The last several weeks have featured a bevy of local non profit workshops and presentations.
Two of which happened last Wednesday night— the second in the Yes! Empowerment Series from the YWCA of Bethlehem and a panel on Quality of Life Women’s Issues hosted by American Association of University Women Easton Branch featuring Megan Lago (who coincidentally is my neighbor), the communications director for Lisa Boscola; Janice Thomas, homeless services director for Third Street Alliance for Women and Children; and my former colleague Antoinette Cavaliere (pictured below), program director for ProJeCt of Easton.
It’s energizing that local non profits can interact with each other and the public so fluidly and easily through social media and video conferencing platforms.
The focus of the AAUW panel was the problems facing families during the pandemic, which many of them seemed to revert to age old problems like lack of education and domestic violence.
This week’s YWCA session was on giving and receiving feedback, another interesting reflection on how we communicate and interact with others.
Then I opened my LinkedIn to discover that the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley featured a photo of me, my colleagues and one of our Women United supporters on their LinkedIn post to promote their upcoming Women United event.
The last few days have been emotional, challenging and at times full of mirth… so as expected, it is the full moon.
I attended a few trainings and meetings and will be (or was) on the county council meeting agenda to serve on the drug andalcohol task force. I also sat in on a meeting of the YWCA of Bethlehem’s Empowerment and Justice Committee.
Today was the first Friends of Pete mixer since the pandemic started!
But let me not get ahead of myself.
I did two loads of laundry, tended some pets, had coffee with a neighbor, vacuumed my room, tried to get information on my unemployment claim (tried two different agencies and could get through to neither), went for a walk with another neighbor… and learned some high school physics.
And then Sarah, my lead intern in the communications department at ASPIRE to Autonomy visited! It was our first in person meeting despite working virtually practically side by side since June.
She knows the delightful crazy in my house— the naughty cockatoo, the sibling grey cats, the visiting dogs, the foster kittens, marching band, teenagers 1 & 2, the blind poet friend, etc. She’s seen & heard a lot of silly and strange things via video chat.
And now she drove 90 miles to see the real thing. Maybe a should start my own reality television show… and then run for President.
Teenager #1 proclaimed that Sarah was “even prettier in real life.”
She tried to make friends with Nala, met lots of cats, and then I went to take her on a tour of my neighborhood.
And there was construction blocking on end of the street and no lie a MUFFLER and TAILPIPE at the other. To get out of my street, we had to move part of an exhaust system. To which Sarah merely said, “I am not even surprised.”
I drive her to the teenagers school, show her Easton Area High School (the size of which blew her mind), and (don’t judge) visited two Dunkin’ Donuts out of the six within 2.5 miles of my house. We only got drinks at one. Note: Sarah uses almond milk.
We drop the car off and take a walk around the neighborhood which she enjoys because she can’t go anywhere on foot at her house. And she asked a lot of good questions discovering the history of the Dixie cup along the way.
We return to the house because I told Sarah we were going to light a few candles. Apparently I had never mention to Sarah that I was an animist pagan (or in practical terms a witch).
Luckily, she has a history as a Catholic and Catholics light as many candles, burn as much incense and if you consider a prayer a spell, then do as magic as witches do.
So around 4:15, we did a candle burning ritual to coincide with the 5:05 full moon. I gave teenager 1 a white candle to draw the positive light to us and keep our intentions pure. I gave teenager 2 a purple candle as I want her to draw peace, calm, and safety into her life. I gave Sarah a blue candle as her friend had cancer surgery today and we wanted to pray for her healing. My candle was green. I need money, a job or some sort of resources.
After Sarah’s first ritual, we left for the Friends of Pete mixer— the Pandemic Breakout Networking event— in downtown Easton. I also showed her my old office at ProJeCt of Easton and then we drove by the new office for ASPIRE.
I reconnected with some old acquaintances— including Gil Bean of InFlow Advisory and PeteReinke. I met some new people and got to have drinks with my ASPIRE peers. And forgot to finish explaining to Amber, the co-founder of ASPIRE the difference between a Wiccan, a pagan and a witch.
I had a gin-elderberry-lime-berry cocktail and calamari at Ocean. I’d dined at all the other restaurants on the list so it was nice to finally try Ocean.
But let me back up and explain— Friends of Pete is a Lehigh Valley networking group that has a strong LinkedIn presence, a weekly Zoom check in and used to have monthly mixers.
It is how I met Darnell in August 2019.
And Sarah realized she’d been to Easton before— to visit The Crayola Factory. Which I had written the original press release when Binney & Smith first remodeled the old Orr’s store and launched that attraction more than 20 years ago.
A month ago, I left my phone in D.C. It came home in this package.
I am an iPhone junkie.
Everyone around me knows it. I have never denied it. Earlier this summer, I left my iPhone 4 on my friend’s bookshelf in D.C. where it was charging. He mailed it to me, but since I left on a Thursday and the phone arrived on Monday afternoon, that meant five days without my phone.
Monday, while cleaning the bathroom, my iPhone slipped from my pocket and went for a brief swim. As it fell, I reached out to catch it but it was too late. Submerged in water for about seven seconds, the time and my home screen flashed at me briefly before it powered down. I sealed it inside a plastic bag of whole grain brown rice. I’m told I can’t touch it for a week. A week!
That was about 50 hours ago. I find it’s not the Facebook or the Instagram I miss as badly as the lack of information. When my husband mocked me for not knowing a 1980s cartoon monkey, there would be no YouTube search. No news makes it into my house. My favorite news sources’ tweets fall upon other ears. No texts from my father. No Facebook messages from work colleagues pushed to the forefront to let me know that extra shifts are mine for the claiming.
No impromptu photography of the ridiculous things my daughter does. No blogging of the meals we eat day-to-day for my recipe blog, http://www.angelfoodcooking.blogspot.com. My email is limited, as we don’t really have internet in the house. Those job listings I find via the Indeed app each morning… Those are far away. No pedometer to tell me how far I’ve walked or where I walked it.
It’s hard to check my bank balance, especially since I have several accounts at two different banks all of which are more or less empty. When I went to Target to buy my grandmother a new nightgown, I couldn’t use Cartwheel. Read a book? Listen to music? Nope, can’t do that, either. No maps. No easy access to my calendar, phone numbers or addresses. No GPS to tell me where I am. No apps to help me find the nearest bike path or public transports. I can’t even buy a train ticket.
I’ve been told I can do things via my phone that some people haven’t mastered on their computers. I edited press releases via the Pages app, share them as Word docs and save them to Google Drive or simply email them. I keep PDFs of my resume, favorite samples, portfolio and recent newsletters that I can distribute with a touch of my finger.
My Instagram followers and Facebook friends may think I’m dead. In a way, I am. I am using my circa 2009 Nokia flip-phone that I gave my husband after his phone went through the washing machine. The kind people who answered at my carrier’s customer service line have forwarded my calls to his line. But that leaves us one phone. For a family of three. And no landline. My daughter doesn’t even remember when we had a “house phone.” Answering machines are alien technology.
The ring tone of my ancient phone is Cake’s “No Phone.” The lyrics remind me, “No Phone. No Phone. I just want to be alone today.” I loaded it as a joke back-in-the-day when I was a newspaper reporter. In the days before iPhones, Twitter and Facebook.