Kick Ax | Old City Philadelphia | 10 May 2019

 

Yesterday as I trekked to the roller rink, I noticed that an ax throwing bar opened. I walked inside to check it out, they gave me a free pass to check it out, it looked fun and I told them after I was done skating, I would come back.

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I only skated for an hour and walked back to Kick Ax at 5:30. I didn’t eat, I was going to eat after, and I will admit that when I was told that the earliest reservation was for 6:30, I was hangry. There’s not much GF in Old City. I said I would wait and wait to eat. As I was sitting and waiting, one of the managers saw me and asked me if I was alone. I said I was, and he said, “would you like to join a group? Playing with a group is more fun!” I agreed, he walked me back, and I joined a group of two men: father and son, Derek and Stephen. A few minutes after I joined, Lia and Matt joined, then Leah and her husband.

Before we began the games, Mollie, our instructor, went over the rules, showed us how to handle the ax, and gave us techniques for throwing. I was a little nervous, but I was excited because this is something I’ve wanted to do for a few years now. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but regardless I was here to have fun.

Steve and Derek went first and they were pretty good. I later learned that Steve, in his early to mid 20s, is in the Navy and is home visiting. I was called next, along with Leah, and we grabbed the axes from the stump. Before I walked up, I gave Steve my phone for him to take photos.

I went first. I gripped my ax, stepped a little past the line, placed it behind my back, I lifted it and before I slung it, I took a deep breath. Guess what I aimed for? For my first try, I got a bulls eye. Mollie was shocked and my group cheered and I heard Matt call out, “are you sure you have never done this before?” I said no. Unfortunately, my second throw, which Steve taped, was a miss. I did get a hit for the third.

 

I’m glad that the Kick Ax manager placed me with this group and placed us all together. My teammates were fun and we enjoyed chatting, laughing, and while it was competition, it was friendly competition. We did play for points, but there were no winners or losers, just fun.

As I continued on, I kept aiming and shooting for 4s and bulls eyes. At one point, I was paired with Matt, we tapped axes and wished each other luck, and while I missed one, I shot for two fours. For the next game, it was called “Around the World” and we had to go in number order. I had to shoot for a 2, but shot for bulls eye first. Matt called out, “of course she did! Jessica only shoots for perfection!” I tried to get a 2, but missed, and then hit a four. Eventually, Mollie just said, “whatever you hit is fine.” I eventually did hit a 1 later on, and in the future, higher aim is what I want to practice. I’m short and 4s, bulleyes were natural for me.

 

 

 

One thing I learned from ax night: “One other thing I noticed when I made some mistakes and didn’t hit at all. I noticed when I did that, it was because I was rushing and didn’t take a deep breath. At some points, I was worried that my team members would become annoyed if I took longer, but Derick said to me: “it’s okay, take your time. This is only fun.” He was right. Once I took my time, took a deep breath and took a breath as I threw, I hit. I could say the same about life.

At 7, our session ended and Mollie took a group photo of us. Mollie just posted the photo to social media and it is great. I loved my group and that laughter made my night. I also felt good about my natural abilities. I felt good about myself.

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The playlist for the night was some of my favourite music: grunge. I heard some of my favourites:

 

 

However, I couldn’t stop thinking about my favourite Dark Lotus song as I threw:

After our group photo, Mollie took a photo of me with my phone. One farther away and one close-up. I posted the close up on Instagram and captioned it with the beginning of the Dark Lotus song, “I would like to invite you on a journey, watch me as I pass the axe.” Andre responded with Blaze’s line next and I would have loved to kept the song going, but I’m trying to keep my Instagram PG-13 as much as possible. I just responded, “then passed it off to Madrox. :laugh: Isn’t it fun?”

 

 

 

I can’t wait to go back next week and I hope I can join another group.

Thankful Thursday 9 May 2019

::clears throat and begins this blog entry as the SNL performer who mocked Sweet Sugar Slam from the 2009 GOTJ Infomercial for SNL’s skit of Under-Underground Presents::  It’s that crazy-ass time of week again, THANKFUL THURSDAY! WHOOP WHOOP!

I decorated my desk at my full-time job. My desk is joyful again and I have a few more things to add, however, I’m grateful for my friends that responded to my picture texts about the layouts of these scrapbook pages. They gave me their opinions and helped make these pages look great.

One of my colleagues is a crafter and loves buying her supplies at the dollar store. I asked her if she was going soon, she was, and I gave her $1 to pick up an 8×10 frame for my Baltimore collage. She surprised me: she gifted me a 12×12 frame as well! She loved how I decorated and thought I could use another frame, on her. I’m speechless and verklempt; I’m thankful for Ms. Lori’s kindness.

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I’m also thankful for my library job. Carol was working tonight and I was telling her about Twiztid. She’s a retired woman and loved hearing my stories about meeting the boys. I was telling her about Warped Tour and how when I met them again, they remembered who I was and gave me bear hugs. She said, “Oh, Jessica, that’s awesome! I remember when the person who plays Paul McCartney in RAINN saw me bopping along to the music and gave me a thumbs up. That’s amazing that the guys in Twiztid remembered who you are, especially since they meet thousands of people daily. I love hearing the joy in your voice and although I am not familiar with them, I love hearing your memories.”

I’ve been sharing a lot of Twiztid stories lately. I was telling my other British friend about the Warped Tour incident and she said, “that was so sweet of them. They are sweet, just like you.” Twiztid brings me so much joy. Today I also ordered my first ICP shirt. I’ve been a fan for 16 years, and this is my first time purchasing one of their shirts. Celebration tonight? LOL.

What are you thankful for?

Main Line Symphony Orchestra

On the evening of 3 May 2019, I saw my aunt perform with the Main Line Symphony Orchestra (MLSO). They were amazing and they put on a wonderful show. My uncle and I enjoyed watching my aunt and taking photos with Brent Celik. I’m not an Eagles fan, but he was a pretty good orator for Copland’s Lincoln, which I am posting here.

 

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After, Aunt Peg, Uncle Tom, and I went for ice cream and water ice at Wawa. It was a lovely evening out. I can’t wait to see my aunt perform again.

Nan’s 96th Birthday

Today would have been Nan’s 96th birthday. Her birthday tradition was baking a Betty Crocker yellow cake, decorating it with whipped cream and strawberries: A STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE! I was over the moon to see that Betty Crocker has a gluten-free yellow cake mix;  I made a gluten and lactose free yellow cake topped with dairy free coconut milk whipped cream and strawberries.

Her last birthday with us was in 2012, when she turned 89. It’s crazy to think that she was diagnosed with lung cancer two months later, and was given six months. Her lung cancer came back after 15 years. She decided that at 89, she didn’t want chemo and wanted to spend her last six months with us. Anyway, I’m going to copy the blog entry (from blogger) from that day on Friday, 4 May 2012.

Nan turned 89 yesterday. We (Aunt Kathy, Uncle Dave, Mom, Dad and I) took her to Legal Seafood to celebrate her birthday.

Aunt Kathy and Uncle Dave returned from Italy a few weeks ago and bought Nan a beautiful photo made of lace from Venice. Nan loved it and I can’t wait to see where she will place it.

Happy birthday, Nan. I miss you. I’m thankful for the 23 years of love, laughs, smiles, and adventures.

Thankful Thursday 2 May 2019

Happy first Thursday in May! I’m still over the moon about Sarah’s gifts and I’m planning everything I can send her. I’m thinking of sending her a scrapbook for her travel photos and the ceramic bowl artist I discovered in Baltimore. He was cool, and a bit different, but she might enjoy it. I think I might also send her some local jazz artists I discovered through the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

I’ve been chatting with Jack in the morning and I last saw him on Tuesday. I showed him my Baltimore Ravens photos and he was really amazed at the few he saw. Google placed my photos out of order and I was telling him about Family. He asked how I heard about it and I said, “well, I’m a fan of Insane Clown Posse and Twiztid, it was suggested based on my likes, and Violent J promoted the movie too.” He looked at me and said, “I didn’t picture you as an ICP fan. Have you ever heard of Tech N9ne?” I replied, “Yes! I listen to him all the time too.” He smiled, at that point the train came, and he said we would chat Tech N9ne some other time.

I’m going to get a little flash-backy on y’all. When I was watching Family, I became a bit emotional. I will admit that listening to ICP and Twiztid is a very emotional experience for me. I was bullied in middle and high schools, but the brunt of it was in middle school. Mom was working with Anna’s dad and they lived in Tower City. A few times she invited me over to spend the weekend with her to get away from the bullying. Tower City is an old steel town in Schuylkill County and their middle and high schools were combined. A few of Anna’s friends were in high school and two of them absolutely LOVED the Psychopathic Record family. Jackie, one of Anna’s friends, really recommended Dark Lotus, I gave it a listen and one thing led to another. Jackie gave me song suggestions to download and listening to ICP, Twiztid, and Dark Lotus made me feel like I belonged. Ironically, after I started listening, I made friends with other Juggalos at my school and I’m still friends with one of them. Anna was heavily into heavy metal and she used to send me CDs all the time, to get me started.

I am thankful for Anna and I’m thankful for my friends from Tower City in that time period. It was a refuge and I like to say, being around Anna and the other girls influenced my tastes in music. I loved Twiztid the most during in 8th grade and I had the hugest crush on Jamie Madrox. I found an old time capsule I made at the end of 8th grade (that we opened before we graduated from high school). Here you will also see that I won recognition for being the kindest person of the month of December 2003. My school used to reward people for their caring, kindness, and sense of community. I always seemed to win and I was once a peer mediator for the community of caring. I wonder if the school still does that. I also found my 8th grade yearbook, where Brynn drew the hatchet man logo for me. It should have been a hatchet girl, but I am thankful she agreed to it back then.

While The Riddle Box was the first ever ICP album I downloaded, I remember Fall 2004 vividly. I used to belong to a Motley Crue community on LiveJournal and I connected with a guy who not only loved Motley Crue, but loved ICP as well. He told me about The Wraith: Shangra-la and the song “Thy Unveiling.” I fell in love with both the song and album. I was going through a rough time at high school (I was a freshman in Fall 2004) and that was a light during a dark time. I felt a sense of belonging and now that I bought a copy of The Wraith: Shangra-la, I’m feeling something special in my core. I’m thankful for these groups; I know it sounds odd, but they helped me through some dark periods.

In the 16 years since I’ve started listening to all of these groups, I’ve met Twiztid twice. I’ve also hugged Jamie and Monoxide and the last time I saw them at the Warped Tour, they remembered me, they were so glad to see me again, and told me I should hang out more often. That made me feel over the moon and even though those under Psychopathic Records got a bad name because of gangs hijacking the image, I never met kinder people. I’ve met a lot of fans over the years too and besides one minor experience, most have been kind people that are welcoming.

From 2014’s This Way to Hell Tour. My first time seeing Twiztid live. A few of the people I met before the meet and greet too. 18 October 2014

 

From Vans Warped Tour, 13 July 2018.

Anyway, tomorrow night I’m seeing Aunt Peg perform with her orchestra at 8pm. She held a ticket for me, my uncle will save me a seat, and they will drop me off at home. I’m looking forward to seeing my aunt perform on the flute and I can’t wait to see my uncle. I’m grateful that Aunt Peg is doing that for me.

I was able to walk this morning, this afternoon, and I went swinging too. What are you thankful for today?

Thankful Monday 29 April 2019

At lunch, one of my British pen pals sent me an Instagram message alerting me to a package that she sent a week ago. When I arrived home at 5:30, there was a huge package waiting for me on the kitchen table.

My parents were excited for me to open it and I will admit it, I did rip it open. I ripped after I took photos. Here is the lovely package.

 

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And let the ripping and shredding begin!

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Oh, I wonder what it can be?!

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Letter. What else?

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Ohhh, I can’t wait to eat this GF candy bar! I wonder what’s in the packages?

Sarah and Teddy were over the moon when I wrote them that I was starting a journey into classical music and became a friend of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Of course they are biased to the British Orchestra, but the Philadelphia Orchestra is the best in the world. She wanted to share her classical favourites and I’m verklempt right now. I’m beyond grateful for her kindness and I can’t wait to listen to the CDs.

I was telling mom that Sarah and Teddy are friends from Facebook and they are the only remaining friends from Facebook I have since I left 13 months ago. Only Sarah/Teddy and Michelle from Toronto still communicate with me. Mom said, “That’s because they are your true friends. Your true friends will stay your friends even if you leave social media. That was extremely kind of them.”

I’m in tears, happy tears, right now. I was so surprised and I’m over the moon. I’m going to order Sarah some CDs – some from the Philadelphia Orchestra and I’m going to send her some local musicians too.

I have the best friends, family, and pen pals in the world.

Baltimore Ravens Draft Fest & Baltimore, Maryland | 27 April 2019

When I took my dad to the Ravens/Broncos game in September 2018, I signed up for the Purple newsletter. Purple is a fan club for Ravens fans who are women. A few weeks ago they sent me a newsletter advertising for the different draft pick events, free events, and when I saw that a party going to be held on Saturday, 27 April, I decided to take off from the library and go.

I left from Philadelphia at 8:16 AM and I arrived in Baltimore at 9:40 AM with Amtrak. I have a silly ritual about every time I arrive in Baltimore – Baltimore has always been one of my favourite cities and we spent a lot of time there when I was a little girl (we celebrated my 16th birthday in Baltimore, that was my wish, and had a lovely dinner at McCormick & Schmick). Whenever I arrive at the train station, I have someone take my picture standing next to the train because I think travel photos are a neat concept for a scrapbook. A woman behind me gladly obliged and when we walked up the stairs, she saw me trying to take a selfie with the “Welcome to Baltimore” sign that she offered to take the photo for me. I was grateful.

In September I won a free transit pass from MTA and unfortunately, it wasn’t filled. I couldn’t get a day pass online after I registered my card, and I decided to fill it at the station. Unfortunately, I couldn’t fill the card at all, I’ll have to call, and I bought a day pass for $4.20. I knew I was going touse the Charm City Circulator, the free bus, to get to the Inner Harbor and I could use Charm City Circulator to get to the Charles Theater to see the movie. However, after some careful planning, I had to use MTA for the restaurant I was going to and getting back to the Inner Harbor, before I went to the Charles Theater. Transit in Baltimore is much cheaper than Philadelphia and I didn’t mind putting less than $5 in advance for a card.

I love the Charm City Circulator and it always seems like professional people use it. The woman who agreed to take my photos met up with a colleague and I learned they were in town for a conference. It wasn’t a long trip; roads were closed for Draft Fest and either Baltimorians planned in advance for these road closures or not many people travel on Saturday mornings, there was no traffic congestion and I arrived at the Inner Harbor in 15 minutes.

The wind was wicked and the Ravens flags were whipping violently in the air. I’m glad I wore a jacket because even though it was 66 degrees, it felt ten degrees cooler from the wind. Other than the wind, the sun was out, and it was a beautiful day in Baltimore. I saw the food trucks lined up and the first food truck I saw had international foods AND they could make most of the food GLUTEN FREE! I was over the moon. I packed some snacks, just in case, but I was grateful I could find at least one food truck. It was 10:30 at that point and I decided that I would have an early, but filling lunch. My stomach was growling and I had to eat.

I ordered a Canadian maple turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce. The owners were really sweet and the guy apologized that the GF bread was tiny. He bought a different brand and didn’t like how tiny the bread was. I said, “honestly, it’s okay. I’m just extremely grateful that you have options. It’s difficult at times finding food trucks and restaurants that offer it at all. I’m thankful that you do.” They had a dedicated space for GF food and that made me even more grateful. The sandwich took longer than expected, but it was delicious. It hit the spot and ended up holding me over to 3:30pm (when I was in Starbucks, charging my phone, drinking iced tea and having one of my GF snacks before dinner).

I was sitting next to the Purple tent. After I finished noshing, I walked over and introduced myself. I played football, but unfortunately, my aim was off and I just missed the hole. I won a lanyard anyway since I almost had it. I won a feather boa from Plinko and was decked out for the entire day, with purple feathers flying everywhere. I chatted with some of the women and some agreed for a photo. It’s nice that the Ravens have a fan club just for women and I’m hoping I can attend the big event in the fall – a gala at M & T Field where I can meet some other players, and it’s an evening of a lot of fun.

As I was waiting for noon, the moment we would welcome Hollywood Brown, the Ravens’ first draft pick, to Baltimore, I decided to walk around. I saw many interesting costumes and the people were kind enough to pose for some pictures. I also saw many dogs dressed in their Ravens best and couldn’t help but snap away. I also met the Ravens cheerleaders, they agreed to a photo, and they signed a photo for me as well. It was one of their team photos; I want to get a frame for it and hang it up in my cubicle. I loved chatting with the two female cheerleaders and I mentioned that when I went to my first Ravens pre-season game in 2013, the two cheerleaders I met were Pennsylvania girls too. We laughed and the male cheerleader that was with them exclaimed, “Well, I’m a Pennsylvania guy!” He was from York and it is nice when athletes and the cheer squad are down to Earth. Actually, I can honestly say, every band, athlete, or famous person I’ve met so far has been down to Earth and personable. Maybe it’s the vibe I give off, but I’ve never had someone that was rude to me.

Noon came quickly and I went to the Draft Stage, which was in front of the Chesapeake Bay. Perfect spot for the stage too. Hollywood Brown walked to the stage and they interviewed him. The Ravens picked promise and it sounds like he will be good for the team. Afterwards, others rushed him as he walked to the radio tent for the interview. I had a photograph session at 12:30, but I decided to see the interview. It was a madhouse and after the interview, I asked Hollywood for a selfie and he agreed. However, many other people cut in and he was bombarded with stuff to sign and other photos. I didn’t push my way in or was loud about it, I just waited patiently. I know that sounds silly, but pushing my way in and being loud is a waste of energy to me. Surprisingly, he remembered my request and told people to hold on, he was getting a selfie with me. I was stunned, it seemed like quiet patience paid off. That ticked some of the men off and when I was trying to exit, they told me I couldn’t exit from where they were standing. I found another way.

Ironically, Hollywood Brown was one of the players that was picked for my photograph session. They did not announce who would be at the sessions, it was a surprise. Nick Boyle was the other player, one of my favourites. I had to wait in a long line, but the wait wasn’t too bad – by 1pm, I had a photo with Boyle and Brown. I gave Boyle a hug.

Earlier in the week, dad mentioned that during the Draft Fest, he read a blind boy was going to read one of the picks. Mo Gabba, a John Hopkins kid with cancer, often attends Orioles and Ravens events. He is one of their biggest fans and the teams are gracious about inviting him to different events. I saw the Orioles posted a video the other week when he met some of the players, and I was in tears. I wanted to catch Mo reading the draft pick in Braille and I’m so glad I did. I was verklempt and that was an understatement. The kindness that protruded from others by cheering on Mo made me tear up a little bit. After he left the stage, I asked his mom if I could get a photo with him, after I gave him some kind words (you’re a brave and strong boy, Mo!), and she agreed. However, like with Hollywood Brown, others cut in front. They had to do an interview and the mom apologized to me and I said, “that’s okay. Thank you for allowing me in the first place. Keep strong and brave. I am rooting for you.” She smiled and they hurried to an interview.

I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get a voucher for the 2:30 photograph session because Jacoby Jones was there! Jacoby was one of my favourite players from the 2012-2013 season, along with Ray Rice, Ray Lewis, and Torrey Smith. After Jacoby’s session, he was also rushing to an interview, but he stopped for me. He agreed to a selfie, but I used my Polaroid camera instead – polaroid selfie fail! You can see a little bit of my head, but it’s mostly a Jacoby selfie. Ah well, good times and good memories.

I met Poe! Poe is one of my favourite mascots, next to the Blue Jays’ Ace and the Orioles bird. I gave Poe a big hug and took a selfie with him! Poe was the life of the party and I managed to capture Poe meeting other fans. He is fun.

I also went to an autograph session and met Jimmy Smith. I bought a NFL draft hat and the cashier handed me a voucher for an autograph session. I gave dad the hat and it’s sitting on the bar next to his game day program, Ray Lewis commemorative coin, and the scrapbook I made him. His bar is decked out in Ravens memorabilia, and he especially loves the Ravens man cave banner I gave him. He was happy about the hat.

The event ended at 4, but I left at 3:30 to charge my phone and to sit down in Starbucks. I wanted to relax before I had to leave for the bus at 4:30 and it was nice to regroup in a calm environment.

Traveling by MTA was easy and straightforward. I caught the CityLink to Fells Point and Alexander’s Tavern was only three blocks away from the stop. I was early and decided to check out a store. There was a lot of fanfare in front of the store and I asked if it was a Pride event since I saw a Pride sign. The two drag queens laughed and said no, they were just having fun. There was also a pirate festival going on and the store was filled with pirates. They were fun and the whole experience was fun. Alexander’s was across the street  and it killed the time I needed it to kill.

Alexander’s was amazing! I haven’t had a crab cake since I’ve gone GF and I was in heaven. I will admit, I devoured it. It was so good. The crab dip and sweet potato tots were so good too. I had a lovely waitress and the whole experience was amazing. When I go back in June for the Orioles/Blue Jays game, I want to go back. I want to try their other GF delicacies and it wasn’t expensive at all.

My reservation was at 5 and I left at 6. Family didn’t start until 7:20 and I had enough time. I caught the CityLink heading downtown, to go to the Inner Harbor to catch the Charm City Circulator. Google Maps has a lot to be desired because it said that the CCC bus was only a two minute walk from the MTA stop. Not quite true, I couldn’t find the stop, and asked a woman for help. She said, “you can just take the Silver to the Charles Theater. It stops right there.” I was a little annoyed, but I decided to take her advice. The Silver is her normal route and she would point it out once we got to the 17th block of Charles Street. That day pass I bought came in handy after all since I only used the CCC once.

I found the Charles Theater with no issue, and it was two short blocks away from Penn Station, where I needed to go to catch the train back to Philadelphia. The Charles Theater is an old theater that shows mostly independent films. I’m glad they had Family and it was such a great movie. I became a Juggalette at 13 after one of Anna’s friends suggested Dark Lotus to me. To this day I still love exploring music and one thing led to another. I could relate to Maddie, she reminded me of myself when I was a young teen. Of course, this film isn’t only about juggalos, but navigating all stages of your life and being a kind human being. I would recommend Family and I plan on buying the DVD. I also want to return to Charles Theater because it looks like some great indie films are going to be released this summer! I also liked the atmosphere – there is something so magical about old movie theaters.

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I had an hour to kill after the movie and I wandered into a record store. They didn’t have many CDs, I don’t have a vinyl player, but they did have a wide selection of cassettes. The owner asked if he could help me with anything and I said, “Honestly, I’ve been exploring local talent lately. I listen to everything from heavy metal to classical to hip hop. I just came from a movie that featured Insane Clown Posse, I’ll listen to anything.” He laughed and made a of great suggestions. He suggested this one cassette that was experimental to the extreme, the guy is playing music with a metal bowl and singing. It’s pretty out there (I haven’t listened to it yet, I had to get my cassette player after I type this), but it will be fun to listen to. However, if I don’t care for it, the next time in town, I can exchange it. They are new to the location and don’t have sampling stations set up yet and hopefully when I go back, they will. I love record shops too.

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The store owner graciously agreed to a selfie.

I got home past midnight. My train left Baltimore at 10:30 PM, I was back in Philadelphia by 11:45 PM and Lyft dropped me off at home. I took a shower, took some aspirin, and went to bed. I woke up from a nap a few hours ago. I had such a great day in Baltimore yesterday and I can’t wait to go back.

Oh, here’s a video of Mo reading the draft pick and also the full photo album. I’m going to make a few collages for my cubicle at work.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/SzKhpTcMNf4j9Cuc8

Some Thoughts Two Months Before I Turn 30

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However, I don’t think this is a bad thing. I’m an INFJ, an introverted intuit, and I live in my head. I’m 2 months away from turning 30 and lately I have been looking inward, and listening to my inner GPS or inner voice to guide me. I know I’ve been soul searchy lately, but I’m finding my joy as I look at lessons I’ve learned throughout my 20s.

I know I made a blog post a month or two ago about how I was dreading turning 30 because I feel like I’ve failed my 20s. I haven’t moved out yet, I’m not in a long-term relationship that is leading to marriage, I’m not married, and I am not planning on children (nowadays, I don’t think children is a marker of successful 20s, they come later for most people).

Where is this internal critic coming from? As I looked back on when I was turning 20 on 4 July 2009, I don’t remember a dread of leaving my teenage years behind and entering young adulthood. HOWEVER, another dread struck me at 20. I was dating a guy at the time and I was very unhappy. I was unhappy with him because of the way he talked down to me, made fun of me, his overall treatment of me, and we didn’t have much in common. It was about a month into the relationship that something didn’t sit right with me, but I didn’t want to break it off. I was moody and miserable and he could see it, but I didn’t break it off because I was terrified of what people would think of me if my Facebook relationship changed. I was terrified that people would think of me as a loser because boyfriend #2 didn’t last long like boyfriend #1. This was my 2nd boyfriend, I didn’t date as a teenager, and while it didn’t bother me as a teen, I felt that by the time college rolled around, I should have someone.

He broke up with me two months later; like boyfriend #1, he only lasted four months. Facebook didn’t judge and in fact, after that fiasco I realized that I didn’t really want to date people. I wanted to focus on me and now I’m seeing that I truly only want friends. I’ve always admired Mother Theresa and while I’m no longer Catholic, how she touched and shaped the world goes beyond religion. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be like her and I wanted to help the world anyway I could. In the past few months, as I’ve listened to my inner voice, I still want to. I’m still figuring out ways that I can impact the world with my gifts, and right now I really need just my friends and family.

I no longer utilize Facebook and Twitter, but I think that inner critic from other voices still boom in my head. I didn’t get Canada two years ago and that is still my hope, that is where I want to live and that is where I want my first apartment or house to be. Although there can be fights at times, there is nothing wrong with me still living at home. Where I live shouldn’t be of importance to anyone other than myself (and the people I am living with). It’s frankly no one’s business, just like my relationship status or sexual preference or even my religion.

Nan used to tell me, “Jess, if critics aren’t paying your way in life, you shouldn’t listen to them. Even if they were, it is your life and you alone can only decide what is best for your life. Only you can decide what makes you happy and what makes your heart sing. Your vision is totally different from everyone else’s. Live your life to the fullest.” I’ve heard that from my mom and dad as well: “it is your life and you have to live the life you best see fit.” It’s that inner GPS concept that guides – my heart knows where it wants to go and knows it will take time. I need to be patient.

I’m no longer dreading 30. I’ve accomplished a lot in my 20s, some monumental things. I survived a trauma, I am living and breathing despite that trauma, and I continue to thrive and grow. While it took me five years to get past the anger and I’m still working on it, I am not bitter and I treat people with kindness. I said to myself one day, “I want to treat people kindly. Despite how some treated me, I do not want to follow in their footsteps.” It was after watching some TV shows that showed how dangerous bitterness can be that I decided to work on letting it go. I’ve also managed to work hard and save for goals, especially travel. I’ve paid for my adventures in my 20s and with the help of loved ones, I learned how to put aside money after bills to make these trips happen. I will employ the same techniques for Canada.

I’m sure there is more that I’ve managed to accomplish, and according to co-workers at both jobs, I’ve had more experiences than they have ever dreamed about. They are amazed with my knowledge about so many different things. However,  I know what I learned in my 20s, what I’ve accomplished and even failed to do, I will build upon in my 30s. I am still young and there is still time to accomplish my goals. In fact, I decided to take a mock Canadian immigration test and at 31, I would have more points than I did at 27. While Canada wants young people, age isn’t the most important factor like I thought and internet posters made it out to be; no, your length in a full-time job or career is the major deciding factor. At 31, I will be in my 5th year of working full-time and that will give me 50 more points and a sure fire way to immigrate. My points at 27 were on the lower side and it was a miracle my 438 was picked (if I wait to 31, I would be ranked at 488). Maybe “failing” at 28 was what I needed and when I try again, I know what I need to do the second time around. I know I need to pay off debt and I need to have $10,000 in the bank when I’m picked instead of rushing to get the money after I’m invited like the first time. I will be ready in my 30s, compared to my 20s.

Anyway, I know I’m not alone in these feelings. I know these feelings plague most of my generation and I think if we all slowed down, listen to our inner voice, our inner GPS, we would find the answers we are looking for. Life is too short to feel constantly judged; be you and live life to the fullest.

I was looking through my Photobucket account and here are some photos from my 20th birthday party on 20 June 2009.

 

 

The one wearing the white shirt was my boyfriend at the time. My friends decided to cake me after they sang happy birthday to me, and it’s funny because I burst out laughing when I saw these photos. I remember this vividly.

Except for my ex, I am still friends with Tiarra, Liz, James, and Joyce. I wasn’t planning on having a 30th birthday party, but maybe I will reconsider. Liz lives in Alaska now and I know she couldn’t attend, but I can invite Tiarra, Joyce, and James. I can also invite the friends I made throughout college and work, that I didn’t know when I turned 20. I grew my tribe in my 20s and I maintained my teenage tribe too.

Thankful Thursday 25 April 2019

Thursday is finally here! After spending most of the day yesterday thinking it was Thursday when it was Wednesday, I’m glad I didn’t think today was Friday! I’m heading to Baltimore on Saturday and after I write this blog post, I have to order my train tickets.

Last weekend mom’s co-worker visited us from Illinois. He and mom went to see Cher and he had dinner with us before they went to the concert. He also joined us for Easter brunch. Unfortunately, I didn’t get pictures (he wasn’t comfortable with them), but we had a nice dinner and breakfast. We shared laughs and stories; he was feeling a little down and I’m glad we could lift his spirits. I’m thankful he partook in the festivities with us. I’m also thankful that Founding Farmers, the place we ate brunch, could accommodate GF and kosher. I was able to keep both. A double win. It was just a nice weekend and I couldn’t be more grateful.

I also wrote a thank you letter to the Hungry Pigeon. This is what I wrote:

Yesterday, Tiarra and I met up for a walk at lunch. I saw her an hour before lunch and we made an impromptu walk date. It was nice to catch up with her, and it was nice sharing laughs as we walked the trail near my full-time job. It was a lovely day and that was the cherry on top of the cake. I’m thankful for Tiarra and I’m thankful that we’ve been friends for 12 years. Just like James. I’m glad I could work with two of my longest pals; I feel blessed to be able to work with friends, both new and old.

Dad, of course! He’s been off all week and has been my chauffeur in the morning. I’m thankful for the Starbucks runs and of course, the money I’m saving on Lyft. I’m also thankful for mom and the rest of my family too.

Also, Shetana! Last week she gave me a Regal gift card. I didn’t get a chance to go to the movies, but I am going on Sunday. This will be a big help and I’m always grateful for such kindness.

What are you thankful for?

Happy Passover!

Happy Passover to all of my Jewish followers! Since taking the 23andMe DNA test and discovering that I’m 3% Ashkenazi Jewish, I’ve wanted to learn more. Since I’ve been on a spiritual journey for a while, I’m always interested.

A few weeks ago, Hungry Pigeon sent around an e-mail that they would offer a Seder dinner sampler on 19 April. Last year, the Hungry Pigeon brought in a rabbi to lead dinner, but I had other things going on last year and I unfortunately couldn’t go. Unfortunately, they didn’t bring it back this year and wanted to try just the dinner. I have never been to a Seder and since I already eat Kosher, I thought why not. I try to do something new each day.

On Thursday I called and Caleb, the nice manager, answered the phone and sat with me on the phone to make sure all of the dishes were gluten-free. Except for the Matzo, they could serve it GF and I would be safe. He added before he hung up, “I’ll be there tomorrow night. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask for me.”

I felt reassured. Before dinner, I decided to get my undercut freshened and a trim. I wanted to look my best for Passover (and Easter brunch on Sunday) and opted to have my hair styled into a bun. I did wear jeans, but I selected a pretty blouse. I was ready for Passover!

Last night, I arrived early at the Hungry Pigeon and sat at the bar. Brian was my waiter and he was super helpful too. It wasn’t really busy and we chatted for a little bit. He put in my order and a few minutes later, he came back and told me that the Tabuli had farrow in it. Farrow isn’t GF and he asked if that would be an issue. I shook my head that it was and he said, “I’ll let the kitchen know to leave it off.” On the menu, it did say they wouldn’t make many changes, but GF is a whole different monster. I’m beyond thankful that they were accommodating to my dietary needs (Ashkenazi Jewish people also have a history of gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease, as I found out in my research when I got my DNA back.. same with Irish [in my DNA, which I knew], and those with Northern and Eastern European roots [also in my DNA]).

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The first three dishes, Beitzah, Charoset, Hazeret, were interesting and my first time eating. Beitzah is a hard boiled egg, which the hard boiled egg symbolizes mourning of the destruction of the Temple in Egypt. The Hungry Pigeon served chopped liver with the egg and I haven’t had liver since I was a child, when Nan made it for Daniel. I didn’t remember the taste, but I really liked the beef liver that Hungry Pigeon served. It was different, but tasty. I can’t stomach eggs and the egg was the only thing I didn’t eat.

Hazeret was grilled Romaine and mine came without the Tabouli. The grilled Romaine was delicious. Charoset was lamb cheese – yum, much tastier than goat – with nuts, apples, and raisins dipped in honey. That was delicious too and paired perfectly with the lamb cheese. Charoset symbolizes the brick and mortar that Hebrew slaves used to build the storehouses of Pyramids in Egypt.

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I ate slowly and said a little prayer to myself. I noticed the table next to mine had a prayer book and the family was reciting from it. At the end of my meal, I went over and wished them a Happy Passover.

Anyway, round two. Zeroa, Marror, and Karpas. The brisket was melted in my mouth and was very tender. It was just right. The potatoes and horseradish added a nice touch. The bitters and seawater was the perfect cleanse to the meal. Each dish has a meaning as well:

Zorah is special as it is the only element of meat on the Seder Plate. Roasted chicken neck or shankbone; symbolizing the Paschal Lamb (Passover sacrifice), which was a lamb that was offered in the Temple in Jerusalem, then roasted and eaten as part of the meal on Seder night. Since the destruction of the Temple, the z’roa serves as a visual reminder of the Pesach sacrifice; it is not eaten or handled during the Seder.

Karpas – A vegetable other than bitter herbs representing hope and renewal, which is dipped into salt water at the beginning of the Seder. Parsley or another green vegetable. Some substitute parsley to slice of green onion (representing the bitterness of slavery in Egypt) or potato (representing the bitterness of the ghetto in Germany and in other European countries), both commonly used. The dipping of a simple vegetable into salt water and the resulting dripping of water off of said vegetables visually represents tears and is a symbolic reminder of the pain felt by the Hebrew slaves in Egypt.  This leads immediately to the recital of the famous question, Ma Nishtana—”Why is this night different from all other nights?” It also symbolizes the springtime, because Jews celebrate Passover in the spring. Bitter herbs symbolizing the bitterness and harshness of the slavery that the Hebrews endured in Egypt.

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My meal ended with a flourless apple walnut cake. Yum and it was so light and fluffy. I also ordered a latte made with oak milk and my first Seder went well. The Hungry Pigeon made it memorable and I can’t wait to go next year. I think next year I will also go to a Synagogue to experience the whole thing. It will be fun.

I also ended the evening with a selfie with Brian, my waiter. The Hungry Pigeon staff is great about that. The one I got a selfie with the last time came in at six. He walked over to me, we were chatting and I told him about the Happiness Box Project. He also introduced himself, Malik, and that was a great addition to the evening too.

Tomorrow I really have to sit down and write a thank you card to the Hungry Pigeon. They always accommodate me and they made my holiday celebration special.

Happy Passover, Easter, and Rivdan to my all of my followers!