Monday, July 26, 2021
Sunday, July 25, 2021
Once more into the skies and on to D.C. where a long postponed conference-workshop awaits.
Wednesday, June 02, 2021
I found this fellow at the waterlily pond in the horticultural gardens today. The colors here remind me of the first edition cover of Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things--which At is reading (for the first time) currently. I hope he likes it...
Decades ago, I used to find it impossible to love anyone who didn't like Roy's novel.
I'm so much mellower now.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
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.
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Dr. Ibram X. Kendi in our Presidential Speaker series (via Zoom) tonight and here's my question and his response.
How do you decide whether or not to engage with someone who may put you in a position where you have to argue for your humanity/human rights?
Well, remember there are people who are close-minded and people who are open-minded.
So someone may believe in voter fraud, and you may bring them some sources and say: there is no significant voter fraud.
And they may say: [I] don't trust your sources.
So you ask them: Ok, what sources do you trust?
And you go and find material from those sources and they say: I don't trust those sources anymore.
Those people may have closed minds. And when a person's mind is closed, I try to not spend my time on them unless they are really close to me.
I'm going to spend my time with the open-minded people.
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Met all my classes; my students seem lovely! My international students patched in via video, and that went ok too. I am grieving the loss of classroom intimacy--video, masks, distancing, and having to sit in rows instead of a circle are all messy. But I get it--and I think we'll get through it.
Got to meet At before afternoon classes to pass on some freezer staples, I and was chuffed to see he had two masks and long sleeves on. Yay! I walked him back to his house and got a "back hug" as he turned to get the stairs. Seeing At made me so happy.
My last class ended late and then I headed to a socially distant picnic at the president's house for our new MFA director. Both of them have worked really hard on the program even through the strangeness of the summer, and I was happy to celebrate with them. But the sun had set by the time I drove home--another reminder this summer is ending. Luckily, I had a long conversation with JG to keep me company in the car.
Back home, I discovered that L had dropped off some of Nu's favorite brownies and a ton of snacks as a back-to-school treat for Nu (they start tomorrow). My Nu was already in bed, but I was told they lovvvvvvvved me when I snuck in for a goodnight kiss. And then Big A woke up, and we had a teensy dessert-date chit-chat (me with Nu's brownies, Big A with the leftovers of the Culver's from his and Nu's dinner) before he headed off to work. I'll be sleeping with Scout and Huck tonight.
Sunday, August 23, 2020
Today was my first day back in the classroom since March. Yes, it's Sunday, but that's when the first-years start this year. My first-day jitters were keener than usual, but once back in the classroom, things settled into the usual.
I don't think I have everyone's names yet as I usually do. Masked, even people I already know are hard to recognize; memorizing the names of new students when half their faces are out of view is going to be quite a challenge. Bless everyone who smiles with their eyes and nods in class.
Sunday, August 16, 2020
Here on the magic rock, is my little woodland Nu dappled in sunlight and lost in thought (they're very into plague doctor philosophy and aesthetics right now).
Another discovery: the story "Amma" by Sindya Bhanoo in Granta, not just set in my hometown of Chennai, but IN MY SCHOOL! OMG.
Friday, July 24, 2020
|Gratuitous cute-goofy picture|
Once because my mind was singing the chorus to MISSIO's "Wolves" and it was terrifying in the dark.
Once because I was imploring Mai and the macaque to run, run, run (just finished Ocean Vuong's beautiful and brutal On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous).
Once because I dreamed I had taken At and Nu clothes shopping and they were breathed on and almost touched accidentally a few times by other shoppers. (How extra stupid would this unease have been a year ago?!)
And finally, because of the reasonable, rational, familiar dread of the school year approaching and all the preparation that needs to be accomplished in the weeks that remain. It's here--July 24th... 24/7. In exactly one month we'll be welcoming students back to campus.
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
It was At's turn to walk with me today, and we ended up in hammocks after 20 or so mins, because it had gotten quite hot again. Our resident socialist was discussing the cultural theorist Mark Fisher, whose chapter titles are whimsical and full of possibility: "What if you held a protest and everyone came?" "It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism." But I guess I didn't know the jarring reason why Fisher's writing stopped.
And also, I'll confess--my darling boy's Jesus of the Naxalites mien charms and alarms me in almost equal measure and for different reasons.
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
When I'm not actively occupying myself with something productive (good) or self-flagellating with the news (bad), I find I too am moping in various positions and locations like our Scout.
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
"This year has been a blur, but I remember one day clearly: Sunday, March 8. It was the last day I ate at a restaurant, the last day I went to a concert (Red Baraat at the Sinclair in Cambridge, Mass.) and the last day I hugged a friend. It was also the first time I thought that I should begin writing about what was going on.
Sunday, April 05, 2020
Monday, March 30, 2020
next week, a stand of maples, waving,
trunks spaced six feet or more apart
as if they’d heard the governor’s order.
while in the earth an interplay of fine
roots and tiny fungi relays messages,
shares sustenance, keeps in touch.
spreading as they reach out toward a sky
delicately blue as a robin’s egg. Yet there
a thousand thousand leaf buds hold tight
the trees hang on, deep-rooted, keeping
their distance, holding each other close.
Saturday, March 21, 2020
One of our busiest hikes at Harris Nature Center today--my four kids, L&T; B&L, V&C, plus CF and VC and JS and, and...
I've been feeling... sad is the best way to describe it. And as the human kids traveled up and down the hike group chatting away, I brought up the rear with just the puppy kids, giving myself permission to be alone for a while.
Back home, we made a pantry-sourced, vaguely Thai-inspired soup with sweet potatoes, beans, veggies, lemongrass, ginger, basil, and coconut milk, and then settled in to finish watching the Gerwig adaptation of Little Women after dinner with Big A.
Ever since I won a copy of LW in fourth grade, I've steadily read most of Alcott's novels, contributed to the Alcott encyclopedia in grad school, and generally adore her--that I loved this adaptation with its duplex ending so much means something.
The kids had already seen it with the grands in OH when it first came out, and I found it so sweet the way they watched my reaction as they re-watched the movie with me. Also, they think it's hilarious to call it "Big Girls."
Sunday, February 23, 2020
But the very next day, Baby E's parents went to visit grandparents in California for a month (smart of them), and then they moved into their own house sometime last month, and I never got the book to E.
This evening as we were walking home from Big A's Boss Day dinner at Sansu, we saw E's dad T on his way to pick up some things from their old place, and he stopped as he passed us to give us updates and I was able to pass on E's Christmas gift.
I did it! I gave it to someone special. It's not like we don't have snow after all. #GeorgeMichaelLives.
Wednesday, January 08, 2020
Sunday, January 05, 2020
Thursday, December 19, 2019
Half-an hour later, the place was all raucous exuberance, with discussions hilariously veering off course. The book was Tayari Jones's An American Marriage and the loudest, longest discussion SOMEHOW became: which famous prisoner would you write to?
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
James R. Kincaid, an English prof. at USC, has been writing in The Slate, and practically everywhere else, about how we are given to autom...
Friends and old neighbors shutting it down in honor of John Crawford. _
At had us pose for this pic up at Aunt R's place on Lake Huron so he could put it up in his dorm. "Don't tur...
(Sorry to have been so solipsistic--although The Yunus Nobel and the Desai Booker provided the much-needed antidote to that : ) I have b...
Today is the birthday of the best sister in the whole world (mine:)! Happy, Happy Birthday, Chelli! [AA, my favorite aunt in the whole wor...
Sunlight. arrogance sees, sleeps Now i understand: every thing you say. In the dark. heartbeat dee...
Yesterday at lunch with the awesome Pied Piper and an accomplished, pioneering writer whose anonymity we shall preserve, Piper turned to me...
that they work with families on Detroit's Eastside, they deserve their own thank-you copy. _