Falling into Change

The last day of the summer season. Even though the heat is back with a vengeance, I consider autumn as the months of September, October, and November. For me, autumn began on 1 September, but I do follow the Mother Earth and know the autumnal equinox is tomorrow.

This autumn I’m practicing self-care. I’m cleaning, I’m cooking, I’m crafting, adventuring, and falling into some change. I am in the process of making Kosher Italian soup, similar to what you would find at the Olive Garden, in the crock pot. As I wait for the soup to finish and beat the heat, I decided to clean my room and decorate a little bit for autumn.

I’ve had my Kurt Cobain poster hanging up since 2004 and I decided to take it down today. I still like Nirvana, but wanted some change. I bought 10 Twiztid/ Majik Ninja Entertainment posters in May, but didn’t change it back then. I thought for the autumn, I would hang up Twiztid’s Fright Fest poster. I am quite happy with this little change.

Before

After

Change doesn’t have to be massive; just a little change can lift spirits. It felt great sprucing up my room a little and I want to do this for the spring too.

A Trip to the Farmers Market for Ingredients to Make Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup

On Saturday while I was at work at the library, Denise and Terry were talking about making soup in a crockpot. That idea intrigued me and since I’ve been cooking a bit, I decided to look at gluten and dairy free soup recipes. I found a recipe for GF and Dairy Free butternut squash soup. Sounded good to me!

When I arrived in Philadelphia, I headed to the Farmers Market for vegetables and apples. I wanted fresh and let me tell you, I’ve never really been to a farmers market and assumed it would be cheaper than a grocery store. Some things are, but others aren’t. The squash was $2.99/pound, where they are $2.99 each at Trader Joe’s. Live and learn. The Rittenhouse Farmers Market was crowded and I felt like a kid in a candy store. I also found a GF booth and found things I haven’t had since the diagnosis like dinner rolls and thumb print cookies.

Sunday was cook day. Mom helped cut the butternut squash and after it cooked for 6 hours, she was the one who blended it together. We bonded in the kitchen and that was really nice.

Here is the recipe I used. Butternut Squash Soup recipe

WRTI / Astral Arts Presents the 2nd Annual Block Party

I missed last year’s first block party since I went to as far as my fingertips take me, and I didn’t want to miss it this year. Two weeks ago when Gregg Whiteside announced the block party on air, I made note of it and the daily e-mail reminders helped too.

After work at the library ended at 12:45 pm, mom picked me up and took me to the train and after 45 minutes, I arrived in Philadelphia. I was early, went to a Farmer’s Market (first one, I’ll have to share that experience tomorrow), and walked around until 2:30. The Block Party didn’t start until 3 and although the Farmer’s Market was on 18th and Walnut, the six block walk only took 15 minutes. I was still early.

But, that was okay! I walked around and mingled with people. They had GF smores and I made myself a smores. Nydia Hahn, one of the 6 ABC news anchors was there and I had the chance to meet her. She put on her sunglasses for the selfie, which was understandable. Schmoozed with others for bit. Gregg didn’t show up, which bummed me out because he is my favourite, but I did meet Bliss and Deborah, the other classical hosts. I was too nervous to ask for a selfie with them and when I worked up the nerve, the event was over.

I did meet Ms. Blue, one of the jazz hosts, she gave me a big hug and agreed to photos. She was a joy to chat with and meet. I love classical music, but it seems like the jazz host was a bit more excited to be there and opened to people. Makes sense… I see classical musicians as more introverted than jazz musicians. While I’m sure jazz musicians are introverted, they are most likely a different type of introverted than a classical musician. I added the photo with Ms. Blue to my Happiness Box.

 

I also met some friendly dogs and their kind owners. The one eyed dog, which his owner said he was born that way, loved having his photos taken and it looked like he was smiling. The pibble (pit bull) was sweet too. I actually feel for pibbles because they get a bad rap for wrong reasons. The doggies and babies loved the classical music; classical music puts us all in a happy/joyful mood.

The Astral Artists were amazing too!

While one of the WRTI staff members was taking a photo of me with Ms. Blue with my DSLR, someone else shot a photo with their phone and posted it to WRTI’s Instagram feed. I was so happy to see my photo with Ms. Blue!

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I really hope there is a 3rd annual Block Party next year. WRTI’s Block Party 14 September 2019

Thankful Thursday 12 September 2019

It’s looking like September is an early November in the sense I consider November to be a month of gratitude and thanks. I’m finding that this September, I have a lot to be grateful for.

On Sunday, I got up at 7am to let Sandy out and I decided to watch Family. I ended up buying the DVD because it’s my favourite movie. I was sitting on Aunt Kathy’s floor, watching my favourite movie, on an early Autumn morning and all felt right with the world. I felt at peace; I find morning to be the most peaceful and quiet – that’s also when I am at my best in terms of work. I’m thankful for the moment of peace.

On Tuesday evening, as I was walking home from work, Aunt Marie spotted me and picked me up to take me home. I was grateful for her kindness; I am grateful for all of my family members and I love them all.

I am also thankful for Mitch, my counselor. Tis the season of hard feelings… 11 September 2013 started the chain reaction of what led to my rape. On 11 September 2013, I ran into someone from high school, we hung out for a bit and he wanted more, I said no, he listened but made fun of me. This was when I started frequenting the cupcake shop and that’s when I met Brandon.

I’m also realizing that autumn 2013 isn’t the only reason for the sad feelings, though it is significant. I realized last week that in autumn 2012, I was losing Nan. After 15 years, her lung cancer came back and it was late stage. She was 89 and didn’t want to do chemo or radiation, she lost a lot of weight. I knew that this would be my last autumn with her and although I displayed some anger towards her, once I realized everything, I spent all of my free time with her.

She died on 25 January 2013 and 2013 as a year sucked. It was an emotionally draining year. The case was dropped on 5 December 2013 and that was when I still celebrated Christmas. I graduated 10 days later and I felt so empty. A lot of people demonized me for what happened and Nan was a major support for me. I felt more angry than sad, but it was very tough that year. I am thankful for those who didn’t walk out at that time and through the healing process. I’m also thankful that during this time, I have help. I have three more sessions until I have to find something through insurance.

I’ve been listening to a lot of TED talks lately and I felt solace in this talk from Andrew Solomon: the worst moments in our lives make us who we are

Brandon died. He was 32 years old and I felt sorry for his parents because no parent should bury their child. Some were surprised I wasn’t happy that he was dead. While I’m glad he can’t hurt others, I actually feel sorry for him. He is dead and can never experience life ever again. He tried to take my life and I survived. I am very much alive and have a bright future ahead of me. In two years, I will be the age he was when he died and in 3 years I will surpass him in age. It’s sort of ironic. The bastard wasn’t successful in pushing me down, but he pushed himself down at the end.

What are you thankful for?

34th Annual Mushroom Festival | Kennett Square, PA | 8 September 2019

We’ve been enjoying the Kennett Square Mushroom Festival for 25 years, off and on. I asked mom how she found out about this annual festival while we were enjoying lunch and she said, “when you were a little girl, I loved researching free or inexpensive events that we would all enjoy.” Well, her research yielded gold since we’ve been going year after year!

Kennett Square is the Mushroom Capital of the world and we decided to eat lunch at the Kennett Square Inn first. I was happy because their mushroom soup was GF. This was my first time having mushroom soup since my diagnosis. I ordered a cup, with a Caesar salad (without the croutons) and I was in GF heaven. Mom and dad enjoyed their lunches too.

Our view from the restaurant was amazing. We watched people passing by with their bags of mushrooms, or soil with fungus to grow mushrooms. Dad and I thought that was neat. The weather was beautiful yesterday – 80 degrees with minimal humidity, and a nice breeze cooled us down as we munched. Mom, dad, and I enjoyed lunch as a family, shared some stories and laughter.

After, we walked around. I ran into Ms. Birch Tree and she agreed to two photos with me. I loved her outfit and I’m thinking I might be a baby maple tree for Halloween. I don’t think the outfit would be too hard to make. As we walked, we tried samples, and I loved the portabello mushroom jerky. It was fun just walking around.

 

I can’t wait ’til next years Mushroom Festival. The big 35! I’m just thankful that there are local events that we, as a family, can enjoy together. Autumn festivals are the best!