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Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy Leap Day!

First off, check out Stephanie's blog about weird leap year traditions. My leap day has been uneventful, I just went to work and worked on my last Soundtracker entry. I can't believe February is finished today and Soundtrackers is done for another year. Here are the poems and songs I shared today:



The Harpists’ Tea Narrated by the Mad Hatter and New York Memories

The day of the tea and he already stood me up;
and it was my first tea without Nan to add,
but now as an employee, I helped plan—

a day in Wonderland, we travel down the hole,
tea with the Mad Hatter and the fancy white hare;
and the friendliest senior women, so comical.

One of the women’s sister was from New York City,
we discussed my upcoming birthday trip next week—
Central Park is a must! As is Time Square! For eats

that Lebanese place sounds good! The harpists begin
and she whispers childhood memories, so fond
told by the harp. Much fun; gladness he stood me up.




Yes, I ate a bug, I ate several bugs,
they were crunchy, chewy, salty, sweet,
and I would do it again in a heartbeat!


However, yesterday I did have a pre-leap day celebration. I enjoyed the outside with Mimi. It was in the upper 50s yesterday, the croci (crocuses) have begun to bloom, and it was beautiful out. Despite the snow at the end of the week, it looks like spring is around the corner!














How did you spend your leap day? Hopefully it wasn't anything wild and crazy. :)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Secret Life of Blogger's Blog Party: February 2016

I'm back with the Secret Life of Blogger's Blog Party! However, I won't be doing this weekly as it's just too much to do weekly and it was starting to lose the fun. I have decided I am going to follow the example of Andrew and do it monthly for now - when spring and summer come around, they might be seasonal. But for now they will be monthly!

February 3, 2016


The Valentine's Day cards I sent my friends.

February 4, 2016

Enjoying a walk

Days are getting longer!


February 5, 2016

Wore my brand new Packers shirt to work!

February 8, 2016

Going for my walk at lunch.

While listening to Drake.

February 10, 2016


My tea is judging me for drinking so much tea.

Days are starting earlier too!

 February 12, 2016

Getting ready for Toronto.

It was cold that week - the water on my walk froze!

February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day gift from my parents.

Chinese New Year!

February 16, 2016

A beautiful Valentine Olli sent me. Olli is one of my friends from Sweden.

February 17, 2016



Mimi loved the jellyfish costume for the polar plunge!

February 19, 2016


Went to FYE before I went to the Art Museum. These are some of the sections I frequent.

Arooj Aftab and I.

The CDs I bought that night.

February 20, 2016

POLAR PLUNGE! The picture that the Brandywine Red Clay Alliance too.

February 21, 2016

Cat up for adoption.

I love Trader Joe's!

February 24, 2016

Enjoying one of my Trader Joe's purchases while at work.

February 26, 2016

I just absolutely love this!

It seems like it's been a busy month too!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Cephalopod Coffeehouse: February 2016



Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the works they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.



This month I read The Best American Travel Writing 2013. Like last month, since I am still working on As Far As The Eyes Can See, I wanted to read travel pieces to help inspire my poetry. While these are articles and not poetry, the different stories did help inspire me. I can honestly say the stories about traveling in Cuba when it was still illegal for Americans to travel there, the woman journalist that went to Egypt and the year someone didn't travel were my favorites.

The Cuba story has inspired me to eventually write a poem about the one time I dressed up as Fidel Castro in 10th grade to deliver a report I did. I was the only one in the class to dress up as the historical figure I did my report on and I brought food: Cuban sandwiches mom made. The sandwiches were a hit. Ever since that day in April 2006 when I dressed up as Fidel, I've always wanted to meet him. I'd like to travel to Cuba, now it's legal for Americans to go there, and see if it would be possible to meet Fidel before he dies. Probably not, but it would make a good poem methinks!

However, the Cuba story was sad in a way. While tourists of other countries do visit Havana, the US's embargo against Cuba has destroyed many small towns. People in Cuba still drive cars from the 1950s, trains in small towns are few and far between, and the way of life seems sad. Most from the small towns either go to Havana or Miami when they are old enough. The writer could go to Cuba in 2011 because he married someone who has Cuban ancestry. Cubans and families of Cubans are granted special visas to visit family in Cuba.


I really liked the Egyptian story because I've always wanted to travel to Egypt to see the pyramids and all the history that surrounds Egypt. I would also go to use my Arabic skills - I think it would be awesome to talk to the locals in their native tongue! However, the writer found out that men love to oggle at women, she felt overwhelmed. One day she decided to buy a burqa and go to the souq with her other Western friend in full burqa to just disappear from all the scrutiny of being watched. I loved that aspect of the story - it felt exhilarating.

I love this series and it truly does help me with my poetry for my upcoming book.

Here is a poem I wrote about going to a Civil War site in 2010. I'm looking for a title. Thoughts?

Welcome to the Civil War trails - follow gals and boys!
Can you hear the guns shooting in the background,
drums beating, Confederates advancing so coy?

Maples and poplars hide, Yankees can't be found,
the prison in that old barn over there-
can you hear the guns shooting in the background?

Scribblings for help on that cement wall never fade or wear,
cries so loud, the torment, the death is vivid in the 21st century-
in that prison in the old barn over there!

Yet in the distant town, happy dances to Dixie,
women in their Victorian best, soldiers kissing their goodbyes,
cries so loud, the torment, the death vivid in the 21st century1

Bayonets and muskets, gender and birthdate lies-
for Dixie, for Virginia, for Southern rights!
Women in their Victorian best, soldiers kissing their goodbyes.

And here we are as tourists, learning and viewing the fight,
welcome to the Civil War trails - follow gals and boys,
for Dixie, for Virginia, for Southern rights,
drums beating, Confederates advancing, so coy!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thankful Thursday 2/25/2016

A few weeks ago I won a silent auction from one of the cat pages I follow on Instagram. I won a portrait from the artist, Luis V. Zimmerman. Luis is an artist, one that specializes in scratch art, from Florida and focuses mostly on animals. After I won, I was contacted about what I wanted a picture of. I sent him a picture of Mimi. Last week has sent me the progress of Mimi. Here is the progression of the pictures he sent me:





Today I received my prize and I'm amazed. Mom, dad and I all loved it and couldn't get over how he really captured the beauty of Mimi. He really did do a wonderful job - I am thankful for his kindness and I'm thankful for all the cat pages I follow. Mimi's scratch portrait from Luis really brightened up a cold, dreary day. If you're interested, please check out Luis Zimmerman Scratch Art.




I'm also thankful that my second article was published by 5 Best Things and they want me to write more! I'm going to write about a few more cities and I might even write about recipes. I'm really grateful for this opportunity. Best Things To Do in Philadelphia.



 I'm also still thankful for all those who donated to the polar plunge and the wonderful weather we had for it last weekend. Such fun and for such a good cause.



What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

10 Years on Writing.com

Today is my 10 year anniversary on Writing.com. It's hard to believe I've been a member on that site for a decade! Here is what I posted for Soundtrackers tonight:




Me playing Dixie (2010)


Welcome to the Civil War trails - follow gals and boys!
Can you hear the guns shooting in the background,
drums beating, Confederates advancing so coy?

Maples and poplars hide, Yankees can't be found,
the prison in that old barn over there-
can you hear the guns shooting in the background?

Scribblings for help on that cement wall never fade or wear,
cries so loud, the torment, the death is vivid in the 21st century-
in that prison in the old barn over there!

Yet in the distant town, happy dances to Dixie,
women in their Victorian best, soldiers kissing their goodbyes,
cries so loud, the torment, the death vivid in the 21st century1

Bayonets and muskets, gender and birthdate lies-
for Dixie, for Virginia, for Southern rights!
Women in their Victorian best, soldiers kissing their goodbyes.

And here we are as tourists, learning and viewing the fight,
welcome to the Civil War trails - follow gals and boys,
for Dixie, for Virginia, for Southern rights,
drums beating, Confederates advancing, so coy!



Today marks my 10th anniversary on Writing.com and being the avid Civil War buff I've been for the past 12 years, I want to share a project I completed 10 years ago.

The Civil War Experience (Zine)

Jessica's Portfolio

Sunday, February 21, 2016

An Evening with Arooj Aftab (Philadelphia Museum of Art's Art After 5)

 On Friday night I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art after work because I wanted to see their Art After 5 program. I knew since last month when I saw a neo-Sufi singer from Pakistan was going to perform, I wanted to go.

I left work at 3 PM and caught the 3:15 train to Philadelphia (I usually get done work at 3:30, but I worked extra on Thursday and went in earlier yesterday). I arrived at 3:45 and had a good forty-five minutes to kill; I went to FYE because record stores are my downfall. I ended up walking around FYE for a good half an hour and walked out with two CDs. I did good, though, by only walking out of FYE $20 short.

I caught the bus to the Art Museum and I was about 10 minutes early. Since I pre-ordered the ticket online, they asked if I wanted to become a member because the ticket I bought would go towards that membership. I became a member. All the programming going on, it's well worth becoming a member. It was only $32 - admission is often $20/visit (after I become a member, I get in free). I walked around the museum a bit and then found my spot to sit. I picked a spot center stage and I was sitting underneath Ghost! Ghost is my favorite Alexander Calder mobile! This made me happy.





Before the show started, two women asked if they could sit with me. It was only me at a big table and I said it was no problem at all. We introduced ourselves and we became friends. They treated me to dinner and we just had an amazing time. (They were retirees.) We all enjoyed the music. I had to leave after the first half since it takes an hour to get home and I had to be up early for the plunge. During intermission, before I left, I bought Arooj Aftab's CD, she signed it, and we took a picture together. We talked for a bit. I told her how much I loved her singing and I tried to see if I could make out what she was saying. Urdu has some similarities to Arabic and I could understand some of the spiritual (Sufi) concepts from books I have read.  She was such an awesome woman.














There was just something about the performance that made me feel great. It brought back wonderful memories of traveling to these types of events for my Arabic class. I felt like I wanted to belly dance and just something about her music touched my spiritual core. I felt good during the performance.


Before I left, I met the other singer that was with her. She's from Jordan and is strictly an Arabic singer. I guess one of the women I was sitting with told her my interest because she knew right away. She said, "you should come see me perform! I perform mostly in Arabic." She gave me her card. We started talking about art, Arabic, and I mentioned I was writing a book. Her friend is a writer and we exchanged cards as well. I added her on Wesley's Facebook profile. They both want to check out my book when it was done. I felt like I was in my element and it felt good. I can't wait to listen to Arooj's CD and I can't wait to upload it to my iPod.