A project that builds gratitude day by day to build resilience.
Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.
My goodness! We’re almost half-way through July. Can you believe it?! Happy Bastille Day to my French followers, but really to anyone who acknowledges the day.
First off, Tommy had a good first day at work. I am so happy for him. I’m giving him some space tonight so he can decompress. I am so grateful that the first day went well. I have good feelings and it’s nice to have those good feelings.
I went into the library today after work to help with the July display. I am not scheduled to work on Thursdays, but last night I told Sangeetha and Krissy that I would help – I had sea shells for their summer display. They let me put the shells that Tommy and I (mostly Tommy) found in Brigantine at the end of March. Krissy found some sea life photos and I started decorating. Both were grateful that I helped. They’re going to finish the rest tomorrow. I told Sangeetha, “any time you need a display done, I’ll be happy to do it for you. I love doing these.” I am so grateful that I can do these displays.
Can’t wait to see the finished display on Tuesday!
I’m grateful for Tommy. I’m also grateful for co-workers at both jobs, friends, and family. What are you grateful for today?
Ah, Sundays are best with Tommy! We woke up at 10:30 am and we both agreed: we sleep best when together. I normally don’t sleep that late (unless I am sick), but I felt so comfortable. I was also tired from Saturday and I guess I needed the rest!
We ate breakfast and then officially started our day at 12:30 pm. We went skating. I’m still getting balancing down, but I can move with one foot on the board. I’m still working on getting both feet on. I’ll get there eventually. As we were skating, Concert Under the Stars were getting ready for later that night. We had a free concert!
Pop-Pop is memorialized at the Township Building since he was a Vietnam War Air Force Vet. As we were waiting for Lyft to the mall, Tommy was skating near his flag. I pointed it out and told him about Pop-Pop. I had to take photos of him skating near Pop-Pop. I think Tommy looks similar to a young Pop-Pop.
When we got to the mall, we had lunch and then explored the Lego store. Tommy saw a few displays he loved. I loved the roller coaster tower.
We decided to build mini-figures.
Tommy found a camera piece and handed it to me. I decided to build us.
Tommy loved what I created and he decided to create his own rendition of us as a Lego couple. He made me a gothic viking.
We decided to buy ourselves as a couple.
After my shopping spree at Talbots, we went back to my house and had dinner. Mom made hamburgers, hot dogs, clams, corn, and cucumber salad. We had a feast; Tommy and I sat outside and enjoyed. After dinner, he rode the bike he is fixing down the hill. He loves the hill in my neighbourhood.
He left at 6:30. We hugged and kissed; we didn’t want to let go. He starts his new job tomorrow and I’m not sure if weekends will be free for him anymore. No plans this coming weekend, so I’m glad we had this past weekend.
On Saturday afternoon, Tommy and I ventured to Philadelphia for the BMX Bike Jam at Philly Pumptrack. But, first, we stopped at his house to get his BMX bike. Of course, I had to hang out with his cat, Holly, and dog, Fuzz. They love me!
After a 15 minute cuddle sesh, Tommy came upstairs and saw that I was comfortable with his pets. He asked me if we should still go to the jam – we both agreed that we would.
What a fun experience! It was muddy and Tommy talked me into trying to ride a bike. Hey, I tried! Rode the kiddie trail with my feet, but I tried! Tommy is awesome, though.
Sav, an underground hip-hop artist was there. He was pretty good. He agreed to take a selfie with me and gave me a 45 record single.
Zeke was awesome! He inspired me!
Tommy with his buddies. I met his bro Derek. Derek exclaimed, “ah, so this is your lady?! It’s nice to finally meet her!”
We left at 7pm. Tommy was allowed to stay over, so we went back to his house to drop off his bike, and he grabbed his things. We then went over to Terry’s, to feed Alfie, and ordered dinner. Tommy took the Mongoose bike he is fixing and I grabbed my things. We got back to my house at 10pm. We chilled; played some video games and watched SNL. What a great evening.
I cat sat for Terry this weekend and since she allowed Tommy over, we enjoyed the pool.
Tommy saw a free BMX bike on Facebook marketplace, so we went to get it. It needs a lot of work; we decided to go to the Cog Shop in Phoenixville. Unfortunately, they were backlogged and couldn’t help. Tommy bought the parts and would fix most of it himself. We ate dinner, then met Boris, the pet pig.
We headed back to Terry’s. He worked on the bike, while I took a sunset swim. He finished around 9pm, and joined me in the pool and swam until it started to thunder at 9:30 pm. It was great swimming at night with him.
Happy Thursday! My first Thankful Thursday post as a 33 year old!
I’m still grateful about birthday weekend and how Tommy spoiled me. I’m still admiring the lovely card he bought from a homeless man on the Atlantic City boardwalk. The homeless man drew it, saw us, and sold us on it. It is pretty and I will add it to my snap book.
I’ll be seeing Tommy tomorrow; Terry said he can stay over while I cat sit, so we’ll be at Terry’s from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening. We’ll go swimming and skating. I’m thankful that Terry said he’s welcome to come over anytime.
Some more birthday cards came in today! One from Mike, a pen pal from Writing.com, and another from Marsha.
I’m also grateful for friends, family, co-workers, and my jobs. What are you grateful for today?
Ah, last minute birthday weekend plans were a success. Last weekend, Tommy and I decided on Atlantic City, then plans changed a bit and by last Tuesday, we decided to stay in Philadelphia on Saturday night to be closer to the train that we took to Atlantic City. We booked the Budgetel Inn in Absecon, NJ (15 minutes away from Atlantic City) for July 3-5. We were excited and planned different things throughout the week last week. This was going to be his first time celebrating my birthday with me. (His birthday was April 11, and I made a bit of a big deal about his birthday since it was my first time celebrating his birthday with him – it seems like firsts are always big deals.)
On Saturday we met up, and headed to our accomodation in Hunting Park. On our way to Queen’s Hotel, a bed and breakfast of sorts, Tommy and I learned some Polish. He’s interested in learning it and installed Duo Lingo. I am too; I believe Polish is one language Daniel spoke and Ms. Irene at the library spoke it. I know a little. I had fun playing along and caught on quickly. Some of it is similar to German. Anyway, Queen’s Hotel was okay; it was a place to rest our heads. We had a TV in our room that had a hookup for a video game console. Tommy brought his wii switch. Tommy asked if I wanted my birthday gift at that moment and I told him, “no. I want to wait two more days.”
Saturday was a hot and humid day. We didn’t see the skateboarding competition like originally planned, especially since heavy rain was in the forecast. Instead, I wanted to pick up a sun hat at Philly AIDS; Tommy and I hopped onto the Broad Street Line at Hunting Park and headed to Lombard South since Philly AIDS is on South Street (5th). As soon as we made it to South Street, it started to pour. We hung out at CVS before continuing onto Philly AIDS.
Tommy loved Philly AIDS. I found my sun hat and a cute Halloween teddy bear. Tommy found a boogie board, Star Wars drone, and Logitech headphones. We did take some photos; I loved the Christmas snowman and Tommy loved the kayaks.
Before we headed back to Hunting Park, we hung out near City Hall and Tommy flew his Star Wars drone. I wanted to try on my sunhat. We made it back to Hunting Park by 7:30, we wanted to be back before dark. Tommy hooked up his Wii switch and we had an evening of video games. I loved Cup Head, the game is reminiscent of a 30’s/40’s style game. We also played Minecraft and Rollercoaster Tycoon.
I slept well, but Tommy did not. He felt uneasy about the area and instead of sleeping, he made sure I was okay. He’s my protector.
We left at 7:45 am and headed to 30th Street. We made it to 30th Street at 8:15 am and Tommy treated me to Dunkin Donuts. I can only eat potato hash browns there (the only thing that is gluten free) and I told him to get me a pack of 8. He came back, and I can only laugh; typical Aspie, he ordered me 8 bags of hash browns. I was able to eat five of those bags, but had to get rid of the rest. Tommy and I caught the train to Atlantic City at 8:52.
We made it to our room in Absecon at noon on July 3. Budgetel Inn was nice. Since Tommy didn’t sleep on Saturday night, I recommended taking a nap before going to the beach. I am normally not a napper, but I’ve sort of become one since dating him. We both fell asleep for two hours – even though I was able to sleep in Hunting Park, it wasn’t a restful sleep and Absecon was more restful.
Tommy and I caught the bus and made it to the beach at 3:30. On the way to the beach, Tommy found an abandoned tent. He grabbed it and set it up. It was a great tent to have drinks and listen to music after some swimming. The water was freezing cold. We braved the water for an hour, then chilled and listened to Kim Petras (and other rap songs) for an hour and a half. The sea breeze was lovely.
Had a nice dinner at Hard Rock Cafe, then walked the beach. The beach was misty and we were able to watch the sun set. It was high tide and Tommy made sure we made it off the beach by then. Steel Pier was next on our list and we spent the rest of the evening there. Tommy tried the weights twice and the first time, he made it with 1 second left. He let go. I think they should have given it to him. Tommy was determined to do it again and that time, face the crowd. Big mistake. He’s not one for a lot of attention and that made him nervous. He did worse the second time around. He did better when he turned away from the audience. I’m proud of him and next time we go back, he will try again.
Steel Pier was crowded. We were able to ride the swings and the Ferris wheel. We are both afraid of heights, but the cars were closed and had a safety door. For $15/each, it was safe, and we felt okay. When we were at the top, we held one another and kissed. Much better; cuddling and kissing really does ease height anxiety.
July 4. My 33rd birthday. We went to bed at 1am and before we fell asleep, he said, “Happy 33rd birthday, my love.” We both slept better; Absecon was quiet and the inn was comfortable. We could both rest easy, so much so that we both woke up at 9:30 am.
We stretched and Tommy walked over to his luggage, then handed me a hot pink gift bag. “Happy birthday, sweetie. Sorry if it’s a little smooshed.”
Of course, I opened the card first. That made me verklempt. However, the gifts inside really surprised me. Verklempt! So beautiful and thoughtful.
I gave him a big hug and kiss; thanked him and told him that I really do appreciate everything he does for me. He keeps me safe, he loves me, and has just been awesome in general. Our relationship isn’t always easy, but it’s real, and we both love and respect one another.
One of my co-workers from the County, sent me a text message to wish me a happy birthday. She’s from Albania and I love her fashion sense. I sent her this photo and asked her what colour top would best go with the necklace. She recommended yellow. After the beach, Tommy and I agreed to go to the Hamilton Mall so I could go to Torrid to buy an outfit for my birthday, which went with the jewelry he gave me.
Beach day! Tommy left the tent at the beach the day before and I’m glad he did. We couldn’t carry it back. We set up the beach blanket, smothered on the sun screen and I went swimming. Tommy decided to learn more Polish since the water might have been too cold for him. I had my wet suit on, so the water wasn’t as cold for me. I swam for a half an hour, then went back to sit with Tommy. I learned some more Polish and we went swimming together. Well, Tommy didn’t, it was cold for him, but he did get waist deep, went crabbing, found some shells, and watched me splash around. Before we had enough of the water, I asked him, “would you like to take photos of your model girlfriend?” He once told me that I should be a model, and he’s honoured that he has a model girlfriend. It’s our little joke. He did take some photos.
I brought dad’s film camera and had some older beach goers take some photos of us. I can’t wait to get those developed and I will share them once they are.
We headed back to the blanket and Tommy called his grandma. His grandma said that she told his grandpa that we were in town. He invited us to miniature golf in Brigantine. I was able to meet his grandpa and he gave us three free games. What a warm man, and we had fun golfing. We didn’t keep score, we just had fun and shared a lot of laughter. It was a great few hours.
After, we went to the mall and I found a lovely marigold shirt at Torrid. I also found a white dress, ripped jean shorts, and a Nirvana t-shirt. The mall was empty and a lot of stores were closing at 5, instead of 6.
When we made it back to Absecon, we went to an old style Pizza Hut. At one point they had gluten-free pizza, but they removed it from the menu a few weeks ago. I ordered 12 wings and fries, and Tommy ordered a hand tossed pizza. Spongebob was on and we had fun watching that until our food came out.
A family came in and the little girl and boy noticed our skateboards after I complimented the little girl’s shirt. I wish I took photos of the kids on the skateboard; I let them ride mine. They were awesome and had fun skating around Pizza Hut. The little girl asked me where we were from, so I told her that we were from Philadelphia and in town for my birthday. The little girl and boy both wished me a happy birthday, then the little girl screamed out to her mom, who was ordering, that it was my birthday. Their mother wished me a happy birthday. It was a really friendly experience.
Out of Pizza Hut by 9 pm and made our way to Atlantic City. We watched the fireworks on the beach, then walked around for a bit after. I was nervous about riding the skateboard on the boardwalk, so I practiced and held on. Tommy did ride, while I continued to practice.
It was a wonderful birthday weekend and birthday. I am grateful for Tommy, I am beyond blessed.
Today is the last Thursday in June and you know what else this is the last Thursday for?! This is my last Thursday being 32. Come Monday, I’ll be 33 years young!
Tommy and I are spending the weekend together and I’m really looking forward to it. I truly do have the best boyfriend in the world, or at least my little corner of the world. I have some plans and Tommy’s just as excited. We’re planning to see Lucy the Elephant and I want to do it later in the day, so that way we can see the sunset. I’ll have to map it better to see if it’s near a beach, if not, we’ll do it a bit earlier and head back to A.C. to watch the sunset on the beach (never mind, she closes at 5 on Sunday, so we’ll see her close to 4, then go back to A.C. for the sunset). I’ve always wanted to do this with a loved one. Neither of us have seen Lucy and it’ll be our first sunset together on the beach. So grateful for my travel partner!
I took down my Happiness Box display at the library today. Everyone was sad to see it go, but I promised that I would display scrapbooks next year! I will have plenty to showcase. I’m thankful that my display was well received.
I’m also thankful for my jobs, co-workers, friends, and family. What are you grateful for today?
I’ll be honest, I haven’t felt motivated to scrapbook Happiness Box 2021, I’ve felt more motivated to scrapbook the different things Tommy and I have done together so far. I’ve decided to make separate albums for special events because in the past, my Happiness Box scrapbooks exploded.
While 2021 was a good year in the second half, there are some bittersweet moments from then. They’re nice to read, but right now I just don’t feel like scrapbooking them. I will in due time, and the pages will probably look bland. I don’t want to go all out with decorating, I want to save that for individual albums.
I’ve had a lot of wonderful moments with Tommy and right now scrapping those moments are my joy. Don’t worry, I’m still writing Happiness Box 2022, but the scrapping of Happiness Box 2021 is on the backburner for now.
Here’s one album I finished.
Before I finished this album, I compiled a Sn@p album of our first Valentine’s Day together. A Sn@p album is a combination between a scrapbook album and photo album. They’re fun.
Next up: a sn@p album about our Brigantine/Atlantic City weekend trip from 25 and 26 March 2022.
I still count these as Happiness scrapbooks! 🙂 Maybe it’s not a break at all.
Tommy surprised me on Saturday. I wasn’t planning to spend the night at Tommy’s since his parents were iffy about it in the past. Well, he called me up and told me it was okay to stay on Saturday.
Fortunately, I didn’t need to pack a lot. I just threw some clothes and pajamas into a duffle bag, along with toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, medicine, tattoo lotion, and popcorn. I was so excited to spend the night; and Tommy was just as excited.
I got there at 3pm, and we embraced. We planned birthday weekend and since Tommy is going to start a new job soon, he didn’t want to chance being away on my birthday. We were thinking about Boston, but it’ll be better in the fall, for both of us. I suggested staying in Atlantic City for 2-3 July and he loved that idea. We’ll spend birthday weekend together.
We went to Walmart, he bought more Hot Wheel tracks, and we went back to his house to race. We spent some time in the garage, greasing the track and talking about the outlawing of abortion. We’re both upset. As someone who struggles with period issues, this is scary. Could the progesterone only challenge I had to take in my 20s be outlawed? Can the birth control I take now be outlawed? I hope not.
As a rape survivor, while I’m glad at that time I was unable to get pregnant, I might have been given Plan B. I was given so many medications then, I couldn’t keep up with all that they gave me in the aftermath. As I told Tommy, “if I would have gotten pregnant and if Roe v. Wade wasn’t law, there could have been a possibility that Brandon could have fought for parental rights. Since he died, that could have raised other issues. It makes me scared to think of women who are raped in the post-Roe world and if they don’t go to a back alley, they may be forced to deal with their rapist in child custody battles. That’s double the trauma.” Tommy just said, “that’s fucked up.” It truly is. We, along with millions of Americans, are devastated. Not only abortion is at risk, but so is IVF – infertile women are screwed too. Women are chattel now.
That discussion worked up an appetite. We ordered Chick Fil-A, and had a delicious dinner. Tommy’s a picky eater, I’m gluten-free and Chick Fil-A is just easy for us. A lot of these types of restaurants are easy for us.
After dinner and a shower, we just relaxed. He told me, “this is the first time I’ve been allowed to have a girlfriend over and in my bed.” I smiled and said, “we’re doing a lot of firsts together.” He smiled too and I added, “I never felt this way about anyone before.” “Me neither, babe.”
Fuzz joined us and cuddled with us. He stayed next to my side for the evening. I love cats and I had to see his cat, Holly. Holly loved me, she cuddled up next to me and allowed me to give her some head kisses. Tommy joined me and Holly loved the attention. Fuzz got jealous.
Fuzz wasn’t really into selfies. Oh well.
We stayed up til 1am, eating popcorn, playing video games, then taking Fuzz outside. It felt great to cuddle up with Tommy outside as we watched Fuzz. It was a humid night and the stars shone brightly.
Once inside, we went to bed. We woke up at 11:45 am on Sunday and that had to be the best sleep I had in a while. His bed is comfortable and it always feels great sleeping cuddled next to him. He felt the same way – he had a few nightmares, which woke me up, and I held him tightly. He loved that.
When we woke up, we planned Atlantic City. We’re going to be staying in Pleasantville, which is a 14 minute Lyft ride to Atlantic City. It was cheaper staying in a hotel in Pleasantville since it’s further out. Honestly, I don’t care where we stay and what we do, I just love being with Tommy. Tommy and I talked about things we can do next weekend and we’re super excited. Lucy the Elephant, the beach, boardwalk games, maybe the casinos.
After planning, we made our way downstairs. Fuzz greeted me and cuddled next to me. Tommy’s dad said, “Fuzz seems to really like you. He loves the attention.” Tommy came downstairs and we had gluten-free cheerios for breakfast while watching YouTube videos.
Since yesterday was super hot, we spent most of the day inside, playing video games. I also introduced him to more KMFDM, which he really loved. He loved these two songs the most:
I also played Jack off Jill and Otep for him. He said, “Jack off Jill wasn’t appropriate for school.” I laughed and said, “that is why I listened to the CD on my walkman. No one could hear what I listened to through headphones.” He laughed. He thought Otep sounded like a guy and was surprised she was a girl. Otep is a Lesbian, but I guess she probably thought that if she wants to make it in metal, sounding like a guy was it? Or that could just be her style. Tommy seemed to like “Blood Pig,” and “Jonestown Tea” was a bit too intense for him. I told him, “yeah, she is a little intense. For a while in 2014, I couldn’t listen to ‘Jonestown Tea,’ it took me a few years to be comfortable with that song again.” Tommy liked listening to what I loved in middle and high schools, and still love.
I’m going to post “Jonestown Tea” to illustrate what I’m talking about. TRIGGER WARNING!
We played video games as we listened and that seemed to put me in the racing video game mindset. I guess metal tends to do that!
Also, we decided to not do anything for the snowboarding game. By doing nothing, we both won. How comical!
We stayed in our pajamas all day. It felt nice. All that headbanging, laughing, and racing made us hungry. We ordered gluten-free pizza and non gluten-free pepperoni pizza from Pica’s. Although it was 95 degrees outside, we decided to eat outside.
We played some more video games and Tommy decided to race. After about an hour, Tommy decided to try to teach me how to ride a bike. I’m trying. He had to guide me, to help with balance. I have a wonderful and patient teacher.
I didn’t want to go home, and Tommy didn’t want me to go home either. I left at 7:15 and I thanked his dad for letting me stay. He smiled and said, “you’re very welcome. See you next time!” As I waited for Lyft, I took a lovely selfie with Tommy in the living room.
We had a great weekend and I felt so comfortable in his home. I felt so at peace. His dog and cats love me, I’m welcomed, and it just felt so good being with the love of my life. I can’t wait for birthday weekend.