Fourth blogoversary!

WordPress has helpfully informed me that today is my fourth blogoversary.

Sorry that I won’t be hosting a big blog party, but my in-person commitments are too heavy right now for the organizing and tending involved in a digital event.

I am not entirely sure what I expected four years ago when I started Top of JC’s Mind at the encouragement of some friends, but 918 posts later, I’m glad that I stuck with it, however haphazardly.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my 909 followers and over 10,000 other visitors over these four years. I so appreciate your support and encouragement as life has taken so many twists and turns that I had not anticipated.

…which reminds me that I really need to update my About page one of these days…

I especially appreciate my stalwart regular readers who have continued to visit despite my now months-long lack of reciprocation in blog visits and comments.

Baby ABC is waking from a nap and I am on Nana duty, so I’ll end here.

Thank you all so much and stay tuned!

Joanne

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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

 

a note of thanks

I am somewhat shocked to discover that I have reached 750 followers, including just over 600 from WordPress alone.

I am immensely grateful to all followers, readers, and commenters who are visiting Top of JC’s Mind these days as I continue my less-than-ideal blogging practice.

When Grandma died unexpectedly in March, I knew there would be some disruption in my usual routine of posting and visiting/commenting on other blogs, but I couldn’t know at the time how draining the aftermath of that loss would be or how many other losses, changes, and complications would ensue.

The current state of affairs in the world hasn’t helped.

I have struggled to get back to posting on a somewhat regular basis. I am doing almost no reading and commenting still, which feels odd. It isn’t that I can’t come up with the time; it’s more that I can’t muster the brainpower and concentration.

I thank you for your patience and understanding. I have given up projecting when I may be back to visiting you all and re-engaging.

Some of you have assured me that it is okay to take my time, to do what I need to do, that everything will work out eventually.

Please continue to save a little room for me in a corner of WordPress.

Someday, I’ll be dropping back in.

 

Our Christmas Eve and Day

Two blogger friends, Tric of My Thoughts on a Page and Jay Dee of I Read Encyclopedias for Fun, have done recent posts about their (and others’) and their countries’ experiences of Christmas. Tric is from Ireland and Jay Dee is from Canada but has lived in Japan for a number of years. They each asked for comments about their readers’ Christmas experiences, so this post is doing triple duty – for my own readers and to put in the comments for Tric and Jay Dee.

This Christmas, my husband B and I are very happy to have our older daughter E and her husband L visiting from Honolulu and our younger daughter T home on break from grad school in Syracuse, New York, about a 90 minute drive from here.

With most of the holiday tasks under control, we started Christmas Eve day with a trip to a morning showing of the new Star Wars movie, a second time for each of us, although a first time seeing it together. In the afternoon, we did some chores, finished up the gift-wrapping, and rested or took naps to be ready for a late night.

At 5 PM, we were happy to be able to livestream a radio broadcast of Holidays at Hendricks, from Syracuse University. Although T is in grad school at SUNY-Environmental Science and Forestry, she is eligible for music activities at Syracuse University which is directly adjacent to the ESF campus. This year, she is singing with the Hendricks Chapel Choir, so it was extra-special to hear her choir sing on this program.

After dinner, B and I made date nut and cranberry breads for Christmas breakfast and listened to E and T sing Christmas carols, accompanied by L on the piano. So beautiful! I managed not to cry, but barely.

About 11:00, B headed to bed and E, T, L, and I headed to Holy Family for midnight Mass. The church which we attended when the girls were young and in which we all served in music ministry is closed, but we were happy to attend Holy Family where our former music director and good friend landed, along with the music library and handbells from our old parish. T sang and rang handbells at Holy Family before she headed off to grad school. There are enough people we know there that it felt like a homecoming.

There was a half hour prelude by the Genesis (adult) choir, handbell choir, and guest trumpeter, followed by midnight Mass. Father Clarence’s homily brought together the Scripture and our current world, as good homilies do. He reminded the congregation that the Holy Family fled to Egypt for safety as refugees do. He asked what would have happened if Egypt had closed its borders and sent them back. He did not have to mention Syria to get the point across. He also spoke about our need to seek peace, even in the face of violence in the world, by referring to a French man who lost his wife in last month’s Paris attacks but refuses to be bitter.

After a short night’s sleep, most of the household was up at 6:00 to start on Christmas dinner, the gentlemen taking the lead. L was making bread and B made the lasagna, using the recipe from my mother. We started making lasagna for Christmas Day back when my daughters and I used to be involved in music ministry for a Christmas morning children’s mass. We would assemble the lasagna the day before to bake after we got home from church to eat Christmas dinner at noon. Now we continue that tradition.

Between kitchen tasks, we ate breakfast and opened stockings and gifts. E and L went for a walk in the way-warmer-than-it-should-be December weather. A bit before noon, Nana, Paco, and Grandma arrived. Everyone enjoyed dinner, followed by Christmas cookies, fruitcake, and fudge. There was another round of presents. E and L made presents for the grandparents. E made a counted cross-stitch of a row of girls – Japanese for Grandma and Hawaiian for Nana and Paco. L made a paról for each home, including ours. A paról is Filipino star-shaped Christmas ornament, traditionally a bamboo lantern, although these were made from paper. L made them for us in honor of his parents’ home country, where they grew up before immigrating to the UK as young adults.

We had a lovely visit, which was followed by some more family visits facilitated by technology. E and L visited with his family in London by skype. December 25th is also L’s father’s birthday, so there was an extra reason to call. Only  being five time zones away instead of ten as they are in Honolulu was a help. B and I talked by phone with B’s brother. We didn’t talk to my sisters, but they will be arriving in town tomorrow for the continuation of our Christmas celebration.

We played Apples to Apples this evening and have been watching some television while I write this post. I don’t know if our Christmas is a typical US one or not, but it is special for us, especially because we were able to have both daughters here, something that becomes rarer as they get older and head out on their own. I hope other people have had lovely days filled with family, food, and love.

Monster Meet and Greet Mash

It’s time for a meet and greet at yadadarcyyada! Pop over and leave your link and find other great blogs to visit!

yadadarcyyada

1halloween84I was working
on my blog,
late one night
When my eyes
beheld
an eerie sight
For my post
from its slab,
began to rise
And suddenly
to my surprise
It did the mash,
it did the Monster Meet and Greet Mash!
A monster blogger mash, it was a graveyard smash!
It did the mash, it caught on in a flash…
It did the mash, it did the monster blog mash!
The zombies and bloggers were having fun,
The blog party had just begun…
The scene was rockin’, we were digging the shares,
Some were commenting, well, those who dared
So add your link and des-
crypt-ion, girls and guys,
Then suddenly to your surprise…
You can mash, you can monster blogger mash!

1halloween86

While I often say the best part of blogging is ‘meeting’ other bloggers, readers, etc., it’s been too long since we hung together, so welcome to…

View original post 423 more words

Francis in Cuba

Pope Francis’s core message of his first full day in Cuba has been “Serve other people, not ideology.”

People in the United States could very well receive the same core message when Francis arrives here later in the week.