Sep 19, 2014
Once upon a time, in 2010, Downtown Denton, Maryland needed a sprucing up for their upcoming Spring Gala Event to be held there in May out on the street. My friend Danielle was asked by the Arts Council lady Marina, to do something with the mostly empty windows in the store fronts on our Main Street called Market Street. And somehow we ended up with this crazy beautiful design scheme which we had to follow through with.
It all started with an idea we had for the window of the exercise studio Energy in Progress up the street. I’d decorated this window a few other times but I wanted this one to be special. The theme was Re-imagine Yourself and thus, the theme of “Re” words was adapted and then a design plan began for all the window decorations downtown. Please excuse my blurry photo above. Was just getting ‘er done.
We used white paper, white adhesive shelf paper, about $50 worth of tissue paper in four colors, and some clear plastic plus assorted cardboard boxes to carry out the design. With the intention to make a cohesive visual theme of trees, birds, flowers, and poms, and the “Re” words, Danielle and I began to design each window.
Danielle was the lead designer and we had to stealthily assign our work time as we both have children and not a lot of free time. Plus those poms are labor intensive. Not to mention the swirly trees. After coming up with sketches for the windows, we’d assign the words cut outs, poms, and tree making as homework and then there was multiple nights of install. You could not pay me enough to do this again but it did look super cool when it was done. Equally hard was getting pictures without a glare on the glass (A truck with a black side parked next to it would have worked).
Sadly, the Recreate window was to befall a horrible fate as the guy who rented it for Karate classes for two seconds ripped everything out of the window and tossed it in the back of the building. He got an ear-full from the town manager but it was tragic.
The Rejoice window left me speechless when I saw it. Danielle had taken the clear plastic roll (gift basket wrap) and created a stained glass effect with the tissue paper. It was incredible at night-time. Felt like a garden in there.
We’ve been moving West on the South side of Market Street from Third Street to Second. These last blackened windows belong to a still vacant building right before the Market Street Pub. It was a three-part design that has such lovely movement and tells a story.
My memories of this project are the struggles and the moments of interaction with the Danielle and the people in town and these old buildings. Here we had to work around the pub patrons sitting at these tables. And for one window, we used a Food Lion coupon card to jimmy a door lock that someone forgot to give us a key for. One building had had a fire and the water damage was apparent. And both Danielle and I were experiencing physical pain problems that have since been addressed.
This was the only window done on the opposite side, North side, of the street. At the time it was unoccupied and there was no electricity. We were in there trying to beat the fading light with Danielle’s little daughter roaming around picking up various hardware piece off the floor.
This project was really stunning to see in person. And we were well appreciated by the Arts Council and Town’s people. It did seem to fill the hole of our sad depressed downtown for a little while. And proved that something in the windows is better than nothing because soon there were another crop of little businesses filling up the store fronts, taking advantage of the first 6 months rent free. They come and they go, much like my little shop Bally Eden did. And now I feel happy that these beautiful windows have been releases like butterflies into the internet. Our work is gone but not forgotten.
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Sep 17, 2014
It was a year ago that I declared I’d be taking care of myself more.
I’d do more things For Me.
Remember this photo I took at the Y above the treadmill? I’ve been taking care better care of me in fits and spurts since then. Since it’s my birthday, the momentousness of the event made me want to share my progress.
Returning From the Trenches
When you have a baby, there is a sucking vortex that drags you into a gauntlet of physical and emotional challenges much worse than those Japanese obstacle course shows. Seen those? Where they’re jumping onto giant bobbing floats in huge pools of water dressed in costumes and you know there’s no possible way they can gain enough speed to jump and land on them and actually stay on top. But they’re trying so hard because there’s a huge prize. And they will fall and make you cringe every time.
In Momland, the huge prize is just keeping the baby alive. Aspire to nothing else and you are still an overachiever. You do this at all costs and eventually you have completely forgotten that you are a person who needs sleep or showers or a day off. No one can understand why you are so weepy or jumpy or crazed except other Mothers or people who’ve been on the front line and in the trenches. And people’s pity only helps so much and then you’re alone again.
I am not a victim or a martyr of my circumstances.
So many people have stories of coming out of this with a realization that to be the happy present Mommy you want to be, you have to take care of yourself and your basic needs at least. After being in the trenches, a pedicure may seem fluffy and frivolous but it is necessary. Since Fiona was born, I have gotten more of those than ever before. I just treated myself to one this week. But it’s also taking care of your body in the serious ways too.
And in taking care of myself, my alone time needs, my exercise needs, and my mental and physical “indulgences”, I am not a victim or a martyr of my circumstances. I do not ask anyone to take care of me. It is up to me.
Which brings me to the fact that this is the first year that we have had healthcare in a very long time. In fact since we moved to the Shore 14 years ago. Remember, I didn’t even want to have the baby knowing the only way we’d be able to afford it was to be on the government dole? Read about my middle class and medically assisted challenge here. But in the end, I thought I’d better go ahead and try before it was too late. Thanks to the US Government, at the age of 46, I had a baby. I refused the free cheese but took the rest.
My healthcare and well-being have always been up to me.
Yes, Obamacare forced us to get healthcare. And thanks to my husband for being persistent, we got a monthly discount and we have gone ahead and started taking care of all the little, and big, body problems we have, which are many. This past week alone, I had the first round of allergy shots after having, and paying $40 for all the Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor and allergist appointments to get to that point. Same day, I had my first Mammogram in 7 years. And then yesterday, I had a filling filled that thankfully I did not feel yet. Dentistry is not covered under healthcare but we have a discount insurance through Aetna.
The message I’m sending myself is that I deserve Self Care.
The more you take care of those body parts, the more you know you are worth it. I spoke about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in this post and the impact all of this will have on your quality of life, creativity, and productivity.
My biggest current pending problem is a horrible pain in what appears to be in the hip bone connected to the backbone, aka the S I joint. The Orthopedist I saw last week said he does hip joints but doesn’t deal with that area. See the guy downstairs. It’s interesting to note that, since I was on steroids for my nose, the hip pain subsided considerably. And in the knowing that it could feel better and I didn’t have to eat the pain and endure, I feel more entitled to taking care of myself and addressing the pain.
I fully expect the next Doctor to tell me that I’m going to need arthroscopic surgery like I needed on my shoulder 15 years ago. Something wonky on my left side has left every joint and passage a little crowded with bones. But the good news? We have our deductible paid for. The point that I’d like stop and make here ? My healthcare and well-being has always been up to me. Even when I didn’t have healthcare, I still went to the doctor’s office for treatment. The fabulous turn is that now, instead of being reactive with these issues, I’m allowed to be proactive. I can do further tests and procedures and head the reoccurring sinus infections off at the pass. And take care of horrible pains in my hip.
I ran yesterday out on the street. It is the first time in over two years I have been able to do that. I have been either pregnant or baby bound for this long. That is also the reason the pain subsided and has now come back. Happy pregnancy hormone help with pains and loosen joints. And while I am still on the steroid for a little longer, I wanted to taste the freedom of what the running felt like again. And it felt mighty fine.
Maybe you now know more than you want to know but I’d tell you about all of this to your face when we got together. Now that’s out-of-the-way. My point is that going into my 48th year, I want to be telling myself that I’m worth the effort, I can do whatever I put my mind to, and I am a mighty talented super swell gal. I can feel the wisdom trying to balance me out as long as I quiet the other noise in my head. Taking care of me is my present to myself and my loved ones. It’s For Me and for everyone who cares about me too.
Sep 15, 2014
I definitely have a thing for pork breakfast products. And where I can eat me some sausage with gravy and biscuits, I enjoy a good piece of simple bacon. But here’s my twist, I do not want the bacon that’s cooked crispy and nearly burned bacon you get from a frying pan. I want my bacon roasted in the oven until the fat solidifies into that melt-in-your-mouth goodness and the ham part retains a little chewiness. I am a bacon snob.
When I used to work in restaurants, the wait staff would get in immense trouble when caught snitching bacon off those great big baking trays as they were prepped for lunch’s BLTs. It was like candy waiting for a passersby. And these was done in the oven. Hmmm.
Here’s how my bacon hack is done.
A hot oven, maybe 400 – 425 degrees.
Line a baking sheet in parchment paper and fold the edges so that the grease doesn’t necessarily have to seep all over the pan.
Line up your bacon on the paper and put on the middle rack of the oven.
Start checking for doneness at 10 minutes.
It needs to be dark enough and cooked solid enough to hold straight when drained. If you take it out and drain it and it seems too limp, stick it back in for another couple of minutes.
Simple, no spatters, and it melts in your mouth.
Baked bacon, it’s what’s for breakfast.