New season: the teenager is now a young adult

It’s over.

I walked into the house after the gym today and I was met with empty rooms, deflating balloons, empty pizza boxes and cake crumbs.

The teenager is with a client. The guests have gone, even the one that drove a distance and stayed overnight.

Throughout the teenager’s life, she frequently lamented that she was the youngest in the class snd never had a birthday during the school year. That inconvenient June birthday.

But yesterday she was able to gather people who celebrated her and had seen her grow and wanted to marvel in who she was as a person, as a young adult, for a graduation/birthday party.

She wanted pizza From Nicolosi’s in Forks Township and pretzel nuggets and dip from the Pretzel Company. (And I think out friends will be patronizing Nicolosi’s now— several of their flights with the pieces cut in half is a great way to spoil guests.)

She wanted to bake her own cakes and decorate them, which she did.

She wanted to play Cards Against Humanity. And we did.

The party started with a raucous discussion of the Hess’s Department Store and ended with promises of homemade pie.

And the dog only ate a small chunk of the red velvet cake.

The teenager is now a high school graduate and soon she will no longer be a teenager. She will be the young adult or the offspring or some other nickname, but she will always be my pride and joy.

So much of parenting is learning, slowly, to step aside and let your child grow into her/his own person. To be mindful and humble and supportive without smothering. To be proud, but subtle. To encourage and guide, but not nag.

And to trust.

To trust your parenting. Your child. And that young person’s decisions.

And seeing that child grown— the love that pours out of you… eventually you might feel like a deflated balloon and then that child does something that makes you float once again.

I will always be my daughter’s mother, but the bulk of the intense, hands-on work is done.

And so today, Curly led us in making an infused oil of basil, lavender and sea salt to bless ourselves and my home with positivity.

It’s all part of the cycle— especially for women— maiden, mother, crone. I guess I might have to transition to the crone phase now.

Pain and performance (and a high school graduation!)

So first things first— let’s embarrass the teenager.

She graduated from high school Friday night. (Above, pictured, left to right: me, her father, her, her paternal grandfather and grandmother and my stepmom)

The weekend that followed included several dinners with family members and we have a party planned later this week.

The other updates:

  • I have been killing it in the gym. My plank time is more than a minute now. My strength is improving and for the first time ever, I did exercises with a 30-lb dumbbell.
  • It’s been seven weeks since I got my first cast to treat my mallet finger. Two more weeks until it comes off. Remember that when I mention that I am hitting milestones like the one mentioned above.
  • I hit the goal for Freestyle on Sunday at work in the Bizzy Hizzy. I shipped 500 items in, if I remember correctly, 363 packages. What makes that amazing is that we also had a one-hour training — so 500 items is the goal for a full day. Taking the training into account, that puts me at 110% for that day.
  • Yesterday and today I worked at the same left side table in QC. Even with pushing boxes to the left with a bum finger, I did 166 fixes yesterday (102%) and 169 today. (104%).
  • But here’s the weird part— i was in pain but it didn’t impact my movement. I started each day extremely stiff and with a little bit of back pain, but not in the low or upper back, in between. And as I eased into my shift, my hip hurt deep in the socket, up near my groin, but in the front in a very small but specific spot. And my quad would feel intense pain that sometimes went into my knee but for the most part didn’t. Tylenol doesn’t help. It gradually subsided over two hours. It happened in exactly the same way today.
  • I combat this my paying extra close attention to all my movements. I plant my feet on the floor and hold my core and glutes tight. I force out my toes and my knees and as I move my body to retrieve clothes below my waist I bend with my hips and stretch them. Is this what helps? Is something out of whack (like my femur) and stiff by morning and I force it back into position?
  • In very sad news, Charles Ticho, the nonagenarian author who penned the Parisian Phoenix book Stops Along the Way died today. I will be addressing this soon on the Parisian Phoenix blog.

Peaceful Saturday

The weekend started on a rowdy note, after a difficult but not insurmountable week of difficulties with my physical body after two weeks of mandatory overtime at the Bizzy Hizzy.

I haven’t written much not because I lacked anything to say, but because my emotional exhaustion matched my physical fatigue.

The teens stayed up last night, and Mama found herself hungry around 11 pm so from my high-jacked-from-inbound-processing work station, I texted them:

You guys want pizza?

I let teen #1 order from Dominos as not much else is open that late at night, and somehow a $43 charge appears on my Amex. They do love their pizza.

I know at work I’m still slow compared to the people that normally work returns, processing and even QC but I felt good last night and my numbers did improve during the week.

I got home at 12:25 am and the pizza arrived at 12:30 am— which tasted amazing and I ate too much. It was perfectly accompanied by a cold Yuengling brought by my separated-from husband.

It was so nice to spend some time laughing and joking with the teens. Even if we were up past 2 am.

We took Minerva of the Roman Pride to the Cat Adoption Day at Petsmart hosted by the organization with whom we foster/volunteer: FURR. Minerva’s profile is here: Adopt Minerva. Her brother Mars and sister Vesta are at Petco.

Mars

On the way back, I stopped at Dunkin and we tried the Valentine’s pink velvet macchiato.

Pink Velvet Macchiato (includes Minerva) video review

I spent some time helping Teenager #1 gather sources for her AP English research paper on Anne Rice’s influence on the vampire legend. I can’t wait to see where she takes it. I know where I would.

I also bought some unusual liquor yesterday— so here are some cocktail ideas I put together.

  • Caramello Russian: 2 parts caramel vodka with 1 part crème de cacao
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Shot: 2 parts peanut butter whiskey, 1 part crème de cacao

The highs and lows of Christmas 2020

Christmas is always hard for me. Having a second teenager, a houseful of kittens and brand new budgie chicks helps me escape a lot of the pain that surfaces during the holidays.

And no matter what I try, I can’t escape it. Instead, I work to minimize it.

And every year it gets a little easier.

It’s 9:30 pm now— I am listening to Rachmaninov on my brand new AirPods and at first I was very disappointed to discover that they didn’t have buttons.

Imagine my shock when I discovered they automatically turn on and off when I place them in my ear and take them off. And so far they don’t fall out as easily as the cheap ones do. (When I saw cheap I mean cheap— I got my previous set for $10 at Family Dollar. I had no problems with my $10 set either except I broke pieces off of them within the first couple days).

So to continue writing about my holiday backwards, teenager #1 received kitchen tools from teenager #2 and a new hand mixer from my mother-in-law. She’s baking banana bread now.

Apparently piles of cookies and fruitcake aren’t enough for her.

I’m journaling, blogging, and about to watch another episode of The Tudors. I can’t believe Vale of FURR’s Norse Pride is going home tomorrow— and I am bringing three other kittens to the adoption fair as well.

Fern-Edie is doing well in her new home. And I am starting to hyperventilate a little thinking this might be the last night my bed looks like this:

Vale and Loki

As I came up to my bedroom to start the animals’ night routine, I noticed all three budgies were out. Mama Wink showed me that all her eggs had hatched and I watched her clean shell off her newest chick. We hope to name them Yule, Winter and Christmas if they all survive. I hope they do.

Other highlights of Christmas:

  • The big Christmas mission for the teenager’s mysterious package earlier this week was… her varsity jacket!

YouTube: Teenager opens her varsity jacket

  • We listened to some non traditional Christmas carols extremely loudly in the car. Including “The Christmas Tree’s on Fire.”
  • I earned a place of honor in this year’s Christmas Grace, “Thank you, Lord, for keeping us safe from Corona, well except for Angel.” Ever burst out laughing during a prayer? Now I have.
  • I was asked to make the broccoli for Christmas dinner. My step mom doesn’t trust anyone else with the green vegetables I guess. I sautéed them golden brown in butter with sea salt, too much multicolored peppercorns (I grabbed the wrong jar— oops!) and herbs de Provence.
  • Christmas was much smaller than usual because of the pandemic, so my stepmom decided we would get fresh cut steaks from the butcher. She even ordered one for my brother’s dog. And she wanted to grill them. The temperature dropped drastically while my dad was at the grill and then all the steaks went up in flames. I learned that a good blue cheese dressing can cut the taste of charcoaled steaks.

I guess the last thing I’ll mention is that the teenager got a pet play pen which will come in handy for our work with Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab. Of course, I’ve discovered it houses cats and teenagers.

Pancakes and John Rosemond

I wanted to write this last night when I got home from the Bizzy Hizzy but I had forgotten my phone charger in the car and wanted to preserve my battery.

After completing another week at Stitch Fix, (where I listened to the Indicator’s episode on “The Beige Book” from the federal reserve bank and learned about pandemic-fueled growth in the warehouse sector as I worked my new warehousing job performing inbound processing functions), I mixed myself a cocktail— Ciroc Vodka, coconut seltzer and bubblegum A-Treat. If you missed our taste test of the A-Treat, you can see it on You Tube here: Bubble Gum?

Speaking of podcasts, last night I listened to Trevor Noah joke about James Bond, an exploration of what happened to a Van Gogh painting that wasn’t a good Van Gogh (Carnation in a Vase, I believe) and rediscovered John Rosemond, the syndicated parenting expert columnist who is a self-described “renegade family therapist who believes in the Bible not psychology.”

Now, my estranged husband reminds me that he believes we knew that Rosemond was a conservative Bible-thumper, but last night hearing him in a radio program where he could speak his views freely was a “wow” moment.

I fully believe in his advice and agree with his philosophy that parents have a duty to prepare their children to be emotionally “sturdy” adults and that discipline comes when adults maintain an authoritative attitude that commands respect versus employing certain trendy (even when “research-based” methods). I enjoyed his podcasts. Out of five stars:

👍👍👍👍👍

Podcasts have left me on the fence about a lot of hosts, but I have listened to people like football player/broadcaster Emmanuel Acho on his show Armchair Expert and learned many new perspectives.

Earlier yesterday, since teenager #1 is all cyber now, we spent lunch hour getting pancakes. It was the first time in almost 9 months we went out together and sat in a restaurant together/alone for a meal.

Nothing beats buttermilk pancakes in the teenager’s eyes and I had a magnificent eggs Benedict Florentine with tomato and garlic. I can’t wait to have it again.

Bubble gum soda, Bizzy Hizzy and the wildlife

I was up blogging and cuddling kittens last night until almost 2:30 a.m.

And then I woke at 9 a.m. to a flurry of text messages— similar, but not as stressful as, yesterday.

We had a meeting regarding some new contributors for Lady Boss Magazine. In the middle of it, teenager #1 texted home from school that her grades had “magically gone to shit” and that she would go to guidance to see if she could transition to fully online as whereas teenager #2 needs to be in school for success, teenager #1 can be self-directed but needs a regular routine more than an in-person teacher.

By the way, there is no transition required— starting tomorrow teenager #1 is fully online.

Meanwhile little foster kitten Vale of the Norse Pride no longer wishes to stay in my bedroom with his siblings. This feisty Ruby wants to explore the house and hang out with the big cats.

Vale and Opie

And the highlight of my day was discovering A-Treat Bubble Gum Soda. It was surprisingly delightful and not as sickeningly sweet as I feared. (See the video.) here: Bubble Gum ATreat taste test

And as if this wasn’t enough to force me into sugar overload — the Bizzy Hizzy (Stitch Fix’s Bethlehem warehouse) had bagels, Oreos and butterscotch Krimpets. Not to be confused with crumpets. Everyone went berserk over them. The bagels were sad, the toasters broken and the cream cheese stingy and rather sour tasting.

Despite every joint in my body below my rib cage throbbing (I hope to goodness it is due to the forecasted rain tomorrow), I binned about 600 items in women’s non-apparel and 900 in apparel. I worked really hard to make the women’s non apparel bins (NAP) look like the concepts and photo on the training board. Organize items like books on a shelf.

This English major can handle that.

And I learned that our inventory devices are “hammers” and their brand name is Thor.

I’m surrounded by Norse legends.

I only walked about 10,000 steps instead of my normal 22,000.

My listening material tonight included a comedy roast I didn’t like, Dax Shepherd interviewing astronaut Scott Kelly, Trevor Noah discussing racism in the housing market, something about how the Metropolitan Museum of Art refuses to count the value of its paintings, and a fashion podcast lamenting how in a pandemic world the absence of fashion shows puts a lot of people out of work.

Well, chances are the models were already starving.

And on the way home, there were two occasions where wildlife crossed the road in front of me.

First a deer.

Then a fox.

I’m taking my aching bones to bed.

What day is it?

I believe I was talking to my traveling companion M about life with my teenagers and we were discussing how it’s impossible for anyone to develop a routine when basic public school looks like this:

MONDAY, TUESDAY: asynchronous learning online, students must fill out an attendance form by 10:30 a.m.

WEDNESDAY: students have Zoom classes from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

THURSDAY, FRIDAY: In-person school, 7:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., though the teenager #1 leaves school somewhere around 11:20 a.m. on Thursday because her last class of the day is a study hall.

And MARCHING BAND is Tuesday 6 to 8:30 p.m, and Wednesday, Thursday 6 to 7:30 p.m. and often Saturdays 2 to 4 p.m.

Not one single day is even similar to another. Mondays and Tuesdays are totally self-directed and then Wednesdays are super-regimented.

And then by Thursday we actually have to get up and go to school.

I spent yesterday primarily in a meeting with someone who may end up being our new editor-in-chief for the revived, repositioned and redesigned Lady Boss Magazine, a publication of the Lady Boss Women’s Entrepreneurial Club/Network.

The most recent edition in the old format came out last month. Visit it here: Lady Boss on Issuu.

We have started planning some exciting content (and I hope my new client Merri of Lucha Bella Skin Care and Body Waxing and my step mom can get involved). And something about an Italian master chef who ended up with her own shoe line???

Speaking of Merri, she’s gotten her first original content off the ground, appearing on Instagram and Facebook today:

Winter Skin Tips

So please follow Lucha Bella, and of course, me!

School’s out and laundry machines (just another Coronavirus day)

Hello, all.

I have so many organized wonderful ideas for blog posts but my energy and focus level say, here— have a cat picture. The whole pride!

And more fun footage of kittens in the other porch window.

Misty and Fog

The governor has canceled school for the rest of the school year as of today so for the next seven weeks the teenager will be completing her sophomore year at home.

Alice Cooper & The Muppets — School’s Out

For dinner I did something decadent— I made thick cut black pepper bacon and cooked cabbage in the bacon grease. I piled the bacon, cabbage and some extra sharp New York cheddar onto a bagel.

And the teenager spent some time today recreating her mother on the Sims. Here I am:

And thanks to a college friend getting a vibrage wringer washer for her birthday I actually spent some time today watching YouTube videos of men doing laundry on washing machines more than 50 years old. The teenager found that amusing. And so dreadfully boring of me. I subscribed to this appliance man’s channel. I love this 1952 Frigidaire with the antique box of Tide.

After all, this washing machine is older than my mother. Give it a watch. Go on.

Lorain Furniture and Appliance presents 1952 Frigidaire