It’s 5:15 a.m., on my final Wednesday of my 10-hour Sunday to Wednesday shifts at the Stitch Fix Bizzy Hizzy. I loved these shifts. I love having three days off. But as of Monday, I will be Monday to Friday, “normal” 8-hour shifts, 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. More change.
My chiropractor had a class last week so I missed my regular adjustment and now I can feel my hip moving inward. I never expected that this journey to improve my fitness and awareness of how my body works (if you aren’t a regular I have diplegic spastic cerebral palsy) would lead to this strange zeroing in… I am starting to pinpoint these subtle differences, but I am still learning how to fix them.
I bailed on my strength coach Andrew last night. He had asked to move my Monday session to Tuesday and by Tuesday (yesterday), I just didn’t have it in me. I didn’t sleep well. My stress was through the roof. I overdid it Monday (trying to prove myself to no one but me). And to top it all off, my diet had been all processed foods. When I felt that hip turning inward, I knew my body needed me to stop.
So here we are, the final Wednesday. The third day of my life with my new Ninja DualBrew coffee pot. Unboxing video here.
The Teenager got her second fix, and she loved it. She was aghast to learn that a sweatshirt could cost $78 at full retail price, but I think this experience will teach her the difference between the workmanship of different brands. She asked me not to record her trying things on, but I wish she had because the fit and look of this fix was exponentially better than the first. Unboxing video here.
I have to leave for work in a moment, but let me say I am on my second cup of Green Mountain Dark Magic coffee, courtesy of one of the Teenager’s clients, and I must say it’s the only coffee to keep pace with my Supercoffee.
The Ninja DualBrew has been great so far. I like the brewing options, the heat and strength of the coffee, but I am making small errors in operating it. But I haven’t experienced any of the problems listed in the reviews. My four a.m. brain likes the K-cup option, and my weekend self loves the option to brew a pot. I have not tried iced coffee yet.
On Monday, the Teenager should receive her first Fix. I’m tremendously excited. So much so I am annoying her. But, she is 18, and I often annoy her by existing. She received her preview yesterday, and complained about it, as she said it ruined the surprise.
She selected two or three of the eight recommended items, with my input, and left her stylist some notes. I believe it was a heavy knit sweater, a thin but soft color blocked sweatshirt and some Vigoss black shorts. She rejected the cardigans, almost chose the faux leather jacket, and liked but ignored the two pairs of boots. I think in part because I have purchased her several pairs of shoes lately.
I offered to give her my employee discount and a budget to pursue some fixes as she was recently lamenting that she hasn’t had a chance yet to develop her own style. She’s paying her own bills: car payment, food, contributing toward electric and car insurance, so I thought investing some of my monthly savings into her wardrobe would be fun.
Meanwhile, I’m watching my Stitch Fix account and the trends, waiting for my turn. Which won’t be until Valentines Day.
If you want to see my overzealous first set of trend reviews, click here.
Here are some recent outfits from my recommended trends:
Let’s break these down.
Now, I do have this dress in my favorites as it is adorable, but I find it amusing that Stitch Fix is offering me the same dress in two different colors. My soul wants the red, but I feel my style now is more black. The black would give me the freedom to accessorize with a vibrant scarf, a bright purse like the one in the photo or any pair of shoes I own.
I love this ensemble— and I could even walk in the shoes. The dress is fairly heavy, too, so it should have some great drape when worn and offer some warmth.
This dress looks amazing but it’s really short and I’m not sure my middle-aged mom bumps could pull it off. I love those animal print shoes but I don’t think I can wear them so I perused the other styling options— boots, a necklace and motorcycle jacket? That is definitely awesome.
I don’t like this outfit. I like the theory— and the jacket is the one my friend Joan received in the video below. It looks nice on Joan, but I don’t like the fabric. The little green shirt looks good in the photo and seems to look good on people, but it’s just weird when you see it. The shoes are funky and I don’t like them. But the outfit might be nice.
And finally two outfits that would probably be perfect for my current lifestyle. One note: I want that mustard sweater.
Here is the video of Joan and I unboxing her recent fix:
The Teenager is already dreading when I submit her to something similar.
A couple weeks ago, it was the middle of the night after a long shift. I had poured a cocktail and was perusing the menu and grocery options at Hungryroot as I like to treat myself to one Hungryroot box and one Purple Carrot box each month.
When the charge for my regular shipment popped up in my American Express notifications— I noticed it was more than double what I normally spend.
I opened my account to see what I bought— and I couldn’t find a single criticism of the items I selected.
The meals included:
Braised tofu, dall and sautéed vegetables
Spinach artichoke burgers on cauliflower buns
Salmon avocado toast
Egg and cheese (organic sprouted) bagel sandwiches
And the extra groceries: guacamole, samosas, meatballs, Alfredo dip and golden kiwis. The free protein was pork carnitas which the teenager really liked last time.
A mish mash of disability related updates related tomy life with cerebral palsy
I’m somewhere around week seven with my weight training with Apex Training and dreaming of a day when my stiff limbs might become those of a Paralympic powerlifting. I want to be a barbell athlete.
I missed Saturday’s session— I normally train 45 minutes on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. But I picked up an overtime shift at the Stitch Fix Bizzy Hizzy.
I told Dan, my very talented and diligent trainer, that I would do a home workout over the weekend. I did not. And the lack of long hours and the mix of chores and resting I did over the weekend meant that I was not tired nor was I sore for Tuesday’s workout.
And he says he went easy on me, but he had me doing incline bench presses with 25 pound dumbbells. Now, for comparison, about 4-5 years ago when I was lean and strong, I was just ready to make the jump to 25 pound dumbbells but I couldn’t afford to buy them.
That’s when the teenager and I joined Planet Fitness, which lasted until the pandemic. Almost two years.
Yesterday was upper body day at the gym. That’s probably a good thing as my premenstrual hormones left me so stiff today I couldn’t bend at the waist or walk well. It also might have been impacted by the severe thunderstorm we had.
But somehow I hit 129 in QC at work. 130 is goal. At 11:41 p.m. my supervisor stopped by for an observation. I told her I almost called out but I knew she had to see me on a bad day. But when I started folding the clothes, I hit 35 in the first two hours (goal would be 32.5). But then I slipped and only got to 64 by lunch (goal is 65).
By third break I was at 97, which is shockingly on point. And at 11:41, she rolls up with her laptop. I’m both relieved and terrified.
She needs to see my struggle.
The cart I was working in had 3 refixes— out of 8. I don’t know why they call them refixes. They are fixes that are messed up and need fixing. So I guess the fixes need to be fixed again.
It was arduous. I was tired, sore and stiff. I had two damaged items of clothing and I wondered if she would think I damaged them. (Yes, I know I am insecure. My therapist says I “sell [myself] short].”)
I QC’ed in my observation at a rate of 115%.
And my boss had a suggestion to alleviate my struggle.
When I hurt I need to ask for refix carts. Those are the fixes coming out of the refix department once they are corrected. They come boxed on top of the cart so I don’t need to bend to get them.
They really do want to help.
A few weeks ago, I asked the teen how her dad’s arthritis was. He has a club hand, so his left hand does most of his daily tasks. As a result, he has bad arthritis between his thumb, wrist and forefinger.
Turns out, his mother gave him Charlotte’s Web CBD cream and he swears by it. So I ordered some. And I ordered the CBD MedicArthritis Cream as well.
They arrived today. So I took a shower, suffered through the contorting needed to shave my legs, and upon return to my room, I slathered the Charlotte’s Web cream on the knot in my back. The relief was instant, and I don’t want to think it had anything to do with the gin and limoncello cocktail I am drinking.
More details to come on the creams but it is so nice to go to bed without pain. And I think the knot in my back is loose. But I also must remind you—cocktail.
First I’ll let the photos and video speak for itself.
Next, a little back story. Some familiar to my readers, some probably new.
1. When other people go to Target, order weird lamps off the internet, buy clothes or troll yard sales, my version of retail therapy revolves around food. Wegmans is my happy place.
2. I spent my twenties as a vegetarian— even tried veganism for about six months. Back then, you had to go to the natural food store to buy non-dairy milk and you had two choices: rice or soy. Both came in aseptic boxes that were shelf stable. I don’t like the big business that agriculture has become, and I don’t like not knowing what is happening to my food via industrialized farming.
Why did I stop?
I got pregnant. The teenager has always been a huge carnivore. I had gestational diabetes while pregnant so I started eating turkey sandwiches to change up some of my proteins.
Then when the teenager was about 18 months old, I started craving bacon cheeseburgers (and I don’t even really like bacon). That was probably when my anemia started.
3. I am really enjoying this tour of meal delivery kits I’ve been doing this summer. Hello Fresh has flashy recipe cards, a lot of rice, a lot of prep and amazing sauces. Hungryroot has a nifty blend of “groceries” and “recipes” so if I just want that out-of-this-world snack cheddar, I don’t need to order the whole grilled cheese kit. The recipes are an easy blend of processed and fresh, so the fridge-to-table time is a fraction oh Hello Fresh.
Now we add Purple Carrot. It’s the plant-based Hello Fresh. Three things about them I liked as soon as I opened the box:
They send a booklet of all the recipes for the meals and extras, regardless of what you ordered. I lost the Hungryroot recipes. And Hello Fresh gives you your meals. This is practically a little cookbook.
Their bags and containers are all clearly labeled.
The bags and containers are all clear. It’s easy to see everything.
Based on my initial impression— making one of the four meals I ordered— here are my thoughts.
The vegetables shine, instead of being a side dish.
I finally know how to make tofu crispy.
Even though they are plant based, they still have high protein options.
We made the honey-ricotta crisps for breakfast yesterday. Here are the videos for that:Part one and Part two.
My only criticism is that what they call a “baguette” is what I call a roll. Maybe Italian but not French. Folks, if your baguette is soft on the outside it is not a true French style bread. It should be crispy outside and soft inside.
Today I started cooking. For real.
Before continuing, please note: my spirit animal is a cat. As a consequence, I don’t like being told what to do and I tend to be flexible with directions. If you’re a strict, play-by-the-book sort, you might have a stroke reading this.
Because we just make pork with rice and stir fry vegetables on Monday, I didn’t want rice. Two of my meals include rice. (Teenager #1 cooked the pork, teenager #2 said it was delicious. I am eating mine at work tonight.)
I decided to make the vegetarian curry, but swap the rice for the creamy kale from the Tuscan chicken dinner.
I ordered extra chicken, just to try some of their other products. Let me say, even as I make some criticisms, everything was delicious. And having a food service, retail background and commercial kitchen experience, I know some of the challenges Hello Fresh faces when combining food with a subscription service.
But this chicken is not “strips.” The package says strips, but it is chunks. And wow is whatever that packaging juice is slimy. Some of these chunks were too small to even cook. I fed them to the dog.
I made the chicken with everything else because I usually have breakfast at 1 and dinner at 7:30 so I wanted to make it a little heartier.
The curry included fresh lime, fresh cilantro, and an amazing full fat coconut milk. It included green beans and red pepper as the base of the meal which wouldn’t be my normal pick. Turns out it’s a great mix. And the recipe forced me to work with shallots. Have never done that.
I hate onions, but I know they cook down in a recipe like this.
The secret to the creamy kale was Tuscan heat spice and sour cream. Kale and sour cream go so well together… I wonder how it would be with herbs de Provence instead of Tuscan heat…
Finally, let me at that the meal is supposed to take 45 minutes, prep & cooking. Mine took more than an hour, in part because I didn’t stick to one meal but mixed and matched.
We still have two more meals and I did schedule a box for next week.
With mandatory overtime ongoing at work, it’s an easy way to make sure I eat real food.
My subscription was due to start in June, but as tomorrow is my birthday I thought it would be fun to request the May book. I ordered it Saturday night. It was scheduled to arrive Friday, May 7. My mandatory overtime at work began May 10, so this would be the perfect way to organize my mental health.
Except it arrived Monday, May 17.
Regardless of this, and what feels like a very hefty price tag for an aesthetically pleasing but, in my opinion, cheaply manufactured spiral bound book (it’s not cheap, but I struggle to find the right words— the paper is not thin, but it’s also not as heavy as I would expect for the price).
For instance, it’s flimsy. You can’t write on your lap. You have to have it on a hard surface. For $20 a month, the cover at least should be a cardboard consistency to ensure it will withstand travel and daily use.
The interior is lovely. Ninety percent contains elements I already do in my journal, financial book, and/or on my phone: sleep tracker, expense tracker, habit tracker, mood tracker, meal planner, to do list, etc.
There is a weather tracker, goal lists, coloring pages, thought/writing prompts, and poetry and inspirational quotes.
My journal should contain what I have done and my Silk & Sonder should foster my goals, I suppose.
I’m definitely going to experiment with May and then decide on a system for June, which the company has already shipped.
Today was a typical day in the crazy menagerie of our home. But it was delightful. I’ve come to accept that Saturdays are overscheduled and hectic. Sundays are a rest day.
F. Bean Barker woke at 5:30 am— a normal part of the routine in her old home. No one gets up that early here.
I went to bed around 2:30 am so when Ms. Black Bean woke up and barked/whined/howled for 30 minutes, I texted teenager #1. She went down, covered the dog’s crate with a blanket and laid down on the couch beside the dog to go back to sleep.
After that 45-minute disturbance, I woke at 9:30 am. The teenagers finished picking up the house to prepare for the notary arriving at 1 pm.
We cared for our pets and crated Vesta and Minerva of the FURR Roman Pride for the adoption event at Petsmart.
We then stopped at Dunkin on the way home because I wanted to do something to thank my husband for taking the time to come sign this paperwork and for supporting me in the refinancing of the house. It’s been about 20 months since he’s lived here with me. Neither one of us has filed for divorce. So his name is still on the deed of the house and the current mortgage.
This new mortgage will pay off my car, save me $300 a month, though also extend my term five years. Now instead of the house being paid off by the time I am 55, I will be 60. Mortgage payment alone on the the refinancing will pay off is 50% of my take-home monthly income and that makes me nervous.
My hope is that once the pandemic ends and life shifts, new opportunities and stability will allow me to apply extra money to the principal.
And teenager #1 will take her drivers exam Tuesday. If she passes, her dad and I will have a massive insurance bill so my solace is that if something should happen to my car, at least it is paid for.
Teenager’s dad loved his new cold foam chocolate stout cold brew. The closing almost went without a hitch, but Fog decided to saunter across the table amid the notary’s pile of papers. Cats are not allowed on the table. Especially when we have guests.
The teenager got ready for work and we watched an episode of Canine Intervention on Netflix. I wish they had more episodes.
I dropped her off at Tic Toc Diner. I then went to get the kittens.
Those adorable tuxedo sisters then went to Petco (Greenwich Township, NJ) for their adoption habitat.
Vesta, having spent about three weeks in the habitat at the other Petco, sat there and shook in fear.
I came home planning to walk F. Bean Barker with our neighbors, Jan and her Ladyship Sobaka. But Bean only made it a half-block.
She’s just exhausted.
And then Jan and I went to pick up Nan and have dinner at Tic Toc. The teenager was worried about not having a Braille menu for Nan. As if we need a menu.
The teenager told me the founder stuffed with crab looked really good as the cook took a lot of care in its preparation and plating. I ordered it. With coleslaw. And the silly waitress got me french fries instead.
The dish reminded me of a crab cake wrapped in other fish. So good and a ridiculous amount of food for the price.
After dinner, Nan and I hung out at my house until it was time to retrieve our waitress from the diner.
And then when she got home, she unboxed this month’s box from Witch’s Gifts. These items are so carefully curated. To see the unboxing: March Box Witch’s Gifts
These boxes (and my tarot and witchy podcasts) remind me that I need to pay more attention to my spiritual and magical development.
I have to admit I was disappointed when my choices rolled around for this month’s Ipsy glam bag plus. I love the fun of this subscription service and it’s allowed me the opportunity to change up my look.
But the pandemic now limits where I can go and covers a lot of my face so I just don’t wear make-up that often anymore.
I upgraded from the glam bag to the glam bag plus about six months ago and downgraded my plan from every month to every other month. The smaller bag got highly repetitive and didn’t offer enough edgy products. I think the value and versatility of the glam bag plus is much better than the glam bag. The one “bad” thing is that most of the fun of getting a surprise happens when you select your products online versus a surprise when you open the box.
Glam bag plus allows you to select your products from a curated collection. I have to admit— sometimes none of the products appeal to me. But today, even though online I was disappointed, when they arrived in real life I was impressed.
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.