Horror Sideshow Market | 5 September 2020

Yesterday I took a trip to Allentown to go to the Horror Sideshow Flea Market. Anna and Alli had a stand set up and I went to help/support. Unfortunately, Anna couldn’t travel up from South Carolina because of COVID-19 restrictions; her grandmother is also very ill and she started school again. Both Alli and I took plenty of pictures to send her. Alli was so happy I made it; it was nice spending time with her and her boyfriend, Matt.


We made a few sales! It was fun drawing people in and trying to sell them some art work. We also asked for suggestions for pieces they would like to see – Anna is doing a women in horror series and we were polling people who were visiting, The suggestions were all over the place and I can’t wait to see what Anna draws next.


I walked around for a bit and took photos. I met Countess Camille and Randu, who was selling happy/positivity artwork and t-shirts. His illustrations drew me in. I also met an indie film group and a puppeteer. We were talking about the business and he said, “if you’re interested in learning puppetry, I’m training and looking for someone to join me at shows.” We exchanged Instagram usernames, and as cool as it sounds (and the extra money sounds nice), I’m not sure. It would be fun, but right now I’m not sure about the commitment. 
I left at 2 and before I left, Alli gave me a shirt. She asked me if I was going to still buy one and I was honest with her, “I love Anna’s art work, but I will order it online. Since I was furloughed from my library job, I’m only working with one paycheck and I get paid next week. I’m hoping to go back soon.” She understood and before I left she just said, “Anna and I want to thank you for always coming out and supporting us.” and handed me a shirt. I’m extremely grateful.


I left Allentown at 3:30. I was glad I could change my ticket because I was set to leave at 7:30. Most of the restaurants on Hamilton St. were closed; most businesses close for the weekend since quarantine and don’t open until the weekday, when businesses are open. 


Frutta Bowls was opened; I had Frutta Bowls in Belmar before my tattoo and I knew they had gluten and dairy free things. Breakfast and a late lunch. A fig brie gluten free sandwich and butternut squash soup was what was needed after standing 4 hours on my feet.

I don’t like WordPress’s new layout. Here’s the photo album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/pVp6utXWCvt4Ge1W8

Thankful Thursday 3 September 2020

Happy first Thursday in September! I can’t believe we’re in the 9th month of the year and we only have a little over 3.5 months to go until 2021. I made a post on Instagram on Tuesday about the progress of Happiness Box 2020. It grew a bit over the summer, not as much as last year’s (or the previous), but that’s okay. 2020 is a special year and I am grateful for everything I’ve learned this year.

I even decorated the Atlantic City bag.

I’m so thankful that my full-time job holds a Torah/Bible Study and that I can get in touch with learning about Judaism. Avi talked about Rosh Hoshana yesterday and even blew his Shofar. It was a neat experience and I’m grateful Joel came up with the idea. I also like how Joel connects his Christianity with Avi’s Judaism; we really are all connected at the end of the day, it’s truly beautiful.

I’m thankful for my friends. I’ve had a difficult week this week because I chose to let someone go. The friendship was adding more stress than it was worth, especially since it became passive aggressive and the person didn’t really want to communicate. I’m thankful for Anna, Christina, and Marsha for listening.

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

Atlantic City | 30 August 2020

 

Yesterday I decided to take a day trip to Atlantic City. It’s only an hour and a half by bus and I wanted to get one more beach day in before lifeguards are done for the summer. While summer doesn’t end until 23 September, Labor Day is the unofficial end to the summer in the Northeast and Midwest.

When I arrived, I was surprised that the beach was almost empty! I had someone take my photo in front of the ocean. One with the mask on, and one without. The mask has defined my beach going experience this year and it’ll be fun for the Happiness Box scrapbook. 🙂

The last time I was at this beach, on 25 May 2019, it was a day before I joined the Inked Club. The last time I was here, I was admiring all the tattooed people and dreaming of the day I would have one to show off.

Well, three later… 😂 I approached a tattooed young woman and I asked her if she wouldn’t mind taking a photo of my tattoos, since this was my first Atlantic City experience with them. She smiled, she understood perfectly. Yeah, my tats are still a big deal to me.

Then it was fun, fun, fun in the water! Sweet Cancer baby and her water:

After an hour of swimming, I decided to take a break to get some photos with my Polaroid camera. Taking a photo with the Atlantic City boat is always a must. As I was waiting in line, two young women were taking photos of each other. I offered to take their group photo and they agreed. I also asked if they would take mine. They agreed and one, Emily, said she loved my Polaroid camera, she had one on order and she never sees anyone use them. She hoped she made the right purchase.

I replied, “Oh, I love mine and it comes in handy for my project!” She was interested and after she took my photos, I explained to her what the Happiness Box Project is.

“That’s such a great idea! I’m doing something similar to you, but instead of a box, I’m just travelling. I lost my husband to cancer a few months ago, so I’m just travelling, writing, and blogging to find meaning. I’ve never done this before.” Rebecca, her other friend, and I began chatting. We exchanged Instagram accounts, and after 15 minutes of chatting, we took quarantine selfies with my polaroid camera. I took three of them and gave the other two to Emily and Rebecca.

Before we parted ways, I said to Emily, “if you need any help getting started with blogging or just need to chat, feel free to reach out anytime.” She smiled, and we gave each other socially distant/quarantine hugs. Not actual hugging, but the motions of hugs at a socially safe distance.

The people you meet while travelling. *Bigsmile* Maybe my project is a gift and although blogging doesn’t bring any benefits, maybe it is a useful skill to have.

Anyway, after a water and fruit break, I went back into the water and met a nice guy catching the waves. We started talking and we started talking about travelling and tattoos for a good half an hour, that was fun.

Then the surf started getting rougher and the fun began!

 

The rough waves also stirred up a lot of seaweed. The seaweed was attracted to me and at one point, I looked like a monster coming out of a lagoon!

At 3:15, I was done in the water and walked around to take photos, as I dried off. I saw a lot of neat sights yesterday. Let me share some of the photos:

I was going to eat dinner at Chickie and Pete’s, but since New Jersey still has the outdoor dining rules, it was a 2.5 hour wait. I couldn’t wait that long since I wanted to get home by 7:30, so I got it to go. I started eating it on the boardwalk, but I got tired of standing and the flies were biting my legs. I took it on my bus trip back to Philadelphia and on Lyft, I finally ate dinner when I got home at 7:30.

I had such a wonderful day. What a wonderful end to the swimming season. Hopefully next year, the beach experience will return to “normal”! Regardless, one more beach day to add to my Happiness Box Project, as well as new friends to keep in touch with on Instagram.

Shabbat 28 August 2020

On Friday I ventured into Philadelphia for the abbreviated Shabbat and the handing out of the Shabboxes.

I was one of the first ones to arrive, at 4:30, Mallory and I wished each other a Shabbat Shalom, chatted for 10 minutes, and then she handed me a Shabbox. I told her, “Thank you. It was nice seeing you, if only for 10 minutes, and I can’t wait until we can gather again in person.” She smiled and said, “Yes!” I did add that I do love the Zoom chats, and I am grateful for them.

I went to Barnes and Noble next. Bought my first Torah, another religious book, then Prevention and Poets & Writers magazine. As I was checking out, the skies opened and it was pouring.

I noticed everyone congregating into Barnes and Nobles and as I went over to the magazines, I noticed Mallory and another young woman standing outside. They waved to me and I went outside to stand with them, socially distant of course.

As I was standing with the Shabbat group, I was too nervous to ask for selfies. Yet, after my purchase, we chatted and laughed as the pouring rain came down.

Since the Challah wasn’t GF, my parents said they had it this morning and it was delicious. I found GF Challah bread dough; I want to order the pan and I’ll make my own that I can eat. I haven’t had Challah bread since my diagnosis.

Thankful Thursday 27 August 2020

The last Thursday in August – this month, like the year, is flying by! In Philadelphia, museums and restaurants are starting to open back up, socially distant of course, and with a mask! The Philadelphia Museum of Art opens next weekend and Barra Rosa opens on 12 September. The restaurant has been closed for 6 months, and I’m glad they’re reopening. I will still be careful.

Tomorrow night, the Hillel Network is getting together for a socially distant Shabbat. We will all be in masks, we will say a prayer, and pick up our Shabboxes. Although it won’t be a big to-do like normally, I’m excited to see people in person, even if for an hour. It’s in Rittenhouse Square Park, so it’s outdoors and they are limiting people, with hour increments. I feel grateful for the free Shabbox and I am eternally grateful that this group has held monthly Shabbat on Zoom during the pandemic.

I’m also thankful for my parents, Anna, Marsha, Christina, and my co-workers from both jobs. What are you grateful for this week?

Welcome, Sweet Monarch!

Quickly emerging
from two weeks in snug casing
Ah, sweet freedom, ah!

Let the wind take me,
let it guide my brand new wings,
I can see the sun!

 

One of the monarchs emerged today! We have two that are still in the chrysalis and we’re predicting by the weekend, they will be monarchs. I’m hoping mom finds more caterpillars and we can raise Monarchs again. I love doing this each year, but it’s brought meaning during the quarantine. I took the one in the cage, but mom sent me the others. I had to get back to work before he flew away.

Verklempt From Yesterday

Yesterday was so sweet. My neighbour has two girls, 5 and 8. While I was on the swings, the 5 year old came running up to me, saying hi and sat on the swing next to me. Her sister and her friend then took the other swings. We went swinging together, chatted and laughed. The 5 year old said to me, “I saw you were alone and I wanted to join you.” Be still my heart! Didn’t get a photo during, as I was enjoying the moment. This moment made me verklempt.

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Thankful Thursday 20 August 2020

Ah, I hear Autumn calling! We’re having a bit of a reprieve with temperatures in the Philadelphia Area tonight. Starting last night, and extending until tomorrow, temps have been low 80s during the day and low 60s at night.

I’ve been enjoying this weather and can’t wait for Autumn. I’m really grateful for this weather and I’m grateful that the playground is opened again. I’ve been enjoying the swings for the past few days.

I went into the office today and I’m thankful for dad for taking me to the train. I’m also thankful for Shetana, Kyle, and Victoria, my other office mates who are allowed with me in the office. They’re limiting it to 2-4 people per day, once per week. Shetana and Kyle sit near me and we just had a good time laughing today, socially distant of course. I’m thankful for the laughter in dark times.

Yesterday my tattoo also turned 1 month old. I’m grateful that it’s healed and Marz did such a beautiful job. The green he used for Calvin’s hat is just a lovely shade of emerald. He opened the bottle just for my tattoo. I remember him saying, “I knew I bought this green for a reason and I’m glad I can finally use it!” All the colours used for my tattoo are looking vivid. I’m just grateful for all of the experiences my tattoos have brought me.

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

City Tavern | 15 August 2020

Remember the time before COVID-19 and when I would get selfies with strangers? Well, on Saturday night I brought it back! From a 6 ft distance of course, and with a mask!

I ended up having dinner at City Tavern; Franklin Institute and City Tavern has a partnership until the end of the month, 25% off of a meal. City Tavern was founded in the mid-1700’s, the meals are Colonial, it’s pricy, for special occasion and I haven’t been there in 5 years. I wanted to go back and 25% off was enticing. I made a reservation for 4:30.

I arrived at 4:15 and had a friendly host. My waiter was pretty cool too. Well, as the host was setting another table, I was waiting for my food, he came to check on me, I asked him about the promotion, and we started chatting. He loved my tattoo and asked how old it was since it still looks fresh. I said, “four weeks.” We chatted about tattoos and their colonial uniform. I absolutely loved it. Then my waiter came and broke up the conversation.

Before I left, I asked the host, whose name was Simon I believe… it was on the check after he took the promotion, if he wouldn’t mind getting a selfie with me. He smiled and he said, “I would love to get a selfie with you!”

He pointed to the side of the tavern. “Let’s pose over here! It’ll look more Colonial!” We snapped a selfie and we’re smiling with our eyes. #SelfieswithStrangers is now back!

 

Simon was cute. I hope that was his name. I feel like e-mailing City Tavern and telling the owner what a great experience I had. Simon and Greg… Greg was my waiter and he was amazing too.

The Franklin Institute | 15 August 2020

On Friday, I decided to go to the Franklin Institute and I became a member. I love supporting museums and since that museum has a lot of adult activities, it was well worth it to join. (It was also cheaper to become a member than pay for admission and for the special exhibit, which is Madame Tussaud’s The Presidents.)

I went to the Franklin Institute on Saturday and had a blast. It took me two hours to walk through The Presidents by Madame Tussaud’s. I had to take pictures with them. One of the security guards was watching me and as I exited the exhibit, she laughed and said, “it was a joy watching you run back and forth, posing and taking photos with the presidents.” We both laughed. Some were selfies, but mostly self timer.

After, I watched a few experiments, then an eye dissection.I actually like watching dissections. This was a cow’s eye and I learned a lot about the structure of the eye. Our eyes are just like cameras.

4.5 hours of fun! I sent dad some of the president photos, he absolutely loved them and I told him I will take him to see. I also told Christina that I became a member, so one Sunday we will go and enjoy the museum. Now, I’m a Philadelphia Museum of Art and Franklin Institute member. PMA is opened on 6 September!