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

Friday, April 21, 2023

"how can you just leave me standing/alone in a world so cold"*

We never had pets growing up because my parents thought I was incapable of handling the inevitable reality of pet loss--talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy! (To be fair, this was probably well grounded, because I would do stuff like cry for hours about hurt butterflies and birds and whatnot. I wasn't an easy child.)

This means that when I met Scout, I just fell so hard for him. He was my dream puppy baby and when Huckie came along the next year, they became the perpetual toddlers in the large family I yearned for. Big A and I have always been "Dada" and "Mama" to them.

So these ten years with Scout coincide with some of the most golden years of my parenting life--the mischief and unpredictability and joy and surprise and beauty and busyness--and saying goodbye to Scout feels like saying goodbye to a stage of life I loved so much. It's one of the few periods I'd be happy to live through all over again. Wish you could stay, Scoutie. You're always so wonderful at helping me figure things out.   

Pic: A light saber fight (dance?) from 2013. Scout has the green light saber, he played with it all that summer and chewed off the tip and yes--I still have it. 

Title: Today marks seven years since Prince left us--also too soon.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

it's almost time

This morning I had to pry Scout's wolf mouth open to slide pills hidden in a lump of icecream into him. These last couple of days have been the first time Scout has ever been uninterested in food or the outdoors. Everyone said Scout would let us know when it was time... it feels like he's telling us now.

He's so weary, but still the Scoutie who wants to be as near us and get all the pets as possible though. I want for Scout what I'd want for myself--to pass away at home surrounded by loved ones. We have an appointment with the hospice vet for Monday. 

Pic: One of my favorite pictures of Scout. In the old house, he'd lean on the window sill with his stuffie under one arm and get so excited if he saw any creatures swim past us in the river. He wanted to be friends with every living thing when he was a baby. I first posted this here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

photo swap

Thank you for all the good wishes and confidence in my ability to take good photos. The photographer turned out to be the partner of someone I adore in one of my classes, so I felt quite at ease + I wore an Indian scarf and felt grounded and comfortable. 

Despite all that though, I somehow look exceedingly stiff and startled in the picture. Ah. C'est la vie. It's unlikely that this copyrighted, corporate photo will be used for anything other than the press release anyway. 

Pic: The photo that brought me joy today was Nu's picture of Scout and Huck keeping me warm. Their touching butts make a heart shape if you squint just right.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

I guess I won something...

I attended yesterday's faculty meeting virtually because I wanted to get home to Scoutie. The sound was iffy from the beginning, but completely cut out right as the Prez announced the tenured faculty teaching award. 

I gathered (from chat and texts) that apparently I was the one who won it this year? Yay! Yay? It feels unreal and anti-climatic, because I missed the nice stuff I could see him saying about why I was nominated etc. I can't help noticing how uncharacteristically unexcited I am about this right now.

Usually, my students win awards. Ironically, this year--my students were runners up and I have this award. Honestly, I prefer it the other way--awards definitely mean more to them as they set off on their post-graduate careers. 

Pic: Scout and Huck sniffing spring and deer smells. Good day for Scout, but he just looks so tired in photos lately. 

Thursday, March 30, 2023

2016 redux: good bones, breaking news

You've surely read Maggie Smith's poem "Good Bones," which went viral in 2016 and you should read the article she published in The Cut yesterday about how her fame led to the breakdown of her marriage. Her ex sounds like a dick--any marriage in which one spouse becomes "the staff" in the household is deeply unjust and unloving.

That aside, I was distracted by her declaration that "When I walked in the door, I was married. Mrs. When I walked outside, I was divorced. Ms." This isn't the point of the article, but where does this belief that "Ms." is for divorced women come from? I thought the whole damn point of "Ms." was to move away from the marriage specificity of "Miss" and "Mrs." I was a "Ms."since I was 14? 15? Currently, I like"Mx" best of all.

I'm in Denver with our English honorary students who are presenting at the annual international convention. At and Big A are home to make sure Nu has some fun on their Spring Break. They're having sleepovers and going to movies and I'm missing them and missing out.

Pic: The kids sent me this candid of Big A at the moment he found out about Trump being indicted for the 2016 hush money payment. Has any photo demonstrated more "fuck around and you'll find out" energy?

Monday, March 27, 2023

best friends

Scout's still lagging. I've been told to keep an eye on him, so that's what I'm doing. He seems a bit better today, but I'm not sure if that's just me seeing what I want to see.

Anyway, I'm spending a lot of time daydreaming about my India trip in August and writing back all the school friends who remembered me on my birthday. And it got me thinking back to those intense friendships of girlhood where I'd spend all day passing notes in class and come home to talk for hours on the telephone to the same people. I really had nothing going on in my life then, so I can't even imagine what we talked about.

It blew my mind when I realized that SD my bestest friend through grades 6-10 (Holy Angels Convent) and NJ, my bestest friend in grades 10-12 (Sacred Heart School) have never met each other despite living in the same city... and the same neighborhood (Adayar) all these decades. How did that happen? When I told my sister this, she didn't think it was surprising at all. I guess when you live in a big city, your standards for accidental meetings are different. Also--I think new best friend and old best friend may have been somewhat wary of each other back then? We're all so much more mellow now... I'm wondering if I should introduce SD and NJ to each other after all these years this August or if the universe will implode in some way if I do.

Pic: Huck urging Scout--"hurry up, catch up!"

Thursday, March 23, 2023

a feminist fair

We held our eighth WGS Symposium today, and students did SUCH a great job. I was a bit miffed on their behalf that we didn't get a bigger crowd. They worked so hard and were so creative in their projects--they deserve ALL the acclaim.

I have been bragging      
these people    
years now. 

I took tons of photos as usual. My favorite this year has to be the poster about men's mental health surrounded by the smiling faces of the many guys who came out to support their friend. 

I feel so hopeful around my students. 😍 

Pic: The Gender-affirming table with pronoun pins, and a blank U.S. map to test attendees' knowledge of trans-exclusionary states.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

From the Dictionary of Sleeplessness

memory is just a mix-and-match
of a hundred doors and 
a hundred songs 

reverie is very nearly recovery
the surprise surplus from  
my unspent dreams

mystery is a mess of meditation
the splash of insight amidst
the magic wreckage

Pic: On a day I needed kindness, waiting at my office door were kind words and a Princely present from CW--student-teacher and barista extraordinaire. I get by purely because there are so many kind and lovely people in the world who help me through this thing called life.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

(AI) Art Class

If it takes a special kind of nerd to sit in a classroom on Sunday afternoon, I am that nerd. 

EM and I signed up for an AI art workshop around my birthday--I'd asked friends to give me experiences/donations to RDC this year since I already have so much stuff, and this was EM's pick for me. (Let the record show I tried to make her take me to Cocaine Bear, but she balked. Even birthdays will only get you so far. Ha.)

I enjoyed the heck out of the fact that our instructor for this very new tech was a very old person. Take that, ageism! EM and I played with style and color all afternoon. It was fun, especially since I'm not an artist in real life. But like Chat GPT with writing, Dall-E is just ok. 

Also (pet peeves coming up next): I thought the point was to get AI to do the boring tasks so humans could have more time for creative ones, not vice versa. It also bugs me when corporations (via AI) steal samples from artists to make stuff (it doesn't bother me when those roles are reversed).

Pic: "Holi in the style of Marc Chagall" by Dall-E2. Love the colors, but the expressions are off; the two on the right look especially tortured.


Saturday, March 18, 2023

Holi Heyyyy!!

I put off our Holi celebrations for a couple of weeks hoping it would seem more spring like when we celebrated since Holi is traditionally celebrated to welcome spring--but today turned out to be the coldest and windiest it has been in weeks... 

Still and all, our friends rallied and showed up despite the gusting snow flurries. We fired up a Bollywood playlist, put out Costco snacks, set out Holi colors, and a good time was had by all. 

I mean... did "Holi Heyyyy!" (It's Holi) become "Heyyyy, Holi" (Hello, Holi)? Sure; but that made it perfect in its own way.

Pic: Nu and their friends mid celebration. 

Thursday, March 16, 2023

bits of weirdness

I'm having a tough time of it. 

Campus still feels eerie. And in its own way, that feels right. We shouldn't be able to go from losing someone to life as usual. 

And then my dad's younger brother died this week. A family of six brothers, they were the two closest in age and everything else. This uncle absolutely loved dad. My sister and I always rolled our eyes when he was around, because he took up so much of our dad's time when we wanted it all to ourselves as dad was (and is still) the fun parent. 

I was randomly thinking of my uncle on Tuesday... and then on Wednesday I heard from family about his passing. That (coincidence?) felt weird and spooked me and now I'm kind of scared to think of anyone. (Nu's advice: maybe only think of people you don't like. My kid is too funny/frightening.)

I spent a long time--like a weirdo--watching a three-legged deer on their nighttime nosh in the front yard tonight. It may have been the same three-legged deer from year 1 of the pandemic--the stump seems nicely healed and they seemed comfortable moving around. 

Pic: A card Nu made for me earlier this month.

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

one celebration at a time...

Happy International Women's Day!

Here's a pic from the annual MacCurdy House International Women's Day tea celebration today. I think it's the first one we've had in person since 2019. As always, great conversations and solid community building.

(Yes, I know it's Holi today too, but I got home so late from work... the plan is to celebrate it on Saturday when more of the family is home anyway.)

Monday, March 06, 2023

here and there

Back to work today; got lots done. 

(And lots more to do... always lots more to do.)

What I'm not doing this month: Going to that conference in Egypt I was invited to. 

What I am doing this month: Plotting a study trip to the U.K. in May. Panicking a bit that the exchange rate is not working in our favor. Calling in favors so my students can have a memorable time.

Pic: my birthday flowers are happy in the jungle tea garden.

Saturday, March 04, 2023

Marching Forth...

I guess my birthday has been my birthday all my life, and "March Forth Day" is way more recent; but I think I celebrated both brilliantly today.

My parents, sister, uncles, aunts, and cousins wished me early (at a time when it's still the same day both here and in India). Then 7:00 am came around and I was presented with brilliant blue skies and about 6-8 inches of fresh snow. The rest of my little family was still fast asleep, so I laced up my hiking boots and took myself for a walk along the river. It was still and beautiful and I daydreamed and reflected to my heart's content.

People were awake when I got home, so there was singing in English and Spanish (which Nu is learning and loving at school). Big A was going to use the snowblower to clear the driveway, and I was supposed to be there just for a tutorial, but it looked so much fun, I took over and did the whole driveway. I think I might have "Tom Sawyered" myself. Ha. 

Then Big A and I hiked at The Ledges--new to us, but actually a 300-million-year-old rock formation--where I wanted to stop and take pictures at every turn. By the time we were done I was so pleasantly tired. I could have ended the day there, but we'd planned to have a fancy dinner with the kids (at People's Kitchen), which we did. And then it was back home for my cake (strawberry and jello) and presents (handmade keepsakes, books, books, books, walking sticks, a new phone).

I'm ending the day with gratitude that friends and family have raised $700 for our Refugee Development Center via my birthday fundraiser when I'd merely hoped to raise $300.

Friday, March 03, 2023


I'm in awe of how (tiny, determined)
ants carry many times their own weight 
of how much snow (seeming ethereal)
can cover with slow, resolute softness
overhead, an arrowhead of eager geese soar
they move in a direction I read as tomorrow

Pic: Tokens of support along the library bridge, MSU

Note: Pre-birthday walk with Big A in the am; big snowstorm in the pm.

Thursday, March 02, 2023

"the time of my life"

I watered the thousand and one plants and spring-prepped my indoor tea garden today: trimming plants, removing dead leaves and debris, repotting, pulling overgrowth, and putting away winter plants like poinsettia and paperwhites. It was very satisfying.

It was also very Parkinson's Law. I caretake the tea garden every week and it usually takes an hour or so. This week though, I'm on midterm break with extra time to spare, and the task took all the time I had. OTOH, I did such a thorough clean that it'll only need touch ups as the teaching weeks get busier in the second half of the semester.

Anyway--afterwards, I made myself some tea and made sure I enjoyed the results of a morning of hard work for at least 15 minutes with Scout and Huck in there. 

Then I had 15 minute-slots for all the rest of the stuff I wanted to do: 15 minutes for yoga, 15 minutes for dinner prep, 15 minutes for a soak, and so on... So it goes. But a mindful 15 minutes can do the trick. Even for exercise apparently--I heard it referred to as "exercise snacks" on the radio. 

Pic: Huck showing up for a closeup with Scout right behind.

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

turning around

the city still in layers of fears, flowers and tears
considers restoration after destruction
we hang brute, creatures perching 
heavy as bruises in the air

like chalk outlines, my mind falls empty inside
meanwhile--from hard, unforgiving ground
a new, green shoot sticks its tongue out
takes us to March
Pic: Scout wondering if he can figure out what my password is.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

two weeks...

My first day walking on the MSU campus since... since the mass shooting two weeks ago. Their 'spirit rock' has been turned into an impromptu shrine--flowers and offerings everywhere. 

Two weeks is a long time to forgo the walk along the river I love so much. Instead of telling myself I would be safe, I had to tell myself that really, it's not like any place in the U.S. safe--to make myself go back. 

Sirens still provoke a very visceral response no matter where I happen to be--grocery store, piercing studio, home... I imagine this sort of thing takes a while to heal.

Thankfully, it was an uneventful walk down one of my favorite paths. Big A was joking about us doing this walk when we're into our triple digits. (Yes, I didn't do this by myself, I had significant emotional support.)

Pic: MSU 'spirit rock' now with a tent and seating. 

Sunday, February 26, 2023

find out

Now I dream myself as a tree
my desire amnesiac as winter
yet free as a wind in my veins 
breath now a blur of whispers
shadows revisit, quilt surprises
to deposit at my own bare feet 

The sermon today (and all February) at UU was about love. But sadly, I spent at least ten minutes fuming in an unlovely, unloving way because I heard the person sitting behind us say to my 15-year-old Nu (masked and dressed in all-black and a hoodie, as always) that if they had shown up like this three years ago, people would be calling the police and they might have been arrested. I think this person was trying to be funny, but it was a weird thing to say to teenager who was there with their very brown mother. I turned around at the end of the service to offer my perspective with "love and respect," but then realized that the person who'd said that to Nu was very old and very stooped and probably a first-time visitor (no name badge, just the "My name is" sticker) so I ended up not saying anything. 

But WTF.

Anytime people mention hoodies as an indication of menace or wrongdoing, it reminds me of what a big deal people made of it when Trayvon Martin was hunted and murdered. And Twitter just reminded me that today is the 11th anniversary of his death. Now I'm mad all over again.

Pic: Baker Woods in the afternoon sunshine.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

OMG/ChatGPT/Canon in D

I took a trip down memory lane earlier this week when I recalled the first time I heard Pachelbel's "Canon in D". 

Then on a whim I sauntered down AI Alley when I asked ChatGPT to write me a poem based on that incident. ChatGPT obliged with the poem on the left. 

It's quite the doggerel. 

Which is why I don't share the moral panic about students using it to cheat on essays and exams. From everything I've seen, ChatGPT seems to tend towards the bland and the banal. I think I'd be able to tell something was off from the odd combination of impeccable grammar and tediously repetitive sentences.

Famous last words as I head off to grade midterm essays and exams...

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 ...