January/February Favorites!

It’s the beginning of March and I should have a February Favorites post for you, and I do… ! Combined with January’s, that is. January proved to be out-of-the-ordinary, so I didn’t have enough of a list to post when February began.

I’ve got mostly viewables to share with you today. There’s no food on this list, and there’s just one product at the end. The rest is movies, documentaries, docuseries, and fictional series.

[Summary of the food I ate in February: salty things, spicy things, garlicky things, and dark chocolate]

Without further ado, then, here’s what I’ve watched (and enjoyed) this year so far! (I say “enjoyed” because I also watched a couple of things that I did not enjoy and would not recommend.)

DO RECOMMEND:

 

1). Nomadland (Hulu)

 

 

She did it again. Not that I doubted her. I knew it would happen: I hit “play” and it took Frances McDormand three minutes to bring tears to my eyes. She was born to take you to other worlds with her expressions, with her on-screen presence, and she does. She makes you feel things. It’s inexplicable.

Nomadland is a wondrous, poignant, and thought-provoking film not just about van life, but about life. You deserve to see it, especially for McDormand’s genius performance.

 

 

2). Promising Young Woman (Amazon rental)

 

 

I loved Carey Mulligan’s performance in this film, and I enjoyed this take on Revenge. Yes, that’s a capital-R Revenge.

 

 

3).  Tiger (HBO Max)

 

 

I’m not a golf fan. I’ve never watched golf, so I’ve never seen Tiger play. I only knew of Tiger Woods because he’s Tiger Woods. After watching this excellent two-part documentary, I feel like I know him somewhat.

Honestly, I’d be shocked if the man hadn’t been involved in a scandal or two. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a prodigy and do nothing but that one thing all of my life, since babyhood. A lifetime of scrutiny and competitive pressure will lead to a breaking point somewhere along the way, and eventually, life will demand to be lived. Tiger went to extremes with Las Vegas and the Navy SEALS, and I don’t blame him.

So you don’t have to like or watch golf in order to enjoy Tiger. It’s that favorite classic story: you have a hero who falls, gets up, and comes back. And what a come-back!

 

 

4). The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears (Hulu)

 

 

Like Tiger did with Tiger Woods, Framing Britney Spears introduced me to Britney Spears. Summary of my thoughts post-viewing: I’m furious on Britney’s behalf, and not just because of the bullshit conservatorship in which she’s entangled. This documentary is a fascinating watch from the standpoint of mental health, alone, but I enjoyed it all around.

Also, #FreeBritney

 

 

5). Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer (Netflix original docuseries)

 

 

I dedicated a post to my thoughts on this horrifying Netflix docuseries. That is all.

 

 

6). Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel (Netflix original docuseries)

 

 

Another interesting Netflix docuseries! The subject of this one almost seems to be window-dressing, though. The production is creepy, interesting, and entertaining, but it actually serves as more of a spotlight on the treacheries of social media. It amounts to one big “teaching moment.” I highly enjoyed it.

 

 

7). Behind Her Eyes (Netflix)

 

 

I love a good spooky love triangle plot every once in a while, especially if the triangle manages to change shape while still being a triangle.

 

 

8). The Sinner, season 3 (Netflix)

 

 

Season 3 of The Sinner finally hit Netflix! I’d been waiting for it. It did not disappoint. Bill Pullman is perfectly cast in this role, and I’m glad they’re keeping the seasons coming.

 

 

9). A Discovery of Witches (Shudder original series)

 

 

The series A Discovery of Witches is my most recent Shudder watch. I haven’t seen season 2 yet, but it’s there, and I’m looking forward to digging in!

 

 

10). Pacifica Silver Moon perfume.

 

Pacifica Silver Moon perfume

 

I wore Hypnotic Poison (Dior) back in the 90’s. Pacifica’s new perfume line includes Silver Moon, which is so similar to Hypnotic Poison, I would believe you if you said that that’s what it was. Thanks to Pacifica, there’s now an affordable version of HP that’s also vegan and cruelty-free!

 

And there you have it, my friends. I’ve got a list going for March, and I plan to get back on my regular “Monthly Favorites” schedule.

Happy Weekend Eve!

 

 

Last night’s Snow Moon, the last full moon of winter.

A full moon rose last night: the Snow Moon, also known as the “Quickening Moon.” It’s February’s full moon, and it’s risen in Virgo as the sun is positioned in Pisces… a lunation that comes just as we’ve exited the beautiful but unpredictable gustiness of air sign Aquarius, not to mention a Mercury retrograde. It’s a powerful lunation for cleaning up in the aftermath of a Mercury retrograde/air sign season double-whammy.

If this is Greek to you, I’ll put it simply: We’ve made it through a period of cosmic disarray, and the full moon that rose last night is here to help put things back in order. It’s up to us to harness its grounding energy in our individual lives so we can do better as humans out in the world. With such a moon inspiring introspection and self-evaluation, we have a blessing of an opportunity to make adjustments and gain perspective!

I performed my full-moon ritual for clarity, grounding, and self-improvement, but not before I went out to do some moon-gazing in the backyard. The moon was brilliant in the clear desert sky.

 

The full moon in Virgo, the Snow Moon, 27 Feb. 2021

 

Salem sat with me in the moonlight, as she does. She loves the full moon, too!

This weekend I’ve felt the energy of spring quite keenly, and it’s been amazing. Yesterday morning I kept my office and bedroom windows open, and Nenette divided her time between the two. There are different birds and scents in the front yard (office window) and backyard (bedroom window), you see. She had to keep it all covered.

Geronimo’s been stirring in his burrow more and more. I saw him two more times last week, deep in the back pocket of the burrow in the space that leads down into his tunnels. That’s what he does. He comes up to the ground floor, dozes in the back, then descends into his basement tunnels again. It’s thrilling to catch sight of him! I’m looking at the weather forecast and figuring that he’ll emerge completely by the end of next weekend.

This last stretch is the hardest. It’s difficult to be patient what with our balmy afternoon temperatures up in the 70’s and every day typically sunny and bright; I have to remind myself that our nighttime/early morning temperatures are still too cold for Geronimo. With our nighttime lows down in the 40’s, he won’t come out.

Starting on Friday, though, our low temperatures are predicted to hit at 56, 64, 68, and 65 – Friday through Monday, all I can see in my weather app as of now – and desert tortoises will come out of hibernation once the nighttime temps hold in the mid-upper 50’s for four-five consecutive nights. SO!

I might have a Geronimo post for you not this week, but next!

May this find you all healthy and well, my friends.

 

 

The grass is always greener on the other side of midnight.

This week has been a strange one, a week of mundane evening obligations mostly of a domestic nature. Things that “came up.” Someone coming to repair something. Spontaneous but urgent and necessary errands to run. I’ve actually missed workouts! I didn’t work out on Tuesday, Wednesday, or today.

Neither have I been online much these last few days.

Pain developed in my right eye yesterday afternoon, making screen-time impossible as the evening progressed. I shut my laptop and played one spread of Quiddler solitaire and tried to get to bed early. I turned off the lights just after midnight. I was actually tired, and I fell asleep feeling victorious!

The previous night, I got to bed just before midnight, and it was a fail. I was tired, but I wasn’t ready to sleep; trying to force sleep when I’m not passing-out tired never ends well. I become a hostage in a compound of anxiety, and the morning alarm rings brutally too soon after I fall asleep.

But it’s been a good week. I do feel the need to ponder my relationship with sleep yet again, recognizing that I’m a night owl by nature… nothing is going to change that. There must be a way to reconcile this with the fact that I need to get up early!

Before I go, I thought I’d share Nenette in her own sleep haze the other night when I (inadvertently) woke her up:

 

I woke her up. She still loves me, though.

 

Happy Weekend Eve, my friends!

 

 

Moonrise. (Office updates February 2021!)

[::Ahem::] I posted my last “office updates” tour at the beginning of last September, and I’m happy to be here again six months later. To those of you who are new, these office updates posts have at some point become a tradition here. I think it started with a post years ago – 2016, I believe – in which I introduced my plant family.

I’m extra content with my office now, this time being different and ultra-special because there’s no real theme behind its makeover. I actually don’t even think of it as a makeover! It’s mostly just that I’ve taken down my large tapestry and moved in some of my beloved old things. It’s magical and amazing to have this space textured and layered with the colors, shapes, and elements of my past, present, and being in general.

Having said that, I do have a name for my office, as I did for my past office iterations. I’m calling it “Moonrise.”

All but two of these pics were taken at dusk, in the hybrid of artificial light and waning daylight. As usual, I couldn’t be bothered to figure out how to enhance these pics. I’d rather take a million pictures of everything in various lighting situations in order to capture the subjects exactly to my liking than take the time to learn how to manipulate pics. Some things never change! That’s just me being stubborn, I suppose, and not minding taking a lot of time because of it.

Right. Without further ado….

 

Moonrise over my desk

 

These two selenite towers were procured for me by my good friend Jessica, crystal witch extraordinaire, when she last went down to the rock, gem, and mineral show as it made its traditional stop in Quartzsite.

Daylight illuminates powerful selenite’s exquisite detail:

 

Selenite in daylight

 

Starting the office tour, then, here’s a look from the doorway as you’re walking toward the living room from the end of the hall:

 

Glancing in

 

My desk remains to the left of the door. I’m still madly in love with my black wall. It’s calming and centering, and its space-like expanse nurtures my creativity.

 

White on black, black on white

 

My cherished thrifted print of the (haunted) Canterbury Cathedral – my all-time favorite Goodwill find! – holds its original spot to the right of my desk.

 

Canterbury Cathedral print

 

Alongside the cathedral print on the west wall, I’ve positioned my two old Gustav Klimt prints on the north end. This is where my moon-phase tapestry used to be, and its retirement is the primary change I made to my office. While I loved that tapestry there, I was especially happy to take it down to make way for the prints. It feels right to have moved them into this space. They’ve been with me since they were gifted to me at the turn of the millennium 21 years ago.

(Side-note: it just hit me that babies born in 2000 are now of legal drinking age here in the States. What.)

The prints are Gustav Klimt’s “Music” and “Hygieia.”

 

Gustav Klimt prints “Music” and “Hygieia”

 

(And those would be my plants Holder and Little Baby.)

“Music”:

 

“Music” by Gustav Klimt

 

“Hygieia”
Hygieia is the Greek Goddess of Health. “Hygieia” is actually a fragment of Klimt’s painting “Medicine” (the ceiling Paintings for Vienna University):

 

“Hygieia” by Gustav Klimt

 

I’ve always felt a sense of strength and peace standing before this Goddess.

Also on the west wall, I’ve set up a little table with some special objects:

 

It’s getting homey in here!

 

Some favorite things

 

My little antique mirror leans against the wall to the right. I maintain that the mirror is haunted, but not in a bad way, obviously.

 

Antique mirror

 

In the northwest corner, we’ve got Nenette’s area with her little bookcase and her water glass on top. And look! She unwittingly provided us with a cameo! She’s sitting on the antique German trunk on which I’ve set her snack bowl. Her water glass is on the bookcase behind her. Her litter box is behind the trunk.

 

Northwest corner

 

Nenette’s bookcase and water glass

 

This tree would be good old Flamingo, who used to provide a hanging place for my plush sloth. (“plush sloth” – say that three times fast!) He’s now on my bed.

And Nenette has her tree in the northeast corner. Basically, the north wall is all hers.

 

Nenette’s tree in the northeast corner

 

This plant goes by the name of Barclay, as many of you know, as well.

 

East wall detail

 

I’ve added my Geralt of Rivia (aka The Witcher) print:

 

My Geralt of Rivia print and Grendel gargoyle

 

And I’ve still got my Grendel gargoyle up there above the closet. He keeps me in line. Haha.

Behind the door, the usual stuff:

 

The usual behind-the-door pic

 

Finally, here’s Nenette, sitting on her bookcase with her water glass behind her. No “office updates” post would be complete without a pic of Nenette with her water glass, after all.

 

Nenette approves.

 

And there you have it, my friends. This is where I am most of the time when I’m at home.

I hope this finds you all healthy, happy, and warm.

 

 

Tonight, I come bearing cat pics. (Nenette’s horrible camera ordeal.)

I took some pics of my office for an upcoming “office updates” post this evening, and I tried to capture Nenette in the process. Since I know you’re all totally about cat pics, I thought I’d do the magnanimous thing and share a few!

Given Nenette’s unwillingness to have her picture taken, these seven pics constitute a whole extravaganza. Let us rejoice.

Here’s the caveat, though: Nenette’s loathing of the camera is apparent in these pics as her expression and demeanor change in each one. She’s more about attitude than action in these pics.

 

1). WARINESS.

 

Bloody hell, not this again…

 

2). ANNOYANCE.

 

MOM.

 

3). INCREDULITY.

 

Seriously WTF!

 

Then I had the audacity to get closer.

4). ALARM.

 

WHAT.

 

5). REFUSAL.

 

Here’s a plant leaf. I can hide.

 

6). IMPATIENCE.

 

MUST I?

 

7). RESIGNATION.

 

Fine. Here’s a pose. Now drop the camera and back slowly away.

 

The End. (Says Nenette.)

Until Saturday, then; the aforementioned “office updates” pics are forthcoming. I hope you’ll all staying well!

 

 

Valentine’s Day! (Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 10)

It’s Valentine’s Day weekend, and I could think of no better way to celebrate the holiday than to gift myself some chocolate and watch a twisted Valentine’s Day horror B-movie. I caught Into the Dark: Down on Hulu for some standard low-budget “stuck in an elevator with a psycho stalker over Valentine’s Day weekend” entertainment. It was perfect.

Also, I enjoyed sifting through my collection of Missed Connections subject lines to put together a Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse poem. I don’t need to say “Valentine’s Day edition,” because every day is Valentine’s Day for people who post in Missed Connections. It’s the nature of MC to attract the lonely and the wistful and the starry-eyed. Valentine’s Day is as much for the lovelorn as it is for lovers, after all.

These MCEC poems are always written by others, as you regular readers know. I’ve simply adopted the habit of browsing the Craigslist section every day or every other day to pluck out any subject lines that may catch my eye.

Many thanks to the 16 anonymous writers who posted to Missed Connections with these subject lines!

 

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 10

We’ve met twice
Black Dress at Casa Corazon
In red at The Desert Diamond Casino
Want to get to know you

Saw you last evening
Flashing headlights
You drove by and said “thanks….”
Stop light confession

Crossed paths in hallway
About a month ago
It was magic
Harmony

Lost you in Belvidere
While we were walking
A dart on a map
Truly missed….

 

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends.

p.s. Happy Birthday, Arizona, you great state 48, you! 109 years old on Valentine’s Day!

 

 

This is what it sounds like when doves cry. (Cleaning up after Salem.)

[Started writing last night; fell asleep….]

It’s been an interesting week as I went into it determined to stop procrastinating. I had a situation in the backyard to address, and Monday was the day.

At the end of the day, I started my Monday evening workout with a slight headache after spending more time than I should have picking up dead bird parts. They’re not going to pick themselves up, I’d reminded myself firmly when I got home from work.

Such as it was that I found myself crouched in the shade of the hibiscus late that afternoon. I was there with a pair of disposable gloves and a plastic bag. Salem had been feasting on white-winged dove, and mommy finally got off her ass and went out to clean it up.

I found that she’d decapitated the dove and eaten almost all of its body.

Native birds of the Sonoran desert, white-winged doves are as common in my backyard as the hummingbirds and the grackles. They’re large, and they’re beautiful. Their cooing melodies are beautiful. My (also beautiful) feral feline daughter is delighted with them, too. What’s dangerous for them is the watering hole, actually a large plant plate, from which Salem drinks. Birds congregate in it, on it, and around it in the hot months. It’s warming up now, and the doves are starting to visit. It’s going to be murder and mayhem around here all summer, I fear.

 

Salem at the watering hole. [10 Feb 2021]

 

I collected one large white-edged wing still attached to the sparse remains of the dove’s body, and its iridescent head – hues of lavender and teal shimmering on the bluish dove gray – from its resting place a little further away. Smaller chunks of bird lay here and there, and there were so many feathers. Feathers, and a carpet of down impossibly adhered to the large gravel, stuck to the sharp edges of the rocks. But I gathered up what I could, tied up the bag, and took it out to the dumpster in the back alley (which is also an apartment complex parking lot).

And that should have been the end of that.

But it wasn’t. It was only as I was coming back in that I noticed the rocky gravel at the back gate looking fuzzy, like the ground had gone out of focus. I stepped up to inspect and found the carnage of a second feast splayed across the threshold of the back gate, where Salem often lounges.

It was a birdplosion even more dramatic than the one behind the hibiscus. Again, a patch of large gravel rocks blurred beneath a mass of soft gray down and feathers. Another white-edged wing, mostly intact. I went into the house and got another bag.

Two birds, many stones.

Oh! One thing is for certain: the mystery of Salem’s lethargy and lack of appetite last week has been solved. I actually thought that I might lose her the day I came home and she wasn’t waiting for me at the sliding-glass door.

Every day when I come home from work:

 

Salem at the sliding-glass door. [10 Feb. 2021]

 

The day Salem didn’t come to the door for her dinner, I found her huddled against Geronimo’s burrow. She blinked “I LOVE YOU” at me, but she could barely raise her head. She wasn’t interested in eating. I set her plate down and went inside (perplexed, trying not to worry) thinking that she’d come to eat eventually. She didn’t.

I admit that I was quite worried. What was I supposed to think? She didn’t want to eat. She was slumped against the burrow, barely moving. She managed to lift her head and blink at me before putting her head back down, her face resting against the mound of dirt. If you knew Salem and her habits, you’d be alarmed, too. I naturally thought that something was wrong. Anyone would. Turns out that she was just in a food coma.

So the yard is clear now, and I’m relieved. Geronimo will come out of hibernation soon, as tortoises do, and the last thing I want to see is my scalebaby plowing through dead bird remains and coming out covered in feathers and down.

I hope you’re all having an accomplished week, too!

 

 

Geronimo is sleep-walking in his burrow?! (Desert tortoise update – pre-post-hibernation appearance!)

He was still in his burrow, and he was still sleeping, and then he was gone again, but still… I got to see Geronimo today!

I saw him stir in his sleep. Then I stepped away for a moment. When I came back, he was gone.

It was toward the middle of November when I realized that Geronimo had gone into hibernation. Since then, I’ve spoken to him every day, no matter the weather or the time. I know he can hear me. He’s heard my voice in the cold rain and in the dark of night and in the brilliant, warm glare of the late-afternoon sun… mostly the latter. (We’ve had very little weather this winter.)

Geronimo’s entire burrow seems to be alive with the warming of the new year, its hollowed-out domed structure of earth energetically aware. I crouch in front of his doorway and talk, and so his burrow’s back interior wall knows how cute and sweet and loved and missed Geronimo is, and what a good boy he is, and how I hope that he’s enjoying a restful hibernation, sleeping well, having wonderful dreams, and not letting the bedbugs bite. As his mother, I’m 100% certain that Geronimo is receiving my messages. I know that my scalebaby can hear me deep in his hibernating brain, wherever he is in his underground labyrinth.

Lately, I’ve been telling him excitedly about the warmth of the afternoons and the lengthening of the days. I’ll see you soon, Geronimo. I can’t wait to see you again!

And lo, when I went to address the inside of his burrow today, I found myself addressing him directly. He’s still asleep, but still. There he was.

I couldn’t believe it when I saw him!

 

Hello.

 

His sleeping face!

 

HELLO.

 

I knew that he wasn’t going to come out all the way today, and he didn’t. When the chill of dusk started to settle, I went back out to check on him and found that he’d retreated into his cozy winter digs.

He made his first appearance, though, and I’m still so thrilled. My little scalebaby is getting ready, making his moves, gradually waking up.

With hibernation emergence already underway, it’s looking like he’ll come out earlier than usual, maybe, just as he went in earlier than usual. It’s only February Week One!

Salem is going to be happy to see Geronimo again, too. I wanted to take some pics of her today, but when I went out with that in mind, I found her devouring a freshly killed dove behind one of the large hibiscus plants. So, yeah… no pics of her.

In indoor furbaby news, though, I took this micro-video of Nenette last night:

 

 

I hope to post about Geronimo again soon! His pre-post-hibernation surprise brightened My year.

Happy Sunday, friends.

 

 

Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer (Netflix docuseries reaction post.)

[Note: This is a reaction post, not a review!]

Netflix original docuseries projects are killing me. (No, that pun was not intended.)

 

 

Last night, I started watching Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer alone in the dark on my laptop, with just a three-wick candle burning in the back of the room. 25 minutes into episode one, I hit pause and went around the house to check all of the windows and doors, making sure that they were locked.

That’s right. 25 minutes in, thoroughly unsettled, my spine crackling like its nerves were charged with electricity. I didn’t count the number of shockingly graphic and horrifying crime scene photos it took to get me out of my chair.

I went into the kitchen to make sure that the sliding-glass door was locked and secured with the dowel in its track, and I berated myself for my continued procrastination. (WHY have I STILL not covered the kitchen window and dining area sliding-glass door?!) In the living room, I triple-checked the security screen and front doors’ deadbolts and doorknob locks. I piled 130 pounds’ worth of dumbbells up again the door for good measure.

Getting ready for bed later, I was reluctant to undress and step into the shower… I spent as little time in there as possible. Not wanting to get into bed with the same apprehension, I went around the house one more time to check the locks. Before that, I distracted myself by redirecting my attention to the light and funny with some music and a few videos that amuse me.

Netflix created an impressively effective horror movie out of their documentary examination of the Night Stalker case, is what they did. It helped that its subject, California serial killer Richard Ramirez, is horror personified.

 

 

So I found the first episode to be quite enough for one night, in cause you’re wondering how that turned out. I shut it down and watched the remaining three episodes today. It was slightly easier with the glare of bright sunlight on my laptop screen. Slightly easier.

Night Stalker is an excellent docuseries, and while I do recommend it, I’ll also say that for sure, it’s not for everyone. I can’t unsee the gruesome crime scene photos. I can’t unhear that Ramirez cut out that one lady’s eyes and took them with him when he left. (Explained as we’re looking at her bloodied body in the crime scene photo.) Et cetera.

I’m glad that I watched it, though.

For tomorrow, I have the perfect antidote lined up: The Big Lebowski, which I’m going to see “with” a friend (on the phone)!

That should do it. The Big Lebowski. If you know, you know.

 

Tonight’s Wolf Moon, the first full moon of the year. (Reflections on 2020.)

A full moon rose tonight: the Wolf Moon. It feels particularly potent and alive. I did a moon meditation earlier in the evening, and about an hour ago, I sat in the moonlight to contemplate and give thanks and set intentions. I left out a small glass bowl of water along with the crystals and gemstones that I wear. They’ll charge in the moonlight all night, and I’ll bring them in before the sun rises. It’s dark when my alarm goes off, so the timing is perfect!

Salem sat close by on the patio, watching me. She very rarely leaves the yard now.

 

Throwback pic of Salem at home.

 

This first full moon of 2021 inspires me to reflect on 2020. COVID occurred in 2020, and we learned to live our lives differently. We’re still living our lives differently. We’re at the point now where “different” has replaced what used to be normal. I think it’s a good thing.

There’s no use in wishing that things could go back to the way they were. Vaccine or no vaccine, the new year isn’t going to return us to what we knew to be normal in 2019. Practically speaking, the turning of a calendar page to a new year is symbolic. The world on 1 January 2021 was no different than it was on 31 December 2020.

So I sat in the moonlight tonight and reflected on the education imposed upon us by the previous year’s trials, and I decided that the only thing to do is to carry it forward with intention to stop resisting the changes brought about by those trials.

It won’t be hard. I’ve grown to like wearing a mask every day, for instance. What if I wish to keep wearing it? Without it, I would feel naked. I would be compelled to worry about possible bad breath, food stuck in my teeth, lip-color fading unevenly, resting bitch face, pollution and dust in my airways, and every virus – not just COVID – marauding the public spaces through which I move. I used to think about these kinds of things, and for most of the previous year, I didn’t have such (mostly) trifling thoughts cluttering up my head-space. Instead, I wore my mask and thought about how doing it was helping to keep myself safe as well as others. How wearing the mask was for the greater good.

Last year forced us to think about others. Thinking about others as a part of our new normal is a sad commentary on the Before Times, isn’t it? We know that we should do it in any case, but last year, thinking about others became a matter of life or death. That is profound. The world would be a better place if we were to always consider thinking about others as a matter of life or death, even if it’s not.

I wouldn’t want to go back in time and unlearn the importance of being thoughtful. I like this aspect of our new normal. If only everyone would willingly participate!

At present, the sun is in Aquarius, and the first full moon of the year has risen in Leo. I feel that this planetary scenario makes for an auspicious start as 2021 moves forward. That regardless of what’s happening around the globe, from politics to the virus, we all have immense potential to bring out and develop our natural gifts and generously share them with the world. We might even be able to use our gifts for the greater good. It wouldn’t be difficult.

 

 

I’m going to bed early tonight. (This is not a joke.)

You’re not going to believe what I’m about to do. I’m about to get ready for bed.

It’s 9:35pm (21:35).

I’m wiped out. I did my Body Combat workout half-asleep this evening, though it was still intense. What do you call a half-asleep hardcore workout? Adrenaline.

I’ll be back tomorrow night!

Stay safe, my friends.

 

 

What have I been singing (to a one-cat audience) this month?

Here we are! You know that if I miss a post, I try to get one up within 24 hours. This post that I started last night didn’t get finished.

Tonight, it’s finished. I come to you with music.

It’s gotten to be a habit of sorts, hasn’t it, this posting of my personal Spotify playlists? It started with Halloween, I believe. I wanted to share the songs I’ve been listening to this month when not cranking my usual music. (By “usual music,” I mean industrial. My favorite sub-sub-genres of the EDM sub-genre of industrial music are electro-industrial/electronic body music/industrial metal/power noise.)

But this post is about some of my favorite singable songs outside of that realm.

 

Driving at night, last night, singing to Rasputina’s cover of “Bad Moon Rising.” The moon was void-of-course and soon to enter Gemini… nothing bad about it.

 

Because every song on this playlist is a song that I like to sing, and that is the most unifying thing about it.

Many of these tracks are throw-backs. The German songs, for instance, I’ve been singing since the late 80’s. Most of the songs, come to think of it. Late 80’s, early 90’s.

While I’ve labeled this a “mood” playlist, I’d say that it’s more about my enjoyment of singing the songs than of its mood. Having said that, its thread does have a quality and feel of fantasy and longing and hauntedness.

Two of the songs are ghost stories made chilling by Sinéad’s powerful and evocative voice (“Jackie” and “I Am Stretched on Your Grave”). Two others are dark fantasies (“The Waitress” and “Memories”), and another is a haunting telling of the sinking of the Titanic (“Terra Titanic”). There’s a fairytale song of longing (“Unerkannt durchs Märchenland”), and one of wistful sadness reflected by the rain (“Es Regnet”). “Memories Fade” speaks from the aftermath of loss.

“Touch and Go” is an acerbic look at the rat race, but it has me at its musical greatness. It’s the one original song on this list whose musicality stuns me more than its lyrics. It’s a treasure the likes of which I rarely hear anymore, and if you’re into keys and synths, you’ll dig it for the masterpiece that it is. I can’t think of a song whose keys I appreciate more than this one’s. Keith Emerson was a genius on the keyboards!

“Ironbound/Fancy Poultry” moves me to tears… it’s my favorite song of Suzanne Vega’s, and she’s one of my favorite poet-musicians. And “Bad Moon Rising” is a CCR cover by Rasputina. The harmonious clashing of their signature cello in this cover’s sudden violent turn to metal is brilliant.

So these are the songs I’ve been singing to my one-cat audience of Nenette.

(Side-note, true story: While I was writing some of the above text late last night, I paused to check my email, and I found a new one from 23andMe that read: “Your Ability to Match Musical Pitch report is waiting for you.” I’d already seen that I’ve inherited my ability to match musical pitch, but I clicked into it, anyway. The scientific detail that goes into these reports is fascinating.)

(Side-note 2: Just because I can match musical pitch doesn’t mean that I can sing. I cannot. My pitch is excellent. My voice isn’t.)

Anyway, here’s my playlist, for anyone interested. 11 songs, 45 minutes:

 

 

I hope this finds you all well. Take care, everyone!

 

 

My Eurasian equation revealed! (DNA test results.)

Not sure whether any of you are the sort who’s interested in other peoples’ DNA test results, but I am. I find personal genetic make-up discovery stories to be interesting, and now that I’ve learned my own, I thought I’ve give back. I’ve been super stoked about my report since I received it last week!

I submitted my DNA to 23andMe for analysis. It’d been done in Palo Alto by researchers a year and a half ago, actually, but now I have the report. (Long story not worth telling, trust me.)

I’m excited to be demystified, especially as an adoptee. I’ve known that my bio-mother is Japanese-American, but all I ever knew of my bio-father’s genetics was “English.” Now I know the whole story: I’m English, German, Scandinavian, and Japanese.

For half-breeds, I guess, it’s rarely as simple as “my mother was this and my father was that, so I’m half this and half that.” I have to re-write that part of my bio now. Haha.

 

No makeup in paradise. And no, I will never stop rhapsodizing over our glorious Arizona winters. I took this selfie two days ago. [18 January 2021]

 

The report says that I’m 50.0% European and 49.9% East Asian, with a smidge more DNA from my European bio-father. So my bio-mother was right when we met and she observed that I take after my father’s family more than hers.

My European side is 39.2% British (from England: Greater Manchester, Greater London, and Merseyside), 5.8% German (from Hamburg), 4.2% Scandinavian (from they couldn’t say where), and 0.8% Broadly Northwestern European.

My East Asian side is Japanese (from Hiroshima Prefecture).

I wasn’t expecting to encounter such precision in my DNA report. I mean, I spit into a tube and someone in a lab is able to trace my recent ancestry to Manchester, London, Merseyside (they nailed it with that last one… my family is from Liverpool, which is in Merseyside), Hamburg, and Hiroshima.

Not a single strand of Welsh, Irish, or Scottish DNA was found, which was also a surprise. The internet says that my bio-surname is Welsh, but the lab coats with my saliva say that I have no Celtic DNA whatsoever. If there is Celtic DNA somewhere in my ancestry, I didn’t inherit it.

As for my 5.8% German heritage, I like to think that this explains why the German language came to me so easily and naturally when I lived in Germany. (Nothing like the struggle of conversing in French.)

One bit that came out of this DNA analysis experience was no surprise at all, because I’d been told as much by my bio-mother: if I want to meet my paternal family, I’ll have to leave the country. This was confirmed by one of my first cousins (23andMe connection)!

Almost all of my bio-father’s huge family lives in England, including him, which I already knew. A fraction of the family lives in Canada, mostly in Greater Toronto… whereas I have no extended family members living in Japan. My maternal family is here in the States, and they’ve been here for generations.

My Asian side is American. My European side is not. HA!

(Is it still accurate to say that my British family is European now that Brexit happened?)

My bio-father has many siblings, so I have many aunts and uncles, and loads of cousins. 14 first cousins! I’ve been getting to know a couple of them, and I’m beyond touched to know that they’re as thrilled by our newfound connection as I am…  and to know that they’d been wondering if they’d ever find me! I had no idea that anyone in the family even knew that I existed.

I can’t get over it. I’m so pleased and grateful, and the fact that my amazing parents are 100% supportive – and also curious – makes it even better.

23andMe’s analysis also revealed such trivia as: I inherited my preference for salty over sweet; my ring fingers being longer than my index fingers; my ability to match a musical pitch; my flat feet; my fear of heights; and the fact that I’m a mosquito magnet.

Spitting into a tube, man. Amazing!

 

 

The post that wasn’t. (Isn’t?)

[:Ahem::]

If you could see the inside of my head right now!

I’ve been at odds with my own schedule since circumstances have taken me out of the norm these last two weeks, and today capped it off in grand style as a perfectly chaotic Saturday that had me running all over Phoenix metro (aka tarnation). It wasn’t bad, but it was stressful, and it was a lot. Thus I come to you empty-handed tonight. I do have apologies in hand, though. Everything should be back on track starting next week.

Keep taking care, my friends. I’ll see you on the flip side!

p.s. I do want to share this video with you, though. It’s the sound of snow falling on a lake. It’s almost weirdly lulling….

 

 

 

 

So long, 2020, and thanks for all the (December Favorites!)

You know how I often post on Thursday thinking that it’s Wednesday because I started writing while it was still Wednesday, so it looks like a Thursday post rather than a Wednesday post? Well, this time, it truly is Thursday. A Thursday post. I’m sorry for the day-delay.

What I wanted to share with you tonight is my list of December Favorites, as it’s the middle of January already!

I’m determined to get to bed “early” tonight, so I’m going to get right to the point with this list of nine “little things.”

Let’s start with some manga and anime!

1). Alice in Borderland (Netflix, manga live action adaptation)

 


 

A most brilliant re-telling of Alice in Wonderland.

 

2). Kakegurui (Netflix, anime live action adaptation)

 

 

A most bizarre series about gambling. I mean, bizarre. I loved this!

 

3). The Mess You Leave Behind (Netflix)

 

 

What’s a “favorites” list without at least one mystery/thriller/drama series? This one’s well worth the watch.

 

4). Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)

 

 

Sabrina’s fourth and final season left me a bit unsettled, but regardless of whether I liked the way the series ended, I did enjoy this last season. I’m going to miss looking forward to Sabrina.

 

5). Room 2806: The Accusation (Netflix docuseries)

 

 

I must state here that I’m including this docuseries because I recommend it… not because I enjoyed it. I did not enjoy it.

From IMDB:

“This docuseries follows the 2011 sexual assault case involving French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the height of his career.”

Some of you may remember when this powerful French guy sexually assaulted a Black hotel housekeeper in New York City? And basically got away with it? Netflix covers the case. I wasn’t pleased with the way this vile man is exalted, revered, and glorified in the docuseries (mainly through the interviewees). People are proud to know him. People are willing to believe him. Adultery is brushed off as something to be expected. (France, you know.) One of the most nauseating parts came at the end when Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer summed up his own role in the case.

The docuseries is good, though. I think it’s one of those that should be widely viewed. I’m including a sexual assault TRIGGER WARNING with my (admittedly dubious) recommendation.

 

6). The Ripper (Netflix docuseries)

 

 

Yes, another Netflix docuseries landed on my list this time. I was in a true crime kind of mood, and The Ripper provided. Such an interesting case. It should be subtitled “How to bungle a serial killer hunt.”

 

7). Derry Girls (Netflix)

 

 

I only watched two episodes of this comedic series, but they did get me laughing. I’ll likely pick it up again at some point. The writing and acting are top-notch.

 

8). Pacifica Sea & C Love Vitamin Serum. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

Pacifica Sea and C Love Vitamin Serum

 

9). Pacifica Coconut Probiotic Water Rehab Cream. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

Pacifica Coconut Probiotic Water Rehab Cream

 

I’m loving these two products. I mix a few drops of the serum into a small dollop of the cream each morning, and I’m finding the combination to be wonderful. I highly recommend it!

The End!

Happy Friday/Friday eve, my friends. I’m off to pass out!

 

 

Exquisite Corpse poem using TALC search terms!

So I came up with a weird little poem that I absolutely love. I don’t have to be modest about it, because you’re the ones who wrote the lines… you whose internet search terms brought you here, if any of “you” are still here, that is.

I put this together at the suggestion of Caroline, who ventured that it might be fun to craft an exquisite corpse poem out of my blog’s search terms. A challenge! Thought I. Rather than the Missed Connections subject lines I glean from Craigslist, I’ll use your search terms.

She was right. It was fun.

I used many of the search terms I’d listed in my recent post, plus a few more that I found as I dug through hundreds and hundreds going back to 2012.

Oh, and if you recognize your words in this poem, worry not, for I have no knowledge of your identity… no idea who you are, where you are, or anything else. All I can see are the terms, themselves. These caught my eye for one reason or another, so thank you.

My own contributions to the poem are some punctuation marks, capitalizations, and spelling corrections along with the words “and,” “not,” “because,” and “with.” All the rest is all you.

Enjoy!

From the Hundreds: Search Term Exquisite Corpse

Night fury,
badassery,
dead boy in love,

body disposal scene with acid.

Trilogy of terror:
Palm tree roaches,
Reacher’s creatures,
and
flesh-eating bacteria.

Mandingo vs asian chick:
industrial dance boy.
Hydrogen peroxide vs flesh:
rob zombie clown.
Aristotle on minimalism:
ezema ginka porn.

Is body combat good for martial arts fitness?
Does hydrogen peroxide kill flesh-eating bacteria?
Does hydrogen peroxide eat away at your flesh?
The dude
is not in
leave a message

not

ukulele jokes.

What do you get when you cross a flamingo
with dinner short horror?

Velociraptor! save doors –
Panic! at the disco –
Panic! at the Costco –

because orange is the new black, and

(cactus with long sharp thick spikes)

Asian,
Asian,
Asians’ selfies in mirror….

Flavor that comes from an insect.
Polar lights headless horseman.
Ex machina Asian.

Asian.

 

 

 

Workout motivation 2021! (Music and a thought to self-motivate.)

Working out is for fitness and optimal health and mental wellness and (yes) fun. It’s also for when the world makes even less sense than usual and events form around alien shapes that are pure menace and hatred and lunacy and have no names and the shock and magnitude of it all defies articulation and you just want to throw your whole being into the next universe over to escape for a little while so your mind can recover after having been blown to smithereens. (I had an epic one-hour Body Combat workout this evening, my friends. January 6, 2021.)

But all I really wanted to say tonight is that I come bearing a gift, which is a lofty way of announcing that I put together my current workout fuel music playlist on Spotify, and now I’m going to share it with you. Because some of you might find this music to be as mood-setting as I do. You might be an athlete or a gym rat or a general workout and fitness junky. You might be a resolutioner (having made a New Year’s resolution to get into shape) or a patient (having had a medical professional issue strong advice to lose weight). Whatever the case, if this music offers anything of use on your journey, I’m honored to contribute in this small way.

As a reminder that I’m not a delicate Asian flower, I’ll mention that this playlist is tough love, which is what works for me when it comes to improving my gym (living room) performance. Achieving levels and goals is a mental endeavor whether you’re aiming to work harder or to walk outside to the mailbox and back (both legit, along with everything in between). It’s even more of a mental endeavor if you’re working out at home. Self-motivation can be tricky! This playlist fires me up. I listen to it to boost my determination before doing my Les Mills workouts, but I would also listen to it while walking or running on the treadmill for an hour, or lifting weights for an hour, or doing whatever (fitness activity) for an hour. Because the playlist is one hour and two minutes long.

So what I did was I took some of my favorite battle cries and alternated them with favorite songs that rely on beats and bass drops rather than vocals. The battle cries are to light a fire under your ass. The instrumentals are to keep it lit. Have at it!

 

 

While I’m at it and before I sign off, I’ll also share a thought that motivates me greatly during my home workouts. It’s just five words:

Work out like someone’s watching.

With this thought in mind, I go harder, and I make maximum effort to perfect my form. I empty the tank. Because I wouldn’t dig someone watching while I merely go through the motions with sloppy form. Would you? Putting someone in the room even when there’s no one works for me, anyway.

That’s all I’ve got for now, my friends. I’m wiped out. Until the weekend, then!

 

 

2020 – YEAR IN REVIEW.

There’s nothing I can say about the retreating year that everyone isn’t already thinking, but I’ll put it forth anyway since this is my 2020 “year in review” post:

2020 said, HAHA let’s start off the new decade with a shitshow! Its brightly anticipated, shiny-new-thing luster dulled quickly, as if we’d been sold a fake. After just three months, we couldn’t see our reflections in it anymore.

Then 2020 combusted in a raging dumpster fire that wouldn’t go out.

So now it’s 2021, but dumpster fires are disagreeable and rude, and this one’s no exception. It’s not about to be extinguished with the flip of a calendar, and it hasn’t. 2021 is 2020’s Act 2. If we’re lucky, the final six months of the new year will return us to normal, whatever that even is, so we can at least look forward to that.

For me, personally, though, 2020 was a wondrous year (despite starting out with pneumonia), and the fact that such a year could take place concurrently with a dumpster fire kind of says everything about my life, if I’m going to be honest and self-absorbed about it. The virus is scary and relentless and saddening, but it’s only because of it that I’m happy. I’m myself. I’ve settled into a state of contentment overlying a subtle frequency of thrill, like an energetic zen, and I’m in better physical condition than I was in the Before Times.

And no, I still have no plan to sign up for a gym membership once the All Clear is sounded. Taking my workouts from the gym to the living room made an amazing difference, dumbbells in my private space proving to be just as effective, if not more so, and the whole circumstance opening up a plethora of workout options that I can take whenever I please.

What I want to do in 2021 is to write more poems and to sleep more. Broken-record aspirations. I’m leery in the suspicion that these two things might be mutually exclusive. Maybe they aren’t. I hope they aren’t, because I’d really love to achieve both.

On a lighter note, I thought I’d scroll through the search terms that brought people here to my blog in 2020 and then share some of them with you. If you’re here because you found me using one of these search terms, thank you… and thanks for sticking around!

2020 TALC search term hall of fame:

1). body disposal scene with acid
2). ezema ginka porn
3). what do you get when you cross a flamingo
4). dinner short horror
5). does hydroen peroxide kill flesh eating bacteria
6). palm tree roaches
7). hydrogen peroxide vs flesh
8). aisian naked blog
9). veloceraptor save doors
10). bodycombat geronimo 69 (<– my personal favorite)
11). does hydrogen peroxide eat away at your flesh
12). yoga crotch shot
13). panic at the disco panic at the costco lyrics
14). flavor that comes from an insect
15). orange is the new black asian
16). victor the cleaner point of no return acid
17). reacher’s creatures
18). bradley cooper jack reacher
19). is body combat good for martial arts fitness
20). henry cavill

I love that someone found my blog when they searched for Henry Cavill.

I’ll sign off with this pic that I took when I turned around in my desk chair last night:

 

Spooky gothic evil garden votive candle holders on the left and right (courtesy of my job). In with the new!

 

I hope that your new year is off to a good start!

 

 

 

What you don’t remember won’t kill you. (After-the-fact birthday post.)

Sunday felt like a good day to have a birthday, and coincidentally, it was my birthday. So it worked out well. It was good.

For breakfast I had chocolate cake (that I made). Friends and family texted, messaged, and called. Caroline and I discussed Alice in Borderland, which we were both watching raptly on Netflix.

And Jessica gave me a Slytherin necklace that she crafted herself, which was funny because I’d been looking for a Ravenclaw necklace to give to her for her birthday.

And she also gave me a print of Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, because she knows of my obsessions.

And I had veggie fajitas with extra guac and Mexican rice, and also a vegan New York cheesecake, complete with candles.

The day was a mystery in some sense. It was different than last year when I woke up on my 51st birthday feeling ever more slightly like an undead being than I did the year before, refreshed in the wake of the full half-century disappearing like vapor behind me.

On Sunday, I turned 52 and woke up in quiet surreality.

I feel like a stalactite made of lava, suspended and piercing. Or like a splinter of glass, crushable and dangerous. I don’t feel older, though it’s not an age or a span of time that I’m feeling. It’s a jolt.

Remembering how I proclaimed my satisfaction with past decades when I was in them. I liked aging in an abstract way, is what it was, and now what’s left is hindsight exposing the gruesome underpinnings of those years.

My 30’s, for instance.

Saying in the moment that I loved my 30’s even as I hated my high-paying job and woke up every week day already stressed out and unhappy about going in. Resenting Sunday because it forced me to think about going back to work the next day. Sick, sick, sick with autoimmune bullshit riled up by stress. Way too thin. I think back on it now and feel absurd. “I love my 30’s.”

It would be in someone else’s dream, if anyone’s at all, that I’d choose a radically different sort of job at 51 and love it and look forward to going to work every day because it’s fun and not a grind and not an infestation. It can’t be real to enjoy getting ready for the work week on Sunday, and yet it is. I used to suppose that everyone disliked Sunday for its portent of Monday. My experience now is the opposite, so I know that this isn’t true.

This (job) is one of the few great things that happened in the year that I was 51, this past year, 2020, which will otherwise go down in history as damned.

Quiet surreality.

52 and rid of the expectations that weighed like some obscene diamond-encrusted piano on parchment throughout my previous decades.

30’s: too old to qualify as a young adult, too young to qualify as an older adult. 30 being a milestone birthday heralded either by keen anticipation or foreboding doom. One way or the other, everyone feels some kind of way about turning 30. It’s a big deal to exit your 20’s.

I can see now that with my 30’s came a shadowy trickster of expectations of various sorts. And uncertainty and self-doubt and wondering is this it and shouldn’t I be doing (fill in the blank). And all kinds of clocks, each one telling time through the perspective and ideals of others, muddling my own sense of being in relation to the concept of time, and what I really wanted, and where I was in my life. My life.

For me, 50 was the more (most) impactful milestone birthday, and this decade isn’t terrible, as an ageist society might have you think. My (big life) decision-making skills are still (somewhat) lacking, but I’m proud of my survival skills, grateful for good luck (which I’ve needed due to said not-great decision-making skills). And it’s a relief to be an older adult now, no longer an adult in limbo. No longer an adult under scrutiny.

At 52, the expectations of others have mostly dispersed. I’m past the age….

Well, for me (as for most women), the big expectation was the having-babies one. Now I’m in my 50’s and people ask if I have kids and I say “no, not human ones” and it ends there, no follow-up questions. (But you DO want to have kids someday, don’t you?) At 52, I don’t have to explain that I had my spawning parts removed long ago, or why. At 52, there’s no need for clarification, no sequel of assumption or indignation, because there can’t be. “OH. Dual Income No Kids.” Or “You don’t want kids? WHY NOT?” As if living a childfree life was a sin, or at least a personal affront. Such judgment has ceased to matter. The question of babies was a bomb that finally fizzled out when I turned 50.

52, safely in my fifth decade and enjoying the fizzling-out of such questions and comments. Aging out of the window of expectations has been freeing.

Freedom in unexpected forms comes with being an older adult, I’m finding. That’s what they don’t tell you about aging. That things start to make sense. That you can develop more of an indifference to what others may think of you. That the way out is through. My 50’s are my reward for getting through my 30’s.

So my birthday was good. I got a lot of love. I didn’t hear from certain immediate west coast family members, but I couldn’t say that I was surprised, sadly, and overall it was too gorgeous a day to be crushed by the not-hearing-from.

And I’m continuing to work on my decision-making skills.

Like that.

Happy belated Birthday to me.

~~~~~

A couple of b-day selfies on my way out!

 

52nd birthday, makeup-less in the morning, in bed. I woke up late. [27 Dec. 2020]

 

I look like a floating face. ^ haha

 

52nd birthday, outside on the shaded back patio, early afternoon. [27 Dec. 2020]

 

Next time I come back here to post it’ll be January 2nd, so Happy New Year, my friends! 2021!!!

 

 

They got it right, In My Opinion. (REACHER CASTING WIN!)

[::Ahem::]

I feel it’s my duty to inform the uninformed that Reacher has entered the Amazon Prime Video building, and he’s the real deal this time, though most of you Reacher fans have probably long since been informed, and I’m one of the last to find out. STILL.

It was just today that I learned about Alan Ritchson’s casting as Jack Reacher in the Amazon-Skydance-Paramount (Amazon Prime Video studios, Skydance TV, and Paramount TV studios) Jack Reacher series! And I’m totally stoked about this casting choice.

 

Alan Ritchson is Jack Reacher!

 

Alan Ritchson

 

Ritchson has the same quality as Henry Cavill (my top pick) in that he’s attractive yet easily (reasonably) uglifiable to Reacher standards. I mean, Reacher is described as ugly more often than not, though many women see hotness when they meet him. Such a duality and versatility in physical appearance is important in the casting of Reacher.

The ideal Reacher can be ugly and attractive; unpolished and polished (to military standards); menacing and bemused; charismatic and terrifying; patient and spring-loaded; ruthless and affable; and intimidating, funny, and mysterious all at once. I believe they nailed it with Alan Ritchson. [::APPLAUSE::]

(Not to watch the entire video; just to get a look at the new Reacher!):

 

 

Filming will commence in the spring if COVID conditions allow for it, is my understanding!

And that’s all I have to say for tonight, my friends. Until Wednesday!

 

 

 

 

‘Twas the post before Christmas, and all was random.

It’s not the night before Christmas, but this is my post before Christmas, so I mainly want to wish you all a merry one. Christmas day marks one week before the new year, so we should have a merry one, indeed. It will be the dark before the dawn. 2020 is dying down at last, and I love a dark Christmas.

I’m in the honeymoon phase with my new desk, meaning that it’s still clean and orderly. I’m enjoying it while it lasts. I know that a person of the literary persuasion is stereotypically too engrossed in their craft to think of tidying the desk. A neat and clean desk in the office of a writer is suspicious. I promise that I’m a real poet and writer; I’ll declare my desk a disaster soon enough.

I’m in a good mood.

Sometimes all it takes is the memory of a quirky coincidence, like the time I drove home for lunch behind a pale-colored pickup truck with a white washing machine in its bed, secured with ties and facing me, and then, 15 minutes later, I drove back to work on that same street and found myself behind another pale-colored pickup truck transporting another white washing machine facing me. What are the odds that I’d drive down the street staring at a washing machine, and then drive back staring at a different-but-similar washing machine tied down in a different-but-similar pickup truck? Weird random coincidences like that. I only take one street to and from work, and that day, the universe said that I’ll make the short roundtrip lunchtime jaunt behind some pale pickup truck transporting some backwards-facing white washing machine or another. (No, the universe was not telling me to do my laundry. I’d done it recently.)

Outlook makes the difference between inane observation and amusing coincidence, is what I’m saying. If the washing machine thing is any indication, my outlook is positive these days. These months, actually. The washing machine thing happened a few months ago. Yes, I’m easily amused, BUT.

I’m in a good mood, and I’m also feeling somewhat restless. I have big feelings about big things that I can’t talk about. I want to share everything with you, but I have good reason for keeping certain things under wraps for the time being.

Today I went to the V.A. to have my annual mammogram, which revealed the cold hard truth that I’m never going to be a contortionist.

Also at the V.A. today, I went to the pharmacy to pick up some refills along with a new medication. I’m now being medicated for OCD. It’s official. I figured this day would come. If you have OCD tendencies and serve in the armed forces, you know that this day will come. Dress-right-dress and all that. I could never shake it. It just intensified. My case is mild, though, thankfully. I’m okay with it.

I miss the Army.

Oh! I was browsing “best of Craigslist” tonight, and I saw that on January 20, 2020, an Arizonan posted a Craigslist “for sale” ad for a white hearse with purple flames on the sides and “the last ride” inscribed on the back beneath a graphic of a bowler hat. One year from that posting, January 20, 2021, certain keys will change certain hands.

Also in 2021, I’m going to be a ninja armed with a boxcutter for Halloween.

I’m getting way ahead of myself, though. I’ll stop dwelling on Halloween for just a minute to say Merry Christmas and everything that you celebrate!

See you on the flip side, friends.

 

Little poems written by strangers. (Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 9)

It’s midnight here, as it often is when I post. Tonight, I’m happy to come bearing a Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse poem. What is this, you newer friends may ask? As longer-time readers know, I periodically browse the Missed Connections section of Craigslist and pull out the subject lines that strike me as interesting for any reason. Eventually, I fit them together to create a poem. I’m essentially a harvester in the MC section, gathering the choice subject lines. Words are my jam.

There are 36 lines in the nine stanzas below. This means that 36 strangers wrote this poem, each one unknowingly contributing a line. In the case of this poem, the four-line stanzas are like little stand-alone poems, unrelated to each other.

Everyone is writer, is what this practice reveals to me time and time again… and I marvel at this.

Let’s get on with it, then! Here’s the ninth MCEC poem I’ve created, all credit going to the strangers who wrote the lines:

 

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 9

 

I

You were my tech at the hospital
I was your driver
You were on your phone &
you liked my hat

 

II

Saw you on the trail at Dreamy Draw
White horse
Luminarias
Thank you for breakfast

 

III

If you remember
You were homeless and on the street
You said you liked my shirt
“Angel Fire”

 

IV

Met cute scientist at power plant
COVID testing
Two times
looking for…

 

V

Gal in line at mailbox place
Cinnamon Girl Smart and Final Friday Night
The young lady sitting in the front row of a comedy show
Runner with red eyes

 

VI

You have a dog Lola
99c Sunday poodle
Exchanged glances while you jogged
you live in the neighborhood

 

VII

Sweet smile at cruisers
You wore a kimono and cork clogs
In town visiting
Football fan at Harbor Freight

 

VIII

Vintage CD player for use
Empty house
Jaguar
Confetti

 

IX

miss you
Chevron ballerina
Driving to Los Angeles
Run away train never coming back

 

Take care, friends.

 

 

Christmas playlist for your dark holiday mood. (Eight days away!)

Season’s greetings!

Tonight, I have some darkly festive sounds to share with you. Pursuing the Christmas spirit while mourning the end of Halloween season, I looked to music to bridge the two. Keying “spooky Christmas” into Spotify’s search bar brought up a playlist called exactly that. (Thank you, litchen78!) I just now added my favorite Christmas carols from that list into my own Christmas playlist, and I thought I’d share it with you before I slink away to bed.

To my ears, the music on this playlist is as beautiful as it is haunting. I’ll be listening to it on repeat for the next eight days:

 

 

Until we meet again, as they say.

 

 

Sharing a couple of new things. (New desk and evil grandma dress!)

Witching hour greetings from a barstool at my kitchen peninsula! There’s currently no desk in my office. I finally admitted that the time was nigh to invest in a new desk. It’s arriving tomorrow, so I’m temporarily stationed here in the kitchen.

My old desk is still so loved, and I’m going to be a little sad to see it go. It’s just too small and too completely devoid of organizational storage space. It has a couple of shelves underneath, and nothing in the way of drawers or cabinets.

I liked my set-up with the small, low bookcase perpendicular to the desk, but I’ve been feeling crowded into that corner as of late. The makeshift L-shaped desk situation invited clutter. My new desk will be large enough to hold my printer, so I won’t need another little piece of furniture for that purpose.

This is the desk that I chose:

 

Desk from IKEA

 

Though I ordered it grudgingly, I’m excited about this new desk. The improvement will boost my inspiration receptors that are already on high these days.

This sounds sad, but it’s not: I pretty much live at my desk when I’m at home. When I’m not in the living room working out or in the kitchen cooking and baking, I’m in my office, at my desk. I do everything there! I eat at my desk, watch Netflix/Hulu/Prime/Shudder there on this laptop, play Quiddler there, and, of course, I write there.

Thing 2:

I’m also excited about this dress that I got on clearance (me? excited about a dress?!) that’s totally timeless and ageless. Actually, it’s not ageless. It looks like it’s meant for a specific age. It looks like it belongs on an evil grandma, like the Victorianesque Flowers in the Attic grandma. It’s black, mostly cotton, with long sleeves that button at the wrists. It buttons down the front, too, all the way down from the throat. The shoulders have a design detail with a lace panel in between. It’s difficult to describe, so here’s the retailer’s pic:

 

Dress from Killstar

 

It’s called the “Wake The Dead Shirt Dress,” which is clearly a euphemism for “Evil Grandma” dress. I’ll grow into it, as it’ll look better on me the older I get. I can’t wait to be a spooky elderly lady wearing this dress. Haha! Until then, I’ll wear it as my go-to Christmas party dress, if we can ever have Christmas parties again.

Whatever the case, it’s definitely an occasion piece. If you know me, you know that I don’t like to wear dresses, in general.

Those are the two new things I thought I’d share with you tonight as I sit here in the kitchen. The desk was a necessary expense. The dress was a frivolous early birthday present to myself.

Enjoy your day or night, whatever it is that you’re doing!

 

 

Magic all around.

Last night, I slept while I’d usually be writing and posting here. It was involuntary, so much-needed, for sure. I felt so much better today!

It was a magical sleep. I wanted to listen to the sound of rain when I went to bed, but my favorite rainfall sounds are captured in a certain YouTube video, and I didn’t want to risk the possibility of ads interrupting the rain. (Plus, I don’t need to know that the McRib is back.) I didn’t fall asleep to the sound of gentle rain, but I did wake up to it. We had a gentle rain this morning, and it continued on and off all day. The rich scent of creosote saturating the air put me in an especially good mood. I will never get tired of the smell of rain in the desert.

Creosote fragrance in the rain is magical.

It was magical to wake up to gentle rain after falling asleep thinking about it.

It was rain, and it did magical rain things, such as replenishing us here in the desert. It rinsed my dirty car and watered my yards, and at work, its cloud-cover insulated us from the cold. It felt almost cozy at work today while it rained! I wore the hood on my hoodie and felt like I was at home.

 

After work today. [10 December 2020]

 

I’ll share a couple of videos before I sign off! Here’s the rain one that I love, to give you an idea. Maybe you’ll enjoy it, too. It’s a rain forest sort of rainfall:

 

 

And here’s a video that made me cry laughing. Did you hear about the humpback whale spotted in the Hudson River on Tuesday? A Late Show did a thing about it:

 

 

Happy Friday Eve!

 

 

The eleventh month. (November Favorites!)

My fingertips are no longer painful and bleeding. I’ve kept my hands coated in Aquaphor these last few days, and it’s helped a lot! My hands are coated in Aquaphor right now, and if you know what Aquaphor is, then you can imagine that writing is a little bit tricky at the moment. It’s a thick, heavy, greasy ointment, and it’s hella-incredibly effective in the treatment of severely dry, cracked and bleeding fingers. It doesn’t play nicely with laptops or other devices, though.

So I’m going to leave you with mostly just the visuals for the little things that I enjoyed in November. The Netflix films and series that start this list are simply outstanding, all of them well worth your viewing consideration. I’m including the trailers here for the sake of convenience.

Let’s get right into it!

 

1). The Devil All the Time (Netflix original film)

 

 

 

2). My Octopus Teacher (Netflix original film – documentary)

 

 

 

3). The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix original limited series)

 

 

 

4). Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (Netflix original film – documentary)

 

 

 

The fact of the matter is that minority groups win fairness via activism. The disabled were no exception. Crip Camp tells the story.

 

5). Quiddler.

 

Quiddler card game

 

I’ve been obsessed with Quiddler! I love playing cards and I love words, so it would be surprising if I didn’t enjoy it. Quiddler is an award-winning card game that consists of a double deck of cards with letters instead of numbers. The game can be played competitively with two or more people (it’s a rummy/scrabble hybrid), or it can be played alone, as solitaire. My obsession lies in the latter. I’ve loved solitaire since I was introduced to it ~40 years ago, and I never had any interest in playing it digitally… I’ve used the same deck of cards since my late uncle won it off a table at Harrah’s in Las Vegas and gave it to me. I was something like 12 years old. Quiddler is the second deck of cards I’ve acquired in my life.

Fun Fact: Quiddler comes from Fountain Hills, AZ, right here on the outskirts of Phoenix!

 

6). Women’s Calysta Sport Bottom Winter Boots (Universal Thread at Target).

 

Women’s Calysta Sport Bottom Winter Boots (Universal Thread at Target)

 

The first day my toes went numb at work, I came home and ordered these boots from Target. They’re incredible, just super comfortable and warm. My feet stay cozy in them all day!

That’s all I’ve got for November, friends. Stay safe and well!

 

 

Waking up in the dark and the cold and not loathing it.

SUCTION CUPS, guys. Those are suction cups lining the octopus’ arms/tentacles. In my last post I’d written “tentacles” even though I knew when I wrote it that they were suction cups. Have you ever done that? You write something incorrect and you know that it’s incorrect but you just go on your merry way intending to fix it later, only to forget to do it until after 900 people have received it in their inboxes?

I promptly made the correction. No one called me out on it! Either you didn’t notice, or you hadn’t read the post yet. (Or you let me slide.)

Still can’t stop thinking about that film.

It’s dark and cold when I get up now, and quiet and still. It’s peaceful, and I’m grateful for that. I’m not a morning person, though. Neither am I a winter person or a cold-weather person. First thing I do in the morning is a thing that makes the day feel welcoming: I light the two front rooms with pink light and candlelight. There’s a pink salt lamp in the living room and a triple-wick candle on the dining table in the other room, and it’s nice because I can see into both rooms from the hallway, on either side of the partial wall that separates them. The glow from candlelight on one side and pink salt lamp light on the other makes the front rooms cozy, and I can ease into the day without feeling like I was jarred awake by an alert.

May your early mornings be filled with peace, too.

 

Sharing my interior morning view.

 

My bleeding fingertips and I are heading off to bed at this moment. November Favorites coming on Saturday night!

 

 

Finally found a word to share about Netflix documentary MY OCTOPUS TEACHER.

Professionally burnt out, documentary director and cinematographer Craig Foster dives into the Atlantic near his coastal hometown in South Africa and leaves the terrestrial world behind as he descends into the kelp forest. The underwater world had been his childhood refuge, and he’s returned in search of a meditative space, a place where he can reconnect with himself and with the world around him.

A freediver, Foster conducts his underwater exploration without equipment, holding his breath for extended lengths of time. His tolerance to cold waters allows him to navigate the kelp forest without a wet suit. He’s unencumbered and unsheathed in a realm of nature that feels like home to him. Going in without a wet suit heightens his sense of merging with the ocean, and relying on his honed ability to hold his breath frees him further.

Foster does bring his camera, though. He captures the moment in which he encounters a young octopus. The next time he visits, he finds her again. The time after that, too. She’s consistently, reliably there, and Foster is fascinated. He commits to visiting her world every day to spend time with her, which he does for an entire year.

In meeting the octopus, Foster found inspiration to work with his camera again. He wanted to observe and get to know her. He captured hundreds more moments with her.

What came of it was a precious bond and this stunningly beautiful documentary: My Octopus Teacher.

 

 

These days, my own sense of being in love with life is heightened, too, and the slightest moments move me to tears of gratitude… and always, in any medium, I cry while taking in storytelling involving animals. Quite naturally, then, several tissues were required as I watched this film.

My Octopus Teacher is an emotional drawing-in of a film, unlike any other nature documentary I’ve seen. To witness a bond of trust grow between this enchanting underwater being and Craig Foster is to know even more profoundly the sentience and innocence of animals. To move with Foster through the kelp forest with its glorious population of sea creatures is to realize on a more personal level, somehow, that there’s an unfathomably vast world in the oceans and seas, a richer world than our own.

When Foster first visits her den, the octopus is tentative, but the intellectual curiosity ingrained in her prevails over her trepidation. A relationship begins to form. After a while, she’s confident that he won’t hurt her, and she goes about her daily routine unworried by his presence as he observes. We’re then able to discover her personality: she’s captivating in her expressiveness, and she’s exceedingly smart. She’s intrepid, affectionate, and playful. Innovative by nature, she displays creative survival skills that leave Foster – and we viewers – in awe. She’s well-informed, as each of her many suction cups has an intelligence, her suction cups like little brains lining her eight arms.

At one point in the film, we’re privy to a moment between Foster and the octopus. We can see how very small and vulnerable she is, and the extent to which she’s come to trust and love him.

My Octopus Teacher is a soothing meditation of a film with shimmering facets of drama, thriller, and horror. All at once, it’s gentle and sweet and exhilarating and fraught with the harrowing realities of octopus life.

 

 

Foster fell in love with the little octopus, and so did I, along with probably everyone who’s watched the film. I was rather a mess by the end of it, but in the best of ways.

My Octopus Teacher is a nature documentary that tells a powerfully human story. Foster’s goal was to reconnect with himself and with the world, and the octopus helped him with that. She drew him out of his own den in which he’d been stuck. She left him with invaluable insight and epiphanies that translated seamlessly into his relationships with others, and with the world as a whole. The bond that she cultivated with him strengthened his bond with his son.

Please don’t miss this film. Its gorgeous cinematography and mellow narration make for a healing balm that we all can use, and its story imparts lessons that we all can learn. Bravo to Craig Foster, the filmmakers and producers, Netflix, and to the little octopus, herself, for bringing us My Octopus Teacher.

~~~~~

[Correction: I’d originally written “tentacles” where I was referring to suction cups. I realized it when I re-read the post just now. Middle-of-the-night-oversight corrected.]

 

“Safe” is the happy common denominator.

It would be pleasing to write for real right now, but I’d need all two of my thumbs to operate the space bar, and I can’t. I have a tiny open wound on the tip of my right thumb and I rubbed acetone into it when I was removing black nail polish, and now I can’t touch anything with that thumb, and that’s the absurd situation. I washed my hands and coated the wound with pain-relieving Neosporin and loosely applied a Band-aid and took two Tylenol, but idiocy isn’t that easily undone.

I wanted to expand upon this: If you live in the States, have a happy and safe Day of Expressing Gratitude! If you live elsewhere, have a safe day.

 

Burning down to the dregs in the deep fall. (Mood.)

Fall cleaning took place today, finally, and now my freshened house smells like sweet, warm spices and apple cider. It’s been years since I’ve been much of a candle person; I cycled back around to candles this season. Currently I’ve got a “pumpkin muffins” soy candle burning on my dining table, along with a couple of tea lights.

 

Burning down to the dregs in the deep fall.

 

You wouldn’t know it from my last post (which I edited for brevity), but my mood for the month has been super chill. Now that October is over, I back-burnered my Halloween Spotify playlist and created one for November. It’s what my house would sound like if you were step into it at any given time these days, and I thought I’d share it.

Warning: Four of the 13 songs contain explicit lyrics. I should add that I’m not about the lyrics in the case of this playlist. I love its lilting, slow tempo and its soft roundedness and occasional edge. I keep it on in the background for the melodies, for the vocals whose sounds I find gorgeous in and of themselves, and for the lulling effect of the beats. Nine of these tracks are old favorites, so there’s a bit of a nostalgia factor here, too.

 

 

Also in the vein of seasonal festivities, I confess that the winter holidays ahead have me envisioning Michael Myers’ return to the front patio sporting a Santa hat and a lei of colorful Christmas light bulbs around his neck. It’s a whim and a fairly potent temptation, and I’m already shrugging my shoulders at whatever anyone night think. I feel that my neighbors think I’m strange, anyway… even more so now that I’m free to be my strange self.

I’m that neighbor, I guess. I won’t yell at people to get off my proverbial lawn, but I’ll put a mannequin out there dressed like a classic fictional serial killer.

Not to get ahead of ourselves, though. Thanksgiving is coming up this week in the States! I’m going to spend it safely with exactly two people, both of whom see me on a regular basis. I’m prepared. I’ve secured a tofurky – a minor triumph, as they sell out so quickly – that’s hunkered down in the freezer. I have the Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider, a Thanksgiving must. My Sunday baking tomorrow will include pumpkin scones with raisins and walnuts that’ll keep in the freezer until Thanksgiving Day, as well.

Happy autumn holidays to you!