April 15, 2014

On the Anniversary of Awful

I am thankful everyday that my mom and Joe are alive and in my life. I am blessed to have not 2 but 4 parents that I love and care about me. One year ago today I came very much too close to losing my Dolly and Joe. 

Today least year about 5pm, I signed a lease to live with Jen and Brianna, and at that moment, I got a phone call from my mom letting me know they were alive and (mostly) unscathed.

To this day, it still freaks me out to see pictures and video of the bombing, and it completely rattles my brain to think that someone would do this. I know it wasn't personal, but I can not help but to think that someone woke up that morning and thought to himself, today I will do everything in my power to murder Jane's parents. Every time the news shows that video, all I can see is Joe. Every time they show the faces of the men that did this, all I can think of is how close the people I love were to that violence.
Post Marathon Pride
This picture is my mom and Joe and of course Trixie. I took this picture (at the behest of the local paper) the day after the marathon when they arrived home. There is no better representation I have or can think of to show how glad I was to see them, how glad I was that they were safe, and how proud I am of their accomplishments and determination. 

I love you. 

Dolly Dennery, Marathon Runner
And in the words of my mother: "It makes me want to say, I'm going back, I'm not gonna stop running marathons. I won't let acts of terrorism stop me from doing the things that make me feel alive" 

Hey Boston, I'll see you next week.

March 14, 2014

A Lamp Unto my Feet

I started working! for a t-shirt company! It's awesome and fun!

Okay, now that I've got that off my chest, I can tell you, faithful reader, about it. First off, allow me to clarify, this is my second part time job which brings me up to about 2/3 of a full time job. I host Quizo in Philly. Two Quizos, actually. One is at the New Deck Tavern in U City and the other is the absolute farthest away from New Deck as possible. The Victoria Freehouse on Front St. Luckily, they are on different days or I would probably just die.

Here's the thing you have to know. I love Quizo. I mean it. I really love Quizo. I love trivia. I love bars and spending time with people. Quizo combines all of those things but with the added benefit of always being right and getting paid for it. I look forward to my quizzing days like a child looks forward to Christmas. or Halloween because let's face it, Halloween is the shit. Hosting Quizo gives me the ability to pay most of my bills and live my daily life without collapsing into a jiggly weeping ball of gelatin at the vaguest mention of bills I owe or money or gas prices. And it's Quizo and my boss is awesome. I love it.

My boss must think I'm awesome too, because he now pays me to go to his warehouse and do worky things for his t-shirt biz too! Double the fun! This will either be the best job working for the coolest guy, or we will spend too much time together, freak out, and never speak again. However I think the later is highly unlikely. Mainly because bills. And I don't know what I would do without Quizo in my life.

I'll be brutally honest with you, everyone on the internet, I have been slipping into a depression the past few months and it sucks. Being unemployed makes me feel like an utterly useless human being. I'm fun! I have skills! I like people! Hire me dammit!

Unemployment is like a dark black oubliette that's cold and lonely and why get out of bed at the crack of mid-afternoon? No one loves me, I have no friends (even the sun left me!), I'm a burden to those around me, everyone in the western hemisphere thinks i'm useless and unskilled and I don't know, maybe they think I kick puppies. (Side note: I don't kick puppies.) 
My Oubliette

I'm sure that everyone hits a funk now and then, but this wasn't a funk. If you sit in that oubliette long enough, with all of the darkness in you written out on the walls in lights, it's all you can see. You start to believe it. Even now I don't believe it when someone tells me that I'm cool, or nice, or a good friend or, last week Ronan (my boss. bosses. new bff. whatever) told me that I am a likable person and that everybody likes me. Everybody likes me? No, Ronan's just messing with me. There's no way that people can think I'm a useful human being. They just don't know me well enough. It's insanity. No one can live like this. Not for an extended period of time. It will break your soul.

Having a job is like having Hoggle (Labyrinth reference) open the door at the bottom of that little room, call the sun over and allow the light to shine on your face. Why yes, I do have to wake up and get dressed today, I have to go to work. No, I can't stay out late tonight guys, I have work in the morning. I have a reason to wake up. I have a reason to leave the house. I feel appreciated and useful and skilled.
Having a job is like that.

So if you know someone who is going through a long-term unemployment, invite them out. Ask them over to watch movies or just hang out. There is nothing worse than felling like your friendship is a burden to someone and that's what not having a job feels like.
Hopefully and prayerfully, I will kick ass at this job and they will think I'm as awesome or awesomer that what they expected in hiring me and Everything else in my life will fall into place. Okay, that may be expecting a bit much from a part-time job, but I feel a change inside of me for the better.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. I'm no longer in an oubliette, but in a tunnel, and I can see the light now. and the way out.

January 21, 2014

It's a new year!

Wow. I can't believe January is almost over! 
It's been an eventful month, for me personally, and the City of Philadelphia as well. I started the year by going to the Mummer's Parade, both morning and evening, I started (temporarily) watching my cousin Ashley's boys full time, I have a new Quizo Trivia gig, I started going to (and plan on continuing to attend) a new church, and it's really starting to hit me that I need to start my new home search. 
There is so much that I want to get done before January is over, but it's moving so quickly! I started/continued to read 3 books this month, and if I want to stay on my goal of reading 24 books this year (only 2 books a month!), I'm going to need to finish any of them soon. 
My January/February Booklist
Also I promised myself that I would get more sleep, and have more regular sleep patterns this year. Yeah, that's not going well. Sleep is for the weak.

Ashley's kids are awesome. Jameson is 28 months and Shane is 16 months old. So they are exactly one year apart *not stressful at all*. Really, they are cool, but they drive me nutso. It's been so darn cold out in Philly this whole month that we haven't been able to go out and do anything. It sucks for them and then they drive me nuts. Add not getting any sleep on top of that and my days kind of suck. I will post tales of our adventures, once we have any. Other than indoor fun.
Firefighter Jameson
Doctor Shane
Quizo! I love quizo, I just wish that it didn't interfere with my sleep as much! Monday nights I host at the New Deck Tavern, Tuesday nights I play, Wednesday nights I host at the Victoria Freehouse, some sundays I play too. That means that three-four work nights I am staying out late and getting home later and still have to be up by 7am. I was so thankful for my snow day today. I slept until 2pm. Which, coincidentally, doesn't actually help regulate my sleep pattern. Womp womp womp.

Hmm, what else? Well, there is church. I started going to a new church, and it's not nearly as ethnically diverse as my old church but it's a bit more liberal and open. For instance, they accept openly gay members, which would have been hard at the church of old because practically everyone who attends there is a young married couple. Also, oddly, new church doesn't have a sermon per se on a regular Sunday. They have a reflection time. It takes a bit of getting used to but it's kind of nice to not be preached at. If there is anything I miss from OCMC it's having a sermon. On the other hand, no one is asking me to babysit, so that's a huge plus.

On the book front, and you should expect several more of these updates throughout the year, I started The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, and I am almost finished The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, but I'm only 5 pages into Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman. Oh! and I still have about half of The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer. 
Currently Reading
Oh My God what is going on with this weather? Seriously, it's crazy. The polar vortex, or as I have taken to calling it, Polar Vortex Part 2: The Climate Strikes Back  has turned my little city into Hothadelphia. (That was a Star Wars reference, Amanda) I just went out and checked, there is 11" of fluffy white snow out there, and it looked like it was deeper out front. We went out to "play" in the snow this afternoon, which involved Brianna jumping around, laying, snow angeling, and trudging in the snow while Jen and I cleaned off our cars and shoveled the walk. News Flash: It's really COLD!!!
Snow Angels!
So I suppose that's it for what I'm up to, next post will be about something that is weighing on my heart, the utter rampage of violence in my city this month. It's really utterly insane. But more upsetting things are for a later date. So long, and have a safe stormy day! 

January 19, 2014

A Busy Day

Today I ...
* had quail eggs on a bagel for breakfast
* was moved by a church service
* shopped til I DROPPED with mom (My Dolly) Aunt Sharon, Grandmom, and Aunt Reney
* spent some quality time with my bestie Anne after hitching a ride with my little sister Caroline.
* had a wonderful dinner with my mom, Joe, Grandmom, Pop-pop and Aunt Reney
* watched the Broncos kick some major Tom Brady ass with my Pop-pop
* explained Twitter to my 75 year old pop-pop (I think he's totally on board)
* hung out briefly with Joel, who helped inflate my tires (thanks again!!!)
* made plans to buy my Maid of Honor dress tomorrow with Anna Jane Dennery
* am currently in my footie pajamas, moments away from curling up on the couch to watch some Bones and maybe Sherlock.

I'd call today a success.

December 16, 2013

JFK 50 Miler finishes, finally!

Coming SOON!!! 
The final follow-up post to the JFK 50 extravaganza! 
Seriously, I'm writing it tomorrow. I'm planning on writing it tomorrow. It's been a rough year. What can I say?

July 14, 2013

Lake Owego Camp, First Weekend!!!

I just finished my first two days at Lake Owego Camp!
I came up late Friday night and I must admit, it was a bittersweet departure. I really miss Brianna-bana but I was really looking forward to camp. I tried to spend a lot of time with her the few days before I left. Like, we totally had a painting day.
The artist, hard at work
 She was doing so well, until she started painting her hand. Mostly yellow.
That's a yellow hand!
What a brat!
 But we had so much fun, and I got a beautiful painting out of it!
Just look at that face. Full of glee!

The little girl I will be Nannying for the rest of the summer gets to Camp tonight so I will meet her tomorrow morning. Her name is Olive and I think she's 2. I only spoke to Johnny and Rachel (Emma's parents) when I got hired so I had/have no idea what working for Jake will be like. He's Olive's dad. SO when I met him I had him show me pictures of her and she is SUPER freaking adorable. Also, the name Olive is flippin adorable.

So what have I been doing these past two days?
I have been watching a little boy, Noah AKA Baby Bundy. He's all of 2 and has two older brothers that both go to Owego so he was basically the most popular kid at camp. Everywhere we went was "Baby Bundy!" this and "Baby Bundy!" that. "BABY BUNDY!" was a phrase I did not stop hearing.
The infamous Baby Bundy
I can't wait for tomorrow when I get to meet Olive!!
Emma is already excited. I asked her if Olive was her friend and she very matter-of-factly told me that "She is my best friend and when Olive gets here we will be best friends and play together every day." Duh, Nanny.
Post-work days: Last night I went out for Ice Cream with some of the Pine counselors. It was so much fun just seeing everyone and hanging out.
Also excited for tonight! I'm going to be hanging out with some old friends that I never see. Someone spoke of going to Lake Wallenpaupack and I'm totally up for it!

The Antiquities Act

I went hiking with my friend Kubs (whom I met through Beth and Bryan Clark.) It was a perfect day. It was a little hot, but we were mostly in the woods and it was so beautiful out there!!
Welcome to Valley Forge National Historical Park!

This was randomly set up in the middle of the woods. Not weird at all.

This was also weird.
 We actually walked out of the park, we kept following the Horseshoe trail to where it meets the Appalachian Trail.
Heading Back
 We got to the peak of Mt Misery first. There wasn't really a view. It was a bit of a let down.
Park boundary 
Corner of the National Park
 Then we hiked up Mt Joy, and that was beautiful!
Gorgeous View
 There were some small cabin-like houses that were (I think) replicas of what thew soldiers built and stayed in during the Civil War. I stood in one to get a shot of the other.
This is what the soldiers built and stayed in during the civil war. 
Just a beautiful day. 
The path to Mt. Joy. 

 On our way back to the car, I found a microsoft desktop of a view!
Final view

July 1, 2013

Partners in Crime

Most of the time, I totally want to be Donna Noble.
Donna Noble!
She's absolutely fantastic, she had a mind of her own, and wasn't afraid to speak it. She was fun, she was sassy, I mean, my Lord, the sass on that one.
Perfect example of Sass.
She has THE COOLEST Granddad ever, she saved the Doctor's life, enabled him to be with Rose, turned Left and Saved the World, met Agatha Christie, traveled with 10, she was the most important woman in all of creation, AND the TARDIS loved her.
Even River Song was amazed to meet her. Just to be in her presence. He needed a friend, and she was there to pick up the pieces. They were friends, real, true friends. They had fun together! Even the actors were friends.
Catherine Tate and David Tennant being adorable. And Awesome.
She didn't always understand what he said, or what was going on, but she knew that she trusted him. She would follow his lead, she would be his companion. She guided him, she lead him towards the right and from the wrong. She kept him honest.

But Donna was left behind. She moved on. She forgot.

Then sometimes I want to be Amy Pond. The Girl Who Waited.

He was her best friend, but more than a friend, she was one of the few that the Doctor actually depended on. She wasn't his companion, she was his partner.
I don't know how he survived without her. She solved unsolvable problems, she brought the universe back from extinction, she's absolutely adorable, she saw dinosaurs on a spaceship, alternate worlds and dreamscapes, and survived the unimaginable, she loved having fun.
How adorable is Karen Gillan?! Seriously.
She gave him River. She gave him love, she fought back. She wouldn't take no as an answer. She comforted him. She gave the Doctor consolation, even in her own death. Also, she got to be a pirate.
Karen Gillan as a Pirate.
And she has Rory, she has the greatest love anyone could ever want, she pulled time apart for him, gave her life for her him. More than once. (like seriously, a lot.) She had a love that protected her, guarded her, for a thousand years.
She leaves the doctor. She goes to her Rory. She abandons her Doctor to die in another time for her Love. Oh, but what a love.
With all of Amy's awesomeness... this scene makes me cry more than any other.
Donna's wedding. Watching this episode ... Crying right now.

[Blog title comes from a Doctor Who episode of the same name. First episode of the 4th series, it's a David Tennant and Donna noble episode. Glory.]

June 30, 2013

Somebody's Going to Emergency....

Hey faithful reader, I know it's been forever since I last posted, but I've been planning this one for a little while now. (Unfortunately.) Our story begins on June 11th, a mere 19 days ago, I was 6 geocaches away from my 100th find and I had a route planned to go for a short walk down the 202 bypass and grab them. (Grab= sign the physical logbook and log the find online.)

I didn't want to go by myself so needed a partner in crime. Obviously my first thought was Caroline, my awesome 16 year old neighbor. (Pro tip: you look a lot shadier by yourself, just loitering about, hence the dog and other people)
Caroline, seen here. With two random kids and a little black dog.
The above picture was taken for the sole purpose of making my mom jealous. She's living it up in Alaska for 10 days, so I had the twins and the doggie all to myself.
Anyways, Caroline quickly agreed. We decided to make a date of it, a doggie play date.
Which is Trixie?!
Caroline signed up for Geocaching.com and off we went! We grabbed the first 3, no problem, super easy magnetic C&Ds. (Cache & Dash) Cache 4 was a little more challenging, it was not along the 202 bypass, it was down by a creek behind a housing development. There was a small wooded area and my coords were bouncy so we went straight for the creek, there were some woods right by it. Trixie, being Trixie, wanted nothing but to leap into the creek from the bridge. I let her go in.
It's not that deep, she lays down as soon as she hits water.
We finally got on track and got the cache, it ended up being about 30 feet ahead of the creek, but it was hot and Trixie earned a dip. 5 was another easy grab, and my 100th find was hanging on a fence, about 600 feet down the road. We were going for it. It was on a fence along a treeline and we had to go through some high grasses. But we got it. Caroline's 6th find and My One Hundredth Find.
See it? I sure did!
It was totally worth what's about to come. In fact,  I even got a picture of the exact moment that I would come to despise. Maybe. (Maybe it's the exact moment, not maybe I would despise it.) See, here's us, squatting nicely and smiling for a picture after our big find.
[not pictured] Me getting Lyme Disease.
I have Lyme Disease.

Ok, it may not be Lymes. This is still unresolved.
Seriously, 19 days and we have no idea what is going on. All I know is that I woke up the next day to this: WARNING: This is totally gross. 
This is the LEAST gross picture of the bite/lesion.
Ok, it's a bug bite, no big deal. it itches like a bitch but it'll go away, that's what bug bites do: they itch and then go away. Right?


Apparently not. The next day I was hosting a Quizo and I showed a picture of my leg (and ever growing rash) to Ronan, who was convinced I was going to lose my leg or die. Anyways, it was clearly worse than before. So I promised that the next day I would call my Doctor. It was worse the next day, the day I promised to call the doctor. Spoiler: I didn't.

Here's a fun fact about me: I hate going to the doctor, I mean I really hate going to the doctor. I like doctors, I believe they are good people, but I don't ever want to go to see them professionally. You want to hang out? Play some card/board games, watch a movie, study some bible? Awesome. If I'm sick, I would almost rather die than see you. Almost.
Here's a fun (true) example. Last year I had a little cold, maybe some strep. Then it was a little sinus infection, then a horrific sinus infection. Then it moved to my lungs. It was an awful, but survivable, bronchitis. Then it was pneumonia. (This took place over a three month period, during which I was working 50+ hours a week with a 2 hour daily commute) I waited 2 weeks with the pneumonia and then my best friend made me go to the CVS Minute Clinic. I really didn't want to go.
Also, I've done that, with the pneumonia, twice.

My mom convinced me to at least call Doctor Silver and see if he wanted me to come in. So I called and he was out at a conference, not to return to the office until Monday. So I told the nurse what was up and she said that she'll let him know when he checks in and then call me back, should be within the hour. 5 minutes later she calls me back and says I need to be seen. Not Monday. Now. Go to the ER, the CVS Minute Clinic, Urgent Care, get seen now.
After waiting an HOUR to be seen at the "minute" clinic*, she takes one look at my leg and says, nope. We can't help you, you need to go to Urgent Care or the ER. Perfect, just what I was trying to avoid.

*Seriously, I still love the Minute Clinic. I'd go there any day.

I went to the jerky Urgent Care. No wait, thankfully. But the Doctor was an ass. Like, seriously, thanks for validating all of my reasons for hating you. He basically told me that it was a bug bite and I was over-reacting. He gave me a bug bite discharge printout. (the bugs listed I have unfortunately committed to memory) Mosquito, fleas, bedbugs, chiggers, bees, and wasps.

So when my leg looked like this the next day (that's day 4 for those of you keeping track) of spider/bug bite/lesion/rash of doom:
EGAD! Call a priest! 
I thought he might be wrong. And an ass.
You're wrong AND an ass! Yay!
However, I told the good doctor that I would wait until Monday unless "my leg swelled to double in size or you get a fever" so I waited. In retrospect, I didn't ask what he meant by fever. My temp that day was 97.3º so 98.6º might have been feverish. I should have clarified. My bad.
Day 5 was Father's Day! Yay Daddy!! My dad, who I surprisingly don't talk a lot about here, is awesome. He's a nurse, he got his RN 2 years ago and works at a psychiatric hospital. Anyways, he's a mandated worker, so if the nurse after him doesn't show up, guess what? you're not leaving.
Me and Pops. Like, our regular faces. That's just us.
So the nurse replacing him overslept and was an hour late. I had an AWESOME Dad's Day planned. We were supposed to go to the zoo for a member's only early open day, then church, then out to lunch. That.... didn't happen. at all.
Instead, he got to my house super late, and had me text this picture to my mom and step-mom.
That is ONE DAY after the other picture. I thought I was going to die.
The three of them (mom, dad, step-mom) made me go back to urgent care. Bridget wanted dad to take me to the ER, but I convinced hin Urgent Care was ok. It was a three hour wait. Literally. Over three hours from sign-in to seeing a doctor. On a sunday morning. FML, right? No. This Doctor was AMAZING. For the first time in my life I felt like a doctor actually listened to me and didn't dismiss me as a child or whining or over-reacting. But that's another story.
Doctor Packer was great. She actually examined my leg and asked questions and seemed to give a shit. Which I've never really experienced before, so it was very nice. She gave me an antibiotic cream, a PO corticosteriod, and an antihistamine, because apparently my body was flipping shit and I didn't notice.
Honestly though, if I have to wait three hours to see a doctor that actually gives a shit, DONE. I am so there.
It's going away!! Finally!
After one day of the steroid and antibiotic, it was starting to go away. I was on the steroid for 8 days and it was SO MUCH BETTER. It was really almost gone. Then I was done the pills and two days later, this shit.
I just want it to go away. It's a spider bite, it's a mosquito bite (I never believed that), its impetigo, whatever. Make it go away.

It's ending soon, I promise.

So today, now yesterday, I went for a hike through Valley Forge National Historical Park with my friend Kubs. He's like an expert in everything. So I was regaling to him the odyssey of my wound, and he asked, "does it itch?" Ohmahgad, does it ever. It never stopped itching. He said it sounds almost like a tick bite. OH. MY. GOD. It hits me. I remember finding a tick, a dead tick, on my comforter the day the bite appeared. It stands to reason, even if he himself wasn't the jerk that got me, that there were other jerk ticks nearby. And it's not like, totally out of the realm of possibility that in the state with the highest incidence of Lyme Disease in the country by far, I mean by like 1,400 cases above the #2 state, I could get attacked by a tick or two. Especially out in the woods and high grasses like we were.

Usually after geocaching in high grasses/wooded areas/fields/whatnot (this is known as "bushwhacking" in the caching world) you brush off, or have a friend get, the ticks, the many many ticks, from your clothes before you get back in the car. And then you find some more, and throw them out the window of said car. Don't get me wrong, this is not always the case, and is hardly ever the case in urban caching, but I'm used to it. And I didn't see any ticks that day. But... Deer ticks are super effing tiny. I found one one me once in Shippensburg. Actually, Kubs found one on him today after our hike.
I'm going to my actual doctor, Dr. Silver, on Monday, I'll tell him I think it might be Lyme's and hopefully he'll run an ELISA and we'll find out for sure.

I'm so screwed.
Sorry for the long post, here's a potato.
[Today's blog title comes from Season 2, episode 16 of the same title. They got it from a song called "New York Minute" by Don Henley." The quote in the song is Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail. I highly recommend you give it a listen. Faithful reader, aka Amanda, you already know this information. Next time I see you, I will give you a real potato.]