Thankful Thursday 29 December 2022

Ah, the last Thursday of 2022. I can’t believe it – the year has gone by so quickly, yet in some instances it went slow.

I look back on 1 January 2022 and when I remember what happened, it was a foreshadowing of the first 7 months of 2022. I have gotten over that part of the chapter and realize that I spent way too much energy on something doomed from the beginning; that energy is not renting space in my psyche. I’m not going backwards and I’m focusing on the present with David and the future as well. The past is dim, but the future is bright and the present is brightest. I’m thankful that I came to that realization last night and I’m thankful for the friends that helped me realize all of that. I look forward to spending New Years Day with David, Devon, and meeting his roomies. I also get to meet his cats, Natasha and Lucy. I’m so excited and I get to feel all of that when I live in the present.

On Monday I decided to go to Hobby Lobby. I generally don’t support that store since they support organizations that go against my beliefs, but since I am trying to save money and budget my scrapbooking, they were having major sales. Scrapbook supplies were super cheap. I paid 20 cents to $4.99 for paper, stickers, and stamps. I got a 12×12 scrapbook binder for $14. They were originally $21; Michaels sells them for $32 and sells them for $22, plus shipping and handling. I walked out with a bunch of things for my holiday scrapbook and the supplies I needed to make Devon’s birthday card.

I’m grateful for the attorneys I work for. They essentially bought this, plus the photos I ordered from Walmart, photos I’m picking up next week, and some stickers from 1-800-Dreidel. They essentially bought me my holiday album and it feels so wonderful. I am grateful that I am valued.

I’m grateful for Terry too. She paid me before they went away to Florida, she paid me for when she was visiting her son in Florida and when she was going to visit her other son in New York on Christmas, but she got sick after she returned from Florida. Since her son and his wife just had a baby girl, she didn’t want to get the baby sick. Terry is feeling better and told me, “just keep the money.” I am beyond verklempt and grateful.

Aunt Kathy is taking me to Holiday Lights at the Elmwood Park Zoo tonight. I’m excited and thankful she thought of me. I’m also thankful for David, my parents, and my friends. What are you grateful for today?

Our First Christmas Together | 26 December 2022

Since we spent our first Hanukkah together last Sunday, I’m glad David was off on the 26th and we could spend our first Christmas together. He picked me up at 5:30 and we went to Walmart. I wanted new sweat pants since I am down to 165 now and he needed new sweat pants as well. I suggested to David that we should have a pajama and Netflix evening; he thought that was a great idea for our first Christmas together. We could do that after we ate our first Christmas dinner.

Anyway, we had a shopping trip at Walmart and perfect for Boxing Day. David wanted to replace his red plaid pants and when I picked up a new pair of red plaid pants, he wanted the green plaid. He found green plaid in his size and I found the same pair of pants in my size. We would change into them when we got back to my house. Then it took another 45 minutes to look through the sweats since they were a mess. Before we went home, we did stop at the Mall and David bought a copy of Pokemon Sapphire.

David and I arrived back at my house a little after 7pm. Mom took out the left over prime rib and I heated it up. As the prime rib slices were heating up, David and I changed into our green plaid pants. As the prime rib slices continued to heat up, I set the table with my brand new Grinch plates and we took selfies, as well as photos.

We agreed to dress in our KMFDM shirts and green plaid pants for New Years Day. Yeah, we’re going to be that couple, especially in our matching pants.

David loved mom’s prime rib and he saw where I got some of my culinary skills from. He also loved the shrimp and Greek salad. It was a wonderful first Christmas together meal and we toasted with Bailey’s Irish Cream. We wished each other a Merry Christmas as we toasted, but David also remembered that the 26th was the last full day of Hanukkah. He said to me, “happy last day of Hanukkah, love.” I was verklempt, he remembered. He remembered and I love him.

We trekked to the basement and watched anime. David wanted to introduce me to another anime – it was a Godzilla one. As we watched, we cuddled and held one another. We laughed at the anime and had fun discussing it for a bit.

We both said that we could do this forever. Stay cuddled, stay warm, and watch Netflix. Our joke when we say the same thing is this: we start singing Meat Loaf’s “You Took the Words Out of My Mouth” and we did it last night. We always giggle when we do this.

David left at 9:30. While I am off from the County this week, I worked at the library yesterday and I work there today; two days 10 AM – noon. David also had work yesterday. Before David drove off, we hugged and kissed. “Love you” was exchanged and we can’t wait to see each other on Sunday.

First holidays together were a success. I can’t wait to scrapbook the memories and I can’t wait for next year.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2022

I’m going to take the lazy way out for Christmas Eve and share a card that I placed in Happiness Box 2022. I’m recovering from both Hanukkah and Christmas; please forgive me.

Christmas Day was another day of acceptance. Christmas Day was also the 8th day of Hanukkah. Before we opened gifts, we decided to eat breakfast first. Gluten-free blueberry pancakes and mom made kosher chicken sausage for me. The things we do for our cat. Hanukkah and Christmas breakfast. I gave Gizmo my chair and ate standing up.

On the 8th day of Hanukkah, my parents gave to me: chocolate gelt and a pumpkin spice cocktail mix. So grateful. They combined traditions out of love. My Hanukkah gelt was in my stocking and mom handed me the pumpkin spice latte liquor separately and said, “Happy Hanukkah.” I’m not verklempt, you’re verklempt.

Dad loved his Beavis and Butthead shirt, and wanted a photo with his Snoop on a Stoop. He also loved his Off the Mark book and the Hanukkah card I gave him. Mom loved the books I gave her and the bookmark as well. I also gave her a gift card to Bookish, which ironically, my parents gave me a gift card to Bookish as well. It was a very literary Hanukkah and Christmas.

I made this photo into a card for dad:

Dad thought this was a lovely photo and as he was getting verklempt looking at it, he said he was going to hang it right next to the framed photo I have of him and I. Awww, isn’t that sweet and really nice?

Of course, Gizmo loved his cat toys. He played with them throughout the day, and he was still playing as we sat down to a prime rib dinner.

After dinner, I lit the Menorah. The final candle; the 26th would be the last full day.

Then dad and I had a game of dreidel. We didn’t want to use our gelt, so we used invisible money. ūüėā What fun.

I hope my dear readers had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, and whatever else you may be celebrating. I’m just glad it was a year of co-existence.

Thankful Thursday 22 December 2022

Ah, another 9 days until we’ll be saying “goodbye, 2022!” We’re on the 5th night of Hanukkah, Christmas is in 3 days, and Kwanzaa is in 4 days. There are other holidays mixed in; the world is full of celebration right now. There’s a lot to be grateful for.

Teresa, one of my friends on, made a post last night about all of the holiday cards she has received. It has made her feel loved. I’ve been at Terry’s cat sitting, so I haven’t been home to check my mail. However, for the past few weeks I’ve been receiving Hanukkah and season’s greetings cards. I go home tomorrow night and I’ll take a photo of my bounty; I’m hoping I received others. However, I decided to take a photo of the bounty I have at Terry’s. Terry left me a gift (Trader Joe’s gift card and GF popcorn), then the library gave me a gift, and so did the attorneys I work for. Of course, I also have the bracelet David gave me… that’s a special gift. I’m quite grateful.

Yesterday when I went back to work at the County, I had a surprise waiting for me on my chair. The attorneys gave me $100, which I’ll use for the holiday scrapbook I want to make. I’m verklempt and grateful. The card and note they left me made me even more verklempt.

Even the nice gift from the library has me all verklempt and grateful too:

I’m also thankful for David, my friends, and family. What are you thankful for today?

Menorah Lighting Ceremony | Night 3 | Rittenhouse Square | 20 December 2022

Yesterday evening I ventured into Philadelphia for the Jewish Federation’s Menorah lighting ceremony. This was the first time we could properly meet and it felt great to see people after three years.

Before I made my way to Rittenhouse Square, I noticed one of the shops was all decorated for the holidays. I asked a woman walking by if she could take some photos for me. She happily obliged.

I was a half an hour early and that was okay. I took some photos of Rittenhouse Square all decked out for the holidays. One of the Rabbis arrived early to test the sterno cans to make sure they would light. He was a joy to chat with for a bit.

Then the band started to trickle in.

The event started promptly at 5 PM.

I loved these two talks by two different Rabbis last night at the Menorah lighting ceremony in Philadelphia. It was perfect for Winter Solstice and applies more to the Northern Hemisphere; many religions use light this time of year to welcome back the longer days.

Hanukkah is a festival of light. Light and love that illuminates the darkness. I didn’t capture this one speech, but this one Rabbi said that we should all be inclusive of one another, we each carry light and it adds to our light.

I’m not verklempt, you’re verklempt.

Then after the talks, the Rabbi led us in prayer as he lit the Menorah. I love the blessing and had to record it.

After the Menorah was lit, the kids chorus began to sing. It was 25 degrees, so the singing and dancing was needed.

Before I left, I asked Rabbi Goldstein, Rabbi Maderer and the president of the Jewish Museum if I could get a photo with them. They agreed.

One of the attendees wanted us to say “Happy Hanukkah” and that’s what I’m saying in a few of the photos.

What a great way to celebrate the 3rd night of Hanukkah. It really was nice to see everyone again.

Holidays with David, Chris, and Verne | 11 December 2022

I had every intention to post this last week, but with being in court since I was helping with a trial, I was exhausted. Blogging took a back seat.

On 11 December 2022, David and I ventured to Broomall to see Chris and Verne. These two are part of my village, they wanted to see me for the holidays and they wanted to meet David. Chris made us soups and I brought the gluten-free Brazilian rolls (Verne is also gluten-free).

When we arrived, Chris and Verne welcomed us and sat us in the living room. While I showed Chris a picture of the bracelet that David gave me on Facebook earlier in the week, I wanted to show her in person. While Verne was making the tea, I pulled up my sleeve and said, “Look what David gave me.”

Chris was delighted and walked over to put my wrist under the lamp. She cooed, “it’s beautiful.”

I replied, I was verklempt at this point, “it truly is. This was such a surprise and a special one at that. This bracelet belonged to David’s mom and this is the most special gift of all.”

David told us all about his mom, which I’m glad he shared. I talked about Nan and I’m glad I shared. Chris and Verne were happy to hear our stories. We then decided to have soup and the rolls.

After soup, rolls, and discussions, Chris brought us downstairs to show us the blankets she crocheted. She used to sell them, but no longer does, and likes to give them as gifts. She let us choose.

David chose the psychedelic one and I chose the pastel rainbow blanket. It was fuzzy yarn and so comfy. I love fluffy yarn.

David and I ventured back upstairs, and we decided to exchange gifts. Chris and Verne lost their dear friend back in September. He was 97. Chris sent me a group photo and I made a bag on Shutterfly for her. I also gave them a Trader Joe’s gift card.

David and I won’t be exchanging gifts until after the holidays, but since he surprised me with his mom’s bracelet, I thought I’d give him a little surprise. In November 2021, I bought a mug at the doctor’s office (yes, my doctor’s office has a gift shop) that says, “admit it, life would be boring without me.” I thought that would be the perfect surprise, along with some green teas from the Head Nut. David thoroughly enjoyed my surprise.

Before we left, we decided to do a photoshoot. Now that was fun. No stories necessary, the pictures are worth a 10,000 words each.

We shared a lot of laughs and I can’t wait to scrapbook these photos. We left at around 5:30, it was a nice 3 hours with Chris and Verne. They all got along great and they liked each other.

Before David dropped me off at home, I took a selfie of us showing off the bracelet. I’m beyond grateful. This was such a lovely day shared with very special people.

Hanukkah with David | 18 December 2022

I’m catsitting for Terry until Friday. From Friday to Friday. I asked her if I could have David over and she didn’t mind at all. She also took out her crockpot so I could make my brisket. I’m so grateful for Terry.

On Sunday morning, at 8 AM, I prepared the brisket. Yes, I decided to have a cooking photo shoot. I always loved taking pictures of Nan preparing important foods and preserving them in a scrapbook and I wanted to do this for the meal I was preparing for David and I’s first Hanukkah together. Truly, we are celebrating both holidays but since he has to work through X-mas, it is our first holidays together. Alfie helped me cook.

Since we are celebrating both holidays, I found mistletoe at Trader Joe’s on Saturday morning. I decided to buy it. I hung it up yesterday and yep, photo shoot. I want it to go into my holiday scrapbook. Prepping for our first holiday together. I also set up the Menorah.

I’m so glad I got to celebrate¬†the First Night of Hanukkah¬†with David. He actually came over to Terry’s at 11 AM, and we indulged in Netflix and Cuddle as the brisket cooked. We watched¬†Wednesday¬†and¬†Seven Deadly Sins. Sadly, we couldn’t figure out Terry’s DVD player and couldn’t watch the anime DVDs I rented from the library. Netflix worked; we both love¬†Seven Deadly Sins¬†and he liked¬†Wednesday. At one point, Terry’s cat, Alfie, joined us.

At 4pm, I mixed the gluten-free latke mix and David took some photos. He decided to pull a “Jessica Special,” he took selfies of us as I was cooking. He laughed and said, “this is what happens when you put me in charge of the camera.” Touche.¬†¬†¬†Then David decided to try making some latkes, so I took over with camera duty and I took a selfie of us while he was cooking.¬†¬†

David loved the brisket I made and he enjoyed lighting the Menorah. We also shared a few kisses under the mistletoe. It actually fell down and David properly placed it. I’m going to preserve that for the scrapbook.

We had so much fun. A lot of laughs. David wrote two things for me. One for my Happiness Box, which I can’t read for another two weeks, then he signed my guest page.

I posted the guest page on r/scrapbooking and two gals made me realize something: journaling obviously isn’t his thing, but he attempted just for me. I can’t wait to see what he wrote in the Happiness Box Hanukkah card. He made me promise not to open it until 1/1. Another “Jessica Special.”¬†¬†Honestly, he loves me. He knows how important this stuff is to me and he doesn’t question it. I’m verklempt and grateful.

I’m going to print out the Grinch snapchat filter I took of him and put it on the guest page. I’m thinking for the caption: “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch. Nah, David as the Grinch is actually really kind and loving. Although, he revoked my picture taking privileges after I applied this filter. We both laughed.”

Tonight is the 2nd night and it is just me and Alfie celebrating. I sent David some photos and he enjoys seeing them. I’m beyond grateful for him.

Happy Hanukkah! Happy holidays, dear readers!

Holiday Cheer

This year I decided to make cards for my public defender’s and library co-workers. I brought in the PD’s cards today and they absolutely loved the cards. One said to me, “this has been the only holiday card I received this year, thank you for that.” I smiled and we chatted about the holiday season for 15 minutes. Felt great to get to know fellow co-workers.

I mailed my library coworkers’ cards and many thanked me today at work, especially the few who received a newsletter. My cards brought them joy. It brought me joy hearing this.