Happy Birthday, Tiarra!

Today is Tiarra’s birthday and while we couldn’t be together in person, I extended my wishes over Instagram. We’ve been friends for almost 13 years and today I am celebrating our friendship.

 

The 2nd photo of her opening her gift is from last year. It’s hard to believe that a year ago, on Monday 13 May 2019, we were discussing my decision to get my first tattoo. She reassured me and it was fun just chatting. A year later, I have two tattoos! Wraith and my affirmation.

We both love the Golden Girls. Stay golden, Tiarra, and happy 31st! Here’s to many more!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mom had a laid back Mother’s Day, and she happily reported that it was nice not going to brunch, and spending time at home with family instead. I treated my parents to Panera for lunch, then dad treated us to Nonna Rosa’s for dinner.

A Mother’s Day fit for a queen!

 

This is one of mom’s favourite songs. She has always loved Sweet Child O’ Mine. Happy Mother’s Day, dear readers!

Happy 80th birthday, Pop-Pop

Today my Pop-Pop would have turned 80. He died 13 years ago at the age of 67 from lung cancer. Pop-Pop was a Korean and Vietnam War Air Force veteran. He used to tell me about his adventures in the Middle East, Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. I’m grateful he told me the stories and I’m thinking about writing them down.

He saw a lot of interesting things in Morocco, he once told me that a guy was beating his dog and he intervened to save the dog. He learned how to cook in Morocco, and often when he made foods for us, they had a Middle Eastern flair. He once gave mom saffron and whenever mom made the saffron dishes, I was in heaven.

Pop-Pop, Air Force, Korea 1960

Gotham’s Writing Workshop’s Write-In | 8 May 2020

I’ve always wanted to attend the free write-in at Gotham’s Writer Workshop in NYC, but never had the chance to do so. They’re offering weekly Zoom conferences for the write-ins and I decided to participate. Here is something I wrote in 20 minutes to the prompt: back-up plan.

July 22nd. The day of her third tattoo. Julie had this date marked on her calendar for three months. She loved the experiences of her first two, the way the machine whirred and buzzed, getting the tattoos were cathartic.

Squidoos is located on 15th and Pine on the corner of a busy street in Philadelphia. Julie made this appointment on the first warm day in April at 6:30 pm when the sun was still high in the sky. She walked into the shop and her artist, Doug, was working.

“I’d like to get this cartoon of Twiztid and their signatures on my lower arm. These are the colours I want.”

Doug took the image and marked her down in the appointment book.

Julie stretched her arms, rubbed her eyes, and excitedly jumped out of bed. Today was the day that she would have Twiztid tatted on her lower arm.

She picked up her phone and a message from Doug was waiting for her to read.

Hi Julie. We’ll have to reschedule – sick, fever of 104 and I think it may be that new virus that the news has been reporting. Let’s reschedule.

Julie’s heart sank. She was hoping that this new super virus wouldn’t affect her tattoo appointment. Sadly, Julie would have to wait. She hoped Doug was okay and that it wasn’t the new virus, just a cold.

The hardest part is waiting, but she likes Doug, she won’t go to a new shop, and she also doesn’t want to catch the bug. Julie will continue to save, buy a gift card from Squidoos, and wait until it’s safe to get a tattoo.

The participants liked the start of this story, they thought it was sad, but powerful. One said, “oh no! I’m worried about Julie! Tattoos are so important!” Agreed. Another pictured another story. I’m debating whether or not I want to continue it. What do you think? It was a neat class and I can’t wait to do it again next week!

Thankful Thursday 7 May 2020

Happy first Thursday in May! Today tattoo #2 turned 6 months. 19 more days until Wraith celebrates his first Inksday. I can’t believe how fast time is flying by!

I’m thankful that Olde City Tattoo is following me on Instagram because if I have any questions, I can contact them. I also like looking on their page for inspiration for #3. Even though piercing and tattoo shops are closed during the quarantine, social media makes it easier to keep in touch with artists and piercers.

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I’m friends with my one piercer, Zach. I was having more dermal issues and I learned that I can’t really trust all of the advice on Reddit. Some Reddit people told me it was rejecting; I sent the photo to Zach and he gave me advice of what to do. Floss the gunk out and keep the bandage off while I sleep. I was nervous about keeping the bandage off while I slept, but for two nights, it has been going smoothly. I clean the gunk out every night with flossing, then a saline soak. My dermal is looking much better. I’m thankful for Zach’s help and that he’s willing to help while he’s out of work. Once we get back, like a tattoo, I’ll get another piercing to help put the shop.

I’m also thankful for Marsha and Claire, thankful for their friendship and for their counsel. I’m also thankful for the love of my family; I cooked dinner for them tonight, kosher cod tacos again, and it was nice eating dinner as a family.

 

I’ve been working on Happiness Box 2019’s scrapbook. I finished September 2019 tonight and I can’t wait to share the music layouts for the 2nd half of 2019 when I’m done. I’ll admit that I’ve been ignoring blogs because I’ve been so focused on this scrapbook and just relaxing in general. What are you thankful for today?

Happy 97th Birthday, Nan!

Today Nan would have been 97. It’s crazy that her last birthday was eight years ago, on Friday, 4 May 2012, when she turned 89.

Nan taught me kindness and that all humans are more similar than we are different. She taught me that at the end of the day, we all bleed, we all breathe, we need food, water, and shelter and we all feel joy and pain. I was always a sensitive child and tended to empathize with others, she told me to embrace it. Nan taught me the importance of sharing as well.

She housed Daniel, a foreign exchange student, and when she was a crossing guard for Caley, all the kids and parents loved her. I have to find the photo that one of the moms took of Nan with her daughter. Nan watched after them, like she watched after me. Before she retired, a month before she died, the parents and kids gave her a Pandora charm bracelet with a boy, a girl, and a school bus. After she died, all the kids came to her funeral.

In June 2010, I had a little party for Chris’s graduation from college, Claire’s 21st birthday and for the upcoming summer. I invited Mohamed, his wife Samira and their two kids. Nan participated in our games, but she also took the kids downstairs and played with them for a bit. Samira told me afterward that this was the first time in her life that she ever felt welcomed somewhere and that her kids felt welcomed too. They are Muslim and were used to hatred. They didn’t find that in Nan and her children absolutely adored Nan, Nan adored her two children too.

My great uncle, her youngest brother, personally knew Trump. Uncle Joe was a business man and had his own sock business. When he was in New York, he did some business with him. Uncle Joe always said he was a gruff crook (sadly, Uncle Joe passed away on Trump’s inauguration day). I don’t think Nan liked Trump either, and I know she would be appalled with his presidency.

I try to spread the kindness Nan taught me because the world needs the kindness she taught me while growing up. I feel like the Silent Generation can teach us a lot, especially with how we treat one another.

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Happy birthday, Nan! Thank you for all that you did during your time on this Earth. You will never be forgotten; love and miss you.

You Walk, Girl | Prevention Magazine’s Virtual 5k Walk | 2 May 2020

Yesterday I took Prevention’s virtual 5k walk. They hold it every year, twice per year, but this was my first time participating. I picked up the magazine about walking the anxiety away and that’s how I heard about the virtual 5k.

I decided that I would walk to Costco, then back home, as that would be exactly 5k.

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I set out at around 8:15 AM, walked by Nan’s old house, Aunt Kathy’s house, then down to Keebler Rd, Allendale Rd, crossed the bridge over 76, and was at Costco in 41 minutes, 1.8 miles. This was my soundtrack as I walked:

I have to thank my friend Shady for telling me about Millie Small.

 

 

 

 

Can you tell that I was listening to the Sing Along Anthems on Amazon Music?

When I arrived at Costco at 8:56 AM, I had someone in the parking lot take my photo. My proud moment! I took a little breather, then walked back home. I arrived home at 9:37 AM with 3.67 miles, a little over 9,000 steps. I made 3.67 miles in 82 minutes!

On the way home, I decided to change the playlist. I listened to Machine Gun Kelly, Jac with No K before switching to YungBlud.

 

It felt nice to walk that distance again, that’s about what I walk when I can walk the Schuylkil Trail. I posted the photos on Instagram, tagged Prevention Magazine and they left some sweet comments, and shared some of my photos.

I decided to keep moving yesterday and ended my Saturday with 21,000 steps, 8 miles. It was 72 degrees yesterday and it was a beautiful day for activity.

Walking for me is my natural anti-depressant. Whenever I am feeling down, I like to throw on my sneakers, put in my headphones, and hit the pavement. Walking helps me feel better and it boosts my positive thinking. I always walked as a child, but when I was diagnosed with depression and hypothyroidism, walking helped me cope. It helped me cope with the Celiac and liver diagnoses too. Walking and all exercise, along with the strict GF diet, my liver almost returned to normal and my cholesterol is going down. Walking and all activity is a natural medication for our bodies.