SoCS: this and that

This post is going to bounce around a lot because it is about this and that.

Someone I know is running for the US Congress!  Kim Myers, with whom I served on committees in our school district, is going to run for a seat in the New York 22nd district. She is running for the Democratic nomination; our current Representative is retiring. He is a Republican and considered a moderate – which is what used to be considered very conservative. Kim has served on the school board in our town for 18 years. Recently she has been sitting on the Broome County legislature, where she is the only woman and the minority leader.  I’m so hoping Kim will be elected. She is well-known in our part of the district also because she is from the Stack family, who founded Dick’s Sporting Goods. Their original location in Binghamton is still open. She has been involved in philanthropy for years, too.

Unfortunately, this brings to mind presidential election stuff…  More primaries and caucuses this weekend. The Republican race has descended further into name-calling and ridicule. At least, the Democratic side talks about issues.

Last night, we got to see a livestream of T’s concert. Her choir, the Hendrick’s Chapel Choir, sang in a choral showcase with all the other Syracuse University choirs. Each group sang a couple of their own pieces and then joined together to sing two spirituals arranged by their guest conductor who had been vising for the week from Temple University. T is a graduate student, not at Syracuse, but at SUNY – Environmental Science and Forestry, which is directly adjacent to Syracuse. ESF students are eligible for courses and extracurricular activities at Syracuse U, so it has meant that T gets to sing in a great choir program, which she loves.

This has been tax prep week. I helped my parents with their taxes earlier in the week and yesterday I plowed through ours and T’s. I am very grateful for TurboTax! I’d hate to have to do them all long-hand, as I used to years ago.

It’s chilly here today, but a big warm-up is in store. By mid-week, it is supposed to get up to 60 F (15 C) which is tremendously warm for early March.

The maple sap has been running early, but there was a maple syrup related tragedy this week. The Holleran family owns a sugarbush in New Milford PA, not that far from here. There is a proposal for a new methane pipeline, the Constitution, that starts in PA, then continues into NY. New York has not yet approved it, but FERC gave permission for tree-felling to begin in PA. The Holleran’s did not want to have their trees cut down; the pipeline route is taking out 90% of their maple trees. The courts allowed the company to take the land by eminent domain, which many of us think is unconstitutional because the land is being taken for private profit rather than public use. At first, the work crews turned away because the trees were tapped and the family and other tree defenders were on the property, which is their land still, even with the court order. The company went to court and then they came back with tree crews accompanied by armed officers and cut down all the trees. The Holleran’s and others had painted American flags on the trees. It was so jarring to see these trees with flags painted on them stacked up. We are all just sick about it. If New York does not approve it, the pipeline will not go in and they will have killed all those trees and taken away part of the family’s farm income for no reason at all.

A happier part of this past week is that I sent in my paperwork and deposit for the Boiler House Poets reunion at Mass MoCA this fall. I am thrilled because one of my poet-friends here is going to come with me. We had a couple of spaces because some of our original group is unable to make the reunion. We are going to be in North Adams for the Fall Foliage Festival and for my birthday. It will be so great!

Well, I could go on writing about this and that for a lot longer, but I think I had better stop before your eyes glaze over. So, that’s that!
*****
This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. The prompt this week was “this and that” – a post about this and that, beginning and possibly ending with “this” or “that.” Come join the fun!  Find out how here:    http://lindaghill.com/2016/03/04/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-march-516/

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An unexpected writing assignment

I have been trying to balance my poetry and blog writing time – not terribly successfully as various personal and family health issues intervene.

Still, there are a couple of things I need to get done by Wednesday afternoon to prepare for a couple of poetry workshops.

And, I’m going to get to them, in a few minutes.

Really. I am.

What I spent my creative time this morning doing was writing a prayer.

In the days when I served on liturgy committee, I used to do this with some frequency, but it has been over a decade since I’ve done it on a regular basis.

Yesterday, I got a call asking me to write a prayer for the dedication of Mercy House, a new home for people who are dying but aren’t able to stay in their homes. Although the idea came from a local Catholic parish and it is housed in a former Catholic church complex, Mercy House is non-sectarian, accepting any person in need of their services. Still, it is appropriate for there to be a prayer at the ribbon-cutting and open house scheduled for this Sunday.

I thought about it yesterday and last night and wrote and edited a draft this morning. I sent it out and just got a call saying that the priest for whom I had written it loves it. I’m grateful for the opportunity to use my writing to serve others.

And, now, back to poetry…

 

SoCS: 700!

I’m happy to announce that I now have 700 followers at Top of JC’s Mind!

Of course, the usual caveats apply. Some people get counted twice if they follow my page on Facebook as well as following on WordPress. Or if they follow my twitter. Or also subscribe directly by email.

I also know that there are people who read my posts without being official followers. I am sometimes taken by surprise when a friend will mention something that they read in one of my posts. It’s a reminder that followers and readers are not the same thing. While I know that only a small fraction of my 700 followers read any particular post, there are readers who are not followers who read every post I put out.

Whether you are a follower, a regular reader, or someone visiting Top of JC’s Mind for the first time, thank you so much for sharing in my blog. I couldn’t do it without you!
*****
This post is part of Linda’s Steam of Consciousness Saturday.  This week’s prompt was to begin the post with a contraction. Join us! Find out how here: http://lindaghill.com/2016/02/19/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-2016/

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cold

The middle of last week, I came down with a cold.

In my younger days, I would have kept going full-tilt and powered my way through – which sometimes worked and sometimes resulted in developing bronchitis or a sinus infection or another not-so-fun complication.

Now, being older and not having so many other people depending on me, I decided to do the wise thing and cancel some of my activities, rest more, eat soup and drink warm beverages, not push myself to work out with my Wii Fit, and generally take care of myself and let B help to take care of me, which, I might add, he does superbly.

I thought I could get well faster and be back to normal strength and activity level in a week.

It’s not quite working out that way.

While I have been able to do more over the last few days, I’m still tired and cold and sniffly and achy and a bit hoarse.

I had hoped to go to poetry open mic tonight. I have been AWOL for months due to travel and other conflicts, so I had hoped to go tonight and read before the next batch of obligations hits.

But, no.

I don’t want to drag myself out in the cold (and possible mixed precipitation) and go on a coughing jag in the little bookstore and mess up the other poets’ readings.

So, I’ll curl up under a throw and rest and try to take it easy for another weekend, hoping to have some voice for chorus rehearsal on Monday. I missed rehearsal last week and can’t afford to miss again.

Don’t I deserve some reward for trying to take better care of myself?

landing in the junk bin

I often subscribe by email to comment threads on other blogs so that I don’t miss replies.

I just checked my email  and found that a whole bunch of those emails got shunted to my junk folder at the same time that many others landed correctly in my inbox.

Weird.

 

SoCS: tired

I am really tired. I got up at 3:45 AM because I have a cold and started coughing.

And I am too tired now, forty-five minutes later, to write much of anything cogent.

I doubt I’m going to catch a nap later, so SoCS is going to be short and sweet.

Not quite as short and sweet as One-Liner Wednesday, but close.

Well, close on the short side. Not on the sweet.

Did I mention I am really tired?

Wishing everyone a good weekend. I hope that no one else has a cold or is tired…
*****
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “tire” – alone or as prefix or suffix. Join us! Find out how here:  http://lindaghill.com/2016/02/12/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-1316/

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New header photo

Thanks to all my blogger friends for their advice on my new theme!

I looked through my photos and found one I thought would crop well as a new header image.

Boiler House Poets and people familiar with North Adams, Massachusetts may recognize the street sign. It was just outside the apartments where we stayed during the Tupelo Press/Mass MoCA residency. (If you want to know more about the residency, check my blog archive for November, 2015.)

I will leave it to my readers to ponder the deep inner meaning of Center Street being one way and what that has to do with the Top of JC’s Mind…

I still wish I could make the title/tagline font larger, but I think it doesn’t look quite so tiny with the header image breaking it apart from the larger-font post title.

It just occurred to me that my link to my “About” page got lost in the shuffle of the theme change. I guess that will be my next problem to solve.

I’d appreciate any comments/musing/interpretations on the new header image.

With thanks,
JC

 

Saint Francis Prayer

Because I have been (somewhat uncharacteristically) posting every day this month as part of Linda’s Just Jot It January, I have been more proactive than usual in planning my posts. I had a topic picked out for today and had written most of the post in my head.

Then, today happened.

My mom asked me this morning if I could send her a copy of the Prayer of Saint Francis, which a friend who recently passed away had chosen for her prayer card. I wrote a note to remind myself to do it and set out on a day of errands, a meeting, and an appointment.

I wasn’t expecting it, but it became a day when human needs for peace, love, compassion, healing, strength, and joy were placed before me again and again.

The best that I can hope to offer is to share the words of the Saint Francis Peace Prayer, which, while it is a Christian prayer, can also speak in large measure to people regardless of their belief system.

Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Shared for my mom, for Wilhelmina, and for all those in need of any of the gifts that Francis calls for in this prayer.

In peace,
Joanne
*****
To join Just Jot It January, visit here:   http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/28/just-jot-it-january-28th-serendipity/

JJJ 2016

To find the rules for Just Jot It January, click here.

SoCS: an even keel

It’s hard to be on an even keel when the water is choppy and there are rocks and storms and all manner of unexpected happenings.

There is an old saying/blessing/curse, “May you live in interesting times.”

Times in both the public and private sphere are definitely interesting.

Is it odd to wish that, at least once in a while, things were on an even keel instead?
*****
Join us for Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday! This week’s prompt was odd and/or even. Find out more here: http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/22/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-jan-2316/

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It is also part of Linda’s Just Jot It January! Visit here to find out more:  http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/23/just-jot-it-january-23rd-oddeven-socs/

JJJ 2016

To find the rules for Just Jot It January, click here and join in today.

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