SoCS: field trip

My daugher T was scheduled to go to Dominica for ten days to do field work with her tropical ecology class. They were scheduled to leave Syracuse early Thursday morning to fly to Newark, the first of four legs to get them to the island. Because of the storm hitting the coast, the flight was cancelled Wednesday evening. The professors told them to stay tuned and the travel agents went to work to try to rebook. Unfortunately, the earliest that they could re-book the group was Wednesday, so the trip had to be cancelled. It was a major bummer, given that they spent the first half of the semester learning about the ecology there and prepping for the trip, including things like getting immunized for typhoid fever.

The silver lining for us is that T is now home for spring break. It’s nice for us and for her grandparents, who have been battling various maladies this winter.

And we are sure that T won’t contract typhus…

This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. This week’s prompt is “go.”  Join us! Visit this link for rules:



SoCS: My friend Angie

I have written before about my friend Angie. I’m thinking of her today because next month will be the tenth anniversary of her death. I’m thinking about things we missed over these years, such as supporting each other as our eldest children married. If she were still alive, she would probably be on the school board still, and I’d have a clue about what is happening in the school system, something that is hard to do when you no longer have children young enough to be in K-12. She would have supported me through the health travails of our elders and I would have supported her in the same way. Even though she has been gone for a long time, I still miss her.

Friends are forever.

This week’s prompt is:  acquaint and/or friend.

This is a February and Linda and Bee are joining forces. First, Bee’s badge and link:

Love Is In Da Blog

And this post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. Please join us! You can find the rules here:


SoCS: What is seen can’t be unseen

Once something has been seen, it can’t be unseen, however much we might wish to erase it.

Part of the reason I don’t watch many scary movies is that the images haunt my dreams. I can still remember some of the shock I felt seeing the original theatrical release of “Jaws” as a young teen and the way it haunted my dreams.

Some of the most haunting things I have seen have been family medical things. A look of terror in the eyes during an intensive care disorientation episode. A bad reaction to a medication that caused uncontrollable jaw clenching with resultant biting of cheeks.  A child suffering tremors.  Seeing bones through skin when most of the flesh and muscle have wasted away.

Even years later, these memories make me shudder.  Even so, I can’t wish that I had not seen them, only that they had not existed to be seen.

This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. This week’s prompt is scene/seen.  Join us!


May as well finish up just Jot It January, too!

SoCS: contrasts

I attended vigil Mass this afternoon at a church in the town across the river. Everything seemed to be arranged to afford the most contrast. The pews finished in a blond or clear stain over a cream floor contrasted with a dark-stained wood ceiling with multicolored stenciling. The white marble, ornately carved altarpiece surrounding the tabernacle and the white walls contrasted with the deep blues and reds of the stained glass windows.

The silence after the end of the prelude contrasted with the loud organ and miked songleader and the congregation singing the opening hymn. (I’ll spare you the treatise on the techniques of leading congregational singing as an organist and the  – let’s call it – discrepancies from the ideal that I experienced.) Even the contrast of the ancient instrument playing music written within my lifetime that was composed to be played by guitars and other instruments.

The biggest aural contrast was between the voice of the pastor who was presiding at the liturgy and the answering voice of the congregation.  The priest is from Nigeria and speaks with a very distinct accent. I think that his first language was a tribal one and that he later learned English in school. The answering voices were speaking in American-accented English. Although the parish was founded by Polish immigrants – the inscriptions on the Stations of the Cross and the stained glass windows are all in Polish – the current congregation is largely generations removed from “the old country.” A recent parish merger brought in descendants of immigrants from other Eastern European countries and the entire congregation today was European-American. I find that listening to Father Charles praying and preaching makes me focus in a new way, exactly because I need to be extra-attentive because of his unfamiliar pronunciations and cadence.

There was one other thing that being at Mass today brought to me, not as a contrast, but as a gift. The Stations of the Cross, which are often paintings or bas relief, in this church are actually wall-mounted sculptures. From my seat in the pew along the wall, the sculpture of one of the men helping Jesus from the first fall was looking directly at me. It was comforting to see an expression of concern and compassion watching over me as I prayed with the rest of the assembly. An extra gift and grace for today.

This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. The prompt this week was most/least. Come join us! Find out how here:
socs-badgeBadge by: Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

And might as well add Linda’s Just Jot It January link: You can join that, too!


SoCS: Heal

Healing feels like a life theme. There have been a lot of health challenges in our family for a lot of years, some big, some small. The small ones seem to heal; the big ones – not so much. Though the situation becomes less acute, full healing isn’t possible. It’s hard…

So, instead of full physical healing, we have to work on spiritual healing, which involves coming to a state of peace and acceptance. It’s also hard, a constant challenge, but the key to moving forward in a positive direction.

This is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays:  Please join in!
Badge by Doobster @MindfulDigressions

Also, Linda is hosting Just Jot It January. Join in with this, too!

SoCS: The T is silent

I wasn’t sure what I would write about using the prompt of including the letter T until I read this: about how Stephen Colbert was the runner-up to Pope Francis to be National Catholic Reporter’s Person of the Year.

We are fans of Stephen Colbert and his just-completed nine-year run of The Colbert Report. I wrote about it here.

When I told my family about the NCR piece, our daughter T immediately began to concoct a segment of “Who’s Not Honoring Me Now?” about how Stephen (in character) didn’t much care for this pope but that now it was personal.

In real life, Stephen Colbert is a practicing Catholic and I’m sure is fond of Pope Francis. That would be the Stephen who pronounces the T at the end of his last name.

From the first promos of The Colbert Report, it was pointed out that both the T at the end of Colbert and the T at the end of Report are silent. It was how you could tell that someone was familiar with the show or not. Fans would never have pronounced those Ts.

Stephen, being runner-up to Pope Francis is still a great gig!

This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, with the prompt being the letter T: .  It is also part of Linda’s Just Jot It January: . Come join in the fun!

JJJ 2015
Badge by Doobster @Mindful Digressions

My 2014 blog-year in review

The stats helper prepared a 2014 annual report for Top of JC’s Mind. Instead of a Sydney Opera House or Louvre comparison like larger blogs, I am a subway train level blog. 😉  I saw the reports for some of the larger blogs I follow first and fleetingly considered keeping my summary report private, but decided that I should share because I am proud of the progress I made as a blogger this year and proud that I managed to stay active through my first full calendar year here at WordPress, despite the topsy-turvy path life has taken.

I’m sending out a big thank you to Linda G. Hill at Life in Progress! Many of my views this year were due to participating in her One-Liner Wednesdays and Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. Everyone is invited to join in the fun! Just check her blog for links on Wednesdays and Fridays, when the prompt for SoCS is published.  I found new blogs to follow by participating and gained new followers for Top of JC’s Mind through it, too.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,600 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

A new excuse

A few days ago, I gave myself an excused absence from posting.  I now have a new excuse. I have shingles. I started on anti-viral meds fairly early in the course of things, so, while I am uncomfortable and not sleeping well, I am not having the extreme pain that I have heard others describe. My family is taking over nearly all the holiday prep and chores. I did manage to address envelopes for holiday greetings to go in the mail today…

Addendum:  I have been participating in Linda’s One-Liner Wednesday and Stream of Consciousness Saturday posts regularly – until the last few weeks when things have been pretty hectic. I didn’t even look at the prompt this Friday, but, in reviewing some of the blogs I follow by email this morning, I realized that I had inadvertently posted on the SoCS prompt this week because the prompt was “excuse.” So I am adding this explanation and message and adding the link to create the pingback to Linda’s blog.  Not bothering with the badge, though…

SoCS: Special Cents

In the US, money is denominated in dollars and cents. We still have a one-cent coin, called a penny.

People tend to ignore pennies, but they have a special meaning for me.

My elder daughter was an early reader and we were always on the lookout for stories that matched her reading ability without being too grown up in content. Her elementary principal suggested “The Hundred Penny Box.” The story is about a child and an elderly relative who has a box with a penny from every year of her life. We decided not to let our daughter read it because no other adults in the book really listened to either the child or the elder, but I loved the idea of having a penny for each year as a memento.

I have given penny boxes to family and friends for milestone birthdays or anniversaries. My parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. My friend and now spiritual mentor as a memento of her 40th birthday sweat lodge ceremony. My college roommate’s 50th birthday. I give a new penny for the current year each year on the anniversary or birthday date.

The only penny box I started that is no longer being added to was the one I gave my friend Angie for her 49th birthday. With a doctor-husband and many friends in the medical community, she was worried about turning 50, knowing that the fifties is a dangerous decade, health-wise, with many serious health conditions cropping up. Because the penny box commemorates the beginning of a year rather than its completion, the penny box for 49 contains 50 pennies. I thought it would be a good way to ease into her 50s the next year.

Within weeks of her fiftieth birthday, Angie was diagnosed with lung cancer, a shock as she had never been a smoker.

She fought hard and we added pennies for her 51st, 52nd, 53rd, and 54th birthdays.

We knew the 54th was going to be the last birthday she would celebrate.

As 2005 began, I wanted to find a new penny to add to the box while she was still alive, knowing her October birthday would not see her alive. I even went to a coin shop, hoping to find a newly minted penny, but it seemed that the mint had not yet started making them yet.

Angie died on March 25.

Later that spring, when I found a 2005 penny, I sent it to her husband to complete Angie’s penny box.

However briefly, 2005, her 55th year, was Angie’s year, too.


This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. Join us! Details here:  This week’s prompt is sense/scents/cents/sent.socs-badge
Badge by Doobster @Mindful Digressions

SoCS: Insight

We are all looking for insight from the time we starting asking (incessantly) “Why?” as toddlers.

Sometimes “why” is the proper question to ask, but, as an adult, there are times when it isn’t helpful. I find it particularly unhelpful when people ask why God/nature/fate allowed such-and-such to happen.

I think a better question is “How?” How do I help? How do I move forward? How do I learn more about this situation, circumstance, idea, or person?

Why often isn’t relevant or isn’t mine to know.

Please join us for Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. FInd this week’s prompt and more here:

Badge by Doobster @MindfulDigressions

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