Life, Travel

2022! Here we are! Due to the pandemic 2020 and 2021 have melted together into one great big fuzzy blob of time in my mind. But I wanted to think back and appreciate  all the great things from last year. 2021 > 2020, and I can only hope that 2022 is even better…

Highlights from 2021…

Seeing Live Shows Again

Our first show since the start of the pandemic was in October with Big Freedia – an auspicious start! Since then we’ve been able to see Rufus Wainwright, the Magnetic Fields, Talib Kweli, Bob Dylan and John Waters.

Car life

Ryan got a car! He had his sights set on a Prius, and when we went to the Toyota dealership everything we saw was sold out. So Ryan bought the single car that was available on a boat coming over from Japan. We named it Yoshi.

Knitting

The lovely fall weather got me in the mood to pick up the needles again. I spent an afternoon inputting my yarn inventory into my Ravelry account, and I can’t say that it’s any better than having an excel spreadsheet, but I’m glad I did it.

Seymour is very interested

I decided to knit some of my holiday gifts this year, and stumbled across this hat pattern which is definitely a holy grail for holiday presents – fun to knit, fast, low yardage, and very cute.

I had to block the hat in order to get the lace to pop. I don’t have a mannequin head, so I tried using a kettle bell. Worked out ok, lol.

Running

I kept running after my 10k, and ended up running the Rocky 10 mile race in November. Now that I’m running decent distances (up to 12 miles), I’ve been able to take more interesting routes. I’ve been running down by the historical stuff, all the way across the bridge to Camden, but usually down to Fairmount Park, where all the races are normally held.

Invisalign

I’m done! But nobody told me I have to wear retainers at night for the rest of my life. Oh well.

New Restaurants in the neighborhood

In the fall the floodgates burst and a slew of restaurants that I’ve been excited about finally opened. Mostly I’m excited about having more lunch options.

Goldie Falafel – Vegan falafel place. The falafel has been solid, but the tehina shakes have all been divine. I’ve got to get one every time.

Middle Child Clubhouse – A local outpost of a popular sandwich shop. They’ve got a vegan sandwich called the Phoagie that tastes like pho in a bun. Very satisfying.

LMNO – Baja cuisine. Really sexy spot with delicious food that tastes clean. Unfortunately it’s pretty expensive, so more of a special occasion place?

Hook and Master -It’s a seafood/pizza place with 3 different styles of pizza. But more importantly, there are tiki drinks on the cocktail menu! While I don’t think it truly qualifies as a tiki bar, I’ll take it. As people have heard me complain before, wtf with the lack of tiki in this city. There are no tiki bars here.

Primary Plant Based – I was sad when Cadence closed, but this is a replacement that I’m much more likely to frequent. Cadence was delicious but also more of a special occasion spot.

Making new friends

In Austin we made a friend. We were only there for a long weekend!! It was then that I knew that we had to up our friend making game in Philadelphia, Covid awkwardness be damned. One strategy that we’ve been implementing has been to become “regulars” at a local bar. We looked at the bars in the neighborhood and picked one that felt like somewhere that locals would go to during the week. Then we just kept going, at least once a week. We’ve met some interesting people, and nothing exactly has panned out from that, but the bartenders now recognize us and we aren’t carded anymore, so we’re becoming regulars. With the latest wave of Omicron we’ve tamped this back, but we’re going to keep trying.

We’ve also met nice folks at the dog parks, and have even gone so far as to exchange numbers. But it’s really taking that next step where it can fall apart…

We got to know our neighbors when Ryan wrote a post on the NextDoor app complaining about illegal dumping in our neighborhood. Our neighbor responded, and next thing I knew we were out having dinner with them.

We’ve had much better luck meeting people through other people we know. Cool people know likeminded people, I suppose. Best of all is that a few of these people live only a few blocks away from us, making it much more likely that we can bump into each other in the neighborhood and make casual hang out suggestions.

I have gotten better at putting myself out there when I feel like someone might be receptive to friendship. It doesn’t feel so awkward anymore to just say “Hey I think you’re cool, let me give you my number. We should hang out sometime.” But like I said the next step of scheduling something… well that’s been trickier to navigate. I am trying not to take it personally when a potential connection peters out/doesn’t take.

Halloween

Spooky season was back in full force this year. We went with our new friends to the newly revamped “Halloween Nights” at the Penitentiary. Ryan went on a bit of a spree buying museum memberships, and we’re now members of the penitentiary. Love that place.

We also went to a terrible karaoke bar full of college kids in order to meet another friend, but the manager of the neighboring bar came up to us and whisked us all away to a Squid Game themed bar! I felt like a celebrity.

Last but not least – Travel / Family Friend Time

In March Pravi came and visited during her holiday leave. Restaurants and bars were still not open at the time so we didn’t do anything crazy. Just hung around and drank and watched silly movies. It was just nice to have her around. Oh, actually I guess we did sensory deprivation tanks for her birthday. That was wild and kind of messed with my brain.

In April we popped over to NYC for Ryan’s birthday. I can’t believe that I live so close to New York and never go.

Then in May we went down to Austin to visit Pravi since she’s at Fort Hood. Austin was magical as usual, but this time I did feel sad for the locals. Their city is ruined by partiers. I’m sorry Austin!

Late night truths
Barton Springs

In June we visited Jill and Brett in Georgia. Jill always seems to find the good in where she lives. Hyper local stuff, historic spots and such. Makes me feel like I should try harder with Philly.

Distillery tour

In September my mom visited. I was worried about Delta mucking up her visit, but the stars aligned. Everything was open, the weather was beautiful, and Philly was on its best behavior. I felt a small sense of pride being able to show her around, and the trip definitely left me feeling a little more positively about the city. One of my favorite things about my mom is that she will roll with most situations. Now I will never forget taking her to the local burlesque and seeing Flintstones striptease. And Ryan will never forget either, no matter how hard he tries… 🙂

For Thanksgiving Jill and I visited San Francisco together. Amazingly everyone I hit up was around and available to hang out. Miss my friends there, but San Francisco was still pretty much the same. I ended up making a vegan Wellington for Thanksgiving, which turned out really nicely.

The crazy Christmas house on Divisadero
Urban hike

My baby

For Christmas I went to Los Angeles. Finally got to see my mom’s new house, and it’s really nice! I also came home with a suitcase full of classic video games, Pokemon cards, and beanie babies to sell on ebay.

Jill and Brett visited Philadelphia again. More things were open than when they visited last year, and we had a small cocktail party. Then we drove up to Maine for a few days to celebrate the New Year.

We put some lessons learned into practice: batch cocktails and ordering tons of food. It really made things a lot easier.
Inventive cocktails at Blythe and Burrows in Portland
Portland Head Lighthouse
It’s a photogenic lighthouse from all angles
Halp we R trapped in the aquarium at the LL Bean store

I don’t have any travel pinned down yet for 2022, but I’m hoping to be more intentional about it, and really make an effort to see people this year.

Philadelphia

I’m not a running blogger but I tried finding information about this race online and only found old Reddit posts, so I thought I’d share my experience.

A couple of months ago races were starting to open up again in Philadelphia. Covid has made everything sound attractive,  I started thinking about signing up. I’ve done plenty of 5ks and a half marathon in the past, but never a 10k. If you think about it, it’s an ideal distance for a race. Half marathons are a commitment, and 5ks are so short it’s not even worth it to get up so early, pay money and do all the run morning logistics just to run for 30 minutes. 10ks are a manageable distance that you don’t have to do intense training for, and they’re long enough runs to be worth getting up early, but not so long that you get bored. Also you probably burned enough calories that you’ve justified a nice meal after 🙂

The first race I found during my research was the Philly 10k, and I kept coming back to it. It’s a locally managed race in the heart of South Philly.

Training

I am a slow runner and it’s summer, so my goal was mostly “do my first 10k with the least amount of running possible.” I was already running 3-4x per week, with a max distance of 4miles. I had 8 weeks before the race, so a training plan wasn’t necessary.

I’d used Hal Higdon’s training programs in the past, and now he has an app, so I downloaded the app and made a “custom” program while I was still on the trial period. The app unfortunately is crap. It’s glitchy and unintuitive. For example there are days that call for cross training. But when you try to log your training for the day, you have to put it in as a run with a pace. Makes no sense. The value really isn’t there, especially since the basic plans are all free on his website.

I reviewed the plan from the app, and the novice plan from his site, and came up with this general outline for every week:

  • Monday – 3 miles base
  • Tuesday – 45min cross training (yoga, swimming, cycling, strength. Really whatever I was in the mood for that day)
  • Wednesday – 2 miles fast
  • Thursday – 30 min cross training
  • Friday – 60 min cross training
  • Saturday – Long run day, starting at 4miles and working up to 6.2 in .5mi increments. <– I repeated a couple of times
  • Sunday – Rest

I ran rain or shine, mostly in 90+ degree and mega humid temp. Summer is really unfortunate here. I ran 10k about a week before the race in 78 minutes, so I knew that I could do it.

Registration

I waited until the last minute to register. Summers are stormy and hot in the city, and I just kept waffling because I thought the race experience might be miserable and gross. The race was on Sunday. On Wednesday I looked at the weather forecast, and it looked cloudy so I signed up online. It came to about 75 bucks, which I felt was pricey for a local run, but whatever. One nice aspect of the registration is that you had 15 minutes after the transaction to cancel. All you had to do was click a big “CANCEL” button. A few hours later I checked the forecast again and it had changed to rain. LOL

Bib Pickup

There’s normally a kickoff party, but not this year. During my lunch break that Friday, I took the el downtown to pick up my race packet (bib, t-shirt, clear bag for bag check, commemorative poster) at the Philadelphia Runner shop in Center City.  Proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test were required and checked, which I appreciated. I didn’t spend too much time there, but it was HOPPING on a Friday afternoon. I’ll have to head back next time to try some shoes.

The Day Before

It poured rain all day. We didn’t even take the dog out. I was stressed out about work, so I was on the computer all day and night. Didn’t drink, didn’t do yoga like I wanted. Ordered a pizza for dinner and it was glorious. Went to bed at 11, didn’t get to sleep until 12:30am because my brain was still stuck on a work problem.

Race Day

Woke up at 5:30, showered, ate a yogurt and a nectarine, sipped a little coffee. Took the 6:08 el down to 5th st, then walked about 15 minutes down 5th to the race area. Arrived around 6:35am. There was no line for bag check or for id check (for the after race beer). It was quiet and peaceful. I stretched a bit and walked around the festival area. People hung out and warmed up here and there. Masks were required everywhere except during the actual run.

Around 7am it started getting busy. The starting line was at 8th and South, but with 6 corrals, the last corral (mine) was around 12th st. There were plenty of porta potties around.

The weather was about 70 and overcast, kind of misty. I lucked out! It was perfect weather.

Lots of waiting…

The race started at 7:30, but with 3,000 runners they staggered the start time for each corral, so I didn’t actually get running until about 7:50!

I went to the porta potty again right before and OMG there was some explosive diarrhea in there. Seriously, in the 4 porta potties I went to throughout the day, all except the first one (I went to before 7am) had crazy poop. What in the world is going on with these runners???? It’s not that long of a race!!? Like an hour only… Race nerves?? Too much coffee? Poop at home like the rest of us!

The start! Finally

This was the first big Philly race post Covid, and it’s a fun run, so the energy was super positive. It was crowded for the first half mile or so, then I found a bit of space. Like all races you definitely had to stay aware though and couldn’t zone out. Sometimes runners in front of you would just dead stop and walk, without moving to the side of the road. Some runners were livestreaming????!! Ugh. And oh, the Philly potholes. I almost bit it once, but managed to flail and catch myself.

The course itself was mostly flat and on skinny neighborhood streets. My experience of South Philly has been of insane stop and go traffic and asshole drivers, so honestly the fact that this was a neighborhood run was what appealed to me most. I hate the drivers here with all my heart, so blowing past all the red lights, and laughing at the lines of drivers who were stuck cursing us was incredibly therapeutic. There were also loads of people hanging out on their stoops and drinking their morning coffee with their kids, cheering us on with signs… but what really fueled me was the hate.

It was also fun running past Pat’s and Geno’s, and the Italian market and Little Saigon. There were water stations and porta potties about every 2 miles. About 4 miles in, I started getting stabbing stomach cramps. I wasn’t sure if going to the bathroom would help, but then I remembered the horrors that I’d experienced in the earlier porta potties, so I held on. I was still pretty uncomfortable, but I made it through.

My time: 1:12:38 / Pace: 11:38

I really wanted this dude to get out of my selfie LOL

After Party

Right after the finish line there were ice cold towels, water, and granola bar snacks. I snatched those up, but headed straight to the beer line. It was so long I almost didn’t bother, but I wanted my beer so I sucked it up. It took maybe 15 minutes?? The beer was from Brewery Ars, a South Philly brewery. I’m not sure which beer it was, but it definitely was delicious and I didn’t feel it at all. I might take my mom there when she visits.

For snacks I had a choice between French Toast bites and popsicles from Weckerly’s (fancy ice cream shop in my neighborhood). The line for the bites was too long, so I happily got a mango popsicle, and dunked it in my beer.

There was a band, and everyone was just hanging out having a good time. Among the thousands of people I saw folks from a local running club that I’ve been meaning to join.  Maybe it’s a sign?

Originally I’d planned to have Ryan meet me down there for breakfast, but we’d already planned lunch with a friend a few hours later, so I finished up my beer and headed out.

Swag

  • There’s no medals, but I always want to throw those away, so I’m happy about that. I did hear people grumbling about the medals at the race.
  • Bib – The bibs had your name printed on them. For people who collect bibs that’s kind of cute. I registered late so I have TRACY in Sharpie on mine.
  • T-shirt & Race print (photos from their FB)
    • The women’s shirt is really soft and flattering! I will actually wear it for day to day stuff. It’s not performance material.
    • I think previous years prints were better, but this is cheerful and original at least. I framed it and put it in my office.

Other thoughts

It was a well organized race that felt pretty laid back and fun. Knowing what I know now about the staggered start times, I would show up way later and just not check a bag.  I would also probably bike to the event as well. There was plenty of security and places to park.

What’s next? I wanted to do the 10 mile Broad Street Run in October, but apparently that’s a very big deal race. It’s like 40,000 people and there’s a lottery to get in and they’re all booked for this year since they deferred folks from last year.

I think I might train for the half during Philadelphia Marathon Weekend in November? It’s sponsored by a local deli meat company, which seems very Philadelphia.

There’s also 10 mile and half marathon  options of the Rocky Run, which is the weekend before. But that race seems like a branded cash grab, so meh.

I dunno, I guess I’ll just keep running and see how I feel.

Life

Guess my run is postponed…

This morning I received an email from Chewy.com telling me that today is National Pet Parents Day! Apparently it’s some holiday dreamt up to be like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Alas, the animals can’t get me brunch or flowers.

Anyways, time flies – it’s been more than a whole year with Seymour! I was so cautious about being tied down by a cat again, but this is a life decision that easily tips over into the PRO category. His presence is worth the trouble of the litter box and the price of the cat sitters. It’s been fun to get to learn his personality over the past year.

10 Funny Things About Seymour

  • After taking him to the vet for an initial checkup, a specific caloric intake was recommended. Well, he’s been on and off his diet for an entire year and he’s gone from 17 to 15 lbs. The vet says he should be 12. That’s my bad of course as the owner, but I swear this cat just wants to be large. I mean, his previous owners actually named him “Fat Cat.” Maybe we should move toward acceptance, as long as he’s healthy.

  • Seymour is so fat that he has to go up and down the stairs in one big burst of energy, lest he lose momentum. To go up the stairs, he crouches, his butt wiggles a bit as he prepares mentally, then he huffs up the stairs in a flurry, with a little “mrowwwww!” of effort all the way up. When hurtling down the stairs, he can’t control his speed, and his tummy fat waddles left and right.
Sneak attack from above
  • Going up the stairs is such an annoyance to him that he does something Ryan calls “Seymour Sonar.” He’ll sit at the bottom of the stairs and yowl plaintively like he’s been hurt, waiting to see if one of us will respond with “Seymour??!!!!”. Then he knows whether it’s worth the effort to go upstairs.
  • Despite his girth, he’s an agile and ferocious hunter.

  • He loves to play with string,  and if I’m ever flossing anywhere in the house (4 times per day now that I’m doing Invisalign), before I’m done, Seymour will show up to watch me floss. To get a better look he’ll stretch up against the vanity and try to bat at the floss. How does he know that I’m flossing? I think that maybe the floss I use is squeaky and sounds like a bird?
He cares about good dental hygiene
  • He fits a lot of cat stereotypes. He loves boxes, has hairballs, and pops the dog with his paw when annoyed. Just like Garfield!
Get off my lawn!
All cats love a sunny spot
  • When it’s cold he sleeps between my legs for warmth. Once he falls asleep, he snores the cutest little kitty snores.

  • He’s like a litterbox version of the fairytale “The Princess and the Pea”. If there is but one smidge of poop hidden in the litter, the whole box is tainted, and he’ll wail angrily for me to clean it up. If I wait too long to take care of it, he’ll poop outside of the box in protest. Because of this, we have 3 litter boxes – almost one on every floor of the house. Every day I’m running all over the house checking each box, just in case. It’s ridiculous, really. He’ll also poop outside of the box when he’s angry at me. When we went on vacation back in October, he had perfect litter box manners for the sitter for a whole week. I come home, and within 30 min there’s poop on the carpet waiting for me to clean up. What the hell.
All up in my business
  • I can walk into his room (my office) with a bowl of wet food, set it down, and he’ll sit outside the doorway staring in. He loves dry food, and sometimes he will wait for me to add dry food before he’ll come over and start eating. I’ve figured out how to trick him by just lightly crinkling the kibble bag. Just the sound gets him running!

  • He is a good cat-brother to Bogie. They  tolerate each other 🙂

Life

Here we are entering month 8 of coronavirus times. Looking back over my photos there isn’t much to share, but here we go.
At the beginning of the month we’d rented a car for our trip to the Poconos. The rental period was by the week, so we had an extra day or two before we had to return it. Having a car allowed us to finally go to a drive-in movie theater! The Philadelphia Film Society recently set up shop down by the navy yard. We saw Tenet there, and while the movie was not one of Christopher Nolan’s finest (honestly it was a hot mess and not even in a fun way), I really enjoyed the drive-in experience. I was dressed cozily and had all my drinks and my snacks. What’s not to love?
I really miss going out to see movies.I don’t think I realized how much a part of my identity it was until I moved here and just stopped going due to inconvenience. I’ve been keeping a running list of movies I’ve been watching this year, and I’m averaging about 15 films per month. Unfortunately I am behind on watching AFI’s top 100 movies, but at this point who cares? Time is meaningless.
We also used the car for a Trader Joe’s haul. It was my first TJ’s trip since February, and I grabbed about 3 of of every TJ’s staple I’ve ever loved over the years. It all came to about $200, which is a lot for me. When I apologized to the cashier, she told me about one family that spent $800 in one go!
Ryan started going hard on the bread making, and he’s been churning out pretty consistent loaves. I am the happy benefactor of his obsession.
Our pizza game has gone from “not bad” to “pretty good” 😀
But then the next time we created these monstrosities. LOL. Best not to get too cocky.
Also the bell peppers finally came in, all at once and a bit too late if you ask me.
I bought a bag of Hi-Chew and became irrationally angry when only 2/10 of the candies were Strawberry. I HATE GRAPE. I’m still bitter and the candy is still in my pantry.
I ended up sending out 75 letters to potential voters. Please vote!
One day while I was out on a run on the path by the water, a swarm of dirt bike and ATV riders came through en masse. I’d seen them plenty of times before, but this time they literally held up traffic for like 10-15 minutes. It was wild. When I got home I did some research, and it turned out that it was “Dirt Bike Rell Day” – basically a memorial for a local dirt biker who was gunned down back in 2014. According to the Citizen app, there were about 3,000 riders out and about. Wild. Here’s a news video from 2018 that explains it a bit more.

As an early birthday present, Ryan got me this plush plague doctor. Isn’t he great?
Recently a new group of bros moved in to the apartments across from our house. Now we have vocal bros to the left, to the right, and across from us. Not to mention the group of women who live underneath New Bros. Everyone likes to party, but the new bros are the most insufferable. They have really loud parties at least two nights every week, let’s not even talk about the lack of social distancing. But for some reason whenever they party they leave all their doors and windows open, so it’s incredibly loud late into the night. Finally one night our Neighbor Bros to the Left climbed up to their roof deck and had it out with the New Bros. I was in bed at the time, and once the screaming started the dog, the cat and I all bolted right up. Then we each looked at each other. It was a strange moment.
The neighbors went hardcore on their Halloween decorations again this year. Similar to last year, it was just a bunch of fratty guys in polo shirts screaming at each other to chug beer, not a female in sight. Kind of sad really.
I don’t know how we ended up surrounded by so many partiers, but it’s still not as terrible as Ralph, the burnout living for the 90’s tweaker who lived above my bedroom in San Francisco. I don’t think I will ever be woken up at 4 in the morning with the walls shaking to “Thriller” ever again, so that’s progress.
Life

Time has been weird. While I’m surprised that it’s already October (my favorite month!), September dragged on for ages. Here’s some highlights from the month.

Fun Things in My Neighborhood

I’m always noticing new things on my runs.

Since social distancing started, community fridges have popped up all over the city. Take what you need. Leave what you don’t. I know how I’m getting rid of all those gross egg noodles in my pantry!

You know those “Mystery boxes” that you can get from stores? A box full of different books, or clothes… A neighbor has set up an “Urban Yard Sale” with mystery boxes full of house stuff (glassware, books, garden stuff, sewing, kitchen appliances). It’s based on the honor system. You pick a box you want and then put a few bills in the red box on the right. Pretty cool, right? Well of course on Nextdoor somebody’s already complaining about private use of public land, blocking right of way, blah blah blah…

Ran across this kitty cat village in an abandoned lot. Obviously neighbors built their shelter and donated the cat trees, but I’m not sure if they are fed by humans as well.

Chopped Off My Pinky

tian image
Not much to look at, but surprisingly tasty

One day I was running a little late on lunch, and was hurriedly making this tian from the New York Times. I got a little too into my work with the mandoline, and sliced off the tip of my pinky finger, a straight diagonal. It looked like a part of my finger had just been erased. Then the bleeding started. It was a total mess, so I’ll spare you pictures, even though you know I took them.

I grumpily wrapped up my hand in a kitchen rag and ran across the street to the urgent care center. The doctor told me there wasn’t much they could do since I hadn’t hit bone and had no skin left to stitch up. I should just keep it clean and keep changing the bandages. Eventually it would heal itself.

One hour and one co-pay later, I was back at the stove, angrily finishing my cooking with a raised pinky finger. Should have read the recipe first, because after an hour of prep and baking, you’re supposed to let it set for another hour! It was a frustrating experience, but an excellent recipe (and easily made vegan with fake butter). I’ve made it once again since then, and if you try it, I’d suggest throwing garlic, red pepper and Italian herbs in with each layer, salt and pepper alone is too bland. Oh, also my pinky did make a recovery. It just healed itself up from the edges, pretty amazing actually.

We Got a Pizza Oven

We haven’t quite cracked the code on perfect pizza yet, but between the pizza oven, the smoker, and baking bread, Ryan’s been keeping busy.

City Problems

For the first week or two of the month, we started having problems with people sitting on our and our neighbor’s steps. Drugged out couples, high school kids, and even random construction workers eating lunch and leaving a mess.

One Sunday I noticed a suitcase in the middle of the street. Upon opening the door we found an intoxicated man laying on our stoop and charging his phone in our exterior outlet. Ryan took the dog out and asked him about the suitcase, which he claimed wasn’t his. I came out as well and told him I was going to be in and out cleaning the street, and had him move. Gave him a seltzer water because he seemed out of it, and he took the suitcase and was on his way. We found him charging his phone again, this time with a friend, a few days later around 11pm. That was a little creepy, so we zip tied the outlet to keep people out.

socket cover
Before

Several days later, we woke up to find the zip tie had been burnt off with a lighter. This was extra infuriating because my neighbors’ houses are identical, and there was an open outlet like 2 doors down.

new metal socket cover
After

Unfortunately there wasn’t a way to turn off that specific outlet, so Ryan went hardcore and bought a metal cover with a lock. Ever since, we haven’t had any problems. Hate to be that person, but I guess that’s who I am now.

Hot Poirot Who Fornicates

Detective novels continue to be a source of comfort. I’m still bingeing lots of Poirot and Sherlock. I saw there was a Death on the Nile movie in the works, and came across this Vulture article that tries to pin down the best screen version of Poirot. I had mixed feelings on Kenneth Branagh in the 2017 Murder on the Orient Express, but this description of his portrayal is pretty hilarious:

Branagh plays Poirot just a little bit camp, too, embracing a sentimental side of the character that we’ve rarely seen without becoming too self-serious. A former female lover has been grafted onto his backstory, which Branagh, hilariously, cannot sell. But with Branagh’s ocean blue eyes, he’s the closest we’ll get to Hot Poirot Who Fornicates. (You know, until the inevitable CW origin series.)

The CW part is spot on, really. Who knew they could bring us Hot Jughead?

Work

I’ve joined the A11y team, which works on making our site accessible for learners with disabilities. It’s a different type of work, which honestly can be exasperating in its trickiness, but at least I’m doing something new. More importantly, I’ve joined a welcoming team of company old-timers, and I’m learning a ton. Definitely feel less lonely at work!

In order to cover accessibility for all users, I’m now working on a PC as well. My desk is becoming super crowded!

Volunteering

My summer mentorship program came to an end, so I’ve been looking for something new to put my energy into. Since I’m pretty healthy, I’ve decided to take on some bigger risk opportunities.

I signed up to do some volunteer work with Philly Fighting COVID. They’re the folks we got our super fast, super easy COVID tests from. Hope I don’t get COVID! 🤞

Ryan and I signed up to be poll workers in Philadelphia. The pay is fine ($250), the hours are atrocious (training day, plus 6:30am – 9:00pm on election day), but it must be done. Ryan received an email acknowledgement of his application submission, while I haven’t heard anything at all, which is a little frustrating at 30 days out. I tried to find more information about the process online, and found this absolute nugget from a presentation posted online called “Work the Polls Philly.” Poll working’s gonna be awesome you guys!

It is what it is

When looking for other opportunities to volunteer politically, I shied away from phone banking and text banking. My friend Jill suggested I check out Vote Forward, and write letters to encourage reluctant voters to get out and vote. I’ve been writing letters in batches, and I know every little bit adds up to a greater goal, but it still doesn’t feel like I’m actually doing anything or having an impact. When does volunteering start to have these “positive effects” they tell you about?

Getting Out of Town

The last week of September Ryan and I rented a cabin up in the Poconos. I was still working, but it was a nice break from feeling stuck in the city surrounded by trash. I thought about it, and it’s actually the first trip we’ve taken together since Portugal last November. What a year!

Super spooky fort in the backyard, on a foggy day
Bogie meets a deer family
A hike
Flowers left for RBG at the local courthouse
Love this shop display of two skeletons and their dogs hiking in the woods

Anyways, that’s it. Hello October!