Tag: BmoreBabe

I Have Been Sick All My Life

A white woman on a gurney just outside the surgery recovery room. A white physician and a nurse are on either side of the stretcher, either talking with her or pushing the gurney. The photograph was taken at lower than eye level.

I am immunocompromised: Please Consider Me
This has been a really difficult and scary year for me.
And for so many of my friends and fellow disabled community members.
We have heard over and over that our lives don’t matter.
And now that there is a vaccine - the world wants to leave us behind.
We may be slightly more protected once vaccinated
However, we cannot let our collective guards down
I cannot suddenly say ‘yes’ to all these magic gatherings that people are planning
Not until there’s herd immunity
And even then, kidney disease does not have good Covid outcomes
And I am so angry
I feel scared

I am constantly remembering the fact that 
Eugenics actually began in America - the United States
The fact that Alexander Graham Bell wanted to eradicate the Deaf community
In the 1800s my people were systematically deprived of their language
And that is something that continues to TODAY
So excuse me if I am angry
If this year has made me so incredibly scared
That my partner has been carefully working from home all year
That they have done all the medication runs - which we couldn’t get delivered
And I have pretty much stayed inside
And I persist in wearing a mask outside even now
Because I cannot trust anyone
I have so many friends
Who have personal experience with devastating illness
And should know better
If you could reduce your risk of dying - as a well person - why wouldn’t you
Why must you deny the many many years of research
(Which my best friend does so I know how long it has gone on and how serious it is)

Why must you tell me that my life and the lives of others at high risk 
Do NOT matter to you?
And the worst part is
I already felt like my worth was nonexistent
I already struggled with suicidal ideation
I already believed that there was no space for me in the world
WHY must you confirm my fears?
And tell me that my life doesn’t matter to you?
Please please consider me and so many others like me
And please do your part to protect our lives.

This piece was written thanks to a monthly theme from Illuminate, a writing community from The Kindred Voice.

Read more pieces on VULNERABILITY from other Illuminate members:

Being Vulnerable With My Body by Hannah Kewley

Quitting Cold Turkey by Mia Sutton

To The Women Working in Male-Dominated Fields by Christi Jeane

Anxiety Hangover by Christine Carpenter

Butterfly Wings by Megan McCoy Dellecese

with love, eunice by Eunice Brownlee

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

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

Summer Essentials: Pool-side

image description: two women in an infinity pool with the mountains in the background. overlaid the image are the words: Summer Essentials – Five Favorites for Pool-side Fun!

  • Everyone’s Most Important Accessory: SUNBLOCK!
Image is of a spray on sunblock bottle: New Look Aveeno Active Naturals HydroSport. SPF 30.

We all know how important skin protection is now. I personally prefer Aveeno sunblocks and lotions because most other types cause skin reactions for me – my skin tends to be sensitive. If I can find a higher SPF, I will use it for sure, but the spray-on kind is easy to use and it means we actually use it. And since my partner has red in his hair, he burns easily so we reapply often!

  • My Partner’s Favorite: SNACKS!
Image of three bags of green and white. The brand says Joel's Traditional Homegrown Meats. 100% Grass-FedBeef Jerky.

This is just an example. Our pool has a bar where you can get snacks and drinks, but if I plan ahead, I like to bring things that are portable and don’t spoil like this beef jerky. I also like to bring fruit, strawberries or watermelon. And I would carry trail mix for emergency hanger.

  • A Book! Either on Kindle or in paper.
image is of a refurbished Kindle Paperwhite with a prologue up on the screen.

I read a lot in the summer. My favorite thing for as long as I can remember is to sit by the pool, well-slathered in sunscreen, and read a book until the sun starts to set. I don’t do it nearly as often anymore, but even now that I’m all grown up, my favorite books are science-fiction fantasy and getting lost in other worlds. I’ll share what I’m currently reading below.

  • A Cover-Up!
Side by side images of a long haired brunette in a black coverup dress on the left, and the same person in a white coverup dress on the right.

I think this long dress-like coverup is a cute option! When I grew up in Colorado, all coverups were either made out of terry-cloth or polar fleece because you could never tell if it was going to be freezing and windy or dry and 95.

Now that I live somewhere with humidity – and have ever since I moved away from Colorado – I have learned that you want your coverup to be lightweight, breathable, and airy. Terrycloth is only going to make you sweat!

  • A good Facial Cleanser for Afterwards.
image of the Aveeno Active Naturals ultra-calming makeup removing wipes package that has a plastic resealable top.

These Aveeno makeup removing wipes are a great option to keep in your pool bag for removing the sunblock, chlorine, and sweat immediately after your time in the pool. The first thing I do before I leave is go wipe all that stuff off my face, because if I don’t, I run the risk of getting a breakout.

My other favorite wipes are AcneFree Oil-Free Towelettes, but they seem to be really difficult to find these days. Aveeno is the only other thing I’ve been able to use without major skin reactions.

  • What I’m Currently Reading!

I just started the 9th book in the Kris Longknife series by Mike Shepherd. The title is Redoubtable. I have enjoyed the series so far, as it is my favorite kind of science fiction. This one is a space exploration series, which means that both my partner and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it because it has enough character development, relationship and plot points about people – and he loves it because it’s all about expansion and pioneering space (or pirating as the case may be.)

What is your current pool-side read? Do you have a favorite book you read every summer? Let me know in the comments!

❤ Always, J

Copycat Baked Egg Bites

image description: photo of egg muffins on a white cutting board. the muffin on the bottom right hand corner has a bite taken out of it.

I don’t know about you, but I have been gradually eating more diverse foods and being flexible about what’s around. I finally stopped being scared of fats a few years ago after working with a trainer and gradually adding fat back into my diet. That was such a helpful experience! I learned a lot of things and I learned that there isn’t really any morality to food – there’s no such thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ food. (If you’re interested in that, go check out Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch).

After that, it was really nice that when we were traveling or if I was hungry at odd times and only had access to things like Starbucks or gas stations, I could still eat and not feel as anxious about it. When Starbucks rolled out those delicious egg bites a year or so ago, they were an instant fast favorite of mine. Enough fats and proteins to keep me going until another meal time, and delicious to boot!

However, my local Starbucks – the one that I passed everyday walking to the gym or the studio or back home – never EVER seemed to have them in stock. It was so frustrating! Those were the only thing I wanted on the menu, so I finally took matters into my own hands.

Copycat Starbucks Egg Bites

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Ingredients
6 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan asiago cheese
1/2 cup mozarella cheese
3/4 cup cottage cheese
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/4 cup spinach (frozen or fresh cooked down and drained)
pepper to taste

Instructions
Add eggs, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, and salt to a bowl. Optional to blend these together for 30 seconds (I didn’t).
Mix in the sundried tomatoes and spinach.
Grease a silicone muffin tin with olive oil or coconut oil spray.
Fill each cup about 3/4 of the way full.
Cook at 375 degrees for 20 minutes with a casserole dish of water on the shelf below.
Remove the silicone muffin tins and let cool. The egg bites rose a little while cooking but settled as it cooled.
Remove eggs from the muffin tins when cool (I used a butter knife).
Store in an air tight container for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
Microwave for 30 seconds when ready to eat.

These would be fun with other kinds of mix-ins! I just happen to always have spinach and sundried tomatoes on hand. Bacon would be lovely, but I think it probably needs to be at least par-baked first.

Enjoy! Let me know how these go for you!

❤ Always, J.