signs of hope

As I was posting about yesterday, things are pretty distressing in the United States these days.

I am, though, finding support and reasons to hope.

Although I wish it hadn’t taken such a dire convergence of events to do, I find hope in the millions of people around the world who are drawing the fights against injustice, inequity, climate change, oppression, inequality, poverty, violence, and lack of education, opportunity, health care, affordable housing, etc. into a new vision for the common good, for care of each person and community, and for the planet. The massive disruption that we are experiencing from the pandemic and the resulting social and economic impacts gives us the opportunity to re-build in a positive, sustainable way. The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis has just released a major “Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America.” This is the kind of thinking envisioned by many long-time social justice advocates and by Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’. While there will be obstacles to enacting such large-scale change, there finally seems to be momentum toward adopting and implementing meaningful reforms, which gives me hope.

There are personal signs of hope, as well.

Sometime this summer, a new grandchild will arrive, a sibling for ABC. While we have no idea when it will be either allowed or advisable to travel to London, both ABC and the new little one are signs of hope for the future, as well as powerful motivation to makes things better for them.

Earlier this week, a lovely surprise appeared in my mailbox, a card with a beautiful photograph of a mother wood duck swimming with two ducklings. It was from two Smith college friends who are twin sisters, vacationing together on a lake in New Hampshire. They were thinking about me awaiting our new far-away grandchild “across the pond” and sharing their own family stories, filling my heart with love and joy.

They both mentioned my writing, which I appreciated. I’ve also recently received a couple of emails from a poet-friend in reaction to my posts here at Top of JC’s Mind. I enjoy reading and responding to comments here, on the TJCM Facebook page, and on my personal page, too. Sometimes, it seems as though I write and publish posts – and have no idea if they are actually reaching anyone. I don’t often look at my blog stats, but, even when I do, a visit doesn’t necessarily equal a read. My visit stats also don’t reflect people who receive posts via email. I sometimes find myself surprised that friends know certain stories or viewpoints from me when I know we haven’t discussed it, forgetting that I had posted about it. (Conversely, I sometimes think that everyone knows a certain thing because I’ve written about it, forgetting that many friends and family members don’t read my blog.)

Perhaps, hope is not the proper word, but I do so appreciate the sense of connection that comes through sharing our words and thoughts and emotions with each other. When I do have the privilege of interaction, it reminds me that I am not just scrawling words into cyberspace without purpose.

There is always the hope that someone is reading, mulling, and reacting.

Thank you, Readers. ❤

Testing 1-2-3

So, here I am, trying out the new block editor, as promised here: SoCS: new editor . Not sure how to make the link show up with text I choose, but at least it is there.

I’ve tried reading some of the introductory articles, so I think this is a second paragraph blog, not just a continuation of the first block. Okay…

When I do my JC’s Confessions series, I start with a block quote, so I am trying out a block quote block. “Block quote block” is an awkward phrase…

So, when I finished that block, it defaulted back to paragraph block, which is nice because I’m sure I will use that the most.

Sometimes I use bullet points. Let’s see how that works.

  • Click on the black plus sign
  • Choose the List block
  • This is the default option, but I could number instead and I think change the indentation?

The other thing I do sometimes is insert images. Hmmm…what should I choose to try that out?

random picture of a strawberry rhubarb pie that B made star-spangled

Okay, it was a bit tricky to get out of my caption of the photo, but I managed to start a new paragraph block. Somehow, though, I lost my sidebar that had the category, tagging, and other post stuff….

Yay! I managed to get it back. It had gotten moved over to having info for just the block I was working on, but now I have gotten it back to Document mode.

While I’m sure this exploration of the basics of the block editor has been fascinating – not – I’m going to try to throw on some categories and tags and get it published.

Fingers crossed…

SoCS: new editor

Change is good.

Change is difficult.

Change is necessary.

Change is easier when you have a choice about it.

Obviously, many of us have made a lot of changes due to the pandemic, but this is not going to be another one of my pandemic posts. (Silent cheering.)

Instead, it is about being faced with WordPress retiring the classic editor in favor of the block editor. Those of you with newer blogs are probably already using it – and, I’m sure, many of the people with older blogs are, too.

I admit to not being especially tech-savvy, but I learned to use the classic editor well enough to be able to keep Top of JC’s Mind going for six years and counting. I admit that it has been frustrating at times, especially in getting poetry to format properly. White space is not a friend of the classic editor. I had to learn to add photos, but I tend to post text only most of the time. My brain processes words better than images and I don’t like having to think about copyright issues and such when I’m posting.

I did do a bit of experimenting with the block editor a few months back when I began to set up a new website for the Boiler House Poets Collective. [Note to self: Get the site public soon.] I found it very confusing, so I swapped back into the classic editor. “It” in the prior sentence meaning the block editor.

Yesterday, when I logged in to post about the first anniversary of my mom’s death, I was faced with the news that the current classic editor is being retired as of June 1 in favor of the ever-so-superior block editor. I was not in the mood to experiment at that point, although I did read the short article about it and opened a tab with a longer article for future reference.

Later in the day yesterday, I wrote a post scheduled for tomorrow, using the classic editor.

And here I am on Saturday morning, writing this post using the classic editor.

I’m promising myself to read more about the block editor later today. I’m really hoping I can learn to use it without a long and painful learning curve.

If push comes to shove, though, I do have the instructions to revert to something that is very close to the classic editor.

I’ll try not to wimp out and use it, though.

Promise.

Change is good. Right?
*****
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is basing the post on a word beginning with ch. Join us! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2020/05/22/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-23-2020

2019-2020 SoCS Badge by Shelley!
https://www.quaintrevival.com/

missing notifications

For some reason, my WordPress notifications are refusing to load for the past few days. I’m trying to watch out for comments manually so I can reply. I’m sorry if I miss something. I’m hoping that, whether it is only a problem for me or whether it is more widespread, it will be back to normal soon.

vanishing likes

I joke about not looking at my blog stats very often, but there is one stat that winds up in front of me every time I post, my Top of JC’s Mind Facebook page.  Every time I look at my Facebook timeline, my page’s “like” number is in large numbers at the right. 

It’s hard to miss.

I was stuck at 99 for a looooong time.

When I finally got to 100, one of my personal Facebook friends admitted that she was tempted to unlike my blog page as a joke!

She didn’t – and I did make it up to 103 for a while, but, now, I am down to 101. Knowing that many people have left Facebook in recent months, I’m not taking it (very) personally, but I am in danger of dropping below 100 again.

Oh, well.

(Not so) easy come, easy go…
*****
Join us for Linda’s Just Jot It January! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2020/01/28/daily-prompt-jusjojan-the-28th-2020/

 

Sixth Blogiversary!

(I enjoy the way spellcheck corrects my spelling of blogiversary, as though it were a real word.)

WordPress helpfully reminded me that I started Top of JC’s Mind six years ago today.

Six years ago feels like a different world, in ways both small- and large-scale.

Six years ago, B and I both still had our moms.

L and daughter E were in Hawai’i, still in their first year of marriage, never dreaming that the first two years of their daughter’s life would be spent at our home in upstate New York while L worked in London toward getting a spousal visa for E. The visa should be arriving soon. B and I will have an eerily quiet home when E and ABC leave at whatever point in the coming weeks…

During the last six years, daughter T has completed a master’s in conservation biology of plants – and has faced an administration that has ignored her field of study at a time when it is most needed.

Six years ago, Barack Obama was president of the United States. Even though the Republicans in Congress blocked a lot of things that would have been helpful for the country, we, at least, had a sense of pride in our nation on the world stage and an absence of scandal. With Donald Trump as president, there is a general sense of fear and apprehension and the United States has lost its leadership position; there seem to be multiple scandals every week.

Six years ago, we were fighting in New York for a ban on shale fracking. Amazingly enough, New York instituted a regulatory ban, which is still holding. Given that New York has just recently enacted the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, it would fly in the face of our climate goals to begin fracking, even under a future governor.

Meanwhile, the global climate situation is becoming more and more dire. While I was encouraged by the Paris climate accord, the time since has been difficult, with DT ready to pull the US out of the accord in November, 2020. Many states, cities, companies, and individuals have stepped up to continue working toward net zero carbon goals. Our family is doing its part by changing to LED lighting, increasing our insulation, buying panels in a community solar installation, and driving a fully electric Chevy Bolt and a plug-in hybrid Chrysler Pacifica.

Some things have stayed constant over these six years, though. I am grateful for my loving family and safe home, for a faith that remains despite challenges, for music and poetry, and for the opportunity to share my thoughts here.

My hope is that I will be able to continue writing – and that, at least, a few of you will continue to visit me here at Top of JC’s Mind.

stats and followers

I am mostly oblivious when it comes to my blog stats. It’s another of those things that I am supposed to keep track of but don’t. It’s also something that I should be methodically trying to grow, but I haven’t been paying attention to for months and months. I honestly don’t know if I will ever pay proper attention, concentrating on my writing instead of the searching, reading, commenting, and promotion it takes to accelerate growth of followers.

I did just happen to go to my stats page, though, and found that at the top it says I have 1,000 followers, which is my WordPress.com followers plus my email followers.

On my blog itself, it lists 1,168 followers because it adds in my Facebook and twitter followers, some of whom overlap with other categories.

Thank you to all my followers and all my readers. I appreciate your stopping by, whether it is occasional or on a regular basis, whether you comment or keep your thoughts to yourself. It humbles me to know that you think what I have to say is worth reading.

~ JC

SoCS: ellipsis

I am very fond of using ellipses.

(I resisted the urge to end the prior sentence/paragraph with one.)

I find myself using them quite a lot on comments on Facebook or here at WordPress. I like that they are more open-ended than periods, when I mean to be less conclusive or expect continuing discussion, although it doesn’t always work out that way.

I probably use them more often than is warranted for that purpose. I do sometimes still use them when I have left something out of a quote, as I was taught to do by Mrs. England in sophomore English class at Drury High School. And, yes, I did have an English teacher named Mrs. England…

(You know I had to put an ellipsis in this post!)
*****
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week was the word “lip” or a word that contained lip. Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2019/04/12/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-april-13-19/

Faceversary

Facebook helpfully told me today that I joined ten years ago.

I initially joined because the Smith College Alumnae Chorus was planning to use it as a primary means of communication among our far-flung membership. It didn’t work out that way, but it did get me to join.

I admit that some things about it really annoy me, especially that my newsfeed leaves out so many posts that I would like to see from my friends. I also, of course, am appalled that Facebook was co-opted in the misinformation attack by Russians and others in the lead-up to the 2016 US presidential election.

Still, I am sticking with it to stay connected to in-person friends and relatives and a handful of friends that I made through Facebook and feel close to, even though we have never met in person.

I also appreciate the chance to have a Facebook page for Top of JC’s Mind. I recently (finally) got to 100 likes. Okay, I only have 101 now, but I would appreciate some more if anyone wants to pop over there using the link. 😉

Will Facebook be around in another ten years? Will I still be a part of it if it is? No one knows…
*****
Join us for Just Jot It January! Today’s pingback link is here:  https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/22/jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-22nd/
More information and prompts here: https://lindaghill.com/2018/12/31/what-is-just-jot-it-january-2019-rules/

Why Top of JC’s Mind?

When I wrote about Just Jot It January on New Year’s Day, I said that I didn’t usually use the #JusJoJan prompts from Linda’s blog except for One-Liner Wednesdays and Stream of Consciousness Saturdays, but I decided to set aside what I had planned to post today in favor of Linda’s prompt, which was to write about your blog.

What blogger would ignore the chance to write about their own blog?

I started blogging after several friends suggested that I should. At the time, I was writing a lot of comments on articles about fracking as part of the fight against fracking in my home state of New York, our neighbor Pennsylvania, and in the US and around the world. I also would post on Facebook about a range of other topics, including feminism, progressive politics, and (also progressive) Catholicism. I knew I couldn’t contain myself to write about just one topic, so I decided to be eclectic and name my blog Top of JC’s Mind. I set up on WordPress in September 2013.

I am not particularly tech-savvy and hadn’t really studied blogging, so I didn’t know what I was doing at first. I learned a lot from Opinionated Man and through him, connected with our beloved Linda. While never one to obsess about stats, for a while, I managed to spend a considerable amount of time on blogging – writing my own posts, reading other blogs, and writing comments. I was slowly but steadily gaining followers and enjoyed reading a number of blogs on a regular basis.

Then, life happened and I wound up in maximum sandwich generation mode without much time or mind leftover for proper blogging etiquette.

While I have kept Top of JC’s Mind alive over these past many months, I haven’t been able to read or comment at anywhere near the rate that I used to. I am very grateful to the stalwarts who continue to visit Top of JC’s Mind, even though I only sporadically visit them.

Linda asked in her prompt for today if blogging had changed your life and I think it has. I have met and interacted with many people, both bloggers and commenters, that I would not have otherwise. It has also encouraged me to write more often and given me a platform for sharing poetry. I started blogging near the beginning of my re-engaging as a poet after not having written for decades, so the two writing disciplines have intertwined.

While I think that blogging has changed my life, my life has also changed my blogging. I didn’t think I would write so often about my family, but, because that is where a lot of my heart and time reside, I have written a lot about them here at Top of JC’s Mind and also in my poetry.

As the political and social divisions here in the United States have intensified over the last several years, I have tried to preserve my blog as a respectful place to exchange ideas. I don’t name-call or slam groups of people; I will, however, delete or edit comments that do because it is important to me to keep Top of JC’s Mind a civil space. I don’t delete comments if someone disagrees with me, but will dialogue in comments and use supporting links for backup, as needed, something I learned to do when I was writing commentary about fracking, renewable energy, and climate change. I admit that I get annoyed when people misunderstand science, misuse statistics, or deny facts and history, so I always try to be as accurate as possible with data and be clear when I am giving opinions.

See what happens when you invite a blogger to write about their blog? They go on and on…

Okay. Time to do categories and tags and hit publish before January 3rd turns into January 4th. Thanks, Linda, for the opportunity.
*****
Join us for Just Jot It January. Today’s pingback link is here: https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/02/jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-3rd/
More information and prompts here: https://lindaghill.com/2018/12/31/what-is-just-jot-it-january-2019-rules/