New Year’s Eve

Today is the last day of 2018. Both 2017 and 2018 have been challenging years for me and 2019 is likely to continue that trend.

I do retain some hope that 2019 will be a better year for the United States with more shared responsibility in Washington. Perhaps there will be some consensus building and more attention to the common good.

We can hope.

Best wishes to you all for 2019!

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SoCS: unresolved

While it is common for people to choose resolutions for the new year, it’s not something that I usually do.

I don’t find January first to be an especially salient day, coming, as it does, during a very busy and high stress time of the year.

If I do feel the need to make a change in my life, I prefer to just jump in and work on whatever-it-may-be at that moment.

Sometimes that works out, but often it doesn’t. So much of life is beyond personal control that my resolution would have to be extremely important not to let it be displaced by the needs of others.

I can hear the wheels turning with the old mantras of “you need to put yourself first” and “put on your oxygen mask before assisting other passengers” and the like.

But that doesn’t ring true to who I am. I usually think of others first.

That isn’t to say that I am neglectful of myself. In order to “love your neighbor as you love yourself,” you can’t be mean or dismissive of yourself.

I can, however, set priorities and I usually choose to help others over doing solo endeavors. That means that things I might like to do get set aside. Sometimes, I get back to them. Sometimes, I don’t.

But no regrets.

Be it resolved: I will make my own choices at whatever time suits the situation.
*****
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “resolution.”  Join  us! find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2017/12/29/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-dec-30-17/

Retro with a twist

I posted this New Year’s Eve poem which is about an empty nest celebration, but that is not what our New Year is in 2017.

Rather, we are starting 2017 with spouse B, daughters E and T, and me all living under the same roof.

Which I never expected to have happen again.

It’s a wonderful – but most likely short-lived – opportunity.

And, like the entirety of 2016, it’s complicated.

I have been making vague references about re-organizing the house and about Christmas being quiet and such, but now I am at liberty to fill in some of the background story.

E and her spouse L have been living in Hawai’i and, this fall, they announced the exciting and happy news that they are expecting their first child! Baby will be the first grandchild for us, the first great-grandchild for my parents Nana and Paco, and the first grandchild for L’s parents who live in London, England.

E and L wanted to live closer to family for the birth of their child and, while Hawai’i is one of the most beautiful locations on earth, it is also one of the most remote. The problem arose, though, that E is a US citizen and L is a UK citizen who had been living in the US on a higher education visa. Leaving Hawai’i meant leaving the University, so his visa expired at the end of the year.

E and L also decided that they would raise their child in the country with the most supportive social and family policies, which is definitely the UK. So, L flew out New Year’s Eve to join his family in London. He will continue to apply for jobs; after six months of work, he can apply for a visa for E to join him.

Meanwhile, E will live with us, work remotely for her employer in Honolulu, and get ready for Baby’s arrival, sometime around July first. Obviously, it is not optimal for them to be separated during E’s pregnancy, but she will be able to visit a couple of times during her second trimester and L plans to apply for a spousal visitation visa to be here for Baby’s birth and early weeks.

In case you haven’t gotten the subtext, it is really, really difficult to observe all the immigration rules of the two countries, but E and L want to make sure not to break any laws to preserve their future rights to live and work in both countries. Baby will be a dual citizen.

So, to prepare for E’s staying with us for these next months, we have spent the last few weeks in major household re-organization. The most important change was for B and me to move to one of the upstairs bedrooms so that E could be on the ground floor and not have to navigate the relatively steep and narrow stairs while pregnant and while carrying Baby. The re-organization also gave the impetus to incorporate some of the furniture that had been Grandma’s into our home. An attic and basement insulation project gave us some additional storage capabilities and we also made some donations to area charities.

This all took many, many hours, so that is part of why my writing time has been curtailed lately. (Given my track record, I will refrain from any promises about posting more; the one constant in my life is surprises!)

So, E and L arrived the day after Christmas. We had a few days of family visiting. E and L were able to meet the local obstetrician who will be caring for E. And, on New Year’s Eve, L flew off to London.

At seven o’clock Eastern Standard Time, B, E, T, and I celebrated the arrival of 2017 at midnight GMT with a sparkling Niagara grape juice toast in our once-again family-of-four living room.

It won’t last long. When a job offer comes in, T will move to wherever she needs to be. In early summer, L will arrive and, on some currently unknowable day, Baby will arrive.

And, when her visa comes through, E and Baby will move to the UK.

Next New Year’s Eve is likely to be back to empty nest.

All the more reason to cherish the moment now.
*****
This post is part of Linda’s Just Jot It January. Join us! You can find out more here:  https://lindaghill.com/2017/01/01/jusjojan-daily-prompt-jan-1st17/ . Prompts are provided but are entirely optional. And any post of any length on any January day is eligible. Hope you’ll jump in and have fun with us!

jjj-2017

 

 

 

New Year’s Eve poem

Last year, Silver Birch Press published my poem “Eastern Standard” as part of their “Me, during the Holidays” series. https://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/eastern-standard-poem-by-joanne-corey-me-during-the-holidays-poetry-and-prose-series/ .

I am pleased to share the poem here today. Wishing everyone a new year filled with peace and joy!

JC

Corey

Eastern Standard
by Joanne Corey

As the third millennium turned,
our family toasted with sparkling cider
at midnight Greenwich Mean Time,
seven in the evening for us,
in deference to daughters’ bedtimes.

With our children grown, the two
of us honor that tradition,
clink glasses, savor the past,
sip, hope for the future,
in evening dark as midnight.

Resolutions, goals, and plans

I’ve been reading a lot of blog posts over the last few days with people stating their New Year’s resolutions. I admit that I am not a New Year’s resolution person. If I need to make a change, I prefer to start when the need arises.

I’m not especially wedded to January first as a date. Which reminds me that I wrote a poem about it

Some people chose to list goals rather than resolutions, but even that sounds too cut-and-dried to me.

Jay Dee, at the end of this Authors Answer post, asks what are our plans for 2016.

Plans are something I can get behind. Plans to me are more dynamic and able to be adjusted or revised as needed. Plans don’t have an expiration date.

My writing plan is to put together my first poetry collection.

Those of you who followed my saga of the Mass MoCA/Tupelo Press residency/workshop know that I had hoped returning to my home locale in its new phase of life would spawn a chapbook. Midway though the residency week, I realized that it needed to be a collection rather than a chapbook.

I have a provisional title.

A schema for organizing the sections of the collection.

And some poems that I have already written that will fit into the collection. Others are drafted but need revisions, workshopping, and more revision. Others are still barely ideas and there may be still others that become necessary to write to fill in gaps in the timeline or to balance the sections.

I am planning on marshaling my local resources, Sappho’s Circle and the Bunn Hill Poets, for help with workshopping individual poems. As I get further along in the process, I will probably afflict commandeer invite several writer-poet friends to critique a section or the whole collection. Other people are so much better at pointing out what doesn’t make sense or what is out of order than I am when I am so close to it.

I am ecstatic that our residency group, the Boiler House Poets, will have a reunion this fall. I definitely plan to enlist their help, although I’m not sure in what capacity. It will depend on where I am in the process in the fall. I may need more workshopping help, or organizational assistance, or help navigating the submission process, or may need some more art poems to balance the final section so that I would be generating new poems during the residency that would need feedback.

To me, that is part of the beauty of a plan. It can change and grow as needs dictate.

I know that many people would say that plans need to be written out with checkboxes and timelines and deadlines or things won’t get done.

I do understand that logic, but I can’t force myself – or my poetry – into that kind of straitjacket.

My life experience has featured too many unexpected events to carve any plan in stone.

Too many things can happen.

Too many things have happened.

I am confident that I will assemble this manuscript, but it doesn’t feel safe to me to say it is a 2016 goal or worse – shudder – resolution. It is a plan with roots in 2015 which will grow in 2016.

The fruit will ripen when the time is right. Whatever number gets attached to that date is not mine to say.

It’s not in the plan.
*****
Join us for Linda’s Just Jot It January! Find out more about it here:  http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/04/just-jot-it-january-4th-dachshund/

JJJ 2016

 

Welcome, 2016!

Happy New Year, everyone! We began our celebration toasting at midnight GMT, also known as 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, as I write about in my new poem on Silver Birch Press. We drank the very bottle of sparkling apple cranberry juice that I used in the photo, along with the wine glasses pictured. I did use some poetic license in the poem, as we do still have daughter T here celebrating with us this year.

I woke up early this morning with part of the middle of a poem for the collection I am working on this year swirling about in my head, so I got up to  type it into google docs before I lost it. I’m hoping it is a good omen for my poetic work this year to start January first by drafting new work for my first ever collection.

Later this morning, we will head up to GSV, the senior community where our elder generation live, to pick up Nana for 10 AM Mass. January 1st is a holy day in the Catholic Church, dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God. After church, we will have brunch at GSV with Nana, Paco, Grandma, and Grandma’s neighbor Ann.

There aren’t plans for the rest of the day, although I expect it will be low-key. As you can see, we are not the wild and crazy types!

I wish everyone the gifts of peace, joy, and contentment in 2016!
*****
This post is part of Linda’s Just Jot It January. Join us! Visit this link for more info:  http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/01/just-jot-it-january-1st-persnickety/
JJJ 2016

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