New York at Christmas…

Christmas, 2022, in New York City,

featuring the Jose’ Family, mostly Emma and Eliza,

in 47 seconds…

Our Christmas plans have Completely changed due to expected winter storms on the New Yorkers’ travel dates.. They’ll be coming in between storms (fingers crossed) on the 26th and we’ll have a Sonnystone Christmas on the 28th. A good thing, too, as I have No presents bought! In fact, I’m headed out now to search for the grandies’ gifts.


The Countdown begins…

The days have been flying by and my excitement is building. The house is merry and cozy, Casey had a great day of birthday-ing on Wednesday, and Samantha and I had breakfast with Santa at the Zoo yesterday.

Nova and her boyfriend, Aiden, (or is it Jaden? Braden?) went to a couple of dances last night; they attend different high schools, so they must keep it even… She is having a great time and that makes me smile.

I’ve hauled out my Christmas clothes and eliminated the ensembles that don’t fit anymore (you know how clothes shrink), so new plaid leggings and a red flannel are on their way to fill in the gaps. I’m obsessing over the weather; we are flying out of Nashville and the drive down worries me. It’s supposed to be wet and cold, but not quite icy and that’s the worst kind, even with my new tires. I’m thinking we’ll do a more leisurely daytime drive the day before and stay overnight. That just sounds less stressful all the way around.

Just think, this very time next week I’ll be walking out of Radio City Music Hall, having watched the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, heading over to Bill’s Burgers for our traditional post-show meal. For the last two years we’ve had to miss the performance due to Covid, so this will be a sweet reunion.

— 2019 Me, Eliza, Emma at the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular —We were so Young!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that Melissa and her family moved last August. Their new pad looks zehr cool, even magnificent, in the pictures, and I can hardly wait to stand out on her balcony and watch the sunrise or sunset, or go to the rooftop garden, or play some games in the gameroom. They all seem to be very happy there and I’m so pumped to soak up some Love from my NewYorkers.

In the meantime, I’ve been going through my old Christmas posts and thinking I’ll start a series of “Ghosts of Christmases Past”, but I really don’t have time, so it seems it has been an exercise in nostalgia…and a very pleasant one. We’ve had some Great Christmases, for certain, but I do believe this Christmas is going to be one for the Books.

So we’ll drive down to Nashville on Thursday, fly out to LaGuardia on Friday, Party with the JoseFam, fly back to Nasvhille and drive home on Tuesday. I’ll be in touch.


Still Thankful…

Thanksgiving 2022 was…different… As you know, my New York grandies spend their Thanksgiving holiday in Philadelphia, PA, where they compete in the Mid-Atlantic Oireachtas (pronounced uh-rock-tus); this is a regional championship contest where placements can lead to qualifying for the All-World’s Championship held in April. My local fam, the Jrs, spend Most of their Turkey Holiday Week-end with my daughter-in-law’s family, but they always pop in for the Macy’s Parade and some lunch.

Samantha spent the night-before with us. About 2:30am she woke me up, sick to her stomach. I hoped it was just excitement and that it would pass, but it didn’t. She wanted so badly to feel better, but it was not to be; we made it almost an hour, but that was the longest spell between trips to the toilet. I called her Dad to pick her up around 6am and we called off the get-together. I sent half of the food over to them so I wouldn’t be eating for six. We watched the Parade and that’s about it.

But I don’t need a Day to remind me to be thankful. There are so many people who I love and remember daily in my prayers. I’m just sure you are one of them.

The rest of the week-end we’ve spent putting up the Christmas decorations. We have a busy season planned: NYC from 12/9 – 12/13 (Radio City Christmas Spectacular on the 11th); The New Yorkers then visit us from 12/18-12/23 and we’ll have a Full-Family, All-together-now Christmas celebration on the 21st. This is the first time since 2020 that my entire family has been together! That really cuts short my gift-shopping time, so I’m anxious to get started this week after the crowds die down.

It is my intention to pick up the blogging during this festive season. I’ve been writing/editing over at my Ancestry blog and it’s time to set that aside and share some of my own stories, keeping you up to date.

Casey has a birthday this week, #68. He just refuses to catch up to me! I’ll see you there!


Encounter with Gen Z

I had the Jr. girls out at the Mall on Friday, first time I’ve spent with the 14-year-old in a bit and it was extra-fun. We were at Game Stop and I was perusing a rack of Popmarket Vinyl Figures- you may not have heard of them. There are all kinds of Pop figures in vinyl, covering the current culture of movies, music, anime, and I’ve bought a few Star Wars characters for Nova. My eyes suddenly stopped at a figure in the center of the display and I did a double-take. How did a Frank Zappa figure find its way into that stack of pop-culture heroes whose names I don’t recognize? I was tickled and got a little excited, starting up a survey within the store starting with the youngsters standing at the cash register…

Hey, kids! Do you know who Frank Zappa is? Ever heard of him?

They looked at each other, shook their heads no.

I tried to explain as I picked up the figure and carried it around to the counter, Have you heard of the The Mothers? The Mothers of Invention? (Blank stares) Let’s see, I don’t think he ever had any real “hits” other than “Please don’t eat the yellow snow” and that’s not a good example. He was a guitarist, but he defied genre, playing jazz that rocked…

The young man on the ladder joined in, saying, I like jazz from the 40s… I knew I’d lost them, so decided to mess with them a little… Maybe you’ve heard of his children, Dweezil and Moon Unit? They were laughing now, the girl said, Okay, now you’re making stuff up…No, I’m serious! You know the soul patch? They’d at least heard of that… Well, Zappa Invented that… Now they know…

It just seemed to be so random to find Zappa in that setting and trying to explain his music was difficult. Back in the 70s I saw him three times. Once with a group of girlfriends up in Indy where we were first in line at the doors, hours before they opened. One of my friends convinced the security guards that we Needed to use the bathroom and he let 3 or 4 of us in. At the time, Frank was touring with Flo and Eddie, doing the whole “Live at Fillmore East” album; after we went to the bathroom, we sneaked out to the seats, where we watch Zappa and the Mothers warming up? going through sound checks and deciding on the set list. I loved that concert, one of my favorites. The other two times he was playing with the Mahavishnu Orchestra (John McLaughlin) and it was avant garde, not my favorite stuff. Still, he was Amazing, truly one of the best guitarists of our age and a freaking genius.

Though a lot of it is rated PG, of course, my children listened to Zappa, especially “Dog Breath”, and “Peaches en Regalia” and Even the grandies are familiar with “Call Any Vegetable”… I’m sorry that Gen Z isn’t hip to him, but maybe one of those kids googled him and will become a fan…

So I bought the Zappa figure, even though he looks Nothing like Frank…he looks more like Captain Beefheart (another obscure reference) or Johnny Depp. I’m not sure you could get Zappa’s nose right on vinyl, and his hair was way longer and messy. But it’s the thought that counts, and I’m happy to have him on my shelf…

And I hauled out the Zappa music to welcome him…


Daylight Savings

For the past few weeks I’ve been sleeping a little later in the mornings, as if this old body was preparing for the inevitable “fall back” of the clocks. My circadian rhythms fell right in line today when I woke up at sunrise to take back the hour, seize the day, soak up the sunshine. It was a short one, that’s for sure, but the days will only get shorter until !! Christmas !! In the meantime, I’ll make the best of what’s around…

I used my Nikon to take pictures at the cemetery this week and I am very disappointed that I cannot seem to get the USB cord to transfer to my computer, so… Use your imagination: gravestones, old ones, all in a row, inscriptions barely legible, sitting precariously on their foundations. I failed to find my 2x great grandmother for certain, but I think her stone may have just aged to a point that I cannot read the name. She died in 1876 and despite the care the graveyard receives, time takes its toll.

I was cruising from Albion to Grayville, last leg of the trip, before I realized that my Mom was riding shotgun. Yes, I seriously felt her presence as I pulled in to Oak Grove cemetery where her parents are buried, but of course I would in that place on the 20th anniversary of her death. I paid my respects to Grandma and Grandpa and drove down Martin St. to see the spot where their house stood; it recently burned to the ground. There is a 5th-wheel hooked up there now, so we hustled on by, heading for my cousin Jeff’s house. When I got to the highway, for some reason (Mom) I turned right, knowing full well I should turn left, so I turned back toward the river a couple of blocks away. As soon as I turned, I realized I was on the street where Mom’s sister, Aunt Clara, used to live; that’s when I Knew For Sure that Mom was there with me. We stopped at the corner and stared for a while at the house that holds so many fond memories. It is seriously falling down, kind of sinking, and I wouldn’t want to stand under the back porch from the look of it, but I could imagine the ghosts gathered around the kitchen table, laughing and arguing. It was 20 years ago today that Aunt Clara died- yes, just four days after my Mom -and I was definitely feeling her presence, as well.

Turning back toward Jeff’s, I slowly drove by where Grandma Goodson lived — nothing there now, not even a trailer — but in my mind’s eye I could see the barn where Grandma Eaton kept her cow; her only form of refuge from her nine kids was walking down there every morning to do the milking. I finally drove on, turned again and landed at Jeff’s house.

Though I don’t have any cemetery pictures, I snapped these this evening…

I need to read five more books to meet my Reading Challenge this year, so I found some short novels that are just lovely…and brief…like this blog post.

November looks pretty boring right now, but Maybe I can find some Events this month to entertain us.


It’s Fall, y’all…

I’ve been down with a sore throat, head congestion, cough, and just generalized misery for three days now. Oddly, it feels like a good old-fashion cold — remember those? It might be my autumn mold allergies, but it’s been so dry here that I just don’t know. The temperatures have jumped from below freezing several days ago to a high of 81 today, so there’s that. Whatever it is, it foiled my plans to see another play today with Lana out of consideration that this crud could be contagious; we really enjoyed last week’s “Measure by Measure” at UE’s Shanklin Theatre. I do love the Bard’s comedies and that one was bawdy, as well, eliciting a lot of LOLs for us. Added plus: nobody died.

JoJo’s Academy of Music resumed after our fall break. Samantha is doing brilliantly at the piano.

The sunlight and leaves joined together with the sunrise this morning to dazzle me with Golden Light…

Even with a head full of snot, I can’t help but feel grateful for such a beautiful day today — and two more on the way! Hope the Sunshine is Splendid where you are!


Oops! I forgot…

Yeah, it’s true – last week I forgot to blog. I’ve played the organ at Christ Church for the last two Sundays, but last week I also opened JoJo’s Academy of Music for a lesson with Samantha, usually a Saturday event, which it really threw me off and I simply forgot that it was Blog Day. Anyway, I didn’t have anything to say much…

This past week, though, I have been glued to the coverage of Hurricane Ian. My cousin lives in Cape Coral and she decided to ride it out. I watched so much of the same footage over and over – and found out later some of it wasn’t even from Ian — that I was looking out my window to see if it had arrived at my door yet. Anyway, she’s okay, and for that I’m so grateful, but I strongly disapprove of folks who don’t evacuate when they’re asked to. Many deaths could have been avoided, but Floridians seem to like toying with hurricanes. I’m thinking of the first responders who are now strained to provide relief for the ones who weren’t as lucky as my cousin — she lost a few shingles and trees, may or may not have her power back, but her house is still there.

Preachy, ain’t I? I guess I figure if someone gave me even One Day of warning that a Tornado was gonna plow through my town, I’d batten down the hatches and get to a safe place.

Disney World had to close down for a couple of days, but they are back in business and we’ll be arriving there this coming Friday. We’re accompanying Jr. and his family, so we’ll be staying five days this trip. I’m pretty excited…

It’s been absolutely beautiful Autumn weather and I hope by the time we’re home from WDW the leaves start changing colors. I’ve still got my potted plants outside and they’re blooming away… All of the gardens look like Fall now…

I’ll try to be in touch while we’re on vacay. Stay safe, friends.


Still bummed…

I hope that after tomorrow’s funeral I’ll snap out of this funk I’m in. The weather’s been beautiful, and we’ve been steadily (and for me, drearily) eating tomatoes and bell peppers, pulling up the plants as we harvest, so the Edible Garden is a mere shell of itself, but the zinnias and marigolds persist.

After a Last Hurrah of Summer later this week, the Autumnal Equinox will arrive and usher in my favorite season. I’m planning a campfire dinner for that night with lots of harvest vegetables…and hot dogs, of course.

Sorry to be so short on words this week. My obsession with the Royal Family is being fed, my feelings are being manipulated, and for now I’m here for it. I swear, though, after the Queen has been buried, I’m turning off the internets for a wee bit…


Heavy Heart

I’ve been so sad since the news of HM The Queen’s death, though many friends/family called to comfort me. The death of a 96-year-old woman is hardly shocking, but as my grand-daughter said, we felt that she was immortal. I saw it coming after Prince Philip died, but she managed to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee, gifting us with three! trips to the balcony of Buckingham Palace, as well as that lovely video with Paddington. She was, to me, the epitome of a strong woman — even though she hardly had to work her way to the top or break through any glass ceiling. She held her own among World Leaders who would come and go, while she steadfastly kept her oath to serve her people until her last breath. This seismic shift under our feet must feel especially strong to the citizens of the UK, but it is truly felt around the globe.

And now my long-time crush is King Charles III. My heart goes out to him…yes, he was prepared for exactly what to do, from the funeral arrangements to what his actions should be to pull the country around him, but No One can prepare for the grief of losing your mother, no matter how old she is or you are.

I think back to 11-year-old me, writing that letter asking to be the pen-pal of then-Prince Charles, but my ulterior motive was to marry him, so I could be Queen of England. Seeing what the British Royal Family has to go through, I’m sure glad that plan failed! But the letter I received from HM The Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting made me a follower for life.

It is my Favorite Soap Opera, and especially compelling right now as we watch history unfold. But it’s a family who just lost a beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. This statement from the new Prince of Wales, William, expresses it beautifully.

There’s a lot more mourning to do in Great Britain, but I do hope American TV will stop with its 24/7 coverage until the funeral; they seem to be woefully uninformed about the British Monarchy, like they’ve learned what they know from MMarkle and took her word for it. It’s pretty disrespectful, really, and I’m tuned in to BBC, ITV, other British coverage of events.

We’re getting closer every day to our Disney Trip with the Jrs., so I have a pleasant distraction from the sadness. I’m just waiting for the funeral to have a real sob-fest…


Thunderbolt and JAM

It’s been super stormy these last few days, pummeling the dry earth with more rain than needed, covering the road and forming lakes in our front yard. But I do love a strong rain, the sound and smell, sheets of water coming down, fog rising up; the whole world looks like it’s melting while thunder booms and lightning strobes the sky. So I was out on the front porch swing basking in the wet when suddenly a bolt of lightning appeared 20 feet in front of me, right in the clearing between the trees, and simultaneously a blast of thunder seemed to shake the earth and made me jump a foot off the swing. I felt a tingle and was somewhat disoriented. I questioned what I had just seen, as the lightning hadn’t appeared (to me) to touch the ground and it didn’t look like any lightning I’d seen before. It looked more like a burst of yellow brightness, like this…

only it was going in the opposite direction and the animated effect made it seem more hallucinatory. Casey was sitting just inside in the diner, and I checked with him: Did you see that? He said yeah, he’d noticed a flash of brightness, and felt the thunderboom.

I am in Awe…I feel so honored to have witnessed such a spectacular phenomena. It was amazing.

My son had a birthday yesterday; he’s older than me now. He’s not big on parties, but his in-laws are so he had a proper fete this week-end when they celebrated all of their family September birthdays. I’ll get with him for a while tomorrow, maybe bake some cupcakes.

I signed Samantha up to start piano lessons and the particular school/teacher didn’t feel quite right. None of my children or grandchildren have been taught to play piano in the same way that I was and their method always has frustrated me, as I couldn’t make heads or tails of those Bastien courses. I was taught primarily with John Thompson’s course “Teaching Little Fingers to Play”. This is my last chance to pass this on, so I bought the book and note speller and formed JoJo’s Academy of Music (JAM) and we will begin lessons this Friday.

You see, I “read” music like a Champ, but without music in front of me, I’m pretty weak. I’ve always known that what I see on the page transmits directly to my fingers and if my hands are placed properly I can play pretty well; I found out that’s called muscle memory, taught by rote, and it was imbedded by years of playing. Whatever you call it, it has brought me such Joy, Comfort, and Peace; I would be happy if I could teach Samantha.

The JAM is inspired, isn’t it? I think I’ll have tee shirts made…maybe a tote bag…

Have a great week! Don’t miss a chance to make someone smile!


P.S. You know this song has been stuck in my mind since the Incident of the Thunderbolt…