A Word As We Move Toward Spring

I have summer SAD and usually get very depressed as the temperatures climb, the days get longer, and I inch towards my birthday. Winter is the opposite and I come alive in the cold, dark days because I can catch up on sleep and enjoy outdoor festivities more so than in the summer. However, this year was an anomaly, or at least I hope it was: I felt depressed and anxious and angry this winter.

I’ll be turning 30 in four months and I’m anxious. There are days where I don’t feel like I have my life together and I want to accomplish things before I turn 35. I want to move to Canada and I get the maximum number of points as an individual under 34. I hate my full-time job, I don’t have a career and some days I feel like I will never get a job around here that will allow me to attempt Canada again and get invited to live in Canada again, also a profession that would guarantee permanent residency.

I’ve been all over the place of trying to find my what’s next. I don’t want to go into medical or insurance, I work in insurance now full-time and it’s not me. I’ve grown tired of people suggesting insurance places because that’s what matches my full-time experience, but I don’t want to continue doing things that make me unhappy. I’ve annoyed my friends and after some thinking, I really don’t know what my next will be. I guess I will have to try everything until something sticks. I have library experience, I have writing experience, tech experience, I have a lot of other experiences other than insurance. I don’t really want to teach English overseas, but honestly, I can’t knock out things if they will get me to point B.

I think successful people have more than plans A,B,C, I think they keep trying until something sticks. Also, patience is a virtue and sometimes time truly is the greatest gift. In due time, everything will make sense.

I’m going to continue to meditate, pray, and work on my Happiness Box. I can’t turn back the clock, but I can continue to keep present and focus on what I have in the here and now.

 

The Happiness Box Project Display at the Upper Merion Township Library

After two weeks of putting heart and soul, dedication, and hard work into my projects, I put up the display for my Happiness Box Project at the Upper Merion Township Library. I had the right amount of mementos and stories. I’m quite proud of how the display turned out.

When I first put my display up. However, as I was working and really looking at it from a distance, I wanted to change it a little. I wanted to put the spiritual story under the books because the story tells the importance of the books and pictures. I wanted it at eye level. I also moved the Rumi quote above the framed photos because I thought it went better with the spiritual theme.

This week I want to bring my DSLR to work and get better photos… I think I want to start including my photos of all the displays I’ve done into a portfolio. The photo Terry took of me in front of my masterpiece, I’m printing out for my makeshift Happiness Box for March 2019, since I am displaying the box in the display.

I am using an old box that Nan gave me for the makeshift Happiness Box. I used to collect treasures in it and some of the “treasures” are still there, but I relocated them to a junk drawer. The treasure box really works!

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Thankful Thursday 28 February 2019

Wow! I can’t believe tomorrow c’est premier Marz, or the First of March, and it’ll be two years since I was invited for permanent residency in Canada (to be turned down seven months later, but still working towards it) and I was attempting to learn some French. Anyway, the week flew by since I was busy working on my display project for the library.

I am thankful for the library giving me permission to use their resources – they did say since I am an employee, I can help myself to whatever I need for the display and I can put the display up during my shift on Saturday. This helps me out a lot and I am thankful. Here is another little teaser for my display:

Mom has been travelling for business this week and I’m thankful for the evenings bonding with dad. Before he went to bed and before I worked on my display project, we would eat dinner and watch TV together. It was peaceful and I’m grateful.

This morning, someone I work with at my full-time job gave me some of her smoothie. The Simply Lemonade brand now has a “Simply Smoothie,” and she couldn’t get over how good it was. She asked if I would like to try some and she gave me half of the bottle. It was delicious and I’m very grateful.

What are you thankful for?

A Night of Self-Love | Philadelphia Orchestra | 23 February 2019

A few weeks ago Pepperwine, a New Jersey band that Christina and I saw at the Turks Head Music Festival last July, posted that they were going to be playing in Philadelphia at Milkboy’s. I ordered the ticket last Saturday, was super excited that on Monday when I had off from both jobs, I bought a beautiful dress on consignment from Crash Bang Boom.

When I went on lunch break on Friday afternoon, I received a refund from the venue and explanation from Pepperwine that an inspection was done of Milkboy and found that a structure wasn’t sound. They had no choice but to cancel all performances until the restaurant was fixed. I was disappointed, but Pepperwine plays in Asbury Park a lot and I’m going to plan my trip around when they play there over the summer.

As disappointed as I was, I decided to still trek into Philadelphia on Saturday evening in the lovely dress I bought from Crash Bang Boom and a white sweater. For certain performances, the Philadelphia Orchestra offers $10 community tickets about 2 hours before the performance and you have an hour window to get the ticket. I decided to do that and if I was out of luck, I would check out Jolly’s Piano Bar for dueling pianos.

I arrived in Philadelphia at 5 PM and went to Trader Joe’s to pick up a few non-perishables that I wouldn’t have to worry about keeping cold. I got out of there before 5:30, the beginning of the slot for the community tickets, and it started to rain as I waited for a bus. The 125 flew by this elderly lady and I – we were both upset, but started a nice conversation that we carried on when the next bus arrived. She instructed me where to get off when it came getting close to the Kimmel Center. Last night was the Keystone hockey match and Philly was a madhouse. The closest I could get to the Kimmel Center, on Broad and Spruce, was 15th and Market, and a fifteen minute walk.

Despite the rain, I made it in 10 minutes. I made it to the Kimmel Center at 5:50 and fortunately, there were plenty of community tickets left. I had a choice of the orchestra or conductor’s circle. I opted for the conductor’s circle and they were awesome seats for only $10. I was super excited.

A little TMI: I bought new white tights earlier at Target to wear with my dress, a size I bought before, but they must have been a different brand because they were smaller and kept falling down. I made many bathroom stops earlier in my travels, but to no avail. On my way to dinner at Panera, I went into the Target in the Gaybourhood. No dice – they didn’t have tights left. I decided to run to the bathroom and take off the tights – I wore my dress bare legged. My legs were a little chilly, but it was a warmer than usual evening. I warmed my legs as I ate my Fuji apple chicken salad for dinner.

The Philadelphia Orchestra $10 ticket was a gift of self-love to myself. When I went to my seat, I was amazed with the view. Only two others were sitting in my section and unfortunately, the show wasn’t sold out. The evening was Eastern European oboe concertos and Brahm’s. Beautiful is an understatement, but I just love the Philadelphia Orchestra. The love coming from the musicians brought tears to my eyes. As I’ve said before, in the past few years I’ve fallen in love with classical music. I had a lovely evening out. It also felt good to go to an impromptu concert at the fraction of the price.

I ended my evening at Big Gay Ice Cream with lactose free soft serve vanilla ice cream in a gluten-free cone. Even my Lyft ride home was awesome, I sat up front with the driver since two friends going to Paoli joined in on the ride. The driver and I chatted music and food for the hour commute. I arrived home with a smile on my face and went to bed.

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A cute pigeon I saw on my way to see the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Thankful Thursday 21 February 2019

It’s that time of week again! Between off on President’s Day and a snow day yesterday, this week has flown by. I have a lot to be thankful for.

On Sunday when I was deleting old e-mails, I came across e-mails from 2015 that were from different members of the senior center, from when I worked there. I e-mailed three members, but I didn’t get a chance to e-mail one of the members. Wouldn’t you know that the person I didn’t get a chance to e-mail was in the library on Tuesday! He said hello and I said hello, and I told him I was thinking about him the other day but didn’t get a chance to e-mail him. He said, “well, you still can.” We’ve been catching up over e-mail and it is so nice. 🙂

I’m also thankful for dad; he’s been taking me to the train three days per week and a Starbucks run on the way. I’m always grateful for dad, my family and friends.

What are you thankful for today?

Healthy Winter Cooking

As a foodie, I believe the foods we put into our bodies impact not only our happiness and joy, but our well being too. Sometimes living in the Northeast (or any cold climate) is difficult in the winter because we don’t always have access to healthy foods. However, in this day and age, it is easier, though freshness is still an issue.

Over the weekend I made dinner. On Sunday, I made Persian Saffron chicken for my parents and I, along with homemade GF rice pilaf. Both were easy to make AND the dish was enjoyed by all.

Saffron & Rosemary Chicken Filet

2 good pinches of saffron powder
2 good pinches of saffron threads
1 1/3 lbs chicken tenders
2 Tbsp. garlic oil
1 1/2 oz rosemary
2 heaped tsp. of crushed sea salt flakes
Freshly ground pepper

Grind the saffron threads with mortar and pestle (I used a spoon), then put with the other powder. Pour over the boiling water and leave to infuse for at least 20 minutes or until the water has cooled and turned a deep red colour.

Place the chicken strips in a bowl and add the garlic oil, rosemary, sea salt, a generous seasoning of black pepper, and then saffron water. Mix well so that the chicken is evenly coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for an hour to marinate.

Preheat a large frying pan over medium-high heat, drizzle a little oil into the pan, and without overcrowding the pan, fry the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side until a nice golden brown crust forms and they are cooked through.

Gluten Free Rice Pilaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
for pilaf
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup gluten free spaghetti broken into small pieces
  • 2 cups rice
  • 2 and 1/2 cups chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Combine seasoning ingredients
  2. In a medium skillet, melt butter and saute rice and pasta until pasta is lightly toasted (2 or 3 minutes)
  3. Add broth and seasoning mix
  4. Bring to a boil
  5. Cover and reduce heat
  6. Simmer 20 minutes until water is absorbed
  7. Fluff with fork
Recipe Notes

Feel free to double or triple the seasoning recipe. You can keep in in a small jar so it is available any time you want delicious and gluten free rice pilaf. Simply use 2 and 1/2 teaspoons per 2 cups of rice

Monday my parents had pork and since I have religious restrictions and can’t eat pork, I made cod. I sauteed shallot in 2 tbsp. butter and added the cod with some lemon, salt, pepper, and paprika.

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Snow day today! I had the opportunity to make a beef stew and GF cornbread muffins with lactose free milk and cheese.

I am thinking of making recipe posts a regular thing on this blog. If anything interests you, feel free to use and if you have any suggestions, please don’t hesitate in reaching out!