, so I checked with him and gave them his work cell.  This morning when I thanked Big A, I told him that when he's away, working nights, taking care of populations usually under-cared for, I feel I'm doing something good for the world too (although all I'm actually doing is wandering around insomniac and doomscrolling). 


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

simmer

I'm stopped at the traffic light at on my way home and it turns into a wait for the slowest train in the world to pass.

There's a rap on the window and At's face beaming down at me. I unlock the doors, he pops in, I hug him so hard. He takes off his mask; I tell him to keep it on; he's all "but we're vaccinated;" and I'm all "you haven't had the second shot yet." Then he's referencing something about Bill Gates and vaccines--maybe this? 

I begin laughing because it's so random--and as I told him, in a couple of days I'm going to think I dreamt this whole sequence of things.

And I'm laughing because I'm so relieved to see and hold him on yet another day when to be the mother of a brown-skinned man is a day for a slow simmering fear.

Friday, April 09, 2021

Plants (they're also what's for dinner)

Everything is coming up! Daffodils and pansies here, and cherry blossom, roses, and honeysuckle elsewhere--being outside is an olfactory treat this week. It's also getting to that point in the year when I'm in danger of spending more on plants than food at the supermarket.

A vat of spring-y green soup for dinner--used up most of the fennel, celery, bok choy, cilantro, and curly kale + cannellini beans, a dash of parm, and lemon zest. It was ok, I'm not likely to recreate this again--my choices were dictated by what was in the veggie box and needed to be consumed. 

In classes I sometimes like to ask when the last time people learned something and changed their mind was. For me, it was yesterday when CJ posted this Dr. Sarah Taber Twitter thread from a couple of years ago. The Imperfect Foods and Misfits Market boxes have felt like extra work lately; learning how I'm not really "saving" anything gave me permission to cut the cord there. At the height of the pandemic--MI is doing so badly, so I guess I mean at the height of the pandemic panic--it was a comfort to have these delivered, so I say goodbye with gratitude.

Saturday, April 03, 2021

in time


a body rises like an ocean 
willing like magic
identity shifts and orbits
--another trick

a star/stare, what will it mean
to you, to me
if only it could move a prayer
to open actuality

time cheats, you know how
we try to scribble it
here we are; there we go--
still hurt, counterfeit



-------------------------------
At (in Michigan) and my sister (in Bangalore) both received their vaccination #1 today; yay!

Friday, April 02, 2021

Daffodils Etc.

It's spring in England, and my mother visits,
So there is her readiness in colonial desire 
like urgent rain--where squandered things 
find great reception. Electronic billboards! 
Gargoyles in Oxford! Museums are free!
Hunger satisfies easy when you're eager.

Until one day at the grocery checkout she sees
daffodils--papery, plastic-wrapped, "solitary"
not a "never-ending line," "dancing," or "gay."
And Amma--at least a third-generation learner 
of Wordsworth's praise--is first silent in disdain,
her outstretched words rebound as if swindled:
"This? This is what he made such a fuss about?"

In her contempt, I hear comparisons--to the
languor of unkempt jasmine, lotus, plumeria... 
the warm, unlocked softnesses of oleanders, 
parijaths, ixoras... In her derision there hides 
history's list of pain, the sharp bite of the ruler 
when she couldn't say "jocund" right (at least).
And Babu: fish and chips were disappointing too.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

I first wrote about Amma's reaction here--so many years ago.

Picture is from Daffodil Hill at the Radiology Gardens earlier this week; they seem to have been bigger this time last year?