Lavender retrospective

I’ve tried to incorporate the spirit of my “staycation” two weeks ago into my everyday life. I have tried to embrace a more carefree joie de vivre.

I think to some extent it is working.

Scrolling through my blog feed, I see lots of random home-cooked meals, even more pizzas and fast food… I mean, what crazy mood swing prompted me to eat TWO blizzards from DQ in one night???

My dental work on Wednesday was a huge success and has prompted such a physical and emotional relief— because when you’re slowly paying off more than a thousand dollars in dental bills and something is not right, it drains you.

It reminds me, as life often does, that our struggles never really end. The only destination in this journey is death, regardless of what milestones we try to hit along the way.

Some days it’s harder to get out of bed than others, but hopefully there is something for all of us to appreciate and something we can do for the world.

I opened my Lock Keeper Gin from County Seat Spirits last night. Mixed a shot of so with equal parts carbonated water and a light French lavender soda.

Gin by itself has a clean but bitter taste, in my opinion, with the Lock Keeper Gin bursting with a strong citrus aftertaste. The light blend of lavender gave the gin just enough sweetness to be undetectable in my cocktail. I find gin way smoother and easy to mix than vodka, which I know is an unpopular opinion.

Summer “picnic”

I am in love with the lemonade lavender gin cocktail from County Seat Spirits. So light and refreshing. I’ve always loved lavender and I’d forgotten my fondness for gin.

Some would say that make me an old woman.

I ordered the spinach feta speciality pizza from Dominos and had them swap the provolone and onions for hot sauce and chicken.

I sprinkled the pizza with purple pepper and crushed red pepper and I must say it is heavenly.

Mango nectar and Diet Coke

I suppose I have to let go of my birthday and start referring to my time on vacation— but how awesome is it that my birthday bled right into a holiday weekend and then into paid time off from work!

For more on my recent birthday:

Kicking off my birthday

Pre-Birthday Magic

Feeling the love

The end of my birthday

Vacation Day 1; Birthday day 4

I’ve been with my agency for 14 months now. I think in that time I took off my daughter’s birthday, two days before my daughter went back to school (and to go the Iron Pigs baseball Game and see her marching band perform the national anthem—Warrior Band at Iron Pigs), one planned day when my daughter had surgery, and one sick day.

So this time is deserved.

And before I left I learned I got the PA Food Recovery Infrastructure Grant for our food pantry which will pay for a new commercial freezer for our food pantry.

So after my delicious burgers from Tucker Provisions (who with the generosity of their customers and via Easton Hunger Coalition donated cases of eggs from the Zimmerman farm to ProJeCt of Easton’s food pantry), I got home late last night and between the kittens getting wound up and myself feeling a second wind, I didn’t get to bed until 1 a.m.

Luckily the animals let me sleep until 8. Even Nala, my Goffin’s cockatoo, was patient.

I got up, fed the menagerie, started dishes and laundry and my mom came down to help me clean. We gave the downstairs a thorough dusting, shining, vacuuming… and I’d like to say Mom and I made a good tag team. The teenager worked on her room.

I told her I’d buy her a pizza for lunch.

We ordered Domino’s. I got a spinach feta pizza with black olives, Parmesan bread bites, and since Mom was here a bacon jalapeño cheesy bread. The teenager asked for wings. We also ordered Diet Coke, which we mixed with mango nectar.

I’ve been drinking it all afternoon. If I had peach schnapps or vanilla rum, it would be even better.

I organized my closet— since I recently got some new clothes from White House Black Market some of the old ones had to go. I have a small wardrobe. And a small bedroom.

I took a 30-minute or so nap.

And Mom might be coming back Tuesday to have coffee and bagels and help me clean and organize my kitchen cupboards.

That sums up vacation day 2.

Friday morning musings

Once I finish this, I will be logging into work. I don’t expect it to be an easy day, but I expect it to be decent. And it’s Friday. I have a meeting tonight with… let’s just say a freelance “client” about some editing I am doing on a key project. A good project. A project that could have a positive impact on my community.

I know my posts lately have been lists and animal updates. I’ve been musing a lot about what parts of life really bring personal contentment— and how that has to mesh with corporate America’s expectation that we are the worker bees. We are judged by our productivity, which is defined not by the benefit to the greater good but as money pocketed by those fortunate enough to stand among the elite.

Coupled with these thoughts of critical theory against the capitalistic machine, I find myself musing over pleasure versus good and its contribution to wellness. Let me explain, if I can.

Yesterday, I had some work stress that I had anticipated. So I ordered a pizza to provide some feel-good endorphins to keep my focus away from the computer screen and the universe that exists there now. I had dressed for the office, thinking that would give me confidence in this stressful time.

Dressing up at the home office

It worked— but I was so cold I soon had to change.

By the end of the day, ALL of the food choices I had made had no real nutritional value.

  • Breakfast: coffee and chocolate chip muffin
  • Lunch: half a Little Caesars Pepperoni Cheeser Cheeser and Coke Zero
  • Dinner: regular size bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and a Yuengling
Yes, I’m wearing footy pajamas in May

And now my weight is up. I’m about five pounds above my ideal weight now. But I look in the mirror and I see me. I don’t see five extra pounds.

They don’t lessen who I am.

But if I allow the cycle to continue, the pattern will negatively impact my health. So I need to chose.

Meanwhile today is warmer, but cloudy. I put on one of my favorite summer dresses and a cute cropped quasi-sweatshirt. I finished up the half and half so no more hot coffee. It’s free donut Friday at Dunkin if I leave the house. And the teenager has a fundraiser due today.

We need to clean this weekend, and the kittens gutted my one shelf in my closet (but they are so cute and give good cuddles so all is forgiven).

Maybe I have given you something to ponder. Happy Friday.

Joy Is

Yesterday I allowed myself to eat my feelings—in the form of a Buffalo Chicken Specialty Pizza with spinach instead of onions (six slices), Parmesan bread bites (probably half the order), and sweet BBQ bacon specialty chicken (again probably half the order) from my good friends at Dominos. I’ve had the same “delivery specialist” the last two orders. And my last order was on Thursday.

And I washed it down with a big glass of Two Rivers Brewing Bankers Brown Ale. But I must say, my cockatoo, Nala, approves of my bad decisions. Click on the link under the photo to see Nala playing with the empty box.

Nala playing

That was not a healthy way to deal with stress. But it’s over and done and it felt so good in the moment.

Bad decisions often do.

But today was a new day and I don’t surrender. So, I bring to you a list of the things that brought me joy today.

1. My professional peer Lynn from another non-profit locally reached out to me today on Facebook. We had a lovely Zoom chat on my lunch hour and discovered in addition to our journalistic pasts, we also both have three-legged cats. Go figure.

2. One of my colleagues sent me a photo of the tree from the courtyard at our office.

On this dark, damp day (over the course of which my toes NEVER got warm despite my super thick winter socks), this photo put my day right from the get-go. Why?

Because it’s a magnolia tree. We had a magnolia tree in our yard when I was young— and as my work colleague observed—the extremely short life span of its flowers makes them somehow more special. I used to climb the one in my girlhood home and I love the silky feel of the petals as they tumble to the ground.

3. I’m working on a last minute state grant. A food recovery infrastructure grant that could buy our agency a new commercial freezer. The state representative I’ve been working with has been so nice and so responsive, I told him it’s truly been a pleasure to work with him and he told me I made his day.

From a grant I’m working on

I shared the proposal with the mentor my boss appointed to me, and he liked it and pointed out some areas where I could strengthen it. I also asked some connections for a letter of support and I received a truly heartwarming letter from one.

So, regardless of what happens, I feel good about the work I do.

4. My daughter spent the day helping her grandmother with yard work. I’m proud my daughter doesn’t mind physical labor. She sent me this text:

Mom.

Mom.

Mom.

Look what I got.

Yes, an old broom

Now, my daughter and I will bless this broom as part of her spiritual journey. A witch’s broom.

And finally, this one isn’t from today, but…

5. I found these jars in the garage. And they are really pretty.

That’s all I need to find joy.

A challenge for my readers

I keep a list of potential blog topics on my phone. That way if I feel like writing and don’t have an idea— there is one waiting.

But I’ve had a bad stomach ache for a while (I blame the food choices I’ve made over the last 24 hours) and I just don’t have the motivation to write.

For dinner last night I had half a medium pizza from Dominos (spinach feta), with Cheezy Jalapeño sauce from Little Caesars, half an order of BBQ bacon wrapped specialty chicken, half an order of Parmesan bread bites, Sweettart jelly beans, Yuengling, and Diet Coke. (While watching Hoarders.)

I had chocolate coconut cookies and peanut butter eggs for breakfast and the remaining half of the pizza smothered in crushed red peppers for lunch. And dessert was several handfuls of Tums and have a bag of generic jelly beans.

And several cups of coffee.

I have my first official library board meeting tonight, of my official library comeback tour, via Zoom but first a challenge…

First person to suggest a topic in the comments— I will write it.

You can take an idea from my list OR suggest your own.

Some of my ideas:

  • Anything related to Tarot
  • My parenting philosophy regarding teens and behaviors like drugs & sex
  • Eminem
  • My daughter’s observations after having her adenoids removed (hint: she “regrets” the surgery)
  • Cute cards with cats
  • Cats vs dogs
  • My stuffed animals
  • an overarching review of Gordon Ramsay’s television shows

Ready… Get set… GO!

Wednesday

Yeah, Wednesday. That’s what I got. I’m thirsty, I’m tired. I’ve written so many grants my eyeballs hurt.

But I’m surrounded by birds and kittens.

Fog

Fog was the kitten trapped last. You can’t manhandle her like a tame cat, but she’s sure starting to like cuddles.

I also just ordered a pizza.

The teenager is with her dad. I cleaned bird cages as that is a Wednesday ritual as we prep for garbage day. Nala seems to enjoy her pellets I got her— I mixed ZuPreem nut flavored pellets and Kaytee fruit flavored pellets in with her parrot mix which had a lot of nuts and seeds in it.

The dishwasher is doing its thing on all the pet dishes.

And I think I ate fairly decently today and I’m surviving my work week so I will get that pizza. Buffalo chicken pizza. And a cold beer.

For breakfast I had a bagel, half with hummus and half with butter. And half a cup of my favorite coffee with half and half. Morning snack was a protein matcha coconut milk drink. Lunch was spaghetti squash, chick peas, tomato sauce, kale and feta. And for my afternoon pick me up I had about ten really good gummy bears.

Okay so note to self: more fruits and veggies tomorrow.

My plan now is to get the birds their water bowls, wait for my pizza, and hopefully work out a new budget. My tax refund came, but I owe more than that on my medical bills so it didn’t offer me as much breathing room as I hoped. I’m still in the hole, as they say.

But that’s where clever budgeting comes in. And I hope to share with you some of my budgeting tricks. Stay tuned!

The Pizza Weight Loss Plan

If you’re reading this after seeing the title and thinking I am proposing pizza as a fad diet, step away. I am joking. This is a light hearted, humorous piece about how Dominoes and Little Caesars have become my stress foods.

I can cook. I can cook well. But stress eating is a hobby of mine.

My daughter introduced me to Little Caesars as they have one pretty much across the street from her high school (and a block away from the other high school).

The pizza there is mediocre, the deep dish is pretty darn good, Crazy Bread is delicious and Im addicted to their cheesy jalapeño dip.

Now I can blame my current job for Dominoes. If our CEO orders pizza, it’s Dominoes because it’s close to the office and cheap.

When my teenager had ear tubes installed in November, she wanted pizza and I thought of Dominoes. She’d never had it before. And she found the pizza tracker extremely entertaining.

But now between the Parmesan bread bites and the seasoned crust, I’m a junky. I’ve been ordering Dominoes about once a week and Little Caesar’s about once a month.

Irony is, I’ve lost almost 3 pounds. But that’s stress. Not pizza.

Pizza and a bottle of wine

Tonight’s blog entry will be short.

I’ve had a lot on my mind and on my plate for days. Weeks? Months?

I did something big for me. I reached out to a friend and asked her to have a drink with me.

We had intended to go OUT for a drink, but we’re both kind of broke so I invited her here to my home to meet Nala, share a bottle of wine from my holiday party, and order cheap pizza. Dominos.

Except I didn’t think she’d like the Beaujolais I had. I feared it would be too woody for her.

I told her so.

So she brought her own bottle. And I ordered the Dominoes. One white pizza, the garlic Parmesan sauce, with feta and pineapple. The other with robust marinara, banana peppers and black olives.

(The teenager is floating the idea of vegetarianism again.)

And we got the chocolate chip cookie brownie.

I blame that damn $5.99 mix-and-match promotion.

It felt so good to mindlessly talk, just sit and do nothing, eat pizza and share wine.

I am grateful to have a friend that will do that.

Savannah, we are here!

Day 4

We arrived in Savannah about 4 pm last night and checked into The Inn at Mulberry Grove. The prettiest motel I’ve ever seen.

For less than $50/night, I finally got a decent cup of coffee.

But I digress…

Last night we went downtown and ended up getting New York pizza got dinner at Vinnie Van GoGos. Wonderful artsy pun. I had a local blonde beer: Tybee Isle Blonde.

And then we visited the River Street area and bought sundresses and met a man who made palm roses.