Sheetz Shenanigans

Tonight, the teenagers had their last competition recording and end of year review concert for marching band. Saturday is the last football game— I have a much coveted ticket.

Teenager #1 earned her varsity letter tonight. Teenager #2 earned a pin.

Proud of these two

After the performance, the teenager wanted her dad to take her for ice cream but he’d had some alcohol so he asked me to take her.

But I dilly-dallied over the menu too much and Dairy Queen closed before we got there.

I salvaged the evening by offering a trip to Sheetz. We all got milkshakes— Teenager #1 got the Monster Mash and all she would say was “mmmmm” over and over; teenager #2 got a custom chocolate caramel milkshake with brownie bits. I redeemed some rewards points (which turned out to be a fairly complex process) for the pucker shake. I’m not even sure what it really was but it was a blue milkshake with lots of sour patch kid pieces. I loved it.

Though Sheetz really could give the milkshakes a wider straw.

I ordered an appetizer sampler of boneless wings, jalapeño poppers and Wisconsin cheese curds. I already knew I loved Sheetz’s jalapeño poppers, but their cheese curds are beyond amazing. The boneless wings were dry and disappointing.

Dairy Queen retains the title for best chicken.

Meanwhile, the sugar from that milkshake left me feeling super hyped and more inebriated than an alcoholic beverage.

My top 10 videos on YouTube

I started a YouTube channel long ago to record and transmit a video to one of my friends’ writing classes. Six years ago. Somewhere around three or four years ago, I ramped up my production of videos with no real rhyme or reason.

What surprises me is what people watch and what they don’t. I now have about 325 subscribers but they don’t really interact often so I’m not sure if I have a certain type of audience or not.

Because I don’t promote my YouTube videos (they are crude and unedited and not really meant to be a commodity) I think most of my viewers stumble upon me by happenstance.

But I thought it would be fun to share with you the top ten most viewed videos on my YouTube channel.

10. The list begins with author Jordan Sonnenblick doing a reading from his new-at-the-time book at Mary Meuser Memorial Library. 557 views

Jordan Sonnenblick

What puzzles me is that # 11 is my review of a Starbucks Maple Pecan muffin at 554 views. Review of the muffin and at 475 views there is a few second video of a unicorn icee. Unicorn icee

9. This one is the now teenager as elementary school student (six years ago!!) playing variations of Bingo on her 3/4 baritone. 586 views.

Bingo

8. This one has 776 views and all it is is ducks recorded during our road trip to Georgia.

Ducks

7. The teenager’s middle school band playing an Irish Jig. 783 views. The composer/arranger commented on this one.

Irish Jig for Young feet by Travis J. Weller

6. Another marching band video from three years ago, the teenager’s high school victory song. 1,000 views.

Hail to the Warriors

5. (And 4.) The teenager as a middle schooler explaining how to assemble a sousaphone. Part one has 1,600 views whereas part two only has 1,200.

Putting a Sousaphone Together part one

Putting a sousaphone together part two

3. My daughter’s first season in marching band, stand tunes at a football game. 1,600 views

Warpath

2. My daughter as an eighth-grader playing Smoke on the Water on a sousaphone. 1,700 views

Smoke on the water

And #1 — for reasons I don’t understand:

My daughter removing my splinter

This video has 506,000 views. And my chipped nail polish received much criticism. Next time I will be sure to paint my nails before trying to remove a splinter.

So other popular videos include:

Opie the 3-legged cat and I make my bed (327 views)

Sun conure (322 views)

Yet Marzieh Hashemi only received 289 views. Marzieh Hashemi at a rally in DC

The Highlights

The last two days have involved trying to deal with the demands of house and health, applying for jobs, and keeping the pets alive and hopefully happy.

Today I learned county council passed a resolution appointing me to the Drug & Alcohol Advisory Board.

Yesterday and earlier today, I exchanged text with some of my peers volunteering with Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab. One person is updating Zeus and Apollo’s pictures on the web site and report that the pair are “playful” and becoming more outgoing. And as usual, Zeus is the attention hog.

I miss her so much. I haven’t stopped St. Chaar Pet Supply since Tuesday because it makes my heart hurt.

Zeus is the one in front

This morning I got my monthly Ipsy Glam Bag. It was due between October 6 and 16. So I was getting impatient. Especially since this is my last one until I get some income.

Ipsy Unboxing on YouTube

Later in the day I got some grey cat cuddles.

The teenagers had to go to Marching Band and record their performance for competition.

Click on the  image to see my recording
Click on the image to see my recording

So in the afternoon, I worked on posts for Lucha Bella’s social media. (Lucha Bella_skincare on Instagram)

Finally, the teenagers are off doing laundry and homework with the estranged husband at his parents’ house. I used the last $20 of my GrubHub gift card to order Taco Bell. I chose Taco Bell for several reasons:

  1. With a $15 order you got a free taco and free delivery (delivery is $3.99 plus $3 service fee plus tip)
  2. The food is cheap, so even with all those fees you can still get food for $20.
  3. My last two orders got screwed up— I blame the app not the restaurant. I don’t want small independent restaurants to be penalized for problems caused by the app and fault’s in GrubHub’s design. Ironically Taco Bell is the only order that came out right.

So finally, here is yet another video. Nala and I have Taco Bell

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!

Soccer Music

Time to embarrass the teens!

Teenager 1 & Teenager 2 attend a small public high school with some stellar education and arts programs. They are both in marching band. #1 plays baritone and #2 plays a base drum.

Many of their peers in marching band play sports so the group has a tradition — when each sport one (or more) of their camarades have “senior night” in their respective sports, as many band members as possible cart home their instruments and go to the game to play.

Today was Senior Night in Women’s Soccer. Teen #1 boldly stepped up to play tuba parts on her baritone and carry the low brass section.

And teen #2 not only banged that drum, but she motivated the teenager #1 to go to the event. And to practice.

YouTube Videos

Practicing smoke on the water at home

Drum Line

Hang on Sloopy

Hey Baby

Reviews, unboxing & YouTube

It started with an “eating things” video at Dunkin Donuts as I had to visit the notary at AAA to finalize my car refinancing paperwork.

I’ve wanted to try their stuffed bagel minis and they were definitely worth the trip. They are half the calories of a real bagel with cream cheese (though about the same price) and have I believe 6 and 7 grams of protein respectively for the plain and everything flavors.

The plain were a tad boring and tasted like doughy bagel cream puffs. The everything stuffed mini bagels were the favorite for both the teenager and I— and she doesn’t like everything bagels.

In this “eating things” video (perhaps I should consider adopting the term ‘mukbang’ though I do believe those are more focused on gluttony than silly, two generation food reviews), the teenager and I enjoy multiple items at Dunkin, too many items!

I must say we are a ridiculous pair, Trying mini stuffed bagels at Dunkin

When the teenager left for Marching Band practice (praise the Lord that despite the Coronavirus pandemic these band geeks can have their fun and hard work. It’s the closest thing to ‘hanging out with friends’ allowed), the postman delivered my Baby Bat Beauty package of three glittery eyeshadows, mascara and three lip colors.

I’m very pleased with my purchases but I do worry that I may not be able to pull off a bolder Goth look.

Watch me unbox on YouTube here: Baby Bat Beauty Unboxing

Tomorrow, I hope the teenager will join me in experimenting with new looks and we can do a follow-up post.

Red lips and glass slipper eyes

And in the evening, the teenager’s dad came over so we could walk over to her high school and listen to her marching band practice. Here they are rehearsing: Marching Band working on the Avatar show

So all in all it was a busy YouTube day. And I’m excited to try more of my new cosmetics.

Hospital “jet lag”

I don’t feel like writing right now. I don’t feel like doing much of anything but sleeping.

No one prepared me for how weird it would be to transition back into everyday life after 72 hours plus in the hospital.

It’s a lot like jet lag for similar reasons— your sleep schedule is screwed up and your routine in general is topsy turvy.

And I had neither major illness nor invasive procedures.

I got home on Thursday a little after 11 a.m. The cats were aloof but Nala was glad to see me.

I took one of the longest showers I’ve ever taken in my life. And I put on a pretty dress, just because I could.

And when I got out of the shower I discovered a text that alerted me to a cake on my porch.

The best baker in the neighborhood made me this coffee cake

I immediately texted my neighbor in the other half of my house and asked if she wanted to have coffee and I would bring cake.

Knowing I haven’t had decent coffee since the previous weekend, she started a pot immediately.

I left from there to go meet my daughter at the high school and help her carry her marching baritone home.

This is where I have to give my daughter all the props. Monday was her first day of high school band camp. If you don’t already know this about the teenager, she is in her fourth year of playing low brass in marching band.

So when I wandered off to the ER at 6-ish a.m. Monday morning, and was texting her “I’m not coming home.” Well, first she thought I was dying and then she suddenly became responsible for her own meals, her own laundry, and the care of 3 parakeets, 1 cockatoo who won’t go to sleep without someone in the room, our four cats and five foster kittens.

And we had a tropical storm.

And she handled it all.

Our neighbors offered an amazing support network, as did my friends, especially Gayle who brought me t-shirts so I didn’t have to wear a hospital gown.

I took several walks that first day home, including one for my medicine at CVS. I was ecstatic to see I only had a few days of Augmentin to take.

And the hand has improved every day.

Wound: about 10 a.m., August 8

My dad and stepmom came down to visit and take us to dinner at Three Mugs Pub. That almost made me cry because on Wednesday, after the doctor told me he couldn’t discharge me yet, all I could think of was a Shruty’s burger at Three Mugs Pub.

One of the best burgers around

When Three Mugs Pub was still Shruty’s, my husband and I were the first people to order the Shruty’s burger when they debuted it. It’s a really good burger topped with pepper jack cheese, shrings (tempura battered deep fried banana pepper rings) and Texas petal sauce.

In my opinion, this burger is one of the best in the Lehigh Valley, on par with the much pricier peanut butter bacon burger at Two Rivers Brewing, another favorite of mine.

And I had a Guinness to celebrate my arrival home.

They had a new appetizer on the menu— a hot buffalo chicken dip. We tried that too.

The teenager declared it her new favorite chicken dip, better than her father’s. I respectfully disagree. Her father’s is extremely good. I prefer it.

After that meal I slept 10 hours.

Now, on Friday, yesterday, everyone kept contacting me or stopping me to ask how I was doing and then Darnell stopped by to inform me of all the things that had happened while I was gone.

And everyone wanted a piece of the coffee cake Janie made me.

I shared.

And then my neighbor Jan let me watch a movie at her house, cuddling with her dog, and she even gave the teenager and I a bag of brownie M&M’s. The teenager thought they “just tasted like M&M’s” whereas I thought if you piled enough of them in your mouth at once it was like having a mouthful of brownie batter.

Not that I’ve ever eaten a bowl of brownie batter.

Or an entire pint of ice cream with brownie bits.

And then I slept 10 hours again.

I rolled out of bed a little after 8, expecting to have the last slice of Janie’s decadent coffee cake, after all, I need the food to take my antibiotics.

But then my mom told me she was bringing sticky buns.

So I made my morning coffee and as the espresso machine started steaming, I got on the scale.

I’ve gained two pounds since I got home from the hospital.

Saturday breakfast from Mimi

Lunch was a business mixer with the Easton chapter of the Lady Boss Women’s Entrepreneurial Club at Sogo Asian Fusion in the downtown.

A random young black women yelled at us from her car, “You guys look so pretty.” So I asked the teenager to take some selfies before our arrival. The teenager had just given me a haircut. I thought my hair looked untamed because of my hospital stay. I was wrong.

That random compliment from a stranger meant a lot to me as I still feel like I’ve been hit by a bus.

The teenager and I had the Out of Control roll, Fire Mountain (with scallops! and it really was a mountain, and it was so amazing) and a Philadelphia roll. The teenager squealed with delight and the staff at Sogo gave me the rubber-banded chopsticks because I was using a fork.

I guess the teenager will have to teach me to use chopsticks.

The remainder of my afternoon was spent cleaning, walking with my neighbor, and trying to earn the trust of our foster kittens.

YouTube playlist of our foster kittens

And now, I’m feeling a little nauseous and I wonder if it’s because of all these penicillin-family antibiotics in my system and the fact that I had so much more water in my system in the hospital. Every time I had an adverse reaction to the antibiotics in the hospital, they increased my IV fluids. So I’m trying to drink more here at home.

And a few minutes ago, my mom texted. She got bit by a friend’s cat today.

Cup of Hope

My former work colleague (a Target supervisor) had left her job at the Bullseye to pursue some personal dreams.

Shortly after, her middle child got diagnosed with a serious leukemia.

They were doing okay, as well as they could do with a very sick child, and the pandemic hit.

Her husband got furloughed and the unemployment didn’t kick in.

So, she started personalizing color-changing tumblers to make a little grocery money.

I gave the teenager one for band camp that says “low brass witch.” Mine is “Mama witch.” I gave it to her on her birthday.

She hasn’t set it down.

The Uplifting Side of Pandemic Days

There is just something about life in these pandemic times that I find uplifting.

Maybe the sense of nowhere to go or a certain carefreeness that reminds me of being on summer vacation as a teen.

Our grocery trips focus on the present more than ever. I normally only grocery shop once every two weeks but find that now I’m going once a week, buying less and rotating stores.

Today I went to a local small independent grocer, Park Avenue Market, where they are known for their amazing sandwiches and in store meats.

I treated the teenager to her first taste of olive loaf from the deli, slab bacon and their own feta spinach sausage patties. I also bought some stew beef and a small steak.

I discovered, in the middle of the store, with my order and my blind friend’s order, that I did not have my wallet. I found myself staring straight at a local cop and wondering where my wallet at fallen out of the back pocket of my jeans.

I told the teen to keep shopping and went home to look for it— it had fallen out of my pocket when I used the toilet before beginning our journey.

After the market, I took Nan her items and took the teen home before heading to Weis. There I got bananas, muffins, some discounted chicken and frozen vegetables. Half off fresh bakery products that weren’t so fresh any more. Milk, eggs, half and half and two six packs— one of Yuengling and one of a raspberry ale with a name I don’t recall.

We got some other items between the two trips: broccoli and cheese whipped into something akin to mashed potatoes, bread, mini shoo fly pies, A-Treat soda and lord knows what else.

Because suddenly life is shorter and the carbohydrates and sweets provide a taste of celebration.

I ate a vat of spaghetti squash when I arrived home and helped my daughter design a marching band show for her music assignment. Her dream has long been to play Cake’s Short Skirt Long Jacket in band. So she was ecstatic when the web sure her teacher posted had the music.

It was hard to unify songs since we didn’t have enough Cake songs to do a Cake theme. She found a lot of Green Day and thought maybe she should do all Green Day. But I couldn’t let her dream die.

She found the theme from Die Another Day— which I believe is Madonna performing in the James Bond film. I didn’t think mixing a movie theme and alternative would work. And her band director has done a Bond show.

Finally I researched early 2000s alternative rock in a Google search and we decided on Nickelback. Green Day’s Basket Case for the Opener, followed by the Cake song, closed by some Nickelback song that I’ve forgotten already.

So the theme would be alternative rock from the era in which these musicians were born.

And here’s Nala, my Goffin’s cockatoo, rocking out to Green Day.

Nala rocking to Green Day