Halloween 2021

As I write this, I am mourning the loss of having finished The Night Shift on Netflix. I am imbibing some generic strawberry lemonade energy drinks strongly laced with too much gin. I am craving potato chips, cuddling my cat Fog, and nursing my injuries from the day.

But perhaps I need to back up…

The photos above summarize my Halloween.

At 11 a.m., we had an appointment for Danu and her babies from the Celtic Pride— Aîné, Baile and Brigid and our newest foster, Georgie, to meet our foster cat godmother for shots, flea treatment, dewormer and microchip and OH MY GOODNESS was Georgie dramatic.

Then the teenager had a commitment to walk in the local Halloween parade and she asked me yesterday to walk with her as she paraded in costume. I will do anything my daughter asks.

And half way through the parade, I fell flat on my face to the collective gasp of the crowd. I rise, keep walking, hip and knee in pain. But I keep going.

#f*ckcerebralpalsy.

I finished the parade. Outside the teenager’s high school. Her father and herself know that the fact that I finished the parade did not mean I was okay as I have been known to do things like walk a Chinese buffet with a broken ankle.

My knee is swollen. I tripped over a mirror late in the day that struck me in the tender parts.

My back hurts.

I am craving potato chips as my body adjusts to the Mirena.

My princess, the male cat I jokingly named Fog, is curled up next to me. He is my baby.

The teenager’s dad came over and they carved pumpkins and I typed some of a manuscript for the identity anthology. We handed out candy and even the dog got to enjoy trick-or-treat.

I ordered Wawa for dinner— the teenager’s favorite ranch Mac and cheese, chicken Caesar salad and pierogie quesadilla and Blizzards from Dairy Queen for dessert.

Tomorrow the teenager is consulting a cleaning woman to take some of the stress off me.

Hopeful Friday

It’s is almost 3:30 p.m. on a crisp autumn Friday afternoon. I normally would be standing in front of the daily work schedule at the warehouse, but today they offered us voluntary time off. And my body needs it.

I had a chiropractor appointment today, about ten days after my last one. I described my symptoms as a lot of back pain that made basic movements like stretching in front of me to move a pile of clothes from one spot to another very uncomfortable, to my left leg feeling immobile like a tree trunk while my right was very flexible but weak and prone to discomfort.

And she noted that my left hip was stiff and locked in a position out of alignment. And she concurs with my assessment that it’s time to ask my doctor for some x-rays.

She asked what I was doing this weekend as she moved my bones around and I answered I had some work to do for my publishing company and that I have to drop a copy of my novel off at the Mary Meuser Memorial Library, my local public library.

And she thought I meant an overdue library book.

So, I corrected her.

And then she and her staff, the three of them, engaged me in a lively conversation about my book as the bought copies.

I did stop at the library. I did give them a copy. The teenager is appearing in the Wilson Centennial/Halloween parade with the library staff as the library mouse.

Last night, I had an interesting text message from a former colleague who left my last place of employment around the same time the man who hired me also left. She apparently has landed in a much better place, two years later, at a similar nonprofit with a larger service area. She texted me as I was pulling into the parking lot at the Hizzy and asked me if I would consider a position in her office.

I sent her the resume I had on my phone and she talked to her boss on my behalf.

Because I was “awesome” and “under appreciated” at my last nonprofit position.

Regardless of if or when this goes anywhere, it’s always uplifting to see that someone acknowledges who you are and what you have been through.

Another thing that can be frustrating or uplifting, our dog, F. Bean Barker, the black lab, pit bull and mastiff mix

We left work early last night, after shipping about 1900 men’s fixes. I have this equation I work in my head. On nights when they offer us VTO (voluntary time off), I survey the valleys of people doing my job. I count them roughly, using my journalist-surveying the crowd skills, and then I estimate, based on who I see and their skill levels, how many fixes I think we will be able to ship an hour. Then, when the leads call out our progress announcing how many we have shipped or how many we have left, I do the math in my head.

And last night, when they suggested that we could VTO after shipping 1840 fixes, I did my calculation (and gave more extra time since most of us and very inexperienced in men’s fixues) and thought we would be done by 9:30. The leads kept suggesting about 10 p.m. But I trusted my gut. And sure enough, we got the call of VTO at 9:20.

Also today, I have been editing and doing projects for Parisian Phoenix with breaks when my eyes hurt. I use those breaks to clean, because the teenager has booked a consultation with a cleaning lady for Monday. Her idea is if we have someone help me with the vacuuming, dusting, floors, nose-printed windows, and bathroom maintenance that maybe it would be easier for me to survive my bad days and get ahead on so many projects we have.

I did some furniture rearranging and my floor scrubbing and a whole lot of laundry, including I finally took the time to empty the chest on our sun porch and move the “winter things” into the hope chest we brought downstairs to sit under the winter coats on their hooks more than a year ago.

Oz, one of our personal cats, is on my lap while I work today.

After I update my blog and the Parisian Phoenix website with the story of how I accidentally started a podcast, my next task will be to explore the handwritten manuscript that one of our authors prepared for me. I’ve been looking forward to her tale for quite some time, but I don’t have the best typing skills so I have been saving it for a day when I have a nice block of uninterrupted time.

And then, I will rest by folding laundry. And when the teenager returns home from her waitressing gig, we will have tacos for dinner.

Tomorrow FIVE of our Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab fosters are headed to Petsmart for the adoption meet and greet. These babies need homes!

We signed up: Khloe (a four or so year old female grey torbie), Slim Shady and Eminem (the bestest, sweetest kittens ever, Shady is a black female and Em is a grey tabby with white feet, male) and Mars and Minerva, the tuxedo siblings who have been in foster for more than a year.

Quiet moment

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:

One of my roses

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.

Public relations and mini adventures

The last two days I have been hectic busy. But, yesterday, despite my activities and the sporadic heavy rain, I still walked about 9,400 steps.

Go, me!

Oz the Regal (random cat photo)

I started my day with a video chat with my fellow volunteers at Aspire to Autonomy, Inc. This anti-human trafficking organization helps connect underserved populations with services, while educating about human trafficking and looking for trafficking victims. It then helps victims rebuild their lives and get whatever help they need to reach autonomy.

They are also currently hosting monthly “Feed Northampton County” pandemic response food distributions at the Hispanic Center of the Lehigh Valley and in the West Ward of Easton. Using a pop-up food pantry model, Aspire and their network of ambassadors distribute food, masks and hand sanitizer.

The organization works with interns from Kutztown University’s Master’s of Social Work program. Currently I am working closely with Sarah, who has embraced the idea of learning more about public relations and how it can benefit her in promoting her future activities in her career.

Sarah and I were scheduled to have a video chat to strategize pitching the press release she had written the day before on a training session she and two other interns—Kayla and Sam—are facilitating next week on Pennsylvania’s Act 197. (More on that in a few paragraphs.)

Kayla and organization co-founder Darnell (and my supervisor) joined us to catch up on the list of activities we have going on right now.

I left the meeting energized and started pitching to my end of the media list, while Sarah handled the others. This morning, we noticed that The Valley Ledger had already posted our material. Thank you to them!

To read more about our upcoming training (please come!), click here: Act 197 training .

I hopped from there to a meeting for the fundraising committee of Mary Meuser Memorial Library. We had to cancel our annual book fair, due to Covid-19, and met to discuss future possibilities for fundraising. I floated what I felt was a good idea to use key space in the library (and facing a major thoroughfare) to promote local businesses. The committee like the idea and I am to prepare a proposal.

And the teenager made arrangements with Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab (FURR) to get our kittens fixed next week.

Fog, my office companion

The rest of the afternoon is a blur. But I know I helped with some correspondence for Aspire and pursued some networking opportunities on behalf of the group. I also asked my peers at the organization about an idea I had to promote the enforcement of Act 197 via a social media campaign.

Last night, I visited with my neighbors, watched Golden Girls with the teenager, went for a walk with “my other half,” Buddy’s mom who lives in the other side of my house, cuddled with my cockatoo and watched Indian Matchmaking on Netflix.

This morning somehow I slept until 8:30. And my email alerted me that it was National Drive Thru Day. I wrote a corporate sponsorship letter for Aspire and submitted it to the founders for review. Then, the teenager borrowed Buddy and we went to gather up cheap eats at the drive thru.

First I stopped at Dunkin as I still have more than $30 on my Dunkin gift card. They were offering 100 points on any purchase. I cashed in the free beverage I had on my card and bought the teenager hash browns. Then we stopped at McDonald’s as they were offering a free medium fry with any $1 purchase.

I bought her a $1 large Diet Coke and they kept offering me a $1 McChicken. The teenager told me to get it, so I did, but I had them make one without mayo and with lots of pickles.

There is still much work to be done in coming days as Aspire has several major happenings next week, but it’s exciting that between Aspire and the library board I have the opportunity to freely share my ideas and work to move both agencies forward.

March Library Excitement

My family has been involved with Mary Meuser Memorial Library for most of my daughter’s life.

From her preschool days to 2014 I served on the library’s board of trustees, including a couple years as president.

The Pennsylvania state library board urged libraries to enforce term limits on their boards and so I left after my second term, but my husband filled my post for the next six years. He also served as president.

Now his seat is open. So I reapplied. I will be rejoining the board of trustees this month.

In addition, my daughter (with her father’s support) hosts a writing workshop and open mic at the library on the third Thursday of the month. They have asked me to lead the workshop.

To promote myself, I submitted to their weekly poetry blog. See it here: Angel Ackerman featured on Stick Figure Poetry.

I will be hosting an interactive workshop on editing for word count, specifically on how to convey the most meaning with the least words.

The workshop begins at 6 pm, March 19, at Mary Meuser Memorial Library, 1803 Northampton Street, Easton, PA. In the annex.

For more about our library visit: Mary Meuser Memorial Library