A Weekend of Ice Skating 25 and 26 January

On 25 January, I took two hours off from work and treated myself to a lunch at Panera. I had their winter chicken, apple chip salad and it was so delicious. I love Panera’s salads and their gluten-free soups.

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I then made my way to the skating rink and I was amazed how windy it was. I ended up renting an ice walker because the wind was blowing me around. The rink wasn’t crowded and while I wanted to skate for a second session, but it was too windy to skate for an extra hour and a half. I skated from 3-4:30 and made a new friend in the wind. Her name was Houda and she was learning how to skate. I showed her a little bit, but the wind wasn’t helpful.

After the library on 26 January, I went skating again and managed to skate for two sessions. Both sessions were crowded as anything, but during the intermission, figure skaters took the ice and performed for us. That was neat. 🙂

Sunday Movie with Mom

Today, mom and I ventured to the Movie Tavern to catch Mary Poppins Returns. What an amazing movie! Running at 2.5 hours, Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel Miranda, and Angela Lansbery captured us with songs. Even the story line was well written and thought out, I liked the suspense, and how they modernized Mary Poppins a bit, but not too much. It stayed true to the original, but the original children were father and aunt to the children in Mary Poppins Returns. I would recommend it – the movie spread joy to mom and I, and it was definitely a joyful movie.

A Night in China Town

After ice skating, I decided to have a hot pho dinner at Pho 20. Walking through China Town is always a joy and it was lovely watching the sun set behind the Arch. I love the Arch that welcomes visitors into China Town and it was special watching the sun illuminate the gold. I was a shutterbug.

5 February is the Chinese New Year – Year of the Boar – and I decided to go into the Sanrio store (Hello Kitty store) to see if they sold prosperity envelopes that I had out to the Lion Dancers and other people who celebrate. Unfortunately, Sanrio doesn’t sell the prosperity envelopes and I’ll have to buy them at Wegmans, but I loved seeing the Gudetame products. Gudetame is one of my favourites.

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I continued my journey on towards Pho 20 and I passed a shop called Mr. Wish. I’ve passed this shop several times in both China Town and at the King of Prussia Mall, but never went inside. I was always reserved about it because of the name, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I decided that I would try the shop after dinner – it would be an evening of trying something new.

Pho 20 was crowded, but I found a seat. I knew what I wanted: pho ga ma (chicken pho) and lemon soda. They are my favourite, though the beef brisket pho is delicious too. As I waited for my dinner, Pho 20 was playing the news and I was listening to Roger Stone’s arrest and indictment. As I was waiting for dinner, I was watching history. I was living through my own Richard Nixon incident, which is ironic since Stone sees Nixon as an idol and was posturing Nixon’s attitude. Also, the government shutdown was ending. I was living history in a Vietnamese restaurant, which was irony in of itself.

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Then my chicken pho came out and all sound ceased, except for slurping and chomping. The homemade pho was flavourful and the steam warmed my insides. Pho truly is the perfect comfort food for after ice skating. My heart and soul were warmed afterward, so much so that I bought a Pho 20 t-shirt. Why not? The staff is warm and friendly, I am glad to support their restaurant. I also love watching the employees chop vegetables for the pho at the big table in the center. There is something warm about that too.

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Ah, Mr. Wish. The only teas I could drink were their regular teas and fruit teas. The milk teas were out (lactose intolerant) and the boboa teas were out too (not gluten-free). I ordered the mango tea and I was pleasantly surprised – it was delicious. I loved the atmosphere of Mr. Wish because it was so cheerful. I will definitely go back!

What a fun Friday evening. 🙂

Thankful Thursday 24 January 2019

I want to thank everyone who sent their condolences and reached out to me about Mimi. While I still miss her, I’m feeling better. Mimi didn’t suffer, she went peacefully, and I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for the love she gave me and the love I gave her. She gave us all love and we gave it back to her.

The boy, the stray my parents had fixed last year, has been settling in. He is staying near my parents and my mom is trying to socialize him a bit more since the vet is coming in the spring to give him vaccinations. He’s a good cat and I’m thankful for that.

I’m thankful for the peace and quiet this week. I started my Happiness Box 2018 scrapbook and I’m thankful for creativity.

It’s not a typical scrapbook, but it houses my moments from 2018 and everything I use for design is designed for joy.

What are you thankful for?

An Evening Celebrating the Hungry Pigeon’s 3rd Birthday (18 January 2019)

After calling the Oyster House to ask if their Restaurant Week menu could be made gluten-free, which it could have been, and finding out their earliest reservation for Friday would be 8:45 PM, I opted out. All the other other Restaurant Week restaurants weren’t gluten-free and I took this as a sign that celebrating the Hungry Pigeon’s 3rd birthday was meant to be. I made reservations at one of my favourite restaurants for Friday, 18 January 2019.

I decided not to go ice skating this week. Instead, before dinner I went to Supercuts and had my undercut freshened up, plus a half an inch taken from my split ends.  It was fun to laugh with my hair stylist and I find getting my hair washed to be relaxing, especially if the stylist massages the scalp. Same with buzzing my undercut – Supercuts helped me feel relaxed. My hair looked great, I dolled up for the birthday bash without breaking the bank ($20).

I was a bit early when I arrived at the Hungry Pigeon and I decided to get a few photos of the decor. It’s no surprise that simple photos can take me 15 minutes and once I had a decent shot with decent lighting, I walked into the Hungry Pigeon for my 5:45 reservation.

I discovered the Hungry Pigeon accidentally on 25 September 2016 after I finished the charity walk for CHOP. I was looking for Red Hook Cafe and as I was walking to the Red Hook Cafe, a sign with a pigeon wearing a bib grabbed my attention. I love pigeons and I wanted to check out this restaurant: the Hungry Pigeon. I had an Austrian pancake with chicken sausage and I was instantly hooked. The Hungry Pigeon will appear in my 2016 Happiness Jar scrapbook when I make it, but I cut one of the bags for the collage that is on the cover of my Happiness Box.

2016

2017

2018

I’m a total foodie and many moments of joy that the employees of the Hungry Pigeon and the Hungry Pigeon itself fill Happiness Boxes 2017 and 2018. When I had to go gluten-free in April 2018, it was refreshing to know that they could make my dishes gluten-free and that my waiters knew ingredients inside and out. Being gluten and dairy free is hard, but they add some ease to it. The Hungry Pigeon is farm to table, homemade, and I think that is why there is some ease. While they can’t make everything gluten-free, I can always find something on the menu. I am also thankful for the patience of the staff because there were points where I had tons of questions. I wasn’t made to feel small and they also double checked on certain things for me too. I never had a bad experience.

I was sitting at the bar and as I was waiting for my prime rib without the aus jus and Yorkshire Pudding, I would be getting extra veggies and mashed potatoes instead, I was chatting with the young man sitting next to me. He asked the general manager for one of the cookbooks and we started talking. I said to him that The Hungry Pigeon brought me so much joy that I wanted to meet the owners and get a photo with them to add to my Happiness Box. The man was a chef at one point and he said, “ask to tour the kitchen. They would gladly let you tour the kitchen and they would be glad to get a selfie with you too. Kitchens and owners are happy to do that.”

After he left, my meal came out. The prime rib was juicy and tender, it melted in my mouth. I was savouring the taste when the general manager came to ask me if everything was okay. I said it was and I had a bit of confidence from talking to the gentleman sitting next to me. I asked the general manager if I could get a selfie with the owners because the Hungry Pigeon brings me so much joy and they have been a part of three Happiness Boxes so far. Sadly, the owners celebrate elsewhere on their anniversary, but they would be happy to some other time. So, in two weeks when I get my full-time pay, I’ll be there! 🙂

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I couldn’t finish my Prime rib and ended up getting half of it wrapped up, along with the veggies. I ate the creamy mashed potatoes in a few bites. They were so good too and reminded me of how Nan used to make hers.

Sooo, in typical Jessica fashion, after I ate my meal, the general manager stopped by again to ask if there was anything else I needed. I said the meal was delicious, I was okay, and asked if I could get a selfie with him. His name is Caleb, we chatted for a good ten minutes, and he was such a kind (and kind of cute) guy. I’m such a foodie.

Happy 3rd birthday, Hungry Pigeon! Thank you for the joy you have not only brought me over the past three years, but to other diners as well throughout the region and the world. Here are to many more happy and healthy years ahead!

Mimi

Last month one of my writing.com friends suggested writing a song about Mimi, since I was worried about her dying in 3-6 months and was not looking forward to that time. My friend is a melody writer and I thought that would be a great idea. I wrote the following poem:

 

In the sun where warmth glows,
gray paws neatly stretched out in rows
that makes her place, where memories lie
of a decade filled with love from an angry sky,
stories and songs in the distance flow.
 
I am old; a few months ago
I was spry, clean, felt dawn blow,
played with toys and chased the boy, I lie
in the sun.
 
Drool hangs low; I fight an aging foe,
I hop on the bed, claw the throw,
chase around toys, burst of energy high,
I will not rest, we will laugh and sigh,
we will revel with merriment, gray paws grow
in the sun.
This morning when I woke up, I had an e-mail waiting from my friend. It was a copy of the song and sheet music! The timing was apropos and brought tears to my eyes. The song she wrote is gorgeous; I’m burning it to a CD later and will put it into my Happiness Box.

Thankful Thursday 17 January 2019

Miss Mimi peacefully died on Tuesday, 15 January 2019 at 6:56 AM. Mom texted me with the news. While we have the stray cat we neutered last year in the house, it’s not the same and I need some time to grieve.

I thought of a post this morning, for the future, that I want to take my time with. I am grateful for Mimi’s love for the past 10.5 years. As Terry at the library said, “while they brought us joy and love, we also gave them joy and love that they will take with them.”

I am grateful for the friends, co-workers from both jobs, and relatives that reached out to me after Mimi crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Ms. Ernestine has let me keep Blu, her pet fish, on my desk so I won’t feel so alone. Terry gave a copy of the Rainbow Bridge poem with condolences, Shetana and Kathleen sent me e-cards, Aunt Peg sent all of us (mom, dad, and I) a pet sympathy card.  I’m also thankful for all the blog buddies that reached out. They have made the transition easier.

What are you thankful for today?’

Oh, here is a picture of the boy. Mom and dad have been spending time with him, but I can’t right now. I sort of had a blow up about it the other night with friends, we started bringing him in when Mimi was alive and he stalked her a few times. She was visably shaken and felt like we were going to replace her. I said that he killed her and he belongs in the trash (I wouldn’t hurt the cat, but he’s a stray and went from trash can to trash can). I offended an old friend who is vegan and she didn’t want to hear anymore of it. She didn’t think my anger was justified and she didn’t think a stray cat could bring in diseases. Most of my friends agreed with me, that he could have brought disease, but they also understood my feelings. I just lost Mimi and I have a right to my feelings. They also agreed that I just need some time to grieve.

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And mom sent me these two of Mimi from last month: