Monday, January 09, 2023

sitting pretty

The new term started today, so I got a walk with Big A in while it was still dark out. The pretty fairy lights in the MSU dining hall caught my eye and my camera caught the pink and blue sky above it. 

Little did I know that we'd get sunshine for the the FIRST TIME THIS YEAR later today. It was so lovely to see blue skies and sunlight. To our south, The Detroit Free Press started joking about it too: "Multiple locations across metro Detroit are detecting a bright, yellow, shining orb in the sky. We're working to confirm what exactly it is before it disappears." Good one, Freep!

Finalized the syllabuses and published the online material today. Contacted classes, independent study students, and the travel term. Did paperwork, finished up the last of the LORs, and the remaining journal review. Sent my apologies to an editor for work I won't be able to send him until later this week (hopefully). I think I've done all I can for the moment, but catch myself going over class materials obsessively... as always, I'm so excited/anxious for the first day (tomorrow).
 

Sunday, January 08, 2023

an ode to rest

How like a winter hath my absence been
so what if I've been busy with sleep
the machinery of the day lets me be
in a time of year filled with starting:
I am the weight of flowers on a grave 
I am the songs of stones grown older 
I am the circle spreading boldly in me 

What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
I only have to close my eyes to find all--
fancy is longlegged, dashes fast and far
history recedes like a corridor of dreams
fades into quietness on each side of sleep 
dark, dawn become the same masquerade
so yes, my friend--begin the year with rest



Note: Stanza first lines from Shakespeare's Sonnet 97 that begins:
"From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen! 
What old December’s bareness every where! 
How like a winter hath my absence been..."

Saturday, January 07, 2023

alignments

At came to dinner and a cuddle (pictured) today. 

Because I'd just posted about cuddly Scout, It reminded me how despite being different species, our babies Scout and At are alike and Huck and Nu are alike. 

If we moved up a generation, Scout, At, and I are alike and Huck, Nu, and Big A are alike. The way we act, respond, our temperaments, almost everything. The first set tends to be smiley, gentle, tender; the second set tends to be serious, ferocious, and staunch. In a crisis, you want the second set--they're the ones who'll stare people down (Nu), stick to a plan (Huck), and bark orders (Big A). 

Not sure how much of this is true, how much of this is forcing some absolute structure on to truth, and how much of this is pure family myth-making and mythology. 

Anyway, it was a good cuddle, and I'll have to make it do for a while. Next week, At is off to "a cabin in the suburbs" with some college friends.
 

Friday, January 06, 2023

school friends

I'm glad it's this way. 

Lunch date with JG hosting and KB visiting this afternoon. JG used these pretty bracelets (mine serendipitously matched my sweater!) as napkin holders and after we'd all exclaimed and immediately put them on, someone claimed the bracelets had sisterly solidarity power, so we smushed the bracelets together to activate.

I want to always be this way, with dreams and silliness and love. With KB wrapping a Prince magnet she found in the airport for me in colorful magazine paper, with JG calling me as I drove home to talk some more and keep me company. For being able to share details about my family's tough year, and to have plans for road trips. 

We're not "school friends" formed in the crucibles of elementary/high school/undergrad/grad school, but each of us arrived at our teaching institution in different decades and found each other. I'll always push back against the rhetoric of "we're like a family" in the workplace, but work is where we meet our kin(d) sometimes. I'm grateful for all of this.

Thursday, January 05, 2023

the long arc (a poem for Scout)

I keep walking backwards 
from want to hope
they tell me I use 
"hope" to cope

my pulse beats with regret 
and distress though
it's true they too 
worship hope 

I know I keep disappearing
into a gratefulness
parroting prayers
to survive

remembering to thank ancestors 
(the ones that petted wolves)
who knew love would
arrive as you 
------------------------------------------------
Pic: Scout the champion snuggler... his arm over my leg 😍

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

1, 2, 3, journeys

How do you comfort someone who's lost a sibling? I had no adequate words, but I made my way over anyway bearing a tiffin box with dinner, snacks, and two funny DVDs. I found the vase in a thrift store last week, and this week matching flowers showed up for me to take to my grieving friends. I'm ashamed to say that when I was younger there were times when I'd avoid such visits. Thankfully, I've learned--mostly through people's kindness to me--how showing up is important. Life has been a long journey of learning about all the stuff that is not about me at all. 

Speaking of long journeys, I finally finished Anna Karenina. Big A, the judgmental monogamist, approved of how Tolstoy delineates the awfulness of an extra marital affair although T does it without ever resorting to moralization. I myself was heartily sick of Levin, supposedly a stand in for old Leo himself, by the end though. 

In other journeys, KB's flight out of Minneapolis was delayed by over a day, so JG has postponed our reunion lunch from today to Friday--just after my first committee meeting of the new year. That left me with a suddenly wide open day that I used for course prep, an extra long walk, an extra long soak, and extra reading time before I went to get Nu from school. It's my "Boss Day" so the extra time for indulgence was compulsory! 🙃

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Going Away... Giving Away

Pic: Big A is the most colorful presence on the Red Cedar River on our New Year's Day hike; he's headed back to work in Milwaukee this morning. 

Boo. 

Boo-hoo.

*

Also, I love our Fretail Store so much, I'll walk around finding things other people might want that we're not using. Extra set of bowls? Sandwich maker? Present from last year kids claimed to love but did not even open? Nutribullet? Goodwill and  Salvation Army policies give me the creeps, so knowing things will go for free to people who want them is great. I saw that Apartment Therapy had a really nice list of places to donate specific items as well. 

puppy condo rules

Although I don't spend much time in there, our puppy "condo" is one of my favorite spaces. Max and Huckie dislike being in the...