I’m generally not a big celebrator of New Year’s Eve/Day, looking at it as just the next day rather than a new start. This year does feel a bit different, as I am grateful to have made it through the tumult of 2020 and have hopes for 2021 for improvements in the governance in the US and for vaccine distribution and better public health policy to finally start to tamp down the pandemic by spring.
Still, personal circumstances make it seem less like a new start and more a continuation of existing issues. My dad, known here as Paco, is expecting to move from the rehab unit of his senior community into the assisted living unit next week. I am busy with paperwork and packing to facilitate the move. It’s awkward because, with COVID restrictions in place, family is not allowed into the health care building where the assisted unit is, so we can prepare and pack but can’t help with the actual moving, unpacking, and arranging.
Ordinarily, I would be gearing up for Linda’s Just Jot It January and planning to post every day for the month. I cannot wrap my head around posting every day this January with so much going on, including the fact that I should get my second dose of shingles vaccine this month. The first dose made me sick for a week, so I expect a similar experience with the second dose. I’m not looking forward to that, but I’ve had shingles before and am anxious to do everything I can to avert a repeat occurrence. When I do post in January, I will link to #JusJoJan, but I am giving myself permission to post sporadically rather than consistently.
I am somewhat uncharacteristically struggling with words, both spoken and written. I think I am overwhelmed enough and exhausted enough that my brain can’t settle down to easily arrange my thoughts into cogent language. It’s not good for my blogging or poetry and it’s disconcerting for conversation, especially when I have to have so many phone calls and conversations to get things arranged for Paco’s care. I’m managing, but nowhere near the level I want to be.
I’m asking, once again, for your patience as I slog through this.
I should close now and make myself copy dates and commitments into my 2021 calendar. It’s a dreaded task every year and 2021 is no different in that regard.
Lately, some people in the US have taken to referring to a white woman who calls 911 on a black person without cause as a “Karen.” Sometimes, this broadens to any white woman who tries to leverage her white privilege.
While I think it is legitimate to call out destructive behavior, I wish people would do it directly, not by name-calling. If one is referring to a specific incident, use the name of the person involved. If it is a more general comment about white privilege or entitlement, call it that.
There are lots of people named Karen and they don’t deserve a negative connotation being attached to their names. Some of them are men. Some of them, like Congressmember and potential vice-presidential nominee Karen Bass, are black. Karens are our neighbors, teachers, business owners, and friends. Karens are beloved members of families, including mine.
So, please, think twice about turning a name into an insult. Use a few more words and say what you intend without resorting to name-calling.
I enjoy certain kinds of humor – irony, satire, political, word play, parody – but don’t like humor that is cruel, crude, or aimed at personal or group identity. For example, when I was young in my tiny, tiny town, other kids would often tell Polish or Italian or “dumb blonde” jokes. I didn’t find them funny then and still do not.
I can’t really tell jokes. Maybe it is a matter of timing.
I am sometimes inadvertently funny. Occasionally, I’ll fall into a double entendre without meaning to. Once in a great while, I won’t catch a joke and say something that the other people in the room find hilarious.
What bothers me is when people find something funny that I mean to be serious. This usually happens when I have written something. When it happens here at Top of JC’s Mind, it’s no harm, no foul. (I almost typed “no harm, no fowl,” which would be a humorous mistake.)
When it happens while workshopping a poem, however, I get discouraged. Sometimes, I can choose different words to clarify, but, other times, it seems that I am too earnest/unsophisticated/serious to even find the humor to address it.
Steph writes a blog that is a cross between science, often geology, and wordplay. She often has pretty photos of rocks, electron microscope patterns, geologic formations, and today, some very pretty gems.
Her blog is not on WordPress, so it is hard to re-blog other than by link, but I hope people will pop over to Steph’s blog and see some beautiful corundum in various colors.
While re-organizing the basement, B ran across the Smith-Corona manual typewriter he had used in college and brought it upstairs to show to daughter T.
There was still a sheet of corrasable bond paper in it.
The ribbon, which featured both black and red bands, was a bit dried out after 30-odd years of storage, but he was able to advance it enough to find a functional stretch of it.
We proceeded to show T the features. How to set the single, double, or triple space. The unmarked shift lock. That you used a lower case l for the numeral one. How to release the margin if you couldn’t hyphenate the word at the end of the line and needed a bit more space. The “ding” that signaled it was time to return the carriage – and that had us humming Leroy Anderson’s “The Typewriter.” How easy it was to do superscripts and subscripts, in case you were typing a paper with chemical formulas or footnotes. How to set and release the tabs. How you had to be careful not to type too fast or the type hammers would jamb into each other. How much force you needed to type and how it was helpful to have strong fingers so that some of the letters were not lighter than others.
T, who loves plants and elegant simplicity, was enamored and tried it out, typing stream-of-consciousness style, enjoying the physicality of using a mechanical device.
Although she is a child of the digital age, she has the soul of someone from an earlier era, when the rhythms of the natural world and of simple machines like levers were the most satisfying.