sneaking in a post

A quick update while JG is napping and ABC is enjoying her first ever trip to the cinema with her parents. Also, while I can almost see mid-range things like computer screens before my second cataract surgery tomorrow.

Things have been very busy here. Daughter E, son-in-law L, and grandchildren five-year-old ABC and two-year-old JG have been visiting from London since April 2. It’s great to have them here, enjoying typical things like playing outdoors in the yard or at the park or indoors at home. We went to Easter morning mass together and had an indoor egg hunt afterward, with leg of lamb for Easter dinner. Uncle C from West Virginia was able to make the trip up for E’s birthday last week.

Our biggest family event was Friday into Saturday when my younger sister came up along with her family. We got to meet the significant others of our niece and nephew, as well as their dogs, which led to lots of cuddles, laughter, frolicking, and shrieks from ABC and JG.

When we knew that our London contingent was going to visit, my sister had organized a memorial for our parents, known here as Nana and Paco. The last time E and her family had been here was shortly before Paco passed away. Distance and the pandemic made it impossible to gather again until now. We started our observance outside the building where Nana and Paco’s cremains are inurned. My sister had arranged for military honors for Paco, who served as a US Navy SeaBee during World War II and the Korean Conflict. There was an honor guard and a 21-gun salute using WWII era rifles, prayers, the playing of taps on a trumpet, and the folding and presentation of a large United States flag. We were grateful to all the veterans who came out to honor Paco’s service so long ago.

We went inside to visit the niche and see the memorials that we have placed there. Then, we went to the room that was reserved for us at the hotel where my sister’s family was staying. In the photo, you can see the folded flag in its special case.


My sister had organized our remembrance, which included music, pieces that our niece and nephew had written as children, poems from me and daughter T, a photo book that my sister had assembled, and lots of personal stories from everyone who knew Nana and Paco. It was wonderful to be able to share all of this with the more recent additions to the family. We were sad that our other sister wasn’t able to make the trip to join us. but we thought of her often over the course of the day. After our sharing time, we had lunch together, including one of Paco’s all-time favorites, lasagna. We also enjoyed one of Nana’s favorite desserts, tiramisu.

So, things have been very busy here, but they were complicated by the fact that I had cataract surgery on my left eye last Tuesday. Everything went well. My far vision was clear by the next day but my mid- and close-range, as expected, are taking longer to develop. My newly implanted lens is an advanced design that addresses vision at all distances plus astigmatism. There are healing issues to consider plus the visual part of my brain needs to adjust to the new conditions.

The other complicating factor is that my right eye has been functioning without glasses. It can really only see clearly at very close range, so things like reading and using a computer have been very difficult. I’m managing this post because my mid-range in my left eye has improved enough that I can see my laptop screen with an enlarged font.

Tomorrow morning, I will have the cataract surgery on my right eye. I anticipate that my far vision will be really good by Wednesday. I’m hoping that my mid-range will continue to improve with my left eye so that I can easily see my score to sing a gig with Madrigal Choir on Friday night. I think it will help to not have the distraction of a totally blurry right eye, as I have now. Fingers crossed.

I must say that my ophthalmologist, Dr. Daniel Sambursky, is amazing. He has developed advanced techniques using lasers that give superb results. Spouse B had cataract surgery with him five years ago and has enjoyed his new vision, only needing glasses for very fine print or low light conditions. I’m looking forward to that, too. I’ve worn glasses since I was six. I admit it is a bit strange to see myself in the mirror without them and it will take time for friends and family to get used to seeing me without them.

Eventually, I’ll get around to changing my headshot…

One-Liner Wednesday: Happy 96th!

banner with two hearts saying 96 YEARS LOVED

A gift from my sister to honor our dad, known here as Paco, on his 96th birthday last week. ❤

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2021/03/31/one-liner-wednesday-had-to-run/

A new arrival!

I’m happy to share the news that B and I have a new granddaughter! Daughter E gave birth to her second daughter, Jillian Grace, earlier this week. Proud daddy L was able to be there despite the pandemic hoopla and now-big-sister ABC was able to meet Jillian Grace when they were able to take her home at only twelve hours old! As I usually do initials here at Top of JC’s Mind to protect family privacy, I’ll hereafter refer to Jillian Grace as JG.

This photo was taken in the hospital with the very cute Pooh sleeper:

In keeping with the literary clothing theme, here is a photo taken the next day wearing a “Very Hungry Caterpillar” outfit. The script says “tiny and very hungry” which is a) adorable and b) true, although JG managed to wait until 38 weeks to be born while ABC appeared at 36 weeks and so was even tinier. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is a family favorite by Eric Carle, who lived for many years in western Massachusetts and used to visit and sign copies of his books at B’s mom’s school.

Of course, B and I and Auntie T wish we could rush over and cuddle JG, play and sing with ABC, and hug and help out E and L, but they are in London, UK and we are in upstate New York in the US. With pandemic travel restrictions, it’s difficult to go there, although we are hoping we will be able to visit this fall. Fortunately, L’s parents, known here as Lolo and Lola, are on hand and we are able to exchanged messages and videochat.

And there is still the promise of hugs.

Someday.

Sister Joanna

Yesterday, it was my privilege to join with the choirs of Holy Family to sing at the funeral mass for Sister Joanna. Sister Joanna had been most recently serving as director of social work and spiritual life at Mercy House, where my mother was in residence for five months before hospice discharged her. That was how I had met Sister Joanna, who often brought communion to my mother and coordinated such comfort measures as haircuts and massage therapy.

Sister Joanna’s death came as a shock. Although she had her share of health problems, she was only 69 and still very active between her work at Mercy House and caring for her own mother. Her loss will be keenly felt by all the volunteers and staff of Mercy House, as well as all the families and the staff of hospice.

The church was full for the funeral yesterday and included a whole row of priests who gathered around the altar for the Eucharistic Prayer. It was a beautiful service, but it is only the beginning of the good-byes to Sister Joanna. She was a member of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart and a vigil service and burial mass will be held in Reading, Pennsylvania, next week.

Rest in peace, Sister Joanna.

SoCS: three Ts

At my blog, I refer to my younger (now adult) daughter as T. Usually in person, I call her by her name, although, with granddaughter ABC in the house, we sometimes call her Auntie T. One of her high school teachers nicknamed her TNT because she was usually quiet until she gave forth a brilliant and insightful flash.

One of the things that T loves is tea. Not just any old tea, though. Along with sister E, she is somewhat of a tea connoisseur. At any particular point, we will have at least a dozen varieties of tea in the house, most with fanciful names and specialized blends. We have various tea pots and strainers and other accouterments. We also have a very large assortment of tea cups, mostly inherited from Grandma. It always feels special when we use them.

Another thing that T has always loved is tee shirts. She has many special tees that she has accumulated over the years. Many of them have science or environmental themes, which is fitting for T who has two degrees in environmental science. There are also some science fiction and fantasy tees, and, of course, some Harry Potter tees.

And some tees involve clever wordplay. One of her all time favorites involves the word ” hippopotomonstrosesquippediliophobia” which means fear of long words, a malady which certainly does not inflict T!
*****
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “T, tea, tee.”  Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2018/07/27/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-july-28-18/

 

a special gift

My younger sister came to visit Nana and Paco recently. She was excited to give Nana a special gift.

Under the wrapping paper and green ribbon was a box holding Nana’s father’s pocketwatch!

Her father had worked for the railroad and had used the watch to keep to the schedule when he was foreman of the maintenance crew. When I was growing up, I remember that he always carried it attached with a thick gold chain. He would wind it every day and it kept excellent time.

When he passed away in the early ’70s, I had hoped that my grandmother would keep the watch or give it to my mother, but she gave it to my uncle who lived out of state. I never expected to see the watch again.

My uncle passed away a number of years ago and my sister contacted our cousin to see if he still had the watch. He did and immediately sent it to her.

She brought it to an expert in antique watches who cleaned it and got it running again. He said it was in excellent shape for a watch of that vintage.

I’m so grateful to my cousin and my sister that her father’s watch has come home to Nana, its thick gold chain linking the generations together.

Visits and baptism

On Sunday, July 16, we celebrated ABC’s baptism.

We were blessed to have L’s mom visiting from the UK. I will call her Lola here, which is Tagalog for grandmother. She was here for a week and a half, during which we gave her as much cuddle time with ABC as possible. When all the necessary documents go through and E and ABC join L in the UK, they will be living with Lola and Lolo (grandfather), so the visit was the beginning of what will be years of cuddling and babysitting.

We were also excited to have daughter T home for a long weekend. Besides meeting her niece for the first time, T also became her baptismal sponsor. T’s own godmother served as a witness by proxy for L’s sister, who will be ABC’s British godmother.

Sorry for all the initials…

The baptism took place after Mass with the deacon, himself a grandfather several times over, presiding. ABC wore the same dress that Nana had bought sixty years ago for my older sister’s baptism, which was also worn by me, my younger sister, and both of my daughters. Here is a picture of all those who have worn this little dress.
baptism dress six

Paco was able to come down to church for the baptism, but Nana wasn’t well enough to join us. After the baptism, we convened at Nana and Paco’s apartment for a feast of Filipino food that L and Lola had prepared. Brent and I made pies for dessert. Everything was delicious!

We were very grateful that Lola got to meet Nana and Paco. It felt like they had known each other much longer than a few hours! I love this photo of Nana and Lola.
Nana and Lola

ABC is blessed to have many people praying for her. There was even a physical reminder of the support of E and L’s parish in Honolulu, where they were married and served in music ministry. The blanket Ada is napping on in this photo was made by a choir member there.
ABC in her baptism dress

 

SoCS: What’s Next?

Given how things have been going lately – well, honestly, for years now – it is tempting fate to say I have any clue of what’s happening next.

A few things are relatively safe to say.

As in, today we will pick up my sister and niece at the bus station and meet up with Nana and Paco and my other sister and her husband for dinner. The four of them will be visiting for the weekend, which is a treat because we three sisters are only together a couple of times a year.

Early in the morning on Wednesday, daughter T will be heading to the airport to fly to Honolulu to visit daughter E and her spouse L for three weeks. August is turning into sister-togetherness month!

Other things that I think are coming up next are a bit murkier.

On August 17, we think Nana will be have a procedure as part of the continuing saga of the errant CPR/fainting spell.  While we hope it will go forward, it’s been delayed and re-scheduled once already, so fingers crossed. Results from this test will help us move on to what’s next for her treatment.

As for me, part of what’s next is working on my poetry collection. I did a revision of a poem this morning. Yay, me! If my desktop computer and printer co-operate – not a given at this point – I hope to print hard copies of poems to better arrange and re-arrange and re-arrange the poems. I may have pages to represent poems that I plan to write but that aren’t yet written. Then, I can look for holes so that I know how many more poems I need to write.

Meanwhile, I will continue to workshop poems in the collection. Eventually, I’ll have to make a stab at a table of contents and probably a forward and some notes here and there.

And maybe put a call out for some readers…

Oh, and try to have it finished before the Boiler House Poets reunion at MASS MoCA which starts September 30.

Are you laughing yet?

I have my work cut out for me, but, as always, what’s next is not totally in my control.
*****
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is to base the post on a word that contains “ex”. Come join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2016/08/05/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-aug-616/

SoCS badge 2015

 

Asking for Help – Please Share and Help Me Find My Sister

Jason has not seen his sister since he was two. She is still in Korea. Please visit his post and share on your blogs and other social media to see if we can help get the message to her.

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