X years ago

Facebook often presents users with the opportunity to repost something from prior years. Today, it suggested this photo from two years ago:

a post-dinner four generation photo of me, Nana, daughter E, and granddaughter ABC

This was our last Thanksgiving with my mom, known here as Nana. She passed away from congestive heart failure the following May. Daughter E and granddaughter ABC moved to London, UK, that October when E’s spousal visa finally came through. ABC is now in nursery school and big sister to JG, whom we planned to meet this month until England went into a new pandemic lockdown phase.

It’s a lot in two years.

And it seems like it’s been longer than two years.

Three days ago, one of my poet-friends posted a photo from the Tupelo Press/Studios at MASS MoCA residency from which the Boiler House Poets Collective sprang five years ago. In the comment thread that followed, someone asked if anyone had written about it, which prompted me to re-read my blog posts from the residency. This post links to most of them. It was interesting to read my real-time take on what was happening, although I did temper the amount of anxiety I expressed somewhat. It was nice to see that I accomplished more than I remembered and good to be reminded of our various sessions with our poet-teachers and the bonding among our original nine poets-in-residence.

We have gone back to North Adams for a reunion residency every autumn, until being derailed this year by COVID. We have a reservation for both 2021 and 2022, though, which is tempering the sadness at missing this year a bit.

And, yes, those five years feel longer than they are, too.

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. ❤

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/

 

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/

SoCS: Words with Friends?

I’ve run into a bit of a hairy situation with Words with Friends.

I’ve been playing for years with both in-person and longtime Facebook friends. Occasionally, I also play with some friends of friends who challenge me. WWF lets me know in those cases with whom these new challengers are friends.

Lately, I’ve been getting challenges from people I don’t know.

They are all men.

Some of them have a much lower word strength than mine. My average word is 21. Some have no average word strength listed.

I start to send moves and then these guys start to chat. It tends to start with “Hi.” Then they may ask where I am from or start calling me “dear”.

I don’t answer. I don’t talk to strangers online. I’m perfectly willing to play a game but I don’t want to divulge any personal information to somerandomdude27 or whomever.

After a few moves back and forth without my answering the chat, these guys stop sending moves.

And then I win!

This has all happened since I changed my Facebook profile picture back to a picture of me (and a suitcase) after several years of using a photo of me and B on E’s wedding day.

Is it a coincidence that men started to try to chat me up on WWF after I changed to a solo pic?

Probably not…
*****
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “hairy.” Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2018/12/14/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-dec-15-18/

1000 followers!

Today, I reached 1000 followers!

And, yes, usual caveats of how followers does not equal readers, and some people are counted twice if they follow by email or on WordPress and also like or follow my Facebook page, etc.

This does give me an opportunity to thank all the visitors to Top of JC’s Mind, whether you visit once or often, follower or not, commenter or not.

For the record, 1,023 posts since the first on September 13, 2013. I know many bloggers would find almost five years to reach 1000 followers unconscionably slow/lazy/unacceptable, but I am more shocked to have made it this far. I am not one to check stats very often. Or someone who has been able to blog the “right way.” While I have had periods of diligently reading, commenting, and following other blogs both for edification and to garner more readers myself, as life has gotten more complicated, I have had to concentrate on posting myself and haven’t even been able to do that as consistently as I would like.

All this makes me that much more appreciative of my readers, especially the handful that have reached out and told me that it is all okay, that they believe I am worth waiting for. So, I will keep blogging, however imperfectly, with your encouragement.

With thanks,
Joanne

SoCS: money

This week, I – not for the first time – washed dollar bills that had been left behind in pants pockets. Or maybe shirt pockets? Who knows?

I wrote a joke-y post on Facebook about money laundering, which has garnered more comments than most other things that I post.

Go figure.
*****
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “mon”. Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2018/04/13/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-april-14-18/

 

solar serendipity

Last week, I got a message on my answering machine from someone who is interested in purchasing solar panels in a community solar array with Renovus. Because we already own panels in a prior community solar installation with them and had agreed to be contacted, Renovus had given my name and number to a prospective solar customer.

I returned the call and had a lovely conversation. Of course, we started talking nuts and bolts about community solar, but then went on to talk about our all-electric Chevy Bolt, environmental issues, and living in the Southern Tier/Finger Lakes region.

We discovered that we both have connections to the Berkshires of Massachusetts and that we are both writers, although she has had a long career in writing and teaching and I am only recently (and lightly) published.

Now, we are friends on Facebook and perhaps, one day, will meet in person – brought together by the sun.