On Gemini’s New Moon Solar Eclipse, Mercury Retrograde, and the Cosmic Nodes of Destiny.

GEMINIS!

If you were born between May 20 – June 21, you’re a Gemini, as you’re probably well aware. We’re happy to be in your astrological sign in the Zodiac right now. We’re in the thick of Gemini season!

A little Astrology 101, for those who don’t know: In terms of the elements, Gemini is an air sign (swift, cerebral, communicative). In terms of the qualities, Gemini is a mutable sign (adaptable, agreeable to change, easily go-with-the-flow). Gemini’s governing planet is Mercury, the planet of communication, information, intellectual curiosity, and learning.

Gemini is a brilliant sign, and Geminis are some of my favorite humans. They’re quick-thinking, bright, and interested in everything. They’re likable people, and they’re fond of people, themselves. They’re keen observers and good conversationalists. My Mom is a Gemini!

MERCURY RETROGRADE

In the zodiac, Mercury is currently stationed in Gemini… and it happens to be in retrograde. Mercury retrograde can be annoying, but it’s such cosmic shenanegans that make things interesting and instructive for we Earthlings. Retrograde is a time for us to review, reflect, reassess, and recalibrate, and we are wise to take the opportunity.

Regarding the retrograde, though, what is it, exactly? What is Mercury doing? It’s orbiting the sun, like we do here in our solar system, but it’s eased up on the accelerator. It’s slowed down, so from our viewpoint, it appears to be moving backwards. Mercury retrograde is a circumstance that impacts us here on Earth. This tomfoolery occurs about three times each year.

I mean, other planets go retrograde, too, and they all have an impact in one significant way or another. Saturn and Pluto are also in retrograde right now!

But Mercury retrograde is the notorious one. It’s the one that we notice, because it messes with our daily lives on a topical level. It’s the one that causes our technology to go haywire in any number of ways. Right now, with Mercury being the planet of communication and the planet that rules Gemini, and this being Gemini season, and Mercury retrograde happening in its home sign of Gemini, we may be feeling the retrograde’s effects more intensely than usual, especially with technological snafus and user-error mishaps related to communications. Communications programs and devices glitching and crashing. Texts and emails sent to the wrong person by mistake. Replying “to all” by accident. Phone connections dropping and notifications settings mysteriously turned off, causing us to miss calls and texts. Message transmissions delayed. Internet connections slowed down, or otherwise disrupted.

Mercury retrograde drama isn’t limited to communications technology, though. Basically, it’s open season on any kind of technology or machinery. I personally know four people who’ve had to deal with car problems since Mercury went Retrograde on the 29th of May. Thankfully, Mercury goes Direct again soon, on the 22nd, the day after the Sun moves out of Gemini. Mercury basically spent its entire time in its own zodiac sign in retrograde. I’m sorry, Geminis.

JUNE 10, 2021 ANNULAR SOLAR ECLIPSE

Now, about that slinky, glamorous solar eclipse that just occurred on the 10th. (Which I did not see, by the way.) While we were focused on the “Ring of Fire” eclipse, the event was, first and foremost, a New Moon. It was Gemini’s New Moon. (Solar eclipses happen on the New Moon, while lunar eclipses happen on the Full Moon.) New Moons mean new beginnings and fresh starts, renewed resolve, setting intentions, and getting action plans underway. Eclipses amplify all of this and clear the path for big changes. Our Gemini New Moon was supercharged by the eclipse!

NORTH NODE IN GEMINI

For me, though, the most interesting factor in the picture of the Gemini New Moon Solar Eclipse was that it was a North Node eclipse… and that the North Node is also currently in Gemini. (Clearly, Gemini is having a moment.)

The Moon has two lunar nodes: the North (ascending) Node, and, directly opposite, the South (descending) Node. These Nodes are the points where the moon crosses the ecliptic (Earth’s orbital plane) twice a month as it revolves around the Earth.

THE NODES OF DESTINY (KARMIC NODES)

From an astrological standpoint, these lunar nodes, which are mathematical points rather than physical cosmic bodies, are called the Karmic Nodes, or the Nodes of Destiny. The North Node is Destiny, and the South Node is Karma. What’s more, the nodes have names: the North Node is Rahu, the Dragon’s Head, and the South Node is Ketu, the Dragon’s Tail.

Our karmic path follows these Nodes of Destiny. When the Moon is ascending toward the North Node, we’re moving forward into our destiny. When the Moon is descending to the South Node, we’re reflecting on the past or even living in the past. (We all have baggage, if not from this lifetime, than from previous ones.) We cyclically move from one to the other, learning and growing and evolving on our journeys in this lifetime, though it’s important to keep a balance between the two. If you have your natal (astrological) chart done, make sure that it includes where the Nodes of Destiny were when you were born. It matters. Knowledge is power, as they say.

Beloved objects on my altar: skull candle, porcelain cat. I always think of skulls when I think about Karma.

The June 10 solar eclipse being a North Node eclipse indicates that we’re looking ahead and moving forward. A North Node eclipse combines North Node energy with New Moon energy, which heightens the emphasis on new beginnings, fresh starts, the setting of intentions, starting new efforts, and so on. That the North Node is currently in Gemini (with the South Node in its opposite sign, Sagittarius), indicates that as a people, we’re moving toward our destiny on the strength of Gemini’s intellectual gifts, those gifts being our purpose. Gemini is about learning, and we do indeed have a lot of learning to do.

This is why I’m most fascinated by the Nodes of Destiny aspect of the Gemini New Moon Solar Eclipse. Thanks to bright and intellectually curious Gemini, we may well make forward leaps toward the betterment of humankind and the health of the Earth, itself. The North Node in Gemini gives me hope. It inspires me to see our destiny as a planet and as a people in a positive light.

This, as someone I know would say, is the Gemini effect!

I tried so hard and got so far. (About that eclipse! Also, changes are afoot.)

I tried to write and post about last night’s Gemini new moon solar eclipse. I cancelled and/or postponed plans with two friends on two different nights so I could focus on it. I skipped two workouts. I stayed up superlate at my laptop. But it just didn’t gel. I studied my ephemeris and online transit calculators and such until my eyes bled, and in the end, I’d gathered so much data that I ended up overwhelming myself. I’m sorry for this!

At any rate.

The eclipse is over, but the magic of it isn’t. New moon energy is here, and I’m finding myself making changes automatically… specifically, changes to my after-work routine in my ongoing effort to get to bed earlier.

The new moon is a time for setting intentions and getting your action plan underway, and this is what I’m doing without even thinking about it. When my behavior naturally aligns with cosmic events without any conscious thought, I know that I’m receptive and balanced; I know that I’m in the right place, on the right path.

Starting today: Rather than waiting until later at night to do necessary things, I’m doing them immediately after getting home from work. Removing my eye makeup. Making dinner (so it’s there when I’m ready to eat it). Making my (PBJ) sandwich for the next day. Filling up my water bottle for the next day. Putting a fresh face mask (yes, I’m still choosing to wear one) in my bag for the next day. And so on.

I won’t sit down to work on blog posts until all of this is done. I’m hoping that relieving myself of the pressure (of knowing that there are mundane things to be done for the next day) will help me here with my writing, and also, of course, with getting to bed earlier.

A non-negotiable in my nightly routine is going out to look at the moon and the stars and any planets I can find. Speaking of which!!! I took a phonecam pic of my beautiful Vega (alpha star in the constellation of Lyra) the other night, and to my surprise, her blue color came through!! I didn’t expect this, especially since Arcturus’s orange color never comes through.

I wish I could get a phonecam pic of Scorpius, as that’s one of the few constellations that I can view almost in its entirety. Scorpius is the first cosmic body that I see when I step outside these nights, because it’s so close to the horizon. Antares, Scorpius’ alpha star, is the front-and-center jewel of the night. When I look higher up and elsewhere, I can see other beloved characters: Arcturus and Vega and Spica and Altair.

Behold Vega looking as blue here as she does in person! I cropped the photo just enough to enlarge Vega for our viewing pleasure:

Vega, appearing blue for my phonecam!

I love my stars.

I added this phonecam pic of Vega to my post about the stars, as well, as I also have phonecam pics of Arcturus and Spica there.

That is all for tonight, my friends. I looked through my THREE drafts of what was supposed to be last night’s Gemini new moon solar eclipse post, and I like a lot of what I’d written. I did a lot of work on that post, so I’m thinking I might go back in and get it together for you this weekend. It’s after-the-fact, but the energy of the celestial event is still with us, and there’s more to the picture than the event, itself. Much more. Stuff we need to know about, actually.

Blessed be on this Friday eve!

Arcturus, my love. (Introducing my crew in the cosmos!)

Greetings, friends!

I thought I’d finally share a certain passion with you… one that’s been a huge part of my life for a while. I’ve written quite a bit about the moon this year, but I don’t think I’ve written about the stars. Not more than a mention, anyway.

I’ve taken my stargazing up a notch in the last twelve months, most avidly since winter, when I’d go out to the backyard to admire the constellation of Gemini in the night sky. I watched with fascination as Gemini and other winter constellations gave way to the spring ones. But it was my adoration of the orange star Arcturus that heightened my already intense interest in the cosmos.

Arcturus here in the northern hemisphere is a commanding star, radiant and bold. Arcturus is 30 light-years away. Night after night, I gaze up at Arcturus with my mind blown as I think about how the starlight I’m seeing emanated from the star back in 1984. The speed of light (in a vacuum) is calculated at 186,282 MILES PER SECOND. It took 30 YEARS of travel at this speed for the starlight to come close enough to illuminate the star for our naked eyes to view from Earth today. That’s how far away Arcturus is. I can’t even come close to fathoming it.

The alpha star in the constellation of Boötes, Arcturus is the brightest star in that constellation, the brightest star in the northern hemisphere, and the fourth-brightest star in the entire night sky. You can’t miss Arcturus if you live north of the celestial equator. Look up at night when the sky is clear and find the large, bright orange star shining down on you!

Another star with whom I feel very closely connected is Vega, a luminous bluish star of the constellation Lyra. Vega is 25 light-years away. Vega’s light began traveling through space in 1996 in order for us to view the star today.

Noting the celestial transition from winter to spring was awe-inspiring. I do miss Pollux and Castor, the bright twin stars of Gemini, but the spring constellations held me – some of them still – just as fast. I’m thrilled anew as we transition from spring to summer, delighted to see the summer constellations array the night sky while some of the spring constellations hang around.

Summer constellations I’m currently watching: Lyra (The Harp); Draco (The Dragon); Serpens (The Serpent); Aquila (The Eagle); Scorpius (The Scorpion); Cygnus (The Swan); and Hercules (The Strongman/Dagda and Odin).

Hercules’ supergiant star Ras Algethi is the constellation’s alpha star. Ras Algethi is 380 light-years away. In the year 1641, Ras Algethi emitted the light that we see when we look up at the star. This starlight has been barreling through space at 186,282 miles per second for 380 years in order for us to see the star today… and there’s an infinity of space with myriad other stars and galaxies far beyond that.

Space is unfathomable, I say again. Limitless and unfathomable. This is why I believe in the existence of life-forms outside of Earth. It simply doesn’t make sense to me that in the entire universe, the magnitude of which we can’t begin to comprehend, the only sentient beings are here on our little speck of a planet. Our little speck of dust of a planet in the grand scheme of the cosmos, I should say. If exhaustive study ends up proving that there are no other sentient beings in our solar system, well, our solar system is but a speck in the entirety of the universe, too. Our little solar system is far from the end of it.

I am so enraptured with the cosmos that I’m without words when I try to convey the depth of my emotion. Star energy is powerful energy; I now work with it and with the moon and other celestial bodies almost exclusively. The stars create connection and love as expansive as the universe itself. I go outside every night and look up at the magnificence overhead, and suddenly, I’m richer than I ever thought I could be. There are times that the sight of the cosmic bodies of moon, stars, and planets move me to tears. I may live alone, but I’m the farthest thing from alone.

Carl Sagan said, “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” I feel the truth of these words at the very core of my being.

The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation of a distant memory, as if we were falling from a great height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.

And I can’t think of a material thing in the world that I want more than a telescope.

(There are telescopes that can take pics of what you’re viewing and send them to your computer…?!!)

While I can’t photograph the celestial bodies with my phone, I can at least take screenshots of the stars and constellations as they appear on my SkyView phone app while scanning the night sky. All of the celestial bodies I’m featuring here are those that I’ve been able to view with my naked eye. I have the camera enabled on this app, so you can see my point of reference as I view these stars. (You’ll see parts of my backyard, treetops, any clouds that may be in the sky, etc.) I’ve been using SkyView for several years now, so it’s about time I share some screenshots here, right?

One thing to note: I often can’t view an entire constellation. When SkyView picks up a star that I can see, it lights up with its complete picture.

Onward, then!

WINTER:

Gemini (the winter constellation Gemini)

I had to start with Gemini, of course. I’m so glad that I took screenshots of this constellation, because that was the last night that I could view it. It will be around six months before I’ll see these brilliant twins again.

Pollux (in the winter constellation Gemini)

Pollux is Gemini’s brightest star, but not the alpha.
Castor (in the winter constellation Gemini)

Castor is Gemini’s alpha star, even though he’s the second-brightest of the constellation. Evidently, this designation was a mistake. Quoted from Wikipedia: “Castor’s Bayer designation as ‘Alpha’ arose because Johann Bayer did not carefully distinguish which of the two was the brighter when he assigned his eponymous designations in 1603.”

So Pollux is the brightest, but his twin got the alpha crown by mistake. No cause for sibling rivalry drama there at all. Nope.

SPRING:

Arcturus (in the spring constellation Boötes)

Arcturus is Boötes’ alpha star.

Boötes is a spring constellation, but I’ve been admiring Arcturus since at least winter. Here’s my attempt at a pic of Arcturus with my phone cam:

Arcturus. (The star’s orange color doesn’t show up in phone camera pics, believe it or not!)
Pulcherrima (in the spring constellation Boötes)
Ursa Major (the spring constellation Ursa Major, aka The Big Dipper)
Polaris (in the spring constellation Ursa Minor, aka The Little Dipper)

Polaris is Ursa Minor’s alpha star. Also known as the North Star, Polaris is likely one of the oldest instruments of navigation in the history of humankind. Polaris is the closest star to the North Pole!

Spica (in the spring constellation Virgo)

Spica is Virgo’s alpha star. Spica is one of my three favorite stars (along with Arcturus and Vega). Here’s an attempt at photographing Spica with my phone:

Spica on a cloudy night (last night).
Menkent (in the spring constellation Centaurus)

Centaurus is a southern hemisphere constellation, but if you’re located at a latitude between +30° and -90°, you can view it. Down here in Phoenix, AZ, my latitude is 33°. I can see the northern part of the constellation, where Menkent is situated. It’s the only star that I’ve been able to view in Centaurus. I would love to see Centaurus’s alpha star Rigil Kentaurus (Alpha Centaurus), but alas.

Regulus (in the spring constellation Leo)

Regulus is Leo’s alpha star.

Denebola (in the spring constellation Leo)
Algieba (in the spring constellation Leo)
Gemma (in the spring constellation Corona Borealis)

Gemma is Corona Borealis’ alpha star.

N Hya (in the spring constellation Hydra)
Cor Caroli (in the spring constellation Canes Venatici)

Cor Caroli is Canes Venatici’s alpha star.

**Are you noticing that the stars I’m able to see with my naked eye are mostly the alphas of their constellations?**

SUMMER:

Vega (in the summer constellation Lyra)

Vega is Lyra’s alpha star, and she’s my second-favorite star… a very close favorite to Arcturus. Vega is a cool blue-white color, and she is the brightest star in the summer sky. [ETA: Since I posted this, I attempted to photograph Vega with my phonecam… and lo, her blue color came through!! I enlarged this image so you can really see her color.]:

My phonecam picked up Vega’s blue color!
Rastaban (in the summer constellation Draco)
Unuk (in the summer constellation Serpens)

Unuk is Serpens’ alpha star. According to some sources, “Unuk” is obsolete, and the star goes by “Alpha Serpentis.”

Altair (in the summer constellation Aquila)

Altair is Aquila’s alpha star.

Antares (in the summer constellation Scorpius)

Antares is Scorpius’ alpha star.

Deneb (in the summer constellation Cygnus)

Deneb is Cygnus’ alpha star.

Albireo (in the summer constellation Cygnus)
Ras Algethi (in the summer constellation Hercules)

Ras Algethi is Hercules’ alpha star.

AND FINALLY:

Jupiter (with the moon) in Aquarius (~4:35am Tuesday, June 1) (My coordinates are 33° 26′)

This was a magickal early morning! At 4:30am I went out and looked at the moon in the breaking dawn, and Jupiter was right there next to her, large and bright and magnificent. You would think, what kind of a star could be so large and bright in broad daylight? The answer is that it’s not a star. It’s Jupiter.

I hope you enjoyed (or at least tolerated) my geeking out over the cosmos!

First roach sighting of the year, check.

I saw a roach on the back patio the other day. It was early in the morning, and I spotted it through the sliding-glass door as I was about to step outside to feed Salem. It was at a glance and without my glasses, but there was no mistaking the narrow, orangish-brown oblong shape on its back with its legs tangled in the air and long antennae flat on the concrete. The sight of it threw me into a panic. I wouldn’t be able to avert my eyes. I wouldn’t be able to walk around it and pretend that it wasn’t there. It was right in front of Salem’s bowl. It was exactly where I’d have to crouch down to scoop out her food.

Here in Phoenix Metro, this is how we know it’s officially summer. It gets hot, and the large roaches come out at night. This one was dead because I have Creepy Crawley come out regularly to spray. Not that it matters. They freak me out when they’re dead as much as they do when they’re alive. As far as I’m concerned, roaches are nature’s abomination. Something has to be, right?

I stayed in the house and thought about what to do, and then I braced myself to carry out my plan, which would be to sweep the roach away from the area without looking at it. I knew that some amount of looking at it would be necessary, but I figured if I could glance down quickly, just once, just enough to position the broom where it needed to be, then I could follow through with the sweeping motion without looking.

It’s internal chaos with this paralyzing phobia. I could feel my heart pounding my stomach into knots as I stepped outside. My lungs were afraid to breathe, and the crawling sensation on my lower legs made it hard to move. But my baby was hungry, and I had to get ready for work. There was no time for messing around.

I gripped the broom with both hands and stretched my arms out to their fullest extent so I could stand as far away from the roach as possible, then glanced down quickly, lowered the broom to where I thought it needed to be, and swept. It didn’t work the first time, but the second time, I stepped back and bent forward to get a better reach with more accuracy (should I take up golf?) and executed a more forceful sweep. The roach went flying out of the patio area and onto the path leading to the back gate.

Sitting off to the side, Salem, who’d been watching me intently, followed the roach’s trajectory with her eyes and pounced on it. This actually gladdened my heart. Another sign of Salem’s transformation from feral to domesticated! She’d been playing with her toys in the laundry room for months. I’ve found them all over the place, even outside of the laundry room, but for her to actively engage with me while playing would be taking it to the next level. It would be another milestone in her development!

With this thought in mind, I was able to feed Salem with a little happiness to take the edge off the horror. But dismay lingered in my mind for the next few days as I contemplated the issue of roaches outside on the hot summer nights.

Because my habit is to go out to the backyard every night to be with the stars and the moon and the planets. Going outside at night to gaze at the celestial bodies while bonding with Salem is the highlight of my day. How was I going to manage it with the roaches out there, too?

At first, I thought I’d just have to stop doing it. I couldn’t see bonding with the stars and the moon and Salem AND THE ROACHES. The idea of standing out there with roaches skittering around was pure nightmare fuel.

But in the end, I was not going to let the roaches keep me inside and away from my beloved night sky and sweet daughter of the night. And that is why there’s now a pair of combat boots in the basket by the sliding-glass door. I have an official uniform for summer nighttime skygazing: jeans tucked into combat boots with whatever t-shirt. It makes me feel safer.

Salem seemed disappointed when she found a roach rather than an actual toy, but when I got home from work that day, the roach was gone. Either she’d deigned to play with it, or a bird had come to take it away. Either way, good riddance.

This Wednesday’s (tomorrow’s) SUPER FLOWER BLOOD MOON (May’s full moon + total lunar eclipse!)

My friends, the lunar event of the year is nigh, and I’m so excited for it. I’m talking about this month’s full moon. On Wednesday, May 26th, May’s full moon will rise to its peak as the flower moon (as Native Americans have named May’s full moon), a supermoon (the largest and brightest of the year’s two), and a blood moon, on account of the total lunar eclipse that will be taking place… the only one of 2021.

Whew! GET READY.

With this moon positioned closer to Earth than it’ll ever be this year, we’re in for amplified power of the already powerful full moon. With this full moon also being a blood moon because of the total lunar eclipse, we’ll experience yet deeper potency of the full moon’s effects on our lives. We’ll feel these effects whether we’re thinking about the moon or not.

The eclipse will occur at 7:14am EST here in North America, but those east of Mississippi likely won’t be able to see it. West of Mississippi and east of Texas, I believe, folks will be able to see a partial eclipse. Here in the west, we’ll be able to view the total eclipse. I’ll be getting up early-early-early, because EST eclipse time translates to 4:14am Arizona time.

This full moon is rising in Sagittarius as the sun is positioned in Gemini. I’ve been studying the planetary positions and transits and everything taking place around this full moon, and I don’t even know where to begin with it all… but now, I just want to hurry and post this in case you haven’t come across news of this event elsewhere!

In short, this is a time to ask ourselves whether we are where we want to be, and if not, why. Could it be that there’s something negative in our past, literal or karmic, that we no longer need? That’s holding us back, perhaps?

This is a time for cleansing.

This is a time for cleaning house in every sense of the term. Cleaning our physical spaces is the easy part. Cleaning house in terms of getting our shit together in our daily lives is a bit more difficult. In a broader, metaphysical sense, we face a most difficult and uncomfortable sort of housecleaning: in order to clean house, we need to go inward and engage in honest self-evaluation.

Because this is a time for letting go. And we’re lucky, because Jupiter sitting in Pisces right now emboldens and inspires us to do it. Jupiter rules Sagittarius, the sign in which this magnificent Super Flower Blood Moon is rising, as I’ve mentioned. Jupiter is happy-go-lucky (emphasis on both happy and lucky). It’s optimism and adventure. It’s forward-moving and expansive and free… and it’s carrying its multitude of possibilities along in the watery vibes of Pisces. It wants us to go with the flow. It does not want us to be held back.

Letting go is painful, but now is a good time to do it. The cosmic circumstances of (and surrounding) this full moon are creating an anesthesia for us so we can unburden ourselves and move forward and thrive in the joyful, optimistic energy of Sagittarius. This is a transformative time!

If you’re held underwater by an anchor roped around your boot, you’d pull your foot out of the boot so you can rise to the surface, right? You’d leave it behind so you can live. You don’t need it, anyway.

Blessings to you under the Super Flower Blood Moon of 2021!

Bringing it inside, keeping it inside. (Living Room Gym WORKOUT! Les Mills BodyCombat!)

Hello! I’d originally planned to write about our upcoming total lunar eclipse, but I figured it would make more sense to offer that post closer to the event, as in, the night before. Look for that post on Tuesday night!

Today, I’ve got a workout post that’s long overdue. I’d intended to do this about a year ago. I believe that I did post some sort of living-room workout before that, but I can’t find it now! As I recall, the notion was “this is to give you an idea of it, but I’ll come back with a real living-room workout post soon.” By “real,” I was thinking “with five thousand pics.” So here, finally, is that workout post.

We have NutritionalDirect to thank for this, as they featured one of my garage gym posts on their site last week. It was the nudge that I needed. I was reminded that many of you are here because of the garage gym/fitness/martial arts aspect of my blog, and I apologize for my neglect in this vein, my friends. This post is for you, as well as for anyone else who may be interested.

I got right to it. I saw my post on NutritionalDirect on Monday, and on Wednesday, I set up my phone to record my Les Mills BodyCombat workout.

The thing I’m happiest to show with this post is the sort of workout that can be done in a small space. BodyCombat is a dynamic, varied, and fast-paced workout, and it requires no equipment other than a yoga mat (if you have a hard floor). I do the full one-hour version in this little space between furniture and the window wall – we’re talking a 9′ x 8′ space, roughly.* I do have to make modifications when advancing in any direction, but that’s totally inconsequential. Anything that involves advancing to cover space can be done just as effectively in place!

*Granted, I’m 5′, 4″. A taller person would have a harder time in this small space, to be sure.

Please pay no mind to the wild fluctuations in lighting throughout the hour. I do not have an actual camera or lights for filming, so I’m working with daylight and my overhead light. Light fades in and out. The lower I am to the floor, the darker it gets.

Let’s get into it!

shoots (MMA)

knee strikes

(between strikes)

side kick (Why do I never pivot my standing foot enough?!)

squats

running – high knees

some kind of plyo – I think this is just leaping up from a shoot

sprints – impossible to capture in a still from a video, but for what it’s worth!

jump kick in process – limited by space overhead (ceiling fan) and in front (wall), but still.

ginga (Capoeira)
Muay Thai

Muay Thai

Muay Thai

still Muay Thai, I think

elbow strike (Muay Thai)

[NOTE: my guard in all of the above Muay Thai pics is WRONG! I know better. It’s good to review my form like this every once in a while]

running man knees (lame-ass pic, I know, but that’s what was happening here.)

push kick (still Muay Thai!)

more running

push-ups
C-crunches

back lifts/raises/supermans/whatever they’re called

Jumping in to switch legs during the stretching

cool-down kata

quad stretch

OG readers, remember “walking-off” pics at the end of garage gym workout posts? This is the living-room version, I guess. I didn’t have far to walk!

If you’re interested in doing this Les Mills BodyCombat workout (this one was release #64) or any of the other hundreds offered by Les Mills, click here to explore Les Mills On Demand. Les Mills’ workouts are world-class. They are amazing. Every workout I do is on this app!

Happy new week to you, my friends!

Apologies for my eyes (that won’t stay open).

Nah… let’s not blame my eyes, which are innocent. It’s me with my terrible time-management skills. [::shakes fist at self::]

In lieu of a post tonight, I thought I’d drop in with an apology for not having a post tonight. I know I’ve been delinquent in getting my mid-week posts up, and this is not how I would like for things to be. Lest you think otherwise, I do plan to continue with the mid-week posts!

I had one planned for tonight – a much-requested and long overdue “garage gym” (read: living room) post – but it’s not going to happen until next week, unfortunately.

This Saturday, now! I’m beside myself with anticipation of next week’s lunar event, so I’ll be writing about that for Saturday night.

A sneak peek:

–Next week, on Wednesday, May 26, May’s full moon will rise in Sagittarius while we are in Gemini season.

–It will be the second supermoon – and the last – of 2021. This supermoon will be slightly more “super” than last month’s; it will be the largest, brightest moon of the year.

–It will be the Flower Moon.

–And it will be a Blood Moon. Why? Because we’re going to have a total lunar eclipse. The supermoon will be reddish in color.

It will be an ideal time for us all, if we are mindful of the opportunities for growth the cosmos is going to set before us. The total lunar eclipse Super Flower Blood Moon in Sagittarius during Gemini season promises to be one of the most spectacular celestial events of the year, if not the most, not to mention one of the most powerful times!

There’s so much going on, and I can’t wait to get into more detail when I post this weekend. For now, though, I’m going to crawl into bed. This is where I call it a night.

I hope this finds you all well!

Sociopaths: Stigmatized into the shadows. (On Antisocial Personality Disorder.)

Greetings. It’s been a while since I’ve written a mental health-related post, mostly because I’ve been blessed to be in a good place for such a sustained period of time.

Tonight, however, I’ve got a specific mental health topic on my mind. I want to talk about sociopaths; that is, people who are diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder. I’d actually planned to post along these lines last Wednesday/Thursday night, but I found myself blocked and floundering in my attempt to shape my thoughts around my feelings. I didn’t know how, exactly, to say what I want to say.

I guess I’ll start with the basic idea that society has determined that it’s okay to openly abhor and malign sociopaths. We perceive them to be less than human because they lack empathy and can’t feel guilt or remorse. They’re seen as a danger against the general public, and against us as individuals. Thus dehumanized and diagnostically relieved of any benefits of the doubt, sociopaths are open for castigation from all angles. (Okay, that might sound a little dramatic. What I mean is that at the least, there’s a general consensus that sociopaths don’t deserve kindness.)

We don’t consider what we’re doing to be a vilification. We consider sociopaths to be villains by definition, so we can’t be vilifying them, right? Neither do our societal rules against hate speech apply to them, because hate speech is only hate speech if it’s directed at humans, not at monsters. And so we will say that sociopaths are demonic. We will suggest that sociopaths should be rounded up and deposited on an island, just as lepers were shipped off to the Hawaiian island of Molokai in the 19th century… but you can bet that there wouldn’t be a Father Damien for the sociopaths on the island.

Reaching further beyond hate speech, there are books written matter-of-factly about how to detect “the sociopath next door,” and how to arm yourselves against them. Such literary material encourages us to become armchair psychologists while seeding fear and perpetuating the stereotype of sociopaths being monsters walking around in human suits, one-dimensional and beyond hope, help, or understanding.

So here’s what I’ve been thinking (and I know that this may be an unpopular opinion): Empathy, while important, is overrated.

People with empathy can and do engage in gaslighting, manipulation, and verbal/mental/psychological abuse. People with empathy can and do commit murder, premeditated and otherwise. In fact, only people who have empathy can commit “crimes of passion,” some of the most violent and gruesome murders, because these crimes are emotionally driven. Sociopaths don’t act out of emotion. Where is the book warning us about the person next door who might have empathy?

The fact of the matter is that high-functioning sociopaths can be morally good people. They can be morally good because there’s nothing stopping them from having a moral compass based on ethics.

I’ve been pondering this for a while, too, the relationship between empathy and ethics. No matter how I look at it, I see that ethics is intellectual reasoning and empathy is emotion and the two things are unrelated. Sociopaths don’t have empathy; we act as if it’s impossible to be morally good if you lack empathy. I just don’t think that this is the case. Ethics is what’s behind our ideas of right and wrong, not empathy.

I find it sad that in all the talk I hear swirling around the importance of destigmatizing mental illnesses, sociopaths are left out of the conversation. Antisocial Personality Disorder simply isn’t up for discussion, because we see sociopaths as unfixable and unworthy of medical attention. All we’re taught about sociopaths is that they’re ruthless fiends who should be avoided at all costs. We (the ones who have empathy!) treat sociopaths as “other” so we can’t be accused of hypocrisy when we speak of accepting all segments of the population – including those with all varieties of disabilities – while maligning them, the sociopaths.

It’s not just sociopaths, either. Antisocial Personality Disorder is one of the four cluster-B personality disorders, the other three being Borderline, Histrionic, and Narcissistic, and all are highly stigmatized and well-maligned (though none more than the antisocials/sociopaths).

I could go on and on, but I’m going to stop here to present this YouTube video. This is Kanika Batra, a diagnosed sociopath and narcissist making videos on YouTube to humanize, support, and advocate for others suffering with the same (and all cluster-B) personality disorders.

For me, a layperson with no formal background in psychology, Kanika’s video is an eye-opener to the notion that sociopaths can feel empty, lonely, depressed, and suicidal because of their inability to relate to others. Making things even more difficult is the fact that many mental health professionals refuse to work with them. Many sociopaths know that they’re broken, and they want to get better, but they have nowhere to go for help. They are shut out, stigmatized and stereotyped “into the shadows,” as Kanika words it.

Elsewhere on her channel, Kanika points out that you don’t need to have empathy in order to have compassion, to value human life, to know right from wrong, and to have a need for community. Her videos are fascinating and important, I think. Go check out Kanika’s channel! There’s a whole lot in the way of informative material in the relatively few videos there. (Kanika started her channel not even a year ago.)

With that, I’ll bid you a merry week ahead, my friends. Thank you for reading this far!

On the inside, looking out. (Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 11)

Friday morning, a screw fell to the floor when I opened my front door to leave the house. Saturday morning, I sent a couple of texts. Hours later, a person came over and took some measurements. Long story short: My new front door will be ready for installation in about four weeks.

Meanwhile, the door person will come back on Monday to fabricate a temporary fix on the door frame, enabling me to not only close the front door, but to lock it, too! Brilliant!

Because currently, the door doesn’t close. It can’t, because there’s nothing on the door frame to hold it in. The door frame is cracked and warped and crumbling. The part where the locks would bolt to hold the door shut look like they’ve been chewed up by rats. The screw fell out because the thread by which it’d been hanging finally broke.

So I’ve got dumbbells to equal 150 lbs (all I have in the house… there are more in the garage) strategically placed to keep the door closed and to make a potential intruder work for it at least a little. Thank the divine for the security screen door on the outside!

I guess these shenanegans make for good practice, right? After this, I’ll be a seasoned pro when it comes to shoring up for the ol’ zombie apocalypse.

Speaking of zombies, let’s talk about corpses. Exquisite corpses, that is. The exquisite corpse! A collection of lines of poetry, each one written by a stranger. It was February – Valentine’s Day, to be precise – the last time I posted a Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse poem. The people writing in Missed Connections these days have not let me down. I love the way the subject lines work together! There are 21 lines in this poem, meaning that it was written by 21 strangers who had no idea that they were writing poetry when they filled in those subject lines.

[On a technical note: I’ll sometimes add punctuation as I arrange the Missed Connections subject lines. This time, I did not. No punctuation.]

Without further ado, then:

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 11

I enjoyed our conversation
Girl with the pinecone necklace
Green top, black leggings, brown dog

Metaphysical section at Barnes & Noble
The Nonfiction Section
From a wise human being to another
your energy is beautiful
My Daytime Goddess
Forest nymph
Star child
My sky
when I left your dog followed me

Hocus pocus

We vibed to your music
I should have told you I loved you
I’m always looking for you
Years not months
Walking down the highway
Waiting for the rail

With that, I wish you all well! Until we meet again, my friends.



I was just passing by… (and feeling blah)

Today started strangely, with my brain enmeshed in fog. When I left work an hour early with stomach cramps, nausea, and other intestinal discomfort, I thought it was possible that the brainfog was related. But I believe that it was something I’d eaten at lunch… maybe a bit of bread that’d gone past its time. It wasn’t anything as dramatic as food poisoning, but it was definitely a stomach-disagreement situation.

I can power through colds and even pneumonia, but I crumple when it comes to gastrointestinal maladies, no matter how mild.

So I came home early, and the afternoon turned to dusk. I wasn’t hungry until I was, and then, with my sour stomach, all I could think of eating was bland crackers. Luckily, I had some on hand (for just such occasions). Then I began to crave peanut butter and jelly and more peanuts and also dates, so I ate all of those. That was dinner. I recoiled at the idea of anything salty, oily, or acidic (e.g. my favorite things). No salt, olive oil, tart fruit, or apple cider vinegar? Yeah, something was off.

The obvious downsides of feeling unwell included having to skip my workout. On the up side, I got to see Geronimo and spend a good amount of time with him. I usually just miss Geronimo when I get home from work at my normal time!

Now it’s super late, but I’m feeling better. Hopefully, it was all just a reaction to the bread. I think that it was.

Speaking of bread:

Nenette being a loaf in an actual bread basket…

…on the dining table, where she’s not supposed to be. This was a first! I put a firm end to it. Well, what I actually did was put something uncomfortable in that basket. That solved the problem nicely.

Happy Friday and weekend, my friends!

Beltane blessings! (May Day!)

Greetings to you on the 2nd of May!

Yesterday was a holiday. It was Beltane, the last of the spring celebrations in the wheel of the year. It’s all flowers and maypoles and passion and honeybees… and, above all, fire. Beltane is a fire festival. It is the fire festival. There’s usually a bonfire somewhere in Beltane celebrations, but any fire will do if a bonfire isn’t possible! I kept candles burning all day.

A bit of background, for anyone who’s unfamiliar: Outside of the religions of Wicca and Paganism, Beltane is celebrated as May Day on the 1st of May, just as Samhain is celebrated as Halloween on the 31st of October. Beltane and Samhain are the two times of year when the veil between worlds is the thinnest, so both holidays involve traditions around protection from spirits… the spirits of the dead at Samhain, and the spirits of nature and the Fae at Beltane. The two holidays are not only direct opposites on the wheel of the year, but they’re also opposites in essence: Beltane is about celebrating life and fertility (of all beings, and of nature), while Samhain is about honoring death.

A part of my Beltane celebration was spending time outdoors in nature with Geronimo and Salem. Another part was baking. It was while I was baking that a bird hit the living room window. Again.

I hurried out of the kitchen to look through the guilty window, and I saw the little gray bird lying on his side on the patio, struggling. I didn’t know what to do. I went back into the kitchen, then returned to the window about 15 minutes later. There was no movement that time. The bird’s spirit had left his body. Suddenly, my day of celebrating life had been punctuated by death.

I felt responsible. (Why did I ask for a picture window in that huge window space?) It wasn’t the same kind of sad as Salem’s dove kills in the backyard. I wasn’t facing the disposal of days’-old, torn-apart pieces of large bird remains. It wasn’t nature that killed the little bird in the front yard. It was my window.

At dusk, I went out to the front yard and dug a tiny grave about a foot and a half deep. I tried to collect the bird gently, but his little head was stuck to the concrete with his dried blood… I believed that he’d broken his skull. I had to slip my fingers beneath it and work a bit to loosen it. (Yes, I was wearing disposable pandemic gloves.)

When I laid him down to rest in his grave, I said a prayer before covering him up, telling Mother Earth that I was returning to her the body of one of her children.

After that, I did some (alchemy) workings in the Beltane energy, then ate a Simple Feast of (vegan) vanilla cake, fresh strawberries, and ginger ale sweetened with extract from the stevia plant. Stevia.

It was a beautiful and magickal day overall. Even though.

Now, to end on a cheery note, I want to share these pics I’ve taken recently of the flowers in my yards. I’ve got a plethora of them!

First, the ones that are not in my yard:

Gerberas – flowers in the daisy family (which is associated with Beltane) obtained at the grocery store a few days ago.

Beltane colors are fiery and botanical: reds, yellows, greens, colors that happen to be in generous bloom all over my front and backyards.

Starting with Geronimo’s hibiscus! These plants are exploding! I’ve never seen so many blooms at once on all of the hibiscus plants.

Even this one by the back gate is loaded with flowers this year. It’s always been sparsely flowered.
Prickly Pear in bloom in the front yard, which is entirely carpeted in golden Palo Verde pollen.
Back to the backyard! The red hibiscus behind the burrow of a certain desert tortoise that I know.
Desert willow
Ruella
Verbena? Lantana? One of the two. I never know which.
Mesquite
Fig tree doing nicely!
Desert rose also doing nicely!

This desert rose looks like a Dr. Seuss flower, doesn’t it? What a wonderful character it is.

Happy Beltane Season to you, my friends.

March/April Favorites!

As I write this, April 2021 is less than 24 hours away from being over. Unbelievable! 

In Monthly Favorites news, I’m here to share my favorite viewables of the last two months, for anyone who’s curious to know what I’ve been watching as of late. Many thanks to those of you who’ve said that you look forward to Monthly Favorites! I started out the MF year with a January/February list at the close of February, and I thought I’d continue doing these posts two months at a time. Future lists will include food and product discoveries, by the way. 

I’ve been taking in my usual fare of horror, true crime documentary/docuseries, and suspense/thriller/mystery. I’ve got a couple of drama picks on this list, too. 

Getting right into it, then! (In no particular order) 

1). Sound of Metal (Amazon Prime Video)

A heartbreaking, enlightening, and masterfully wrought story of a heavy metal drummer whose sudden hearing loss challenges his identity, sanity, livelihood, and relationship.

2). Minari (Amazon Prime Video)

A Korean-American family relocates to Arkansas from California with hopes of farming Korean vegetables and fruits in the rich Arkansas soil. There are set-backs. There are sweet moments. There’s a feisty Korean grandma who’s a riot. That’s really all you need to know. The film is gorgeous, but the grandma is the reason you want to watch it.

3). Murder Among the Mormons (Netflix)

I tuned into this Netflix docuseries with no idea as to what I was about to watch. There are more twists and turns in this bizarre story than in most fictional thrillers I’ve seen.

4). Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal (Netflix)

In case you’re unaware: some rich people gave big money to a guy in order to fraudulently get their kids accepted to top universities. The scam blew up. Netflix has the story in all of its intricate, obscene glory.

Next up, I have recommendations for a few thriller/mystery/suspense series. Without commentary:

5). Bitter Daisies (Netflix)

6). The Wilds (Amazon Prime Video)

7). Cruel Summer (Hulu, from FreeForm)

And you knew I was going to recommend at least one horror series, and at least one horror film!

8). Creepshow (Shudder):

9). I See You (Amazon Prime Video)

Now, I almost forgot to include this documentary:

10). Seaspiracy (Netflix) – Please watch this one, if you haven’t already:

And that’s a wrap on this list of recommendations. I’m already looking forward to the next one!

Take care and Happy Weekend Eve, my friends.

Tomorrow night’s Pink Moon, April’s full moon! (and it’s a supermoon!)

Here in North America, April closes with the blooming of a tiny, ground-creeping wildflower that covers the ground thickly in a cloak of bright pink. Thus, Native Americans named April’s full moon the Pink Moon.

This year’s Pink Moon will rise on Monday the 26th (or Tuesday the 27th, depending on where you are), and it will round out this month of celestial wonders in spectacular fashion: this full moon will be a supermoon, closer to the Earth than average full moons, appearing large and low on the horizon as it rises. Check your local moonrise schedule to determine when you can expect to see it!

SkyView screenshot I took in the wee hours of the 25th, the day before the full moon

Rising in the constellation of Scorpio (element of water) while the sun is positioned in Taurus (element of earth), this full moon will bring challenges – growth-inducing tensions, let’s say – to us as Taurus’s earthy, grounding energies of the physical, material realm opposes Scorpio’s watery, esoteric energies of the spirit realm.

As a result of this polarity, this particular full moon presents us with a unique opportunity to engage in shadow work, to bring out our shadow selves… our dark selves that we’ve repressed in order to avoid emotional pain. Shadow work involves looking inward with a magnified intuition in search of the root causes of our emotional blocks and drives, whatever they may be.

In other words, this is a good time to address our inner demons, not with the goal of driving them away, but with the goal of acknowledging and accepting them. Rather than fixing our inner demons, we can work with them, and we can work to heal from them.

This is not easy. Shadow work is work. It’s facing ourselves and working through trauma, the toughest sort of spiritual work we can undertake. In my humble opinion, a good way to start shadow work is to work with a therapist, whether a traditional Western therapist, a metaphysical therapist, or a church counselor. We can delve into shadow work as a part of our solitary spiritual practices, certainly, but it’s always good to add in the assistance of an expert, if possible.

There’s a lot of talk about self-love floating around. The full moon – especially the energetic powerhouse of a supermoon – rising in Scorpio while the sun is positioned in Taurus serves as a reminder that self-love includes love of our shadow selves.

It’s scary making space for our inner demons to breathe, I know! I’ve been working on mine for most of my life. It’s a process that I’ll continue indefinitely. For me, tomorrow night’s rising of the glorious Pink Moon will be a time for quiet celebration, reflection, and gratitude.

Happy full moon-viewing, and merry meet again, my friends.

Love your mother. (Earth Day 2021!)

Happy Earth Day 2021, my friends!

In recognition of Gaia, the ancient Earth goddess….

She is the first Goddess, Gaia,
our mother, Mother Earth.
She is our Ancient Mother, and she needs us right now. This is her time of need! Sadly, it’s been her time of need for a very long time, and she’s worsening.

What, as an individual, can I do for her?

I already recycle. I’m already vegan. I already keep my driving to a minimum. I plan to go solar one day… that’s on the long-term list.

What I can do right now, I realize, is resolve to limit my use of synthetic resources. There’s more to this than bringing reusable bags to the grocery store, which I already do. I mean, I already do, but…
but then I’ll sometimes reluctantly ask for plastic bags, and I’ll put them inside my reusable bags. This is my Earth Day walk of shame for all of you to see, my friends: I ask for plastic bags at the grocery store every so often because I use them for the waste that I scoop out of Nenette’s litter box.

A couple of week ago, my feelings of wrongness regarding this finally got to me, and I purchased a hefty packet of brown paper lunch bags. I didn’t know what else to do. When I looked up “eco-friendly kitty litter bags,” I found bags designed for the purpose. The problem is that I’m not confident that they’re okay. They’re made of plastic, I believe, and technology aside, plastic is synthetic. Maybe I’m not understanding it; I’ll do more research. All I know for now is that I’m using up the plastic grocery bags I have left, and then I never want to see a plastic grocery bag in my house ever again. I’ll use the paper lunch bags until/unless I find a better way.

So there’s my Earth Day confession and intention.

To close, I’ll leave you with my movie recommendation in honor of Earth Day! Allow me to suggest Seaspiracy (Netflix Original Documentary).

The End… but not.

Thank you for reading, as always! Merry mid-week and HAPPY EARTH DAY!!

April is Halfway to Halloween Month!

P.S. from my last post: I kept my senses open wide last week, and on Friday, a week after my ghostly encounter, I felt confident in my impression that the ghost on the premises isn’t a malignant one. I feel that he simply wants his existence to be acknowledged. Noted, ghost. Noted.

This brings me to tonight’s post! This month I’ve been sharing my celebrations of spring with you, and today I’m sharing my celebration of April’s other face: HALFWAY TO HALLOWEEN.

In the full flush of this season of fertility and growth, we meet the halfway point to the season of the spirits and the dead that we honor, and it couldn’t be a more perfect conjunction of celebrations, in my humble opinion.

And so, my fellow spookily inclined darklings, we have before us a magnificent and benignly perverse second half of the year ahead in the arena of entertainment. For one thing, Shudder (streaming service) is celebrating Halfway to Halloween Month with a flash sale: 50% off six months! If you enjoy horrors, thrillers, and suspense and you’re not already subscribed to Shudder, now may be the time to consider doing it. Shudder will hook you up with their vast library of uncut, ad-free popcorn series and flicks, including Shudder Originals that you can’t watch anywhere else.

[This post isn’t sponsored by Shudder, but I would be remiss to keep this sale from you.] 

 

 

In case you’re wondering what to watch on Halfway to Halloween date nights, I have a couple of recommendations. The first is a movie available on Amazon Prime Video, and the second is a series available on Shudder (as a Shudder Original).

1). Movie: I See You (Amazon Prime Video)

2). Series: Creepshow (Shudder Original Series)

I’ve included Creepshow in a “monthly favorites” post in the past. It’s back with season 2! There are three season 2 episodes up so far. They’re all good, but the one I want to recommend to you today is season 2’s episode 1, “Model Kid/Public Television of the Dead.” Creepshow episodes stand alone, so they don’t have to be watched in order. Each episode is a double-feature. You’re basically getting two horror shorts in one episode, each story about 30 minutes long.

With that, I’ll leave you to your day or night or whatever the case may be where you are. It’s Sunday morning here in Arizona, and I know of a sweet desert tortoise who’s waiting for me outside.

Until mid-week!

Paranormal encounter at work? (Possible ghost story.)

Greetings, my friends. I have a story to share with you. I actually meant to post this last night, but I couldn’t stay awake. Typical!

Something unexplainable happened at work last week Friday: I heard footsteps approach and pass as I was fixated on the task before me, and they didn’t sound right. I mean, they didn’t sound familiar, much less right.

(I wish to relay the story without workplace details, so please to excuse the vagueness henceforth.)

The footsteps sounded odd, like a sort of shuffling and gliding at the same time, and they were swift. They were gone within two seconds, as that’s how long it took for them to shuffle-glide past me.

My reflexive glimpse almost missed it completely; it was just at the outer edge of my peripheral vision that I caught an impression of black footwear and dull attire, some kind of pale neutral fabric with mottled dark patches. It looked dirty.

But it was the footsteps that made the back of my neck prickle. The way they sounded. The quick and light shuffle-glide. It was a walking cadence that I hadn’t heard before, at work or anywhere.

A chill went through my body. I had to take a deep breath.

I took a long step sideways to look around the corner, and I saw no one. Then I quickly moved to where I could see the expanse of space between my location and the front. I was afraid of what I would find, but I had to look! Sure enough, I saw most of my co-workers at the front end. Not only were they nowhere near me, but the footsteps had gone in the opposite direction.

Three co-workers were missing from my view, so I thought there was still hope for a logical explanation. One co-worker was on the other side of the space. It couldn’t have been him. Another one was on the side that I was on, but toward the front. It couldn’t have been him. When I ran into the remaining person, he said that it wasn’t him, and I believed him.

None of my co-workers shuffle-glided past me in old black boots and pale clothing dirtied with fading black splotches. Someone did, though.

Now, we all know how I love horror and all things spooky, but I’ve looked at this situation from every objective angle and can’t convince myself that I conceived of it somewhere in my subconscious. I do believe in ghosts and in the supernatual, in general.

Could it have been a ghost? Absolutely, especially since a couple of people had told me before that the place is haunted. I wasn’t thinking of this on Friday morning, though. My brain wasn’t set on high alert for ghosts, and even if it was, my body reacted to the incident in a fraction of a second, before I could formulate thoughts around the lore of hauntings.

And there you have it.

I don’t have a ghostly pic to share, but I have this pic of a spookyish corner of my bedroom:

Cozy corner

Merry Friday and weekend to you all!

When the dark side of the moon is also the brightest. (New Moon!) (In Aries!)

A new moon will rise tonight.

There won’t be a moon to see, of course. The moon is new when she’s aligned herself between the Earth and the sun, with her dark side facing us; new moon night is a dark, moonless night. Planting crops on the night of the new moon boded well for farmers, as the darkness allowed their planting activities to go unseen by plant-eating wildlife. I love this mental image of farmers working in the dark of night, planting their crops in secrecy.

So there won’t be anything to see, but there will be a lot to feel. We have an exciting and momentous occasion with this new moon, because the sun is in Aries right now!

The new moon marks the beginning of a new lunar cycle (there are 12-13 new moons in a year), and Aries, being the the 1st of the 12 astrological houses, opens the new astrological/solar year. The new moon is about goals and intentions. Aries is about springing to action. New moon energy is charged with potentiality to begin with, so imagine the new moon in Aries!

Aries is one of the three fire signs in the zodiac, and it’s the one that means business. This fiery sign is about doing. The new moon is about planning. If you want to change your life, now is the time! The new moon in Aries is the moon that lights the fire under our asses. The new moon is the catalyst, and Aries is the fuel.

We’ve been thinking, planning, preparing. Now is the time to start the doing, to take our plans and set them into motion. Aries encourages us to get out of our comfort zones, take risks, and dare to make changes, large or small.

Common examples:

Quit smoking or drinking or (fill in the blank). Change your dietary lifestyle. Start an exercise program/routine. Pursue new employment opportunities. Open a savings account and pay yourself every month (if you aren’t doing it already). Mark your calendar with the Ironman Triathlon (or whatever event) date and plan your training strategy! Change your hair color, your name; reinvent yourself. Re-decorate your home, or re-arrange your furniture. Start learning the instrument or the language or the (fill in the blank) you’ve always wanted to learn. Start school. Start writing your novel. Start auditioning for roles. Change your career path. Re-locate. Seek out new friends, whether in person or online; socialize more or in new settings or both. Start whatever new habits you’ve had on your “to start” list. Change your relationship status, if you’ve known for a while that you should. Work on yourself. The new moon in Aries is a tremendous time for self-improvement goals, in particular.

Whatever the case, we’re well-positioned to begin working toward our goals with focus, care, and intent.

(Note: If we set goals and intentions during the new moon – any new moon – and apply dedication and drive as we move forward with them, we should see signs of fruition at around the time of the new moon’s corresponding full moon… about six months down the line.)

All that said, Happy New Astrological Year! Let’s make the most of the new moon rising under the energetic influence of Aries!

This should not be allowed. (Criminally cute desert tortoise alert.)

In lieu of a post tonight, I’ve got a pic of Geronimo to share with you. I can’t resist. I took some pics of him on Tuesday, and please just forgive my standing around the digital water cooler insisting that everyone look at baby pictures.

Okay, I’ll just post this one:

The happiest desert tortoise on the face of the planet.

He’s smiling with his eyes closed as he gets his neck cuddles. THIS GUY. Is the cutest. Ever.

Warmest Happy Weekend wishes to you! See you then!

p.s. I’m still trying to figure out the new block editor that WordPress has imposed upon us. I thought I’d sorted out the spacing around the images, but evidently not. Also, kindly note that the line of text immediately below the image is the image’s caption, rather than a line of text in the post.

I hope this finds you as happy as Geronimo!

50% vaccinated, 100% wiped out. (+Happy Easter!)

My plan yesterday was to go to the V.A. hospital after work for some prescription re-fills, and I did. My plan did not include getting the COVID-19 vaccine, but I ended up doing that, too. They were taking V.A. patients as walk-ins, and I was right there! Pfizer vaccine injection #1: check. My second shot has been scheduled accordingly.

Everyone’s different as far as vaccine side effects go. In my case, it’s arm pain much worse than from other vaccinations, capital-F fatigue, and an occasional stab of pain in my head. Mild nausea this morning. Mild body aches as we speak. I finally took some Tylenol for the arm pain toward the end of the day, but Tylenol can’t alleviate fatigue. It’s a strange feeling to be this lacking in energy.

So I’m heading to bed. No doubt I’ll be back to myself tomorrow.

Speaking of! Happy Easter to you who celebrate the holiday. I’m still reveling in Ostara, the vernal equinox, so I’ve been celebrating spring for a couple of weeks now.

I don’t want to take my Ostara wreath down, so it’s staying on my door for another little while.

Love the colored eggs in my wreath! Love the Germanic folklore behind the Easter bunny. There exists many versions of the pagan story and countless endings for it, but they all arrive at a bird who was turned into a rabbit who can still lay eggs. The egg-laying hare was created by Eostre, the German Goddess of Spring, so we have her to thank for our Easter traditions involving the Easter bunny.

With that, I’m signing off to get ready for bed so I can pass out in the appropriate place.

Until mid-week!

He’s got the look. (Desert tortoise update!)

There was a morning a few years ago on which I gushed about my scale-baby to a small audience of friends and friendly acquaintances. One of the latter (warmly) asked me how a tortoise could be cute. I thought about it for a quick second and then replied, I guess it’s a face only a mother could love! But I’m here to refute my answer, because I never believed it, even when I said it. Geronimo and all tortoises are cute. I have pics to present as evidence that Geronimo is adorable by anyone’s standards.

Onwards with the exhibits!

Resting in the weeds.

G: This is where my face belongs… in the camera.
I’m not sleepy. You’re sleepy.

Going in for the kill!
Heheh.
This is my sultry look.
This is my sultry look in the grass.
Legs up to my neck!
Trademark look: hibiscus petal stuck to mouth
Dance moves.
MOMMY’S LEGS FAVORITE CLIMB EVER
Just going to sit here for a minute to make sure that Mommy notices me.
Camouflaged.
Hey guys! As you can see I have here a new backdrop for my filming room….
I can do neckshots AND headshots.
(Run to Mommy!)
Welcome to my sweet, sweet digs.
I can do profiles AND neckshots AND headshots.
This is my good side.

The End, and Happy Friday from both of us!

Tonight’s Worm Moon, the first full moon of spring.

With the thawing and melting away of winter, earthworms can emerge from the soil. Here in North America, Native Americans named the first full moon of spring the “worm moon” for this reason… and this year, it’s not just any Worm Moon!

The treat we’re in for this evening at moonrise will be a “Super Worm Moon,” because in a couple of days, the moon’s orbit will bring it as close to the Earth as it gets (perigree). If we’re lucky, we’ll chance to see the large orange sphere close to the horizon.

2021’s Worm Moon rises tonight, and I have plans.

I’m going to celebrate this powerful lunation with a blessing ritual. The Worm Moon marks an auspicious time for new beginnings and fresh starts in any year, but this year, there’s a unique circumstance lending added importance to “new beginnings.”

It’s been a year.

It’s been a year since shit got real with the pandemic. I’m looking at my 2020 planner and remembering that social distancing began on Monday the 16th, and we went into full lock-down on Monday the 30th (here in Arizona).

It’s been a year and we now have a vaccine available to the general population, but we haven’t returned to BeforeTimes normal. I don’t believe we ever will. As we level out into our new normal at this vaccine stage of our year-long virus ordeal, I’m feeling a special reverence for the Worm Moon and its correspondence with new beginnings and fresh starts.

As above, so below.

I obviously don’t have a personal pic of tonight’s moon to share with you, but yesterday I took a pic of my not-so-feral-anymore daughter and partner in all things magickal in the Realm of the Outdoors:

Salem

Because she’ll be with me tonight under the full moon, as always. She’s such a blessing. We’re all so blessed!

Merry meet again, my friends.

SLAXX (Horror movie reaction post.) Killer jeans!!!

I sat down to watch Slaxx a few nights ago with great anticipation. I didn’t know much about the movie, but I did know that its main character is a pair of jeans.

Slaxx is a comedy horror flick, and it’s a Shudder Original. If you’re not subscribed to Shudder (horror/thriller/suspense streaming service) and you’d like to watch a pair of jeans murder its way through a trendy and pretentious retail chain-store, you can sign up for a 7-day free trial to get your fix!

How did I like it? Well, my favorite comedy horror film is now an official triple-tie: Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Shaun of the Dead, and Slaxx.

I couldn’t begin to imagine how this story was going to play out, and I didn’t want to… so I avoided watching the trailer beforehand. This turned out to be an excellent decision. I highly recommend bypassing the trailer, and that is why I’m not inserting it here as I normally would. Like revenge, Slaxx is a dish most delightful served cold, without warning or preview of any sort. I watched the trailer after I watched the movie, and I’m glad that I did it that way. The trailer gives away too much! You want to be caught off-guard by the jeans and how they behave.

Needless to say, much in the way of creativity went into this film.

Like most comedy horrors, Slaxx is decently gory; I’d give it a gore-score of 7. Also like most comedy horrors, though, the gore is so outrageously over-the-top that it can’t be taken seriously. It minimizes its own impact with its absurdity. I found this to be especially true in Slaxx, because its extravagant gore is inflicted by, you know, a pair of jeans.

At the same time that I wasn’t taking the gore seriously (I was actually laughing and cringing at the same time), I was taking the film, itself, fairly seriously. There’s much more to Slaxx than carnage inflicted by possessed jeans. It’s satire with a message. The jeans have a backstory. Everything makes sense in the end.

Slaxx hooked me from the start and held my attention as it moved briskly from scene to scene. I loved it. It’s my idea of a perfect date-night popcorn movie. (My cat was a wonderful date.)

I can’t think of what else to say about Slaxx that wouldn’t ruin it for you somehow, so I’ll stop here. One thing that might be useful to know is that it’s short at only 1 hour and 17 minutes.

Oh! Make sure to watch through the credits at the end. Heheh.

Ostara blessings! (Spring equinox joy.)

Let me start off with an apology for my absence this past week. I am sorry. No matter the reason for it, a missed post never sits well with me. Missing a post is missing you, and I greatly dislike letting you down.

Tomorrow – this whole weekend, actually – is the northern hemisphere’s Ostara, the spring equinox and spring sabbat… a joyous celebration in the Wheel of the Year! My spring flowers have dried beautifully, and I kept them to adorn my second altar. May we all revel in the season’s energy and abundance as it comes to us in various forms.

I love the spring equinox. It’s a transformative time during which nature gives us blessings of opportunities; it’s a time of renewal: new growth, new beginnings, fresh starts, and fertile ground for change. Late in the week I was suddenly overcome by the strong feeling that this weekend I should finally paint the wall I’ve been thinking about painting for months and months. I’m ready to do a thing that I don’t like to do in order to charge my space with fresh energy.

The wall in question is the kitchen side of the floating wall that separates the living space from the cooking and eating space. I chose a deep purplish-brown gray shade called Expressive Plum for this accent wall. It’s time to throw some color into that area of the house!

I’ve been in serious nesting mode lately. Spring is a time for nesting, after all.

Speaking of nesting, I didn’t see Geronimo for most of last week, as we’d been in the throes of a cold spell. Snow up in Flagstaff means nighttime Phoenix lows in the high 40’s/mid-50’s, and that, my friends, is a scenario that will return a desert tortoise underground to his cozy winter nest for a few more days. Geronimo went back to sleep and hit the snooze button.

It’s warmed up these last two days, though, and I got to see the back end of his shell when I looked into his burrow the other evening!

This is what I see when he’s deep in the back of his burrow on his way down into his subterranean palace :

 

Back end of a tortoise disappearing into his tunnels.

 

Can you see him back there?

So I missed him yesterday (and the day before), but today was Saturday, and I was home to bond with my precious scale-baby.

 

A spring tortoise is a happy tortoise!

 

And a spring tortoise with hibiscus petals stuck to his mouth is an even happier tortoise.

On that note, I’ll leave you to your spring equinox celebrations, however that looks in your worlds!

 

 

 

Good times in the spring.

It’s been a productive and relaxing weekend, which translates to mundanity when it comes to summing it up, I’m afraid.

Mundanity can be invigorating, though. It can make you feel victorious. Yesterday I surprised myself and spent more than four hours cleaning out and organizing nine drawers out of the 15 that I have between my bedroom and bathroom, plus my closet.

I didn’t premeditate this act of violence. My original idea of organizing just one particular drawer blossomed, and next thing I knew, I was surrounded by the inner chaos of these eight other drawers that had been in my back-burner sights for too long. I took everything out and piled it up on my queen-size bed and stepped back to regard and assess it. There could be nothing more motivating than spreading out and looking at the evidence of my negligence. It was an egregious display of wasted space.

I vacuumed out the drawers and wiped them down with a delicious apple cider scented natural cleaning spray before putting anything in them.

Then I went through my closet ruthlessly and purged it, too. (Again, yes.)

Finally got around to freshening my hair color at 10pm last night.

Laundry this morning involved a little bonding with Salem. She’d been napping in the laundry room (aka Salem’s Lot – her room), and I felt badly about flushing her out with my insistence on doing laundry. I fed her and we spent some time together and it was sweet. I took a few pics.

 

Salem this morning

 

Also Salem this morning

 

We’ve been in the throes of a cold spell, but the energy of the equinox vanquishes! Doesn’t it always? That’s the beauty of this season, and the reason why I love it. Spring is when we come alive, along with everything else on Earth.

My neighborhood is even livelier now, and it’s not just the spring birds. The people across the street moved out, and the next day, new renters moved in: an ASU bro-squad of three.

[Sidenote for any of you keeping track from posts of yore: Now there’s the five bros in the (now unofficial) bro-house next door, and the three new ones across the street. The two bros in the house next door on the other side are the long-term renters who are actual brothers (their father bought the house for them to rent while they’re in school).]

[/University neighborhood demographic status]

Anyway, the new people across the street have been feeling celebratory, and so they’ve been celebrating. They’ve been adding to the spring bird symphony, only theirs has a pretty sick bassline.

Good times energy is good.

 

 

Not single. Solitary.

I realize that there’s been something of a mystery here for you longer-time readers, and some of you have asked me about it: “The Mystery of Callaghan.”

You’ve noted that in recent months I’ve mentioned living alone, that I never talk about “we” anymore, and that my personal life/domestic life ramblings are in the singular.

Yes, we broke up. We separated a year ago, and he moved out last summer, and it was the best thing for us both. (He knows that I’m writing this here, so there’s no blindsiding with this post.)

I don’t consider myself to be single, because “single” implies that I’m available and open to meeting people, and I’m not. Rather than single, I’m solitary… happily, purposefully solitary. It’s my choice now to walk my path without a romantic partner, as I know that it’s a path best walked alone. At long last, I see this. I think I would have always made this choice had it occurred to me. I don’t need to be with anyone. Finally I’m at ease, free to be myself.

I’m experiencing a personal revival of sorts. I am blessed.

 

[09 March 2021]

 

 

The late afternoon sun struck oddly when I took these pics in the backyard yesterday, but the desert wind blowing my hair in every direction made everything feel magickal. Elemental. The ghostly wave of light coming up in the lower-right corner of the pics was created by the synergy of my crystal pendant and the sunlight as it struck from its particular angle. This isn’t the first time this has happened. My crystal pendant and the sun have a connection, and the camera picks up on it.

I’m so excited for my 60th birthday that I wish I could wake up to it tomorrow, but I have to be patient and grow as I need to in the next eight years before I reach that milestone. There’s an infinity of knowledge to be gained through experience, and I want to take as much as I can into my next decade.

Blessings to you all!

 

 

He’s OUT!!! (Desert tortoise update!)

Exciting exciting exciting news, my friends! Geronimo and I were reunited yesterday!!

It was no surprise, really, but still thrilling. I actually found him further toward the front in his burrow earlier in the week, on Wednesday when I got home from work. He was facing in, and facing in means that he’d been out. I couldn’t be sure that he was out out for the season, though, because the nighttime/early morning low temps were still down in the 40’s! I thought he might have come out for a day-visit.

But I had strong suspicions. I was almost sure that he was emerging to bask in the sun for a few hours every day, and that I was just missing him. I couldn’t wait for the weekend! This is the first spring with him here that I’m not at home all day during the week, so I’d figured I’d have to wait for the weekend before I could really greet him.

So yesterday was Saturday, and it was later in the afternoon when I saw him. He was half-way back in his burrow. I don’t know how, but I almost missed him again, even though I was here all day! I’d gone out periodically to check, too.

 

My first pic of Geronimo this year! [06 March 2021]

 

 

I ran into the house to grab my phone so I could take pics. He was already heading back in! I was afraid he was going to be gone when I got back out, but I found him all the way out again and coming toward me. He was sleepy and slow, but I could tell that he was truckin’. We were both so excited. My little scale-baby!!

I filled his large plant dish and set him in to soak. He needed to rehydrate after his long winter underground. He immediately stuck his head underwater and drank and drank and drank and blew bubbles through his nostrils.

 

Thirsty tortoise.

 

Oh. Hello.

 

Then we were off on our first spring trek together through the yard!

 

Hello.

 

Hello.

 

Hello.

 

WHY HELLO.

 

Hello Hello Hello Hello Hello

 

Hello.

 

mmffnomghnomHello.

 

Good-bye.

 

We went around the yard together for the next half-hour, and I fed him flowers every other step of the way. He was HUNGRY for those hibiscus flowers!

 

Hello.

 

He also munched happily on the young spring grasses and weeds growing everywhere.

 

Hello.

 

And we bonded!

 

Hello.

 

He snuggled up to my leg, then climbed over me. My son is a climber.

 

Hello.

 

Cuddles on the gravel.

 

Cuddles and pets and scritches!

 

Hello.

 

Hello.

 

Hello.

 

Hello.

 

Hello.

 

Hello.

 

Hello.

 

GOODBYE.

 

Bye.

 

Eat my dust.

 

He likes to kick dirt out behind him as he goes into his burrow. That’s the nature of Geronimo. He digs, climbs, eats, snuggles, and loves with his whole huge, gentle tortoise heart.

He’s not out in full turbo-Geronimo force yet, though. He’s still sleepy. This morning he dozed contentedly under my finger as I rubbed slow circles on the top of his head. I’m seeing low temps in the 40’s forecasted for the next few nights, so we’re still in the process! He’ll be in, he’ll be out, but he’s definitely not hibernating anymore, especially since he’s hydrated and eaten.

I hope you’re all happy and well, too!

 

 

 

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.