Janice Hall Heck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the month “November, 2013”

NaBloPoMo 29. #WANAFriday. Clips and Coin (2008)

The WANAFriday prompt for this week comes from Tami Clayton.  Tami can usually be found Taking Tea in the Kasbah.

The #wanafriday blog prompt for November 29, 2013 is: Dig through your bag, couch cushions, backpack, man purse, satchel, or scan the floor of your car for the first coin you find. Look at the year printed on it and then write about what you were doing that year.
On my desk sits a small Pyrex dish with a collection of coins and clips.
Look. Right there on top. A shiny 2008 Oklahoma quarter. 2008. Five years ago. If my memory serves me correctly, in 2008 I was…well, I’d better check my picture files and see what I find there. They will jog my memory.
1. Family reunion in South Carolina
My brother Bill and sister-in-law Patty live near Charleston, South Carolina, and that seemed to be a good spot for our Kroey Krewe to gather for a reunion. Siblings came from New Jersey, Texas, Florida, and California.
Family reunion-South Carolina-2008
We enjoyed visiting various Low County plantations, salt marshes, and tidal creeks and imagined ourselves in novels set in the area.
2.  Reunion with friends in Florida.
I met up with two very special friends in Florida, Kit and Ruth, from my days of working at Hong Kong International School. In just a few days together, we caught up on all the news and formed some new memories.
We had fun on an airboat looking for wildlife in the Everglades. We were not disappointed. This fearsome fellow gave us the evil eye, warning us to get out of his territory, but he soon tired and swam away.
3. Family Time in Ocean City, NJ
Of course, we had beach and boardwalk fun at Ocean City, NJ. Cuzzies from far corners of the US got a chance to meet and play. You never know who will become a mermaid or dragon at the beach. This time it was Mandy’s friend, Hakeem who became the mermaid. Sorry about that, Hakeem.
4. Dining Out at Home
 Back at home, we dined at the local Atlantic County Community College’s Academy of Culinary Arts with our neighborhood friends from time to time. The students in the culinary program cooked, served, and chatted with us over delicious multi-course buffet dinners at the school sponsored restaurant, Careme’s. We go to Careme’s several times a year and always enjoy the exceptional food, the restaurant atmosphere, and the congenial students.
The students at the culinary school gather in the student-run restaurant, Careme's,, for cheers from the dining room guests.

The students at the culinary school gather in the student-run restaurant, Careme’s, for cheers from the dining room guests.

5. Trips to Florida.
On one of many annual trips to Florida to visit family and friends, Ken and I couldn’t pass up this photo op near Port St. Lucie on the east coast. Other times we visited North For Myers to visit Ken’s sister.
All in all, I remember 2008 as being a happy year, with good times shared with good friends and family.
Look here for another WANAFriday Writer and her coin year:
What was your best year?

NaBloPoMo 28. Thursday Thanks

Amazing how fast this year is going. November is winding down, and soon December will do the same. Where did the year go?

In many respects, it has been a good year. I am thankful I live close enough to my siblings that I have been able to assist in the care of two of them.  Sadly, one of them, MsJoanne, passed away after having multiple strokes, but she will be remembered as we celebrate Thanksgiving.

Now my brother, Adam, 80-years-old and blind, is in nursing care, his Medicare benefits being cut off this next week because he is making only minor progress in physical therapy. He has had a full, active life even though he is blind, but now he is slowing down significantly.

But good things have happened this year, too. Here are a few things that I am thankful for:

I am thankful that I belong to a strong faith community, Margate Community Church, Margate, NJ, that believes in service to others. Currently, our missions group is active in helping community members whose homes have been damaged by Superstorm Sandy in NJ. Previously, the missions group worked on-site in New Orleans (five trips) and Galveston, TX (one trip) to rehab hurricane-damaged homes.

Margate Community Church also runs a daily preschool. I walked through the colorful classrooms last week looking at the projects related to Thanksgiving. Here are a few of them.


On the altar in the church sanctuary…a cornucopia of bountiful blessings.055

Our cornucopia of blessings…too many to count: spouses, children, siblings, parents, extended families, and friends here and afar.  Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

Enjoy this song by Josh Groban found on the Armed with Truth blog site.

NaBloPoMo 27. Fragrant Anniversary Roses…One Week Later

My husband brought home the most beautiful deep yellow/peach hued roses last week for our anniversary. Their fragrance was exquisite, and they looked beautiful in an old cut-glass vase in the center of my dining-room table.

But, alas, the life of a cut flower is short. So today, as I looked at the beautiful wilted petals and drooping roses, I realized they still had a lovely fragrance. I pulled off the petals and put them in a bowl on my table.


I decided to try making a rose potpourri, so I looked for recipes on Internet. Here are several I found.

I’ll let you know how my potpourri turns out. In the meantime, I can still enjoy the color and fragrance of my anniversary gift. That makes me happy. Thanks, Dear.

The Last Meow008

Happy Anniversary, Missy Jan.

I love yellow roses, too. They make me feel happy.

Meow for now. =^;^=

P.S. Here’s a blog I like: Beth Nyland, Make Something 365. Lots of interesting things going on there!


NaBloPoMo 26. Fragrant Herbs, Spring Gardens, and Newly Mowed Grass

This photo theme, “Fragrant,” comes from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?

I love the fragrance of herbs being chopped and readied for Thanksgiving dinner. Umm. Sage and rosemary dressing. Parsley potatoes. Minted peas. Yum. Can’t wait until Thursday for the big feast.

Getting ready for Thanksgiving...Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme

Getting ready for Thanksgiving…Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme

These herbs reminded me of another occasion where herbs became part of the centerpiece: a wedding shower.  Ten-year-old Maddie, my great-niece, designed labels with names and meanings for the herb centerpieces at the dessert table and at each guest table.

woodsy shots-derecho 019

  • Rose: love and devotion
  • Marjoram: joy and happiness
  • Lavender: love and devotion
  • Sage: domestic virtue
  • Rosemary: remembrance

You can read more about flower and herb symbolic meanings here: Victorian Bazaar: Language of Flowers

woodsy shots-derecho 025

At the wedding shower, the bridal party, families, and guests ate delicate sandwiches and dainty desserts and drank mint tea from proper English tea cups. The children, practicing their best manners, enjoyed the tea and goodies, too.

woodsy shots-derecho 006

Afterwards, the nieces and nephews went outside to check the possibilities for play, leaving the adults to linger over tea and conversation.

The kids found a community garden which the neighbors had recently begun to prep for spring planting. Umm. Interesting, earthy fragrance, but not much fun.

Freshly dug earth smells fragrant in the early spring.

Freshly dug earth smells fragrant in the early spring.

The smells from the screened compost bin adds to the hearty aroma in the air.

The smells from the screened compost bin add to the hearty aroma in the air.

Ah, but here’s the fun. Rolling down hill in the newly mowed grass.

What could be more fun than this?

What could be more fun than this?

The Last Meow.

Shhh. Zen kitty here.

Please. I am contemplating the beautiful fragrance of the garden of which I am master. Hope, gladness, and peace. fill my spirit and rejuvenate me.  Come join me.

Zen Kitty, photo Stephen Z.

Zen Kitty, photo Stephen Z.

Meow for now, and Happy Thanksgiving. =^;^=

NaBloPoMo 25. It’s Monday. What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday. What Are You Reading? 

Several weeks ago, I posted a book review of The Red Kimono by Jan Morrill. This book tells of a Japanese family who lived in San Francisco at the beginning of WWII, but who were forced from their home to live in an internment camp in Arkansas.

002Karen, my reading buddy, gave me another book on the same topic. When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka. This short novel of five chapters and 132 pages tells the story of a Japanese family destroyed by a war with which they had no part. Each member of the family tells a part of the story, picking up the story where the previous member left off.

Chapter 1. “Evacuation Order No. 19.” The narrator begins with the mother, who has no name, and tells her story in an unemotional, detached manner. It is almost as if the mother is a bystander who watches the story unravel in front of her, and the story is so painful that she cannot bear to be a part of it. She sheds no tears. She locks her feelings within and does what she must do to comply with the posted evacuation orders that have appeared around Berkeley, CA., in the spring of 1942.

She goes home and methodically dismantles her life. (Her husband, a well-to-do, well-traveled businessman, has already been arrested and taken to a military prison as a Japanese enemy alien.)  She sorts and packs for the imminent forced move, puts some things aside, throws others away, and burns or destroys the treasures that formed the core of her character: family photographs, three silk kimonos, a Japanese flag, and the abacus. She dispatches the White Dog, the chicken in the yard, the family bird, and the bottle of plum wine in quick order. Tomorrow they leave for an unknown destination for an unknown amount of time, where time and days will melt together in the heat.

Chapter 2. “Train” The nameless 11-year-old girl, with something of an attitude, picks up the story and describes the train trip to the internment camp in the desert at Topaz, Utah, where the mother, the girl, and the boy, begin life in one of the hundreds of tar-paper shacks with no running water, surrounded by barbed-wire fences. In clips of daily life and flashbacks, the girl portrays the hopelessness of their situation.

Chapter 3. “When the Emperor Was Divine” In the beginning of the stay in Topaz, the eight-year-old boy thought he saw his father everywhere, but he was not to be found. The boy watches the mother despair about their living situation. At night, he dreams of the father, the Emperor, and the cute little blonde girl who lived nearby back home. The nameless boy remembers her full name: Elizabeth Morgana Roosevelt. He, perhaps, holds out the most hope for the family: at least the father can find them here in the internment camp.

Chapter 4. “In a Stranger’s Backyard.” The story moves to third-person plural point of view. “We.” The mother, the girl, the boy each receive twenty-five dollars and train fare to go home to a life very different from life before the war.

Chapter 5. “Confession” The father speaks in first person, “I,” and tells his story of pain, humiliation, and of being imprisoned for being “too short, too dark, too ugly, too proud.” He may be free now from captivity, but he is definitely not free.

The stories tell the story in this book. The mother, the girl, the boy do not tell of the emotional pain they suffer; they show it. Readers will feel the depth of their pain as they follow these four individuals through three dark years and traumatic years.

This book succinctly describes a terrible time in our American history. It is well worth reading to gain a perspective on this historical period and the innocent Japanese Americans who suffered through it.

NaBloPoMo 24. WP Photo Challenge: Unexpected at Church

 Shhh… for a little added spice….
bike in church with church bulletin riding tandem

Unexpected: bike in church with church bulletin riding tandem

The Last Meow…
I guess you didn’t expect this either, huh, Missy Jan?
WooWee. Way to go. From Elsie the Library Cat FB page.

WooWee. Way to go.
From Elsie the Library Cat FB page.

Meow for now.  =^:^=
Here are a few more unexpected responses:

NaBloPoMo 23. The Original Kiss and Three Copies

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Statues, Carvings, Sculptures

Cee hosted this challenge on carvings and sculptures several weeks ago, but today I noted a news item that reminded me of two sculptures I have seen this year.  One sculpture was on the east coast; the other was on the west coast.

Background. On August 14, 1945. LIFE Magazine photographer, Alfred Eisenstaedt, was in Times Square, New York City, taking pictures of the jubilant crowd celebrating the announcement of V-J Day (Victory over Japan). One of Eisenstaedt’s photos, a sailor kissing a nurse, became quite well-known. That photo can’t be shown here because it is copyrighted, however, you can view the photo on this slide show (the first photo): The 75 Best LIFE Photos. The photo is called “Unconditional Surrender” and alternately “The Kiss.”

Victor Jorgensen, a former Navy photo journalist who was standing just steps away from Eisenstaedt, took an almost identical photo. Because Jorgensen was a Navy journalist, the photo is government property and in the public domain, so it can be shown here. (Compare Eisenstaedt’s photo with the photo below.)

Photo credit: Victor Jorgensen. public domain.

Photo credit: Victor Jorgensen. public domain photo. V-J Day announced, August 14, 1945.

(The official V-J Day is September 2, 1945, commemorating the actual signing of the surrender agreement.)

Here’s a life-sized rendition of this photo found at the Seward Johnson Center for the Arts, Grounds for Sculpture, near Trenton, New Jersey.

JKHeck photo.

“Unconditional Surrender”  2010  JKHeck photo.

You can read an article, “Unconditional Surrender, installed as part of Sculpture Along the Way,” on the Grounds for Sculpture blog. This sculpture, installed on April 26, 2010, is actually the third copy of this scene.

Seward Johnson’s original 25-foot-tall sculpture, “Unconditional Surrender,” was made out of Styrofoam and put on display in Sarasota, Florida in 2005. You can see a picture of the Sarasota Kiss here.

Another 25-foot-tall “Unconditional Surrender” (“The Kiss,”) by Seward Johnson can be found at the USS Midway Museum, along the harbor in San Diego, Ca. The most recent version, a bronze casting, replacing an earlier temporary version, was dedicated February 16, 2013.

Unconditional Surrender, Sculpture by Seward Johnson. USS Midway Museum, San Diego Harbor. Dedicated FEb. 16, 2013.

“Unconditional Surrender,” Sculpture by Seward Johnson. USS Midway Museum, San Diego Harbor. Dedicated Feb. 16, 2013.

By the way, if you would like your own copy of “Unconditional Surrender” (or “The Kiss”), I hear they are available for:

Styrofoam version      $542,500
Aluminum version     $980,000
Bronze version         $1,140,000

Really now, that’s just small change. Why not just get the bronze version? Your neighbors will love it.

NaBloPoMo 22. Festival of Leaves 8

Festival of Leaves Week 8

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Cee’s for Three: Three Beauty Queens? Not! Oh Well.

Sometimes when you get together with old friends, you get a little silly. Mo, Mary, and I went out on the boat (still tied to the dock) on Mackey Lake, Soldotna, Alaska, and tried to catch. . . lily pads!
Then we announced our presence to the world. Ta dah! We were ready to lead the parade in John’s ole truck. Beauty queens ridiculous Good friends having a great reunion! Stop that laughing right now.

NaBloPoMo 21. Cee’s Threes on Thursday

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Three Items or the Number Three

Trees. church windows, shoes!, volunteers at MS Bike-a-Thon – Ocean City NJ, bonsai branches, San Diego trolley windows, granary pots at Living Desert-Desert Springs CA, grapefruit in Indio CA, oranges in Indio CA, cactus at Sunnylands Center – Rancho Mirage CA (Annenberg estate), and my favorite – three sweet girls eating gelato in San Gimignano, Italy.

009 009 064 015 NJ Sculpture, CA desert 792 NJ Sculpture, CA desert 058  NJ Sculpture, CA desert 313 NJ Sculpture, CA desert 424

NJ Sculpture, CA desert 427 NJ Sculpture, CA desert 529

Three friends in colorful outfits enjoy gelato in San Gimignano.

Three friends in colorful outfits enjoy gelato in San Gimignano, Italy.

The Last Meow..030

And how about these three little kitties?

Meow for now. =^;^=

And…ta dah…three blogging challenges:

NaBloPoMo_November_smallCee's photo challenge..logo

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