Friday Ice Skating 14 September 2018

A word before I proceed with ice skating…

…Yesterday after my full-time job, I decided to go to the Plymouth Meeting Mall because they still had an FYE store. I wanted to get more Mac Miller CDs; unfortunately, FYE was sold out of every Mac Miller CD except the new CD. I bought it, along with Alice Cooper (the cashiers loved my diverse tastes in music… I listen to everything).

I ordered Lyft to go to Michael’s Craft Store, where dad would pick me up. Plymouth Meeting is 20 minutes away from King of Prussia, and I had one of the best Lyft drivers! He was British, a handsome British lad, and we chatted the whole time. I’m glad he agreed to a selfie! (yep, it went into the Happiness Box…)



Last night I went ice skating, and it felt great to get back. I stayed near the wall, I will admit I am careful since the injury. I had a lot of fun and met some kind people. A young man and his neighbour were skating, the neighbour was teaching the young man, and we chatted for a bit because I thought that was so kind of the neighbour to do that. We were talking and I asked for a selfie for the Happiness Box; they were both really interested and loved the idea.


I’m thinking I’m slowly going to work to expand the project and make it into a small non-profit. I’ll have to plan… it seems like everyone likes the idea.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Art After 5 | Kwesik | 7 September 2018

On Friday night, I finally ventured to the art museum after a 2-month hiatus. In July, I was at the beach for Final Friday, then last week for Final Friday Made in America had everything blocked off. While Final Friday for September isn’t until 28 September, I thought I would pay a visit this past Friday.

I am so glad I did because Kwesik was performing. A soul, R&B singer based in L.A., Kwesik’s songs focus on freedom, justice, and finding one’s self in this world. I really wish I could post one of the videos I posted, but instead, I will post a few photos. I loved his sound and had the opportunity to meet him. I bought his EP and he was such a kind young man. I wish him all the best.


Before I left, I decided to visit the portrait gallery. Truman Capote was a good looking man! I’m a bit surprised.


All in all, it was a nice evening out… despite the rain.

Saturday Afternoon With Marsha

Today I met up with Marsha at the King of Prussia Mall. We had a nice lunch at Bonefish Grill. As we sat down to eat, she handed me a silver bag. I was surprised and as I was beginning to open the bag, Marsha handed me tea for the Keurig. I had a beautiful teacup and saucer – it was a pleasant surprise! Marsha and I had a delicious seafood meal and caught up, sharing laughs.
After lunch, we went to the Rock Shop and browsed for an hour. I picked up Mac Miller, in honour of his death, and I picked up Marilyn Manson as well. Marsha bought the Beatles.
We walked around the mall for a bit, chatted about music and shopping, then ran into Ronald. I introduced the two, we sat together and chatted with Ronald.
I am thankful for Marsha’s friendship. It was such a nice afternoon.
My Happiness Box. I have 3.5 months left and I feel confident I won’t have to resort to using the box top for notes/photos like last year. I am keeping it small for the next 3.5 months.

Verklempt Friday 7 September 2018

I love Gregg Whiteside of WRTI and I love WRTI as well. Every morning he hosts Breakfast With Bach and listeners can share their breakfasts, which Gregg will read on air. I know I talk a lot about gluten-free, but I do it to raise awareness. Apparently, I did because last Friday after Gregg read my breakfast on air (GF pumpkin spice waffles), someone e-mailed him to inquire about where I purchased the waffles. Gregg asked me, I told him I bought them at Wegmans; Wegmans and Trader Joes have the best selection of GF, and he thanked me.

These GF pumpkin spice waffles are my Friday fun day breakfasts. I try to do something special on Friday mornings. Last week I didn’t take a photo, so I e-mailed Gregg a photo today. He read it on air and added, “Jessica sounds like she has delicious Friday fun day breakfasts and all of the listeners have a fitting breakfast for Bach. We are a community and help each other out when it comes to breakfast items. Someone last week inquired about the gluten-free waffles, bought them, and absolutely loved them. Bach brings people together and we have a lovely community.”

This made me so happy to hear. Sometimes I feel like a pain with my diet, but I guess many others have similar restrictions. I’m thankful for Gregg, WRTI, and the kind people of our classical community.

Thankful Thursday 6 September 2018

WOW! September already! Hopefully, the temperatures will cool down soon and that the leaves will change colour for autumn…

…With that said, I am thankful for the thunderstorm that is blowing through now because it’ll cool things down. Tomorrow should only be 79. I can’t wait.

I have a lot to be thankful for today. While I was shelving books at the library, Sangeetha saw me and said, “guess who won the final summer raffle!?” I said her daughter’s name and she said, “It was you! You won the final staff raffle for the summer! A gift card to!” She gave me a big hug, then took my photo. It was such a pleasant surprise – my second raffle wins this year. I’m so thankful for the library and that they offer these raffles to our staff. We have them for the public, this year the director decided to do something for us too. Grateful!


I’m also thankful for Kathleen at my full-time job. She is a good ear and shoulder; one of the few people I trust. Although my manager and I have a fiery relationship, I am thankful for her reaching out to the former technical writer today to see if there are still any needs for them. We talked for an hour about my goals and I am grateful she listened.
What are you thankful for?

A Saturday of Celebration and Friendship

Saturday was the engagement party. My co-worker at my full-time job gave me a head’s up to the food that she was serving; between fried chicken, pulled pork, and sandwiches, I knew I couldn’t eat any of it. On Friday, I reached out to a friend that used to work at my full-time job and asked if she wanted to meet up for dinner at Hip City Veg.

She agreed and also brought another friend that worked at the full-time job. It was so nice seeing Candice and Dani – I haven’t seen them since they left last October and it was so nice catching up. Hip City Veg was also delicious! We laughed a lot during the hour we met.

Candice dropped me off at the trolley to get to Cecelia’s engagement party. I arrived 15 minutes early but had the chance to meet Cecelia’s mother, a sweet Puerto Rican woman. The party started a half-an-hour later than expected, but we all had a great time celebrating Cecelia and her fiance, Nigel. It was a night of singing, dancing, and fun – Cecelia and Nigel were having the times of their lives, which is a great start to their journey toward married life.


I’m going to make Cecelia an album for her birthday. I was going to buy a scrapbook, but I am overwhelmed with Happiness Box stuff; I’m going to use Shutterfly and make her a book about the party.

Thankful Thursday 30 August 2018

Wow! The last Thursday in August – this year is really flying by! I’m looking forward to autumn, however. This blog entry is going to be a bit different today and you will see why in a bit.

Last Friday, the director of my part-time library job e-mailed us all that the son of one of our co-workers had died. I was at my full-time job and saw the e-mail at lunch; shock was an understatement because he was only 34 years old. I sent my co-worker a fruit basket and a sympathy card.

I’m not Catholic; I was raised Catholic but began my faith journey finding the right faith when I was 12. I settled on Islam and for a few years, I was uncomfortable about participating in family events in fear of people on Facebook accusing me of not being serious in my faith. Well, I deleted Facebook and I thought to myself, “who cares? When I was a child, I participated in events with friends of a different religion and it didn’t matter.” I went to the funeral today; I paid my respects, I prayed in my own way, and no one really cared that I didn’t participate in the sacraments, as they shouldn’t because the funeral was for everyone that was grieving.

At the end of the day, it does not matter because we each have our own paths to God and it does not matter. I believe in being there for my loved one; yes, I consider friends and co-workers “loved ones” because they are like my family too. I was there for my co-worker and I wanted to offer my empathy. I didn’t know her son, although I let him borrow my textbooks, but I wanted to be there for my co-worker. I gave her, and her husband a big hug. I gave my co-worker an even bigger hug and said, “please do not hesitate in reaching out to me. If you need anything, please call me.” Her elderly mother was there; most didn’t give her a hug (she was in a wheelchair), I offered my condolences, she grabbed my hands, but I gave her a hug instead. I think hugs are more powerful than words.

After the service, I went back to my full-time job. I took two hours off from that job and I am grateful my manager let me. When I got to the library later in the day, my other co-worker was chatting with the one that lost her son; she told me that co-worker was surprised that I showed up, but she was extremely grateful that I was there. My presence helped and I was glad I could be there for her.

I believe, as I was raised, that while our exteriors are different, our interiors are all the same. We all bleed, have the same bodily functions, and we all feel; we should treat others with kindness. As I’m seeing this year, as this was my goal for the year, as I’m spending time with different groups of people, I am learning a lot and growing in the process. I don’t really care what others have to say about it because I feel that exposing ourselves to different people, makes us empathize with others and we see that while we are different, we are similar too. By being more open, you can overcome many prejudices and fears. I refuse to close myself off because I changed faiths; I never closed myself off as a child and I refuse to close myself off as an adult.

I’m thankful for the people I work with. When I got back to my full-time job, we threw a party for the one girl that is switching departments. From sadness to happiness, but that is life and I am glad I could be there for people at both of my jobs.

What are you thankful for?

Walking the Schuylkill River Trail

I started my full-time job at the end of November in 2015 and in the fall of 2016 I realized that my company was located on the Schuylkill River Trail – I could walk to Philadelphia if I wanted to. I thought about doing that either in the spring or autumn, but between getting invited to apply for residency in Canada, saving money, and then getting refuse from Canada, I forgot about it. I walk the trail at lunch, but with the hot and humid summer, I only stayed out for 15 minutes.

Yesterday, I decided that I would walk to at least Manayunk and then catch the train from there to Philadelphia. I was done work early, I didn’t feel like waiting for the train from my job, the weather was beautiful and I thought it would be the perfect time to explore.

I set out on the trail in Miquon at 3 PM. When I was exiting the building, I saw two people I knew from IT. They exclaimed, “there’s the shutter bug!” We chatted for a bit about photography before they had to go back to work and before I started on my journey. It was a five minute conversation, but it was lovely chatting.

I made my way up the trail, I saw the cafe owner run past me, he stopped and I told him about my plan. He smiled, said it’s about 4 miles (which the markers indicated), and ran off. I had my skating gear, which one of my co-workers thought would be too much for me to handle, but I alternated the bag. I also took photos of my walk.

Here are photos from familiar parts of the trail, near work. It’s nice to see that they are fixing up the Schuylkill Nature Center.


After I made it past where my usual stopping point is before I have to go to work, I kept going. I always wondered what it was like past this point and let me tell you, it was gorgeous! The Schuylkill River is beautiful and the scenery surrounding it is just as breathtaking. At Ivy Ridge, I saw the train tracks and heard the train approaching. When I saw the train zip by, I knew I wasn’t going to make a train. That was at about 3:35.


I continued on, and as I continued on I saw a young man fishing. It was cool to see; I have never seen anyone fish before and took some photos. He saw me, we chatted for a bit, and walked together for about 10 minutes. Before he found a decent spot on the river bank, I asked him for a selfie. I introduced myself, and Ben introduced himself. Ben has been fishing for 10 years and he travels a lot too.

I continued on and arrived in Manayunk at 4:30. It took an hour and a half, but I think between my heaving skating gear I was carrying and stopping for photographs, it added on the time. I’m not skating next Friday, I am going to do this again. It was a nice walk, it felt great getting out and moving, I want to do this until winter.


I ordered Lyft into Philadelphia and went roller skating.


Let me tell you about that adventure too. I saw a mother standing on the side taking a photo of her daughter and friends. I had my Polaroid mini for Happiness Box purposes and asked the mother if I could get a photo of the girls for her to have. She loved the idea, but by that time the girls skated off. I skated to them and they loved the idea too. I took one of them skating and as I was holding the photo between my palms to develop it, her friends thought it was the coolest thing ever. They had never seen a Polaroid before and they wanted to try. I took a photo of the two Muslim girls, then handed them the Polaroid. They took turns developing the photo and were ecstatic about the end result. Such a simple picture made them happy.

I saw the other little girl skate over to her mother, handed her the photo, and I saw her mother crying tears of joy. I skated back over and the Muslim girls asked for another photo. The mother said, “it was nice that she took one photo for you. Don’t pester her.” I responded, “I only have two left and I need them for a project.” They understood, thanked me, and skated off. The mother said to me, “thank you for doing this. I am visiting for a few months, I haven’t seen my daughter in a few years, she didn’t want me to go back home. I missed seeing her grow and have been taking tons of pictures. I am glad to have this. Where did you get the camera from?” I told her and she had to get going. I am glad I could bring happiness to others, I like sharing happiness.


Yesterday was such an adventure and I am thankful that I could experience it. It’s hard to believe the rink will close next week and in three months it’ll be an ice skating rink. I also look forward to walking the trail again.

Thankful Thursday 23 August 2018

My heart is overflowing with gratitude again! I really should call it “Verklempt Thursday”, just as I should rename my “Happiness Box” the “Verklempt Box.”

Today at my full-time job, I joined the photography group. A few months ago, in May, I saw one of the guys in IT talking about photographic techniques, I stood and listened, then I inquired about his group. He smiled and said he would remember me for next time and sure enough, he did! On Monday, he e-mailed the group and included me in the e-mail, detailing the photography group meetup for today at lunch.

I was the only one who could make it and let me tell you, I learned a lot about my camera! I have had my DSLR for five years and it had features I didn’t even know it had! Bob was a wonderful teacher, I thanked him for including me and keep me posted about next time. He sent me an e-mail about different internal flashes I could get for my camera. I am grateful.

Today was also gorgeous, the temperature was 76 without humidity and I took a few walks today. It felt nice that I could enjoy the weather.

The children’s librarian also gave me a t-shirt tonight. She had extras and thought of me. I’m grateful for all of my library coworkers too.

What are you thankful for?