return

So now my daily participation with Just Jot It January just got more challenging by a factor of two, but I couldn’t be happier! Daughter E and granddaughter ABC arrived safely yesterday evening after four weeks in London. Given the long day and the five hours of jet lag, they are both adjusting to being back quite well.

ABC was away for her nineteenth month and grew another inch while she was gone. She added more words, including a couple words of Tagalog. She is also pronouncing some of her older words more clearly. She clearly remembered us and the house – and her toys. She has been in quite a good mood, especially given that not only is there jet lag but she is also just getting over a cold.

The house is undoubtedly livelier than it has been. With more demands on my time, I’ll have to re-double my efforts to continue to post every day.

Can I do it?

Stay tuned…
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Join us for Just Jot It January! Today’s pingback link is here:  https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/14/jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-14th/
More information and prompts here: https://lindaghill.com/2018/12/31/what-is-just-jot-it-january-2019-rules/

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coming home!

This really will be just a jot today because we are getting ready for daughter E and granddaughter ABC to come home from London, where they have been visiting with son-in-law L for almost a month. We need to finish up the toddler-proofing that we had undone/ignored while ABC was away. There will be some time with Nana and Paco, as there usually is every day, but we need to leave for the airport mid-afternoon. Unfortunately, the flights didn’t work out to come to our local airport, which only has one carrier and three flights a day, so we will need to take an hour and a half drive to pick them up.  After dinner near the airport, we will all head for home in our hybrid Pacifica. Although we will get back here between 8 and 9 PM, it will feel to E and ABC like 1 to 2 AM, so there may be napping on the way. Everyone at my house and Nana and Paco can hardly wait to have E and ABC back with us!
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Join us for Just Jot It January! Today’s pingback link is here:  https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/13/jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-13th/
More information and prompts here: https://lindaghill.com/2018/12/31/what-is-just-jot-it-january-2019-rules/

another step

Our family has taken another step in reducing our carbon footprint. We replaced our 2005 Honda Odyssey with a new Chrysler Pacifica hybrid. Having had a minivan in the family since E was an infant thirty-two years ago, we like their versatility for transporting people and cargo. We wanted to keep that utility but cut back on emissions.

As it turns out, the Pacifica is the only plug-in hybrid minivan on the market. It has a full gasoline-powered engine plus enough battery to travel thirty-ish miles. That means that most days, we can run on battery power but have the flexibility to go on long trips without having to plan on stopping at a rapid charging station as we would have to do with our Chevy Bolt.

As it turns out, in order to get the most advanced safety features, we wound up having to get a lot of other bells and whistles, too.  I admit that I am having a bit of trouble adjusting to nearly everything happening by touch screen. Sometimes, buttons and knobs are easier!

It is nice to not have to go to a gas station very often and I appreciate that we have so drastically reduced our transportation greenhouse gas emissions. For those of us who live in places without much mass transit, transportation is one of the most difficult areas to achieve reductions, so I am grateful to have gone mostly electric, especially as most of our electricity comes from our solar panels.

It’s fun to go green!
Pacifica hybrid

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Join us for Just Jot It January. Today’s pingback link is here: https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/07/jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-7th/
More information and prompts here: https://lindaghill.com/2018/12/31/what-is-just-jot-it-january-2019-rules/

Household reorganization

One of the promised catch-up posts…

Over these last months of spending additional time dealing with Nana and Paco’s needs, I have been spending less and less time taking care of things at home.

Happily, spouse B and daughters E and T have stepped up to deal with the bulk of the shopping, planning, cooking, and cleaning so I don’t have to worry about it.

A bonus has been that E and T have been trying new recipes and expanding their kitchen expertise, which will be good preparation for the time when they each will have to manage their own house or apartment again.

It was also nice that when E’s spouse L was able to be here for three weeks in August, E, L, and one-year-old ABC were able to get a taste of what it will be like when they are able to have a household of their own.

Just before L returned to London, he and E prepared tea for us, featuring finger sandwiches, homemade scones, Coronation chicken, and a Victoria sponge for dessert. Of course, there was also tea!

Maybe late next year, they will be together in London and B and I can visit them together and have tea there.
tea

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Join us for Just Jot It January. Today’s pingback link is here: https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/04/jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-4th/
More information and prompts here: https://lindaghill.com/2018/12/31/what-is-just-jot-it-january-2019-rules/

SoCS: waterfalls

I don’t live near a waterfall, but I like to visit them.

One that is not too far from home is Taughannock Falls in Ithaca. I especially like to walk on the trail to its base. There are a lot of waterfalls in the Finger Lakes region, due to, well, geology…

Of course, these are small falls compared to Niagara Falls, which I saw first as a child and have visited several times as an adult. I love to look at the power of the water and see the mist and occasional rainbows. I also wonder how loud it must have been when it was having its natural flow. For decades now, some of the water has been diverted to harness the hydropower. I admit to having a particular interest in hydropower because I grew up around it. My father worked for many years for New England Power, including lots of years as superintendent of the Upper Deerfield. We often visited the network of dams and hydro stations, including Bear Swamp, a pump storage project that was constructed when I was a child. Some of the dams were designed to spill when the water was too high, looking somewhat like waterfalls. Usually, though, you tried not to spill excess water, as you wanted to store it for generation later.

Some of the most beautiful waterfalls I have seen were in Hawai’i. Because all the islands are volcanoes, the sides are quite steep, giving lots of opportunities for waterfalls to develop. Often, the peaks have hundreds of inches of rain a year, which flows down to meet the surrounding ocean. Often, too, it isn’t raining where the waterfalls are, so there are often rainbows as the sun shines through the mist caused by the falling water. Of course, the beauty of the Hawaiian waterfalls is enhanced by the lush vegetation nearby, watered by the rain falling on the heights of the volcano. Now that E no longer lives in Hawai’i, we haven’t visited recently, but I hope to get back there someday.

Do you have a favorite waterfall?
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This week, Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was to ask someone for a prompt! I asked my daughter T who gave me the prompt “waterfalls.” Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2018/12/28/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-dec-29-18/

back in Northampton

In my second year at Smith College, a new voice teacher arrived on campus. Her name was Karen and my dear roommate Mary became one of her first students. Through Mary and her friendship with Karen that continued over the decades since we graduated, I felt a personal connection with Karen and had had a chance to reconnect with her a few times over the years when I was back in Northampton.

On March 23rd, a retirement recital was being held in her honor. Mary, who now lives in Colorado, had been planning for months to attend and marshaled me and two of our classmates, both sopranos who studied in the department with other teachers, to join her for the concert weekend.

The recital was given by one of Karen’s more recent students, Victoria Fraser ’10. It was a lovely mix of compositions, including a rarely-heard Buxtehude psalm setting. I was especially touched by “i carry your heart”, a setting of the e.e. cummings poem by Smith professor John Duke (1899-1984).  I have sung a choral arrangement of the piece and loved hearing Victoria’s sensitive interpretation of Duke’s original art song setting. It also reminded me of a board book of the poem, illustrated by Matti Rose McDonough, which daughter E bought for granddaughter ABC, which brings me to tears every time I look at it.

The only thing that could have improved the concert would have been the opportunity to hear Karen sing. I have many fond memories of hearing her expressive soprano voice when I was a student. She went on to sing in many recitals and concerts over the years, including singing premieres of works by Smith faculty composers Donald Wheelock and Ronald Perera, who was the Elsie Irwin Sweeney professor at Smith, an honor which Karen now holds.

The post-recital reception was fun! Many of Karen’s colleagues, most now emeriti, gave little speeches about her and told stories about her with warmth and humor. It was nice to see some of the faculty members with whom I had studied. At the same time, it was sobering to realize how much smaller the music department is now, both in number of faculty and number of students involved. It reinforced the discussions we alumnae had had three weeks earlier when we had gathered to sing Brahms Requiem to bolster the current Smith choral ensembles.

The next day, our class of ’82 quartet spent most of the afternoon visiting with Karen in her office. It was enlightening to hear about how things have changed over the years on campus and within the department. We told Karen what has been going on in our lives and listened to her plans for her retirement. We are happy to know that she will be staying in the area, so that when we return to campus we will still be able to connect with her, now without the time constraints of teaching, committees, and all the other obligations that come with being a professor.

The rest of the time, we four talked and ate and talked and shopped and talked and ate ice cream from Herrell’s. I admit that I also snuck in a solo run to Herrell’s, so I enjoyed not one, but two, samplers on Saturday!

After Palm Sunday services on Sunday morning and the scrumptious brunch buffet at Wiggins Tavern, I had to say good-bye to head for home. I am hoping there will be more mini-reunions in the future. We realized that we can arrange a weekend together even without a special event, so I hope that we will get together again later in the year when Mary comes east to visit her family in New England.

organist update

I posted here about a disconcerting incident at the church in Northampton when the organist fell ill at the console during mass on the first weekend in March.

As luck would have it, I was again in Northampton three weeks later for Palm Sunday. There was a gentleman filling in at the piano and organ, so I knew that the regular organist, a woman named Jeanne, was not there.

After mass, I asked two parishioners who were handing out church bulletins for an update. They told me that Jeanne had been ill with bronchitis and on medications, but arrived at church to play anyway – without eating breakfast, as she planned to receive communion. The combination was too much, resulting in the collapse which we witnessed.

The doctors ordered rest for four weeks before returning to work, so I hope that Jeanne was back in the loft for Easter Sunday, leading the congregation from the organ, and feeling well again.

(I am continuing in to be in catch-up mode on posts. With luck, there will be a post about why I was in Northampton again coming soon. Also, the navigation and layout problems with my blog are persisting, with a month’s worth of posts not loading on the main Posts page. The posts are accessible by using the prior or next post links at the bottom of each individual post.)