Tag: Baltimore

Arthritis

Yesterday I participated in Northern Colorado’s Annual Jingle Bell Run – the Virtual edition of 2020.

This weekend, Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Runners across the country have been coming together to attempt to break the Guinness World Records® title for the largest remote 5k in 24 hours.  To be included in the world record attempt, your virtual “run” must be logged on the RunGo app between 12:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, December 12th and 12:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, December 13th

I started running/walking the Jingle Bell Run back in elementary school – though truly I only remember back to the walk I did in Middle School. I wasn’t really into running until college – so these ‘runs’ were always walks. They were also usually at the Oval on the campus of Colorado State University. I miss running in the snow on the Oval!

image description: a redhead wearing a blue jacket and a purple mask stands in front of the railroad transfer bridge in the water at Canton Waterfront Park.

Yesterday I walked down to the waterfront – Canton Waterfront Park – specifically and then back. There were TONS of people out in Baltimore yesterday as the weather was nice and in the 60s. I’m assuming it’s only worse today. Canton is particularly bad for lack of social distancing and mask wearing compliance.

Once I stopped at the waterfront, I immediately went northwards on a side street and made a point to avoid the main thoroughfares where lots of unmasked people were congregating. Getting outside makes a huge difference in my mental health but with my chronic illness I really want to avoid any exposure to the virus. My illness is on the list of particularly high risk – and outcomes of people who have it and get Covid are really bad right now so I am doing everything in my power to stay safe.

completed run image description: a redhead with a braid and a blue coat stands in front of a faux evergreen and ribbon wrapped light post on the street.

Family Recipe: Wassail

Happy holidays! Well, in preparation of the holiday party and New Year season, I have a little recipe for you all. I have seen feedback that many people don’t like getting a story before the recipe so I’m going to post the recipe straightaway. If you want to hear about Wassail – go read below the recipe for that.

image description: image of cranberry juice, apple cider, cinnamon sticks, an orange, and whole cloves all assembled on a blue mat.

Wassail

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Ingredients
2 Quarts apple juice or cider
1 pint cranberry juice
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tsp whole allspice
1 whole small orange, studded with whole cloves
1 cup rum (optional)
1 tsp aromatic bitters (optional)

Instructions
Put all ingredients in crock pot. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour, then on low for 4 to 8 hours.
Serve warm from crockpot..

image description: a white ceramic mug with cider in it and an orange slice on the rim, then two orange slices, a cinnamon stick, and whole cloves arranged on a blue mat.

Wassail is hot mulled cider – many different formulations exist over different cultures – my mother’s family is part British so it’s possible this is an old family tradition. I was always under the impression that most of my family’s traditions derived from their time spent stationed on the Army base in Germany though.

The word, according to Wiki, is derived from the Medieval Christmastide tradition of wassailing – or an English drinking ritual to guarantee a good harvest in the new year.

Wassail is a drink that we have made every single holiday as far as I can remember. Thanksgiving – when we celebrated it – included putting the Wassail on early in the morning and beginning to drink it by noon. Also, I personally have never had the alcoholic version, so this was a very innocent tradition from my childhood.

When I had my first holiday party in our home in Atlanta, I made wassail as one of the things I had – it was one of the biggest endeavors I ever undertook – but it was so much fun! I haven’t managed to replicate it in Baltimore mostly because of the size of our row home.

Hopefully you enjoy this recipe too! Let me know what you think.

❤ J

Holiday Gift Guide: Dog Mom Edition

This holiday season is challenging for me, now that we only have two dogs and my longtime service dog has gone over the rainbow bridge. But for some reason, concentrating on the pet dog and service dog in training we do have is helpful to distract me and make life a little brighter.

There isn’t much more fun for me than giving my service dog in training pup new toys and sometimes finding new (or replacing old) devices that make our lives with pets easier.

A dark miniature schnauzer curls up against a human’s legs in the foreground and a lighter schnauzer is curled up against the end of the sofa in the background.
image description: gift guide: dog mom gifts. images include a spot bot, a car belt harness, an automatic ball throwing device, hooves and antlers to chew, dog treats, and a stuffed dinosaur.
  1. SpotBot Pet Handsfree Spot & Stain Cleaner – We have replaced this a few times. Not by any fault of the spot bot itself, more because of inattentive cleaning patterns. It works GREAT. Got our carpets in our old rental that were off white when we moved in back to true white when we moved out in SPITE of five years of pets and being right on the backdoor. – If you have ADD be aware that it needs to be immediately emptied and cleaned when it’s done cleaning the rugs otherwise it does tend to gunk up the gears.
  2. Dog Safety Vest Harness – We bought two of these for use in all car travel with our dogs. It keeps them safe and keeps me from spending all my time being worried about them falling off the seat.
  3. Automatic Ball Launcher – I do not have and have not used this, but it looks like it would be a really fun toy for both our toy-chase obsessed SDiT and his buddy the cat.
  4. Natural Cow Hooves for Dogs – We have these and have replenished them for the dogs every year or so. There are plenty to go around for the two of them and they last a long time.
  5. Zuke’s Mini Natural Soft Treats – Dog treats are a very individual sort of thing, but we have used these mini treats very successfully in training and the pups love them. The size makes it much easier to avoid overfeeding.
  6. Deer Antler Dog Chews – my older dogs never got into these antler chews but the SDiT loves them so he’ll probably get a pack in his stocking this year.
  7. Dino Dog Toy – This dinosaur dog toy has chew guard technology. It also has a squeaker – which is one of my dogs favorite things ever. We haven’t tried the chew guard technology yet, but I’ll report back!

What are your pet’s favorite things? Any toys we should look into?

❤ J

Holiday Gift Guide: Chronic Illness Edition

Knowing what to get for your friends who are disabled, or chronically ill is sometimes challenging – there are allergies to consider, many are poor, living in very small spaces, and often your best bet are things to help comfort – or checking their Amazon wishlists!

Here are a few things that I personally use and appreciate for comfort when I am dealing with pain flares, ongoing colds during the beginning of winter, and being stuck in the house because of illness.

  1. Weighted Blanket – This has been invaluable to me since the loss of my service dog. He used to provide a very direct weight to help me sleep, and this blanket does a fairly decent approximation. It has also anecdotally helped many other people both disabled and abled.
  2. Electric Blanket – I prefer the Serta and Sunbeam brands – and I especially love the reversible sherpa and fleece throw I have on the sofa right now.
  3. Kindle or E-Reader – I get so much mileage out of my Kindle, in general, but especially when I’m sick. Cold and flu season means I spend a lot of spare time inside in bed or on the sofa catching up on sci-fi reads. E-readers are especially good for disabled people because we can check out books from the library on them – you can change the formatting to larger or smaller letters to help with vision – and they are much lighter than chapter books or other tablet readers to hold for long periods of time.
  4. Car Adaptor Electric Blanket – This blanket is ideal for long car rides over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house – or Aunt Janelle’s in my case – I love it because we have to keep the car colder for both my partner AND my service dog. This helps me regulate my own temperature and stay comfortable for long periods of sitting.
  5. Contour Orthopedic Cervical Pillow – This pillow has helped immensely with neck and back pain from a pinched nerve. Supposedly sleeping on our backs reduces pressure and compression to help with chronic conditions. It is also helpful if you have sinus problems – for example – I notice my partner snores if he’s not sleeping on his back, it’s particularly bad if he ends up on his stomach. We both have these kinds of pillows to support back sleeping.
  6. Bathrobe or other cute loungewear – I personally linked the bathrobe because I like that it goes well with my final dream gift, and it is nice to have something easy to throw on to answer the door when you spend all day on the sofa.
  7. Coleman Inflatable Hot Tub – This hot tub was a wishlist purchase. After spending a weekend at the hot springs in Colorado, we realized that a lot of ongoing pains we had were drastically reduced. So my partner started investigating how to go about getting a hot tub in a Baltimore row home — let’s just say that wasn’t a very inexpensive or easy endeavor. He finally came across the Coleman hot tubs and realized we could do it! We got the square one because we’re very particular about shape and aesthetic but the round ones are even cheaper! This is a GREAT family gift.

Let me know if there’s any particular disability mitigating gift you’ve thought of or given that you loved over the years. Thanks for reading!

❤ J

Friday Faves

image description: the photo is of two cups of coffee on a wood surface. superimposed are the words Friday Favorites: A few of my Favorite Things. Hear Her Hands Blog.

I am not entirely sure if this is going to become a new series, but currently, I have a few major favorites for the changeable season and I am hoping that by hoping hard enough we can get a sunny, warm, long fall before the too many months of winter hit the Mid-Atlantic. (Without hurricanes, please).

I am a fan of everything pumpkin spice but in the last few months I have been struggling with a sensitivity or allergy that means I am transitioning more fully to lactose and dairy free. I miss my cheese! But in this transition, I have found some really great products and I still get to enjoy my pumpkin spice.

  • NutPods Pumpkin Spice Creamer
image description: is an orange box with pictures of coconut, pumpkin, and cinnamon. The Nut Pods logo is a green circle with white lettering. It reads limited edition pumpkin spice, naturally flavored. almond + coconut creamer.

I initially was comparing this creamer to the flavor of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte – and that wasn’t working! After the second try, it did start to grow on me. I really enjoyed the strong cinnamon flavor and the fact that I haven’t had any ill effects from it either. Great option if you’re looking for ways to reduce your dairy intake with coffee and especially if dairy and coffee together make you sick.

  • BareMinerals bareskin brightening foundation in 06 – Bare Satin.
image description: a foundation bottle in a medium tone. the lettering says bareMinerals BARESKIN Pure Brightening Serum Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20.

When the weather starts changing with the seasons, my skin gets more difficult to manage. Especially in spring and fall, I do not feel confident enough to go out without makeup for special events although I truly do not wear make up often otherwise! This BareSkin foundation has been a favorite of mine for a very long time. It’s easy to use, it travels well, the brush is one of my favorites in general, and it requires very little thought to use (which is great when brain fog is the order of the day). Check it out.

  • OGX Organix Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo & Conditioner
image description: two blue bottles with gold tops, one is shampoo and the other conditioner: both labeled with the words Renewing + Argan Oil of Morocco.

When the weather changes and particularly after a long summer of lots of swimming and time outdoors, my hair is dry and I end up using far more conditioner than shampoo. Since March, I have been using this Argan Oil of Morocco shampoo and conditioner set. I wash the roots of my hair every third day with the shampoo and then every time I have trouble brushing it, I will wet it down and use this conditioner (rinseing afterwards!). It has made a lot of difference in the strength of my hair and I have had far less breakage and flyaways.

What are some of your current favorites for the fall? Let me know in the comments!

❤ Jennifer

Disability Pride Month Reads : Moon-Bright Tides.

I read this book as part of my review of #OwnVoices disability authors/writers for disability pride month.

This is a sweet, cute, quick read about a romance between a mermaid and a witch. The witch is sad, lonely, and traumatized because of how she ended up being the person to sing in the tides. The mermaid she meets is also sad, and literally starving – they connect and it is a lovely story of friendship and care taking that becomes love.

I judge books by several things – character development, world building, story, and how quickly I want to read it all! This book easily met my requirements. I suggest it if you are looking for a sweet, quick read.