There’s so much good activity in my life right now — I’ve been too busy to catch everyone up.
My last day at work is tomorrow and my colleague, Mr. Accordion, is coming over tonight.
I have been working hard publicizing Aspire to Autonomy’s upcoming events, and they have given me the title of Communications Director. I am working with a fantastic intern on public relations and I think, I hope, she is having fun.
Gayle, the teenager and I, went for a nice walk in Easton Cemetery last night. Every time I go up there I find more cool things!
Gayle, the teenager and I went to Porter’s Pub last night after the walk and they let me eat all the “stinky cheese.” Gayle bought me a very delicious salted caramel chocolate porter from Saucony Creek. To celebrate new beginnings!
I cashed in my free medium 2-topping pizza from Dominos.
I’ve been making Nala puzzles every morning to try and keep her busy.
We found someone that can get Mama cat spayed for free. (Did I mention we were out on a walk and our kittens’ mama came to us and we brought her home. She’s pregnant. Again.) We thought the organization would let us foster her and her kittens until they found homes… but now we’re being told they might keep her. So we are a tad sad.
And for multiple days in a row I have made 10,000 or more steps a day!
And a mysterious feline decided to deposit a hair ball on the couch on the sun porch. So I tried my best to clean everything up and I took down the cork boards only to also remove great portions of the paint. The teenager assured me we have the paint to touch it up.
Somehow we made it downtown on time— and met our friends. The teenager spent her birthday money on a strawberry plant and some pickles and stuffed olives.
I bought her breakfast at Pie + Tart (apple turnover for her and mini strawberry rhubarb pie for me) and beverages from Fieldstone Coffee Roasters (mango black tea for her and bubble tea for me— which the server gave me a yellow straw to match my yellow pants).
After saying goodbye to our friends, we strolled the downtown so the teenager could visit The Loving Peace. They did not have any supplies she needs.
The teenager then directed my attention to The Carmelcorn Shop. She let me have anything I wanted!
In this video we review our haul from The Carmelcorn Shop. The biggest surprise was, as the clerk recommended, the tootsie roll balls were amazing. I don’t even like tootsie rolls! Review of Candy Haul
On Saturday morning, the teenager and I went down to Easton cemetery to support the Palmer Kiwanis team as they participated in the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community to support my employer, ProJeCt of Easton.
I found out today that my blind friend Nan likes horseradish, would like to try Fireball whiskey and has never had a margarita.
Today, as it is the start of weekend and expected to be the hottest day of the week, Nan and I planned to head to Park Avenue Market to use some hoagie coupons from The Teenager’s marching band fundraiser.
But Nan hadn’t listened to the rest of my message— she was already distracted by thoughts of cucumber salad.
So we’re standing at the deli counter and I order a 10” Lebanon bologna hoagie with bacon lover’s cheese and lettuce, tomato and pickles for the teenager and I to share. And I order Nan’s turkey hoagie with bacon lover’s cheese, mayo, lettuce and onion.
We’re scoping out the salads and I ask her if she planned to take me up on my offer of coming over to eat our sandwiches together and mix up the apple pie cocktail from the ingredients I ordered from County Seat Spirits.
The teenager always likes to get one of the massive deli pickles. So as Nan was realizing we were about to have way more of an adventure than a simple trip to the grocery store, the teenager is pointing out to me that one giant pickle is 99 cents whereas two are $1.69.
Now no one needs two giant pickles.
But I say yes, get two.
She turns 16 Tuesday, I can’t deny her pickles.
So Nan excitedly accepts my offer to stay for dinner and promptly tells me that we need to buy apple juice.
While we wait for our deli orders— summer bean salad and cucumber salad for Nan and slab bacon and liverwurst for me—Nan and I explored the $1 bags of chips.
Apparently Nan loves horseradish so we picked up the horseradish cheddar potato chips for us and Jalapeño Popper Herr’s cheese puffs.
The teenager also wanted tuna salad, so I bought some celery and tuna.
And me, being me, I bought a cow tale and a coconut candy watermelon slice. You gotta have dessert.
We unpack the sandwiches and chips on my dining room table, and the chips were just like horseradish, some bites were just right and some the fumes went straight up your nose.
And then, we started mixing.
I get the vanilla vodka, cinnamon vodka, wine glasses, shot glasses, trays of ice and a cocktail shaker.
Nan is impressed that I have a cocktail shaker.
We pass the bottles around so everyone can smell the vodka. I usually hate vodka. This vodka is distilled from cane sugar and impresses me. The cinnamon vodka smells like Christmas.
2 ounces vanilla vodka
2 ounces cinnamon vodka
4 ounces apple juice
I add two more ounces of apple juice to the cocktail shaker. Nan approves.
I am merely tasting as someone has to drive Nan home.
I slice the candy.
Nan has never had a cow tail before.
The teenager tastes the alcoholic beverages and approves. We have a discussion about her 21st birthday.
Nan and I plot a trip to the liquor store and mixing Fireball with diet ginger ale.
I mix a batch of the cocktail which I put in a quart mason jar with a plastic screw lid so Nan can keep it in her fridge.
I drove Nan home as the rain started to fall. I had slipped a cocktail into the freezer for myself. This is good vodka.
As one of the perks of the online writing community, I have had the pleasure to meet Fausta, a life coach and therapist who has a wide range of capacities and wicked sharp writing skills. She has been working on her blog, and her business, Fausta’s Place to Ponder.
People often influence and inspire each other in the most unexpected ways—often without trying—and I’ve admired and respected Fausta for a long time in just that kind of subtle way.
Like most of us, she’s a real and imperfect woman with a quiet vibrancy. She’s touched me with her honesty about life as a woman and the everyday struggles as a mother, building/continuing her career/business, dealing with her own and her family’s health and keeping her heart and emotional state strong and well.
Isn’t that what most of us are trying to do? In a recent blog post (linked below) she talks about our attitudes and how our mental framing of tasks impact how we perform them. I have continued to ponder this.
I love routine, order and cleanliness. But with 4 cats, 4 birds, 1 teenager, a full-time job, my own physical and emotional issues and a coronavirus pandemic, I can’t always achieve/complete/do everything I want to do.
I have to employ more mindful self compassion, and with the teenager’s help I am growing in this regard. She and I have been discussing the differences in how our brains are wired. This helps me look at my setting from multiple points of view.
My goal, in what used to be Standard American Life, was to workout either at the gym or at home 3-5 times per week and never leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight.
Now, the gyms are closed. I’m eating too much fast food. And my goal is to clean the kitchen every morning— as my energy levels are higher and it reinforces the idea that every day is a clean start.
But I still need to examine my motivations. There’s a flip side to chores.
Today is Sunday. Yesterday, I got up, did a load of laundry and started the dishwasher. I cleaned all the litter boxes— no small chore with four cats, but oh so worth it.
I did some other odds and ends too but I’ll be darned if I remember them.
And then I attended a business meeting, had coffee with a neighbor, cleaned up after the birds, let the teenager give me a haircut (a rather severe one that doesn’t exactly match the crazy hair I have, but give it two weeks and it will be perfect), split a ginormous, super-sweet cinnamon bun from Cake and Corolla, enjoyed dinner from Dairy Queen, and watched Hell’s Kitchen for the rest of the day.
And I’m not beating myself up over “not doing more.”
But this morning— I got up, washed the pots and pans, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, did two loads of laundry and hung them on the line, fed the menagerie, scrubbed them kitchen counter, took out the compost, emptied the garbage, carried the garbage outside, and vacuumed and washed the kitchen floor.
All before 9:30.
And I feel good about the work I got done. Even if I am still worrying about cutting the grass, working out this week’s budget, and dealing with this week’s groceries and work stress. I dread both. I *don’t* want to do the grocery shopping and I never know what will happen at work on Monday.
So I have a delicate balancing act— what can I do to feel good about myself and my house and what can I do to not exhaust myself?
Because you see, I know I also do chores and scrub the bathtub to avoid facing my fears and emotions in the stillness.
Chores let me use the energy of my angst to achieve something positive, but in the end, that’s not always the best approach to my emotional health and physical self.
Early on in this pandemic I invested in good old fashioned cleaning products: Pine Sol, Ammonia, Fels Naptha, Borax, etc. I opened up the Pine Sol today. Just felt like my neglected floor needed something extra. I got this at the Grocery Outlet and as you can see it’s not traditional Pine Sol. It’s like super floral. “Fresh Scent” by patooty. Someone just exploded a fake floral bomb in my house.
I’ve made it a personal goal to try as many creative, innovative small local businesses as I can during this pandemic lockdown.
I’m living on my own and raising a teen daughter with a salary that doesn’t leave much extra — especially when you count in the fact that my dentist quoted me a price for my crown using my husband’s insurance when we’ve been separated for almost a year and I’ve been off his insurance for six months. My insurance has no coverage for such procedures and I owe almost $900. And the tooth isn’t even right.
But I’m veering wildly off topic.
I saw on Facebook— oh, evil, evil Facebook— that Two Rivers Brewing Company less than 2 miles away is offering free delivery. Two Rivers, in that beautiful old building (Mount Vernon) only a few blocks from my office. Two Rivers, home of the magnificent peanut butter/bacon/seasoned cabbage cheeseburger.
I didn’t intend to order beer. I was looking at the menu, selected the Bankers Brown Ale in the Growlette (32 ounce reusable glass bottle) for $11.25 and a $10 lager crowler (32 ounces in a big can). I thought I saw that if you ordered by 8 pm they delivered on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
I hit the button and the web site said it’d be at my house in 30 minutes. They called in 15 and said they were on their way.
Beer? To my door?
The man delivering it had a nice black zipper Two Rivers Sweatshirt, gloves and a mask and he brought me the beer.
Nice and cold.
And I poured a glass of the Bankers Brown Ale which is reminiscent of my all-time favorite beer—Samuel Smith Organic Chocolate Stout.
Now I can order pizza and beer. One should arrive hot, the other cold.
The teenager wanted to get out of the house yesterday and I knew as a responsible adult we needed some fresh produce.
With the Coronavirus still keeping our state on lockdown, I’ve been trying to explore as many small local businesses as I can that are adapting to the situation.
I’ve never been to Tucker, an Australian Cafe at the Simon Silk Mill in Easton. They hosted an amazingly successful benefit to raise money to fight the Australian brush fires.
So they already have my admiration.
The only friend I know who ate there was not impressed— she felt rushed and a tad snubbed by their waitress.
But I’ve been intrigued by their recent business model… They’ve adapted by becoming “Tucker Provisions” and it’s like a drive up general store.
They feature a a variety of other local and regional farmers, vendors, and small businesses. The apples in the picture are from Bethlehem’s Scholl Orchard. The golden raisins are super plump and juicy, so good.
And I am so looking forward to trying the potatoes, zucchini, Brussel sprouts, rhubarb and broccoli.
I even splurged on some Mexican soda.
While we were out, the teenager spotted these:
“Mom,” she says as the car is stopped. “There are some really nice rocks over there.”
“Go get them,” I tell her.
Maybe she’ll be a geology major.
For supper last night I decided I wanted homemade cream of broccoli soup. We have some heavy whipping cream in the fridge that’s past its date, more than a week past, and I hate to waste.
And Tucker had broccoli.
Now I never follow a recipe, never exactly. Either I never have all the ingredients or I just don’t want to. This was a little of both. While I prepped the soup, I roasted some of the Brussels and our last radishes and the smallest of our fingerling potatoes.
I made mini bread bowls out of the heavily discounted fresh baked but day old dinner rolls I bought at Weis last weekend and tossed in the fridge. I even toasted the removed guts of the bread bowl to make croutons on top.
Good stuff. Looking forward to enjoying it for lunch if the rain keeps up.
The holiday season, 2007. My daughter was a week shy of three-and-a-half years old. I recall having plans this night. Grown-up plans. My editor from the Morning Call telephoned and asked me to do this quick assignment. Famous last words.
I am not a fan of Disney. I like the classic Disney films like Mary Poppins, Pete’s Dragon and maybe a Bambi or Lady and the Tramp. (Okay, maybe not Lady because I get really upset when Lady gets thrown out of the house.) Blame Hunchback of Notre Dame. I went to go see it with the man I later married. I did a “May term” in college where I traveled to Paris for three-plus weeks to study the influence of politics on the art and architecture of various periods and Hunchback/the cathedral Notre Dame de Paris were on the list. When we returned to the States, we read the various literary works in the original French. Except for Hunchback because we had worn our poor professor thin and he asked us to please read it in English over the weekend. His plan was to meet with us Monday and be done with us so he could continue with his summer.
And it would have taken us too long to read the book in French. This is my back story. It frames my anticipation for the Disney film.
I arrive in the theater. I am watching. The cathedral is on fire. Esmerelda crawls into her cot where in the book she dies. I am crying. In the book, everyone dies. Tragedy is a French necessity.
She wakes up and lives happily-ever-after.
I was very angry.
Flash forward about ten years and I’m sitting in the Crayola Factory in downtown Easton with a thousand other people waiting for a star of the Hannah Montana TV series who, like everyone else in the Lehigh Valley, got caught in traffic on our infamous highway Route 22.
And I’m waiting for a much needed date night after I file. I barely met my deadline this night, and instead of date night I treated myself to an album of French Christmas carols I downloaded from iTunes. And, to further frame the way my life often works, the album turned out to be instrumental with some children singing “La la la” where the words should be.
My husband claimed they were French “la’s.”
I have been teased mercilessly about this album.
To return to the story for one last moment, I tried to inflect some humor into it. And Mitchel Musso was a really nice guy. Not that I know/knew who he is. I barely knew the name Hannah Montana.