Today I have a paid holiday from the Stitch Fix Bizzy Hizzy and I’ve tried all weekend to eat more fruits, vegetables and iron rich foods. My lingering fatigue is an anemic battle only won through supplements and self care.
Nan, my blind poet friend, and I do writing stuff every other week. I spoil Nan with chai and often lunch. Since we went grocery shopping together Saturday, we got a lot of “fun” things to combine into a strange picnic. (See more here: Happy 4th.)
I roasted some carrot sticks in the oven with olive oil, harissa spice and ras-el-handout. I also made carrot chips with smoked paprika. That would serve as french fries.
I made sandwiches on pretzel rolls of brown mustard, sharp cheddar, liverwurst and green butter leaf lettuce.
The other sides were dill pickle potato chips, pickled Brussel sprouts, sliced pepper turkey with cranberry horseradish, and maple bacon potato salad. All tasty.
I put the leftover chai in a mason jar with Italian Sweet Cream non-dairy creamer amd a shot of sweet tea vodka, a shot of honey whiskey and a shot of Irish cream.
We both submitted Covid-related works to Blood Pudding.
Nan had a great time with me searching the internet for info on rocket launches, meeting the new kittens, petting our personal cat Fog and giving him treats. He took them out of her hand with his paw, which cracked her up.
That got the dog’s attention so Nan found herself alternating treats between the two.
After I took Nan home, I buffed the scratches out of my car.
This had to have happened yesterday because look at how the fender has already popped into place more.
This will be another long day-in-the-life style blogs. I never seem to know what will resonate with people so have it all, right? I’ll bold key words to allow easy skimming.
Adult FURR (Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab) fosters Louise & Khloe are still competing for my attention and unsure if they like each other. Two very different cats with very different personalities. Both really cuddly and are going to be great additions to any household.
Parker and Extra Crunchy of the ten little kittens that got sick with distemper are now neutered and ready for adoption. They are such loves, especially fond of human snuggles as they were syringe fed.
And of course Touch of Grey (another adult foster) still thinks she’s the boss. She definitely is more cat than dog and we have good reason to believe she has neurological issues which may contribute to her agressive mood swings but the teenager is working with her.
My original Saturday morning plan was to prepare an outline of the coffee and kittens fundraiser, but our cat foster godmother had two kittens for us. One black kitten from a very feral litter, but he was not hissy spitty and one who turned up with a litter of small kittens who obviously was older than them and had been on his own. That one looked a little like Crunchy but was feisty.
I nicknamed them Fuzznuts and Fluffballs in my head, not knowing their gender. I also considered our “cats are gods” theme, but these two were not a litter so we didn’t want to use a whole pantheon for them. I considered Elohim and Yahweh, but my daughter vetoed it. I worried someone might get offended.
But foster godmother said, “people always get offended.”
A DMX song came on the radio in the car on the way home. DMX passed away recently and rappers also have that badass cat attitude. We knew the black kitten was a girl and the grey a boy.
“What about DMX and Diam’s?” I suggest.
“Mom, no one knows who Diam’s is,” she replied.
Latifah? Salt and Pepa? Then it him me.
“Eminem and Slim Shady,” I said.
“Mom, they’re the same person.”
“It doesn’t matter. The black one can be Shady and the other can be Em.”
So now we literally have a cage of two kittens, Em(inem) and (Slim) Shady in our living room.
The teenager went to work at Tic Toc Family Restaurant at three, and I went for Nan, my blind friend. We had plans to visit Park Avenue Market for deli salads and meats and the Lidl for boring things like milk, cheese and half and half.
I casually walk through the store explaining every item I see, from snack items to spices to peanut butter in squeeze tubes and olives in plastic snack cups. I love food and I love weird so this is why Nan and I consider grocery shopping fun.
At Park Avenue, Nan indulged in some meatloaf and ham. I got the pickled Brussel sprouts, liver wurst, bacon maple potato salad, cranberry horseradish, and violet candy. And crab stuffed flounder we had for dinner tonight.
These will resurface tomorrow when Nan and I work and have lunch together.
At Lidl, Nan got yogurt, lemonade, milk, Mac and cheese and those amazing home baked cookies. I got produce, cheese, breads, chips, seltzer, butter and Brussel sprouts among others.
And when I brought Nan home I discovered someone hit and run my car. This happened in July 2019, too. But that was a full side swipe. At work. In a church parking lot.
Nails and fun with Beth
I came home and put the groceries away and got ready to leave for my friend Beth’s house, formerly Nails by Bethy at Hyperion Salon. She recently started a new career in commercial insurance (I think) and so won’t have time or stamina to maintain my fingers and toes.
But tonight I was headed to her house for “cocktails, dinner and board games.” She agreed to have my pineapple coconut rum drink ready when I arrived. I met some of her friends. Beth made chicken poblano with black beans, rice, coleslaw and pickles. And as I mentioned yesterday, we all played Cards Against Humanity when my family arrived. Her father brought the teenager over so she could be my designated driver.
Brunch with Mom
My mom and I have a tumultuous relationship probably due to trauma we’ve experienced in our lives. My mom has not had an easy life. Let’s face it, most typical folks don’t.
We had a talk last weekend and I agreed to visit her today. She offered to take me out to a swanky breakfast and let us stay for the parade for IndependenceDay that would be passing by her house. I don’t really like parades, and I’m sick of eating out.
So I requested a grilled cheese on rye instead.
It was delicious.
The teenager brought the Bean dog to visit Mimi and Mimi’s dog, Dog, was a gracious host. Dog is a miniature poodle.
Once we arrived home, I read a little more Karen by Marie Killilea before I opted to take a nap. I then stripped my bed, worked on the fundraising outline and went for a walk with Buddy and Sarah.
I stumbled on the sidewalk, but did not fall. Knowing I had borderline anemia made me feel better that my cerebral palsy wasn’t running amok.
For dinner, in my continued effort to eat more vitamin rich food to combat anemia, I made the crab-stuffed flounder, brown rice with pistachios, and sautéed some leftover green beans and the cabbage, kale and carrots in a Green Goddess Salad I bought on clearance at Lidl yesterday. I topped it with some rather stale sesame sticks purchased at Forks Mediterranean Deli at our last visit (which was too long ago).
My goal for the rest of the night is to work on the Wheel of Life in my July Silk & Sonder planner and finish Karen.
Happy Independence Day.
Remember that the founding of this country can be seen from many perspectives: as destroying the lives and cultures of indigenous populations, as a place to promote white Christian values, and/or as a place where people came to live according to what they felt was right.
I started this blog entry in the middle of the night as I often do, thinking I would lead about how I think we should be more like my cancer-surviving three-legged senior cat, Opie. He’s calm, brave and steadfast. He doesn’t scream for breakfast like the impatient cats. And he holds his ground with the 50-pound puppy. He doesn’t even look concerned when she swats at him like she’s an overgrown kitten.
But then several of my cats— three out of four including Opie— decided to get me out of bed before my alarm. And Opie was uncharacteristically naughty.
I think they decided they didn’t want to wait for breakfast anymore.
My estranged husband still works for Lafayette College and they had a vaccination clinic scheduled on campus today. Spouses were eligible so he arranged an appointment for me.
I have strong opinions about the pandemic, my Covid experience and the vaccines, but I recognize that our government, other countries and probably employers will require vaccines for travel, work and life in general. So I just want to get it over with.
After cuddling with Louise, our latest FURR foster, I went to bed and slept very restlessly. One of my work colleagues got her second dose of the Moderna vaccine yesterday and I watched her develop more symptoms as the shift continued. My empathy went out, remembering my own struggles to work with the initial phases of Covid.
Speaking of life at the Bizzy Hizzy Stitch Fix warehouse, I did about one-third of my shift in pick and the rest of my night in QC. By my estimation, I nailed my partial pick metric. They also returned the timer to the cart. In QC, I managed 67 fixes. That’s about 84%.
And we had mini bundt cakes.
So after spending more of my night than I’d like to listening to news about the pandemic and the economy and the issues in Europe and AstraZeneca, I wake up to an email that my vaccine appointment has been canceled.
The FDA and the CDC have warned that the same blood clot risks that exist with the AstraZeneca vaccine exist with Johnson & Johnson.
And briefly, the dog keeps trying to eat some crazy stuff and I finally did some grocery shopping at Lidl with my good friend Nan. Nan, as a blind person, enjoys grocery shopping with me. After shopping, we ate pastry we bought at Lidl in the parking lot of Dunkin.
It’s approaching 1 a.m. and I am amazed at how quickly I am adapting to going to bed around 1:15 a.m. and waking up around 8:45 a.m.
An hour ago I was placing my laptop into the cupboard, taking my last cart of fixes to the “garage” area and heading to the time clock.
I only walked 16,000 steps in the warehouse tonight but I hit the pre-direct pick picking goal of 128 fixes.
I am sitting in my bed with a gin-and-cucumber-positive-beverage-B12 cocktail. I have kittens surrounding me (the Norse Pride domestic long hairs) and Nala chattering and falling asleep on my knee—and I know my bird should be asleep right now but she wakes up when she hears me come home and she’ll be super angry with me tomorrow if I don’t give her a bedtime cuddle.
She just fell asleep — on my knee.
The scene looks something like this:
Poor Fog is whimpering outside my door as he used to be the cat that slept with me until the teenager moved the Norse Pride (some of our foster kittens through Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab) into my room. He wants no part of those pesky furball kittens.
But he misses me now that I am working, and he pursues every opportunity he can to be with me.
Today involved some meetings, including the Lehigh Valley Regional Homelessness Advisory Board. I organized some paperwork and paid some bills as this week’s unemployment payment came.
I received EBT/SNAP (food stamps) for September, October and November so I’ve been combing every store possible for the best deals. Grocery Outlet and Lidl remain my standbys, but I find some good coupons at CVS. Today they sent me a coupon for a Starbucks Frappuccino from their ready-to-drink cooler for $1.49. I had $1 in Extra Bucks expiring today so I got the coffee beverage for 49 cents in food stamps.
Why does SNAP pay for candy and bottles of Frappuccino but there is no program to pay for bath soap, laundry supplies or toilet paper? One friend remarked that poor people must not be allowed to be clean.
So, now that I’m employed again these are issues I shouldn’t have to contemplate much longer.
And I suppose eventually StitchFix might ask me to stop blogging about them but I hope not— I’m a wholesome blogger with a long history in the public relations and journalism field.
But I’m so excited about hitting the 128 number and we had Thanksgiving dinner at work!
This is my last weekend before starting a full time position as a retail warehouse associate at Stitch Fix. It sounds similar to what I used to do at Target, but without people and more walking.
I’ve read some online reviews and exchanged some texts with some Target folks who also went to Stitch Fix and my concerns are two-fold:
Can this forty-something body with cerebral palsy handle being on my feet walking more than 12 miles a day?
Can I survive on the pay?
But one positive is that the extra steps should help me get my weight under control and increase my fitness fortitude.
Or so I hope.
My accident was a week ago and I’m starting to think that I didn’t hurt my rib but instead really did “pull my boob” as in manage to pull the muscle that supports my right breast. I’m tired of being in pain.
Okay, enough whining.
The day started with a strong cup of coffee shared with my cockatoo, Nala. (YouTube Video: Coffee Time)
And then I heard a ruckus and thought the cats were fighting. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Fog had caught himself a mouse. (YouTube video: Mouse Adventures)
My mom stopped by this morning and transplanted the snake plant that the kittens destroyed. Then Mom and I went to Lidl where I not only got croissants to go with my delectable quince jelly, but I got discounted naan and lots of seltzer. In new flavors! Yes, Lidl has new flavors of seltzer including grapefruit.
I did lots of dishes, vacuumed the downstairs and my room (the roomba is functioning great now that I cleaned it, and washed the dining room and living room floors.
In between these tasks, I cuddled kittens and watched Car Masters: From Rust to Riches on Netflix.
In the last three days, I’ve managed to watch both seasons of this program. I love cars. My dad was a diesel mechanic and truck driver for much of my childhood. He can fix anything and I have a certain admiration and attraction to people who can fix things.
I’ve had the same cell phone number since 1998 because my dad gave me an old 1984 Ford Escort whose carburateur would flood and leave me stranded with every rain storm.
Some of my favorite memories are of watching my father work.
I recommend the reality series Rust to Riches — it features some serious strategy in building some amazing cars and also has more drama than one might expect.
The people who staff Gotham Garage in California include a woman who specializes in motors and knows classic muscle cars.
I made the teenagers a cheap knock off of seafood Alfredo for dinner.
And now the teens are playing Monopoly with a friend downstairs.
Tomorrow I will be getting a facial at Lucha Bella, hopefully making a trip to the Dollar Tree and taking the foster kittens, all seven of them, for shots.
Can a day or a week be hectic and full of emptiness at the same time?
Of course it can. I certainly know that.
I’ve spent the last couple days balancing household chores, some obligations I volunteered to do, medical appointments and animals.
I really want a beer or a glass of wine.
I’m technically overweight now — my BMI is 25
But I am pleased with some of the progress I made on projects, primarily submitting an idea for a virtual book fair fundraiser for Mary Meuser Memorial Library (which the committee has responded very favorably to) and sorting through some old little girls’ clothes from the attic.
So in the midst of everything I noticed my front garden is a mass of nettles.
I pulled a bunch of weeds when I got home from the hospital but they grow faster than I can yank them out.
But then I saw this:
My roses need to be trimmed. Another casualty of my hospital stay. But I needed this glimpse of beauty.
And I cherish it.
In other news, I tried a stroopwaffel from Lidl. They were impressively gooey even without the obligatory coffee to warm the caramel inside.
I am not an “extreme couponer” and I hate the whole concept of “extreme couponing.” Life experience has taught me to be frugal, but *living* life has taught me that reading 5 newspapers to get a few extra bottles of Tide raises the question of how much is my time and my happiness worth?
When stores first starting using loyalty cards, I hated the concept. I still hate cards. But customer loyalty apps are different. I already have my phone. These apps also allow me to shop and plan my shopping trips. Target Circle, like many others, combines their coupons, payment options (even when in the store), circulars, and stock all in one place. I can scan items to see if there’s a deal while in the store and, of course, they customize offers to cater to my shopping habits.
The Lidl app allows me to make a shopping list (as does Target but I like Lidl’s list organization system better) and rewards me based on how much money I spend. Last month I earned a 30% off sliced cheese coupon! So I bought extra cheese. We might be living on toasted cheese sandwiches with my upcoming job loss.
I sign up for the emails and while a lot of them get annoying, some of them alert me to major deals on my household staples.
And that is what happened with CVS. They sent me a coupon for the gallon bottle of Arizona iced tea for $1.66 cents. The teenager has a weakness for Arizona iced tea so I let her buy some as an occasional treat.
I texted her the offer, and asked her if she wanted to walk to CVS to redeem it. She declined.
CVS sent a 40% off one item coupon. I loaded it to my card because you never know when you’ll end up in CVS for a health emergency.
The teenager also loves Cinnamon Toast Crunch and had a craving for Honey Nut Cheerios. Now I view cereal as an occasional emergency snack, not as breakfast. But the teen is a convert to the cereal-to-start-the-day camp.
Now I know CVS regularly has regular cereal sales.
Yesterday they sent me a coupon. “One day only! General Mills Cereal! $1.99!”
And the photo featured Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Honey Nut Cheerios.
I texted the teenager.
She came downstairs. When I told her that I would buy both cereals, she volunteered to walk to CVS. I handed her my debit card. She refused it. “Mom, it’s $4.”
I asked her if there was anything else she needed. She said no, but she might buy iced tea. I thought, “drats. We missed that iced tea offer.” I told her she could use the 40% off coupon if the iced tea was full price.
She came home with the gallon of iced tea, the two boxes of cereal, and a bag of Doritos. I asked her how much she spent.
“$7,” she said, “but that doesn’t make sense. This is $14 worth of stuff. At least.”
Apparently I also had a snacks/drink coupon I forgot about that also saved us 85 cents.
So we talked about it, and I asked her if she was starting to get my system. She said no. Not at all.
As far as she understood, she merely said she wanted to go to CVS, I looked at the app and put coupons on, she randomly grabbed what she wanted, and told the clerk at the register to use all the coupons.
I woke today with no clear idea of what I wanted to achieve today except that I promised my teenager that we could go to Lidl and get supplies to grill again.
I even called my blind friend Nan (who’s now on twitter and just published a NASA poem as a tweet) and got her shopping list.
Peanut butter cookies
I got up and fed the menagerie. One quietly sad little leftover tidbit of having formerly feral kittens is that sometimes they really do eat anything.
Fog, who was on his own a month longer than his brother Misty (Mistofelees), tends to eat the cockatoo’s kibble.
But I do feed them— as I grind my whole bean espresso blend and feed it into my little espresso machine.
This morning I started laundry, washed the bathroom floor and reassembled it now that it’s been thoroughly scrubbed. I had my last birthday cupcake for breakfast.
I saw a got the last of my anticipated packages, a shirt and necklace from Doll’s Kill. (Unboxing here: My last birthday package.)
I also got two pairs of slacks and a purple tunic from White House Black Market. I thought the necklace would look amazing with the tunic. (Another unboxing here: New Pants)
My Goffin’s cockatoo, Nala, had her morning talking session and woke the teenager up at 11 a.m.
The teenager and I went to Lidl and the Dollar Tree. Our finds at Lidl included super cheap scrapple and super cheap hot dogs and super cheap maple breakfast sausages. We got two bags of instant light charcoal. Dill pickle pita chips. Some varieties of veggie burgers. Provolone because it was on sale and the teenager adores provolone. The teenager even got break and bake chocolate chip cookies to make in her father’s new toaster oven. (His apartment does not have a stove/oven.)
At the Dollar Tree, I got tuna. A vase because for the life of me I can’t find the one I made in college that I use to display my roses. Frozen appetizers. A can of corn so we can make my mother-in-law’s corn bake. A can of Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli because it might be the second time the teenager ever had it. Some grill utensils. Matches. And Ajax. Because the teenager wanted Comet for cleaning but the Dollar Store only had Ajax. And instant decaf coffee. Because Lidl didn’t have any decaf coffee and I need to detox.
Nala got really hot this afternoon and started swimming in her water bowl.
The teenager started the grill again. This time we were more determined than ever to succeed. Read about last night’s attempt here: Yesterday’s BBQ
We even invited her dad for dinner. And do you know what? Those cheap hot dogs were really good.
And I had a library board meeting at 7 p.m., so I poured a Diet Coke and mango nectar.
I can feel my tension fade away and it feels delightful. I ate well today, though I’m hungry now. I even had a ton of fruit. A serving of cantaloupe. An apple made in the grill like at Girl Scout camp. And probably 8 pieces of watermelon.
I didn’t sleep much last night, wide awake at 5:30 a.m. After tossing and turning for an hour, I got up, fed the cats, reset windows on my newly arrived computer and decided to do my grocery shopping at Lidl when it opened at 8.
There were about 8 of us in the parking lot when it opened and the population of the store doubled in the first ten minutes. I did a lot of shopping in about 20 minutes, with everything from bathroom supplies to Easter Candy, plums to the last of the Brussel sprouts.
Lidl still has toilet paper, hand soap, various wipes, acetaminophen and disinfectant spray.
Many of the shelves are completely empty but others are untouched — so some of my protein choices are unorthodox. I bought some things I prefer not to eat, like frozen black eyed peas, because they are cheap and will keep. I also bought processed foods I avoid for health reasons for the same reasons, namely hot dogs. I also snagged the last carton of liquid egg whites. I’ve never cooked with those but they have a freshness date of June. So it’s a protein I can store.
I bought the teenager a bag of lemons and a bag of plums. I treated myself to a large cantaloupe. I will surprise us both will pre-cut watermelon— a luxury I never indulge in but we can use the extra fruit.
And while everyone else ran to things like meat and toilet paper, I went to the bakery and put on the disposable gloves they offered, grabbed a pastry paper and selected warm croissants— you know before everyone touches them.
I also bought juice, again which I never do preferring the fiber and extra satiating qualities of real fruit, but if we’re not going to the store, we need some vitamin c source.
And one man noticed how quickly and efficiently I shopped. He made robot gestures and called me a machine.
And I got a big old bag of lavender Epsom salts. That was my treat.
For those who enjoy Nala’s shenanigans… She insisted on trying to steal my coffee. See her here: Coffee thief.
And we do still have the cats. Including big, dumb Oz.
Periodically I put her back in my room, but she kept calling me due to her fear of the budgies. So Nala watched me unload & reload the dishwasher, have breakfast and make extra parfaits, do two loads of wash, hang wash, let the roomba vacuum the kitchen and then I washed the kitchen floor.
As for meals this week, the menu includes:
A nice chunk of ham I got at the grocery outlet for $1. Probably with boxed Mac and cheese.
Veggie burgers or regular burgers
Spaghetti, either that black bean spaghetti I got at Marshall’s or Green Giant lentil rotini I got on sale at Target
A prepared salmon and vegetable salad I also got cheap at Grocery Outlet
And “Greek night” with a lentil salad and a white bean salad from Lidl and some mighty fine looking mixed olives I got at Grocery Outlet for 77 cents.
And this little naughty cockatoo refuses to vacate the drying rack, probably because it’s heated.