Mommy paparazzi. (Kid updates!)

So I asked my friend whether she had any requests for a blog post, and she said Nenette and Geronimo and in other words all of my babies, meaning Salem, too… but mainly Nenette, from what I gathered. I was happy to oblige. Nenette consistently refuses to avail herself of opportunities for fame and adulation, but I was up for the challenge. There’s no point in mulling over the complexities of stalking her with the intention to point and snap. You just have to get in her face and do it.

 

That glare!

 

And now, I can say that she who loathes a camera pointing in her direction has been properly paparazzied.

The thing, though, is that since Nenette hates to have her picture taken, I usually find myself with a). pics of her sleeping, or b). pics of her making weird faces. It’s difficult capturing her just being adorable and sweet. You get crashed-out Nenette or weird-face Nenette, mostly.

 

Crashed-out.

 

Crashed-out.

 

Startled awake.

 

Weird face.

 

Weird face.

 

Semi-weird face, but mostly sleepy-sweet face.

 

As for Nenette updates, there’s not much to say. She’s blessedly the same… healthy and happy. Her fur is still soft. Her kitty breath is still cute. Her conversational skills are still better than mine.

Moving outside, now, we have Salem in the grass:

 

She’s intense. An intense sweetheart.

 

And Geronimo, of course!

Geronimo doesn’t need to be stalked and paparazzied. When he decides to come to me, which is his usual response to seeing me, he actually runs. It may not look like he’s running, but somehow, he is. The tortoise version of running is an interesting phenomenon. You look at the way he moves, and you just can’t quite understand how he can get from Point A to Point B before you know it. I took these pics in quick succession:

 

Close

 

Closer.

 

HI MOMMY I HAVE ARRIVED

 

My little dinosaur is doing well, too!

One thing I’ll say about Geronimo is that the poor little guy only had one storm to enjoy this monsoon season, and it was at night. There was no way that I could find him in the dark and the rain, much less take his picture with any success. I was happy thinking of him marching around out there under the downpour, though.

Happy Sunday to you, friends!

 

 

 

Moral of the story: eat more pasta.

Apologies for my epic 24-hour tardiness this time, guys.

It’s been a weird week. Sunday felt sluggish and overindulgent as I did basically nothing in order to rest my hand. I wanted to do things. I’m inexplicably growing a new pile of mail, and even the idea of getting into that was enticing.

I felt off and braindead last night, probably because of my failed mission to get the V.A. before work. My doctor put in my order for hand x-rays at inpatient radiology, rather than outpatient, because she’s rad. (She knows that I can’t go to outpatient radiology without requesting time off, and I already requested time off in order to go see her.) I can go to inpatient radiology whenever! My plan for yesterday was to get up at 4:00am and leave the house by 5:30am. Instead, I got up with the alarm at 4:00am, went to the bathroom, said to hell with it, re-set the alarm for 6:00am, and went back to bed.

So much for that.

Granted, it was probably for the best. I know that I can get to the V.A. outpatient lab for a blood draw before work with time to spare, but inpatient radiology for someone who’s not an inpatient? We’re talking about an unknown. There might be a wait. There might be some kind of a process. In any case, x-rays take longer to do than blood draws, and you have to hang out afterward to make sure that the images come out clear. A 5:30am departure time from home is no guarantee that I wouldn’t end up calling my manager to say that I’d be in late. Nahhh… I’ll wait until Saturday to get the x-rays done.

Today I felt better… unusually hungry all day, starting at five minutes after I finished breakfast, but better. I was inordinately hungry yesterday, too, and also on Monday. But today was the hungriest. I was wondering what could’ve been the reason, and then I looked at my step-counter and saw it:

 

Screenshot I took today of my step-counter app

 

My interpretation of this graph: I need to eat more! My lowest step-count of the week so far was yesterday, and it was 12,161. I walked just over five miles at work on Monday, just below five miles yesterday, and 6.34 miles today. After work, I did my usual 30 minutes of cardio (LM Body Step) on Monday, an hour of weight-lifting (LM Body Pump) yesterday, and an hour of cardio (LM Body Combat) today. Tomorrow it’ll be another hour of weights, as it will be on Saturday morning. Between my activity levels at work and working out when I’m not at work, I’m no doubt burning more calories than I’m consuming. Ergo, the correct interpretation of the graph is that I should make pasta more often, because my stomach is a pasta bottomless pit. I’m making linguine with garlic and olive oil tomorrow night.

Happy almost-Friday-eve, my friends!

 

 

Small victories. (+ October coming up, + other stories.)

At CVS there was a situation underway involving an inebriated gentleman who had a grievance of some sort. I waited in line and heard him ranting loudly from the opposite end of the store, and I held my shit together, I’ll have you know. (Drunk humans rattle my PTSD.) In case you’re wondering, it wasn’t the murder CVS down the street. It was the next-closest CVS, a bit further down and around the corner.

Small victories.

I can’t believe it’s already September 20, guys. The entire month of August swept out before I knew it. It went so quickly that I kept track of nothing, documented nothing, didn’t even look at my planner (!!!), and basically lived more “in the moment” than I usually do. It was an anomalous state of being for me, a mode that I naturally slipped into due to circumstances, so I didn’t think about it one way or the other. I wasn’t bothered by it. It just was. I didn’t even keep a running list of August Favorites!

I’m exhilarated and getting back to my life now. I’ve returned to my planner, enjoying looking at that which lies ahead; e.g. the entire month of October. I can’t wait to keep cozy and get spooked. I’m going to kick off the month with a 500th re-watching of the original Halloween. I want to set that movie’s theme song as my ringtone, as well.

 

 

Speaking of ringtones, my new cell phone is rad. It’s the Google Pixel 4a, and I finally unboxed it last night, setting it up and transferring my data before an activation mishap (user error, not phone error) led me into limbo and I lost cell phone service on both my old and new phones. The idea of not being able to connect with anyone on the phone stirred up my anxiety. The scary, foolish reality is that we without land-land phones are subject to isolation in the event of a service outage.

At what point did we become vulnerable in such a way? Being a Gen-X’er, I can wonder that.

My peers and I survived a decade of adulthood before the internet happened, and it would be another few years before cell phones; I think I was 32 years old when I got my first cell. I’ve lived more than half of my life without a cell phone, so the idea of getting nervous without cell phone access is unnerving in and of itself.

We’re a small generation, Generation X, but a lot of shit happened in our lifetimes, didn’t it? And it still is. I was in my late 20’s when the internet crept up, exploded, and took over everyday life. I remember pre-digital times very well.

Anyway, I survived the phone-less night (small victories!), and this morning I went to Verizon after my workout. It was pleasant. I was the only customer there when I went in. The Verizon dude was cool and chill and fast and I left with both of my phones squared away. (The old one now being send-back ready.)

I’ve accepted that Thursday blog posts simply don’t mesh with my new schedule; I’m not fighting it anymore. My workout regime is integral to my mental well-being, so it’s non-negotiable. I may have mentioned this before, the fact that it’s the addition of Tuesday/Thursday evening workouts. I started Body Pump during the Time of No Day Job, so I always did the morning classes. The only place for Pump in my Tuesday/Thursday schedule now is evenings, and I’m okay with that.

Also something I may have mentioned: I’m enjoying sitting down with you guys on the weekends, whether it’s on Friday or Saturday nights, or on Sunday mornings. It feels like “us” time.

Hope you’re having a great one!

 

 

Apropos of nothing, + Geronimo

Today I left work exactly at 4pm because I was thinking that Fed Ex would bring my new phone between then and 8pm since the tracking update last night said tomorrow by 8pm, and in my experience, packages almost always arrive toward the end of the delivery window, but when I got home I found my front door festooned with the little Fed Ex door tag thing saying “Sorry, sucker. we were here. You weren’t,” or something like that. (They got here at the ungodly hour of 12:45pm, about 30 minutes after I left to go back to work after lunch.) I could check the box and sign to have them drop the package off without signature next time they come (tomorrow) if I’m not here again, thus acknowledging that Fed Ex wouldn’t be responsible for any misadventures that may occur to the package, or I could go down to the shipping station to pick up the package myself between 6-7:30pm. I chose option 2 and it was 7pm when I got home so I jumped into some gym clothes to do my hour-long workout immediately. It was Body Pump #109 (far from my favorite, I remembered after it started), and then it was already late, which is why it’s after midnight once again as I write this. I won’t be able to open the package until tomorrow, but it’s safe here in the house, and that’s the important part.

At least but far from the least, I had time to see Geronimo’s sweet and scaly little face and scritch it on the sides and beneath his chin, and also on the sides of his neck. I took a pic, of course.

 

This is his thrilled face. I know all of his faces.

 

The End. Those of you asking how I like my new phone, there’s my reason for not knowing yet.

p.s. how is tomorrow already Wednesday? Have a good one!

 

 

The hostess with the mostess. (I saw HOST on Shudder.)

Merry Sunday!

I’m writing this half a year after my first post about COVID-19. We’re six months into the pandemic, and what do we have to show for it? A horror movie set during this same pandemic, that’s what. Host is the first movie I’ve seen – maybe it’s the first one, period – that was filmed and set during the COVID-19 pandemic, entirely centered around it.

 

 

Host is an impressively effective found-footage horror film. It’s about six friends who want to hold a séance. How can a séance take place during quarantine, you may ask? Over Zoom, of course. It’s a simple yet interesting concept. What happens when you enter into a Zoom séance is that you can see what’s going on with each participant. And what happens when you’re on your laptop at home watching the movie about said Zoom séance is that from your perspective, it looks like you’re involved, too. Your screen looks exactly like it does when you’re taking part in a Zoom gathering.

The movie, a Shudder original, was made entirely during quarantine. It was written, filmed, edited, etc. in a hurry, and on a low budget. It was shot over video chat, with each actor being directed remotely. The actors had to do their own stunts and practical effects. They played characters with their same names, which likely made it seem more real to them. They had a script, but they also had ample opportunity for improvisation as they responded to each other in the Zoom meeting. Apparently, some of the lines were redacted in the actors’ scripts (below their own lines), so they didn’t know what was going to happen next.

It did seem chillingly real. A found-footage film with more practical effects than special effects/CGI amounts to a pretty damn authentic horror movie experience. Being alone in a dark house in front of my computer watching a séance unfold over Zoom made it easy to forget that I was watching a movie, and you know that things went disastrously wrong as the séance got underway. It was an intense 57 minutes. I spent much of it clutching my throat and holding my breath.

My plan was then to take my shower and write this post. Instead, I watched an episode of Shameless in order to crowd Host out of my head so that I could get into the shower, and then a smothering sleepiness overcame me, and all I could do was crawl into bed. Nenette was somehow inspired to alternately run and trot through the house after her ball in erratic bursts of energy, occasionally yowling and slamming into things in the dark. I fell asleep with my nerves frayed.

Host works. I was alone, but I actually saw it “with” my friend Caroline. (It was our first horror movie “date” since 2019!) We got on the phone and counted down to hit “play” at the same time, and then we hung up. We got back on the phone afterward and found each other to be equally spooked.

It was good. It was really, really good, and easily my favorite movie of 2020 so far. If you’re into horror, I highly recommend that you sign up for Shudder’s 7-day free trial just to watch this film, if you’re not already subscribed.

I’ll leave you with the trailer:

 

 

Have a great what’s left of your weekend, friends.

 

 

Well if it isn’t (wasn’t) Tuesday.

All day today I thought it was Monday until twenty minutes ago when I remembered Body Combat and how it’s tomorrow, and the other Wednesday thing, which is the recycling that has to be out on the curb early in the morning, and just as I was turning over the Wednesday things, it occurred to me that if tomorrow is Wednesday, then today is Tuesday, and now I’m blathering about this in my blog because I didn’t identify today as Tuesday until, like, now. (Tuesday being blog day and all.)

And now it’s not Tuesday anymore. It’s midnight and 13 minutes, so Tuesday is ancient history, and that’s why I’m falling asleep, and about that, WTF. I fail at sleep almost every night.

I guess I’m still rusty with my “new” schedule, and apparently I’m way out of practice when it comes to three-day weekends. Sunday felt like Saturday. I put on full-face makeup and went to get my picture taken for a document, and I also took a selfie at home because I haven’t worn makeup on my face in months, so I thought, might as well. I only wear eye makeup to work. There’s no point in wearing makeup that’s going to be hidden under a mask all day. My skin likes to be naked under a mask, anyhow.

 

Taken on Sunday, not on Saturday. [06 Sept. 2020]

At least the recycling bin is more empty than full, so I won’t have to worry about it in the morning. My only responsibility tomorrow will be to come home from work and kick my own ass in cardio kickboxing. I can handle that.

 

 

On three-day weekends, procrastination, and negatives into positives.

I’m snuggly in a soft, plush robe. It’s quiet and dark and I’m clean from the shower and I’m delighting in the cozy comfort and the beautiful fragrances of the Body Shop products I used in the shower and afterward. I’m thinking about how it’s Labor Day weekend, and of how I’m kind of disappointed that I won’t be able to go to work on Monday, and of how weird it is to have a job and workplace that I enjoy enough to even have that thought enter into my head, because it’s never happened before in all my years in the workforce.

And of how this three-day weekend will put an end to a certain avenue of procrastination, because it leaves me no excuse. I have time now. There’s really no way out of it if I want to avoid beating myself up later: I have to take Weekend Day Three as an opportunity to get my shit together. By that, I mean that I have to open the mail.

Yes, my friends. The mail continues to be the household obligation that sharpens the blades of my procrastination fan more than any other. I realize how ridiculous this is. It’s the one thing that I can’t seem to change. Remember when I wrote a post about hating to do the dishes? I felt so foolish after writing it that I’ve been doing the dishes without complaint ever since. Worked like a charm! Well, I’ve also written about this mental block I have about opening the mail, but it didn’t do the same trick as it did with the dishes. I still avoid opening the damn mail, regardless of how foolish it makes me feel.

It’s inexplicable. It’s just the thing that gets me, and I have to change it for good. I’ve tried! My intentions to open the mail every day have been strong, but so far, I’ve only managed to stick with it for a week before the pile-up begins anew. Once it starts piling up, it’s all over. The more I look at unopened mail, the harder it is to get myself to open it.

Anyway, it’s Saturday, and I treated myself to one of my favorite deli food items of all time: the bomb-ass tofu spring rolls with spicy peanut sauce from Whole Foods.

 

Whole Foods deli tofu spring rolls with spicy peanut sauce

 

Today was an adventurous day of minuses that turned into pluses:

The person who was supposed to come to fix the fence this morning was a no-show.
+ I used the waiting time to accomplish something else that had to get done, and I felt super accomplished after I did it.

I went out to purchase something and ended up on a wild goose chase all over tarnation, ultimately failing in my mission.
+ While I was out, I found myself near the Chandler Whole Foods and went in to purchase some items that I needed, along with the luxury of the above-mentioned spring rolls.
+ Also, not finding the thing led me to ordering it online, and in doing that, I unwittingly lowered my monthly phone bill by a few bucks! It was a new phone that I was after. No retailer around here seems to carry it. Online, I found it on back-order, so it won’t even be shipped until mid-month. Popular phone, the Google Pixel 4A, and for good reason. (I also know someone who has a Pixel and absolutely loves it.) For me, it’s an upgrade to an inexpensive and better phone – at a trade-in price, no less – that somehow resulted in lowering my phone bill that was already low.

Nenette threw up.
+ On the hard floor in the hallway, not in a carpeted room.

The pain in my left thumb joints was extra-excruciating this morning.
+ This led me to call in for a veterans’ phone triage nurse, who enlightened me to the fact that I can start on the road to a cortisone injection at a nearby urgent care where my V.A. healthcare will cover the cost. I won’t have to take time off from work to get the x-rays!

I love my life, and I love sitting here with you guys late on Saturday nights. Thank you for being here.

 

 

Desk in distress. (Office updates + plant family!)

Plans to post an office update almost fizzled out, but here we are, after all. I debated the matter only because there’s actually not much to show you this time. I painted my desk wall black – the biggest change I’ve ever made to this space – and I ended up liking it so much that I decided to keep the rest of the room pretty minimal.

There’s the black accent wall. There are clocks and other objects I already had. I have my beloved plant family, a plethora of plants that adds green to the room. Most of the few objects here and there are green, and any metallic accents are in silver tones.

In its previous state, I’d put color into the room, as you may remember. There was going to be color in this state, as well, but it didn’t turn out that way. The idea was to decorate the black wall with colorful things, but when I sat down in front of it for the first time, its emptiness opened and revealed a calming space. The black wall is a nothing, and it’s wonderful for creating. For the longest time, I had bare walls with only my plants for color. I’ve come back around to that. It feels right.

The room doesn’t look like much, I know. What’s special about it is the feel of it, and that’s not a thing that pics can relay! I can definitely show you my plant family, though, because those guys are absolutely thriving. They were doing well before I painted the wall black, but now? I’ve never seen them this happy. They love the daylight bouncing back from the finish of the dark paint.

 

Looking in

 

The haunted cathedral (Canterbury) hasn’t moved

 

The wall of nothingness:

By day

 

By night

 

Where I sit more of the time:

My desk in distress

 

The room is oddly arranged with different things going on in each corner.

Desk corner

 

Tapestry corner

 

Tapestry corner at dusk – I strung some lights across the tapestry to give it night stars

 

Memorabilia corner

 

Cat tree corner with Butsudan: the crowded corner that only makes sense to me, probably (and to Nenette)

 

Speaking of…

Nenette caught by surprise. She is not happy. At all.

 

A few details…

The haunted mirror in its (tapestry) corner home

 

Indoor starry night

 

Now for a closer meeting with my plant babies!

Holder:

Holder

 

Little Guy:

Little Guy

 

Thoreau:

Thoreau

 

Flamingo:

Flamingo

 

Baby Barclay:

Baby Barclay

 

Snake:

Snake

 

Barclay, lush and full down to his last tendril as I’ve never seem him before:

Barclay

 

Four of them along their wall!

Holder, Little Guy, Thoreau, Flamingo

 

Also, my friend Jessica gifted me with a sloth.

Resident sloth loves Flamingo

 

More details:

Thrifted bottles and goblet

 

The Beowulf gargoyle still surveying the room from his spot above the closet:

The Beowulf gargoyle hasn’t moved, either

 

A closer look at my current t-shirt display: Sirus, one of my favorite industrial music projects.

Sirus (band) – the Apocrypha album

 

And on the window sill…

My old dragon candlestick from West Germany (1987)

 

There you have it.

The laundry room, now? That’s where all the color went! I’m thinking I’ll invite you into my (and Geronimo and Salem’s) laundry room next. There’s finally something to be seen in there.

I hope you’re all having a splendiferous start to your week!

 

 

Autoimmune updates, because there are some. (+ a random food pic)

Why hello there, weekenders.

Well!

I only do autoimmune disease updates when there’s something to report for those of you who follow my autoimmune adventures. Adventures, we are having! All kinds of adventures! I’ve been navigating a flare these last few weeks. This time, the joints under attack are those in my left thumb… mainly its middle joint and the large joint at its base.

My rheumatologist ventured that she could put me on prednisone, but she’s in favor of my rejection of that option. I also want to avoid going back on methotrexate, because with my work hours, monthly visits to the V.A. hospital for labs won’t be possible… at least not right now. I’m still too new at work; I don’t accrue sick time yet. I wouldn’t enjoy having to ask for time off every four weeks, regardless. Not to mention, methotrexate nausea at work would really suck.

Instead, we’re doing a trial of topical gel medication (your basic diclofenac sodium) three times a day and a restriction splint that she ordered for me from the prosthetics department. I only wear the splint at night. It helps. Without it, the pain in my left thumb is excruciating in the morning, and the joints are locked up, and my hand is so weak, I can’t hold anything with it. Thankfully, I’m right-handed!

So far, I’m doing okay on this treatment plan. It’s alleviating the pain somewhat, and it’s helping to keep my left hand in working condition. My thumb is still weak, though, and its middle joint still locks up and pops. Its natural state is bent, and I have to pop it to straighten it out. When it’s locked up in a straightened-out position (the most painful circumstance in the flare… it just now happened, in fact), I have to pop it. Pop it to unlock it. That’s when the pain is the worst: when my thumb is straightened out and frozen.

Eh.

These things happen from time to time even if you take your daily dose of hydroxychloroquine without fail. If you know, you know. The medication is effective, but like many, its superpowers aren’t 100% all of the time. Flares will still hit. I’m hoping that the topical and the splint and the Advil will end the flare, because I cannot be going around at work with a methotrexate throw-up bucket.

On that note, I’ll leave you with a pic of the food I devoured for dinner tonight, because why not? It was simple and amazing. I was craving kimchee. This hit the spot:

 

Broccoli, vegan chicken from Gardein’s Mandarin orange crispy chick’n kit (without the orange chicken sauce), vegan kimchee, and brown rice.

 

The vegan chicken from Gardein’s Mandarin orange crispy chick’n kit, though! Highly recommend, my friends. Throw it on a baking sheet and stick it in the oven and call it good, because it is.

Happiest of weekend vibes going out to you!

 

 

Anything that could be grafted has been grafted. (Oral surgery 3-month post-op report! FINAL for real.)

I realized that I owe an update to those of you following my adventures in gum-grafting. Thank you for your interest! This little report will be the last one, because it’s about my three-month post-op appointment that took place in the middle of July. I am remiss, but I’m here with it now.

The outcome of the appointment? My doctor is highly pleased with the lower graft. I didn’t know that he had that kind of enthusiasm in him, because he wasn’t as happy with the way my upper graft did back in November. I would even venture that he was dismayed by it. The two surgeries for the same objective couldn’t have been more opposite. November’s surgical post-op was rough. Healing was slow. My personal belief is that the cadaver whose tissue is now in my mouth was someone I’d wronged in a past life. They got their revenge.

With my own tissue being used for May’s surgery, I can say with certainty that I haven’t wronged myself, because everything about the surgery was as close to perfect as it could be.

I still feel a somewhat unpleasant weirdness in the tissue-harvesting site on the roof of my mouth, but I’m accustomed to it, and I know that over time, it’ll feel like nothing again. I’m eating everything with no issues, even if it’s slightly uncomfortable at times.

Speaking of eating, let me be obnoxious for a second and show you what I devoured for dinner this evening. It was simple and sublime because it was two of my favorite foods on one plate, and those plates are the best!

 

Roasted Brussels sprouts with steamed cold Japanese sweet potato

 

I had to run a couple of errands after work today, and I was so late getting home that I decided to prepare the food before my workout, rather than after. The roasted Brussels sprouts were room temperature and the Japanese sweet potato was chilled and it was all such a blessing.

Looping back around to the surgery, there will be no further post-op reports. If I had a triple row of teeth I’d be anticipating my third gum-grafting surgery, but alas, I only have the upper and lower rows.

The End.

 

 

Rain at last!

We had our first real storm of the monsoon season on Thursday night! Meaning we had RAIN. It happened well after dark, so I couldn’t behold Geronimo, but it made me happy to know that he was out there in full marching mode.

The following morning I discovered that the large, heavy front patio doormat was gone. Who would take a doormat? I puzzled over it as my eyes scanned the yard, and then I spotted the doormat. It was plastered against the side of the date palm tree, which is over six feet away from the door. It was the first time I had a storm come along and lift a substantial doormat and fling it against a tree, so I figure it was a decent storm. It was a strange thing to have to peel a doormat off of a tree.

Also that next morning, I found Geronimo hurrying around his backyard domain, looking as energetic as I’ve ever seen him. A summer rain-watered desert tortoise is a happy tortoise, indeed.

Nenette wasn’t as pleased with the weather event. Already nervous from the increasingly noisy wind, she darted under the couch at the first flash of lightning, and that was the last I saw of her for a good few hours.

What else? A section of the fence separating our yard from the neighbors’ broke and fell during the storm. I investigated the damage and found the fence boards lying over the verbena (or lantana?), nails up. At least there’s no danger of Geronimo climbing over them. I have to figure out what to do about the situation, though.

 

First monsoon storm of 2020 – Thursday, August 20

 

Whether verbena or lantana, this is a hardy plant.

 

That was it for storm damage. Pretty mild. I swept the back patio this morning, and that was the extent of the effort I had to make in the aftermath. It was an effort that I was glad to make! We finally got our rain.

 

 

Message in a bottle. (Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 8)

I’m a Missed Connections skeptic. I don’t believe that people recognize themselves when they read Missed Connections, and I’d bet that the writers know their messages won’t be found by their intended recipients. A Missed Connections posting seems to be more like a message in a bottle, doesn’t it? The writer throws it out there and hopes that anyone finds it and reads it. It seems like a lonely kind of thing to do.

Woman in the Porche with a nail in the tire from Vegas

I love how the writer tells us so much here. We have a woman in a car, and we know what kind of car it is. There’s something wrong with the car, and we know what. We don’t know whether the nail in the tire is from Vegas, or if the woman herself is from Vegas (dangling participle problems), but regardless, Vegas is involved and named as a location. That’s a lot of info in just twelve words.

For those of you unfamiliar with my Exquisite Corpse series, here’s my standard explanation:

To create these poems, I skim through the list of Missed Connections entries on Craigslist and pick out the subject lines that I find intriguing in some way, and then I arrange them into a shape that pleases me.

Credit goes to those strangers who unwittingly dropped wonderful bits of poetry in Missed Connections.

 

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 8

I’m tired
Goodwill cashier and vinyl lover
Dark hair woman with skeleton mask
Cute woman in the hazmat suit
Cute guy who walks around the park
Hotel pool
Pain Clinic

You changed the creamer for me
You waved at me at our apartment complex
Exchanged glances while you jogged
You were getting gas on 3rd St and Thomas at 1130pm
Let’s go fast

Woman in the Porche with a nail in the tire from Vegas
I Saw You
Dancing in Gold Canyon

 

 

 

Making plans, getting back on track.

The weekend starts tomorrow, as do a lot of things. I’m sorry for my vagueness here. What I can say for now is that events have turned. Shenanigans are afoot. I have all manner of personal and house-related work to see to.

But first, I’m taking this weekend to decompress, I’ve decided.

Throughout the upcoming week and into the next weekend is when I’ll clean and purge the house, and that’s going to feel good. I have some new routines to establish, and I’m looking forward to doing that, too.

Most importantly: I’m stepping back into my creative cycle, where I’ll pick up the poem series I left to collect dust too long ago. I’m anticipating sending out my novel again when the new season opens – that would be mid/late September – and I want to start thinking, again, of my next novel. There’s so much that I want to write, so many worlds I want to visit.

I’m feeling energized thinking about my task list. I know it won’t be like a few weeks ago when I tried out every pen in my multi-colored felt-tip pen set so I could toss the ones that’ve dried out, and it felt like a big accomplishment. No. I see many days ahead filled with big accomplishments from doing actual big things.

Speaking of shenanegans and apropos of nothing, a new group of bros moved into the university-owned former frat house next door, and they’re having a huge party tonight. At 7:30pm, the sidewalks on our street and around the corners were already lined with cars. People were walking toward the house with cases of beer. Because it seems that COVID doesn’t exist anymore, have you heard?

The university is actually re-opening, at least partially, with students moving into dorms and everything, and the house next door is packed with party-goers who probably aren’t wearing the masks they had on when they went in.

I fear that this isn’t going to end well for some of them.

I’m not grumbling, mind you. This is not a “get off my lawn” situation I’m feeling. It’s a “worried for the human race” kind of thing. Like Pluto, COVID is no longer a planet as far as some individuals are concerned.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends.

 

 

Mini minimalism update + mini UNminimalist haul.

Well, since you asked how it’s going… minimalism is hard.

I’ve been able to keep categories of things minimal, but others have been more challenging, and I’m constantly heaping things up in a garbage bag destined for the Goodwill. I manage to hover in a degree of minimalism in some areas, I struggle in others, and I donate a lot throughout. For me, it’s about the maintenance of the effort along with a desire to inch forward into sparser territory.

It’s never been my goal to live in a white/neutral space with five possessions. Of all the rooms in my house, my office comes the closest to my minimalism ideal as far as interiors go. Have I mentioned that I painted my desk wall black? I love it so much that I’m planning to paint an accent wall in the living room the same shade. The black wall gives me a fulfilling sense of emptiness and peace. It frees my mind, inspires creativity.

My recent interior focus, though, has been my laundry room. It needed attention after years spent in disarray; with the washing machine finally repaired, I fixed an eye on it. Why not create a space that I can enjoy? Several things from the house made their way out there, some of which I had in my office… old things, thrifted things.

I do have some recent acquisitions that are new, though. This is my latest minimalism fail: there’s a shop on Etsy that sells additional items on their website, and there, I found some items for sale at ridiculous clearance prices. I liked them. I got them. They go with the laundry room’s boho vibe. Yes, there’s furniture in the laundry room… a large ottoman, a bookcase, a wicker and metal dining room chair, and a small glass vanity table. The latter serves as a roof for Salem’s winter bed.

Anyway, I have pics. I know you want to see them. (Heheh.) I took these in my office against the aforementioned black wall, even though none of these items belong in here. I’ve got the throw pillow with its new cover out in the laundry room along with the origami star ornaments, and three of the green glass tumblers are in the kitchen cabinet. The fourth one is in my bathroom.

Check it out!

Jewel tones for your dark boho mood:

 

Adah Mandala throw pillow cover, heather light green tumblers, purple 3-piece origami star ornament set (from Just Artifacts)

 

Heather light green tumblers

 

Purple 3-piece origami star ornament set

 

Purple 3-piece origami star ornament set

 

Adah Mandala throw pillow cover

 

As always, these pics are 100% untouched-up, not only due to my laziness when it comes to learning how to do cool stuff to pics, but also because I wanted the colors to represent themselves.

Links:

Adah Mandala throw pillow cover
Purple 3-piece origami star ornament set
Heather light green tumblers

I just love these colors. I love purple and green together.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, friends.

 

 

Only 36 hours late this time. (July Favorites!)

My friends, I am so sorry. This post was supposed to go up last night, and it would have gone up had I not fallen asleep at the keyboard. Yes. That actually happened. I startled myself awake and went to get ready for bed. My job is physical and awesome and I’m still full of energy when I get home, but when night falls, I’m tired! This is great for me, but last night it wasn’t great for writing.

So here I am today, the latest I’ve ever been with a post. July favorites! I’m just going to get right into it. There’s some good stuff here.

Enjoy!

 

1). Snowpiercer (Netflix)

I’m solidly of the opinion that filmmaker Bong Joon Ho can do no wrong. I loved Okja and Parasite, so I wasn’t surprised that I finished Snowpiercer feeling just as impressed. The post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller had long been on my list, and it was worth the wait. The superb cast includes Tilda Swinton, who also starred in Okja… she can do no wrong, either, as far as I’m concerned… but the acting is outstanding all around in Snowpiecer. There’s also the direction and cinematography to admire in this well-written, thought-provoking film. I loved it.

 

 

 

2). Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (Netflix)

 

 

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is a horror-comedy movie that we’ve consistently overlooked on Netflix. Beyond that, even, we’ve started and stopped it (within mere minutes) on several occasions. It wasn’t until a co-worker who went to film school highly recommended it to me that I decided to give it a serious try, and I’m so glad that I did! This “horror” film is good, campy fun. Callaghan enjoyed it, too.

 

3). Noroi: The Curse (Shudder – a Shudder Exclusive)

 

 

A Shudder Exclusive, Noroi: The Curse is a J-horror film in a hybrid genre of mockumentary/found footage. Filmmaker Koji Shiraishi’s work here is effectively creepy. It’s a slow burn with small instances and details sticking with you along the way, each one increasingly important as the story progresses with its developing mysteries. By the time the film built up to its dreadful conclusion, my nerves were frayed. If you’re a fan of Japanese horror, you’ll probably appreciate this excellent film.

 

4). Ju-On: Origins (Netflix)

 

 

July was a good month for J-horror! Netflix’s Ju-On: Origins as yet another offering in the world of The Grudge actually does justice to the story’s growing canon of films. It was delightfully surprising to me. There were moments of pure horror, unexpected instances of graphic violence, a satisfying amount of decent gore, and a couple of images that translated to pure nightmare fuel. This one did it for me, friends. I highly recommend it if you’re in the mood for J-horror, or any kind of horror, for that matter.

 

5). Grand Sumo Tournament – July 2020 basho (NHK)

July’s Grand Sumo tournament actually took place! The May 2020 tournament had been cancelled due to the pandemic, and we weren’t sure whether the July tournament would be a go. We didn’t know until the 11th hour. It happened, and for us, it exceeded all expectations.

First of all, the wrestlers returned to the dohyo in top form after their long rest, as we knew they would. Most of them are perpetually injured, as they’re given no opportunity to rest between tournaments.

Secondly, for the first time in maybe two years, this tournament featured Terunofuji, the wrestler that locked me into the sumo obsession in the first place. He was my original favorite. We saw him win the top-division championship in the May 2015 basho, but by the beginning of the following year, he’d dropped down into the lower divisions due to injuries and other health issues.

Not only did Terunofuji return to the top division in July, but he won the championship. Talk about a comeback! It was incredible. It was like he never left. He won the championship, dropped down into the Sumo dungeon, clawed his way back up, and won the championship again. Who does that?! Terunofuji does, that’s who.

Also to be celebrated was the fact that Tochinoshin, my favorite wrestler – co-favorite with Terunofuji – finally finished a tournament with ten wins (out of 15). It was the first time in over a year that he turned out a winning record, much less a double-digit one! He’d been badly injured with no chance of recovery within the strict regimen of the Before Time. The pandemic allowed him to rest.

My favorites, these two. Terunofuji (of Mongolia) and Tochinoshin (of Georgia):

 

Terunofuji (left) and Tochinoshin about to fight at the July 2020 Grand Sumo Tournament

 

6). Red Dog (Amazon Prime)

 

 

This family film was a total surprise of a watch, and one that I greatly enjoyed. I’d never heard of Red Dog before. I loved everything about this film… and yes, I got a little teary eyed at the end. Animals stir up all of the emotions in me. I didn’t cry the way I do at the end of Where the Red Fern Grows, but it still brought out the tears. I also enjoyed the story just for the story; I realized that I don’t know much about Australia, and it was cool to learn a bit of this particular region’s local history. What a legend, Red Dog! It’s fantastic. I loved this film. Go watch it! Amazon Prime!

 

7). Shameless (Netflix)

 

 

I finally started watching Shameless, my friends. I know.

It was funny because the day after I watched the pilot, I overheard some people at work talking about it, and I was ready to tune out in case of spoilers. There weren’t any. It was just a funny coincidence that seemed to verify that I am, indeed, the last person on the planet to watch this series. And I get it! I totally get the hype. I’ve always been a fan of William H. Macy’s, anyway; honestly I don’t know why it took me so long to get into this series.

 

8). Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Body Lotion with Songyi Mushroom. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Body Lotion with Songyi Mushroom

 

This lotion’s moisturizing formula is one that really works for me… it feels great on my hands, especially. I don’t have much to say about it other than that, but it’s worth sharing. If you’re looking for a new vegan and cruelty-free body lotion option, you might like this one, too.

 

9). Shea Moisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-in Treatment. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

Shea Moisture Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-in Treatment

 

I wash my hair five nights a week now because of my job, and I have to blow-dry my bangs every time. I use this coconut leave-in treatment as a heat protectant, and I think it works as well as any super expensive salon one could. I’d rather keep things simple and use coconut oil if it works!

 

10). Pacifica Big Waves Soft Hold & Volume Hairspray – Coconut, Sea Salt & Vanilla. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

Pacifica Big Waves Soft Hold and Volume Hairspray – Coconut, Sea Salt, and Vanilla

 

Funny story about this hairspray: After using it for over a month, I just realized yesterday that it is also my perfume – the one that several people at work have complimented profusely. And all this time, I’d thought it was my Pacifica Island Vanilla body spray.

Three people at work had remarked on my perfume, asking me what it is that I wear, saying that I smell so good, like “delicious sugar cookies” (one person said gingerbread or sugar cookies). I’ve been telling them that it’s a vanilla body spray, because that’s what I wear for fragrance.

But at home early yesterday morning, I went out to the kitchen and Callaghan said that I smell like sugar cookies. It took me aback. Why is everyone saying that I smell like sugar cookies?! I really, finally had to stop and think about it, because I hadn’t used the body spray yet. I wasn’t wearing any fragrance at all when Callaghan made his remark. If it wasn’t the Pacifica spray, I thought, then what the heck was he and everyone else smelling on me?

Then it hit me: my hairspray. It had to be. It’s coconut, sea salt, and vanilla-scented, and I, too, always think that it smells good when I spray it onto my hair.

An hour later I was at work when yet another co-worker commented on my perfume, saying the same thing that others had said… that whatever I was wearing smelled delicious. I was ready with an answer. Actually, it was a demand. “I think it’s my hairspray,” I said. “Smell my hair.” I wanted confirmation. He leaned over to smell my hair. (Just briefly, and we were wearing masks, as always.) His response: “Yeah, that’s it!”

I asked him whether he could smell it only in the mornings, or for longer than that. He said that I smell delicious like sugar cookies all day, every day.

So there you go, friends. If you’re like me and you’d appreciate having a fragrance that lasts all day, I highly recommend this hairspray. Haha! It’s probably the best perfume I’ve ever worn. Everyone loves it, it doesn’t give me a headache, I use just a little bit (to keep my bobby pins in place) and it lasts all day with wonderful sillage, it’s vegan and cruelty-free, and it’s only $12.00! That might be on the pricey side for a hairspray, but it’s inexpensive for a good perfume. It’s a wonderful hairspray that works wonderfully as a perfume. Totally worth $12.00.

 

The End. Enjoy your weekend, friends!

 

 

 

Ahem.

Tonight’s deal is the same deal as last week Thursday’s… that is to say that I’ll post my “real” Thursday post tomorrow, Friday night.

Still not sure whether this will become a trend for the long-term, but for now, we’re going with it.

Meanwhile, have this pic of Nenette chillin like a villain in the dim light of the livin room:

 

Too sleepy to care that there’s a camera (phone) pointed at her face

 

Thanks for hanging with me, friends!

 

 

I don’t take naps.

Saturday afternoon was odd. Sleepiness crept up out of nowhere and pushed my eyelids down, as one would do to a corpse, and I fought it violently but it was much stronger and it won easily. It held me still and breathing through a twilight doze for two hours. The conscious part of my mind protested on a loop, what is happening, I never get sleepy like this, I never take naps, I can’t take naps… I startled awake at one point as I suddenly thought the virus! …of how some people who survive the virus describe extreme fatigue as a symptom, though I really just felt intensely sleepy. In my mind, there’s a difference: fatigue, I think, is felt in the body, while the sleepiness of that afternoon felt to be outside of my body. I spent the remainder of my doze immobile in a semi-panic, but then I got up and felt awake and strangely new.

On Sunday morning I woke up to a hazy day that made me want to stay home, and so I did. I cleaned the kitchen and the living room, baked a new pan of breakfast cookie bars for the week, shamelessly placed a grocery order for delivery, organized the upcoming week’s meds and supps in their respective pill holders, did a couple of light loads of laundry, opened the mail and recycled and filed and shredded. I went to Amazon Prime to rent a spooky movie long on my list, Lake Mungo… and then, in the evening, I went to Netflix to watch the pilot of Shameless while eating dinner, and it left me in a good mood.

It was funny that I started Shameless on Sunday night, because on Monday morning at work, I overheard people talking about it – I’m pretty sure that was what they were talking about, because I heard the name “Fiona” – and I thought, Spoiler Alert! Maybe!

But there were no spoilers.

May your week be spoiler-free and off to a good start.

 

 

My week was great, but Wednesday was a train wreck.

You guys, I don’t know, Friday posts just might become the new Thursday posts here in TALC. Friday fits better with my new schedule. I don’t work out on Friday evenings, and I don’t have to get up early for work the next day. It’s Friday night and I’m sitting here writing this without any time-related stress. It’s nice. I’m digging it.

We’ll see.

Back to what I was writing, though. I was telling you about Wednesday.

Sirens blared and warbled down the street as I got ready for work on Wednesday morning, which wasn’t unusual. They didn’t stop, though. It was one emergency vehicle after the other for what seemed like a long time, and they sounded pretty close. Not a garden-variety shooting, I remember thinking.

Turns out that the Union Pacific train that crosses over our lake (Tempe Town Lake) on our old UP railroad bridge derailed and went up in flames while a section of the burning bridge collapsed and fiery wreckage spilled into the water, an apocalyptic disaster that ended up in the international news.

2020, just stop, please, will you. FFS.

This happened less than a mile from home. The endless sirens were indeed loud.

It’s sad; this is sad for Tempe and for Phoenix Metro, in general. That Union Pacific rail bridge was as historic and iconic as our mill. On our walks, we’d go to the lake and its bridges and through the areas around it. I took pics along the way as we went on our “pandemic walks” back in April:

 

Walking along Rio Salado on April 6, 2020. The old brown bridge in the foreground is the UP railroad bridge that collapsed.

 

RIP, old bridge. I’m glad I took these pics of you.

 

The railroad bridge is the one in the background in this pic as we walked under from the opposite direction.

 

Here’s what the site looked like on Wednesday:

 

[Pic from the web the day of the disaster, Wednesday, 29 July 2020]

 

I took my pics at the spot on the right where the derailed train landed, behind that bush where the newer, geometric-design bridge visually intersects with the old UP railroad bridge.

 

Walking along Rio Salado on April 6, 2020. The old brown bridge in the foreground is the railroad bridge that collapsed.

 

So I drove to work that morning under a dark haze without knowing what it was, just thinking that today might be the day we’re finally going to get our first storm of monsoon season. I didn’t learn the reason for the dark sky until a co-worker told me about the disaster a few hours later.

Tempe is still busy with clean-up. The FBI is investigating. Union Pacific is saying they’ll rebuild our bridge. We’ll see what happens.

Thankfully, no one was seriously injured on the scene of the accident.

There were the chemical leaks, though. The train’s damaged cargo included 500 gallons of cyclohexanone, and it spilled in the disaster. There were also chemicals from burning rubber, and maybe more from who knows what. I don’t doubt for a minute that there were airborne particles of these chemicals hanging in our atmosphere that day, and of course my mind goes immediately to the possibilities.

Such as, the sequel to this story could be a Kafka-esque nightmare in which we local residents mutate into supervillains or zombies due to the toxic plume of smoke that rose above our section of town in the disaster. 2020 being what it’s been, I actually wouldn’t be surprised if NW Tempe becomes the epicenter of the zombie apocalypse.

As if the challenges presented by the virus aren’t massive and daunting enough.

It’s good that we’re all wearing masks outside of our houses. They might protect us from more than just the virus.

We’re on the eve of August and we’re well into monsoon season, but we still haven’t had our first storm. Too bad it wasn’t pouring rain on Wednesday morning.

Happy WEEKEND eve, my friends.

 

 

 

Blog fail tonight.

Ahem.

Hey, friends. It’s after midnight and I’m passing out while sitting here trying to see the screen through extremely dry eyes that I can barely keep open, so please look for Thursday’s post on Friday (today, if you’re in the States). Thanks for understanding!

I didn’t come empty-handed, though. I’ll leave you with this pic of a cartoony tree that’s on the street side of the wall bordering my workplace’s parking lot. It amuses me. It makes me think of Dr. Seuss:

 

I call this the Dr. Seuss tree.

 

Tomorrow night, then.

Happy Friday, all!

 

 

 

One year anniversary of my ridiculous accident. (+ a few pics)

Three days ago on the 25th of July I sort of “celebrated” the one-year anniversary of me slamming a steel door on the back of my ankle. It was a dumb accident followed by a dumb action plan that resulted in no cardio for over six months. I’m linking to the posts in case you’re new and you’re interested in reading of these follies of yore.

Seriously can’t believe it’s been a year. Really. It seems like a whole forever ago!

The wound healed poorly, of course, because that’s what happens when you fail to go to the E.R. within six hours of cutting your foot halfway off. The scar still intermittently burns with pain and itchiness, but I got my doctor’s permission to ignore it after she had it thoroughly checked out in February. It hasn’t kept me from my workouts since.

Today, I grabbed some screenshots from the video clips I recorded during my Body Pump workout. Please excuse the lighting situation here. I’ve got a huge window in front of me, with light oddly filtered through its closed gray blinds.

I didn’t record more than a few minutes of back, biceps, and shoulders, and the recordings weren’t great. They were tests, more or less, and these few pics are more vanity shots than workout shots. I’ll get a proper LIVING ROOM GYM WORKOUT post together at some point.

First, though, we have short hair!

 

Back to short hair and loving it, and yeah, I’m working out in the living room these days, which is rad.

 

Next, we have deltoids we never had before, thanks to the gym shutting down and forcing me to work out with dumbbells at home. (I’d rather say “thanks to the gym for shutting down” than “thanks to the virus for creating a pandemic.”)

 

Pandemic delt gains. I’m looking at the T.V. on which I’m playing my workout streaming on the Les Mills Roku channel. [28 July 2020]

 

Next, we have a glance at the phone (camera) to see whether it’s recording.

 

Testing, testing. [28 July 2020]

 

Now I know where I’d situate the phone for said forthcoming workout post, right?

Then we have clean and presses, 15 lbs. (Body Pump is high reps with light weights. I have no idea what weight I’d be able to lift in a bodybuilding workout scenario.)

 

[28 July 2020]

 

Aaand we have the biceps track about to start (10 lbs) and I’m still looking at you guys, apparently. I wasn’t smiling like this at the end of the biceps track! It was awesome, though.

 

[28 July 2020]

 

By the way, if you’re familiar with Les Mills Body Pump, this was release #104, my new favorite.

A splendid week to you, friends. If you suffer an injury that creates a bleeding wound, please go to the E.R. in a timely manner. I learned my lesson so you don’t have to.

 

 

Ancient LJ meme. (Throw-back Thursday post!)

Signed into LiveJournal (LJ) over the weekend on a whim and ran into this popular old meme, and I figured it would be cool to share it so we can all appreciate the simple ways in which we were entertained in the nineties and the aughts. These answers are my answers of today, though. I wish I had my answers from back then. Nothing like a self-centered little questionnaire to get to know people!

THREE NAMES YOU GO BY:
1.) Kristi
2.) Kris
3.) ?

THREE SCREEN NAMES YOU HAVE HAD:
1.) kittyconcrete
2.) kkryogenic
3.) kgar

THREE PHYSICAL THINGS YOU LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF:
1.) hairless legs
2.) no periods
3.) eyelashes

THREE PARTS OF YOUR HERITAGE:
1.) Japanese
2.) English
3.) Welsh – ?

THREE THINGS THAT SCARE YOU:
1.) COVID
2.) roaches (phobia fear, not ordinary fear)
3.) drunk people

THREE OF YOUR EVERYDAY ESSENTIALS:
1.) sunscreen
2.) lip balm
3.) music

THREE THINGS YOU ARE WEARING RIGHT NOW:
1.) short black and white flannel shorts
2.) oversize khaki green t-shirt
3.) white ankle socks

THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE BANDS OR MUSICAL ARTISTS:
1.) ::wumpscut::
2). Sirus
3.) Front Line Assembly/Einsturzende Neubauten (couldn’t pick just one)

THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE SONGS:
1.) No Mercy
2.) Autonomous
3.) Golgotha

LAST THREE SONGS YOU’VE LISTENED TO:
1.) Neologic Spasm
2.) Basilisk
3.) Feurio!

LAST THREE MOVIES YOU WENT AND SAW:
1.) I don’t remember what I last WENT to see in the Before Time.
2.)
3.)

THREE THINGS YOU WANT IN A RELATIONSHIP:
1.) security
2.) stability
3.) harmony

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE:
1.) I’ve jumped out of airplanes
2.) I was arrested for trafficking drugs over an international border
3.) I’m an Orion starseed

(you figure out which is which)

THREE THINGS ABOUT THE PREFERRED SEX THAT APPEAL TO YOU:
1a.) (“the preferred sex” – ! Not all memes age well.)
1.) In everyone: humility
2.) and intellectual curiosity
3.) and graciousness and compassion (okay, that was four)

THREE OF YOUR FAVORITE HOBBIES:
1.) working out
2.) listening to music
3.) watching horror movies

THREE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO REALLY BADLY RIGHT NOW:
1.) sleep
2.) clean my house
3.) see my parents

THREE CAREERS YOU’RE CONSIDERING/YOU’VE CONSIDERED:
1.) FBI agent (past)
2.) lawyer (past)
3.) musician and/or writer (always)

THREE PLACES YOU WANT TO GO ON VACATION:
1.) Murmansk, Russia
2.) New Zealand
3.) Germany (I always want to go back)

THREE KIDS NAMES YOU LIKE:
1.) Presley
2.) Faith
3.) Sam

THREE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE:
1.) publish my novel
2.) write another novel
3.) find a way to fulfill an old promise

THREE WAYS THAT YOU ARE STEREOTYPICALLY A BOY:
1a.) (OMG this meme)
1.) I’m not interested in rom-coms or “arts & crafts” (I do love art in a general sense, though)
2.) I swear a lot
3.) I wear a lot of band shirts

THREE WAYS THAT YOU ARE STEREOTYPICALLY A CHICK:
1.) I love skincare products, rich and fragrant creams and oils and shower gels and perfumes and etc.
2.) I love lip products, from balms to lip colors in lipsticks and stains and glosses
3.) I sleep with a stuffed animal. He’s a black cat named Binxy.

Binxy isn’t just an adorable plush stuffed animal, though. He has a zip compartment on his back, because he was actually made to be a purse. Inside, I keep a small flashlight and my Smith & Wesson M&P spring-loaded tactical/survival pocket knife. Binxy is a special stuffed animal. He stays in my arms all night.

THREE PEOPLE THAT I WOULD LIKE TO SEE TAKE THIS QUIZ NOW:
Haha! This question at the end of almost every meme used to drive me nuts.

 

 

Every weird feeling is (…)

Maybe it’s paranoia, but I’ve been feeling vaguely strange in my body lately, and I can’t help but wonder. I still have the residual cough from the pneumonia I had in January, so that’s accounted for, but there are other little things, such as I now experience intermittent, unusual discomfort around the lower part of my rib cage on my left side. The pneumonia was in my lower left lung lobe. Has it come back? I don’t have a fever, but I didn’t have one when I was sick in January, either. I tend to not get fevers. You don’t need to have a fever to have COVID. That’s the thing.

I’m sure it’s all normal and fine. There’s probably some kind of workout stress going on in that area. I should stop reading COVID articles that announce new symptoms. After the last one I read, it’s clear that any symptom can indicate the virus.

I also have a dull, achy, burning UTI-ish feeling, probably because my bladder is stressed on account of the fact that I don’t empty it as soon as I need to during the day. I’m not used to holding it. I should stop doing that… TMI, but now you know. (Because, of course, you had to know that I’ll be running to the restroom 3x/hour from now on.)

In other news, I had a moment last night and today I hurried out of work after my eight hours and went to get my hair cut, because what am I going to do, not get my hair cut professionally until 2021 or longer?

It hit me all of a sudden. It had to be done!

I wanted short hair again, and it’s short, but not as short as I’d like. I should’ve asked her to go a little more. I like having short hair; it’s especially great now that I’m washing my hair every night. Short hair is faster and easier to wash and dry. I’ll probably wear it pinned back, as I did when I went to the gym with short hair. Nondescript. Unobtrusive. Comfortable. It’ll be out of my way, and I won’t have to think about it.

I’ll take a selfie tomorrow or the next day for Thursday’s post!

Having short hair again makes me want to wear my chokers and collars, but I feel like there’s some kind of line as far as how alternative I can get away with being at work… in my head, anyway.

I’m still so stoked about getting to dress in jeans and t-shirts as opposed to “business casual.” I wouldn’t wear every t-shirt I own, though. I’ve identified the ones I wouldn’t be comfortable wearing to work:

  • the ones with the word “vegan” on them, or that in some other way celebrate a plant-based life
  • the ones with Marilyn Manson on them, for instance
  • the ones with anything even vaguely political on them
  • around Halloween I’ll want to wear my Halloween horror movie shirt, because only then will I feel justified in wearing a shirt with Michael Meyers’ ghostly white mask and two big slashy daggers crossed in the front.

so there’s that.

(I really have minimalized my t-shirt collection, by the way. The thing is that I tend to get a new one when I donate one. I have kind of a problem.)

I’m also liking posting here at this time of night. It’s not ideal for me to be up this late, but I feel more like I’m talking to you, personally. It’s quiet. I’m not feeling pressured by time. Admittedly, I’m later tonight than I would be had I refrained from getting my hair cut after work.

It really is my intention to be better on social media, to engage more, or at all, for that matter. There are wonderful recent comments on my posts linking to this blog, and I haven’t replied yet because I simply haven’t been on those platforms for any length of time. There’s no excuse. I’m still aiming to create new routines, and I will, and social media will be a part of it to an extent.

 

 

 

 

New times.

So.

I posted here at nine minutes to midnight on Tuesday, and now it’s Thursday and it’s 11pm. I believe that my blog-posting time will be changing to these later hours, like, officially.

This is because my weekday evening agenda now includes working out and washing my hair. Two things changed when I got my full-time job: my Tuesday/Thursday morning workouts became Tuesday/Thursday evening workouts, and also, I’m washing my hair every night now. It takes time.

The virus is the reason for both changes. I went back to work full-time because Callaghan was laid off due to a virus-shutdown-related “reduction in force” at his job, and I wash my hair every weekday night now because I’m out at work all day in the midst of a raging pandemic. As far as I’m concerned, the virus comes home with me when I get off work. It’s on my clothes and it’s in my hair, and both need to be washed.

Both of the changes make me happy, though. I never would’ve stumbled into my awesome job in the Before Time. I never would’ve quit the gym to work out at home exclusively. The only thing amiss in this picture is the time that I post in this space. I’m fixing that by changing the time. Thank you for understanding!

I do not want this 11pm-midnight business to continue, though. I should be in bed by now. I aim to post here by 10pm, certainly no later than 10:30pm.

Long-time readers, do you remember years ago when I used to post in the early mornings before going to work? Do you know how I did it?

Yeah, neither do I.

 

too late baby

 

I just took the above selfie. My hair is drying. I’m washed out by the light. I’m super tired, but I’m feeling blessed.

Happy Friday Eve, my friends.

 

 

Can we just cancel winter this year? (I’m afraid.)

Life is such a small experience now, physically reduced to the necessary walls around us. I’m ecstatic to be going to work again, but also afraid. Work’s walls are necessary walls, and there are numerous people within them, and each one of us is a potential carrier and spreader of the virus. Everything possible is being done. There’s nothing else we can do but hope that we’re all taking care when we’re out in the world.

I’m afraid of the winter. It gets cold in the desert, and I heard that it gets very cold at work. What if I won’t be able to function? My tolerance to cold is low, low, low.

Cold antagonizes autoimmunity. It’s beastly to autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s disease), secondary Reynaud’s, Sjögren’s Syndrome, all of the autoimmune everything that I have.

I love my job, and I don’t want to have to leave it because I can’t handle the cold.

I’m hoping that I’ll acclimate. My spoiled ass hasn’t had to function in the cold in decades. I worked in the cold when I was in the Army and stationed in Germany. You did just fine, I remind myself. I didn’t have autoimmune diseases back then, that I know of, anyway, but I’m going to go with the assumption that I did so that I can mentally prepare for this winter.

Because any reassurances and pep talks will have to come from me, from my memories of my experiences. I did it before. I can do it again. In the snowy German winter I spent eight-hour days working outside, doing everything from running wire to building temporary sidewalks out of pallets during field exercises. I remember the challenge of not slipping on the ice that coated the pallets. I remember huddling with others over coffee when we’d go in to warm up. We all griped about the cold, but we got back out there once our fingers thawed out. We had no choice. I disliked it, but I survived it.

I don’t want to dislike and survive my job in the winter. I want to keep loving it there.

This whole rambling train of thought about the cold is a tangent. I didn’t plan to talk about the winter. What I wanted to say, actually, is NOTE TO SELF remember to ask people at work whether cold and flu viruses tend to “go around” there, as they do in office work settings. I just want to know.

I’m afraid of the virus. I’m afraid of the winter. I’m afraid of how the virus and the winter are going to intersect. COVID is relentless and robust, and the “second wave” hasn’t even hit yet. I’m afraid that the winter will strengthen it further, and that we’ll become even more vulnerable with our defenses down in the low temperatures.

Think positively.

 

 

Nenette’s triggers.

If I were to tell you that I accidentally threw a water glass into my bathroom sink the other night, you might want to know how, exactly, someone throws a glass into the sink by accident.

I only meant to toss the water that was in the glass into the sink. The glass was doomed because I’d just done my nighttime skin-care routine, so my fingers were slick with the residue of three different rich, moisturizing products. The glass slipped from my fingers and followed the trajectory of my wrist-flick toward the sink. It flew and crashed very loudly.

I couldn’t address the matter of a sink full of broken glass until the next day, because I would use a plastic bag for the disposal of said glass, and my cat is afraid of plastic bags. Nenette had been sitting on the dresser right at my elbow when the glass landed in the sink. It was her water glass, the one that stays on my dresser, and she was waiting for me to replenish it.

 

Nenette and her doomed water glass.

 

(She has a water glass on my bedroom dresser, on the small bookshelf in my office, and on the coffee table in the living room.)

That’s right… you would think that a glass crash-landing into a sink would scare her, but it would be the aftermath that would propel her out of the room in terror. The sound of the PLASTIC BAG. Since it was only a glass shattering to smithereens not six feet away from her, she just sat calmly and regarded me with patience as she waited for a fresh glass of water.

As a furbaby mom, I have to be on top of Nenette’s triggers. I cleaned up the broken glass the next day when she wasn’t in the room.

Nenette is mainly afraid of:

  • The sound of plastic bags
  • The sound of aluminum foil
  • Electrical storms
  • Loud voices
  • People who don’t live here

She’s not a fan of vacuum cleaners, but she can tolerate them until they get too close. She’s curious about Hank the Roomba, but when he heads in her direction, she’s out.

Now you might be waiting for me to get to the point of this post, but there really isn’t one. I just wanted to share that I accidentally threw a glass into a sink, and my cat wasn’t impressed.

Happy Friday Eve, my friends!

 

 

Blessings. (AZ Monsoon 2020!)

Things I’m looking forward to:

–My next workout

–Going to work tomorrow

–The next horror movie I watch

–Falling asleep to the sound of Nenette purring

–Dust storms, electrical storms, and Geronimo out in the storms.

Because here in the Land of AZ, we’re edging into monsoon season. The air’s gradually, increasingly damp with it. Geronimo’s at the ready for his first stormy march of the season, as am I. A desert tortoise in a summer storm is a happy tortoise! The moisture seems to make him even more nimble than tortoises are given credit to be. Geronimo be nimble, Geronimo be quick. And he is, especially when the rain comes down in the summer.

Mid-July anticipation feels extra delicious this year. The pandemic can’t shut down monsoon season. The virus can’t ruin a storm. This is one show that won’t be cancelled. The power of our desert weather system is immalleable in the face of 2020’s beastly scourge!

Nature prevails.

 

Shadowy plants through a nighttime bathroom window [05 July 2020]

That is all.

 

 

June 2020 Favorites!

My “favorite little things” in June were basic in the best of ways. I’ve got a horror film and a horror documentary series on Shudder, two comedic series on Netflix, and a sci-fi anthology series on Amazon Prime, all original projects on their respective streaming platforms. I also included my current favorite bread (for the food part) and the fragrance I’ve been wearing (for the product part). That’s it. The major favorite of the month is my new job, but I’ve spoken enough about that, and we’re here for the small stuff. Right? Yeah.

Without further ado, then:

 

1). Z (Shudder Original Film)

 

 

This movie actually succeeded at creeping me out a little bit. It pleased me in this regard. If you subscribe to Shudder and you’re in the mood for a basic popcorn horror movie, you might want to try this one.

 

2). Never Have I Ever (Netflix Original Series)

 

 

Our favorite laugh-guarantee comedy series (Black-ish) is on hiatus until 2021. Our second-favorite (Bob’s Burgers) is on hiatus until the end of September. In the middle of this dry season, we landed on Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever. Turns out that it’s a brilliant and highly bingeable comedy series. A grand discovery!

 

3). After Life (S2) (Netflix Original Series)

 

 

We waited long enough to watch the second season of Ricky Gervais’ Netflix series After Life, and it was worth it. It’s hard to be disappointed by a smart dramedy woven through with acerbic wit and irreverence, if you’re into that sort of thing, but still, it was delightful to come back to After Life and find that it’s still brilliant and enjoyable.

 

4). Cursed Films (Shudder Original Series)

 

 

Shudder’s documentary series about horror films that seem to be “cursed” (suggested by mysterious, ominous occurrences during or around production) makes for some fascinating, thought-provoking entertainment. It all comes down to whether or not you believe in coincidences, or, rather, whether you want to believe in them.

 

5). Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams (Amazon Original Series)

 

 

This sci-fi anthology series features stand-alone episodes based on the work of science fiction author Philip K. Dick. I found several of its episodes to be impressive, but one episode in particular actually terrified me: “Safe and Sound.” As far as I’m concerned, this sci-fi story amounts to straight-up horror. If you have an Amazon Prime subscription, I recommend that you search for Electric Dreams and take 50 minutes to watch just this one episode, “Safe and Sound,” even if you’re not really into sci-fi or horror.

 

6). Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sesame Sprouted Whole Grain Bread. (Vegan)

 

Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sesame Sprouted Whole Grain Bread

 

There’s not much to say about this bread except that it’s been my favorite Ezekiel bread of late. I have it every day with peanut butter and jelly for lunch. Incidentally, it’s interesting to realize that the one consistent thing in my professional life – the one thing that never changes – is that my lunch of choice is peanut butter and jelly. It doesn’t matter where I work, or what I’m doing… if I have a job, I have a pb&j for lunch. I don’t even think about it! I just enjoy it, and it’s satisfying.

 

7). Pacifica Island Vanilla Perfumed Hair and Body Mist. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

Pacifica Island Vanilla Perfumed Hair and Body Mist

 

I happened by a travel size of Pacifica’s Island Vanilla Perfumed Hair and Body Mist, and it’s since taken the place of my longtime favorite vanilla perfume by The Body Shop. I don’t know. It’s got some sort of floral note going on that I love.

That’s really all I have to say about that.

…and now, it’s July. June went quickly. It’s bewildering that any month in this bloody year of 2020 could go quickly, but June did… on my end, anyway.

Happy Friday Eve, everyone!

 

 

 

Sign of the times. (Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 7)

For tonight’s post, I come bearing a little collection of subject lines gleaned from the Missed Connections section of Craigslist. If you’ve been here a while, you’re familiar.

It was in April, my last Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse poem.

For this seventh poem in my “Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse” series, I expected to find more of the wistfulness that came through in April, but rather, there’s more desperation. I tried to side-step that. I still wound up with the mood you’ll find in the lines collected below. It’s important, though, this mood.

For those of you unfamiliar with this series of poems:

To create these poems, I skim through the list of Missed Connections entries on Craigslist and pick out the subject lines that intrigue me in some way… then I arrange them into a shape that makes sense to me. (My standard explanation)

Credit goes to those strangers who unwittingly dropped wonderful bits of poetry in Missed Connections. (My standard disclaimer)

Also, here’s a reiteration of April’s note: I left all punctuation (and lack thereof) exactly the way I found it. I felt that letting the lines stand alone and untouched made the final poem feel more apt for the times.

I do want to say one thing in particular about this curation! The Missed Connections subject line I chose for the opening intrigues me; in the Before Time, “phone girlfriend” didn’t have the pandemic application that it does today. These lines created a short poem that invokes doom, desperation, and the past. It’s a mood, as I said. It’s a time capsule of a sort.

 

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 7

Phone girlfriend wanted
Music at bar
6Blocks away

Before the gyms were closed
We both saved two dollars
We shared the room last time I was in town

i was next to you high limit blackjack wild horse casino
Sarcasm, whiskey and ink
I doubt it

you told me something was hanging from my car
Hearse with the WATERBEDS signage
Still can’t believe you were there

Smoking car
Body in SCW
Nirvana Dispensary 11ish

 

 

 

Because I can’t help myself. (+ job satisfaction and mental well-being.)

You guys, I’m going to talk about my new job again. It’s what’s happening, and it’s such a substantial change all around: It’s a 40-hour change in my weekly schedule, and it’s a change from anything I’ve ever done in my life, and it was kind of unexpected, and I’m surprised by how much I love it. Maybe I’m still in the honeymoon phase, but maybe I’ll always feel this way.

I overheard a co-worker talking to another co-worker last week. The conversation materialized into my consciousness just in time to hear her say the words: “That’s the only reason I work here.” I’d been there for less than a week. I had to know. I did something I normally wouldn’t do (because it’s rude, I think) and I broke into her conversation to ask, “what’s the only reason you work here?” And she said, simply, “because I enjoy it.”

And that, my friends, comes from a person who’s been there for three years.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard anyone say, “because I enjoy it” after saying “that’s the only reason I work here.” If there’s only one reason why you work somewhere, it’s usually something so critical that working there is like a sacrifice, something you wouldn’t do if you didn’t have to. Money. Benefits. Location. The schedule, maybe. You can’t get a job anywhere else, maybe.

And yesterday, another co-worker shared that “this is the only job I’ve had where I don’t hate my boss.”

It’s not just me. People enjoy working there. My co-worker’s conclusion came as a profound realization: she enjoys her job, so it’s good for her mental well-being. And I know that it’s more than just the job, itself; “the job” includes the people, the place, the environment, all the elements… not just the thing that she does.

So far, the job is good for my mental well-being, too. There’s some great energy there.

I tell you what’s happening in my life because you wish to know (that’s why you’re here, at least in part), but I always think that sharing might help or inspire in some way. Every personal experience comes with revelation, and knowing about one another’s experiences can be inspirational, or at least eye-opening. I’m grateful when people share about their lives for that reason. Everyone inspires me in one way or another.

So I have a couple of things to offer after only two weeks into my job.

Maybe try this:

Something you’ve never thought of doing before.

And know this:

All jobs do not suck.

With this job, I prove myself wrong on a daily basis. I’d been resigned to the notion that some degree of job dissatisfaction is inevitable, that every job comes with occasional b.s. and people trying to ruin your day, whether literally or figuratively. I used to believe this because that had been my lifelong experience, and also because it makes sense. It’s life, and you roll with it. Humans have moods and attitudes and bad days and competitive streaks (not in a healthy way when it’s in the workplace) and personality clashes. It would be weird if it was otherwise, I used to think.

And so now, it’s bizarre having a full-time job with zero annoyances of any significance. It’s like life inside the facility exists on a different plane of reality. You walk in and everyone and everything is cool. Every day. There’s literally music blasting all over the place, constantly, different music for different people (headphones and earbuds aren’t allowed, so you have the option of borrowing a bluetooth speaker you can carry around with you), and somehow, none of it clashes. You’re working with a team of awesome people and listening to music. That’s it. I’ve never enjoyed a job more, and I’ve never left work every day with such a sense of job satisfaction.

The one thing I have yet to successfully adjust in this picture of my new life is my sleep schedule. I’m managing to get to bed earlier than I was before, but when “earlier” is midnight, you know you still have a little way to go. My goal is to be in bed and asleep by 11pm (e.g. theoretically). In practice, it means that I should be in bed no later than 10:45pm.

I’m working on it. I’ll get there.

I hope you’re all staying safe and having a great week. Happy Friday Eve!

 

 

 

Retrograde chaos has us where it wants us. (And it’s a good place, actually.)

Six planets are in retrograde right now. This means something different for everyone. If you’re finding yourself dealing with inconveniences of a technical flavor these days, you can probably blame the planets.

On my end, we’re talking typical issues with glitchiness as I’m minding my own business trying to be a human on this planet. Being a human on this planet is especially tricky when I’m being pranked by the universe, I find. I often have to war with technology and electricity in the most placid of planetary times, so times like these just make things more interesting.

At the moment, the washing machine still won’t spin. (The technician is coming tomorrow.) The electricity went out momentarily yesterday, and we had to wrangle with the microwave oven to get it to reset its clock. On Saturday, the laptop I use to stream my workouts blipped out of nowhere to display a blue screen with sad faces running across the top.

 

The universe has a sense of humor.

 

Getting online is less enticing than ever, as it is. Working a manual job in an analog environment is just refreshing. I’m not eager to get online when I get home. Instead, I reach for books… real ones.

I did utilize personal technology today, though: I downloaded and activated a step-counting app on my phone this morning before I started work and left it in my back pocket, as I always do. I was just curious!

The morning unfolded at an average pace. As I may have mentioned, my job is very active, and there’s no sitting down involved.

The afternoon passed with less walking around than usual, though, due to a time-consuming project that I had to do while standing in one place.

Still, at the end of the workday, my step counter said that I’d walked 13,538 steps and 5.56 miles. On an average day, it would be more. This might explain why I feel invigorated rather than tired when I get home from my 100% physical job. The day ends on an endorphin high?! I come home eager to work out.

Or maybe I’m not tired because I’m not fatiguing my eyes staring at a computer screen all day.

I’m serious when I say that I never want to work in an office again.

Actually, all of this planetary retrograde activity has been eye-opening for me. It feels like a good time for realization, reevaluation, and reassessment. Maybe you feel like that, too.