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

Monday, May 02, 2022

"the sense of an ending"

It was such a solid workday. The six of us worked from 7 am figuring out and finalizing conference details with no breaks except getting up to stretch on the hour. Even lunch was making notes and sharing docs over sandwiches. 

At lunch, one of the servers asked what we were up to and when I told her we were arranging a huge women's studies conference, she said she wished she'd taken a class when she was in college... in the 70s. She remembers the fight over ERA and how it laid the "foundation for everything." So I was telling her about the Mrs. America show on Hulu, and her name was Sally--so we sang a bit of "Ride, Sally, Ride."

At the end of the meeting I was so tired, especially as there was a lot of new (to me) software and platform-ware. I went back to my room caught up with the fam, and napped for a bit. 

Those of us from the meeting still in town met up for a great dinner at a small Somali restaurant where they gave us a private booth because we were the only women there. This was my first time meeting in person (all of our other meetings had been on Zoom) so there was a strange mixture of familiarity and the excitement of sharing some of our favorite stories about ourselves. 

We were still joking and laughing at something and calling goodbye to our servers as we were walking out of the restaurant, and then we started to fall silent as we passed the TV on the counter and each of us silently read the blithe chyron stating there was a leaked "Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade." 


Pic: Sharing on family chat the fancy welcome swag bag the hotel gave me when I checked in and the uninspiring view from my room.

Monday, April 25, 2022

bedtime story

I mean at some point we're going to have to talk about why I'm awake at 2:22 AM, goofing off like a goof... when I know I have an alarm set for 5:30 AM so I can do my green tea and meditation time before the high-schooler wakes up at 6:00 AM for their morning cuddle and breakfast.  

And this is not at all unusual--I've been averaging between 3-6 hours of sleep for years now... and put like that, I'm worried there's going to be some spectacular comeuppance for this. 

In some ways I'm a perfect candidate for fractured sleep because I have family from other continents and time zones--so no matter what the time, I have people on hand to have heart-to-hearts and to text links to hilarious songs like Rowdy Baby (no babies were harmed in the making of this video). 

But also Big A works nights, so we're usually texting and chatting about stuff and keeping in touch and being silly as well. And if he's home, his sleep schedule is messed up by working nights, so I'm hanging out with him then too. And tonight At seems to be up and feeling chatty and is sending me Langston Hughes poems about Lenin and I sent him that clip of Paul Robeson singing to Scottish miners (cross cultural solidarity is my favorite and my boy knows me). 

Anyway, this will all work itself out, or won't. If I'm going to be up all night anyway, I feel like there ought to be a cuddly baby to keep me company at least 😁. 

Pic: The Red Cedar was flooding its banks on our walk yesterday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

mantras of discernment

When I told JG that At was taking a gap year, she told me it was a good thing--"a time of discernment" is how she phrased it. And it helped me so much--I would it mutter this mantra to myself when other people like Big A or my mom were frustrated by At's plans. 

A few weeks ago a friend's kid said something disrespectful about At's job. We don't disparage people based on their jobs in our family, so I was really taken aback. And then I was really sad about it for a while--At is a kind, funny, and brilliant person and the comment made me see that none of that would matter to some people. When I shared this with Nu, Nu gave me the best mantra of all: "That's not on him! That's on them!"

"That's on them!" is the perfect riposte to so many things now. I'm sure that At's decision to postpone grad school is scary for me because of my immigrant trust in education--where would I be without my degrees? But as my Nu taught me, that's on me

I had a long car ride with At as we were out on an errand yesterday, and I have so much clarity about what he's doing and I think he's absolutely making the decisions that work for him right now.

Pic: Early morning hike with L at Baker Woods.

Saturday, April 09, 2022

din-din dinners

Nu's friend is over for a sleepover this evening and my friend/colleague SS and their Connecticut family are too. I wondered what the two highschoolers and SS's new college kid--all of whom had never met before--would have in common... But in less than 20 seconds they were talking, arguing, and enthusing about books and shows the three of them had read/watched. I guess that's what books and show do--knit us a common experience. The three of them are off in the rumpus room watching Princess Mononoke with the puppies. I needn't have wondered/worried.

I rarely take pictures of our dinner party table because it feels discourteous to my guests--the food is for them, not my camera. But SS's spouse did. I loved making them a feast (90% of it vegetarian). Just this morning, I read an article on hosting dinner parties Modern Mrs. Darcy linked to with mounting dismay. I agreed with most of the bullets (don't clean before--clean after, make a ton of food, accept help, and so on). But don't change the menu?! No desserts requiring silverware?! That seems like a recipe (ha) for monotony. And contrary to the article's advice, I already have counters cleaned/clear, boxed lunches for guests and fam, and am now off to spend more time playing board games. 

Friday, April 01, 2022

upcoming (re)union

A short lunchtime stroll to Luckie St. and MLK Square yielded this vista of daffodils and fountains.

Bought myself chocolate and a plug with a USB port (the hotel is so old it doesn't have USB ports to charge my phone) at the CVS and headed back. Traveling with just a backpack means I never buy/pack superfluous stuff anymore.

SO READY to get home tomorrow and see my three youngest (Nu, Scout, Huck).

And SO EXCITED for the successful unionizing effort at the Amazon warehouse in Staten Island. Do other people's family chats nerd out about things like this too? This news forward was the one text that received hearts amongst all the little bickering about whose turn it was to empty the dishwasher (while I'm gone) yesterday. #Atlanta

Thursday, March 31, 2022

so much shining

Proud of students who really seem to be coming into their own in a way I've missed. It's a combination of having done a great job presenting, being in a new city, attending other panels, learning, and networking with peers--so basically why higher ed has conferences in the first place. There should be more opportunities for students to share research. That is all.

Friend and colleague LV and I have resurrected the "the ten-minute chat" from their grad school days--you think it's going to be a ten-minute chat, but it ends hours later. I didn't know this term before, but I treasure this ten-minute chat format.

While the shine of student success and renewing bonds are legitimate, the shining in the blog title is more Stanley Kubrick than anything else. The elevator at this ancient Sheraton lets us off outside Room 402, we then have to walk past 84+ room doors before we get to ours. Really not a fan of this at all. Yikes. #Atlanta.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Dinner and... an essay

At the end of the evening after hosting a proper sit-down dinner party after ages, there was a sense of accomplishment. Yet even as I was getting ready to send a friend pictures of his kid petting Scout... I could read text notifications from my cousins. 

One cousin had texted that their parents had had a house fire and that aunt and uncle were ok; another cousin seems to be trying to get a family in the Ukraine to safety, but only the mom had a passport. 

How we live our lives in the presence of ongoing tragedies is rationally irreconcilable with our good intentions and thoughts. Mari Andrew's essay, which Mel at Stirrup Queens pointed me to, is a wise consolation: "Someone has always clinked a cocktail glass in one hemisphere as someone loses a home in another while someone falls in love in the same apartment building where someone grieves. The fact that suffering, mundanity, and beauty coincide is unbearable and remarkable."

Perhaps someday I will be able to reach her conclusion that "The world feels so sharp and crooked right now. I, for one, am at a complete loss, and my feelings are all over the place—as they should be. But I'm appreciating my little moments of bliss like energy bars for the road ahead, and embracing my sadness in all its wisdom."

Pic: Nu and Huck paying attention to stories about the E.R. from dad.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

puppy snuggles and cricket memories

It was national puppy day, I think? I'm late as usual. I love this one with Huck's arm draped around Scout's shoulder... they're both lying on my feet (of course!),  which is why I couldn't get a fuller shot.

I've picked up the contradictory habit of watching movies in episode-length segments (it goes nicely with my other weird habit of watching multiple episodes of a show at one go). 

Anyway, finished watching "83" (in about four segments) and enjoyed how much old cricket lore came back to me as I watched it. It's a typical underdog sports story, and bit overdone in some parts, but I enjoyed it and yelped in surprise and delight when the real Kapil Dev made a cameo appearance.

Some of the nicest days in my childhood were when "pavillion" tickets to a match (passed on by cricketeer uncles/dad's work/well-connected family) showed up and we'd be allowed to skip school to spend all day at the stadium. Being stuck at school when a big match was on was the worst: kids these days don't know the painful suspense of finding out the score from the tuck shop radio or having to depend on friendly teachers who could bring us the latest from the teachers' lounge TV.

Friday, March 18, 2022

running, running

Having grad school feels today, I guess. It's application decision time everywhere, and students, friends, wards are waiting to hear where they've matched at grad schools and residencies and internships. I did my part by trying to get the admin stuff for MacCurdy (the women's house I advise) done. In fact, formatting it all for the board took so much time that I forgot to run before my massage. 

My (teensy) puritanical streak dictates that I do something physically strenuous before a massage. I have to "deserve" it. Well, I showed up in my undeserving state, and it was still a great massage. And I guess my muscles hadn't turned to slush overnight, as R, the masseuse, asked if I wanted to run a 5K with them. Yes! I like R a lot--they remind me of my Nu--and I'm happy we have plans to run together. 

Lots of cozy chats with people in different timezones (JG, mom, sis, cousins, BS) and finally finished Badhai Do, the gay Indian film streaming on Netflix that everyone loved so much. I went in wanting to like it, but it didn't grab me right away (maybe because of the small town affect and aesthetics?) but by the time the obligatory pride parade rolled around, I was (predictably) in tears. 

Dinner and cuddles with Nu, Scout, and Huckie and then off to read in bed. Big A is at work still (sigh/sob).

Pic: Another 2008 picture of Nu, which brought joy/guffaws to people who needed it today. One of my favorites.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

the wearing (and eating) of the green

At came to dinner after ages, and although we don't "celebrate" St. Pat's day, I appreciate the Irish so much for their anti-colonial struggle, especially as they shared that liberally with the Indian freedom movement--there's a reason our flags are nearly identical, right? 

Anyway, I had a dinner of mostly green veg, Irish Champ, and green cupcakes ready, but Big A and At missed each other by seconds. Nu and At found an episode of Derry Girls to rewatch, and they picked the one with the Ukrainian exchange student because...

Photo: Our entryway Ganesha has been decked out in some gaudy green this month.

Sadly, the family photo isn't here 

Sadly, the family photo isn't here 
the child mounted the front steps
as his dad stepped into the garage 
in timing orchestrated sitcom style
time pleats like a fin on a paper boat

as today's yellowing sun is ripening 
they are learning in a city of twilight
how to travel on paper boats that trail
hellos and loves in their soggy wake, 
the ridges now closing over; just water

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

can't stand

To see war advance in such excruciating detail across Ukraine in real time has been many things including terrifying and has induced a lot of helplessness and hopelessness... 

There's so much hegemonic and military brutality going on all over the world, all the time... 

It's a wonder we are able to function.

Today I had crippling weltschmerzen.

 I did not function.

Sunday, March 06, 2022

everything's a seesaw

On the one hand, these strollers that Polish parents left at the train station for Ukrainian parents to use as they cross the border with nothing... on the other hand the racism against foreign students trying to leave Ukraine... Life continues to give with one hand and take away with another.

A read that gave me life last week was this mom's account of life with her trans daughter in Jezebel--unfortunately written to demonstrate the humanity of their lives in the light of the new laws against trans kids.

And I finally finished Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad. I don't know why I didn't read it when it came out, because everyone was raving about it. And I understand why everyone I knew was raving about it, because they probably felt it was about them--it's certainly very slice of hipster/Gawker-style life. I got stuck on the casual mentions of child sex abuse in the early part of the novel with the record producer in the 70s picking up teenagers. And then I kept procrastinating on picking it up again. But I finished the rest of it in one swoop this afternoon and it was brilliant. 

Saturday, March 05, 2022

flowers and sweets on the day after

My baby sister who loves birthdays used to think the day after one's birthday was the saddest day in the world. Today wasn't at all bad, however. (Although world news, which I had silenced since my family was trying so hard to make my day happy, is beginning to leak in around the edges.)

The traditional lush bouquet from my in-laws arrived today, and I knew who'd sent it even before I opened the card as there were fragrant stargazers at the center... I had told my lovely MIL a lifetime ago when she was doing the flowers for our small wedding that they were my favorite flowers. Stargazers still are my favorite flowers and I get a tiny frisson of extra love that she remembers still. (When I buy myself flowers, I tend to go for carnations as they are inexpensive and last at least a month.)

I had a walking date with EM at the horticultural gardens, at the Rose Garden to be precise. It was a lovely day (in the 60s!) so it was a fierce reminder that it was still March to round the corner and see no roses. We came back home to recover, drink tea and eat birthday cake and talk about projects and family. Then EM whipped out a giant box of Shatila pastries, assuring me they'd keep forever. But this box is so beautiful and so huge, I think I'm going to have a full on (outdoors) party to do it justice.

Friday, March 04, 2022

March Forth Again!

Birthday dinner with Li'l, Big, and Baby As as I used to call them a million years ago on this here blog... and also a necklace almost as big as my head.

I started the day hiking with L and then hung out with Big A and just talked and texted with family and friends all day long. There was an hour of massage therapy in there somewhere too. We ended up making 1100 dollars with the birthday fundraiser and at the end of the day there was a pistachio-raspberry cake with candles.

I learned about March Forth (March Fourth) just a couple of years ago, I think--but I love that I can claim this day for a birthday. In writing news today, I got a shoutout from Mel over at Stirrup Queens and a newer poem was published in Waxing and Waning

So happy in my heart. 

Wednesday, March 02, 2022


I started a fundraiser for my birthday for the first time ever, and it's just not getting the traction of my other Facebook posts. I couldn't use the Facebook fundraiser template since this non-profit does not have a 501c3 classification, so this isn't being promoted by Facebook, and I wonder if the GoFundMe link is making it algorithmically inaccessible. In any case, it's not working very well.

I'm bad at asking--and especially bad at asking for money--so just sitting with this for a bit.


Monday, February 28, 2022

blast from the past

My birthday is coming up this week and we have a nice family dinner planned. 

But I've been yearning for one of those all-out bashes that used to happen--usually planned and hosted by someone else. That hasn't happened in years. Some of is the pandemic, sure--but some of it is just that we're in a different stage of our lives. 

Facebook kindly reminded me with this post from twelve years ago when my friends L and J postponed a vacation they were planning to take because it fell in my birthday week. The mayhem of comments that ensued with everyone jumping in with recommendations, some weird references to Tom Hanks's birthday, my London friends threatening to gatecrash, and Sunny Singh (the author Sunny Singh) giving me sage advice on partying all month long made me chuckle. 

I've been talking to L more since this reminder popped up and reconnecting with others too. And much as I resent Facebook for its manipulative ways, I'd completely forgotten about this interlude until it reminded me. What a sweet memory from a more innocent past. 

Sunday, February 27, 2022

"send us some poems and essays"

I've never wanted a war, but this is more of an anti-colonial struggle anyway--it would seem the people of Ukraine are fighting for their right to exist. 

The courage of the attitude that Ilya Kaminsky shares in his tweet... the courage, the hope, the beauty, and--what Hindi speakers would call--the sheer dil [heart] of it is simply breathtaking.

Saturday, February 26, 2022


We (Nu and I) had plans with CF today. We were supposed to see the Kahlo exhibit and then come home to hang out and pet puppies and eat pizza and watch the movie remake of Nella Larsen's Passing together. 

I'm not gonna lie--after the accident yesterday, I wanted to just cancel it all and stay home and worry about the war in Ukraine, racism against refugees, the poor deer, and my Bluey. But this morning I woke and decided I did NOT want to think about anything on that beyond-my-control list. So Nu and I bundled up and walked to the museum, met up with CF, and spent a satisfying couple of hours together transformed by--and transcendent with--art. 

The picture is of Detroit-based artist Beverly Fishman's piece "Recovery". I love how the angles of the work play on some of the unusual angles of this Zaha Hadid building (a little bit of which is visible in my pic). And I loved, loved this part of the artist's statement: "The notion of recovery is central to the experience of the exhibition. In the face of a global pandemic, along with the ever-pressing need for wider social, racial, and environmental reckonings in the United States and abroad, it is all the more important for people to seek out moments of solace." 

So that happened. Then CF went and got their car while Nu and I ordered the pizza. Then we got home and hung out and petted puppies and Nu took a nap and CF helped me find the VIN number on Bluey and take more pictures for the insurance company. I didn't have the energy for a whole ass movie, but we watched three episodes of Abbott Elementary (so about the average run time it would take to watch a whole ass movie, ha) but its wry teaching humor fit better than a more serious reckoning with the world. 

I'm still in recovery mode.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

it's the end of the day and I feel fine

Hung out with bestie KB, whom I just adore, today... We usually walk, but today we went to a museum and had lunch and went shopping and book browsed and caught a movie and... just hung out all day... like we were playing hooky from school.

And we were talking about how when we were young things just seemed to be getting better--you know? The Berlin Wall fell, Nelson Mandela was released from prison, hate was considered to be evil... and today there's war everywhere and bombs dropping on Ukraine. 

But being around KB is a balm. And now I have this song stuck in my head.

Pic: Here I am at the Joseph Tisiga Scarecrow Exhibit.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022


For some reason, I've been so excited for today. I like palindromes and liked learning "ambigram" and was plain delighted that today existed.

I guess all the coincidences of the day had something to do with today's mid-soak epiphany that the Tamil endearments "thane-y" and "maane-y" translate handily to "honey" and... "deer" (not "dear"). 


A Sonnet on Coming Halfway Across the World

For we are everywhere a palimpsest of us
and the karma and the kismet of meeting 
is multiplied by the distance of continents
fussy with farness, a dance of catastrophe. 
What if we should fail at loving each other;
what if language cleaves us with difference?

 It was in childhood I first heard of love--
on the radio, songs speaking endearments
in Tamizh, singing O thaneY, O maaneY...
these cupped invitations that connect us:
thaneY is... honey; maaneY is... deer, but
still homonym enough to arc from error
to hope--like words I carry as souvenirs--
we two/too are alike, steadfast, and dear. 

India at 75

I've been reading this WONDERFUL collection of 75 writers on India's 75th birthday from PEN all day and bugging my cousins to read i...