We had our Family Christmas Wednesday and the Love was Everywhere!
It has been a wonderful year here at Sonnystone! Various and sundry ailments kept us from traveling as much as we would have liked, but we did go to London, a long-time dream! Our gardens weren’t award-winning, but I’m proud of the “new” firepit area that we designed and planted. Most important, we enjoyed the company of Family, Extended Family, and Friends throughout the year. I hope one of them was You, dear reader, and if not, why not?
We’ve been having camp for a solid 10 years now, can you believe it? The grandies were so little, one not-yet-born, and we were go-go-go to the zoo, the museum, New Harmony, Henderson fests, downtown extravaganzas, and movies. Back then, Melissa would ship Emma here for a month, usually in June; once Eliza was about 3, she came, too. Melissa would show up and stay a week, a couple of times we went to Disney at the end of their visit. Irish Dance began to take up more of their time (National competitions are always July 4) and the visits were moved to two weeks, end of July-first weeks of August.
We’ve all gotten older now and our time together is more precious. The highlight of the New Yorkers’ visit is the morning run to Donut Bank for strawberry milk and French crullers, with the evening bed-time ice cream snack a close runner-up. The grandies changes have been faithfully recorded on the wall as they grew, but there’s so much more to them than their height and that growth can only be observed, as each year two different kids visit me, though still powered by the same sweet souls I have always known.
Of course, we painted birdhouses and canvases, shucked corn and snapped green beans for a picnic, but our Big Project was to restore our old Signs. The older Words had seriously faded, so we used some bright markers to bring them back alive…
Here’s an example of how faded they had become…
Ten Signs, ten years of growing hands and important Words…
You have to take the funny face pictures…
I’ve got more pictures for the movie and I’ll be working on that, but the house and gardens have required my attention. While the kids were here, we had a big storm that blew down several large tree limbs and one large tree. Casey has the limbs cleaned up, but the trees were old and it will take a while.
In the meantime, Now the weather is perfect and outside is where I’ll be…
It’s the Second Day of Christmas and I’m expecting the delivery of my turtledoves anytime now. Boxing Day in the UK was originally about opening the alms boxes to give to the poor, but has devolved into a shopping day. It’s also St. Stephen’s Day in the Catholic church, the day that Good King Wenceslas looked out where the snow lay round about…
Last Monday was the anniversary of my daughter’s birth and we were in NYC to celebrate. After luncheon at The Community, we proceeded to the movie theatre to see “West Side Story”. (We Loved it, we cried, we marveled…you really should see it.) Then we trooped back to the apartment to sing and blow out candles; I’m Sure her wishes can come true.
We had a super time on Christmas Eve with the Jrs. After a good meal replete with mashed potatoes and gravy, we opened presents. Then it was off to the movie theatre to see “Encanto” which was encanting…(insert punny emoji)
We called the grandies on Christmas morning; beyond that it was just us, two old kids, exchanging presents, drifting through the day, content with grazing the leftovers, amicably sharing. The Day was balmy, so we walked through the woods, planning a pruning spree next month; walked around the gardens discussing plans for the 2022 upgrades; walked down to the campfire circle and envisioned a wall of forsythia between us and the neighbors’ pond… I hope your Christmas was just as heartwarming as ours…
We may or may not have visitors from Manhattan this week, depending on Covid testing. I think Emma may have gotten caught in the blizzard out there…
Last week I spent some time staring at the campfire and contemplating. Something inside me kept saying “I’m done” in a loop. I’d been feeling my age lately and this year’s Camp Sonnystone really brought it home as I cope with my grandies growing up in what seems the blink of an eye. But there’s no reason to think that I’m done, not at all; with so many good times to look forward to and our health still strong, I couldn’t justify that sort of morbid thinking. So I examined it more closely, listened more intently.
This blog means so much to me; it is the Chronicle of my Life. Including the defunct blog, for the last 16 years it has witnessed the birth of all my grandchildren and my evolution as a JoJo. Through two organist jobs, two nursing jobs, Christmases, Birthdays, Camps, and plenty of Disney Trips we’ve watched the grandies grow. But there were also lots of topics; I did interviews, reviewed every “Best Motion Picture” Oscar winner, went through my CD collection with comments, occasionally talked politics, often talked about Peace. There were some deaths, as well: Aunts Thelma, Almeda, and Shirley; Uncle Jr; my friends, NuNu, Lois, Chuck, and Beaver. I’ve taken you on lots of trips with us, kept you apprised of what’s growing in the garden, what birds are at the feeder, and sometimes just blathered.
Even though I upgraded my WP account, I have now very nearly filled up all the allotted media space for Sonnystone and for the garden blog, Growing Every Season, which I started around the same time. At first I thought I would do a whole lot of work to download and delete old posts, but I kept putting it off. The next upgrade costs quite a bit more money and is more for a monetized blog. I believe the voice that was saying “I’m done” meant that I’m done with this particular blog and the obligation that I feel to keep it going.
To give The News a proper send-off, I compiled a video of photos. In order to not make it an hour long, I concentrated on just the people, then had to pare it down more to mostly grandies growing up. The music that I chose is poignant; Over the Rainbow and Wonderful World by Iz, the wonderful Hawaiian artist. He speaks in one part, almost unintelligible, but he’s using two Hawaiian words: “kuleana” has multiple meanings, including “land divisions”, but represents your space or spirit; “pono” which means “to make correct” or “to make good”. So what he means is that kuleana pono is an “automatic plan”, that if you make your space, your spirit good, “stuff” is just waiting to come to you, waiting until you are ready.
It makes me kind of anxious to think of not blogging every week, so I remind myself that I’ll still be keeping up the ancestry blog, and our trips will still be recorded over at the travel blog. The fact is I need to let go and open my mind up to new things, especially regarding my writing. By letting go, I will open up my spirit for some of that “stuff” that has just been waiting until I’m ready.
Thank-you for following along with me. I have truly enjoyed your company. Now I’m taking one long look back, then turning out the light, closing the door behind me.
There is nowhere else I’d rather be than with my grandkids, so the last two weeks have been heaven. As usual, Camp Sonnystone 2021 was a rousing success. Our Word was Believe, and our Theme was Rainbows. We ate well, swam a lot, painted, made suncatchers, sang, danced, laughed and had a few tears just to keep it real. My daughter has been making regular posts to FB, but for my WP followers, here’s a few pictures.
I’m just beginning to work on a video and hope to share that with you next week.
It’s Closing Day of Camp Sonnystone 2020 and I’m preparing a feast of summer foods. It seems like I’ve not taken enough pictures, so when the Jrs arrive we’ll go into a frenzy of snapping pics for this year’s Movie.
Like All of 2020, it’s been a different kind of camp– No field trips, No restaurants, No visiting or visitors, just a lot of pool-time, dancing, painting, playing, and relaxing. Eliza is a Donut Bank Fiend, so most days began with a drive-through there for coffee and sweets — especially the free cookies that she Loves. The Jr. kids have been here every other day and we’ve had dinner from every fast-food place in town, plus a few carry-out restaurants. We’ve had plenty of ice cream to keep us cool in this record-breaking heat and humidity.
The New Yorkers have been in school every morning Mon-Fri and I’ve sat in to read “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” with Eliza, as well as “Stamped” with Emma. They’ve also continued to practice their Irish Dance on the Dance Floor Pawpaw set up for them.
Our Theme this year is Together and our Theme Song is “We’re All in this Together” from Disney’s High School Musical. Emma studied the choreography and taught it to the her sister and cousins…and me. Wait ’til you see my moves…
Eric drove back to NYC two weeks ago and returned yesterday evening. During those two weeks, Evansville’s Covid-19 cases have quadrupled from 250 to over 1,000 and the mayor is begging people to wear a mask. Please.
The Jose’ Fam will head home tomorrow, leaving me to my memories… The Quiet is always deafening after they are gone… This year’s video will be Great, if I do say so myself, and I’ll share as soon as it is complete.
Emma Magnolia Mayne Jose graduates from 8th grade today. Emma’s my first grand-daughter, my #1 who Named me Jojo. I am so proud of all she has accomplished in her 14 years. We’re tuning into the Town School ceremony via livestream, buckets of tissues nearby, to listen to her speak. I’m so glad we could attend in this way, but I’d rather be in NYC…
Coincidentally, Ten years ago today I posted my first blog on “The News from Sonnystone Acres”. I started the blog “Sonnystone Acres” in June, 2004. I can’t access those stories anymore, though I did find about four years of them. It’s cringeworthy stuff, but I liked blogging. In 2010 I came across the free WordPress site and started the garden blog, Growing Every Season. The platform was so much easier to use that I re-started The News to chronicle my life– good thing, too, since we often have to go to the blog to remember when we went where, or what year something happened, so it’s now essential.
Anyway, the first blog post on The News brought along my following of about 12 people. I had just returned from a trip to NYC to visit with Emma.. It is All Emma, 4 years old, radiating charm… I adore this girl…
All together now?
June 11, 2010
Thank-you for following me! I want to tell you all about my recent trip to NYC………
Sunday morning tap class:
Melissa sang beautifully at a recital that afternoon (tears from Mom) and we supped at Maz before she went off to sing a Mass. Eric, Em, and I stopped by Merrion Square for a short snort, then grabbed the car, picked up Mel and we went down to the HighLine. Remember when I went there in November? It sure looks different now with all the plants in bloom. I took tons of pictures of the flora and fauna, but you’ll have to check those out over at the garden blog. Here’s some people pix:
From there we walked to Bill’s for a coldass beer. It is this kind of backdrop that makes me feel like I’m on a movie set when I’m walking the streets of New York.
The next day, we took Emma to school and ran some errands. After school, she and her buddies (and her mom’s buddies) went over to the park and play, play, played:
On Tuesday, the City opened up all the museums along Museum Mile for free, closing off the streets for an Art Fair. As we arrived, lo and behold, there was de la Vega, an artist I have long revered (I have 2 t-shirts, that’s how much I revere him) chalking his art from 103rd down to 80-something where the Met is:
Emma picked up a piece of his chalk (he carried a bagful, and would hand it to the kids or leave it to be picked up when he finished) and began to do her own art all the way down the street (until her chalk was gone):
The finale was a sneak preview of the St. Joseph end-of-school Show, to be presented next week, but kindly practiced on stage just for a visiting Grandma…thanks to Andermanis….
The songs were great and not your usual kids song, and the best: All You Need is LOVE. As they stressed the LOVE, they put their hands in the air…..I love Emma’s school. I love her whole life, actually, and it’s so fun to watch and be a part of it!!
My son-in-law, Eric the Super Dad, cancer Survivor, started experiencing pain in his right lower abdominal quadrant last week. They live in New York City, you know, so there was much consternation. As the pain steadily worsened over a couple of days, he zoomed into a CityMD and was directed to the hospital…. The Hospital…in New York City. Eric’s cancer had been treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering and some of their Good Friends work there and they could have presented there. However, Melissa’s Crohn’s Disease has been treated at Mt. Sinai and since this was obviously a GI problem, they decided to go there. You’ve no doubt seen scenes of overwhelmed doctors and nurses battling against the virus that has inundated the building
The had to take an Uber through the Belly of the Beast and by the time they got to the entrance, Eric could hardly walk. At the metal detector just inside, Melissa had to leave him. She walked the mile back to their apartment and she and her daughters held each other tight. And she called me. As usual, I was ready to fly to her side. As usual, there would be nothing I could do to help. And as always, I wanted them to Be Here under my wings where I could Protect them, but that is deluded thinking.
Right away Eric was tested for coronavirus. By the time it came back negative, his appendix had burst. Thank-you, Lord, he was where he needed to be. Melissa’s surgeon, the Amazing Dr. Ky from Sesame Street, showed up to take care of Eric and the very angry appendix and he was whisked to surgery. I am so thankful that it was Dr. Ky and I know that it made Eric feel more confident. Last report he would be heading back home soon.
While our media has seemed to emphasize the polarization of our country regarding these stay-at-home orders and seems to delight in scaring us as we watch the California beaches fill up and the Michigan protesters scream their ignorance at healthcare workers, I’d like to point out that in NYC they’re unified, determined to do whatever it takes to win against this formidable foe. Every evening at 7pm the New Yorkers appear at their windows to Clap for the Carers. They Know that these are People, their neighbors and friends and loved ones who are impossible to replace and they’re not going to be sacrificed for any amount of money. Fact is, as a Blue State, even their stimulus checks have been held up, but they’re tough and they’ll make it. Even with their stupid mayor, they look to each other for strength and keep their children closely guarded. I Love You, New Yorkers!
So I’m a little weepy these days. I just give in to it. Looking Directly at my Fears, I can give myself the Compassion that I extend to Others. Hell, yeah, we’re all scared. We spend a lot of time cheering ourselves up, and that’s fine, but don’t be afraid to Feel the Helplessness that is inevitable in a time such as this. My Dad did not tolerate tears and I still feel that childhood conditioning that crying is a sign of weakness. Wrong-o, Dad; Crying is a sign of Humanity. I plead Human.
And the Dreams…ever since we started isolating I have had vivid dreams that involve many dead people: Mom, Dad, my cousin Janice, my ex-husband, and my great-grandmother. There’s almost always a Baby, too. Every one of the dreams ends up with me Lost and running around trying to find my way to someplace that I just can’t find. Once I had run all up and down the streets asking for directions and they were all wrong. Finally I found a couple sleeping in a doorway; the guy looked like Shaggy from Scooby-doo and the gal looked suspiciously like a young Me, wearing a fascinator. They woke up and pointed out that the Door was right behind me. I turned and there it was; I woke up.
In the dream Last night I was trying to drive a sheriff’s car to rescue someone. When I sat in the driver’s seat I couldn’t see out the windshield. I fiddled with the seat controls, squishing myself into the steering wheel and laying the seat back until I finally found the control that lifted me up above the dashboard and I could see through the windshield to drive. I took off and made it back to a room where Casey was sleeping and I crawled into bed to sleep, then woke up.
I’ve wasted so much Time worrying over things that just don’t matter and I’m grateful that I see that now. I’ve tried to live up to some sort of expectation of Life while not seeing what’s right in front of me. I hope this new-found clarity lasts. I pray that All of Us can See over the steering wheel and find our way Home to our Hearts where our Loved Ones are held tight and safe.
Remember, it’s okay to melt down. Know This: You are Not Alone…