MUAY THAI. (Garage Gym post!)

On Wednesday – at the very last minute – I missed the gym. I made up for it yesterday, though, in the garage, because the heat has now dropped to manageable temperatures. At 95 degrees, it was cool enough to get in a solid workout without creating a heat injury situation for myself, as almost happened last time! I did the workout in the middle of the day, too… had I done it in the morning, it would’ve been quite pleasant.

It’s been a while since I’ve trained Muay Thai, and I was really feeling it, so that’s what I did. I focused on just a few techniques, which I mostly practiced in shadow-boxing. I did work the bag a little with some kicks, punches, and spinning elbows, but not much.

So here we’ve got a whole slew of pics, because I thought I’d include some of my warm-up and stretching. Also, I included what I inhaled ate afterward. I went into the garage when I would usually be eating lunch, so I was famished!

I started with a light warm-up of jogging around the mat, then side-skipping each direction to warm up laterally. I threw hook punches while side-skipping.


Warming up (side-skipping)

Warming up (side-skipping)


Some agility work in with the warm-up… this is also a lateral exercise, alternately crossing one foot in front and behind the other while moving around the ring.


Agility drill

Agility drill


From the ground up, I warmed up my major joints in circular movements. Hip rotations are my favorite to do before any combat sport workout; the exercise loosens you up at the core, which helps loosen the whole body.


Hip rotations

Hip rotations


Next, I did a little stretching, as in, I probably only spent three minutes on it. This is not advisable… stretching is important. I’d usually spend a good 15 minutes stretching, minimum. My entire workout was only 40 minutes long, though, and only 30 of it was actual technique practice… in cooler weather, I’d do a longer workout.








Then I got started. I spent a minute just moving around in Muay Thai stance so I could get comfortable in the feel of it again – it really has been a while! – before starting on the techniques I wanted to practice.


(Muay) Thai stance

(Muay) Thai stance


Muay Thai stance is not the same as boxing stance. The difference starts with your hips… your hips face forward in Muay Thai (toward your opponent). You stand taller, keep your guard up higher (and it’s an open hand guard), keep your elbows out a little bit, rather than holding them in tight… and rather than standing rooted, you’re constantly moving your feet, shifting your weight (kind of like walking in place) so you can react quickly with leg techniques. You have to be able to easily lift and maneuver your front leg, especially, to check (lift your leg to guard against) low roundhouse kicks!

The techniques I worked included striking defense, like slipping…


Slip to the right

Slip to the right


…pulling back…


Pull back

Pull back


…slipping to the other side…


Slip to the left

Slip to the left


(already pretty warm at this point)


Changing angles

Changing angles


Working the teep (front push kick), which can be used in offense or defense…


Teep (front push kick)

Teep (front push kick)


Some elbow strikes… a lot of elbow strikes, actually.

This one’s the downward chop, a brutal way to get hit (this will cut you). Chambering my right elbow…


Downward elbow chop (set-up)

Downward elbow chop (set-up)


…and smashing it down.


Downward elbow chop

Downward elbow chop


Working the low roundhouse defense… this is the leg check. Also, my right hand is up in helmet guard, while my left arm guards in front with palm facing out. With your palm facing out, you can catch and grab kicks.


Checking (roundhouse defense)

Checking (roundhouse defense)


Jumping in with a flying downward elbow…


Flying downward elbow

Flying downward elbow


Not sure what was going on here; probably chambering a teep…


Teep chamber - ?

Teep chamber – ?


Front knee strike…


Knee strike

Knee strike


(working around to the back)


Let's do this!

Let’s do this!


I just threw a few kicks and strikes on the bag. This is a cross punch…


Cross (punch)

Cross (punch)


Then down to the MMA dummy for some ground and pound. I also worked elbows on that bag.


Ground and pound

Ground and pound


Here I was resting, but also taking the opportunity to work my knuckles and forearms a little bit…





That was enough! Getting up to walk back.


Walking back (hey, I was wiped out)

Walking back (hey, I was wiped out)


Then I went in and ate.


Post-workout: toasted PBJ whole wheat bagel and blue corn tortilla chips

Post-workout: toasted PBJ whole wheat bagel and blue corn tortilla chips


I have to say it again: I’m so grateful to have this gym at home! It accommodates a lot in the way of working out.


On Saturday night, we went to Drag Bingo at the Renaissance. Today, by popular demand, I’ve got a few pics!

Drag Bingo was an annual charity event for the Melonhead Foundation, which supports families of children with cancer. So much funding goes into pediatric cancer research, and of course that’s critically important. It’s also critically important, while your child’s daunting medical expenses mount and loom, to be able to feed your family and pay your rent, utility bills, etc. The Melonhead Foundation works to provide families with this and additional types of support.

After a magnificent 10-year run, this year was Drag Bingo’s last. The annual fundraising event was always held in October and doubled as a smashing Halloween costume party and contest (sponsored by Nick Yale Realty) with uproarious drag performances by the Rainbow Girls: Teensy Fhea, Manna Nuff, and Pepper Mills! This year and last, they were joined by the beautiful and talented Roxanne G. Davenport, who traveled to Phoenix for the event. Party attendees also came from out-of-state, and a few from out-of-country!

The dinner was fabulous, the alcohol flowed (and non-alcohol, for those of us not imbibing), the mystery gift boxes, raffle prizes, costume category award prizes, and bingo prizes were awesome and very generously donated by the event’s sponsors, and it was just an all-around hysterically good time.

I only have a few pics here, because my phone died a quarter of the way through. Also, I’m only posting safe-for-work pics, obviously. You’ll just have to use your imaginations when I tell you that I accidentally caught a scandalous wardrobe malfunction pic, and that the, um, pickings in the Pick-A-Dick bingo prize were impressive (to say the least), with the winner also being the recipient of the “Sexiest” costume category: Robin, The Boy Wonder (who was, indeed, a wonder). (The prizes for that bingo category were donated by Risque Chalet… I’m not providing the link; you know where to go if you want it)!

The Girls outdid themselves this year. Their performances included some of the most hilariously dirty numbers we’ve seen yet. Let me tell you, I’ve been around the block more than once, and I learned terminology on Saturday night that I’ve never heard before!! And the outrageous trio of grandmas treated us with many videos featuring themselves with their riotous wit, antics, and borderline hanky-panky. Drag Bingo was truly “NEVER Your Grandmother’s Bingo” – ! But it was “all for the children”!!

This year may have been Drag Bingo’s last, but the Melonhead Foundation drives on to provide support for families faced with the challenges of pediatric cancer. Click here to donate!

This year, Callaghan and I went as battle-bloodied warriors:


Obligatory pre-event selfie, Yours Truly and Callaghan heading out

Obligatory pre-event selfie, Yours Truly and Callaghan heading out


With my bloody spine weapon.


Obligatory at-event selfie

Obligatory at-event selfie


Red carpet group shot with the Rainbow Girls

Red carpet group shot with the Rainbow Girls


Callaghan and some civil war guy...

Callaghan and some civil war guy…


And here’s my beloved Sista, the one and only Poetry Pamphletry! This fabulous lady here is one of my oldest and dearest friends; she’s supported me through all kinds of life stuff in the last two decades, and we crack each other up beyond the point of ridiculousness. We have so much in common we figure we were separated at birth.


Poetry Pamphletry

Poetry Pamphletry


(That guy standing behind her was the ONLY Harley Quinn we saw all night, by the way, if you can believe that)

Random room shots from our table:


View from our table, 1

View from our table, 1


I love this pic of the three of us girls:


With Teensy Fhea and Poetry Pamphletry

With Teensy Fhea and Poetry Pamphletry


Back to random. Raffle tix galore!


View from our table, 2

View from our table, 2


These 80’s exercising dudes were hysterical!


View from our table, 3

View from our table, 3


These guys though

These guys though


The Rainbow Girls

The Rainbow Girls


Teensy Fhea!





And Teensy...

And Teensy…


Okay, now in this next pic, you can see my favorite costume of the night: “Stranger Things”! She’s got Winona Ryder’s hair, olive green shirt, and colorful string lights wrapped around her body… and in the front, she’s holding a “missing child” postcard with a photo of her kid.


"Stranger Things" costume

“Stranger Things” costume


That Teensy…


More Teensy!

More Teensy!


There can never be enough Teensy!

There can never be enough Teensy!


Callaghan and me being ourselves (this is much better lighting; you can actually see how I tried to make myself look batter-worn).


Us, clowning around

Us, clowning around


How I love that spine sword

How I love that spine sword


And that, folks, brings us to the end. Good memories, good times, good friends, and a great cause. Thanks for all the laughs!

This is me doing dishes.

Doing dishes makes me nauseous. I loathe doing them, so Callaghan does them. I gladly put them away. We never talk about who does what in the house… we just do what we don’t mind doing, and thankfully, there’s nothing to be done that we both dislike. It all evens out. So I unload the dishwasher, and he fills it and runs it. If he doesn’t do the dishes at night, he’ll do them in the morning.

Occasionally, though, the dishes don’t get done at night, and he can’t do them in the morning, either. Totally understandable. But then I’m in the house staring at the dirty dishes in the kitchen. And sometimes on those mornings, the wreckage in the sink is grosser than usual.

These were my thoughts after he left for work yesterday:

Gah. I’ll leave them there so he can do them when he gets home. But it would suck to come home from work and have to do dishes. I should do them. I’m his back-up. *** Maybe if I ignore them, they’ll do themselves. *** They’re still there. I can’t work knowing they’re there. They’re mocking me. I can’t write. I should just do them. It won’t kill me. *** Ugh, slime. How can he whistle and sing while doing this shit? Why do we eat so much olive oil? We should only eat fat-free things so if I have to do dishes, I won’t have to deal with oily water. Gag reflexes activated! *** What is wrong with you? You’ve seen and touched worse things than this. You and your weird hang-ups. Just get over it and do the damn dishes like a normal person. *** FINE. Flatware first, so they’re out of the way. UGH they’ve been soaking in oily water. Run hot water over hands until nerves are dead. Good thing he isn’t here, because he’d tell me to stop wasting water. But if he was here, I wouldn’t be doing dishes. I’m not turning off the hot water. He’ll never know. Ugh. I’m wasting water. I should turn it off. *** What the hell is this? Salad slime and cat food fork bits mixed into the oily water. Don’t throw up. Turn hot water back on, sterilize hands, turn water off. Deep breath. *** At least this is taking my mind off the elections. *** Glasses and mugs, okay, I can deal with glasses and mugs. Immensely satisfying, lining up glasses and mugs by shape and size. *** Aw yeah the top dish-rack is a work of art, all the drinkware lined up to military standards. BEASTMODE IN THE KITCHEN. *** %*#%^& I forgot to check the house for stray drinkware. Turn on water, scald hands, dry on paper towels, patrol house. Two glasses in the bedroom. One in the living room. That wasn’t too bad… I only have to do a little rearranging to fit them into my glorious dish-rack of perfection. DONE. Onto the bottom rack. *** Plates, fine. Bowls. There… there’s one. No, not there. Here. Why can’t I get this bowl to lean forward? Maybe here. No. Why. How does he do it?! Fine, stay face-down on the rack, bowl. I don’t care. *** But now there’s no room on that side for the other bowls. I’ll rearrange. There has to be a way, and I WILL FIND IT. *** Ugh, rearranging is making my fingers slimy again. HE OWES ME BIG TIME FOR THIS. *** I’d rather stick my head in the turtles’ bathtub Grandma and Grandpa kept in their backyard, where the turtles were happy with their slimy armored bodies. The turtles were cute. There are no turtles here. If there were, they would perish in this oily dish slime. *** There. Was. Crud. On. That. Plate. And. I. Just. Touched. It. *** Nothing fits in this dishwasher; we should just buy a new one. No, we should use paper plates and cups and plastic flatware all the time and order take-out so we never have to do dishes. But the environment. And health. And money. *** Why is this Goliath beer stein even in our house? It’s complicating my life taking up a whole quarter of the bottom rack. Oh yeah, we have it because I saw it at the Goodwill on half-off Saturday and I thought it was a great find so I bought it for Callaghan because he’s been wanting one like it and he loves it. I’m the best wife for having found this beer stein. I am the worst wife for my lack of dishwasher-loading aptitude. But I’m SO GREAT at unloading the dishwasher.

And I do laundry like a boss, every step of it, and I enjoy it. He hates doing laundry as much as I hate doing dishes. See? It all evens out.




Throw-back poem: Canon of Disassembling an Iceberg (+ writing updates)

The writing’s been going well, i.e. shenanigans abound… in a good way. So,

Thing 1: Big project writing updates, in brief.

  • 30% through, if my targeted 60,000 word count estimate is accurate. That remains to be seen.
  • I’m about to start the third section, where the main action will get underway. This is encouraging. (I’ve arrived at this point!)
  • Now using Scrivener as a secondary tool, and it’s awesome.
  • Still working at the dining room table, but I’ve been migrating my workstation to the back patio to write out there several hours each day.
  • Currently listening to Russian music to get my head in the right place.
  • But still need total silence as I write.
  • I’ve stopped with the iced coffees; my current afternoon beverage of choice is flavored l’eau gazeuse. (sparkling water)


Thing 2: (Still) no longer posting new poems here, I’ve got another old one for you who enjoy my poetry and/or come here specifically for that. This poem, “Canon of Disassembling an Iceberg,” was first published in Blackbird: an online journal of literature and the arts of Virginia Commonwealth University.

I wrote “Canon of Disassembling an Iceberg” in 2010, and it appeared in Blackbird’s Spring 2011 edition.





Being more recent, this poem was published with my current name, so I didn’t black it out (my last name, that is).

Without further ado!



Canon of Disassembling an Iceberg

How about this: first
I’ll jolt the gutter,
ache for its town
without mourning—
nothing is unfixable
in light of the inevitable.

Then I’ll taste the blood
you left on the letter opener.

You’re gone;

you’ve always been gone,
disregarding speed
limits on the tundra,
tearing perforated ice—

you’re an assassin
going after sedge, slow
process of lichen
truncating the philosophers’
question, yet pruning
their terraces of syllogisms
and proofs.

It’s a brain-wringing experience.

If I could hear
the bones of the hunted,
feel underpinnings of hunger,
see plasma and red cells
pull apart,
then touching the place
you used to be
could inspire me in the night.

I wait for New Year’s,
for tundra to become ocean.
We’ll say, let’s screw
the champagne,
pop vodka instead.

December 31st,
you’re still gone,
overlooking the sedge.
Your email wants to know
my resolution.

I say it’s to towel dry
an entire submarine.

Pain turns
everything bright,
but anger brings
dark where I can see.
I prefer ire to grief,
indignation to sorrow—
territories I know

well into the reaches
of my own stories.
You won’t
find me there.
What’s light in your eyes
becomes darkness in mine.
Unseen, untracked,
I disappear.  end


Body Combat release 69 – informal review!

Let’s just get right to the bottom line: Les Mills Body Combat 69 will kick your ass.

(As usual, the opinions here are my own)

Here we all are in class:




Just kidding… or am I?



Les Mills Body Combat 69

Track 1a: Upper-body warm-up [Bombs Away ft. Luciana – Everybody Stand Up (Reece Low Remix)]

Music: Not thrilled with the song, but it effectively propels me through the choreography, so I can’t complain.

The workout: You start with the usual punching combinations… jabs, then jabs and crosses, just warming up, getting loose. Then you get more body involved with a level change (the cross becomes a body shot) before adding in uppercuts. Throw in some footwork (2 jacks in the combination) and alternating hook punches, and you’re feeling pretty warm.

What I thought: The 3-4-3 combo (alternating hooks) is unusual, so it spices things up. After throwing a lead hand hook punch, you’re not chambered to follow with a rear hand hook (as you would be for a cross or an uppercut)… so you have to launch the second hook with an exaggerated twist to the opposite side in order to keep correct punching form. This translates to a great workout for the obliques.


Track 1b: Lower-body warm-up [Zomboy – Nuclear (Dillon Francis Remix)]

Music: This song drags me down, even through the choreography.

The workout: From the upper-body warm-up, you go immediately into roundhouse kick set-ups, which turn into actual roundhouse kicks. Then the cardio knee strike exercises start, increasing speed until you’re doing running-man knees. From there, you move into an alternating knee/kick combo, and jacks, with the option to speed up, get low, and incorporate arms, however you want to do them to increase the difficulty level. Next, side kicks and back kicks, and then a low ginga, increasing in speed.

What I thought: Roundhouse kick set-ups are a great way to transition from upper-body to lower-body, in my opinion. Running man knees in the warm-up are unusual, and I like it… it gives you a shot of H.I.I.T. right off the bat. Not complaining about that! The ginga in the warm-up is also unexpected. Pretty cool choreography.


Track 2: Combat 1 [Shinedown – I’m Alive]

Music: Somehow, this song doesn’t work for me as accompaniment for the choreography, and I can’t put my finger on why….

The workout: You start with a standard 1-2-3 combo (jab-cross-hook), then you add knees. Roundhouse kicks follow. After doing both sides, you move to front stance for karate punches. The combination consists of triple karate punches and a side kick.

What I thought: More unusual shenanigans going on here! I like the unexpectedness of the karate punches in the same track as boxing punches… I don’t remember mixing punching styles in a single track before.


Track 3: Power Training 1 [Sigma – Good Times (ft. Ella Eyre)]

Music: See above. This and the last are catchy tunes with dominant vocals, and maybe that’s why I wouldn’t choose them were I to create a playlist for my own workout.

The workout: Starting combination: Jab-cross-jab-cross, double jabs, eventually adding a step forward on the double jabs. Then uppercuts. Then a side step with the uppercut, adding in some footwork. The side steps become a weave to add shoulder movement.

What I thought: It’s weird doing a weaving drill on beat with such fast-paced music, but I like the challenge it creates. I tend to exaggerate the weaves for intensity. This track is a good workout!


Track 4: Combat 2 [Peking Duk – Say My Name (feat. Benjamin Joseph) (Dual Thieves Remix)]

Music: The vocal part of this song grates on my ears, but the song grew on me pretty fast because of the choreography it carries. Once it drops into an instrumental, it really works for me, choreography-wise.

The workout: Capoeira, so we’re talking intense lower-body work. You start with a ginga, and then it’s a knee strike stepping back into a lunge… three pulsing lunges. Then the knee becomes a kick, and the lunges on the stepping-back get lower with a hand tap on the ground. You get a rest with a few seconds of ginga (active recovery) before going into round two.

What I thought: This is a fun track and a great lower-body burn!


Track 5: Power Training 2 [Chase & Status – Count On Me (Ft. Moko) (Andy C Remix)]

Music: Do not like.

The workout: A good 1-6-3 (jab-uppercut-hook) combo, which becomes non-stop… and then you have the option to throw it as fast as you can. I repeat: non-stop. After that, with your shoulders already mangled, you move into a series of repeated hooks before going back to the combination.

Next, you get on the floor to do push-ups as fast as you can. Then you spring back up to start with the punching combo again, round two, the same as the first round.

Then you get to do a little running in place to rest before starting all over on the other side.

What I thought: “Just kill me now.” (translation: AWESOME workout)


Track 6: Combat 3 [Henry Fong – Wine Dem]

Music: No.

The workout: You start with that unusual alternating hook combo (from the warm-up), but it’s a back kick instead of a third hook, followed by a front knee. After that, you move laterally with two jabs advancing to the side, punctuating the move with two squats. Repeat in the opposite direction. Then that changes to just one jab, but you cover the same ground as with the double, because you’re advancing with (basically) a lateral skip… and down into that same squat.

What I thought: The opening four-count combination works your entire body, and it’s complete, thanks to the oblique action going on in the alternating hook sequence. The option to make the front knee a propulsion knee ramps up the intensity.


Track 7: Muay Thai [Testify (Steve Hill & Klubfiller)]

Music: This song works for me for Muay Thai.

The workout: Horizontal elbows side to side, increasing intensity levels. Then uppercut elbows. The combination is side elbows to up elbows to knees. Then you launch into four levels of running-man knees. Repeat! After that, you have a jab-cross combination: six punches, with the last one being a superman punch. Running-man knees in levels 1-4. High intensity!

What I thought: I never met a Muay Thai track I didn’t like.


Track 8: Power Training 3 [Camo & Krooked – Watch It Burn (Ft. Ayah Marar)]

Music: I’m just not into you, song. It’s not you, it’s me.

The workout: You start with a jab-cross-uppercut combination, but then things get interesting when you add a step to the corner as you throw a third uppercut. Footwork during the last cardio track isn’t typical, I don’t think.

What I thought: I like this final cardio track with its unexpected footwork.


Track 9: Conditioning [T.I. – Bring Em Out]

Music: Classic song.

The workout: Abs. Criss-cross legs lying on your back, and then crunches, and pulsing crunches. Then you stretch out on your side and work your obliques by crunching while bringing your knees in.

What I thought: Simple and solid core-work.


Track 10: Cool-down [Andra Day – Rise Up]

Music: It’s a song.



Overall thoughts in a very simple nutshell: I mostly dislike the music, but I think the workout is fantastic. If you push it to the max, you could probably burn 900 calories doing this workout!

Too many screens. All the foods. Let’s Go! (September Favorites!)

September is over, fall has begun (it was 60 degrees when we woke up this morning! Woo!), some of our favorite T.V. series have premiered, theaters have been swarming with more good movies than we could see, though we’ve seen a few… and, well. After this epic pile-up of hours spent in front of various screens, including the hours I’ve spent sitting here writing, I’m feeling like a blob right about now. But a well-entertained blob. A well-worked blob. And a well-fed blob. In fact, there’s too much blobbiness going on around here, so I’m engaging mindful mode.* Too much of a good thing, blahbidy, blah, blob.

[*By “mindful mode,” I mean, not eating in front of the screens quite as much. Haha.]

Body Combat is, as usual, saving my ass from slipping into complete blobdom. The new release is a monster. Review coming Friday!

Back to September favorites.  Lots of T.V. these days, and more is coming: Haters Back Off premieres this month. (I love Miranda Sings. Fingers crossed the show is good.) The Affair premiers in November. It’s good that Homeland won’t premiere until January this time around, because there’s already way too much going on. ~Movies, as mentioned, and food, as usual! No beauty products this time.

And now, with limited commentary, here are a few things that tripped my trigger in September:


1). Hell or High Water (film)




You may have already read my thoughts on this film. If you haven’t, you can read it here.

NOTE: If you click any links in this post, their pages will open in the same window, so you’ll have to hit the back button to return here. WP changed their link function and I haven’t toyed with it enough to figure out how to get links to open in a new window.


2). Don’t Breathe (film)





Ditto! Click here to read my thoughts about this film.


T.V. up next:

3). Broadchurch (T.V. series)




Mom recommended this one, saying that it’s excellent. Mom, as usual, was right. Reminiscent of The Killing, Broadchurch is based on a true story. It drew us in. David Tennant and Olivia Colman are brilliant, and as with any good murder mystery, we were tempted to binge this series. And so we did.


4). Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (T.V. series)




We love a fresh, new comedy, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt nails the “fresh” part. In keeping with Kimmy’s personality, I’d use the word “zany” to describe the humor in this series. This one’s a charmer. Highly recommend!


6). The new seasons of American Horror Story, Empire, and Modern Family


American Horror Story: Roanoke

American Horror Story: Roanoke






…because WOW, these series. I’m enjoying the latest perverted installment from Ryan Murphy’s sick, sick mind (AHS: Roanoke), and Empire never fails to astound me with its Shakespearean brilliance (it starts out as King Lear and goes from there), and the talent in its cast and every aspect of its production. It’s great to have Modern Family back, too… it’s a charmer that never disappoints.



7). Seedless red grapes.


Seedless red grapes

Seedless red grapes


Crisp, sweet, and delicious red grapes. I seem to transition into the equinoxes eating red grapes. They buffer the fall space between summer fruits and apples, and again between spring’s citrus and berries.


8). Colombian dark chocolate (in bulk at Sprouts).


Colombian dark chocolate in the bulk bin at Sprouts

Colombian dark chocolate in the bulk bin at Sprouts


We’ve been keeping this chocolate on hand all month. Callaghan doesn’t usually like dark chocolate, but he’s a huge fan of this Colombian variety in bulk at Sprout’s. In fact, he’s the one who discovered it. I’m not too picky about dark chocolate, as long as it’s dark enough to be vegan, but I have to admit, there’s something special about this particular dark chocolate. Who knows what they put into it down there in Colombia.


9). Trader Joe’s sprouted wheat sesame seed bagels.


Trader Joe's sprouted wheat sesame seed bagels

Trader Joe’s sprouted wheat sesame seed bagels


Mid-September, I had a moment of nervousness when my doctor ordered blood tests to check me for food allergies. I immediately thought of the worst (of course)… what if the tests showed that I was allergic to wheat/gluten? My mind went into overdrive coming up with wasteland scenarios, myself in the center of them, doomed to a life bereft of the pastas and breads that are my mainstays. Thankfully, the tests all came back negative.

Anyway, I went to Trader Joe’s and got this variety of their bagels, and they’re so good. SO GLAD and grateful that I can eat them!


10). Chipotle Tabasco sauce.


Chipotle Tabasco sauce (on avocado toast)

Chipotle Tabasco sauce (on avocado toast)


One of my new favorite things is to smash up an avocado, spread it on toasted whole wheat bread, give it a scant grind of pink Himalayan salt, and douse it with chipotle Tabasco sauce. The rich smokiness of the sauce does something to the avocado that you have to taste to understand. You’re welcome.



End of month writing updates!

Whoa. This week went fast. That’s what happens when you spend half of it anticipating the next episode of American Horror Story: Roanoke.

That aside, I’ve got another writing progress post for you today, in brief. Things are going well!

The current picture is, I now have:

–27% of the project done, if its length is going to end up in the neighborhood I’m thinking. Take that for what it’s worth, like I am; honestly, I don’t think I’ll know what the book’s length will be until I write the last word. I didn’t get ahead much this week in terms of word count, but I got a lot done in terms of the non-writing writing work.

–Scrivener in my toolbox, once again. Since my last update here, I’ve figured out how Scrivener can serve me, and it’s doing a bang-up job.

–Tobacco Cedar candle scent in my writing area, because it’s fall (single double-digit temps!), and a masculine fragrance redolent of cooler weather gets me into the right mood for this project.

–Russian music I gleaned from Soundcloud and collected onto a playlist. This is a continuing process that I’m enjoying quite a bit. Again, it’s strategic.

–New décor in my writing area, also to the end of setting me in the right head-space: a). a small painting of Jesus (Orthodox), which I dug out of a box in the back of a closet – an ex-girlfriend of Callaghan’s brought it back to him from Romania years ago, and b) my The Americans poster that Callaghan ordered for me a while back, which I’ve finally framed.

–Speaking of writing area, I’m still using the dining room. (Dining room? What dining room?)


Desk detail.

Desk detail.


The table at which we used to eat continues to hold my laptop and its paraphernalia, along with odds and ends that get me through the day, such as eye drops, lip balm, nail clippers, and toothpicks. Two glasses of water, one for me, and one for Nenette… because if there is a cat, she will end up on your desk and try to drink your water no matter what, so you might as well preemptively provide her with her own. Callaghan is being wonderfully understanding about all of this. I dare say he’s even digging it.

Thus, I’m taking creeping steps toward completion. I don’t foresee that I’ll feel the need to engage in this level of atmosphere construction when I undertake my next project. This current work happens to be a period piece, so the props are helpful.

That’s it for now. Happy Friday!