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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Thankful Thursday 9/3/2015

I feel thankful for one of my friends. For the past year and a half he lent a shoulder, then made a suggestion. I took the suggestion and I think the suggestion is going to work out. I was so happy yesterday and thanked him up and down. I'm thankful for all of my friends, especially when they are patient.

I'm also thankful for being given the second opportunity to raise another set of monarch. Mom noticed the eggs last Thursday and one hatched on Friday. They all don't grow at once, they grow in stages. The last one hatched on Sunday. We have five little critters and since we have the cage now, they should all survive this time. They have been nom, nom, nomming and they're really growing!

Can't wait for them to all turn into Monarchs, but the caterpillars are really neat too! Although aphid infestations aren't good, maybe in this case it's good in a way because it gave us an opportunity to raise these beautiful creatures twice!

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Beating The Heat With Swimming... And Book Writing!

The sun was too bright to see the screen... as is probably evident by my eyes.

Today's temperature is 90 degrees with a heat index of 103. It's the first of September and they're not sure when this heat and humidity is going to break. I go to work, then I go swimming at my aunt's. I'm thankful that my aunt lets me use her pool. Today I went swimming and I invested in a ridiculously pink shower cap to protect my newly dyed hair from chlorine. Hey, at least I stood out in the pool! Don't I look just oh so hot. :p I kid, I kid.

With this heat and humidity, I've been working on my book. I have a deadline of November, but I hope to have it done by the end of October. I went through some of my old travel poems because I decided that I want to publish travel poems I wrote in late 2011, 2012, 2013, last year, and of course new poems I write. I'm really excited about finishing As Far As The Eyes Can See.

I finished The Elusive Quest, and as I commented back to Andrew, maybe I should put White Single Young Female In Search of CD in Philly in parenthesis under the title. Andrew thought that blog title was catchy and rather funny. Here is The Elusive Quest:

The Elusive Quest

I headed outside on that bright sunny August day,
Cruisin’ down the street in my 64, loudly at play
out of my iPod headphones, perfect for adventure
seeking music in Philadelphia, I was so sure!

The night before I checked several web catalogues,
FYE sold out, according to the site, unforeseen backlog;
Barnes & Nobel showed great promise, optimism, and hope—
I could sit in Rittenhouse Park and listen to guitar tropes.

I hopped into the 125 on Keebler Road and trees flew by
for 45 minutes the scenery changed as my excitement ran high—
lo and behold, the doors finally opened on Thirtieth Street,
no breakfast in sight, I will start my trip on Fifth with a treat:

French Toast with vanilla crème and berries at Red Owl Tavern,
the dark haired waiter flirts, admiring the caverns
of my quilted Packers wallet—a fan since Favre’s day;
“who is your favorite Packer?” He begins to smile and say,

“oh, definitely Clay Matthews, but I also like Raji,
though I also like Bart Starr—“ wow! with so much emoji,
he continues, “you go way back! Ever traveled out to Green Bay?”
“yes, I went three years ago. So fun! I have a question for you, but hey,”

I asked him if the Philosophical Society was opened yet:
“I don’t see why not. Here’s your check and I’m happy we met!”
I paid and before I cross the street, I stop rather quick—
camera ready, sun shining brightly on the stone fix,

through the doors into a marble lobby and library,
bust of Jefferson, drawings of flowers and fairies,
monarchs, fish; astrolabes, and philosophical diaries—
tales so mysterious, gossipy, and fiery.

Hours upon hours, I travel through windy halls and displays
taking in the air conditioning, I want to stay,
to learn more philosophical wonder, but I know
I want to continue on my journey, through high and low.

People hum around me, I breathe in the hot, humid air
as I amble my way to B & N, Rittenhouse Square;
the park catches my eye, the guitarist’s chord catches my ear,
excitement fills me, but it must wait, the glass door is near—

I walk inside and I am met with a burst of cool air,
rush to the sign to see where they keep CDs and music flair;
but to my dismay I only see music bios and books
and I ask the guy next to me, lost in deep thought in his Nook:

“Hey, does Barnes and Nobel have a music section with CDs?”
he looks up quickly, “Oh, no, at least not one I can see,
but what are you looking for? Repo Records has CDs.”
I blush, “N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton,” glares from my knit black tee

of a heavy metal band, that I’d want a rap album—
he laughs, smiles, and says that the store would have it and then some.
I thanked him and went to the spiritual section for books,
Sufism, then the Arabic script on my back drew in the looks;

suspicion standing in that section, I grab it and go,
with my new purchase, to the park with guitars that bellow,
while reading Me Before You and take in the summer sounds;
lost in a symphonic sea, when the guitar case pounds

I close my book, call a cab to South Street; too hot to walk,
a quick ride as the driver, in a broken English talks—
yet the ride proves fruitless—Repo Records on Fourth and South,
sold out of CDs, but they have it on vinyl! Frown to my mouth.

The record store is a sea of CDs, records, and new shirts,
bands and artists from the teen years filled with angst and hurt;
memories while listening from metal to rap for hours,
time to go, I look at my watch, time seems to hold power.

Walking the eleven blocks from South Street to the Broad Street Line,
I wipe the sweat away from my face without a whine.
Who knows when the subway will arrive, at least it’s cool here,
“Hey, cool shirt,” the echo from the distance I loudly hear—

confused, I look up and see a foreign man walk near me,
“oh, thanks,” I look at him, with a friendly smile and I see
that I am okay. “it’s a shirt from my favorite band.”
We begin to talk, he’s from Egypt, he extends his hand,

and continues to tell me he’s studying very hard here,
and we talk about other hopes and dreams and our small fears;
but as soon as the subway arrives, “goodbye,” we depart—
today isn’t about a CD, but many journeys at heart.

I arrive at FYE on the Avenue of the Arts, hot,
hoping that they have it, 1 o’clock, stomach in knots—
cleared out in the rap section, my heart despairs, cries, and sinks,
walking down the stairs, I failed this elusive CD, it stinks.

Yet, before I walk out the revolving doors, the display—
Straight Outta Compton CDs, hats, and shirts on clear glass they lay,
I pick up the CD, a smile now pasted on my rosy cheeks,

SUCCESS! I leave Philly with a story told for weeks.

I should have captured a picture of holding my N.W.A. CD in front of the sign...
Baymax will suffice for now. Maybe I will go back and get a picture.
Baymax loves F.Y.E. though. I will have a travel section dedicated to Baymax's adventures with me.


I decided to write my own take of a Fourteener poem about meeting "Sam" at the Broad Street Line Station. I'm still debating what to call it. What do you think?

“Set me free, and it’s killing me,” played through my iPod,
reverberating in echoes, an underground station with some light wads,
“Requiem For a Dream” makes me feel less alone and safe;
“hey, nice shirt! Do you know what it says?” I’m a waif,
trying to figure out where the voice came from.
I finally see him standing there, I become calm.
“Yes, ‘ignorance is a crime.’ This is my favorite band.”
He is happy to know what it means, I tell him I can speak,
at least a little Arabic—my voice is meek.
“Can you guess where I came from?” he smiles.
“Baghdad?” Since my shirt says “Baghdad Metal,” it’s wild.
“No, I come from Africa, some place there—“
“Oh, Egypt?!” my voice a wild flair.
He extends his hand, an Arabic name, “but my friends call me Sam.”
“Jessica, nice to meet you.” Our words –wham—
turn into conversations; education, he goes to Temple University,
I tell him I went to WCU, an English major, but liked Arabic, you see—
he urges me that once I have the money to bring my skills to Dubai,
where I could see white sand, seas a crystal blue, and clear aqua skies;
we talk about different cultures, life in the suburbs, our hopes and dreams,
a twenty-minute conversation until the subway screams.
“Be safe and remember to follow your passions,” we depart,
and to think that this Acrassicauda shirt was a two-time conversation starter!


This week is's 15th Birthday (it's hard to believe that my 10th account birthday will be February 24. 2016 - time flies!) and there are different activities site wide. I'll be participating. I wrote this piece for Writer's Cramp:

Walking through Auschwitz one cool day,
several clouds in the murky Austrian sky,
violent winds rustle our hair and begins to play
an eerily tune around the barracks
after “Arbeit Macht Frei” stops us at the gates,
nooses decorate the work camp, as well as an ax—
final remainders of history’s darkness and sadness.
Yet we walk by memorials in German, English, Arabic,
Hebrew, Norwegian, every language—to express gladness
that the lessons of the lives lost and the heroes,
do not go to waste and that we must never forget
what ignorance and hatred that lies below
can do if left uncheck! And as we walk through
the cabins and onto the watchtower, sun peaks
through April clouds, where birds begin to fly too—
why not call Auschwitz something like Auferstehung
as the lives lost have resurrected into new laws,

new hope, and lessons that remind us to never repeat again!

The prompt was changing the name of a landmark. Back in 2007, I went to Auschwitz with the German club (high school). We took a nine day trip to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Leichtenstein over Spring Break to use our German skills and to learn culture. I'm going to edit this piece and make it more about experiences through Auschwitz. It was an amazing experience and eery. I'd like to go back to Germany - Germany was a beautiful country. Then I'd like to go to Turkey and then Dubai (to use my Arabic language skills, learn more about their culture, and Dubai seems pretty as well).

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Secret Life of Blogger's Blog Party (8/24/2015-8/29/2015)

This is going to be my last weekly Secret Life for two weeks. Next week I want to do a special Labor Day/Unofficial End of Summer Secret Life that shows everything I've done this summer. I want to highlight some book writing too! It's going to be a hodge podge of things next week. I hope everyone will enjoy it and I hope everyone will enjoy this week's broadcast. It has been an interesting week and I felt happy for the most part this week. Enjoy! ~Jessica

Monday, August 24

Love the way the sky looked as the sun was setting.

Tuesday, August 25
Went to work at the library and avalanche in the bookbox!

Wednesday, August 26

Put my charms on my charm bracelet.

Ready for the interview!

After the interview, I went to the Flying Pig in Malvern.

Thursday, August 27

Love this display! I love Pete the Cat!

Friday, August 28

I sent the children's librarian the monarch photos and she used my life cycle pictures for the butterfly display!

Saturday, August 29

My hair cut! I had it glazed a reddish colour, trimmed and put into long layers.
I'm happy with how it turned out! This is now my LinkedIn picture.

I love Billy Goat! The pigeons do too!

This little girl began feeding them. I love these photos I captured.

They came in droves as they discovered food!

One even flew on the bench to beg everyone for food. I love pigeons, though.

Italian Greyhound.

I loved this dog that was also hanging out in Rittenhouse Square Park.

As I posted online: This truck gave me free food because I didn't have cash on me. He didn't want me to worry about the cash and wanted me to have the food. I decided after that I'd go to 7-Eleven, take out $5, miss the bus back to King of Prussia, and after I ate my meal, I'd pay him back. I did - I walked back to his truck and I thanked him, in Arabic (he didn't really know English that well), and said it was very good. He was a very nice young man.

The food was really good! The guy was surprised I went back to pay him in cash, but I would have felt bad if I didn't pay him at all. I figured that streetcar food vendors probably don't make a lot of money and it would have been unfair to walk off with a free meal. I also enjoyed it, wanted to talk to him some more, and give him my gratitude.

These are from four years ago, but I will be getting ready for the Packers tonight! GO PACK GO!
I love my Claymania shirt! (I need to find it.)

Friday, August 28, 2015


Welcome to this month's The Cephalopod Coffeehouse, hosted by The Armchair Squid! I hope you enjoy yourself and will want to read the books I've selected.

I've chosen two books this month because it seems like the books I read this month have had to do with overcoming some sort of trauma or health challenge (which led to some sort of trauma).

I'm first going to review Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Speak is a young adult novel told in the form of a diary. By being in diary format, you can see the trauma first hand. Melinda Sordino starts her diary right as she calls the cops after a party in late August, before her freshman year of high school.

After the cops bust the party, Melinda's friends won't speak to her and she cannot speak about the trauma she went through. She won't tell the readers what her trauma is, but it effects her grades, her attitude,her sleeping, eating, and the dialog is jumpy from the trauma she has experienced. Through the novel we see how she did gain one friend, but lost that friend since she wanted to join the popular crowd (The Marthas), and how Melinda begins to love her art class. It is through her art class and her science partner, David, that Melinda starts to feel better. By the end of the novel, she does open up about her trauma and starts to talk to her art teacher (which another novel was written for this, I haven't read it yet).

El Deafo by Cece Bell is a graphic novel for children, though I think it's important for everyone to read. I was stunned about what Cece's character went through in the 1970s and 80s because she was deaf.  It is a memoir told in graphic novel format of a girl who becomes deaf after a brief illness.This book takes place between 1974-1980 and we see how a young girl transforms from kindergarten to fifth grade as a deaf student. I was stunned how people with disabilities were treated back then! Though, it's not entirely different today, sadly. By the end of the memoir, El Deafo begins to see her disability as a gift - she starts to see her deafness as something not be ashamed about, but should grow with it. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thankful Thursday 8/27/2015

I feel relieved this week... it feels like a little weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I won't reveal what happened just yet as I want to wait for another time and I don't feel like talking about it just yet. For those of you who are very close to me, you know what I am talking about. Although I am mostly relieved, I do feel a bit sad.

After things happened on Monday, when I went to work at the library on Tuesday, I was quickly reminded why I'm thankful to work there. Yes, it might not be many hours (10 hours/week) and I might not make a lot of money, but I love the people I work with. When I walked in on Tuesday, one of my co-workers handed me a scrapbook album. She said, "I was cleaning out the house and found this - I thought of you!"

I thanked her up and down. She's looking to relocate when she retires and she has started to downsize. She was talking about how she was looking for a place to get rid of flannel shirts she had lying around. I felt guilty at first, but I spoke up: "what size are they? I love flannel shirts." "I think they're large, but I will bring them in for you, you can try them on and if they don't fit you can get rid of them." She gave me a bag of flannel shirts today. I thanked her again. I will have to try them on later. I feel thankful for her and I feel thankful for my co-workers.
The plastic bag that my co-worker put the shirts in, the handle broke. My supervisor let me borrow this bag.

I love the shirts pictured out of the bag. I hope they fit!

I also feel thankful for my aunt who lets me use her pool. As the summer winds down, I've been taking advantage of swimming when I can. I have always loved swimming.

I also feel thankful for my little (okay, he's a tad old) buddy that watches over me when I swim.

I also feel thankful for this beauty. My Miss Mimi!

And I feel thankful that the deformed butterfly made it through last night. He made it through the day, but my guess is tonight he won't. I feel grateful this monarch was given some more time!