Yesterday was a special day. For the first time in 900 years, the date was a palindrome.

The Super Bowl also calls for a special celebration! My neighbours are 49ers fans and invited us to their Super Bowl party. Unfortunately, not many people showed up, but I enjoyed spending time with my neighbours for two hours. I didn’t take many photos, but captured two that sum up the precious evening with lovely people. I wasn’t feeling well, but being around friends that consider you family, that made my heart sing.

I left at 7:30 and watched the end of the game at home. I’m happy for the Chiefs.

Dinner and a Movie | Friday Night Relaxation (31 January 2020)

Last night, I decided to take a break from ice skating because I am finding that sometimes rest days are important. I’ve been in some pain – nothing serious, it’s the joys of being healthy again – and I’ve been taking a rest week until that time subsides.

I loved going to the Roxy in October and I decided I would pay the Philadelphia Film Center (formerly the Prince) a visit. I didn’t really want to see Little Women at the Roxy, so I settled on 1917 at the PFC. I ended up joining the Philadelphia Film Society; I love old theaters; since I want to get back into seeing movies, and I love the mission of the PFS, I thought the membership would bring me joy. I can’t wait for a year of movies! 😀

1917 was a pretty good movie. It was a little depressing, but the story line was well written and the acting was on point. 1917 reminded me of All Quiet on the Western Front, but from the British point of view.

After, I went to dinner at Barra Rossa and had a delicious GF veggie pizza. I had a really nice waiter and he agreed to a selfie. Dinner and a selfie was a great way to end a relaxing evening.


Next Friday I will return to ice skating, but I will see Birds of Prey first. I can’t wait to see Harley Quinn and how she fares since breaking up with Joker.

Thankful Thursday 30 January 2020

I can’t believe tomorrow is the last day of February! The first month of 2020 Vision went quickly! Today is also 4 years since I learned of Brandon’s death. He died on 31 March 2015, but I found out on 30 January 2016. It’s amazing how much things have changed since then; I am more at peace and while I was learning to forgive him, I have also learned to forgive myself. I can’t know what I didn’t know back then and I can’t change what happened either. I can only move forward and he is ash now. I am still standing and I can make an impact in this world.

I am thankful for the wonderful people I met at the skating rink on Sunday. I asked this one teenaged girl if she could get a photo of me skating, she did. After, her best friend asked me if I could get a photo with her. I said, “I would love that!” Her friend took the photo with my phone, then the other group of friends wanted selfies with me. The last photo was a group selfie and each one of them followed me on the Happiness Box Project’s Instagram. They were a lovely group of girls, filled with such positivity. Teenage girls, unlike teenage boys, are awesome and I’ve found that I’m popular among the teenage girls. At Oaks, I have one who is happy to see me every time I’m there and wants photos. Then I have two girls I see at Target once in a while who are so happy to see me too and want selfies. I was bullied as a teenager, so it’s a nice change. I guess my smile, upbeat and kind demeanor attracts people.

Although, not all teenage boys are bad. I met a nice one last Friday who took video of me skating AND agreed to a selfie. I’m thankful for the ones that agree and I’m thankful for the sweet memories I’ve added to my Happiness Box over the years.


I’m also thankful for my health, friends, and family. Dad picked me up from the library tonight and I’m grateful. My library friend also gave me a card with $20 on Tuesday. I’m grateful for that too.

What are you thankful for?

Happy (Lunar) New Year! Year of the Rat


On Sunday, 26 January 2020, I ventured into Philadelphia for the Lion Dance Parade in China Town. The day was gorgeous and the Year of the Rat not only drew in the Asian community, but all communities in Philadelphia and the suburbs. It was nice being together, as one people, celebrating each other. Happy New Year! May the Year of the Rat bring you all much peace, health, and prosperity.


I ended my evening at Bahn Mi and Bottles since they have delicious GF options. The Vietnamese also celebrate the Lunar New Year and their New Year menu had some delicious GF options. I ended up getting a sticky rice and beans sandwich with shrimp and mushroom pho. Yum!

Remembering Nan

Today is the seventh anniversary since my beloved Nan died. She battled lung cancer for six months and took her final breath on the snowy evening of 25 January 2013. It feels like yesterday and I still miss her a lot.

I’m going to share a few songs and stories of our times together. These songs are some songs Nan liked, disliked, and one she never heard, but it’s a memory I associate with her. These are some of the memories that make me smile.

Between seventh and tenth grades, I was heavily into Nirvana and in 2003, I saw a sweatshirt at Hot Topic that I wanted. I was 14 at the time and obviously unemployed; Nan made a deal with me. I would scrub her bathroom and kitchen floors (she had two bathrooms with tubs, then a bathroom with just a toilet), then she would buy me the sweatshirt. I lived up to the deal of my bargain and a week later, Nan bought me the Nirvana sweatshirt. While it no longer fits me anymore, I still have it hanging up in my closet because it’s such a kind memory.


In February 2004, I discovered Flogging Molly and bought one of their CDs. Nan drove a 2000 Pontiac Firebird that had a cassette player, and since I had a CD walkman converter, Nan would let me play music as we traveled together. I decided to put one of the Flogging Molly CDs in and Nan loved “Devil’s Dance Floor” the most. She thought it was a good dancing piece and really loved the beat. I remember her saying, “maybe you can learn how to dance to this song. Young people don’t dance anymore and it’s such a shame.” I never learned how to dance, but this remained one of our favourite songs that we enjoyed together.

One time in 2004, I decided to play The Doors’ greatest hits and when “Light My Fire” came on, she asked, “did he say ‘senior high’?” I said, “No, he said, ‘she get high'” and Nan didn’t really like that. I think she was afraid it would give me ideas, but it never did because I’m not interested in that lifestyle. Dad was a Doors fan growing up, but I guess he never played Doors for Nan. I didn’t play that CD again, but when one of her nieces visited from Colorado, we enjoyed chatting about Jim and the band.


Although I don’t have a driver’s license, I did learn how to drive. When I was learning how to drive, Nan often drove with me and I felt the most calm when driving with her. Since I have really bad anxiety, that’s why I don’t have a license and after failing the test on the ninth try, both Nan and dad said, “Jessica, driving isn’t for everyone and if you aren’t comfortable with it, the worst thing you can do is force yourself to be comfortable with it. You’ll just have to live in a city.” Anyway, when I was still learning, Nan often accompanied me to summer classes at West Chester University in 2009. She would sit on a bench on campus, reading a book, however, she said students would stop and chat with her. She loved chatting with the students and loved how welcoming everyone was of her. We often listened to Lady Gaga on the drive – she loved Lady Gaga; Nan thought her style was odd, but her voice was beautiful.


You are loved and miss, my dear Nan. You weren’t only my grandmother, you were also my best friend. Your memory is alive and well in my stories.




Thankful Thursday 23 January 2020

Thursday already!? I feel like these weeks just fly by, but I try to savour every moment.

I don’t think I’ll be moving from either position at both jobs, and through my deep breaths and thinking what a co-worker friend told me (“things happen for a reason. There’s a reason why you’re still here and still in the same positions”), I decided to look at the Canadian immigration site. For 2020, they need people in my role, the role I do full-time. Do I like what I do? No, but if it’ll get me there once I save up more money, it’ll help me go back to school to become a therapist. I want to be a therapist.

Also, since they are in need of people in my role, I wonder if that would mean I could get a job to hire me as an American, then sign the papers for residency. If they can’t find citizens or permanent residents that can do the role, that’s when they hire people from other countries. I’ll have to retake my English test, but maybe I will reach out to a Canadian headhunter. Having a job already lined up would negate the monetary requirement for immigration. I can also change my job at any time when I become a permanent resident. Things truly do happen for a reason and I’m thankful for the co-worker friend that gave me that perspective.

I’m thankful for friends and family in general this week for listening and encouraging. I have a blood test for my physical on Saturday and I’m very nervous. Everyone has been wishing me well, another co-worker friend said, “it’s 2020, new Jess and better health!” I’ve been saying that all week. Getting diagnosed with gluten issues, it was helping my liver last year, it has helped my health in general, so I think I’ll be good. Who would have thought getting diagnosed with celiac and sensitivities would have helped? I’m thankful for my health.

Yesterday I had a good hair day and as I was taking a selfie, a biker stopped and said, “hey girl!” I felt so beautiful yesterday and it was a welcomed feeling. I am also thankful of this cold weather.

What are you grateful for?