Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Springtime Showers

Started off a gloomy morning with breakfast and some Good Eats. I've never done the "Tofuworld" episode before because I'm not a fan of tofu. I tried it in college, and it was really tasteless and weird. It's also good for you, which is why I finally ran this today. The firm type that comes in blocks can be used in place of some meats and baked or pan-fried; Alton soaked his in marinade. The softer silken type can be exchanged with milk or fattier liquids in smoothies and salad dressings.

Finally headed off around quarter after 11. Of course, as soon as I left, it started showering lightly. I still had errands to run, starting with a stop at the Oaklyn Library. The only other people there besides me and the librarian were a mother and her adorable baby daughter playing with the toys. Organized DVDs and looked at the picture books.

The showers finally sputtered out when I arrived in Haddonfield. Had lunch at the Bistro, one of my favorite restaurants there. The food is excellent and relatively low-fat, and the service is some of the fastest anywhere. The lunch crowd was so big, I ended up in the way back in the second room, and I still got my California wrap (grilled chicken in balsamic vinaigrette with chopped asparagus and roasted red peppers) in less than 10 minutes. (I even heard one of the waitresses say they're in the midst of remodeling their kitchen, and they still got the orders out fast.)

Got to counseling with two minutes to spare. I told her about my long and often frustrating month that began with a cold and ended with an impacted tooth. Some of the problems this month were things I really had no control over, like those three snow storms in a row. I did get lucky with the weather; was off for the first storm and was able to get to work before the snow got bad during the remaining two.

If there's one thing I've learned from the past few weeks, it's that while I still want to find a better apartment and a better job, I also need to learn to take better care of myself. I don't drink or smoke...but I also overeat, have few hobbies that encourage movement or being outside, and hate seeing doctors. I'm just so afraid of everything! I'm afraid of what people will say and do. I'm afraid of what will happen after those teeth are removed. I'm afraid of the pain. I'm afraid of being sick. I'm afraid there's something wrong with me. And I'm not really good at dealing with all that fear.

Constantly being around negative people doesn't help. I work at a very negative job. No one wants to work at a grocery store. As one of the employees reminded me a few months ago, people work there to make money, not because they want to or it's something they enjoy doing. People only shop at grocery stores because they need to eat, not because they enjoy it. If I had a dime for every customer who complained about how much they hated grocery shopping but had to do it to feed their families, I wouldn't be having the financial problems I am now. I spend most of my work day berating myself for not being normal enough to get out of this job in the first place. And then, when I'm at home, I end up listening to Charlie curse his brains out at his dogs.

I don't know too many people to discuss this with or who can make me feel better. My family all have their own problems and agendas. My best friend lives thousands of miles away. I can chat with her at night, but not all the time. My other two best friends live closer, but are dealing with their own financial problems, along with deaths of loved ones and pets and finding better jobs themselves. Most of them really don't know what to say to me anymore or how to help me handle my fears.

Mrs. Stahl suggested I find self-help CDs or podcasts that I can play at home that will give me positive support while I get back on my feet. I really like that idea. It's just a matter of finding something that doesn't sound too cheesy or come from someone who's more interested in shilling a product than other people's happiness.

At the very least, there's a lot going on this spring that should brighten my spirits a bit. Along with my birthday next month (and Rose's and Khai's), there's Easter this weekend, Jesse and Dana's wedding at the end of April (and all the preparations required for that), and my first vacation of the year with Lauren on Memorial Day week. I'm really looking forward to taking Lauren to the big May Fair in Collingswood that weekend. She'll love the classic car show.

Speaking of April, we decided that there's just too much going on next month for me to run up to Haddonfield for counseling. I scheduled my next appointment for the first day of my vacation. Lauren doesn't usually arrive until around 7:30, giving me plenty of time to get other things done.

The mild showers had resumed as I headed down Haddon Avenue after counseling. At the very least, while it was still a bit on the chilly side, it was no longer windy or nearly as cold as it has been. The digital sign at the Westmont Fire Station listed the temperature as 53 at around 2.

Stopped at Primo's Water Ice for a treat. I'd never seen them so quiet. There wasn't even anyone in the big rec room in the back they call "the Ice Box." Not only was it chilly, but it was around quarter after 2, before most kids let out of school. I bought a small cup of eggnog water ice. Oh yuuum. It tasted just like the real thing, maybe with a hint of mint. Creamy and amazing. I ate it outside on the black metal bench under the green-and-white striped awning.

Stopped briefly at the Acme and CVS in Westmont on the way home. I couldn't find the bristles for my electric toothbrush at the Acme. Grabbed them at the CVS next-door, along with brush pick refills, milk, and dish washing liquid.

Took the long way across Newton Lake Park coming to and from Haddonfield. Needless to say, they weren't really busy. Spring is just barely sprouting here; you can see the buds on the trees and tufts of new green grass amid the brittle yellow waves...when they aren't immersed in an ankle-deep puddle of water. Thanks to silt from run-off and animal excretion, the lake tends to flood whenever the snow or rain is really bad, turning most of the park into a heavy layer of mud.

The kids were finally getting out of school as I got into Oaklyn. I was just starting down West Clinton near the fire house when I passed a gaggle of Oaklyn School kids being shepherded home by teachers and aides. Among those kids was my nephew Khai. I waved to him, but I also wonder what he was doing there. His home is on the other side of Oaklyn from the White Horse Pike, which is the direction the group was going. Maybe he was walking home with a friend to hang out at their house.

Worked on writing for a few hours after I got in. Leia does manage to get Han away from Palpatine...but he attacks her with his magic. Just as he's going to try to corrupt her, Obi-Wan interrupts and challenges him to a duel, giving Leia the chance to get away with Luke the unicorn and the others.

Leia and Luke just can't bring themselves to leave their uncle. They return to the square...just in time to see Obi-Wan become one with the Force as his clothes fall to the ground before Palpatine can deliver one more round of purple lightning. Leia and Luke manage to injure his shoulder before they finally take off after the others.

(Oh, and Willa called while I was on the computer. She wanted me and one of Charlie's men who also just got a new bike to clear out our old bikes unless we were going to do something with them. She says she doesn't have room for the old one and the new one. I was thinking of donating it to the Collingswood Bike Share, but I decided not to wait. I removed the still-good seat I bought a few weeks ago and just left it on the curb.)

Broke for dinner at quarter after 6.  Made lentil stew while watching one of the episodes from the World War II-set first season of Wonder Woman. "Wonder Woman vs Gargantua" pits Diana against a gigantic gorilla that's been trained by a female Nazi scientist to kill at a moment's notice, as well as steal a spy before he can spill more information to the Allies. Diana knows that's not the gorilla's real nature and does everything she can to get him out of a cage and back into the wild, where he belongs.

Finished the night with Wii Sports. Did some more baseball this time. Just being able to manage two home runs on the home run derby round made me happy. At least I could hit something. I did better with the speed pitch round, hitting continuous balls short distances rather than trying to hit them out of the park. I also did some Target Practice on golf, worked with training on boxing and won a match (no KO, but I did win decisively), practiced my tennis swing and aim, and cooled down with a round of bowling. Also bowled to pick up spares and hit increasing pins. I did so well with picking up spares, it netted me my first silver medal.

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