Congratulations, M-E!

Sending out congratulations to the Little League team from Maine-Endwell for their 2-1 victory over Seoul, South Korea, in the Little League World Series championship game in Williamsport, Pennsylvania!

Maine-Endwell is a local school district near where I live in upstate New York. Maine is a small town and Endwell is a section of the adjoining town of Union. Their field is just down the hill from the retirement community where my parents live.

They were the smallest squad in the tournament with only eleven players. I expect they drew from the smallest population area, too. Seoul’s team was drawn from the entire city of 25 million.

After an undefeated local season, the M-E team won sectional, state, regional, national, and now international titles for an overall 24-0 season.

While everyone in our area is thrilled for them, we are especially proud that they also won the tournament’s sportsmanship award.

Great work, M-E! Enjoy the parade tomorrow!

Fourteen years

In July 2002, we bought a 2003 silver Toyota Corolla.

It’s been a good car and we drove it. A lot. Over 134,000 miles.

Last week, we had it at the dealership and found out that the gas tank is corroding. It’s not leaking yet, but will soon. The cost of the repair is expensive enough that we have decided to retire the car.

We have decided to donate the car to charity. We have begun to make the arrangements and will probably be able to turn over the car by the end of the week.

Daughter T has graciously given us permission to use the car she inherited from Grandma as a second car for now, so we are holding off on getting a replacement.

My dream is to replace it with a fully electric, plug-in vehicle. I am very interested in the Chevy Bolt, which will appear late this year or early next.  We’ll have to see if we like it when it becomes available to test-drive and what it would take for us to install a charging station at our home.

Meanwhile, we say good-bye to our car of fourteen years, longer than we have ever owned a car. Thanks for your service and for getting us safely and economically from there to there. Many, many, many times over.

Florence Foster Jenkins

A family friend when I was a child often said, “Well, bless her heart,” whenever someone did something well-meaning or wholeheartedly.

Meryl Streep discussing Florence Foster Jenkins, whom she portrays in the new film of the same name, says that people at the time had one of two reactions to hearing Florence sing, either “bless her” or laughter.

Both of these are shown in the film.

Florence was a piano prodigy as a child, who lost her ability to play due to a physical condition. She continued to love music and, in adulthood. became an important musical philanthropist in New York City.

Florence liked to sing with heart and emotion. What she didn’t realize was that her physical malady had adversely affected both her ability to sing on pitch and her recognition that she was not singing on pitch. In order not to hurt her, her husband and her friends protected her from finding out the truth.

I love Meryl Streep’s work. She always brings depth into her portrayals as she does here. As a singer myself, although a choral soprano rather than a coloratura who can toss off the “Queen of the Night” aria at the drop of a hat, I was amazed at Streep’s ability to sing as Florence did – almost, but not quite up to the pitch.

On Fandango, the movie is listed as both a comedy and a drama. While there are moments of laughter, I can’t think of the film as a comedy. I think it is better characterized as a reflection on the power of music, service, friendship, and love in the face of adversity.

Florence, bless your heart. Meryl, thank you for bringing this powerful story to us.

SoCS: three dates

My mother – known as Nana here at Top of JC’s Mind – needs a diagnostic heart catheterization as follow-up to this fainting episode and likely prelude to heart valve replacement surgery.

The date of the heart cath was supposed to be June 28.

The week before, she had to have blood work done and the cardiologist didn’t like some of the numbers, so he cancelled it.

After weeks of doctor visits and tests, she was cleared to proceed.

The next date was August 17.

Unfortunately, the day she had to have the pre-procedure blood draw, she developed shortness of breath and wound up in the hospital overnight with a new diagnosis of congestive heart failure. She was discharged from the hospital and sent home to rest, waiting for the planned procedure on the 17th.

Except that the doctor’s office, looking at the pre-hospital rather than post-hospital blood work, cancelled it again.

I was very, very, very, very, very upset. After consulting with her primary care, the cardiologist promised to fit her in next week.

And then proceeded to give us the date of August 31st.

Which is not next week.

I’m still pretty upset, especially because the delay is what I feel got her into the diagnostic category of heart failure.

But, deep breath, and all that…

Fortunately, she is doing quite well now, although she has to take it very easy.

We are waiting for August 31st.

Third time’s the charm.

At least it better be.
*****
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “date.” Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2016/08/19/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-aug-2016/

socsbadge2016-17

 

re-jiggering

Facebook is not so subtly reminding me that I haven’t posted for a week. (People who are on Facebook are cordially invited to “like” the Top of JC’s Mind page here.)

I had made the mistake of making a plan for the last week. After getting daughter T on the plane to Hawai’i to visit daughter E, I was going to spend a lot of time writing, both here at Top of JC’s Mind and in continuing work on my poetry collection, in anticipation of needing to take a writing break beginning on the 17th when Nana was scheduled to have a diagnostic heart catheterization, part of the continuing saga of the fainting episode in April.

As often happens, life laughs at my plans…

The day after T left, Nana developed shortness of breath and wound up in the hospital with a diagnosis of congestive heart failure. Fortunately, treatment improved her symptoms a lot and she was able to head home within 24 hours. Unfortunately, the episode precipitated  a further delay in the heart catheterization, now pushed back to August 31st.

Not much writing got done in the last week, but I am tempting fate and re-organizing.

I’m pleased to report that I wrote a new poem this morning to fill a hole in the first section of my collection. The poem is about Nana and her father, so it was nice to be able to talk to her this morning and gather some more information that I needed.  I have sent her a copy to review and will plan to workshop it with my poetry group when next we meet.

Yay! I managed to accomplish something in my plan!

And I am writing this post!

Two things!

Crossing my fingers that things will stay calm in the coming days  so I can get some more creative time in before my planned break beginning August 31st.

Or, if something does come up, I’ll just re-jigger again.

I’m really getting quite good at it…

 

 

Poem for the Boiler House Poets!

I am so excited to share this blog post from my poet-friend Gail Dimaggio!

Gail is one of the Boiler House Poets, the inaugural group of poets who gathered at MASS MoCA for a poetry residency in collaboration with Tupelo Press. It was my privilege to be part of this intrepid group of nine poets who shared an amazing, complex, rich, and creative week together.

This month, Gail is participating in the 30/30 fundraiser for Tupelo Press. She is among a group of poets writing and posting a new poem every day. Poems and sponsorship information is available here:  https://tupelopress.wordpress.com/3030-project/.

Today is day 11 and Gail has posted a poem that I sponsored, asking her to write about our experience together. She wrote an amazing poem using the technique of found poetry, in which the poet uses words from another source to create a new work. Here, Gail uses fragments of poems from the Boiler House Poets’ video in her poem “Poets Gather in the Boiler House to Read Their Work”.

Most of the Boiler House Poets will be gathering this fall for a reunion at MASS MoCA. Gail and I will both be there.

I can hardly wait!

One-Liner Wednesday: question

Why must there be such a fine line between bravery and futility?

This angsty bit of self-commentary is offered as part of Linda’s One-Liner Wednesday. Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2016/08/10/one-liner-wednesday-an-earworm-for-you/.