A trip “For the Girls”

Today was supposed to be the day I blogged about Black Panther and Doctor Strange, which I will do when I finish this and schedule it for tomorrow. Short version: Black Panther was amazing but made me think about how we represent African cultures, cultural appropriation and stereotypes AND how comic books in general have to start with some sort of basic cliché and try to improve from there. I loved how Doctor Strange blended an action hero with sorcery and in the process led to some great philosophizing about the nature of reality and the definition of good versus the definition of evil.

But I have to interrupt my planned schedule and tell you instead about my visit to FOR THE GIRLS EASTON. Visit their web site here. And I encourage you to digest their mission on their web page here.

The teenager has breasts, and as a teenager she has grown and needed new bras during the pandemic. I have wanted to take her to FOR THE GIRLS for two plus years now, and her boobs keep growing, because every woman needs bras that fit, especially if you have large breasts (like my daughter) or older breasts (like me in my forties over here).

My daughter, having a moment of smarts as she is quite prone to do, asked her father to buy her bras from FOR THE GIRLS for Christmas. He said yes, and she finally had the opportunity to request an appointment for this weekend.

I asked if I could come, in part because I was curious about the shop, and also because I wanted to see what kind of options were available for my ample daughter.

So as she was trying on bras in the backroom fitting area, her dad and I sat in the shop playing with this really sweet dog. And suddenly I realized: I’ve gained 20 pounds and have been wearing bras too small for two years. I keep thinking I’ll lose weight so I don’t want to invest in new bras, because I don’t like my bigger boobs and I certainly don’t want to keep them. But I’m falling out of my bras. Just falling right out.

It’s not nice. It’s not comfortable.

I asked, “Can I be fitted, too?”

And of course the answer was yes.

** I love small businesses. **

And when she saw my boobs spilling out of my bra, that poor proprietor said, “Oh no.”

Traditionally, when I am at a healthy weight, I’m a 34B. Overweight I typically come in at 36C.

My new bras are 32F.

And it feels great to not have them jostling everywhere.

Standard bra sizes really don’t match your torso size and your cup size correctly. It’s just like jeans that never fit right. Bra sizes that are in the big chain stores for cheap are based on sizes most women can wear, and that means if you’re a smaller girl with a large chest, you might be stuck wearing a larger band size and smaller cup size that you really need.

To continue the jeans analogy, think about how a certain size might fit in the waist but not in the thighs even though by the measurements and the size chart, it’s supposed to fit. If manufacturer’s can’t mass produce cheap jeans that fit, why should bras be any different?

I think a lot of women short change themselves because bras are not something we see or show on a regular basis, but the reality is, as demonstrated by the mission at FOR THE GIRLS, women have more confidence in a proper bra. And to me, more importantly, a bad bra fit just makes you uncomfortable all day long. Especially if you have a large chest, or if you move around a lot, or if you are aging and nature doesn’t hold up what it used to.

So thank you, FOR THE GIRLS.

And if you didn’t want to hear about my boobs or if I said too much about boobs– tough. I don’t care. It’s important.

Joy, pain and food

First some recent food:

From Hungryroot.

I have been saving these for a night when I needed a quick dinner. It’s been a challenging week at the Bizzy Hizzy. So I’m glad I had them. The teenager and I both enjoyed them. and this multigrain flat buns are one of my favorites.

Sunday I made this:

The teenager made the meatballs out of ground bison, also from Hungryroot. The tomato sauce was Classico Italian Sausage with peppers and onions and I sautéed everything with some fresh green peppers, Brussel sprouts and sliced green olives. It was amazing. Both served with small shells and also with melted cheese as a sandwich.

The other night, the teenager and I watched Black Panther, which will be discussed in a later post. I tried this popcorn that I got at Lidl for 79 cents.

Chesapeake Bay Style popcorn. Very highly seasoned and nasty. I threw the whole bag out after trying it.

And I never waste food.

But this week has been hard— my body has been hurting in ways I’m not accustomed to. And that’s hard physically and emotionally.

Sunday I worked a decent shift at work but we left early— at 2:15 p.m. instead of 5 p.m.!

But yesterday I was moved from my normal spot on line 5 to the spot behind the shipper/style carder on line 1. It was a poorly set up table that required moving three steps from the table to the line, and then one had to rearrange the boxes to make room.

And the person receiving the boxes rejected many for no good reason AND worked so slow the line was always jammed. Finished the day in pain and at 80% of metrics.

But I got to style card too and that was fun.

Today I was back on my line, but my computer was lagging. Finished the day at 80% again.

And in pain.

I cried myself to sleep last night. Hopefully tonight will be better.

My cat Fog

The Grateful Friday

Yesterday I cleaned a lot of my downstairs and had a relatively good work out at Apex. I haven’t felt incredibly strong lately, but my IUD must be working because I’m not in pain.

I had a good week at work, so cleaning, working on Parisian Phoenix projects and watching Cobra Kai suited me just fine yesterday.

I even found two of the dog’s Kong balls under the couch which made for a very happy dog.

Today, I was supposed to have my annual physical but my doctor’s office called yesterday and rescheduled for next week— which also means another week without answers from my CT scan and physiatrist referral. Neither the neurologist nor the physiatrist’s office has called me back.

And I need a doctor that can help me understand the motion and mechanics of my body, and not just its individual parts.

Today I scrubbed the exterior of the stove and did dishes. Then I went to help my blind friend Nan with some errands and grocery shopping.

We made plans to pick up some pizza at Little Caesars so Nan could try the Batman Calzony. No matter how I tried I couldn’t explain what it was to the blind lady. So we bought one.

But we had time to kill before the teenager got out of school even after we put groceries away. We grabbed the dog and got drinks and hash browns (for the dog) at Dunkin.

And then we surprised the teenager with the dog at school.

Then Joan stopper by to drop off some hand-me-down magazines and erotica, cupcakes and photos that Joan needed us to sort.

Now, I’m cuddling with Louise, watching Gotham Garage and enjoying kitten photos.

Rainy Icy Friday

I don’t have many plans this weekend— defined by my work schedule as Thursday, Friday and Saturday— in part because my body has been unpredictable, the weather has been crazy and the teenager’s work schedule varies.

I went to the chiropractor at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, leaving work 30 minutes early to get the last appointment of the day. I wanted Dr. Jensen to see my body after four ten-hour shifts in Stitch Fix’s Bizzy Hizzy warehouse.

And, for the second or third week in a row, I could barely crawl home on Tuesday night but felt pretty good on Wednesday. So I feel like I’m not getting closer to solutions to my physical issues.

Yesterday I tried to do some work for Parisian Phoenix, did a lot of laundry, visited briefly with a friend I’ve missed and haven’t seen merely enough of, taught a high school student how to write a press release, watched several episodes of Cobra Kai, ran the dishwasher and went to the gym.

The teenager working on her squat form

The teenager did a lot of work on her squat form while I did some accessory work. I also weighed myself— 157 lbs. Sigh. Still 20 pounds overweight.

Then we had Taco Bell, including the new Cinnabon balls.

Today I worked on the index for the Parisian Phoenix nonfiction anthology on marginalized identities, Not an Able-Bodied White Man with Money, which I will be blogging about on the Parisian Phoenix web site later tonight. F. Bean Barker was my helper.

Indexing is only half complete and man does it allow me to interact with the text in new ways.

Louise has an appointment with a potential adopter tomorrow and today she was quite cuddly, video here. I don’t know how she’ll do in the backroom of PetSmart but all least we’ll be with her.

Nala and Louise

In the afternoon, I accompanied the teenager to her audiologist appointment for a tune-up on her hearing aids.

Then we went for shoes. The teenager needed some and I wanted to buy a warmer pair that fit more loosely — hoping that would ease the blistering and burning in my toes.

The teenager got new black Vans and a new design, the orange blossom Vans.

We ran into Target just to use the bathroom and I told the pouty teenager we could get a drink at Sonic. But turns out Sonic is still drive through only, so if you can’t have drive-in service what’s the point of visiting Sonic?

So we went to Sheetz, and had appetizers. Which would have been fine if the teenager hadn’t suggested going to see her grandmother, my mother-in-law. And her aunt— who recently destroyed her elbow falling on the ice.

We’re finishing Captain America: Civil War right now. The ice is slowly building up outside as the cold rolls into town. And Peter Parker just made his debut in the series.

“Put me in coach”: A Work Story

If you stop by here often, you know that last Wednesday I spoke with some more people at work about my disability and that whole day I was given my preferred/easier for me fixes.

I achieved 96% for the day, folding what are called refixes, fixes that had problems that got rejected and needed to go back to be fixed. So the fix needs a fix.

When they return from the refix department, they are boxed in the box they were originally slated to ship in and they are on top of the cart instead of on the shelves.

I really struggle to reach shelves seven and eight so this is a huge help.

And since neither the physiatrist nor my neurologist have responded to my recent concerns about my mobility and my coordination, I have not asked for official work accommodations yet.

Yesterday was the first day of my work week— I did something like 89% in Freestyle, folding clothes and shipping packages for the first 8+ hours of my shift. At 3:30 p.m., I moved over to returns processing where I might have hit 75%.

Today was Monday, which means the warehouse was firing on all cylinders. I was in my home department, and I might have gotten 40 refixes today. So 3/4 of my work involved a lot of bending, crouching and twisting.

My back did okay, but my right quad and right foot burned most of the day and by 4 p.m., my hip hurt. It feels like it’s pointing directly behind me like a tail.

Despite this, I was in the neighborhood of 99%.

And at 4:25 p.m., my process lead asked me to go style card— calling me his “emergency style carder.” I would prefer the phrase “back-up.”

But it gave me a chance to move around and improve my hip functionality so I am grateful.

It made me feel like an athlete waiting on the bench, which then got the song “Centerfield” stuck in my head as I worked.

“Put me in coach, I’m ready to play…”

I would have made the reference to my process lead, but I think he’s too young to get the reference. But, the teenager tells me if he’s seen The Sandlot, he’ll know the song.

If you need to hear the song, here’s a YouTube link.

Marvel update: Two Guardians and Ulltron

The teenager and I are working our way through the Marvel Comics Universe, watching the film in what is reportedly the order of events.

It certainly gives me more depth to Tony Stark, as the Avenger movies seem to hinge a lot on him.

The teenager adores Hawkeye.

And we both enjoy Joss Whedon’s and James Gunn’s humor in the scripts.

But these three films, though completely occupying space as Marvel movies do, with crazy action scenes, internal bickering and often violence among the team, tenseness and humor, fell flat for me.

Why?

Because these movies are based on comic books— comic books from an age where the science fiction of it was wild and the world still had so much unknown. Many of these characters/heroes predate space travel.

Captain America eludes to that when he says he misses the days when he was the biggest monster science had made, or something like that.

So to believe that Hawkeye has a family hidden on a farm that no one knows about in the 21st century seems unbelievable to me, primarily because I have to ask where those kids go to school.

And the larger the cast, the bigger the threat has to be, and the more the story is less about people and more about danger. The solutions in many of these scripts make no sense and the amount of civilian destruction is insane.

And to me, a Generation Xer, Age of Ulltron recreates September 11 (specifically the scene where Tony Stark asks how quickly he can buy a building and throws the Hulk into it, causing its implosion and a giant plume of dust through a major though fictional city). Also, the very idea that Ulltron infiltrates the Internet and represents artificial intelligence gone rogue, is very pertinent for the time period but has lingering air of the late 1990s panic that the opposite would happen—computers/operating systems weren’t smart enough to survive the Y2K date change.

In the Guardians series, the plot just never develops in proportion to the characters. We have these quirky misfit characters that have flimsy plots, and themes that don’t really go beyond their two dimensional comic book origins.

And this business with the infinity stones better have a satisfying conclusion. The idea that these mysterious power sources may all have some sort of intelligence/life map coded within them is fascinating.

Does each stone have part of the blue print to create the next incarnation of the universe? Or do the stones if reunited serve as a self-destruct mechanism?

Anyway, Ant-Man is next.

And I’m intrigued. Can we really trust Vision merely because he can yield Thor’s hammer? Or can he hold the hammer because he was forged by the hammer?

Previous Marvel post

Iron Man 3

Remaining Marvel posts (start here?)

Saturday morning— gym, meal plan & prep

The teenager and I headed to the gym this morning for the first time in a while. I did a gentle lower body workout to stretch everything and get my body rolling after the chiropractic adjusted just about everything yesterday. Even my ears.

The teenager wanted to find her max weights for powerlifting— which seem to be 100 pounds on bench and at least 155 on squats.

Tomorrow I head back to work after a weekend of falls and rest.

So that means meal planning and meal prep.

Our Hungryroot box came yesterday and since the app showed they didn’t have much product, I focused our box on mostly proteins.

With leftovers from last week’s box, the new box and pantry items I had in the house, I made this:

  • Chickpea rotini and beef meatballs with marinara and superfood tomato sauce.
  • Lemon pesto broccoli
  • Homemade pesto hummus
  • Omelet (with green olives)
  • Tempeh bacon
  • Brown bread

We also have leftover pizza and pancakes.

So for breakfast after the gym, the teenager had omelet with mozzarella and tempeh bacon on organic, sprouted everything bagels. I went vegan and had my bagel with my hummus and tempeh bacon.

And last night, the teenager and I went to my stepmom’s for Christmas and I got my hand bag. I have been admiring this Urban Expressions work tote since I started at Stitch Fix. I have one now.

Little wins

It’s Wednesday night— which is my Friday! The Bizzy Hizzy has been a tizzy of Covid cases during this mandatory overtime week.

I’m doing my eight hours of overtime on Saturday.

Tomorrow I’m returning to the gym—the pandemic has also altered my training schedule.

And tomorrow, Georgie gets adopted! Yes, Georgie, our lovable former community cat from downtown Allentown, will be going home to a family where she will be the only pet.

I’m told Louise has an approved adoption application— but this is her third so I am not as optimistic as I should be. The person who applied for her wants two cats so FURR has suggested Khloe also be considered.

If these three cats get adopted— after Danu, Brigid and Aîné all getting adopted since December— I may weep tears of joy.

This week my body experienced all sorts of aches and pains, but I still managed to fold what I felt was a respectable amount of clothes for Stitch Fix. And today was our monthly employee luncheon— chicken Caesar wraps, tomato soup and carrot cake.

And on our final break of the day, everyone from my old shift got sweatshirts.

It’s kinda silly, but at the same token, it commemorates a special era of my life and celebrates the camaraderie we had on second shift. And believe it or not, even though we are scattered among the day shift, we still function as a team.

After work, the teenager invited me to Tic Toc family restaurant where we enjoyed grilled cheese sandwiches.

Ingram finally shipped Darrell Parry’s poetry book (Twists: Gathered Ephemera). And several other Parisian Phoenix titles are coming together. Perhaps as many as three titles releasing before the end of February.

Speaking of Parisian Phoenix, I emailed my class correspondent at Lafayette College and he ordered my first two novels.

And finally, side note… Actor Tim Daly was on the most recent episode of the podcast Hypocondriactor. I love Tim Daly. And I found myself comparing him to Anthony Stewart Head, you know… Giles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I was specifically comparing Daly’s character on Madame Secretary to Head’s role as the school librarian/watcher on Buffy. Both were nerdy academics with interests in obscure topics.

Hungryroot meal prep for week ahead

On Saturdays, I tend to make my work lunches and make a loose meal plan for the week ahead.

I ordered an extra Hungryroot box after the snafu of last week’s shipment as we have almost eaten everything in the pantry and freezer.

And since I have heard there is mandatory overtime this week and I have already signed up to work next Saturday, I ordered a box to be delivered this coming Friday.

I have a $15 credit currently on my account and should see an additional $87 credit hopefully Monday.

Meal prep with Hungryroot groceries: superfood blend, salmon, kohlrabi noodles, beef meatballs, turkey meatballs and tortellini

I put most of the teenager’s food into one big divided container so she can design lunches.

For myself:

  1. one lunch of kohlrabi noodles with marinara, shredded parmesan, nutritional yeast, two beef meatballs and two turkey meatballs
  2. one lunch of kohlrabi noodles with thai peanut sauce, superfood blend, and broccoli
  3. one lunch of teriyaki salmon, superfood blend, sesame ginger sauce and sesame seeds
  4. One lunch of tortellini in kale pesto with shaved Brussel sprouts

Dinners will include nachos or tacos with chicken, cuban beans and avocado. Another of burgers, sweet potato fries and my “popcorn” cauliflower, and some sort of stir fry or grain bowl with the remaining brussels and/or cabbage, one of the leftover sauces and tofu burgers.

But by the time I made everything, I forgot to save a meal for today. So the teenager and I tried Hungryroot organic peanut butter on her homemade cinnamon raisin bread with a side of the dark chocolate banana bites also sent by Hungryroot.

Her assessment of the peanut butter: “I don’t hate the peanut butter.”

The bites?

“These don’t taste like banana.”

I looked at the package. “That’s because they are salted caramel chocolate cashews.”

The verdict?

Teenager very much likes the cashews and doesn’t mind the bananas, though the cashews are infinitely better.

Review: A Marvel Challenge

First, an update for my regular followers:

  • Dr. Anna Williams of the My Gothic Dissertation responded to the link I sent her of my review of her magnificent podcast. She also commented that some of my interest (cats, photography), she also enjoyed.
  • My hip and spine and leg are, I believe, not in pain today, just incredibly stiff.
  • We received our first snow last night, a fluffy white four inches. The teenager has her first and only snow day of the season— as the school district has proclaimed that any further inclement weather closings will be remote instruction days. “Baby Dog” F. Bean Barker refused to go out into the snow.
  • Our foster pride through our volunteer work with Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab is “down by two” as Mama Danu of the Celtic Pride and former community cat Georgie are in local pet store habitats. Danu is at Pet Supplies Plus in Bethlehem Township and Georgie is at Chaar in Forks Township. Georgie tends to be vocal and melodramatic but she’s adorable… this is her playing fetch yesterday before we took her to Chaar: YouTube video of Georgie.
Danu
  • Nala, my naughty Goffin’s cockatoo, celebrated her gotcha-versary this week. She has now been with me two years. She will be six years old next month. This is her most recent YouTube video, featuring our tripod, cancer-surviving cat Opie. This was her first video with me.
  • I am editing both Not an Able-Bodied White Man with Money, Parisian Phoenix’s first non-fiction book, and my third novel, Recovery. I am also trying to write the fourth novel, Road Trip, my werewolf Bildungsroman. That is very slow going and making me nervous.
  • And I think, while I was out sick having my hip tended to, there was a mandatory overtime dictate at work. I think I’ll have to squeeze eight more hours into my work week before Jan. 16— which means I will either have to work 12 hours a day (5 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or somehow squeeze 8 hours into Thursday, Friday & Saturday. I have an 11 a.m. appointment Thursday, three doctors appointments Friday and the warehouse is only open for a 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. shift Saturday. Because, of course, Saturday I have no plans.

On to the Movies…

A few days ago, I mentioned to the teenager that it might be fun to watch the Marvel movies in chronological order of how they supposedly happened. I haven’t seen most of them. We decided to use this list as reference: The Wrap.

We watched Captain America: The First Avenger (which I have seen) on Wednesday. I’ve always enjoyed this movie. I wouldn’t call it a good movie, but I love the goodness in Captain America’s motivations and the mix of history, mythology and comic book nonsense.

Last night we started Captain Marvel, which I have not seen but I do remember some controversy about Captain Marvel being a woman in the movie.

We have not finished it, as life happened, but I am thoroughly enjoying reliving the 1990s and seeing a young Nick Fury. Even more fun is seeing my daughter react to the nineties.