Some days you just have to declare victory

This is a post about Wednesday. It is now Friday, but I made these notes after my Wednesday night when I experienced a sense of piece and hope— I was in minimal pain and did 94% of my metrics in my home department at work, folding clothes.

The air was frigid with ice on the cars, but I was wearing the teenager’s letterman jacket (and I made the wise crack to my favorite security guard that it was not my jacket, she had left it in the car, and I know it must be really hard to believe that I was not in marching band.)

I knew the end of this week would be draining, even before they announced the elimination of our shift at the Stitch Fix warehouse as they transition from two shifts a day, five days a week to operations seven days a week. (As second shift workers, we get first choice of the shifts available, so the company is trying to accommodate preferences, but every shift starts before 7 a.m. so that sounds like torture.)

So Wednesday was dentist day.

I thought the teenager and I had appointments at 9:40, which meant retrieving the child from school at 9 a.m.

She made me an offer I could not refuse. If she peeled and quartered the apples our friend Photographer Joan of Plastiqueville brought so that I could make apple butter as I promised, could she just skip first period?

I said sure. That meant I could sleep until 8 a.m.

I think she later regretted her choice as she has still not finished.

Hopefully today I can use my voluntary time off to get this into jars.

And in true Angel fashion, at 8:45 a.m., I discovered our appointment is at 10:40, not 9:40.

The hygienist and dentist gave me a disappointed talking to about my teeth— apparently my middle of the night tooth brushing has been half-assed.

But no major issues.

So the day prior my physician has ordered x-rays of my spine, si joints and hips.

I thought with the shift change, the information in those scans was more important than ever. And there is a radiology office in the urgent care across the street from my dentist. I asked the teenager if we should stop.

My doctors office had recommended one of these smaller urgent cares as they might be less busy than the hospital or the central outpatient radiology office by the warehouse.

My gut said go there.

I didn’t listen.

Instead I went to the urgent care that my PCP’s office always recommends because it is close to my home and operated by the hospital network he works for. (The Lehigh Valley is in the middle of a hospital war— both St. Luke’s and Lehigh Valley Hospital buying up and building offices everywhere.)

(I watched Lehigh Valley build a hospital near the warehouse, one I believe they have been trying to build for a decade. It opened in July. When I drive by at midnight, it looks deserted.)

Anyway. We go to the urgent care by all the good food. The teenager has a book in the car. It is 11:40 and her next class starts at 12:30. I know the probability is we’re not going to make it, but I need these x-rays and her presence will make sure I don’t procrastinate.

I have been to this urgent care once before— my si joint had locked up and was seizing and neither my chiropractor nor my doctor could see me and I couldn’t even think through the pain.

The staff at this urgent care was lovely, but I waited more than 90 minutes, got told to take a hot bath in Epsom salts, ingest some ibuprofen and the best thing for me would be a massage. And I got a $200 out-of-pocket bill.

I picked this urgent care because the location is convenient and it’s in a higher middle class suburban neighborhood. But they are always understaffed and seems to be frequented by college students with no common sense and a certain element that I hate to classify as unsavory, but let’s just leave it as there was one poor man who needed to go to the ER, even I could see that, but he didn’t want to go.

The doctor was backlogged by 90 minutes so this seems like the normal wait time. I tried to slip out of the office politely but the office person (who was honestly coordinating a three-ring circus and remaining an angel despite it) wouldn’t have it. You see radiology is a different office. I was next in line.

The tech in the radiology room was a delight. I got all the x-rays I needed.

At work, a lot of people were congregating to discuss the upcoming changes. But at this point, I don’t understand the point of wasting time like that especially since things are still getting ironed out.

The Mirena seeks to be helping with my menstrual issues as cramps where they belong and the bleeding is significantly less.

And the apple butter smells amazing.

The Bizzy Hizzy Shift Decision

As a writer and now a publisher, I often refer to my job at the Stitch Fix Bizzy Hizzy as part of the second shift (Midnight Society) as the “day job.”

And now, next month, the day job is really becoming a day job.

The head of our warehouse announced last night at 5 p.m. that second shift would be eliminated hopefully by December 5.

Second shift was a Covid-inspired experiment in the Stitch Fix universe and not every warehouse had one. I’m not going to say we were the first or the only, but we might have been. I joined the shift in November and it started when the warehouse reopened after the initial shut down.

We just earned a $1 shift differential a couple months ago.

The concept worked really well— a smaller, cross-trained team that could be moved to different needs in the warehouse to support day shift or function autonomously.

If day shift broke it, we fixed it. And I believe, and this is totally my opinion, that our flexibility allowed us to understand the entire operation and fostered a spirit of teamwork that achieved more than hitting individual metrics.

There is a distinct cultural difference between the two shifts, especially since we all know each other and move around so much.

So, here comes the interesting part, they are eliminating the second shift in favor of moving the warehouse to seven-days-a-week operations, just like our literal neighbors Chewy and Amazon. As the business grows in what the now call “Freestyle,” or people directly ordering what they want from custom-curated offerings based on the results of the algorithm (eliminating the stylist), Stitch Fix wants to be able to ship out orders so quickly they arrive in a day or two.

The Lehigh Valley is conveniently located within one to two shipping days of most of the country. I was aware of this because of my work with anti-human trafficking nonprofit ASPIRE to Autonomy.

I commend the company for adapting to the needs and desires of the marketplace especially since supply chain issues, the pandemic at large and internet retail remains a “Wild Wild West” landscape.

But this… is hard to digest.

Most of us have our reasons for working second shift and this complicates our lives. Supervisors were passing out information on child care resources and they told us that we would be emailed paperwork to rank our preferences for what day shift we want to join.

During the coming days, our shift supervisors will be pulling us aside to discuss our individual transitions. And we were told we would have first pick of the new shifts. And it almost sounded like preferential treatment in work centers, too.

The choices are:

  1. Traditional day shift: 6 am to 2:30 pm or 6:30 am to 3 pm Monday through Friday
  2. The four tens option: 6:30 am to 5 pm Sunday through Wednesday or Wednesday through Saturday.

I am leaning toward option 2, Wednesday through Saturday. Many of my friends have already expressed concern that I can’t physically handle ten hour days. I have done it before during mandatory overtime.

What’s the difference? Once pain and difficulty start, what’s the difference between eight hours and ten? I believe, if I can physically complete the ten hours, the extra day off would actually give my body more rest time. But perhaps I am naive.

If I do the traditional work week, I have to give up my personal training sessions, which would also have a negative impact on my health. I also would have five days where the animals in my house are left unattended for long stretches. The weekend shift lowers this to three days.

If I work Sunday through Wednesday, I can still hit the gym Tuesday and Saturday. And I would be available for FURR related events on Saturday. I can also keep a regular Friday chiropractor appointment.

My medical care will get more complicated— because even though Stitch Fix would still allow me to go, I will have to find minimally disruptive appointments. For example, I have a doctor appointment every morning this week and I need a pile of x-rays.

I’m going to have to go to bed 4-5 hours earlier than I’m used to, and get up at 5 a.m. That sounds brutal.

And I’m no longer going to be able to drive the teenager to work.

So even though a simple move, it’s really complicated. And a hard choice.

Review: County Seat Spirits and the gems of the Silk Mill in Easton

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, William Prystauk and I ventured down to Easton’s Silk Mill. We had enjoyed a lovely sushi dinner and wanted to imbibe a classy cocktail and some decadent ice cream.

Our plan was to hit County Seat Spirits and Ow Wow Cow. Neither Bill nor I had ever been inside County Seat Spirits as I had discovered them during pandemic “lockdown.” I ordered quite a few of their to go items during last summer. (More about my history with County Seat Spirits here.)

So Saturday was my first visit inside the venue and I was not disappointed, especially in the afternoon light.

I had the Mint Condition and Bill had the Pommes 76 while listening to a talented female soloist.

We later grabbed some MIXO gin lavender lemonade to go.

Bill and I meandered around the Silk Mill as he had photographed it when it was still abandoned and later he visited when it was unfinished and hosting a film festival. He marveled at the transformation as the complex came alive with various live entertainment at many of the businesses.

William D. Prystauk

At Ow Wow Cow, I enjoyed the apple caramel cashew and Bill partook in the local peach pie. I do love the early summer flavors, like strawberry rhubarb crumble, but the autumn flavors are delightful, too.

Meanwhile, Tucker and Easton Wine Project spilled over with patrons (more on Tucker here). My experiences with Tucker again stem from the pandemic and using their online grocery service to procure some amazing produce.

I’ve visited Easton Wine Project when a local citizen hosted a fundraiser for ProJeCt of Easton there. I was still in the development office at that nonprofit and Easton Wine Project perfected a classy vibe and delightful vintages.

But there are several new businesses at the Silk Mill that I have yet to try, so this might be the perfect place to have a middle-aged date night.

On the Eve of Ida: A Disability Storm of Meeting Expectations in the Workplace

I left for work today with the remnants of Hurricane Ida dumping sheets of rain on the Lehigh Valley, and I was honestly thinking that I’m grateful to have a job I like and a wage that keeps me from feeling like I’m on the verge of poverty.

With my past stressful work experiences I like the challenges and the environment at my warehouse job.

Because this post discusses my disability and its impact on my work performance and the struggle this creates for my employer to be fair, I am not naming that employer. If you read my blog with any sort of regularity, you know who it is. Let me be clear: I am NOT critiquing my employer or my local warehouse’s management.

I want to share the thoughts and questions as they run through my head.

I essentially fold clothes for a living. I often wonder what would happen if we made piece rate instead of the current wage. I make $18 per hour to fold clothes, but the expectation is that I will fold at least 90 items per hour. Now, I’m oversimplifying.

Most of the time, I reach 96-99% of this number. Tonight and Monday— 99%. Friday might have been 97%. But 3-4 days a month I only do 85.

My supervisor keeps asking what “they” can do to help— especially since in my weekly observations I routinely get 108%. It really bothers them that I am not at 100% or even consistant. My supervisor periodically makes it sound like she has to defend me in HR meetings.

I want to be able to say you are fully performing.

Supervisor

I have cerebral palsy, arthritis in my S1 joint and am also struggling with anemia. How do I explain this converges with my menstrual cycle not once but twice a month to leave me fighting pain and discomfort no medication I’ve found can touch?

How do I (and why do I have to) explain that cerebral palsy means the messages between my brain and my body don’t fire correctly and that my muscles stiffen?

How do I explain that anemia prevents me from moving any faster?

They give me examples of accommodations— sitting throughout the night, for example. (That would make my back stiffen even worse.)

I was told tonight that every employee needs to meet three areas of expectation— attendance (I got that), “culture” (meaning I have a good attitude and demonstrate their corporate values) and job performance.

I need to meet the numerical metrics in two work centers. So far, after ten months, I am 96-99% on one. And I seem to be a C student in all the others.

I get it. It’s a warehouse. You need metrics. We need to meet the numbers. But I’m so damn close. It’s not like I’m miles away. 99%.

I hope they really help me succeed. There was discussion today of potentially needing to take a medical accommodation form to my doctor. The problem with that is— my doctor doesn’t understand CP. I am still looking for the same answers my employer wants.

Am I wrong to want to do physical work when I don’t have the same body as everyone else?

The Caturday before Coffee and Kittens Pop-Up Cat Cafe

Are y’all totally sick of me talking about this yet?

So excited. And terrified. And excited some more. People are so supportive and I am amazed at the kindness of my friends, neighbors, relative strangers and local businesses.

I used to work at Target #2536 in Lower Nazareth. My co-conspirator, I mean fellow event planner, Janel, brought them a solicitation letter at my urging. The person who took it from her said it looked like a great event.

We didn’t hear from them. Until Wednesday.

I answered the phone while at work because Siri read me the number and I recognized it, it was both alien and really familiar. Then the caller introduced themselves.

Which explained why the number looked important.

They had held a collection for us and team members had donated some cat supplies to make a cat basket. And the actual store gave us a $50 gift card. If you know anything about me, you know I can work these store gift cards.

The teenager had gone down to Mary Meuser Memorial Library where the children’s librarian gave her a pile of cat children’s books that I will test-read to her tonight.

We did some shopping with our donated gift cards and now have some of the following for the event:

  • Fruit cups: mandarin oranges, diced pears, and diced peaches
  • Water
  • Juice boxes
  • Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite
  • rice krispie treats
  • Sandwich crackers

And that’s in addition to baked goods, veggie crisps from Keystone snacks, the teenager’s homemade Rice Krispie peanut butter candy, coffee cake, zucchini trail mix muffins, cookies, cupcakes, chocolate cake and I heard there will be key lime pie! And pastries from Easton Baking and coffee from Wawa and pretzels from Philly Pretzel Company.

And thanks to Wegmans, Giant and Target, we have supplies to make an auxiliary coffee station. With tea and hot chocolate, too!

The fun starts at 2 p.m.!

We should have 30 Kittens to cuddle and lots of activities and cat items for sale.

AND a photographer to send you photos of you and your family having a good time.

The cat basket and a chocolate pizza from Chocolate Works Lehigh Valley and a $20 gift card for Chocolate Works from my neighbor Sobaka’s Mom will be available for silent auction.

Stress, leg day, wins for the cat cafe, taste testing and EZ Pass Drama

In 45 minutes, I need to leave for work. It’s Thursday and I feel like I haven’t stopped moving all week. I’m behind on my own commitments and starting to feel panicked.

The pop up kitten cafe fundraiser for Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab is this Sunday.

Although it has required effort from many people, in the last few days this has become my baby.

In the last 24 hours, we received commitments from Just Born candy and Target #2536 (the same Target where I used to work and that experienced a fatal shooting in the parking lot last weekend).

This brings our list of supporters to:

  • Many individual bakers
  • Easton Baking Company
  • Philly Pretzel
  • Wawa
  • Wegmans
  • Giant Food Stores
  • Keystone Snacks
  • Chocolate Works
  • Target
  • Just Born

Today the teenager and I will be heading to Keystone Snacks to get the Veggie Chips donation.

So that’s the fundraiser but meanwhile real-life goes on. I haven’t worked on William Prystauk‘s upcoming novel in his Kink Noir series, Bondage, in several days. Our personal cat, kitty cancer survivor Opie has a very goopy, wet eyes. This is very unusual for Opealope so I gave him a couple treatments with a chamomile tea eye wash for cats grown and prepared by our fellow foster, Granola Cat Lady.

Despite all this (and only 5 hours sleep from sharing my bed with the teenager’s dog, F. Bean Barker), I still made it to Apex Training for leg day and some warm-up core work. My body was very stiff after that, not really from the workout but because my period is late and doing things to my body.

Although I have to admit I fell on the way to the gym and broke the screen to my iPhone. After 3.5 years I now get to test my SquareTrade insurance.

The other big news is that the teenager installed a new toilet seat in the upstairs bathroom. The old one had screws so stripped it kept falling off while you were sitting on it. Bad news is: our bathroom is 1950s Flamingo Pink. The new toilet seat is white— the only one they had. I hate white toilet seats on colored bowls but I also hate “falling in.” And now that she’s seen it, the teenager agrees.

I finally tried my Emmi Roth cheddar cheese snacks from Hungryroot which were supposed to be for tuna artichoke melts but I couldn’t bring myself to use such fancy cheese on a grilled cheese sandwich. A colleague and I were talking about snacks & cheese so I brought her some and we tried it at the Bizzy Hizzy.

She loved it so much she googled where to buy it. Apparently it’s only available in Wisconsin and Switzerland. It literally melts in your mouth.

After work I went to Sheetz and ordered a pina colada lemonade with immunity boost with my bonus points. It tasted like candy, too thick to be refreshing but definitely very summery. I added some mango vodka when I got home. (Here’s a video if you want to see me talk to myself in a parking lot at midnight.)

And finally, not sure if I mentioned it on the blog, but I’m another step closer to resolving the great EZ Pass Drama of Summer 2021. Did you ever procrastinate something so long it bit you in the ass?

Yeah, so that’s what happened to me.

So, our Nissan Ultima (oh how I loved that car) died suddenly. My husband and I were still together and only had one car. He replaced the Ultima was a used Nissan Juke— a car he had wanted for a while. We moved everything from the Ultima into the Juke.

I had ordered an EZ Pass when I started work on my master’s in world history at West Chester University and was driving down the turnpike at least once a week.

So I knew that the EZ Pass was connected to my car— the Ultima— but I never really used it. I forgot about it. And then I bought my Jetta because I hated the Juke. Our family didn’t really go anywhere. I worked retail so I never really got time off. I had stopped working on my master’s as money got tight and my marriage continued to fail.

I neither returned nor updated the EZ Pass.

My husband returned the box of random things from the Ultima and I, with other things on my mind, tossed the transponder in my car hoping to remember to update it.

I never did.

At this point, I don’t even remember how to access my EZ Pass account.

This summer, the teenager took her grandmother to Cape May. She pulled up to the first toll booth and the toll collector yelled at her for trying to pay the toll.

Being a dutiful child, she trusted the toll collector who told her she had an EZ Pass.

Two weeks later, we get two violations from NJ EZ Pass. $30 in missed tolls and $55 in administrative fees. My daughter and I send a check, but I also send an email stating that I understand I hadn’t updated the EZ Pass, but my daughter had tried to pay the toll and the toll collector yelled at her.

They cashed the check.

Then a couple weeks after that I get a letter from PA Turnpike EZ Pass stating I had insufficient funds in my account and they were threatening to ticket me. Now, my EZ Pass was on a credit card. That credit card expired one month before my daughter’s trip.

I call the number. Because I don’t know my account pin or my transponder number, I am forced to leave a message and they say they will call me back. That was Monday.

A couple days ago I get another letter from NJ EZ Pass. They claim I didn’t pay one of the two violations. I send another email and send them a screen shot from my banking app of the cashed check.

It’s now Thursday. I go to PA EZ Pass and try to remember all my account info. I easily succeed. I look at the “insufficient funds.” $5.37 cents. They also demand $35 to load my account fully. Even though I haven’t used it in three years.

And you can’t just pay what you owe.

I then go to the “manage vehicles” tab, add the Jetta and delete the Ultima. That took five minutes. Had I done that years ago, I could have avoided the whole drama.

Week Four of Physical Training at Apex and more thoughts on Disability

When I turned up at the Apex Gym today for my first session of the week, I was accompanied by the teenager and her dog. They were both impressed— and in the dog’s case confused— that my trainer Dan was wearing his baby.

I am always impressed with the different bodies I see at the gym and the attention both trainers give to their clients.

There was a woman at the gym finishing her session when I arrived. She was working hard with some dumbbells, with her back to me. She was older than I was, and overweight, probably at least obese by BMI standards (because I am overweight by BMI standards).

But she was uneven, with 80% of her excess weight in her legs.

And just like with me, Dan supported her and challenged her as if we were athletes. You could tell she was proud of herself, and I was proud of her.

And I couldn’t wait to tell my trainer Dan that I can already feel my body moving better. In his eyes, he calls it “a little increased mobility” and to me, I feel like my knees are moving the correct direction.

I told him that I got to pick at the Stitch Fix Bizzy Hizzy and covered about 6,000 steps and pulled 216 items in less than three hours. Now those aren’t stellar numbers, but I haven’t left QC in months. And I didn’t hurt.

If this Apex experience doesn’t teach me to participate in exercise and strength training daily, nothing will.

Today’s workout t-shirt was “let’s hit the bar” by The Fitness Tee Company and my trainer Dan let out an enthusiastic battle cry. We did hit the bar, and we added weight to it. I really enjoy bench press.

In other news, I listened to the latest podcast from the NYT Daily Sunday Read, “The Man who filed 180 disability lawsuits.” It looked at the “industry” of people hired by lawyers to find non-ADA-compliant businesses. And sue them.

I need to digest this more, but the reporter interviewed a small restaurant that almost lost everything because of such a lawsuit, in what seemed a situation where a new restaurant just had everything go wrong.

But the reporter also interviewed the litigant who said businesses have a responsibility to know the law better (my note: it’s almost 300 pages) and that being disabled is expensive so these lawsuits help pay for his equipment and care.

Link to the podcast on Spotify.

Luau luncheon at the Bizzy Hizzy

Changes are brewing at work. Tomorrow I learn the infamous mailer machine and QC Valley 0 has been transformed into a test site to see if QC centers can prep their own boxes as they fold each fix.

I’m terrified of this. I have a really awkward relationship with packing tape.

Second Hungryroot Box and final week before the FURR pop up kittens and coffee event

The second Hungryroot box arrived and I was very excited to have it delivered on a Saturday when I would be here to open it and have more time to cook it. Unboxing here.

Gayle, my graphic design support system and Parisian Phoenix business partner, brought me the photo frames and the pin-the-bow-tie-on-the-kitten game.

We took some shots for social media to thank our corporate sponsors: Wegmans and Giant Food Stores, and product donors Wawa, Philly Pretzel, Chocolate Works and Keystone Snacks.

Training Update: Finishing Week Three at Apex Training

My body turned to me as I went to my car after work today, and as I fiddled with the radio (calling up Natalie Merchant on Spotify singing Space Oddity), my body said to me,

“Jesus, woman, what are you doing? We need to talk.”

But seriously.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? But we can’t spend too much time on all this as it is 1:30 a.m. and my aching body craves sleep.

The teenager was up fairly early today so I suggested she and our almost 1-year-old pit bull/mastiff/black lab puppy walk with me to the gym, about 5 blocks away.

Now if you’re new here… I’m 46 years old, a former newspaper reporter. I have an amazing 17-year-old daughter. Her father and I separated two years ago but he lives nearby and is still an important part of our household. I have cerebral palsy. He has a club hand. I have recently started a quest to learn more about my body, restart my bodybuilding commitment (I was really into it six years ago) as an alternative to traditional physical therapy, and hopefully lose the 20 pounds I gained stress eating to cope with the toxic workplace of the last nonprofit I worked for.

So, the teenager, the dog and I walked up to the gym. F. Bean Barker is learning new manners everyday and the guys at the gym thought she was a beautiful dog.

And then the focus changed to leg day. Now, on upper body day I get to train like a normal person. On lower body day, my poor trainer has to balance my physical deficits with my desire to kick ass.

Or maybe I’m just as awkward both days, and I just never noticed.

Today was session six. It’s the last week of two sessions a week and next week we increase to three.

Please note: I have been in gyms lifting weights since college, which was about 25 years ago, and in recent years I’ve been in physical therapy to learn to walk, for balance, for the strain of my lumbar region caused by trouble with my S1 joint and my broken ankle. Every body is different. Every ailment or disability is different. It is a quest to balance what works for you, what your body needs and what hurts.

I firmly believe that nothing fixes the body like the right exercises. But for people with disabilities or health issues, it’s hard to recognize what pain you need to work through and what hurt is bad. As a weight lifter, I know muscle recovery pain. As a person with a disability, I often experience burning pain.

As a society, I feel like we invest so much money in medical tests, mental health, drugs, organic food, but we don’t want to pay for a trainer.

My trainer is getting to know me. He knows how to observe me. He asks questions about my mobility. We test exercises by going easy at first and adjusting them based on my performance.

And he reads me well.

There are times I can tell he’s afraid of pushing me too far and then I do the exercise and he makes it ten times harder because I surpassed his expectations. This makes him a good trainer because it means he’s testing my basic form and strength so I don’t get hurt. And he reads my body language to see how I’m doing— not relying on my words.

A good trainer has to push you out of your comfort zone. But he also has to make sure everything’s executed for best impact and in a way that you don’t get hurt.

I have to admit, I hated him a little today. But I also love his full body approach. But when he tells me to do sumo squats with a 15-pound dumbbell and my toes pointed out AND make sure my knees “follow” my toes… I don’t know whether to cry or punch him.

It’s the gym— both those feelings are valid.

But let’s examine the issue. My knees face in.

This means to perform the motion he has requested, I need to move one foot at a time carefully into position. I need to really concentrate on balance. As I move, I need to keep my head up, focus on stretching the knees to position in line with my toes (which is not the way they go) while holding a weight and trying not to fall.

I was dripping sweat by the end of this session— before he hands me a kettle bell to end the work out with kettle bells swings.

When I got home, I made a massive high protein vegan pasta. See me make it here (this can also be my official “before” video.)

I ate 90% vegan today. Only animal products I had were half and half for my coffee and a pack of beef jerky at work. I almost had iced tea with local honey but the teenager spilled it when I left it on the dog crate.

This was dinner:

Speaking of dinner— tonight at the Bizzy Hizzy my team competed in the Stitch Fix olympics. We won the gold medal in the egg toss. I was relieved they weren’t real eggs.

In other news:

  • I almost started editing William Prystauk’s latest novel in the Kink Noir series.
  • My Poppy Z. Brite books have arrived.
  • I hurt. I hope it’s the good hurt.
  • My friend Joan not only brought us old linens, but scored a cat carrier and animal crate at a yard sale.

Informal weekend update: Canning with the Blind

This weekend was hectic and quiet at the same time.

Saturday Nan and I canned some corn relish/salsa with some farm fresh corn on the cob. My mother-in-law, having grown up on a farm, knows her corn and has a gift for picking delicious corn.

Nan, as a lifelong blind person, has a fascination with all things cooking. She always says that she doesn’t understand how people learn these things. I told her I don’t quite remember how I learned to can, though I do know I always had an interest in gardening and in preserving the rich variety of foods we have in this region.

But it was fun to see Nan respond to the tools involved in canning.

Yesterday, Mars and Minerva attended an adoption event with our cat rescue group Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab. Meanwhile, the teenager and I volunteered with the FURR kitten event and backpack distribution through the Verizon Store in Forks Township. Our foster Touch of Grey came from there. They actually have foster cats free roaming the store!

The teenager and I finally got our FURR t-shirts. I’m very excited. The teenager looks really good in hers.

Meanwhile, at home, our foster tripod Louise has been very cuddly and at my side relatively non-stop.

Louise

And I finished the proof for Manipulations. The book designer (my partner Gayle) will check out the file tomorrow.

My friend Bill sent me the manuscript for his next book in the Kink Noir series, Bondage. I’ll start my review sometime this week.

And finally, I made a list of all the authors and books that I hope to publish via Parisian Phoenix.

I was shocked how many titles were on the list. I hope I have the resources and the marketing prowess to do these books justice.