So today I read more of Tylia Flores’ cerebral palsy memoirs, helped an aspiring writer, went to the gym and took a nap.
Sunday I return to work.
Speaking of which, today I received an amazing hand-drawn card from one of my up-and-coming Parisian Phoenix authors to celebrate my time off. Joan says this shows he’ll fit right in.
In the evening, the teen and I popped down to Emmaus, the first of what I hope will be several upcoming visits. I did to get to Let’s Play Books and some of the other Emmaus shops.
But tonight we were headed to Purr Haus, a cat-themed boutique that works with local cat rescues (owned by a former local newspaper reporter). It was finally the night of the FURR fundraiser— 20% of item sales and 100% of basket raffle sales went to Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab.
The teen bought some stuff. Then I bought a lot of stuff. Including this mug.
Because I so need this in my life. And I was an idiot and got two of my three t-shirts one size too small. I keep forgetting I gained weight and grew boobs during the pandemic.
I’ll blame that on the glass of red wine they served me at Purr Haus.
I also asked the owner to contribute to our anthology, As the FURR Flies. She said yes. I hope to tie up most of the project for the graphic designer this week.
The teen took me for espresso milkshakes and chicken salad sandwiches at Vargtimmen King Koffee.
The sunset was gorgeous and I saw some 50s-era cars in a driveway. And I think the teen enjoyed driving my Jetta turbo on the highway.
And then I came home and tried on my cat wardrobe— and realized my error in two of my t-shirts.
Today started with coffee and English muffins with my neighbor followed by a pedicure by my dear friend Beth at Hyperion Salon. Working in a warehouse walking 2,500 steps an hour (and that will increase), I need to take care of my feet.
Then I took the teens to the thrift store, where teenager #1 found three nice tops, teenager #2 found two very cute skirts, and I picked up several more pairs of comfortable pants for work.
We spent $30.
I let the teens use a coupon for a 99 cent coffee at Dunkin. Then we stopped at Wawa so we could fill the car with gas and I could redeem my reward from their loyalty app— a free 16 ounce handcrafted drink. I selected a cafe con lèche which is my favorite drink that Wawa offers.
I noticed while in there that Wawa now offers buttered rolls at the self serve coffee area and chocolate croissants. How very French breakfast of them. Their croissants look like overpriced toaster strudels but I will have to try them.
We came home and tried on our goodies. Once we determined everything fit, I started a load of washing.
I cuddled kittens, unraveled an entire spool of thread from the roomba’s mechanical system (thanks to cat mischief), found my missing glasses (yes, kittens), hid unwrapped Christmas presents and paid bills.
The teenagers and I are all cleaning in anticipation of tomorrow’s turkey dinner. The goal of the meal is to see how close to a traditional Thanksgiving as we can just using ingredients from around the house.
I keep a weekly dry erase calendar in the kitchen so everyone can keep track of household goings-on. Teenager #2 came to me and said, “Mom, the board says Taco Bell on Saturday.”
Indeed it did. Teenager #1 had heard a commercial for the toasted cheddar chalupa so I scheduled taco night.
The chalupa shell reminded me of the baked cheese on some Asiago bagels and rolls. I had the black bean one and I have to say I liked the vegetarian version better than their meat.
The teens approved as did my daughter’s father who stopped by to take the kids to Target. Teenager #1 is in the middle of bleaching her hair.
So after my first day at StitchFix, I will be starting full time work tonight on the 3:30 to midnight shift.
As a consequence, I’m going to have to streamline and focus my routine. Today, I got up, fed my cats, made a cup of coffee and made a list of things to do.
With that out of the way, I started the dishwasher. I also gathered, sorted and started one load of wash (which I later hung on our heated drying rack and started another to hang outside.)
Next I focused on my room: primarily running the roomba, cleaning the bird cages, and giving fresh food and water to the birds and fosters. I also totally swapped out the litter box for The Norse Pride and spent a little time with everyone.
Now it’s 10 am and I’m hoping to have a croissant and some fruit salad before my neighbor and her dog, Sobaka, stop by.
We’re going on a leisurely cookie walk to test one of the three pairs of shoes I bought for my new job.
I tested the ASICS last night. They felt so light. I got a black pair. I’ve always wanted a black pair. I also bought some glittery boots that are more comfortable versions of Doc Martens. Now in the end, they still may require inserts.
But if I’m buying inserts maybe I could go get the actual Doc Martens I wanted.
I had to face my pandemic denial today— due to the stressful nature of my last professional position, I’ve been stress eating more than I’ve admitted the last few months.
(And if you read this blog, you know I’ve been fairly transparent about my ability to each an entire Dominos or Little Caesar’s pizza. So imagine the late night bags of chips and the multiple doughnuts I haven’t told you about.)
Today I hit a new body weight high. And none of my pants fit. So it was sobering.
And I know part of that is my good intentions gone wrong.
Yesterday the morning started with breakfast with my dad and the teenager. I had coffee, a broccoli feta omelette, home fries, dry rye toast and cranberry juice.
I was proud of my choice because I haven’t had vegetables enough recently and I could bring half of my meal home for today. It was too delicious. So I decided I would skip or have a light lunch.
But then I stress ate a doughnut.
Then my dad and step mom invited me to the pub for dinner. My step mom wanted pizza so I thought I’d have a beer and a slice. I think I ate the equivalent of a whole bar pizza.
It’s 7:23 pm and I’m watching the marching band rehearse so my daughter can drive home… I’ll make7,000 steps today but not my goal of 10K.
PART TWO: WARLOCK CRAFT BEER REVIEW
At Three Mugs Pub yesterday, I ordered a salted caramel chocolate Saucony Creek, a craft beer label I typically enjoy. Chocolate stouts and porters tend to be my favorite beers.
They didn’t have it. So I ordered a Warlock instead.
Warlock is an imperial pumpkin stout brewed by Southern Tier Brewing Company. It was smooth and not obnoxious in its seasonal flavor. And caused more of a buzz than I was expecting given all the food I ate.
PART THREE: CHICKEN BONE BROTH
Earlier— on Tuesday—while the teenager was still hanging out with my dad…
I finally turned off my crock pot that had been brewing the chicken bones of a whole young roaster I bought at Grocery Outlet on Saturday for $4. I made the chicken in the crock pot that day, returned the bones and skin to the crockpot and kept filling it with water until Tuesday noon.
I carefully poured it all out and squeezed all the goodness out of the now soft bones. I also started a pot of soup on the stove. The yield was nice.
PART FOUR: TRIGGERED
I started my day with coffee— fighting an unusual sluggishness and some unexpected difficulty with my menstrual cycle.
Last week, I had started thinking about my psychological triggers. I have long known that I have an obsessive attitude toward food. Not in the disordered eating way, but in a hoarding kind of way.
I don’t actually hoard food, but seeing a piece of fruit rot or having to throw out an out-of-date food product upsets me far more than it should.
It usually serves me well, but it backfires sometimes and missteps with food can make me unreasonably angry.
Let’s bring this back to that chicken— I didn’t need that chicken. I didn’t even want that chicken. But that was a huge roaster chicken for $4.
I made soup and froze it for the first cold day of the fall season. (I’m not even fond of chicken soup). I separated the white meat and the dark meat and froze that for future use. And I made bone broth.
That’s a lot of food for $4. Good, healthy protein. But… it’s not food I enjoy. So why?
But then this morning as I was drinking my coffee, I heard two people arguing. It was a loud verbal altercation. This is one of my triggers I forgot about— and it’s one I understand. My parents had a lot of verbal arguments and if I’m honest (forgive me for saying so Mom and Dad) if they had enough alcohol the fights could get violent and ugly. There weren’t that many over the years, but enough to create an even more terrifying environment than the mere alcoholism that existed in my childhood home.
So I surveyed my surroundings and couldn’t see anyone. My chest was tightening and my stomach dropping and that odd little internal tremble shook me.
These incidents were frequent when my previous neighbors screamed profanities at each other and threw objects and each other at the walls. It terrified me. They were literally on the other side of the wall, similar to my parents. When I didn’t stand there paralyzed and watch them.
I am not convinced what happened this morning, but I suspect my neighbor had some sort of television program playing in her car.
PART FIVE: THRIFT STORE
I promised the teenager a trip to our favorite thrift store. She bought supplies for her father’s birthday craft and two belts. I bought approximately three skirts, four pairs of business slacks, one pair jeans and one pair corduroys.
Since I can’t try things on, I got everything from size 7 to 10. Far cry from my normal 2 or 4, or my spare/ baggy sizes 6 to 8.
None of the professional pants fit. The red jeans (Old Navy low cut Rockstar 10) fit but are snug. The corduroys fit (size 8). One size 8 skirt fits, the other two did not. The medium skirt fit.
I’m sorry, guys. I also wanted to update you on Aspire to Autonomy, Lady Boss Entrepreneurs Club and some recent make-up unboxing from Dolls Kill and Target.com. But I’m wiped out and this is really long. Oh — and William Prystauk’s third novel appeared on Amazon.com today so now you can read the latest Kink Noir masterpiece and get your mystery/romance/crime/BDSM on.
Many years ago I bought a silk slip on clearance in a beautiful teal blue color that matches my current bedroom. Because it’s a full slip, and such a strange and rich color, I never found a dress I could wear with it.
Last night I decided to wear it as a nightgown. I felt so fancy.
I was so cozy in my silk slip I didn’t want to get dressed. I thought a good way to compromise would be to wear a dress. And I got a new dress from The Attic that I haven’t worn.
I did my make-up and everything.
Now to make things more interesting I managed to convince my dad that we should have a socially-distanced picnic to celebrate my birthday and my step-mom’s birthday which are both tomorrow. I really want to cook these on the grill, and I don’t have any charcoal for mine.
And I had to order these. They sound so good! And when I ordered them from Tucker Silk Mill, I ordered fresh dill, fresh ginger, fingerling potatoes, sweet potatoes, golden beets, cauliflower, and purple peppercorns. The Vietnamese purple peppercorns were a birthday splurge.
And I never had golden beets, but I don’t really note any difference between those and regular beets.
I hung a load of wash outside and noticed so many lily of the valleys. At the front of the house my roses are finally blooming. I can’t wait to bring bouquets into the house.
At work today we still didn’t come to any agreement on when I can take my vacation.
I was working on my laptop on the sun porch when two women starting taking photos of my flowers. I heard them comment how beautiful my roses and irises are. I said thank you and started them as they hadn’t seen me.
They had been worried someone would yell at them for being in my yard. I laughed. No, I said, you are welcome. They took photos!
The teenager arrived home with the lemon cardamom cake she baked at my request for my birthday.
Lemon cardamom cake (click photo for recipe)
On my 30-minute lunch break, the teenager and I ran down to Tucker to get my impulse buy of vegetables and then headed to Dunkin’ Donuts for my free birthday coffee which they completely screwed up. The teenager got some more of her special Dunkin stones from the side of the drive through.
(For more on the teenager’s fascination with the magical uses of these particular stones… it started here: Thank You Tucker Provisions with our last visit to Tucker. Apparently each time we go to Tucker, I let my daughter pick up random rocks at Dunkin.)
But she has always valued the power in rocks.
And honestly, I’m glad they screwed up my coffee and gave me a smaller weaker drink because I submitted four grants to my executive director today so my nerves were shot.
I had just enough time to bring these goodies into the house before I had to clock back in!
The kittens and big old Oz gathered around me while I worked. My mother-in-law gave me a birthday card with money in it and my dad sent a really cute cupcake card with a check.
Then the teenager and I walked down to CVS to get my prescription and my neighbor who owns Sobaka, the Maltese yorkie mix, joined us. This gave the teenager a chance to try the new dog training clicker I bought her from Petco.
And I got my free nail polish from CVS for my birthday.
I came home and roasted vegetables, are cake and watched Star Trek The Next Generation with my daughter.
Please friends— promise me you will embrace the silliness. The restrictions of pandemic life can be hard, but they also can free you to enjoy those small moments you may be too busy to see in “normal”life.
Though either my iron is dropping (don’t worry, I took my supplement) or I am losing my mind because I told the teenager that the postman didn’t bring any laundry.
I hope that made you smile.
On Monday night, the teen and I went to the Grocery Outlet to do our first shopping in two weeks. We found these fish nuggets and we prepared them with cheesy cauliflower rice for a hot lunch.
On children’s plates.
Mine is in French.
Today I embraced the sun, opened the sun roof and took the teenager to Dunkin’ for “free donut Friday” and hash browns. Except I forgot the donut. And the hash browns. So we went through the drive through twice. This is becoming a habit. (See Nothing Just Happens: Pandemic Shenanigans .)
We ended up with one chicken bacon croissant stuffer (which we both liked), one donut, two orders of hash browns, one small raspberry cold brew, one medium butter pecan cold brew.
First of all, let me put out there that I am not as confident as I appear in that photo. I’m almost 45. I have stretch marks, muffin top and I’ve never been stick thin (well, except for that summer I lost 30 pounds) but I’ve always tried to be healthy and strong.
I’ve had a baby. I’ve broken bones. I’ve struggled with anemia, cerebral palsy and on occasion anxiety. I’ve had great jobs I didn’t want to leave (ever) and bad jobs that I didn’t want to go to.
But like many of you, I keep going. I have shiny happy days, sleepy days, down days, days I just don’t want to end and days when I cry myself to sleep.
Today I chose this outfit as my warrior’s attire. I got the shirt and the necklace from The Attic in Bethlehem and let me tell you— I never would have bought this shirt if not for the state lockdown/pandemic.
I would have said, ‘hell, no, that’s way too skimpy.’
And left that shirt on the rack. But it looked so damn cute on the mannequin— which I think that mannequin has bigger boobs that me. No, wait. That shirt clearly looks tiny on the mannequin and my boobs are bigger.
But I decided to wear that shirt and I consider it a pledge of confidence to myself. NOTHING will intimidate me today. NO ONE will change how I feel about myself.
And I am adorable.
And to make it even more powerful, I wore my circle necklace also from The Attic. I have christened it my “keep going” amulet, because circles are round. They roll. They keep going. And this one is glittery and clear. Clear quartz is the stone used to purify things and recharge them.
Although it’s not quartz, it has a shine like quartz so I will use this necklace to remind me to keep going and keep my thoughts free of negative vibes.
Now bare with me for one more topic, I’m a little superstitious and as you can see I’m almost done with my journal. New chapters always begin at the end of my journal.
I’ve been working with Aspire for Autonomy for work, and I’ve been striking up some personal conversation with Darnell about helping with his organization. I’m impressed with his energy and hope to learn more about their goals.
So as I have mentioned—the teenager and I have made consignment shopping a pandemic sport. The Attic, a consignment shop in Bethlehem, has hosted live events and posted pictures of merchandise for sale on Facebook and Instagram.
My teen and I love to peruse the Instagram offerings and direct message each other from various parts of the house about items we think the other will like.
I ordered a bunch of necklaces. I used to wear a necklace every day and my necklaces were always symbolic. The amber I bought to purify energy around me. The emerald that reminded me who I wanted to be. The Celtic knot pentacle pendant that reminded me of my heritage and my spirituality.
I stopped wearing necklaces because Nala, my Goffin’s cockatoo, thinks it’s a game to bite the chains in half. And I didn’t know what necklace fit anymore.
So I bought used jewelry.
Now the necklace on the bottom of the photo is my standard one with my pentacle, my amber and a charm my father gave me recently to remind me that he loves me.
But the others are from my Attic buying spree.
And I don’t know what made me buy Horus. I think I started with the red strands of tiny beads. Then that sparkly circle. And Horus was an impulse. (I had already paid my invoice when the Attic posted the Tiger’s Eye necklace.)
And the Tiger’s Eye I bought very intentionally for the stone’s properties as, to borrow from one random website, “A stone of protection,Tiger Eyemay also bring good luck to the wearer. It has the power to focus the mind, promoting mental clarity, assisting us to resolve problems objectively and unclouded by emotions. Particularly useful for healing psychosomatic illnesses, dispelling fear and anxiety.” (Charms of Light)
I can use some focus and good luck.
But why Horus?
I saw the bird with the stone in his belly and thought he’d be homage to my flock. And I thought he looked Egyptian, so as a pagan and a former scholar of Africa, the attraction made sense.
But today as I got ready for work, I was overcome with the urge to know who my bird pendant was and the magical properties of turquoise.
So, turquoise: (from the same web site) “Turquoiseis a purification stone. …Turquoise balances and aligns all the chakras, stabilising mood swings and instilling inner calm. It is excellent for depression and exhaustion, it also has the power to prevent panic attacks.Turquoisepromotes self-realization and assists creative problem solving.“
Are you noticing a theme? Albeit a coincidental one. This is what I mean about the universe sending tools and magical objects. (I posted about this concept in my witchcraft series: My previous witchcraft series)
So I googled Egyptian bird gods and found my falcon-man Horus. And this is what encyclopedia Brittanica told me:
“Horus, EgyptianHor,Har,Her,orHeru, in ancientEgyptian religion, a god in the form of afalconwhose right eye was the sun or morning star, representing power andquintessence, and whose left eye was the moon or evening star, representing healing. Falcon cults, which were in evidence from late predynastic times, were widespread in Egypt.“
But we had to wait until after our Saturday chores of laundry, garage cleaning, dishes and vacuuming.
Then we emptied both the cages and dumped all the toys on my bed.
Now I often switch perches and toys between Nala, my Goffin’s cockatoo, and my budgies. Keeps everybody from getting bored and I think the budgies are teaching Nala to play. She often seems afraid of toys.
The teenager worked really hard updates the bird corner of my room. It looks great— but one problem… The kittens can easily hop to the top of the cages.