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

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 rest 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 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 photo 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 one go from that 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.)

Monday, May 20, 2024

home

I walk this earth 
as though 
I own those skies

in 

daylight and delight
wet, velvety
evening and night 
__________________
Pic: Someone's home and everyone's happy, but Max is the absolute best at showing it! (I love the way he's wrapped his arm around Big A's wrist!)

Sunday, May 19, 2024

dying young

Those poor rabbit babies--Nu and I could feel them trying to stay alive, but they didn't make it to the end of the day. They didn't have a nest and their mama didn't come back for them, and the place we were directed to was closed today. So although we called so many times through the day (and a few other places too), we weren't able to get those poor kits the care they needed. I will see them breathing laboriously as they died of starvation in my head for a long time. 

Death feels like trauma. Especially when it's visited on the young. I mean it wouldn't take 15,000 dead children for me to stop a war--it was already too much at one dead child. 

(I walked to the art fair with friends today and lingered over afternoon tea for hours, but these thoughts weren't far from my head.)

Pic: Judith Lowry's painting titled "Going Home." It's in the section of the Heard Museum about Indian Boarding Schools, and I've been haunted by it since I saw it last week.

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.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

butte and beauty

We started the day with a sunrise hike in Papago Park and then I delivered Big A to his conference and took off for The Heard Museum of American Indian Art. 

The museum was magnificent. An exhibition called Sky-Dome--an immersive video experience of the wonder of nature sights and sounds moved me to tears even as my breath calmed. Despite our climate crisis and ongoing geopolitical strife, our world is just so, so, so beautiful. Why can't we just stop doing shitty things to each other? 

The exhibit on Indian Boarding Schools was another heartbreaker. Also a heartbreaker--the prices in the museum shop: they had beautiful, handmade jewelry that was out of my budget for the day. (I didn't need it anyhow.) 

Pic: Butte formations at Papago Park, We clambered up all the way to that hole in the rock, which is called... wait for it... "Hole in the Rock." No, really.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

I guess we're not in Michigan anymore

Pic: A very different terrain from our usual hikes. It was uphill all the way (and somehow both ways) at the South Mountain trails today. 

My first saguaro in the wild--they had blooms on their tippy-tips! We also saw lots of hummingbirds, lizards, and quail. There were many snake holes, but I was lucky enough not to see any snakes. 

Big A, coming off a spate of several night shifts and never a fan of extreme heat, wilted a bit. But I was still hopping from boulder to boulder like a baby goat and jabbering away till the very end. We were running a bit low on water, so I even saved my share of the water for him. 

And at dinner, I polished off my meal and a significant portion of his. I feel like such a champ.

Monday, May 13, 2024

BRB: Fake Vacation

Big A is in Phoenix, AZ this week for a conference, and I'm tagging along for the triple-degree temps, museum-ing, hiking, and checking a state off my list of places to go. 

Big A calls this a "fake vacation," but I'll take it!

Many people on our flight were also headed to the conference and Big A quipped that it would be a good flight to have a medical emergency on because of all the E.R. docs on it. I disagree: I think it would be good not to have any medical emergencies on a flight. Ha. 

Pic: The "ussie" we sent from the plane to reassure the kids we really were getting out of their hair. 

Saturday, May 11, 2024

drop by drop


My baby uncle, my mom's youngest sister's husband, was named for King Sibi who was willing to sacrifice his life for a dove. As a kid, I always imagined my uncle was kind.  

And he was. 

One of my earliest memories of him is as a newlywed trying to impress his new niblings (me and my cousins) with a party trick he'd learned at college. The objective was to drop a coin into a glass filled to the brim without spilling any water. 

My uncle would dip the coin into the glass, but then quickly withdraw it as if too nervous to actually let it go. He did this about four or five times and then finally released the coin into the water, where it sank without displacing a single drop of water. 

The "trick" was that every time he dipped the coin into the glass, he was removing a drop or two of water when he withdrew it--after doing this enough times, it became safe to release the coin because the glass was no longer as full. I think of this as the drop-by-drop method (like Anne Lamott's bird-by-bird, or AA's one day at a time)... an exercise in chipping things away through small and steady measures. 

My sister told me that our baby uncle died in a road accident today. The narrative arc between that newlywed trying to impress a gaggle of new niblings and today's news of dismemberment by an 18-wheeler makes no sense. It doesn't even seem real.

Friday, May 10, 2024

a feast

There is a strange loneliness that descends at the end of a semester. There are all the goodbyes of the last day of class, commencement, putting various organizations into dormancy... and then, the solitary grading, and then the suddenly empty days. 

I hadn't realized I'd been missing people until the happiness of a full table at dinner tonight (CF is here for the weekend as are MIL+husband+puppy). 

I'm currently reading a book by a Persian-American (Daniel Nayeri's Everything Sad is Untrue) so I just threw a lot of Persian flavors into everything I made--preserved lemons and carrot pickle in with the chicken; Za'atar into the roast potatoes, handfuls of pistachio, rose petals, and cardamom into the cake mix!

My people were a feast for sore eyes! It was like a feast after famine! A love feast! A moveable feast!

Pic: The Red Cedar from the Eastward Walking Bridge with CF this afternoon. Sadly, this is not a picture of the amazing Aurora Borealis that played out across our skies while I was taking a nap with Huck and Max.

Thursday, May 09, 2024

it's old and faded now

Although we always felt some pity for her by that point in our visit 
when our Dorakanti grandmother would lament that though she'd yearned for daughters 
all her life, all she had been given were six sons 
and that was why she loved her granddaughters so much
my sister and I would remain stiff and unbending. 

We had heard that Dorakanti grandmother had been mean to our mother 
when she was a new daughter-in-law 
and that made her eternally unpleasant in our eyes. 

We were stiff as scarecrows inside Dorakanti grandmother’s embrace
stiff and unfriendly to the children from next door summoned to play with us
and our interactions with the special snacks made for us were cursory.

We paid attention when it was story time, but only silently
and only because it was dark and no one could see our eyes stirring to the story 
the punctuating “umms,” which were our duty as audience, needlessly parsimonious and slow.

Dorakanti grandmother’s stories were strange in that they never began with a “once upon a time.”
They all began, “in a place,” “in a village,” “in a town.” 
It was as if these stories where the prince fell in love with the princess 
after chancing upon just one filament of her preternaturally long and fragrant hair 
or where the young prince battled tigers to impress his mother
--as if these stupid, unnatural things had happened just a few weeks before we came to visit.

And at the end of the story when the prince married the princess 
or the young prince was crowned, there would be a big celebration 
and grandmother would launch her punch line:
“That was when they presented me with this sari,” she would say, 
holding her sari out for us to touch, hoping we would scoot closer to her. 
It’s old and faded now, but it was rich and shiny when they gave it to me.” 
And we’d reach for her sari politely enough, 
even knowing that our fingers would be snatched up and kissed, 
but we’d remain curled up around ourselves, my sister‘s hand in mine.

And although I'd will myself to fall asleep quickly
knowing dad would take us home the next day
I'd wake as grandmother stroked our limbs before she left the room
stretching each of our legs in the half darkness to their furthest length 
so we'd "grow tall in our sleep" and not take after her.

________________
Pic: Max getting his zoomies out. All I have to say to this puppy I love so much is "I'm going to CATCH you, Maxie!" That's it, he'll play keep-away for the next five minutes. Scout played this way too, so I enjoy this on so many levels.

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

headway(s)

1) They now know me by name at Hammond Farms where I get rocks and pebbles for the pond. We've been getting comfortable: The first day I showed up in a dress, then it was pants, then sweats, then shorts...  on my most recent trip, I went in my ratty back brace. The people who work there--especially the women--are amazing.

 2) This poem got accepted for publication in an academic volume. The editor suggested changing "assignment" to "answer" in the penultimate line for clarity, and I agree. They liked how my persona's responses are reduced to the merely parenthetical in the poem. 

3) There's another happy ending too. After I wrote the poem, I set my hurt feelings aside to focus on continuing to do what I'm supposed to do--help the student learn. We had a few individual sessions, the student began to enjoy the readings, refined their ideas, improved their writing, and by the end of the semester, was repeatedly thanking me in class meetings. I learned too; I'm now inclined to think that their initial snipe came from awkwardness more than malice. 

4) Pic: I've been having better luck relaxing with my morning tea on this side of the tea garden, without getting distracted by tasks. The light started off gray and moody, but it soon turned into a brilliant and gloriously sunshiny day later. 

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Ope--not what it seems

I woke up before my alarm went off this morning, glanced through the cloudy bedroom windows, and saw Max standing still in the middle of the pond. I dashed to the window, and it took me a few seconds to recompute. It wasn't Max. It was the work gloves I'd perched on top of the barrow, which looked like my puppy looking right at me--at least as I was opening my eyes after two hours of sleep.

Also: I was called in for an important meeting at work today and Big A was convinced that I was going to be offered a promotion. Umm. No. I was called in so I could be informed that someone else was getting a promotion. It's all good. This way, I don't have to do budgets, so we all win. 

Pic: I can still see how I mistook my gloves for Max, and it takes me back to that moment of waking up in a panic and my self-deprecatory chuckles soon after. It was nice to be so thoroughly woken up and in a good mood so early in the day. 

Monday, May 06, 2024

weirdness, madness, and freaking the eff out

Weird: I thought I'd gotten poison ivy on myself from digging up myrtle to transplant. I could feel the blisters forming because I saw those pointy leaves in clusters of five... until I remembered the rhyme was "leaves of three/let them be" and realized I was ok...  and wouldn't you know it, the blistering sensation went away by itself. What a psychosomatic weirdo. 

Mad: I've felt so strange all day with the news from Rafah. Online acquaintances have basically been saying goodbye because there is nowhere to go--this is where they were told to go to be safe! People in power (Egypt, Qatar, USA, Israel) in the meantime are offering/accepting/rejecting ceasefire terms. The dissonance is so huge. I'm grateful for Macklemore's release of their single, "Hind's Hallfor amplifying the issue. Is it great art? Is it even hiphop? But I ain't mad about that.

Pic: Freaking Out: Max and Huck in a prelude to what Big A calls "face-fighting" where they growl and groan and mouth each other's faces. They're playing--sometimes with toys--and they never clamp down or bite, but it freaks me out every time. 

Sunday, May 05, 2024

It's beginning to feel a lot like... Spring!

A full weekend! 

Lots of people: foraged for more morels with work friend TR; met Baby R with the whole gang of girlfriends today at lunch; celebrated At yesterday with the whole fam at dinner; chatted with LB, SM, JB, And JA at separate times when they stopped by; and got lots of FaceTime and phone-calls in as well.

Lots of yardwork: Big A and I worked for hours on the pond yesterday and today and are so close to closer being done. We both found the perfect place to find stone edging--Big A online and me from driving past the place on my way to work--and... it turned out to be the same place! I like working with Big A on this project. I guess we could have hired someone to do this work, but it was spend-y + I like that this way I will always remember us creating it together every time I catch a glimpse of it.

Pic: The backyard looks so green. I'm going to treat myself to a visit to the plant store tomorrow!

Friday, May 03, 2024

ordinary magic

all my winged things: birds, words
always seem to happen only
in momentous mystery

their maps ghostly with emptiness
layered on unknown and 
see-through cities

I wish for real things, the right things
with crescendoes heralding 
their difference

for rolling reflections whispering
the worth of wonder, love, 
forgetting, and loss

I hear someone singing too far away
to know their story, but I can tell 
they're keeping time
___________________________________
Pic: I was taken by the way the sun was sinking yesterday--through this solitary greening tree between two nondescript buildings...

Thursday, May 02, 2024

cheers to 25 years

It's At's birthday and she turns 25! TWENTY FIVE! I can't believe my baby is that old (nearly 30, my mom said rounding up in her characteristically comic way last month, and we've all been quoting it to At all the time since). And what's more, I can't believe I've been a parent for that long. Goodness! Where does time go?

At is out with friends today (I had a brief and raucous phone call), so we'll celebrate at home on Saturday. 

In the meantime, I celebrated JG's return from her 12-week trip to Costa Rica and Panama (she brought me gifts!), LB's birthday (I brought her gifts!), the Child Advocacy Art exhibition opening (where I met so many lovely people who care about advocating for children), and (after a quick dinner with Nu, Huck, Max, and Big A) ended the day at a wonderful guest performance by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra with EM at the Wharton. The Mozart was comfortingly sublime and the Piazolla version of Vivaldi--which I'd not heard before--was energetically otherworldly. 

Walking home through dark and empty streets after the concert with the music still in my head and the smell of lilacs in the air, I felt quite drunk with contentment.

Pic: Child Advocacy Art Exhibition with JG, MZ, RM, TV, NP, and more.

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 wan...