Handel, the ACA, and Parkland

On Saturday, my daughters E and T and I, with Baby ABC in tow, attended a choral sing of Handel’s Messiah Part I plus Hallelujah Chorus. The Madrigal Choir of Binghamton and their director Bruce Borton, choral director/professor emeritus at Binghamton University, organized the sing, with Bruce directing and Madrigal Choir members serving as soloists and section leaders. Volunteers from the Binghamton Community Orchestra provided a twenty-piece orchestra to accompany us. It was so much fun!

I had a number of friends among the choral attendees from my long-time affiliation with University Chorus. It was nice before we began to introduce ABC to friends. Her smile and wide eyes added to the already high spirits in the room. I also love every opportunity to sing with my daughters. We are all sopranos, so we get to sit together and sing.

The event featured a free-will offering for the American Civic Association, which, since 1939, has served the Binghamton area with immigration services, refugee resettlement, citizenship classes, and cultural and ethnic preservation and education.  In these days when some in the United States, including the President, are not supportive of immigration, the ACA and their work in our community are more important than ever.

Anything involving the ACA has a special poignancy because, in 2009, a mentally ill gunman opened fire there, killing fourteen and wounding four. Most of those killed were immigrants or foreign nationals affiliated with Binghamton University. There is a beautiful memorial featuring sculptures of doves in flight a short distance from the ACA building, which reopened a few months after the shooting.

When news broke of the Parkland, Florida school shooting on Valentine’s Day, I had the familiar thought of “not again” coupled with the thought that this atrocity too would probably result in “thoughts and prayers” from those in power, but no action to curb gun violence.

In 2013, in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, New York State passed the SAFE Act, which has a number of provisions on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and ammunition, background checks, and mental health. It doesn’t mean that there will never be another mass shooting in New York, but violent crime rates have fallen. New York is also proactive in making mental health treatment more available, which is important not only in preventing the small number of people with mental illness who are also violent from using firearms but also in keeping the much larger number of people who become suicidal from shooting themselves.

It seem unlikely that Florida Governor Rick Scott and the Florida legislature will enact similar policies despite the Parkland school shooting and the Orlando Pulse Nightclub massacre. It would also be possible for the United States Congress to finally listen to the vast majority of the general public and of gunowners who favor stronger background checks and other gun control measures.

Unfortunately, such action is also unlikely on the federal level, despite the horrific history of mass shootings and other gun violence and the eloquent and poignant voices of the survivors in Parkland. Sadly, this Congress and President have been moving gun policy and mental health care in the opposite direction. The first legislation DT signed as president was to rescind a rule making it more difficult for some people with mental illness to pass background checks for gun purchases. A current bill in Congress would make concealed carry permits granted by one state valid in all other states. The Trump budget calls for cuts in mental health care funding. These and comments from Congressional leadership indicate that the platitudes will continue without any meaningful action to prevent further bloodshed.

In the 2018 Congressional election, the candidates’ stance on gun control and on mental health care will definitely be important in my decision-making. Millions of others will join me and maybe we will finally get some national legislation to help reduce the plague of gun violence in the United States.

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SoCS: Nutkin

One of the things that Baby ABC’s dad does during their skype visits is read to her. Lately, he has been reading Beatrix Potter tales. I wonder if he has read “The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin” to her yet. Nutkin had an accident that left him with only half his tail! When E (ABC’s mom) was little, it was one of her favorite Beatrix Potter tales. She used to call him Nutkin Nutkin.

ABC can see squirrels under the birdfeeders in our back yard, although they are grey, unlike Squirrel Nutkin. They also have full, bushy tails!
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Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “tail/tale.” Join us! Find out how here:
https://lindaghill.com/2018/02/09/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-10-18/

 

Italian week

ABC, at eight months, is adding new foods to her repertoire.

This week, she has enjoyed mushroom ravioli, bucatini with tomato sauce, and caramel panna cotta.

She was especially enthused about me sharing my panna cotta with her.

It’s not surprising.

After all, one eighth of her ethnic heritage is Italian.

First haircut

This week, ABC celebrated being eight months old with her first haircut. I should probably say trim, as it was just a bit of her bangs and some locks of hair near her ears that had grown long.

E and ABC accompanied me to my bang trim with Diane, my long-time stylist. We had been planning to ask for a trim for ABC when E is having her haircut next week, but Diane had a bit of time and said she would be honored to do it right then.

E held ABC on her lap and Diane draped her with a towel and gently and safely snipped the fine, dark locks, while talking to ABC, who was amenable to the whole operation.

Diane placed the locks into an envelope, sealed it, and signed it with name, date, and place. E now has it for safekeeping.

In a photo album on the bookshelf in my living room is a similar envelope from thirty years ago, when Diane first cut E’s blonde hair.

SoCS: back to normal

So, it has been a few days since I posted…

In other words, back to normal…

I had diligently posted every day for Just Jot It January and briefly considered continuing to post every day, but life intervened.

In other words, back to normal…

Or not. The word normal and my life do not belong in the same sentence.

Last week included a daughter coming down with a stomach bug, another daughter recovering from surgery to remove what we thought was a swollen lymph node but turned out to be a cyst, my spouse’s second cataract surgery, and an almost eight-month-old granddaughter that needed tending.

Sadly, last week also included the realization that we needed to upgrade the level of care for my mom, known here on Top of JC’s Mind as Nana. She has been under the care of hospice for seven months and is still in her apartment with my dad. She has had overnight aides, but we are now transitioning to daytime aides in addition. We have made some medication changes in hopes that she will have a bit of symptom relief from the increasing congestive heart failure. CHF is not a very predictable condition. There have been a number of dips with partial improvement following over the months, but you can never tell in the midst of a dip when or if improvement will come.

I know that people who read my blog frequently have been sending positive thoughts to Nana.  Thank you so much for your support.
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Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “in other words.”  Join us! Find out how here:
https://lindaghill.com/2018/02/02/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-3-18/

 

 

another surgery

My family is having a surgery a week lately. Last week, daughter E had a stubbornly swollen lymph node removed. Although screening tests seemed to suggest that it was benign, I decided not to mention it until the pathology came back. We now have confirmation, which was a relief.

It is a bit tricky with the recovery, in that E is not supposed to do heavy lifting. While ABC is not huge for a seven-month-old, she is definitely over the ten pound lifting limit, so B, T, and I have been trying to do most of the ABC lifting, especially getting her out of her crib and giving her baths.

Healing is underway and soon E will be back to full strength, although B, T, and I don’t need an excuse to help take care of ABC!
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Join us for Linda’s Just Jot It January! Find out more here:
https://lindaghill.com/2018/01/28/jusjojan-daily-prompt-january-28th-2018/

SoCS: almost crawling

At seven and a half months, Baby ABC is almost crawling.

She is expert at reaching for things while sitting and then pushing herself back to sitting after she has grabbed whatever she wanted. She rocks on her tummy like a little boat. She grabs at things with her hands and pulls herself along the floor.

Her newest trick is to tuck one knee under her while sitting with the other still flat on the floor for balance, which extends her reach and is the closest to crawling yet.

I think we had better do some serious babyproofing this weekend. It won’t be long now…
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This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday and Just Jot It January. The prompt for SoCS was to write about movement without using the word. You can find out more about #SoCS and/or #JusJoJan here:
https://lindaghill.com/2018/01/26/the-friday-reminder-for-socs-jusjojan-daily-prompt-jan-27th-2018/