Friday Night at the Philadelphia Museum of Art | Honeysuckle | 10 January 2020

On Friday, I made my weekly trip down to Philadelphia. I decided to walk to the Book Trader first and I’m glad I did. I haven’t been there since the end of January in 2019 and I was glad that their cat was still lazily sunbathing in the store. He was in the CD/record room, which I thought was fitting for a lazy cat. The Book Trader is also a fun store, it reminds me of maze.

 

I decided to let the cat get back to sleep and I took Lyft up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Honeysuckle was the band playing and I ventured upstairs to work on Happiness Box 2019 scrapbook and listen to the band as I scrapbooked. They are a folk/rock duo from Boston and I really liked their sound – their music made a great scrapbooking soundtrack.

At intermission, I went back downstairs and bought one of their albums. I went back to the staircase and I decided that I would listen and watch for 15 minutes or so. As I was sitting, one of the Art Museum staff members came over to me and we chatted about the Happiness Box Project and tattoos. She loves the idea of the Happiness Box, she might try it, but a monthly installment with her husband. She was also telling me that the museum is thinking about bringing in a tattoo artist for an Asian inspired Final Friday. If they can get it cleared with their lawyer, they would set up in the Asian gallery and talk about how Asian art inspired tattoo art. Of course, they couldn’t tattoo us, but maybe they could bring in another artist and demonstrate. I said to her, “well, I would love to volunteer! I would gladly fill out a form!” We both laughed, then it was time to start the show again.

I stayed until 7:30 and loved watching Honeysuckle for 20 minutes. I thought I took two videos, but it looks like I only made one. Let me share:

 

As I was walking to District Taco, I ran into some Ravens fans and we enjoyed chatting for ten minutes. I saw a lot of Ravens fans walking around Philadelphia on Saturday (South Street hosts a Raven fan club, next time I see it, I might inquire how I can join); dad and I are very sad that the Ravens choked, but next year!

I had fish tacos and as I was waiting for Lyft home, the full moon was gorgeous!

I’m in love with my new phone’s camera. What a lovely evening!

National Hot Toddy Day and Farmer’s Market Adventures

11 January is National Hot Toddy Day. After learning that the Ruth Bader Ginsburg exhibit was sold out at the National Jewish Museum (today is the last day for the exhibit), I decided to check out Red Owl Tavern. I used to go there when I drank alcohol and ate gluten; I read in Metro that they were partaking in National Hot Toddy Day and I decided to go in.

I sat at the bar and the bartender greeted me. The bartender sounded like he was from Maryland or somewhere South because I heard a little Southern twang in his voice. I love Southern accents! I asked for a non-alcoholic Hot Toddy and he looked a little confused, “you don’t want brandy or anything in that?” I said, “No, I don’t drink anymore.” “Oh, okay. How about extra lemon and ginger then?” “Perfect!”

He brought out my non-alcoholic Hot Toddy, chai and spiced teas, ginger juice, lemon and clove. I was still stuffy and that opened my nose. It felt soothing to the soul. I wasn’t hungry, as I ate breakfast before and we were going to Texas Roadhouse and I wanted to save my appetite for dinner, but I asked him if they had gluten-free options.

His reply? “Most things on the menu can be made gluten-free and we have gluten-free breads too.” He handed me the menu and it did look delicious – it’s brunch for the weekends – and I think next Sunday after I ice skate, I’m going to Red Owl Tavern for brunch. The bartender didn’t charge me for the Hot Toddy, but I gave him a $3 tip for his help, service, and making the atmosphere pleasant for the 45 minutes I sat there, chatting with him and the other guests. I’m hoping Red Owl Tavern will become my favourite spot again, with my new dietary needs.

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It’s unseasonably warm this weekend in Philadelphia and I thought about walking the ten blocks to Rittenhouse Square, but since I finally shook this cold, I didn’t want to overdo it. While I was feeling better, I was still stuffy, and I thought about my health. I walked a few blocks to the bus and took some photos of Independence Hall. I have been learning how to use the panorama view of my new phone and these were the photos I captured:

I hopped on the bus at 8th Street (I walked three blocks, not bad), exited at 19th Street, then walked four blocks down to M&T Bank, then Rittenhouse Square. Since it was 67 degrees Fahrenheit, the Farmer’s Market was crowded. Not as crowded as when I went in September, but it still drew in a good sized crowd.

I started to take pictures. As I was walking to find Amrynth, the awesome GF bakery from Lancaster, I was so focused on finding the stand that I forgot to take photos. I finally found the stand and I was overwhelmed by all of the options! Banana bread, raisin bread, GF pies, thumbprint cookies, granola, rolls, you name it and he had it. I would have loved to buy the whole table, but I knew I couldn’t. I settled on GF raisin bread, dinner rolls, and thumbprint cookies. I chatted with the guy for a little bit and they appear at all the farmer’s markets in Lancaster, Bryn Mawr, and Philadelphia. I might have to take a bus trip to Lancaster some time.

I decided to look at the vegetables and I knew I had to watch pricing. When I went in September, I paid $2.99/lb for butternut squash and paid $20 for two butternut squashes and two tomatoes. Trader Joe’s was selling butternut squash for $0.99 each. While the butternut squash soup turned out delicious and the veggies were super fresh, I am watching my budget. Yesterday, I only bought arugula at $3.99/bag.

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I never bought fish from a fish monger and I wanted to try it. There was a fish monger at Rittenhouse Square and as I waited in line, I looked at the different options. I wanted to make a cod dish, but the cod was $16.49/lb. I’m used to buying a filet at Wegmans for $6.99 each. I wasn’t sure if that was expensive or not (I asked mom when I got home and she said, “it’s not cheap buying seafood anymore, but $16.49 seems a little high, but most likely because it’s at a farmer’s market.”), so I decided to ask the young fish monger what skate was. Skate was $12.49/lb and he explained that it’s from the sting ray, I can dredge it in flour, fry it with butter, lemon and capers. I said, “I can make it gluten-free!” and bought a piece of skate for $8. He put the fish on ice in a bag and said, “next week when you come back, let me know how it was!” Unfortunately, he probably won’t know for a few more months, but who knows! I’m excited to try it. I bought GF almond meal at Trader Joe’s that I’ll fry it in.

Forest and Main was also there. I love that restaurant/brew pub. Since I don’t drink, I decided to look at the books, tees, and bags they were selling. A crowd had formed to try the different beers, and as I was waiting I saw a little boy in a dragon coat who was waiting for his father. I told him I loved his jacket and that prompted him to tell me that he loved my Grinch bag. He chatted my ear off for fifteen minutes about how the big Grinch was mean, the baby Grinch on my bag looked nice, then told me the story about how mean Grinch turned into a loving Grinch at the end. He loved feeling the bag and sketching a baby Grinch with the twig he was holding. After his dad finished his sampling and purchasing, he realized that his chatty son was possibly holding me up (he wasn’t) and the father kept trying to pull him away from my bag. He resisted for a few moments, but eventually went with his father. The little boy was cute.

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I just realized that most of the photos I took yesterday were of the fish monger. I captured the father holding the little boy while they were buying fish. I spent forty-five minutes at the Farmer’s Market and I decided to head to Trader Joe’s before I took the bus back to King of Prussia. On my way to Trader Joe’s, I met Sam and Kat and offered to take their photos. They were struggling with good angles with selfies and they loved that I offered. They loved the photos I took and I asked them for a selfie with me. They graciously agreed.

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Yesterday was a nice day out and it cheered my soul. It made me feel even better too. There is just something fun about going to farmer’s markets and connecting with local businesses. I was chatting with someone at the library and the scheduling app deleted many of her shifts too, the app has a habit of doing that (shake my head), I’ll have to email. Part of me is sorta hoping I don’t get Saturdays back because I can start a freelance photography business through Air bnb on weekends.

Thankful Thursday 9 January 2020

Week two of the Roaring 20’s 2.0 and Vision 2020! I’m starting to feel a bit better; I’m continuing to rest and things are starting to look up.

Today when dad dropped me off at the train, I kissed him goodbye (he’s sick now too) and we had a good laugh fest as I closed the door. I smiled as I walked onto the platform and then someone caught my eye. After three months, I had a Savage sighting. He looked up, my heart froze, but I just turned away, sat down, and started looking at my phone. Carl wasn’t there this morning. However, I noticed Savage did the same thing. Another woman came around, I’ve been chatting with her for four years, I called her over and we started chatting until the station doors were open. I avoided walking near him, went inside and waited for the train. When the train came, I avoided walking in front of Savage. I joined a group of familiar people. No drama and I’m grateful; I’m thankful that he didn’t even acknowledge me and he was truly someone I didn’t really know… thank God. I’m thankful that it was peaceful and not harmful.

I was telling a few work friends and the one, Ms. Pat said, “Oh, you saw Scarface or whatever his name was?” We both giggled and then she said, “he knows you weren’t playing and you don’t have to worry anymore.” Melody said, “he knows you are off limits.” Another one said, “it’s a shame he didn’t also have a skull and crossbones tattooed on him.” We both laughed and I said, “not yet, but I could sense that danger.” I’m grateful that I listened to my instincts and I’m glad I stood my ground. I’m proud of myself, just like I’m proud of myself for telling a store associate on Saturday that I’m not interested in buying another shirt in the buy 1, get one 50% off, I only need one and I am not spending $40 for two shirts. I walked out feeling proud. I am getting better at standing my ground!

Oh, Instagram gave me back the Happiness Box Project page yesterday! No notification, but when I went to the link, it worked. I also signed in today and I was back to normal. I had some e-mails about where I was and what happened to my personal account. I’m going to keep my personal account deactivated for a bit and I uninstalled Instagram from my phone again. I’m taking a break for a little bit. I want to take a little social media break.

I’m grateful for my friends and family as well. What are you thankful for?

I Like Myself

I’ve been very sick lately and that’s why I didn’t write on Epiphany, which was Monday. Epiphany in a secular sense is when one has a breakthrough. I had a breakthrough while sick.

I’m going to start a mini project to incorporate into the happiness box. It’s going to be “I like myself!” I’m learning self acceptance and self kindness. How can one accept and be kind to others when they aren’t kind or accept or even like themselves?

Besides being sick, I had a trying week. I’m debating staying at the library. They cut my Saturdays and had to take down my happiness box pages for the kindness table because it wasn’t professional enough, supposedly. If I don’t get the children’s department role, I may very well leave. If anything, never a display again.

I’m sorry if I seemed obsessed with my body art. I love it and I’m proud of my personal development in 2019. It took me a long time to say that and it took me a long time to see the kindness in others. I like sharing my personal stories. My guess is they didn’t want to see me in photos because they left the scrapbook stories up.

Also, I think it would have been more professional to talk to me about my display then sending around a condescending email about diversity and taking apart my display. Whomever took it down ruined a page. I could have carefully taken my pages down and added something else. They just don’t like me, period.

Well, that’s fine. If they don’t want to utilize me, I will find a role elsewhere who would be happy to utilize my skills and talents. Hopefully, it’s the children’s department, but eventually it’ll be my goal to move on elsewhere both full and part time.

I found this book in the children’s department and this will be a great start to my mini project for the happiness box.

I like myself. I am quirky and maybe not quite professional, but I am me.

Kindness Display at the UM Township Library

On Friday I put up my kindness display. I decided to display the tattoo #2 after all because that was the ultimate act of kindness that day. I know most people don’t associate tattoo shops and artists with kindness, but I am one to break stereotypes (and taboos apparently).

So far, it’s been well received. Many people walked up to me as I was putting the display up saying we need more kindness in this world AND as we head into a bitter election year, Americans need kindness more than ever. AND as the orange buffoon that sits in the oval office bombed Iran, we need kindness more than ever. I hope my display will inspire kindness and I can’t wait to post updates throughout January.

I found out why my Happiness Box Project Instagram was deleted. Apparently, I was “buying likes.” Not really, but if too many fake or bot accounts follow you, Instagram may think of you as suspicious. Instagram wants genuine content and meaningful interaction. I was giving genuine and meaningful, but whatever.

I deactivated my personal account. So far, it’s been peaceful and I’m not sure if I will return. Maybe in a month or two I’ll reevaluate because I do keep in touch with others. However, Instagram rubbed me the wrong way by deleting something that was genuine and meaningful. Appeal is pending.

A Day Out with Marsha (And Seeing Jack!)

I caught a cold, but I still met up with Marsha today. I took today off from the library and we met up at the mall at around 10:15 am. We went to David’s Tea first, where Jack works, and I found out that Jack doesn’t work until 2PM since he closes. I hadn’t seen Jack in a few months, so I asked Marsha if it would be okay if we could come back at 2. She agreed.

In the interim, we had coffee at Starbucks, lunch at the food court, and walked around. I gave Marsha a going-away gift since she is travelling to Arizona next week to see a friend. Since Marsha treated me so well for the holidays, I wanted to return the favour. She loved her bag of goodies. A nice tote bag filled with a magazine, a book, and a Barnes and Nobel gift card.

I enjoyed catching up with Marsha. Even though I wasn’t 100%, we still laughed and chatted. At a little before 2 PM, Marsha and I were sitting on a couch waiting for 2 to go back to David’s Tea and I caught the sight of Jack out of the corner of my eye. I waved to him and he saw me, he came over and we caught up. I introduced him to Marsha, then we all walked to David’s Tea where I bought a chai tea to go and a tea holiday popper. I gave the tea to Marsha.

It was so lovely seeing Jack today as well! I’m going to stop by next weekend.

Thankful Thursday 2 January 2020

The first Thankful Thursday in a new year and a new decade! Here’s to starting the year off right, so that way I can start the Roaring 20’s 2.0 off right. The 2010s were challenging, but this decade is going to be amazing!

Without rhyme or reason, Instagram deleted my Happiness Box Project Instagram account. They claimed I violated TOS, but I don’t really know how I could have. To appeal, I had to handwrite a code that Facebook/Instagram sent me along with my full name and username. I had to take a photo of me holding this sign with both hands and my face showing, then e-mail the photo to the company. I did this a few hours ago and so far, nothing. How bizarre. I deleted Facebook two years ago and I’m thinking I might delete Instagram too. How can a company delete an account without explaining how the account violates the TOS? I’m a happiness, kindness, joy, and personal growth page for crying out loud! I had a Canadian Lyft driver today and we were chatting about this. He said, “Americans hate happiness and that’s why your account was deleted. Next you’ll be arrested for spreading kindness.” We had a good laugh.

Christina also reached out and we had a good laugh too. I guess opening my Happiness Box was an act of subversion. Getting tattoos, piercings, spending time with friends, family and different communities, that must be something egregious on my part. Obviously, Christina chuckled. Hey, I’m grateful for the laughs.

Yesterday I saw the Connors and it was so nice to catch up. I spent an hour with them and I told them that I would visit this weekend. I am thankful for them and I am thankful for friends and family too.

Also, Sarah sent me this sweet gift today. I am grateful for Sarah, Teddy, and their mom, Bernadine. I want to visit London to see my cousin; they’re in Manchester, about four hours away, and Bernadine told me that when I’m ready to visit, let her know. After I pay off some things, I want to do that.

Oh! My former co-worker gave me a lotto ticket for the holidays, but I put her card straight into my Happiness Box and when I opened it yesterday, I scratched it and won a free ticket. Dad picked up my new ticket this morning and when I got home today from the library, same thing. I walked to the local mart and passed the co-worker’s house. She was out with her grandsons, I thanked her and we caught up for 15 minutes. I went to the mart, picked up a new ticket, scratched it there and won $2. What a lucky start to the year and it was really kind of my former co-worker to do that.

What are you thankful for?