Mundane but significantly awesome. (Updates of the week.)

This week has been satisfying, as in:

…when you have a Body Pump substitute instructor who allows the class to vote out the shoulder track, and your outnumbered ass leaves feeling like you did an incomplete workout, because you did (you didn’t have time to work shoulders on your own), but then the following week’s sub for the same class makes up for it 500% on account of doing the shoulder track and being one of the best instructors ever, regardless.

…when the changing weather brings your scale-baby out of his burrow twice a day, morning and late-afternoon, and you spend as much time with him as possible because mother/tortoise bonding time is important and he needs to eat all of his favorite lettuce and whatever hibiscus flowers can be found on the bushes this late in the season.

—when you’re on a long drive with your friend and your conversation turns to the critical matter of vampires who unknowingly dine on the blood of humans infected with zombie virus, and you debate whether they’re vampire-zombies or zombie-vampires, and you discuss the details of how they’d do life as double-undeads in either case.

…when you’re feeling festive so you dye your hair darker and polish your nails a celestial shade and pick up an antique, haunted mirror and thrift a fake purplish-black pumpkin coated in fake frost that you know will look rad in your office, and it does, in your opinion.

—when you rearrange your favorite soundcloud playlist as appropriate for the season, because summer is officially over in FOUR DAYS, so it’s already Halloween, and no argument is valid.

 

Ruella, end of summer

 

Happy Friday Eve!

 

 

The mirror came home, and good times were had.

I have an update on last week Tuesday’s post topic! My friend Margaret offered to take me to get the haunted mirror, and so we went… and we made a whole splendiferous day of it. That was Sunday. Now that the mirror is home and the listing has been removed from Craigslist, I can tell you that it was down in Tucson. What casual visitor doesn’t love a Sunday on Fourth Avenue in Tucson? That whole town’s got a great vibe.

 

Gargoyle above Tucson’s Sacred Art Tattoo on 4th

 

(No, Mom, I didn’t get another tattoo. Haha.)

Traffic was good, so it took just less than two hours to get there. Tuscon is 101 miles south of my house, and Sedona is 100 miles north, but it takes a little longer to get to Sedona because of the terrain and altitude of the high desert. The drive to Sedona usually ends up being almost exactly two hours long.

 

Restroom/junk food stop on the way to Tucson

 

Let me tell you about the mirror, though! It’s a beauty. It’s an authentic antique, said my antique expert friend and partner-in-crime, and I’ve currently got it leaning against the wall on my antique German trunk. I think I’ll leave it there.

 

“Very old mirror” in my office

 

In case you were wondering, never fear – I do plan to follow up on my threats to present an updated office tour. It’s coming together, this place. It’s very nearly finished. My décor theme is “haunted cathedral,” and this mysterious little mirror fits in perfectly! I’ve been waiting for Halloween season to arrive in all its commercial glory so I could find inexpensive finishing touches to add. (As far as I’m concerned, Halloween season is when you buy “occasion” stuff for year-round.) This mirror, though, is a piece of high quality. I haven’t seen evidence of possession yet, but it definitely looks like it has stories to tell.

 

 

Relaxing my grip on goals.

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”

…is a true statement, and also antithetical to pursuing goals, when you think about it from a certain angle.

I haven’t achieved all of my goals yet, but I will one day… and then what? What happens when you’ve achieved everything you’ve set out to achieve? What do you do then?

I’ve flippantly said that I’d die without goals, and in my darkest moments, I’ve believed it. Something’s shifted in my thinking this summer, though, and now, with the season changing and the year just about 3/4 over, I’m approaching my 51st birthday thinking that goals don’t matter as much anymore. How can they matter when I’ve been busy discovering how crazy exhilarating it is to conquer the present moment?

Let me tell you, it’s been so damn satisfying and fun making changes rather than running after goals. I guess what I’m saying, really, is that once I get my shit together, then I can laser-focus on future goals. That’s where I’ve been. I’ve been in the moment, but I haven’t been floating along in it all serene and zen. I’ve been shaking it up.

I still have goals for the future, of course, but I like what I’m doing right now. I don’t want “life to happen while I’m making other plans.”

Onward!

I’ve got the following slew of pics because I heard you when you said that you wanted to see: selfies of me in tees not included in my t-shirt post, pics of me with Geronimo, and more than one selfie at a time. I tried, anyway. I took all of these pics late this afternoon! The lighting is different in the interior pics because change of location means a change of natural lighting, and I don’t care to spend time messing with my selfies to make them look differently. I take it, I post it, that’s it. I’m wearing a Nine Inch Nails shirt today.

This one’s in my office – I’m sitting at my desk (with my back to it), and there’s a glow on the left side of my face from the pink salt lamp just below:

 

In my office

 

This next one is in my dining room, which is brighter and warmer in tone than my office. Yeah, I’m as awkward as ever holding a selfie stick. Eh.

 

In the dining room

 

Here’s my first attempt at getting a selfie with Geronimo! I had to point the phone down in order to get him in the picture.

 

With my scale-baby!

 

Callaghan took this one. You can’t really see Geronimo’s face, because the whole pic is hazy with the late-afternoon sun behind us. In fact, now that I look at it, can you even tell that he’s a tortoise?! I’ll work on these pics with Geronimo, for sure.

 

Courtesy of Callaghan

 

Until next week!

 

 

I need a Craigslist intervention. (I’m haunted by a mirror.)

Someone on Craigslist is selling an antique wall mirror, which caught my eye with its unusual design. I found it to be precious and intriguing. I love antiques.

According to the ad text, the petite mirror has been in the seller’s family for at least three generations, but the seller knows nothing more about it. They’re asking for $25.00.

If you know me, you know the first thing I thought, right? Haunted mirror! The second thing I thought was I must have it. 

Take a look:

 

antique wall mirror

 

The alluring ad text reads:

Very old wall mirror. It has been in my family for at least 3 generations but I know nothing else about it. Frame is wood , handle is metal and it measures 26 1/2 inches long and 7 3/4 inches wide. 25.00 . Call if interested. No texts.

I place the call. After several rings, the call goes to voice mail. A woman picks up as I’m leaving my brief message. She has trouble hearing me, she says. She’s “getting a strange vibration on the line,” and could I call her back?

Of course I can!

My second call goes directly to voice mail; I hang up without leaving a message. When I try a third time two minutes later, the same woman answers. The connection is better, but my inquiry mystifies her. “A mirror? On Craigslist?” She turns away from her phone and calls: “Someone is asking about a mirror…? On Craigslist?”

She puts her mouth back to the phone and tells me that I’ll have to speak with her husband, because she has no idea about the mirror.

The husband gets on the phone and confirms that the mirror is still for sale. He kindly answers my next question by repeating the verbiage in the ad, but he also shares that the mirror had belonged to his grandmother’s aunt. They’d found it in her house. This information stirs up my imagination even more, because now there’s a grandmother’s aunt in the picture! The mirror is getting spookier by the moment.

Unfortunately, the seller and his bewitching mirror are two hours away.

Lamenting the mileage between us, I wonder out loud whether he thinks the mirror might be available for the foreseeable future (no pun intended). The seller gives a dry chuckle as he remarks, “Well, I’ve only had two calls about this mirror. There’s been very little interest in it in four months.”

Why aren’t the callers going through with the sale? The mirror is only $25.00!

Now I want the mirror even more.

Two weeks later, the mirror is still up for sale, and distance remains the issue. I’m not sure that I have four hours to spend in a car going to pick up a mirror. Four hours round-trip to retrieve a mirror could also be a four-hour road trip to Las Vegas, where I could spend a night at the El Cortez and also catch The Australian Bee Gees Show – A Tribute to the Bee Gees. Time permitting, I could see Zombie Burlesque, too! That kind of a weekend would be worth the additional four hours getting back to Phoenix.

Callaghan says that the mirror probably is haunted, so I don’t need it. My own thought is that if the mirror is actually haunted, then I definitely need it.

It’s not looking likely, my friends, but if you see this mirror here again, it’ll be because it made its way to my office.

 

 

With love from one season to the next. (August Favorites!)

Check out, if you will, my favorite little things from August! I’ve got a movie, two streaming series, one facial product, and a whole lot of food.

We’ve discovered Russian-language series, and now I want to watch every single one available. The two equally excellent projects mentioned here both feature Estonian actor Kirill Käro. You would be correct in guessing that Kirill Käro is my current favorite actor. Let’s start with a film from South Korea, though!

 

1).  Train to Busan (Original title: Busanhaeng)  – from South Korea

 

 

Someone has gone and created a brilliant film melding family drama with the zombie apocalypse. Train to Busan is great for when you can’t decide whether you want to see a drama, a thriller, or a horror movie. It’s currently on Netflix.

From the protagonist’s standpoint: When you’re bored with your routine and think it would be nice, for once, to have a day filled with family drama, high-speed thrills, and a zombie apocalypse.

[Sidenote: this film has revived my interest in preparing for the zombie apocalypse. I’ve already gotten that endeavor underway.]

 

2).  Better Than Us (Original title: Luchshe, chem lyudi) (Netflix) – from Russia

 

 

 

When you get adopted by a robot who happens to have been made in China, shenanegans will ensue. (Kirill Käro is on the right.)

I must put in that we couldn’t help but continually marvel at the way actress Paulina Andreeva portrayed a robot. The person who trained Paulina Andreeva knew what they were doing, and Paulina Andreeva is hella talented.

 

3).  The Sniffer (Original title: Nyukhach) (Netflix) – from Ukraine

 

 

We’re only four episodes into The Sniffer. I’ve seen enough, though, to know that you’re daft if you don’t insure your nose and its superhuman power of being able to smell in such detail that you can make hefty coin as a freelance detective. This series is a dramedy with an often hilariously bumbling duo, one half being Kirill Käro’s character. (I won’t say his name anymore in this post, I promise.)

 

4). Nature’s Path Organic Sunrise Crunchy Cinnamon Cereal. (Vegan and gluten-free.)

 

Nature’s Path Organic Sunrise Crunchy Cinnamon Cereal

 

As pumpkin-spice everything takes over the States, I indulge my love for one of those spices by sprinkling extra cinnamon onto this delicious, crunchy cinnamon cereal. My current passion for this flavor may be related to my eagerness to plow into Halloween season (aka fall), but I can see enjoying this cereal year-round.

 

5). GoMacro Macrobar Sunny Uplift Cherries + Berries. (Vegan and gluten-free.)

 

GoMacro Macrobar Sunny Uplift Cherries + Berries

 

August was one of those months that left me hooked on a particular food. I cannot get enough of these Cherries + Berries GoMacro bars. I’ve liked all of the GoMacro bars I’ve tried, but these? I love cherries! These bars are sweet and tart and chewy and wonderful, and they vaguely remind me of Pop Tarts.

 

6). 365 Cape Cod Trail Mix. (Vegan and gluten-free.)

 

365 Cape Cod Trail Mix

 

Here’s another simple one: cashews, almonds, and dried cranberries in a mix that’s altogether similar in flavor to the Cherries + Berries GoMacro bars. I’m enjoying this flavor combination of sweet and tart in a wholesome food. It tastes of both summer and fall to me. I love the transition of summer to fall.

 

7). Food For Life Sprouted Corn Tortillas. (Vegan and gluten-free.)

 

Food For Life Sprouted Corn Tortillas

 

These tortillas make for some seriously yummy black bean tacos, and they contain only four ingredients: organic sprouted corn, filtered water, sea salt, and lime. They’re delicious. They will make you wonder why you’d put any other ingredient into a corn tortilla.

 

8). Follow Your Heart Gluten-Free Oat Bread. (Vegan and gluten-free.)

 

Follow Your Heart Gluten-Free Oat Bread

 

I’ve also been enjoying this oat bread by Follow Your Heart. I pretty much only eat toasted bread when I’m at home, though, so I can’t tell you how this bread comes across when un-toasted. I should’ve thought to try it out for you! After all, texture is everything when we’re talking about gluten-free baked goods. Really good toast, though.

 

9). Food For Life Gluten-Free Brown Rice English Muffins. (Vegan and gluten-free.)

 

Food For Life Gluten-Free Brown Rice English Muffins

 

These English muffins are super dense. They’re like hockey pucks, and it would probably hurt to get hit with one. They’ve become my staple breakfast on Body Pump mornings! I split two of them apart and toast them and spread Earth Balance on two halves and peanut butter and jam on the other two halves, and they’re good. It takes a while to eat them, they’re so heavy! Awesome energy for a pre-workout meal!

 

10). Acure Brightening Facial Scrub. (Vegan and cruelty-free.)

 

Acure brightening facial scrub

 

I cannot describe to you the luxury of this exfoliating facial scrub. With its base of sea kelp and “French green clay,” it’s a green so dark, it’s almost black. A little goes a long way. The formula is thick and rough, as in large-grain grainy, so I proceed with a very light touch with added water throughout use. I massage it in circles from my forehead all the way down my neck. The luxurious part is the feeling on my skin as I rinse it off. It’s unlike anything I’ve tried! I use this scrub every night following my Earth Science Creamy Fruit Oil Cleanser (a favorite from July). I love the combination of these two products. It’s like a spa in my shower every night.

 

The End. I can’t wait to get back here with my September Favorites, because that would mean the start of Short Horror Movie October! I know that you can’t wait, either. Heheh.

Happy Friday Eve!

 

 

Body Pump: what the whole world did on Labor Day.

Yesterday morning, I jumped out of bed and into the car 20 minutes later to get to Body Pump. Like, that never happens! I didn’t think I’d land a spot in the class. I’d spent all of the previous day up until midnight reloading the gym app every half-hour in hopes that someone would drop their spot in the “FULL” class. I’d gone to bed thinking, well, there might be a last-minute cancellation in the morning.

And lo, there was one! When I got up with the alarm at 6:30am, the class was still full. When the alarm woke me up again two hours later, one spot was open. I grabbed it. Then I realized that I had to be on the road in 20 minutes if I wanted to make it on time, as none of my new gyms’ locations are close to me considering that I take surface streets everywhere. (You might remember that I don’t drive on the freeway anymore.)

Monday morning Body Pump always fills up to the max, but everyone wanted to go on Labor Day Monday. Yesterday’s class reached its limit within a few hours of open reservation on Sunday morning; it was full by noon!

I was elated to get my spot. I just had time to scrub my retainers and brush my teeth, throw my sunscreen and three different kinds of nutrition bars into my bag, jump into some gym clothes and shoes, gulp down my morning meds and supplements, and fill my thermos with water before hopping into the car.

Callaghan made fun of me for being that person doing her face (but it was just sunscreen!) while driving, though I did it while stopped at a red light. It’s hard to put on sunscreen while shoving protein bars into your mouth, by the way.

When I got to the gym, I found a line wrapped around the side of the group fitness room as people waited for the earlier class to finish.

By the time the class was set to begin, there were so many people in the room that we were crowded up to the mirror on either side of the instructor’s platform, and packed from one wall to the other from the sides. Also, yesterday was the first time I’ve seen a Pump class run out of equipment at my new gym.

The (substitute) instructor allowed walk-ins as long as there was still standing room and equipment, but it’s hard to gauge equipment availability when people are streaming in and out of the equipment room to grab weights. She advised us to share our weight plates with others if we weren’t using them at the moment.

I was just elated to be there. It was a kick-ass class with a super motivating substitute instructor who made a point of challenging us. I actually feel my biceps today!

So that was yesterday’s highlight. Today, I had to go to the V.A. in the morning for my annual mammogram. I wore one of my favorite t-shirts, and I took a selfie in it because you didn’t see this tee in my “current favorite t-shirts” post. I had to stop at 15!

 

Depeche Mode tee [9/3/2019]

I cut the neckline out of this one, of course. It’s Depeche Mode.

I’ll post my August Favorites list on Thursday!

 

 

Current 15 favorite t-shirts, by request!

Okay. I tried to narrow it down to ten, and it just wasn’t happening, so I said what the hell, let’s do 15. I have a lot of t-shirts, and I love them all!

Of these 15 shirts, six are band tees, and two are plain (bare of graphics). Then we’ve got a logo shirt; a favorite YouTuber’s merch tee; an AZ pride sort of touristy deal; a random shirt mostly of my own creation; a cartoon shirt; a sports fan shirt; and a horror movie shirt. Three of these shirts have the neckline cut out, because a big part of me never matured past the 90’s. Two of them are raglan-style tees. More than half of them are oversize, and they’re all very comfortable. For whatever reason, though, these 15 tees are the ones I reach for the most.

[I should say that I have a couple of other go-to favorite shirts that I did not include here. One has an approximation of the F-word on it, and the other has the V-word (vegan). I don’t wear either of them outside of the house. They’re hanging-around comfort tees.]

Let’s get on with it, then, in alphabetical order!

 

1). Black-and-white raglan shirt.

 

Black-and-white raglan

 

This tee is my attempt at a replacement for my beloved black-and-white Virgin Records raglan shirt. It’s slightly uncomfortably tight on my forearms, but it’s one of my absolute favorites. I found it at Ross a few years ago. It was dirt-cheap.

 

2). Band shirt: Def Leppard.

 

Def Leppard

 

This shirt is meaningful to me because Def Leppard (British metal) is probably my favorite hair band, though Joe Elliott didn’t have big, 80’s hair. When I was in high school, I nurtured this bizarre daydream that Joe Elliot was my biological father on account of his being an English musician (my biological father is an English musician still living in England, last I heard) and how cool I thought it would be if I was related to him somehow, never mind that he’s the wrong age. I have three Def Leppard shirts, one of which I got at a Def Leppard concert. That one’s blue and fitted. I wear it to the gym sometimes.

 

3). Cartoon raglan shirt: Donald Duck.

 

Donald Duck

 

You’ve seen this one recently. I’m not a big Disney fan, and I have no special affection for this character, but this shirt is so ridiculously comfortable! It’s super thin and soft. I love the way it’s kind of fitted and drapey at the same time, I love its length, and I love that it’s gray and a shade of blue that I really like.

 

4). Horror movie shirt: Halloween.

 

Halloween

 

Here’s the other tee you’ve seen recently. Halloween is my favorite classic horror slasher flick, and I dig the subdued art on this shirt. “Halloween” doesn’t need to be written on it. A Halloween fan will instantly recognize and identify it.

 

5). Band shirt: Iron Maiden.

 

Iron Maiden

 

Iron Maiden: another favorite British metal band! If you were into metal in the 70’s and 80’s, you’re familiar with Eddie, Iron Maiden’s mascot (who graces this shirt). This character is iconic. All of Iron Maiden’s artwork and concerts feature him, and he’s always amazing. Have you ever been to an Iron Maiden concert? It’s theater, and good theater, at that, in my opinion.

 

6). Band shirt: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

 

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

 

I got this shirt when I saw Joan Jett perform at Phoenix Pride years ago. I can’t remember the year! I want to say 2009…? I went with a dear friend. Joan was fabulous in concert. Best Pride ever.

 

7). Band shirt: Marilyn Manson.

 

Marilyn Manson

 

I cycle through phases of obsession with Marilyn Manson’s music; I’ve been in one as of late. (I must say, though, that I’m at all times into different genres of music… I’m not just listening to Marilyn Mason right now.) I have two Marilyn Manson tees, and this one’s my favorite. I love the artwork. It’s his art, by the way, in case you didn’t know that Marilyn Manson is also a visual artist.

 

8). Arizona pride shirt: Marilyn Monroe.

 

Marilyn Monroe Arizona

 

Marilyn Monroe’s association with Arizona wasn’t just that she filmed Bus Stop here; it was also that she loved the Biltmore resort in Phoenix. (Yes, Phoenix. Not Scottsdale. Just saying.) According to her, the Catalina Pool at the Biltmore was Marilyn’s favorite place to sunbathe.

 

9). Band shirt: Motörhead.

 

Motorhead

 

I’m a total poser when I wear this shirt, because I’m not a huge Motörhead fan, and I’m not that versed in their body of work. I know that I like the music of theirs that I’ve heard, but I couldn’t tell you the song titles. This tee landed in my collection because, again, I was attracted to the artwork on it. It’s one of my most comfortable shirts.

 

10). Random t-shirt: No One is Perfect.

 

No One is Perfect

 

This is the one that’s mostly of my own creation, and I love it so much, I may never wear it! I’d rather just look at it. It’s hanging in my office. Sharpies are wonderful, aren’t they?

 

11). Plain black t-shirt.

 

Plain Black

 

This extremely comfy t-shirt is my go-to when I’m not feeling anything else. It’s the wild card of my collection.

 

12). YouTuber shirt: Reviewbrah (The Report of the Week).

 

Reviewbrah

 

This shirt is special not only because it’s very comfortable, but also because it’s the only piece of YouTuber merch that I own. Reviewbrah – his channel is The Report of the Week – is one of my favorite YouTubers. He reviews fast food. He wears a suit every day (usually complete with a jacket, and never without a tie). He’s known for his 1930’s-era radio personality and his dry sense of humor. Perhaps the greatest thing about Reviewbrah is that none of what you see is a persona! What you see on his channel is what you’d see in his real life, and I love knowing that a human like him is out there in the world. Reviewbrah always opens his review videos with “Hello, everyone. This is Running on Empty, fooooood review!” I can’t describe him other than that. You have to experience him for yourselves. Here’s the video that made him famous for the iconic Reviewbrah line “My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined”:

 

 

 

13). Sports shirt: Sumo.

 

Sumo Ozeki

 

Of my three Sumo tees, this one’s my favorite. Ozeki is Sumo’s second-to-highest rank, and it’s the rank of my favorite wrestler, Tochinoshin.

 

14). Band shirt: Tears For Fears.

 

Tears For Fears

 

I wasn’t much into pop in the 80’s, but I did have a few favorite mainstream pop bands: Tears For Fears, Depeche Mode, and INXS. Tears For Fears was my favorite. I bought this shirt when I finally got to see them in concert in the mid-2000’s. Not only did I get to see them perform, but I somehow also ended up sitting on Roland Orzabal’s lap at one point before the show. I DIED. That would be a story for another post. Roland is the one pictured on the left, by the way.

 

15). Logo shirt: Vans.

 

Vans

 

I love Vans, and I love this shirt. I love it so much that I have a back-up in case anything happens to it, though it’s a classic and a Vans mainstay. I do love a huge t-shirt with the neckline cut out.

That completes the list! I hope you enjoyed. You probably learned some things about me that you didn’t know, which I think was the point of the request.

Happy Friday Eve, friends!