Making Spirits Bright

When we give thanks to our blessings, we can give those blessings to others.

I’ve been scrapbooking this year and I decided to try my hand with cards. I’m already making Hanukkah, Christmas, holiday and New Years cards, and decided to participate in Cards From the Heart via NextGen and the JRA. This morning I sent off 8 Hanukkah cards and a gluten-free Hanukkah meal. These cards and the meal will be delivered during the holidays. ❤️

I’m grateful that I was a part of this. It warms my heart that this will make many Hanukkah memories for others.

Ice Skating Saturday (Picture Entry) | 21 November 2020

Just a quick entry… I’m in the process of making the Hanukkah cards for charity, but I’ve been neglectful of my blog. I had a wonderful time ice skating on Saturday, even though it was warm.

After, I walked under City Hall and Aijee was serenading us with her cello. I haven’t seen her in a long while, but was happy to see her perform. Aijee’s musical talent added a whimsical and holiday spirit to the atmosphere.

I’m dogsitting for Aunt Kathy this weekend, but will make some time to get back to ice skating. The River Rink is set to open on Friday and I can’t wait.

Thankful Thursday 19 November 2020

It’s hard to believe we’re half way through November, next week is Thanksgiving, there is roughly three weeks until Hanukkah, five weeks until Christmas, and six weeks until I open Happiness Box 2020! This year is flying!

Today Calvin and Hobbes turned 4 months old. They healed nicely and look great. I’m going to be sending a holiday card to Old Glory Tattoo, same with Old City Tattoo, and Infinite Body Piercing. I have two tattoo shops and my piercing shop. I have a lot to be thankful for with these three places and staff at all of them are just awesome. They’ve made experiences memorable and have treated me with the upmost kindness. I told Zach, one of my favourite piercers, what I was planning, he thanked me and told me I rocked. I’m going to surprise the others. 🙂 I plan on visiting all of them again in 2021.

Tomorrow after work I’ll be working on the Hanukkah cards for the JRA. Maddie and Andi were impressed with what they saw so far and I’m happy to be donating cards for the less fortunate. They’ll be delivering the cards with Hanukkah meals. I e-mailed Maddie to see if they wanted any GF Hanukkah meals. She didn’t think of it, but she does have a few clients and she was grateful for my suggestion. I’m going to go food shopping this week and I’m going to pick up some GF kosher foods and will donate them along with the cards. I’m being more charitable this year because the world really needs it. I’m thankful that I’m in a position this year where I can help.

I’m also thankful for friends and family. What are you thankful for?

Our Day in Philadelphia | 16 November 2020

On Monday I had a day off from work to take dad to Philadelphia. Since he turned 65, he was eligible to get a pass from SEPTA to ride buses, trolleys, and subways for free; the regional rail for $1.

We arrived in the city at 10:30 am, went to SEPTA’s headquarters, marveled at the museum, waited in line, and at 11:15, dad had his new SEPTA pass. I’m hoping he can join me for some adventures and he already wants to do some things.

After, I made reservations for Red Owl Tavern at noon, so dad and I walked down to Independence Mall, then South Street and went to Repo Records. Dad has never been in Repo Records before, but he saw some vinyl albums he used to have. I’m thinking for the holidays, I’m going to get him a vinyl album or two. Dad enjoyed the store.

Ah, lunch at Red Owl Tavern. I haven’t been there since January and they didn’t get any gluten-free bread in, but they put my chicken on a lettuce bun. As dad and I were talking, the bartender started talking to me. He asked if I ever been to Red Owl before, I’ve been coming for five years, but it was dad’s first time. I told him the last time I was in, it was for National Hot Toddy Day in January and he made me an alcohol free one since I don’t drink. So, this kind bartender gave me a free non-alcoholic hot Toddy and then chatted me up the entire time. He told us he was worried about the new policies because he came back to work three months ago after 6 months off. He was worried about another 6 weeks.

After we left Philadelphia, the mayor put a kabosh on indoor dining, museums, gyms, and large gatherings until after the holidays. Outdoor ice skating is still a go and most outdoor dining will be too. I love the cold, so I plan on eating outside after I’m done skating. I want to help support businesses during this. I also plan on buying gift cards and I hope others will too. I hope we can come together during all this. I hope everything reopens on 2 January 2021.

Ice Skating | 14 November 2020

On Saturday evening, I decided to venture into Philadelphia and go ice skating. This past weekends, the temperatures dipped down into normal range and I could enjoy the ice! I also taught a little boy, Dexter, how to skate. Along with his parents, by the end of the session, he was skating without falling. His parents thanked me for helping them and called me “coach.” What a lovely evening!

Fun fact: 5 years ago on Friday was my first time ice skating and I didn’t know how to do it. And 5 years ago I was afraid of the ice.

5 years later, I know how to ice skate! I taught myself 4 years ago and after a lesson in NYC in 2019, I’m more comfortable and feel confident.

See what overcoming a fear and continuing on after some failures can do! Maybe with some more practice, I can become an Olympic figure skater!

Scrapbook Layouts from my self-care day

Usually I wait to scrapbook until I open the Happiness Box, but since my Happiness Box has a lot of room this year and since the tradition of scrapbooking for 7 November started in 2018, I followed suit this year. I made one extra layout since it was an extra special day. Let me share what I made, before I threw them into Happiness Box 2020.

I remember when I bought Foo Fighter’s One by One album in 2002, I found a gem of a song that I listened to when I felt uncertain about life. Times Like These was my go-to song, especially in the aftermath of 2013. “I’m a little divided, should I stay or run away and leave it all behind,” always resonated with me. I didn’t stay up to watch the band perform on Saturday and I saw it today.

What a fitting song for the times we are in. This has always been one of my favourite songs and I think this will be the main song to describe 2020.

Thankful Thursday 12 November 2020

It’s the start of a new dawn, not only in America, but the rest of the world too. Although Trumpkin is throwing a tantrum, he lost fair and square. However, I know everyone still has their fears. I had a nightmare about a tie last night and the feelings from that nightmare reminded me of the feelings I’ve had from nightmares related to my PTSD.

Apparently, a lot of people are suffering another acronym to PTSD – Post Trump Stress Disorder. The feelings are the same as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and while I’m sure EDMR can cure Post Trump Stress Disorder, I think we all need to come together and unite as human beings. Kindness and empathy will go a long way, same with listening. While these things won’t change people over night and sometimes it won’t change people at all, we’re all human beings and we all have our fears. I think Trump gave off the persona of being the downtroddens’ sounding board and I bet if we all felt a modicum of empathy and listened, while also presenting the truth gently (“those jobs are never coming back and immigrants didn’t steal them, automation did”), it probably would make a difference.

Black Lives Matter, as do all lives. Screaming at one another and trying to one up each other on traumas doesn’t solve anything. It just leads to more fighting and hard feelings. A few weeks ago I realized that as I was telling someone about my trauma and this person said, “I had it worse than you, child abuse is worse than rape!” I looked at the person rather shocked, then they apologized. Honestly, both are equally bad. Both should have never happened.

It made me realize that during the whole BLM thing, I was doing similar screaming. My dad is a retired deputy and my deep fear from childhood all the way up to adulthood was my dad never coming home. A lot of people would like to see law enforcement dead and when I see people screaming, “kill the pigs!” it triggers me.

Dad always worked 5am-2:30pm, so he always picked me up from school. My middle school didn’t share what was happening during 9/11 with us, so when mom picked me that day, I panicked wondering where dad was. Mom explained what happened. I think I have more in common with the BLM crowd than we both realize; I bet all families of law enforcement and military have more in common with the crowd: we all fear our family members never coming home. Anyway, my traumas and their traumas should have never happened. In a just world, they shouldn’t, but life doesn’t work that way.

Why this diatribe on Thankful Thursday? I think we need to come together as a Nation. We are the United States of America, not red states, not blue states, but United States. We are Americans, we are all both a fondue and a salad. We melt together, but we also have individual parts that make us who we are. To heal from Post Trump Stress Disorder, we need to be there for one another. I bet that rest of the world needs healing too. I want to thank you for reading this and I want to thank you all for reading this with an opened mind.

I think we can all learn from Daryl Davis.

November is gratitude month. I’m thankful that @lyft is still operating. Today was office and library day, rather rainy too. My Lyft driver was a kind young man from Russia. He was a joy to chat with for 24 minutes. He’s still learning English, but he did great. I loved chatting about Germany and Russia with him. This is why I love Lyft and grateful he agreed to a selfie. Thank you kind Lyft driver!

I’m also thankful for friends and family. What are you thankful for today?

Thankful for Barra Rossa

I realized I didn’t post photos of my meal from Barra Rossa. I want to extend gratitude to Barra Rossa for making my self-care dinner so special. The waiter made sure I had gluten-free bread and this is one of the few restaurants that offer gluten-free bread included with the meal without extra cost. My waiter was great and took some awesome photos of me too.

After I got my orbital/conch done, John recommended getting a paper clip and keep the straps of my mask away from the healing piercing. He does it anyway for his regular piercings and he asked me if the strap often bothered the healing ones. Yes, but I never thought of the paper clip. Anyway, before I paid my bill, I asked my waiter if they had a paperclip that they could spare. I explained the situation, he understood and gave me a paperclip. Extremely grateful.

The paper clip works wonders! Even when this conch is healed, I’ll continue to do this, as not to irritate my other piercings. 🙂 I’m glad I found Barra Rossa after I was first diagnosed, they’ve been my go-to for three years now. Great place and great people!

Jessica’s Self Care Day and Bye Don! 7 November 2020

7 November 2013 was the worst day of my life, a day where my life was almost cut short. I believe in Guardian Angels and I had one that night. Last year I had a self-care day in Philadelphia when I got tattoo #2. I decided to have a self-care day in Philadelphia this year, but instead of a tattoo I’d get a piercing. I couldn’t wait to hang out with my favourite piercing shop.

I was waiting for the bus when I read the news that Joe Biden was elected as president! I had a happy cry. The same Guardian Angel I had on 7 November 2013, was here today and there were 3 more added: Justice Ruth Ginsburg, Senator McCain and Senator John Lewis. On 7 November 2020, the man who bragged about grabbing women by the pussy and who has been accused of assault was fired and it was fitting for what my day was celebrating already.

When I arrived in Philadelphia, I got off the bus to such joy and kindness. I joined in the celebrations until my appointment. What a wonderful day. America, kindness has returned to the White House! 

*Heart*
*HeartW*
*HeartB*

I’ve said the following on Instagram and I’ll say the same here: Regardless of where we are, we are all Americans. We are all humans in this world. We should stand together and treat each other with the utmost kindness. It doesn’t matter who is in the White House, kindness and empathy never change. Our humanity never changes. If you’re God fearing, God doesn’t change. Whatever you believe in doesn’t change. Love and kindness, that’s all it is.

After, I walked down to South Street and had lunch at Red Hook Cafe. That is my favourite spot and where I had lunch last year before my tattoo. It was fitting to go before my piercing. Since I was having dinner in the city, I went for a cheap lunch: salad. So good.

After a quick lunch, I headed to Infinite. I’ve been a faithful client of there’s since May 2011. That’s why I wanted to go and I knew I would be spending the afternoon with good people that usually uplift me.

My appointment was for 2:30, but with COVID-19 restrictions, I was let in 10 minutes later because they were at their limit. Once people left, I was allowed in, they sanitized the counter and I was able to pick my jewelry. I was going to go with either a snug or orbital. A piercer came out to look at my ear, my ear is too flat for a snug, but an orbital was perfect. I picked out a golden trinity piece.

I had to wait 10 more minutes. John was my piercer and after he finished with someone going back to India, he sanitized his room and he brought me back. We talked about what this day signifies for me and I told him last year I got a tattoo on my lower back. He laughed and said, “I guess that pain is good for a painful memory.” I said, “it didn’t hurt at all, it felt great.” “Oh, piercing feels great to you too, then!” I laughed, “yep.”

I laid down, took a deep breath in, then out and 15 minutes later I had a new piercing. Before I left his studio, John agreed to a selfie. That made me so happy. The way John and the entire Infinite staff treated me yesterday, it made my self-care day even better. I knew that would happen because after the case was dropped, I went there and they comforted, then they comforted me before my liver tests and after. They’re great people.

After, I went ice skating and then dinner at Barra Rossa. I had gluten-free penna a la vodka and gluten-free bread. It was a delicious meal that celebrated me.

Happy 1st anniversary, tattoo #2. Old City Tattoo really made last year special and can’t wait to spend time with them in 2021! When I got home, I sang “Happy Inkday” and “Happy Renewal of Life!”

I had a wonderful self-care day and while it was different than last year’s, I’m glad there was such a jovial mood yesterday. It felt great to be around happy people and this has been the happiest I’ve seen people in a long time.

I will never forget what happened to me, I am forgiving what has happened to me. I am grateful for the life I was given and I am grateful for the second chance. I am healing because for when I was weak, I was strong. Through this pain and through this experience, I was able to start this project and I was able to inspire others. While I would never wish what happened to me, I feel indebted to what this experience has allowed me to do with my life.

I have been playing this video a lot in the past few weeks and I want to reshare it:

Thankful Thursday 5 November 2020

First off, happy birthday to Jamie Madrox of Twiztid! Today The Wraith: Shangri-La turns 18. That was the album that got me into Insane Clown Posse back in 2003. Wraith was my first tattoo, so today is special.

Right now America is at a cross-roads. Please remember, whoever wins, our humanity doesn’t change. How we treat our fellow human beings will never change. Please remember to treat everyone with kindness and empathy. These are the traits that will bring us together and it is up to us. We were chatting about this in the Torah/Bible study yesterday. If you’re faithful: God or Hashem is in control and as long as we have faith in Him, He will lead us forward. That goes to Gods and Goddesses too. I added the kindness and empathy for the more secular people because those traits are important too. I’m grateful for the Torah/Bible study and I’m grateful for the kindness that was displayed yesterday.

The 7th anniversary and the 1st anniversary of tattoo #2 is coming up on Saturday. I’m not getting a tattoo this year, but I am going to get a piercing. I’m going to spend my self-care day at my favourite piercing shop, Infinite. After, I’ll go ice skating since the ice skating rink at City Hall opens tomorrow. It’ll be in the 70s this weekend, but I don’t care. I can’t wait to get my Vitamin Ice in. I’m excited for my piercing and when I go to dinner, I’m going to see if I can find a gluten-free bakery for a small GF cupcake. I’m going to sing Happy Inkday to tattoo #2. I’m grateful for my self care day on 7 November. 7 on 7 November.

Blue Cross RiverRink’s Winterfest is opening on 27 November! Woohoo! It looks like it’ll be a season of Vitamin Ice! I’m grateful and I really can’t wait for winter.

What are you thankful for today?