Caveats and other miscellany

[Post Script to my previous post] I watched a YouTube video of Naomi Campbell getting groceries from Whole Foods, and when she reached into the bulk bins for raisins, cashews, and walnuts, I shouted, “Naomi!! Noooooooo!!!” at the screen. I don’t think her past self heard me. I hope she’s not eating larvae right now. I’ve seen her airplane video, too. She should not be eating from bulk bins.

In today’s news, I just spent the last few hours dealing with wiping my phone, subsequently losing all of my contacts, and trying to recover them by DM-ing people on social media. If you have my number already, please text me so I can get you back onto my Contacts list.

Today, you (selfie-requesters) get a pic of me kicking back in sweats on a couch I’m looking into getting reupholstered, against a wall that’s soon to be painted, under a picture that probably won’t be in that spot the next time you see me here, with shorter hair that isn’t styled the way I would normally wear it, and with no make-up except lipstick.

 

It’s July 14, that’s why.

 

Changes around the house are happening aplenty. I hope to have that updated office tour for you next week! I stumbled upon a treasure from the Goodwill, which got me going on a décor theme for this space.

On that note, I hope you’ve all had a good week. Happy Friday Eve!

 

 

Advertisements

Bulk bins: a cautionary tale.

I should’ve thrown out the mixed nuts that first time I found peanut skins joined together and dangling from the edge of the mini popcorn cake I was using as a spoon. When I sifted through the contents of the plastic container with another popcorn cake, I pulled up more of the little chains, each one delicate and wispy, as if formed out of spider webs. Some of the chains were comprised of just peanut skins, while others included tiny bits of the nuts. It was a mystery, but I hadn’t gotten sick… so what did I do? I carried on eating the nuts, day after day, choosing to ignore the occasional, invisible strands.

In my defense, I hadn’t seen any spiders in the mix.

The mystery solved itself when I opened the container yesterday and a small white moth fluttered out. I’d been eating moth silk, which means I’d probably eaten through larvae, as the silk would’ve come from a cocoon evacuated by a mature moth. There would be more than one, right? In all likelihood?

The nuts I’d been eating from that batch at Sprouts weren’t vegan. Oh, well. These things happen! I’m not ill, and the moth is alive and well in the house somewhere, so everyone’s fine. Still, I think I’m done eating from bulk bins. Stores can’t know what’s actually in them, I guess is the lesson here. Bulk foods are generally the thriftier way to go, but I’m not going to pay to eat moth larvae!

It was dumb of me to continue eating the strands of peanut skins and crumbs, but at least I can bring you this Public Service Announcement: proceed with caution when opting to purchase food from bulk bins. Where there’s larvae, there could also be something worse!

Time will tell if there are larvae growing in my gut. You know you’ll hear about it if there are.

 

 

Cicadas are rad, and other random thoughts. (Plus a mini gym update!)

Sorry again about Tuesday’s late-night post, guys. Today is a new and better day, because today, I’m not operating in crisis mode. All is well, and I have a few thoughts to share. I also have gym updates.

Thing 1: It was 112 degrees today, and it’s been thereabouts for weeks now. This kind of heat ushers us into the cicada season part of summer in the desert. Cicadas hold a special place in my heart because I associate them with life in Arizona; to me, they’re emblematic in that way. I find them enchanting with their beautiful, diaphanous wings, their benignly short antennae, and their large, round, wide-set eyes that give them those adorable little faces. I’m delighted by the way they rattle their songs without care or concern that they sound like loudly malfunctioning electronics. Cicadas are nature’s industrial music artists, and as appropriate, they crank it! I love them.

Thing 2: I crawled out from under my rock to find that Jake Gyllenhaal is in the new Spider Man movie. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Thing 3: Netflix drops Money Heist Part 3 on July 19 – next week Friday!!! Money Heist (La Casa de Papel) is my second-favorite series (the first being The Americans). If you enjoy the crime thriller/action genre and haven’t yet seen Money Heist, I highly recommend it. Watch it in its original Spanish with whatever subtitles you need. This series is abjectly brilliant.

I enjoyed the season 3 trailer this morning:

 

 

Thing 3: I keep thinking that today’s Friday because I didn’t need to be anywhere, and I went to Body Pump yesterday morning. It feels odd, switching up a gym schedule I’d had for so long. It’s invigorating. Change is ultimately good, even if I balk at the idea of it sometimes.

Tomorrow is Friday, so it’s Body Combat. The next morning will be Saturday-morning Body Pump, as usual. This works well. I’d rather do Pump the day after Combat than the day before.

I’m so grateful to be able to incorporate such a schedule preference.

(Cue gym updates)

It’s been a good gym week! Monday, we had a sub who challenged us to go up one weight increment on the all-dumbbell biceps track she’d chosen, and I did, and I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t have to drop down to my regular weights. I suppose this means that I should always use the higher weights…? I know that’s what it means. I’m just a bit daunted. I’m doubtful that I can maintain that weight through every biceps track, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t start out with it.

For Body Pump yesterday morning, I went to a location I’d never visited before. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was that its floors are gorgeous, which seems like a weird thing to admire in a gym. The Body Pump instructor had his unique personality and teaching style, which I thought was interesting. It was a good work-out. I’m glad, because that’s going to be my regular Wednesday morning class.

I took a selfie in the locker room beforehand:

 

Body Pump at a new-to-me gym location

 

Everything isn’t different, though! I’m fortunate to be able to keep my former-gym Tuesday/Thursday Pump instructor, as she teaches my Monday class at the new gym!

I like to stick with professionals with whom I click in both formal and friendly ways. A hairstylist who knows how to cut my hair. A tax preparer who knows how to make filing taxes painless and fun. A realtor who’s always, unequivocally the best. And inspirational, authoritative group fitness instructors who set challenges.

Happy Friday Eve, all!

 

 

Indisposed. (Desert tortoise update!)

It’s a mini-update, actually.

Life did that thing where it throws a hundred thousand things at you and you fail to catch them all and next thing you know, you’re waist-deep in misses and all you have to share in your blog is a few pics of your tortoise… but Geronimo pics have been requested, so it works.

These are from today:

 

The relentless flower-hunter. Capture and kill.

 

(These next three are screenshots from video clips! I was going to post a Geronimo video today, but they came through mangled and unwatchable, for some reason.)

 

Camo artist at work, complete with a leaf in his mouth.

 

Heading home!

 

Taking the back path to his burrow

 

We haven’t seen much of Geronimo lately. He’s been digging more. We suspect he’s constructing a network of tunnels beneath our lawn, as we’ve heard his kind are wont to do. If we ever achieve snaking a little camera through, I’ll take you along!

 

 

Posting on the 4th of July. (Gym updates, because.)

First things first: Happy Independence Day, fellow Americans!

Trivial things second: gym updates, to duly relay how it went when I did the back-to-back Combat/Pump class thing again last weekend. How it went was, it didn’t. I got real with myself at the last minute and admitted that I’ll never have 200% to give in two hours, so it wouldn’t make sense to waste my time and stress my body.

This morning’s workout rocked. Our instructor put together a 4th of July-themed tracklist, and somehow, she motivated me to increase certain upper-body weights yet again. On my way out, I CANCELLED my membership at that gym. My second gym is now my only gym! I’m not sad about it. It was a great five years overall. I won’t have to miss anyone, either… I may have cancelled my gym membership, but I didn’t cancel my gym friends. Most of us have migrated to the same new gym. ALSO, I get to continue taking Body Pump with the aforementioned badass instructor, because she teaches at my new gym, too!

Starting next week, my new workout schedule is going to be M-W-F and either Saturday or Sunday. Two of the classes will fall on consecutive days, but it’ll be better than the three days in a row I’d done for so long.

For our pic today, here’s Yours Truly using a wall as a headrest and repping a favorite metal band. I live in jeans and oversize t-shirts.

 

In my natural habitat

 

That is all. Have a safe and fun weekend, my friends.

 

 

Super into it all. (June Favorites!)

I’m back with another Monthly Favorites post, because, well, another month’s gone by. You who enjoy these posts didn’t have to wait long if June went as quickly for you as it did for me! Let’s get right into it, shall we? We’ve got some streaming television series (all originals on their platforms), we’ve got some food, and we’ve got some products.

Here’s what I loved in June (and still love):

 

1). The Handmaid’s Tale, S3 (Hulu)

 

The Handmaid’s Tale, S3

 

When enough is enough.

 

2). After Life (Netflix)

 

 

When you’re not happy, no one is happy… but you manage to be hilarious while bringing everyone down.

 

3). Absentia (Amazon Prime Original)

 

 

When the cops and the feds can’t get it together, and the only person who can is everyone’s main suspect.

 

4). Good Omens (Amazon Prime Original)

 

 

When you had ONE JOB, but realized that you should’ve re-taken Armageddon 101, which you apparently failed.

 

5). Sinto Gourmet Spicy Red Kimchi.

 

Sinto Gourmet Spicy Red Kimchi

 

One of my go-to meals: brown rice, nori (seaweed), and kimchi. I’m simple like that. I’m not too picky about my kimchi, but this one is exceptional in its balance of flavors.

 

6). Hakuna Banana Strawberry Frozen Dessert.

 

Hakuna Banana Strawberry Frozen Dessert

 

Do not approach this dessert thinking it’s like dairy or plant-based ice creams, because it’s not… its mouthfeel is too different. Just think of it as a frozen dessert, and you’re good. This stuff is delicious, devoid of added sugar, and delightfully almost-chewy in its thick texture. I’m loving it this summer!

 

7). Cherries.

 

Cherry season 2019!

 

But of course my favorite fruit made June’s “Favorites” list.

 

8). Snak Club Protein Power Snack Mix.

 

Snak Club Protein Power Snack Mix

 

This is one of those snacks that I’ll gorge myself on without a thought. It behooves me to measure it out in some way! I picked this up at the V.A. in Palo Alto, and I’m still eating it… I discovered that the Phoenix V.A. store carries it, too. I haven’t looked for it in civilian stores because I’m over at the hospital enough that I can just get it there. If I didn’t have it at hand, I’d order it, for sure.

 

9). Earth Science Creamy Fruit Oil Cleanser A-D-E. (Vegan and cruelty-free.)

 

Earth Science Creamy Fruit Oil Cleanser A-D-E

 

I’d been using my beloved Alba Botanica Hawaiian Pineapple Enzyme gel cleanser for three/four years now, so when I ran out this last time, I decided it’d be good to switch things up. The skin adapts to products! I browsed the shelves at Sprout’s and decided on this cleanser. I’m liking it so far. It’s lightly scented. It feels nice. (Also, it’s a couple bucks cheaper than the Alba Botanica one.)

 

10). Derma-E Anti-Aging Regenerative Day Cream. (Vegan and cruelty-free.)

 

Derma E Anti-Aging Regenerative Day Cream

 

I started using this day cream late in June, so it’s too soon to report on its regenerative powers. It’s already on this list because I loved it immediately for its texture. This product manages to be creamy and rich without feeling heavy or greasy. I love the way it feels! It’s going to remain a favorite regardless of the “results” I see or don’t see.

 

And there you have it, my friends. I hope you had a lovely first month of summer, as well.

 

 

My bite is worse than my bark? (Sharing about my spirit animal.)

As a kid growing up in a city, I always wanted to see a deer in the wild. When I finally did, the event proved powerful in the incongruity of its moment. It was unexpected. I was 19 and alone in a place I’d never imagined I’d be, in the thick of an equally unimaginable situation. Coming face-to-face with that deer seemed a magical development, and it was: it marked a turning point that ultimately changed the course of my life. It was like the deer had been sent as a sign of encouragement. We held our mutual gaze, and then we went our separate ways.

I’ve always loved animals and appreciated the connectedness we share as sentient beings, but my momentary interaction with this deer left me with a unique impression. It felt personal. To draw a comparison, I feel a deep connection with our wild horses here in Arizona, but I felt connected to the deer I encountered when I was 19 and living in a foreign country… as if the deer was a part of me.

Considering this, I thought it interesting recently when I took one of those fluffy “What’s my Spirit Animal” quizzes and found that my spirit animal is a deer. The description read:

“When you have the deer as spirit animal, you are highly sensitive and have a strong intuition. By affinity with this animal, you have the power to deal with challenges with grace. You master the art of being both determined and gentle in your approach. The deer totem wisdom imparts those with a special connection with this animal with the ability to be vigilant, move quickly, and trust their instincts to get out the trickiest situations.”

After my interaction with the deer, I did, in fact, go on to use my instincts to get myself out of a tricky situation – the tricky situation in which I was flailing at the time of our encounter.

***

Regardless of the extent of my belief in the meaningfulness of “spirit animals,” it was eye-opening to take this quiz from where I stand today. I may have taken 15 different “what’s my spirit animal” quizzes over the years and landed on 15 different species of critter, but where I am right now is in a place of processing some aspects of the past. “My” deer has turned up in poems and prose I’ve written since I encountered her, but she’s been at the front of my mind these last few years, especially. Coming up with a deer result on this silly online quiz seemed more than coincidental.

What really got me taking the notion of spirit animals seriously was the deer energy description I went on to find in Ravenari’s Animal Energy/Animal Guide Dictionary on Wildspeak dot com. If you know me…

 

[from wildspeak dot com]

“Muntjac deer – Bark and Bite

Keywords:

Having a bite that is worse than your bark, fighting for what’s yours, defending your territory, alertness, the power of observation, finely tuned instincts, letting others know that they’re in trouble, comparing yourself to others, surrender to the spirit, trust in nature.”

Yes, the deer is my spirit animal. The muntjac deer, to be precise.

I have to say that I do believe in spirit animals, now that I’ve taken a spirit-animal quiz in an introspective mind-frame. I couldn’t help but consider my result in the context of my one encounter with the animal in question. I thought about how I felt, and how that animal appeared in a moment that greatly impacted my life. For me, the quiz’s result was a revelation, more than a declaration.

[If you’re interested, this is the quiz I took]