What is my “Wellness Routine”?

Tonight, the moon is three days old. There’s something about this particular moon – waxing crescent – that makes me want to pull weeds under her light. It’s the strangest little hum of an urge and I don’t think I’ll ever do it, but I enjoy thinking about it.

(The moon that set approximately six minutes ago.)

It came to my attention that a famous actress has been mocked and lambasted for her “wellness routine,” which she divulged to the public recently. The ruckus led me to reflect. How would I sum up my own wellness routine?

My wellness routine includes body lotion after a lavender aromatherapy shower every night; working out and focusing on my mind/body connection while performing the exercises; eating nutrient-dense, high-vibration, delicious food; bonding with my animal babies; listening to music; engaging in my spiritual practices; writing; tending to my twice-daily skin care rituals; making space for my creativity; and being in nature. It’s all divine, all devotional. I’m grateful.

Bonuses to throw in: work, where I (still!) love to go to do the job that I (still!) enjoy. Movies and streaming T.V. shows, which intrigue, delight, horrify, and amuse. Cooking and baking, especially baking. These days it’s healthy quick breads, muffins, and scones.

Family and friends… I would call those blessings.

I still aspire to getting more sleep, as it’s critically important, but my return to working out 4-5 days per week has been the greatest. At home, I’ve dialed it in with Les Mills On Demand Pump and Combat. At the gym, it’s traditional weight-training and the treadmill. Re-establishing my fitness routine, dedicating time and care to my physical fitness has been – I mean, it’s been absolute sorcery, what it’s done for my spirits. A recent double loss plus a harrowing time for another loved one has amounted to too much tragedy in too short a span of time, and my fitness discipline has helped immensely.

But sleep, now. Sleep is the final piece of the wellness puzzle. It’s the most challenging for me, and I should finish this post on that note. It’s time to focus on sleep and really make an effort, and I should start this very second! I wish you all a good-night (or day… or whatever it is for you).

Until next time, my friends. Take care and stay safe out there!

Experiment (Babbling Brooks, and all that Scheisse.)

A magnificent thunderstorm rolled over the Valley last night, with dramatic winds and violent, cold rain. Tempe got pounded. The air smelled so fresh and crisp in the backyard where the creosote shrubs grow. Creosote is to the Sonoran desert what eucalyptus is to the Bay Area, where I grew up, and what plumerias are to Hawaii, where I spent my childhood summers. It’s funny to think that I have a longer history with creosote than I have with eucalyptus and plumerias. I moved out of California decades ago, and I’ve only been to Hawaii a handful of times since Grandpa died. That was at the end of the last millennium.

I’ve been feeling contemplative of late. A little saddened. As I’ve mentioned over my last few posts, there’s been death again in my small world, the deaths of two people whom I loved, and who loved me. They passed within weeks of each other. I’ve been thinking about death and deceit, and about how nice it would be to jump into a post-apocalyptic world in which everything mattered. In the post-apocalyptic world I imagine, nothing that is said would be anecdotal. Every utterance would carry weight… healthy weight… and ethics would be built into the structure of existence out of necessity, as in the new world of opposites, people would simply look out for each other, politics be damned.

Lightning struck my crossroads last night. That was interesting.

The downside of the rain is the humidity. It’s a psychological closing-in, and at the superficial end of the spectrum, I have to say that “founding father” is not a good hairstyle look on me.

That said, I’m grateful. Above all, I’m so very grateful.

17th-century magistrate hair.

That’s going to do it for now, friends. Have a grand time in your daily adventures until next time!

Confessions of a (former) Gym Snob: I joined Planet Fitness, and I love it. (Fitness updates!)

I went to the gym today. And yesterday, and the day before, and four days last week. I’m hanging on to my Les Mills On Demand subscription for home workouts, but recently I’ve added an actual gym component back into my fitness routine. I’ve returned to my old habits, my friends, and I feel so much better! I’m eating 98% high-vibration foods and lifting weights and doing cardio and feeling strong and energetic and good in my body again.

In my car in the gym parking lot before heading in to my workout.

I can feel my renewed commitment to my physical well-being benefiting my mental health, as well. I experienced two losses last month that both cut deeply, pretty much back-to-back. My cat has been sick. A close family member has been struggling in ongoing crisis. It’s been stressful, and I very much needed to return to gym therapy. When I finally did, I joined… Planet Fitness.

Now, fellow gym rats, I know what you’re thinking. I know because I used to be right there with you, mocking and ridiculing Planet Fitness. It’s the gym notorious for kicking people out for wearing spaghetti straps, for sounding a “Lunk Alarm” when someone commits the crime of grunting while lifting heavy weights, and for lacking an Olympic barbell.

Lies. Lies, my friends.

Well, the 45lb Olympic barbell part is true. There isn’t one at Planet Fitness. But that doesn’t seem to discourage seasoned strength athletes and career gym rats from working out there.

I mean, even two weeks in, I go to the gym and look around in bewilderment, because I still don’t recognize the place. I know that I’m in a Planet Fitness, but… am I?

I don’t recognize the women in the short, tight gym shorts and sexy sports bras and nothing else, because those women in those outfits aren’t supposed to be there… yet they are, and no one says anything.

I don’t recognize the guys in bodybuilding muscle shirts and the kind of tanks that have wispy straps of fabric looped over their shoulders and armholes so long, the guys might as well be unclothed completely. Those guys aren’t supposed to be there, either, according to Planet Fitness lore. But they are there, and no one cares.

Neither do I recognize the super built, ripped folk walking around in skin-tight microfiber t-shirts and weighted vests, because Planet Fitness is a “beginner’s gym” – so advanced athletes aren’t supposed to be there, either.

Or any of the serious strength athletes – of all ages and genders – focusing intently on their training.

Oh, there is indeed a “Lunk Alarm” warning banner up on the wall in the free weight area, but it seems to be there for entertainment purposes, because the Lunk Alarm isn’t sounded when people audibly exert physical effort. My trainer said that they only time the Lunk Alarm is used is at the end of days that have closing times, as a way to alert people that the gym is going to be closing soon. (The gym is open 24/5 and has closing hours on the other two days.) Even in that case, he’s only seen it done once or twice.

What else? Little pleasant surprises, like the electronica music they’ve got playing overhead. I guess I was expecting standard pop music fare. Silly me!

I wasn’t expecting the gym to feature a spa with cutting-edge equipment. Apparently, some people join Planet Fitness just for the Black Card spa. They don’t go to work out. They go for the Total Body Enhancement red light therapy capsule booth, the HydroMassage lounge seats and beds, the various tanning technologies, and the massage chairs.

I certainly wasn’t expecting unlimited free personal training with my $10.00/month no-commitment membership! That’s right… personal trainers are included in your classic membership, which sets you back TEN DOLLARS each month.

It’s solid good training, too. My trainer sat me down to discuss my goals, and the next time I went in, I found he’d created a custom workout for me based on a four days/week schedule… and he trains me during the workouts. I still can’t believe that a custom workout plan and unlimited personal training is included in the Planet Fitness Classic membership. Ten dollars a month, friends.

(I called EOS, my former gym, to compare. At EOS, one 30-minute personal training session costs $36.00 on top of your membership fees.)

You do have to pay more if you want access to that Black Card spa, though. In order to use that spa, you have to spring for the pricey Black Card membership, which is… $25.00/month.

Looks like the whole time I was laughing at Planet Fitness, the joke was on me.

On that note, have a wonderful day, friends!

Excitement comes in all forms.

Good morning, friends. Thwarted by technical difficulties and nearly all manner of peripheral distractions, I come to you with only a wish for a good end-of-week, if your schedule makes you a traditional weekendist, or, if not, a good two days to come.

My weekend plans involve working out, doing taxes, cleaning and picking up around the house, shopping for flooring for one of the bedrooms, having dinner with Boyfriend’s mom, playing with cats, and secret plotting. A movie will be watched. A music playlist will be completed, and another one begun.

It’s exciting stuff, and I’m not being facetious. It’s the little things. Little things are the tendons and ligaments that hold life’s big things together, the connective tissues without which we couldn’t function. Out of little things comes daily moments of joy, revelation, and feeling of accomplishment, as well as learning that leads to inner growth. Stresses and sorrows teach gratitude. Challenges encourage innovation. Creative endeavor promotes mental and emotional wellness. Big plans are thrilling, but the no-plan plan can be a balm.

Mundane is good.

I hope you’re all enjoying a magickal turn of season, too, wherever you are in the world. Until next time!

Geronimo’s hibernation adventure and BURROW RENOVATION. (Desert Tortoise Update!)

If you’ve been following along on Geronimo’s (desert tortoise) adventures, you may have noticed the absence of any kind of hibernation post this hibernation season. In fact, the last time I wrote about Geronimo was on June 23, 2022!

I haven’t provided updates since then, but now I can share the reason: Geronimo out-adventured himself almost to his demise and has consequently spent the winter hibernating in a large Rubbermaid container, which has now come to rest in the (outdoor) laundry room. Of all the things I could image Geronimo would do, the idea of hibernating artificially never entered my mind.

The short version of the story is that Geronimo’s continuous digging landed him in an underground garbage heap wherein he got himself into all sorts of trouble, and the vet condemned his burrow.

The long version, for any of you who are interested, is this:

In my last Geronimo post, I wrote about our first fancy monsoon storm of the summer, and how I looked out and spied Geronimo walking across the yard. What I didn’t tell you was that:

1). I was greatly relieved to see Geronimo, as he’d been MIA for nearly three weeks. It was worrisome. Desert tortoises do shelter in their burrows much of the time during the hot months, but Geronimo usually came out in the very early mornings and/or at dusk to graze. He needed to eat. He needed water! I was thrilled to finally see him out when the storm started.

2). There was something trailing behind Geronimo as he trudged forward. Actually, I saw the thing first, and didn’t realize that it was attached to Geronimo until Geronimo emerged on the other side of the patio. The thing was a very long piece of fabric, and it looked to be heavy, as Geronimo wasn’t sprinting along as he normally does – especially in the rain.

I went out to him immediately and found that the thing was made of stretchy brown nylon, kind of like pantyhose, but coarser, and it was shockingly substantial. It was at least six feet long, and the entire length of it was bunched-up and thick. It was indeed heavy, as it was soaked from the rain and coated in mud.

Geronimo was dragging it behind him because it was wrapped around his neck.

The fabric was caught in the crevice under his chin where his under-shell connects to his body, wedged so deeply in there that I had to tug and pull with effort to extricate it. Long, heavy, weighed down with dirt, and jammed into that space around his neck? He could only have gotten himself tangled up in it in the depths of his burrow… and that explained why I hadn’t seen him for almost three weeks. It was the force of his innate desert-tortoise need to be in the rain that saved him, I believe. The call of the storm aroused his will to live, and somehow (the vet was amazed) he managed to turn himself around down there in that cramped space with that thing attached to him.

He could have been strangled. He could have eventually died of starvation or dehydration, because who knows for how long he’d already struggled to free himself? But Geronimo is a survivor.

With this revelation came a realization: the tufts and balls of white fluff (like cotton, but not) I’d seen in and around Geronimo’s burrow – since the end of the previous summer – came from the same place as the thing around his neck. The constant appearances of these fluff balls had been an aggravating mystery that had me on the phone with the vet earlier in the season. I even took photos and sent them to the nurse, who confirmed that the cotton-like balls of fluff that I kept finding packed into Geronimo’s feces was synthetic stuffing. When I took Geronimo in to be seen by a vet following the incident with the thing, I brought in a sandwich bag full of some of the stuffing and Geronimo’s feces. The vet examined it and pointed out that in addition to the synthetic upholstery stuffing, there was also part of a thin sheet of foam of the sort that was used as padding beneath wall-to-wall carpeting.

“Looks like he dug himself into a pile of trash buried under the yard. He’s surely dodged some bullets. Keep him away from that burrow.”

We left the vet with artificial hibernation instructions in hand; thus commenced Geronimo’s extended stay in the house for the rest of the summer. He never set foot in his burrow again. We fashioned a makeshift crate out of a large plastic bin on its side, keeping it filled with hay. Geronimo chilled in there during the day, and he got set outside at dusk. I wanted to keep him on a schedule that would kind of mimic what his in-and-out burrow schedule would be.

When the time to hibernate drew nigh, we took Geronimo to my boyfriend’s parents’ house, as my Ex was going to come for 17 days to collect his stuff (there would be a lot of activity in the garage). The timing of this event worked well, as within a week, I heard from the Ex that he would arrive in a few days for an impromptu, preliminary stuff-gathering two-week visit. (I mentioned in a previous post that I spent much of November and December living out of suitcases. That was why. I stayed elsewhere while the Ex was here. Between those two visits and my trip to Utah with my boyfriend and his family, I barely saw the inside of my own house during those months.)

And so it was that Geronimo began his hibernation elsewhere in Phoenix. After the Ex left (for the last time) in the third week of December, we brought Geronimo home, where he’s finishing out his hibernation in the laundry room.

Geronimo’s burrow was history. The canopy over the burrow had disintegrated into tatters, and I didn’t have to deal with it. Heavy early-winter rains caved in the entire back of his burrow, and I didn’t have to deal with that, either. (What a bullet that would have been to dodge if he had been in his burrow when it collapsed.)

What I did have to deal with was the construction of a new burrow for Geronimo. Spring would arrive, and Geronimo would need a home-base after coming out of hibernation!

The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Desert Tortoise Adoption Program offers instructions for three approved burrow styles. I decided to go with the 5-gallon buckets style, which consists of two 5-gallon buckets joined together with the bottom cut off of one. The idea is to create a large pipe with a dead end. The whole name of this new burrow game is “Geronimo Shalt Not Dig Beyond the Burrow.”

For this project, I went to TaskRabbit, and I was fortunate in hiring someone who turned out to be perfect for the job. His name is Vidal Curiel, local friends. If you’re considering adopting a desert tortoise and you live in Phoenix Metro and you need someone to dig you a tortoise burrow, Vidal is the man!

Burrow demo and renno went down last weekend. I took pics of the process, of course!

I went to Home Depot and picked up two 5-gallon buckets. An employee in the lumber department agreeably sawed off the bottom of one of them.

Funny story: When I explained what I needed done with the buckets to the first employee (who escorted me to the guys who could help), the older gent asked, with grandfatherly warmth, “Is this for a school project?”

I also got super-serious duct tape, which we used to join the two buckets together.

After filling in and packing down the caved-in back part of the burrow, Vidal set the conjoined buckets inside the old burrow’s existing external structure. In accordance with the instructions, he measured the depth of the back end to make sure that it would be 16 inches deep. The buckets had to slope down at a 20-degree angle.

Geronimo won’t be able to dig further, nor deeper. The back of the bucket is the end of the line!

You can’t see it here, but we set the old burrow’s sheet of plywood over the cinder blocks to make a roof for the buckets before piling on the dirt. Vidal made sure to pack dirt around the buckets, underneath and on top, as well, to insulate them and make sure that they wouldn’t move.

He also packed dirt into the buckets to fill them half-way, as directed by the instructions.

We needed a minimum of eight inches of dirt on top and around the whole burrow, so…

…Vidal took some dirt from the other end of the yard. Eight inches of dirt all around and on top of the burrow is a lot!

He stamped down each layer of dirt to make sure he was building a solid structure, and I sprayed the whole thing down with water in between layers, as well.

Getting there!

Here you can kind of see the opening of the bucket.

As well, we purchased a new pavilion for the burrow to help shade it, as the old one was trashed. Vidal helped with that, too! He followed us to Lowe’s to pick up the pavilion, and the three of us put it together.

Finished product – Geronimo’s new crash-pad, comfy and cozy!

Aaaand, it wouldn’t be a Geronimo update post without a pic of the little dude himself:

“Hello!” ~This was when the weather had cooled down enough to move Geronimo from the house to a box under a table on the patio.

That’s the story, my friends. This is where we are now. Geronimo will come out of hibernation, go to his burrow, and get pissed off (he’s going to hate it at first), but he’ll be safe, and that’s the important thing.

I’ll be sure to post more Geronimo updates as the season changes! I’ll report on his reaction to his new burrow. Heheh.

With that, I wish you all a good day or night. I hope this finds you all doing well!

Life in a Snap: Bedroom Wall. (Alternately, Magickal Moments and Other Miscellany on a Thursday.)

The wall I’m facing as I sit on my bed.

When a co-worker told me that he would occasionally take a photo and post it online with a lengthy caption, I knew that I wanted to follow suit, because I loved the idea of it. I, myself, enjoy a peek into the lives of others. It’s the connectiveness, the feeling of sharing in an experience, whether superficial or internal. An unremarkable snapshot in the course of a day or night. A letting-in.

This is my first “Life in a Snap” post. The scene: the wall in front of me as I sit on my bed, cozy in the warmth of the electric fireplace.

My thoughts scatter like stars as I look at the fireplace and the dresser and the moon phase calendar and the white cat statue; namely, they scatter into constellations of magickal moments.

Because there’s more to a magickal moment than gazing at an electric fire and a moon phase calendar and a cat statue.

Headbanging to the Arctic Monkeys’ earlier albums while rolling through the psychedelic auto car wash is a magickal moment.

Climbing into bed fresh and clean after a hot shower, stretching out, and breathing deeply of aromatherapy while falling asleep is a magickal moment.

Getting out of bed in the morning is a magickal moment, especially when it happens without pain.

Caring for the body is a magickal endeavor… nourishing it, exercising it, giving it enough sleep. (I know, I know! Still working on it. Still failing at it. But still trying.)

Nesting in the home is magickal.

Simple, tasty foods: roasted, salted peanuts in the shell; whole wheat crackers with hummus; steamed leafy greens; pumpkin seeds; dried apricots; brown rice, and dark chocolate.

Things that make me feel magickal: the smell of fire; a charged deck of cards; wearing or carrying a crystal; practicing daily color magick; tracking moon phases; journaling my spiritual workings; music; sleeping; the desert; candles; Stevie Nicks; being underwater, nature, weather; animals and their rights; cooking and baking; poetry; plants; incense; cats.

Learning from mistakes and not making them again is magickal. The splendor of personal evolution is magickal, and also blinding, sometimes, in the best of ways.

A smile shared with a stranger is a magickal thing.

Human stories about real humans with real struggles, humans with all of their faults and foibles… magickal. Not a one amongst us is perfect or without problems or flaws. The human experience is too far-ranging and varied for judgement to collapse itself into the big picture of it, and yet we all judge, whether we know it or not, want to or not. That’s why I feel that…

…open-mindedness is one of the most magickal traits that an individual can possess.

I’m stopping here on account of sleep-deprivation-induced rambling, friends! I love that you’re here, reading thoughts that emerged from a photo.

Have the loveliest of days and nights.

Let’s try this again, shall we, 2023? (Fitness post!)

Here’s how 2023’s gone down so far in terms of working out:

On the Monday of the second week of January – the 9th – I did an hour of Body Pump (Les Mills On Demand), and it was swell. I felt the effort intensely over the next few days, of course, because my muscles had pretty much atrophied after so long of not working out. And that was great! I felt awesome getting back to my fitness routine.

Three days later, I overworked my forearms at work to the point where I aggravated my old tennis elbow weakness on the right side, and I knew that I had to avoid using that arm as much as possible until it was healed… and, somewhere in that same time-frame, I managed to aggravate my chronic lower back weakness to the point where the pain became nearly incapacitating on some days. I actually had to leave work a few hours early one day because the pain was so bad, I could barely stand, walk, or sit. The only position I could be in without excruciating pain was lying down on my side.

As well – this was the most frustrating one, because it wasn’t an old injury acting up, it was just plain stupidity – I found myself dealing with pain in my ribs on my left side on account of my slamming myself into the edge of a wall of boxes in order to grab one that was lying just out of reach. There was no reason that this had to happen. I 100% did it to myself in a moment of foolish over-zealousness, which was why I was too embarrassed to mention it to anyone. I did my best to work through the terrible pain of breathing while hiding it from everyone over the two weeks it took to heal. (I probably just separated a rib rather than fractured it, I’m guessing).

So I spent all of January Week Three and most of Week Four recovering from these shenanigans; e.g. I did not work out.

At the very end of January Week Four, on Saturday the 28th, I did 30 push-ups in three sets of ten over the course of five hours, and it was hard, and I wept inside.

February Week One? Zilch.

February Week Two? That would be this week, and I this morning, I did – because I was off today due to medical appointments at the V.A. – the same one-hour Body Pump workout I did on January 9th. Despite my right forearm (less than 100% recovered). Despite my lower back (better, but threatening revenge if I dared to make it work in any way). My ribs have completely recovered, which is the main reason why I felt good about venturing back into my gym shoes.

Here’s the deal: The separated rib thing was a consequence of something I did, but the aggravated forearm and lower back injuries were a consequence of something I didn’t do. I didn’t keep myself in shape. I’m convinced that those injuries only resurfaced because my fitness was poor. On a daily basis I was doing as much as I usually do, except my body wasn’t equipped to do it thanks to my negligence over the last six or so months. I unloaded a shipment with my mind and dragged my body along with it, and my body said fuck you, and I deserved it, and here we are.

So today, my friends, my ass was home in the morning, and I told my forearms and lower back to just let me know if I needed to adjust anything during the one-hour workout, because I was determined to do it, and they had to meet me halfway, at least. And they did.

I didn’t film the workout for a living-room gym post, but I did take a post-workout selfie:

Post-workout [7 Feb. 2023]

The thought behind this expression: HA. I DID IT. I lifted light weights for an hour (no more than 10-lb dumbbells), and I feel damn good.

The End, but the beginning, I hope.

p.s. It’s Tuesday. I plan to attempt a Thursday post at a reasonable time, and also I would love to make a Tuesday/Thursday posting schedule happen again, so we’ll see how that plays out. Things are settling and getting back to normal! I have stuff to share. I’ve missed it. I’ve missed you. I’ll be back! Take care, friends.

(Recent) Favorite Little Things!

Well, it’s been roughly 5,000 years since my last “favorite little things” post, so I figured that now would be a good time to share a few favorites since then. We’re one month and two days into 2023 paradise, after all. Thought I, why not share some of the things that I discovered in recent months of the former year?

Without further ado, then. Let’s get to it!

1). Film: Smile

Of the horror movies I’ve watched in recent years, this one creeped me out the most. I’m not saying that it’s the best movie I’ve seen of late, horror genre included, nor was it my favorite. I just found it to be the most effective solid scare of the lot. I felt obliged to share.


2). T.V. show: The Last of Us

Ah, The Last of Us! Both seasoned and uninitiated fans recommend reading the book and/or playing the video games before getting into this new post-apocalyptic horror action series. I, on the other hand, recommend that you watch the delightful documentary Fantastic Fungi on Netflix as your preparatory material. That’s all I’m going to say about that.


3). T.V. show: Taboo

If you like your revenge salt and peppered with treason, incest, and explosives, this series is for you. True story anecdote: my bio-father in England – who had no idea what I was watching or that I was even watching anything, and who, himself, doesn’t watch anything – phoned me while we were in the middle of an episode, and he randomly lectured me on the three main components of gunpowder. Coincidentally, that very topic crept into the remainder of the episode after we hung up, and the story widely revolved around the making of gunpowder thereafter, with the explosives expert character describing its components almost exactly the way bio-father did on the phone. I mean this literally. The series is British and takes place in England, so my British bio-father in England calling and educating me on the components of gunpowder right in the middle of it was uncanny. (My boyfriend assured me that the FBI definitely listened in on my phone conversation after that topic came up.)


4). Pre-prepared meal: Urban Remedy Organic Macro Bowl Salad.

I super-enjoy this salad. Whole Foods carries Urban Remedy refrigerator cases in their stores (the ones here do, anyway), and the offerings include a number of delicious salads. This one contains beets, and yet I love it. Beets, my friends. You heard me right.

5). Sumo citrus (Mandarin/orange).

Sumo citrus

Back when my boyfriend and I were in denial about our feelings for each other, he dropped off a sumo mandarin along with the grapefruit he offered to bring me when I was coming down with what might have been (but wasn’t) Covid. It was the beginning of last year’s January. When citrus season came to a close, we spent the rest of the year looking forward to the return of this spectacular winter fruit. Needless to say, our 2023 paradise has been gloriously citrusy.

6). Garden of Life Organic Plant-Based Performance Protein Bar.

Like my old favorite Clifs Builders bars, this one contains 20g of plant protein. Unlike Clifs Builders, the Garden of Life bar is not a glorified candy bar. It’s not particularly scrumptious, but I do like it, and it’s filling enough to serve as an effective meal-replacement bar if I find myself without time to make a sandwich for lunch. It takes precisely one second to throw one of these bars into my bag.

7). Drink: Steaze Antioxidant Brew Organic Green Tea (Zero Calorie Peach Mango).

I mainly drink water, water all day long. I have a large coffee in the morning. I enjoy Pure Leaf plain, unsweetened iced tea. And when I tried a Steaze Peach Mango organic iced tea, it immediately became my go-to flavored iced tea. I find that it’s scented somewhat of guava juice, and tastes a little bit like it, too! It is heavenly.

8). Starbucks Pike’s Place Roast Ground Coffee.

I mentioned that I’d started drinking coffee again, right? Starbucks’ Pike Place Roast is my jam, and…

9). NuNaturals Pure Monk Fruit Sweetener.

…NuNaturals Pure Monk Fruit Sweetener is what I put into it (along with plain, unsweetened soy milk).

10). Flatiron Pepper Company Four Pepper Blend (arbol, ghost, habenero, and jalapeño peppers).

Because why use crushed red pepper when you can coat your pizza with a crackly, fiery blend of four peppers, including ghost peppers?

11). Purrfect Bistro Chicken Recipe Pâté.

Nenette, my feline daughter, is now taking kitty Prozac, and Purrfect Bistro Chicken Recipe Pâté landed on this list because Mommy loves that she loves it. She loves it so much, I can mix her powdered medication into it daily, and she doesn’t notice. I warm it up slightly, mash it into a paste, and mix in the contents of one of her capsules. Thank you, Purrfect Bistro, for making a food that my very picky cat likes so much, she laps it up without a clue that it contains her medication.

12). Skin care, body: Alba Botanica Very Emollient Body Lotion Maximum. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

I’ve tried for years to get into a routine of using body lotion nightly. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon this lotion of Alba Botanica’s that I succeeded. It’s just so good! I use it on my arms and legs after my shower. It feels amazing.

13). Skin care, face: Derma-e. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

I’ve used Derma-e here and there in the past, but this last year I started using Derma-e products on my face almost exclusively. My skincare arsenal has gone from a hodgepodge to 99% Derma-e. It’s not cheap. (Fellow skincare junkies, you get me.) I use too many products to list – I have a morning routine and a night routine, both with their own products. That’s a lot, so I’m just dropping the entire brand into this space for you to explore at your leisure, if you’re so inclined. I could not recommend it more highly!

14). Make-up: e.l.f. Monochromatic Multi Stick in Sparkling Rose. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

This one cosmetic item cut my daily make-up routine down to seven minutes, my friends. I adore it to the point where I stocked up in the event of discontinuation. I use it on my eyelids and on my cheeks, and on the weekend, I wear it as lipstick, as well.

15). Soothing Touch Vanilla Chai Lip Balm. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

This lipbalm is so good!! I have a different lip balm in every room, and one of them is this one by Soothing Touch. I plan to replace the others with it so it’ll be the only one I use.

The End.

I hope this finds you all well, my friends. Thank you for being here.

2023 and me.

My favorite thing about the new year so far is that I haven’t dragged anything old or unwanted into it.

2023 feels like a prairie scented with clover and bluebell and violet, subtly alive with faery rings and grasses brightly animated in sunny breezes. Fresh. Magickal. It’s January and therefore mid-winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, but my world beams from within as springtime energy pierces the cold nights and dark mornings. Perhaps the exceptional rainfall we’ve had here in the desert this winter speaks to the illusion of spring, as well.

(Or, too, it’s my candlelit inner world, dusted and brilliant.)

I made moon water under the light of the year’s first full moon, the Wolf Moon, on the 6th.

The moon right now is a sliver of a waning crescent, my favorite moon phase. (Blessing and bane grow on the same stalk.) The new/dark moon will rise in two days, and I’m eager to work with her energy. My new year’s resolution is to get more sleep. It’s been a joke thus far. The new moon will help a lot.

Because as always, really the only thing standing between me and a solid seven to eight hours of sleep is my 10:00pm burst of energy, which no amount of fatigue can squelch. I’m tired and then instead of winding down, I come alive. It’s difficult to get yourself ready for bed – and then actually go to bed – when your internal wind-down mechanism goes haywire and does the counterintuitive thing, night after freaking night. I know that some of you can relate, as surely I’m not the only night owl attempting to riddle this out. Don’t get me wrong… I love my late-night drive to do things… it just doesn’t work when you have to get up at 5:30am.

New Year’s, though. It’s special. It’s actually unfathomable to me, the power that we create together in welcoming and celebrating the new year. Can there be a more potent time in the energy than at the turn of the calendar year when millions of humans are setting their intentions all at once? Millions of people getting that energy of determination out there into the Universe can only be a powerful thing. It’s a mass-scale charge of energy, an energy of hope, and let’s face it, it’s a great opportunity. What a shame it would be to waste it, right?! We ought to make an effort… at the least, join in with the intention-setters. At the most, show up for one’s intentions. And at the best, continue pressing forward. This is what the new year asks of us, I feel.

Oh! I celebrated my birthday a week before the new year. I can’t begin to express my gratitude. I’m 54, my friends. I never could have taken this glorious age for granted. One never can; one’s life can end in an instant, without warning. I’m simply in awe that I’m here to roam the Earth beyond half a century. I love to reflect and marvel at world events that’ve taken place during my stay here, and I anticipate witnessing more. I’m here for it all, the good, the bad, and the proverbial ugly, despite my occasional grumblings about the absurdity of the human condition and how it sometimes makes me want to stay in bed forever.

On a more mundane and superficial birthday note, I feel obliged to report the usual; e.g., nothing has changed: I’m still not wearing granny panties, still haven’t had anything “done,” and still have yet to field a midlife crisis. I’ve experienced various other manner of crises, but none of the midlife sort. Perhaps my version of a midlife crisis is a rebirth. If that’s the case, I’ve arrived, I suspect. (I turn 54 and life is a magickal prairie.)

Methinks that this is a good spot for the obligatory birthday selfies, so have at it!

I took these tonight. [19 January 2023]

My favorite answer to a filter is light in front of my face. I still haven’t gotten onboard with fancy filters and adjustments and what-have-you, but I have a lamp!

(You may recognize that I’m in my office. An office update post may or may not be forthcoming – I’ve indeed changed things up again around these here parts.)

Aaaaand with glasses:

My boyfriend loves this pic the best, so I had to include it!

(Yes, I’m in a relationship. It was a surprise to me, too. I am blessed.)

In New Year’s summary, I’m trying not to ask too much of myself. There are many avenues of self-improvement I need to follow this coming year, but it all has to start with getting more sleep, so I’m leaving the official resolution at that. That’s the intention, and I’m setting it. I have set it. I’m going to show up for it.

I wish you all the very best in 2023, friends. Here’s to 2023 and you!

As yet, Nenette.

I’m just popping in here to insist, yet again, that I’m not abandoning you or this space. I was going to post a post tonight! But then! A trip to the veterinarian emergency room had to be taken, as Nenette, my daughter of the feline persuasion, had been suffering with a severe flare of her Feline Interstitial/Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC). It was a doozy of a flare, poor baby. This time she also had vomiting and diarrhea. We just got home now, and it’s after midnight.

She’s doing much better after several hours in the E.R. She’s been subcutaneously hydrated. She was administered an anti-nausea drip, and she was given a dose of probiotics as well as a painkiller with sedative effects. We’re okay. Tired, but okay.

Somewhat out of it and feeling better.

The best time to capture Nenette in a pic is when she’s taking something.

Speaking of taking something, there was an interesting moment in the waiting room when a vet tech came out with a gray French bulldog and handed him over to the guy sitting in a chair by the door. “Here’s Fester. He’s fine. He’s exhibiting telltale signs that he got into some marijuana. He’ll sleep it off.”

In case you haven’t seen one before, let me tell you what a stoned French bulldog looks like: a French bulldog. It’s the eyes.

And so that’s where we are at the moment. I wanted to talk about the New Year rather than unwell cats and stoned French Bulldogs, but it is what it is.

On that note, I shall leave you all to your days and nights, wherever you are. I hope your New Year is off to a magnificent start, my friends. We all deserve it.

The shake-up.

Hello, friends. It feels odd popping into this space. It feels all of a sudden, though I started writing this post last week. I wrote it with every intention of posting it. I mean, I’m never one to feel like I’ve got it all together – I’ve long since given up on that goal – but these days I’m feeling it more than usual.

Nothing has been “usual,” though.

Firstly and most importantly, I haven’t lived in one place consistently in the last two months. I’m currently (as in again) not living at home.

Me without stability:

I am in no place,
I am in one place, and not another,
I’m not in a place, and yet in another,
I have one foot in one place, and one in the other,


I have one foot in one life, and one in the other.

There. I think I nailed it with that last one. I’m between lives.

I have a life, but.
I have no place.
My head rifles the in-between, looking for… whatever.
Looking for everything.
Looking for a thing, somewhere in the bardo,
The calendar says holidays, and I say what day. What days?
There are no days.
There is one day. A day. Like today. Today was a day.

It might be “fine and well,” which you wouldn’t suspect after reading up to this point. Is it weird to state what I’ve stated above and yet maintain that things are good? I’m happy. It’s hard to explain when I can’t explain what I can’t explain.

There’s no mental or emotional hand-wringing going on here. I just want to find land and then swim somewhere. It’s that kind of go-from-here situation.

Another thing about the last two plus months: I haven’t worked out at all, my friends. This is a huge, HUGE deviation from my normal routine, as many of you are aware, and I’m not okay with it. I don’t approve. I don’t feel good or do well when I’m not working out. The disarray will continue up to the New Year, after which I’ll be able to reinstate my regular workouts in my schedule. Thus I will unwittingly join the ranks of the fitness Resolutioners. The best thing about this prospect is that I’m heartily amused by it.

(I stay strong because of my job, though, so there’s that. I have my functional strength. I just know that I’m not in my usual shape.)

The holidays? I usually do Christmas cards. This year, I’m not.

In the last two-three months, I’ve been erratic here in this space, and I’m not okay with this, either.

There’s just a lot these days. I feel like I’m usually at my worst when I’m living out of a suitcase, but here we are, and to my surprise, I don’t actually feel like I’m at my worst-worst. I feel like I’m okay, so I’m not sure what I’m rambling about here.

Tonight I went to my work’s holiday party and took a pic before leaving:

Tonight, being Not At My Place (undisclosed location). [15 December 2022]

I think the main thing is that I have one foot in one life, and the other in another life, and I can’t talk about either life at the moment. I’m sorry for the vagueness. One day it shall be explained. Just… today is not the day (though today was a day).

At any rate, I hope this finds you all doing well on this beautiful weekend eve. Go in peace, friends.

Off-roading in a Jeep in Moab.

Good morning, boys, girls, and anyone else who may be reading this. I’ve missed you.

It bothers me to go so long between blog posts. I’d gotten into my Thursday posting groove and then suddenly, in the last month or so, everything that happens happens on a Thursday. Seriously! Last week’s holiday vacation included! Oh, but I went somewhere, if you can believe that. I went road-tripping to Utah with a bunch of friends and found myself off-roading in a Jeep in Moab. It was brutally cold and gorgeously sunny and bright and altogether epic, despite the former.

Of course I come bearing pics from that little getaway. I took hundreds of them and decided to deposit my 39 favorites here – memories, you know – so you can hopefully get a feel for the wild and magickal energy of the places we visited (we stopped at Monument Valley on our way back through Arizona).

Without further ado!

Starting with some views from our Jeep and some of the places along the way… we were divided between two Jeeps…

Fun times!

Trekking out on rough and beautiful terrain.

Watching the vehicle in front of us gave us a glimpse of what we were in for…

I wasn’t driving, natch.

This pic is not crooked. We were. In several places I thought we’d flip over for sure, but we were fine.

This is what I look like bundled up in three layers of clothing plus a super thick puffy jacket, hat, and gloves. It was freezing, but 100% worth it!

We often stopped to take in the nature around us.

Love the texture of these rocks…

A little hiking was involved, which made the whole experience even better.

Obligatory selfie. (Ahem)

…and later, we went off in a different direction – not in Jeeps – to do some sight-seeing. It was nature in every direction, my friends, and there were very few people at most places we explored.

(breathless caption)

(breathless caption)

I could feel the presence of deities here, I swear.

It was like being on another planet.

(breathless caption)

As in the Land of AZ, the sky was SO beautifully, ridiculously blue. I love the American West.

(breathless caption)

Extra-terrestrial rock formations everywhere we looked. I couldn’t take enough pictures.

The way I imagine Mars to be… the sand was so red and soft.

The La Sal mountains in sight all around…

And a lot in the way of balancing boulders.

(breathless caption)

Every direction.

Rounded. Cragged. The winds of ancient times carved these gigantic natural artifacts at which we can marvel today.

(breathless caption)

Those snow-capped mountains, though!

(breathless caption)

This bird was quite large and so blue. I wish he held still enough for a clear pic.


(breathless caption)

A watery horseshoe.

Canyonlands as far as the eye can see.

…with dramatic late-afternoon skies.

(breathless caption)

I love this tree.

In town, I tried on this sweat jacket and ended up not purchasing it.

Then we stopped at Monument Valley on our way back!

(breathless caption)

I didn’t want to leave. It was fabulous getting to get away.

The End… thank you for scrolling through my crazy plethora of pics, my friends!

And thank you for putting up with my recent inconsistencies. I’ll get back into the groove, I promise!

Blessings to you all.

A poem by George Trakl on Veterans’ Day.

Friends, on this beautiful moonlit night in the early hours of November 11 – Veterans’ Day here in the States – I opened Selected Late Poems of George Trakl, and my eyes fell on his poem “In The East.”

Allow me to share:

In The East
by George Trakl*

The grim anger of nations,
Like the wild organ-sounds of the winter storm,
The purple wave of battle,
Stars that have shed their leaves.

With shattered foreheads & silver arms
Night calls to the dying soldiers.
The spirits of the battle-dead groan
In the shadows of autumnal ash.

A desert of thorns surrounds the city.
The moon chases the terrified women
From steps that are bleeding.
Wild wolves have broken through the gate.

It is Veterans’ Day in America, and Trakl’s haunting lines of verse give me pause. I feel more reflective this Veterans’ Day than most, and I’m not sure why. If I were to attempt to listen and characterize the energy of the American people right now, I’d say that we are anxious, restless within our borders, like dogs straining forward at the ends of our leashes.

My cat sleeping on the chair next to my bed calms the world… I’m convinced of this, and I’m grateful. It’s always the little things.

Happy Veterans’ Day, my fellow veterans. Thank you for your service.

*George Trakl was a German poet who served in the army during World War I. He died of suicide at the age of 27. He’s one of my favorite poets.

Desert Wanderings.

It’s been a month. It’s been a good two months. I don’t know about you, but on my end, life has mimicked a fault line in constant tremor and sudden change and general chaos where there used to be order (a workplace moving into a new building will accomplish the latter pretty well). I missed you last week when another circumstance arose out of nowhere. But we’re here now.

And the desert, my friends. The desert can always be relied upon when you’re in Phoenix or anywhere else in the magickal Land of AZ in which I’m so blessed to live. Last weekend I escaped into nature and did some magickal grounding with the Earth.

This was a mere just-over-two-miles in, but you don’t have to go far.

The healthiest ocotillo I’ve ever seen, lush and alive in the wild after a series of rains.

Into the distance…

The sky was wild that day.

November on the verge.

Yours Truly looking shaggy in the days leading to a much-needed haircut. I trimmed my bangs and cut two inches off this mess.

Sacred scenery.

Every direction you turn looks different.

To wander is to live.

A perfect view. My perfect view, anyway.

One wants to wander forever.

And ever.

Boots tossed to the side. Feet buried in the sand after a meditation. Grounding.

Scenery along the way.

The magick is real.

Communing with nature always brings me back to center.

Friends, I hope this finds you feeling well under our gorgeous waxing gibbous moon. May your days be full with splendors.

The End… but not.

Today’s Short (SCI-FI) Horror October offering: “Laboratory Conditions” (with Marisa Tomei and Minnie Driver)

Short SCI-FI horror, that is.

I’ve found this well-paced, well-written short Sci-Fi horror that I thought I’d share for anyone who’s interested. It stars a couple of faces that may be familiar to some of you – Marisa Tomei and Minnie Driver – and the writing’s quite nice. Furthermore! In discovering this short film! I stumbled into a YouTube channel that specifically features short Sci-Fi films. You know I’m all in over there, and I will certainly bring some of my favorites to you.

On another note, I received a lovely comment from one of you yesterday. To your kind expression of appreciation, I say thank you, as well, and indeed I will keep writing. I’ve somewhat fallen out of a groove here in the last year, but grooves are designed to get back into (please forgive not only the cliché but also my ending that clause with a preposition), and I look forward to doing that.

All of that said, please enjoy Laboratory Conditions at your leisure:

A fine and enjoyable day or night to you all!

So now I’m the mother of a mystery.

Greetings, friends.

So where was I when I left off two weeks ago when I wanted to post but needed to sleep so I didn’t and instead greeted you from a far-off half-awake place in my brain in a way that I hoped was somehow coherent but I have a feeling that I wasn’t and I’m too embarrassed to go back and look at what I wrote to confirm my suspicion but now I’m awake enough to return to the topic?

Ah, yes. Here we are.

As I was somewhat/somehow saying two weeks ago, I now have a mystery snail, and his name is Sherlock. Allow me to share details with any of you who may be interested! I’ll tell you up front that this newest addition to my little family is a riot. My kids are little, but they have big personalities. I shouldn’t have been surprised to discover that Sherlock was far from an exception.


Sherlock was given to me a few weeks ago in a small plastic food container. I knew nothing about mystery snails, much less of proper living arrangements for them, so I asked Google, who told me in no uncertain terms that one mystery snail needs a five-gallon tank, minimum… but I ended up getting him a 3.7-gallon tank. I regret that decision now, of course. One mystery snail needs a minimum of five gallons of water! How difficult would it be to, I don’t know, set up Sherlock’s habitat in accordance with the experts’ wisdom? So now Sherlock is in a tank that’s too small for the maintenance of his optimal health, and I’m not sure what to do about it. (Is it too late to make an exchange? I’m pretty sure that the store won’t accept a return of a used tank, but I can ask. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I got this tank.) Maybe I’ll get a five-gallon tank for Sherlock at some point and just grow plants in the 3.7 gallon-tank.


Between Sherlock and Geronimo, I have two kids who live in shells and who are vegan. Sherlock’s favorite thing to eat is green beans. It’s fascinating watching him chomp away at the green bean with his tiny alien mouth, but I’m even more in awe when I witness his UFC-caliber take-down technique when encountering a vertical green bean. It happens sometimes that the green bean will land on its end when I drop it into the water, and it’ll stay that way until Sherlock comes along – 0 to 60 when he sniffs out the green bean, which is immediately – to grapple with it. I never knew that grappling could be simultaneously ruthless and elegant until I saw this pretty little snail take down a green bean.

In addition to green beans, Sherlock enjoys climbing up and down the aquatic plants, and also diving down from the surface of the water. At first it was alarming to witness him plunging to the ground from the greatest height he could reach, but it soon became clear that this is his idea of a good time. He always lands on his one large foot. Sherlock is an MMA fighter and a diver. Big personality, I’m telling you.

I’m not sure how long Sherlock will be with me. Mystery snails live about a year; Sherlock was full-grown when he arrived, so he’s already well into his one-year lifespan.  He’ll carry out his remaining months – or weeks, or days, whatever the case may be – eating green beans and gliding around his tank, free-falling and climbing the leafy stalks of his aquatic plants.

The Life Aquatic with Sherlock.
Big foot.
Sherlock and a cross-section of a green bean.
This green bean will be 100% consumed in less than 12 hours!

Peace, my friends. Thank you for being here.

Here we finally are! (Short Horror October: Standing Woman and A Strange Calm.)

Welcome to October, friends. Welcome to SHORT HORROR OCTOBER!

If you’ve been here a while, as in longer than a year, then you know. If you know, you know.

I love film in general, but horror movies are kind of my jam, and horror shorts are often my favorites. The condensed film run-time encourages a tight narrative arc with an economy of film elements. Pacing has to be measured, yet consistent with the story’s own pulse. Technical meets the creative and the playful in short horror films. It’s always a thrill to find one that’s entertaining or engaging with solid acting performances, good writing and cinematography, and finesse on the part of the director. Sometimes there’s no horror, but in the absence of that there’s simply a beautiful or thought-provoking film.

But wait! There’s the other side of the spectrum, too: I sometimes come across a horror short with nothing to rave about in those usual ways, but that leaves me feeling something nonetheless. Sometimes it’s just a guilty pleasure. Another great thing about short films is that if they’re bad, you only wasted 12-20 minutes of your life.

All of that being said, let’s get on with it! Short Horror October here in TALC begins now. Today I bring to you Standing Woman and A Strange Calm. Enjoy, my friends.

Here’s to a lovely beginning of this magickal month!

But I slept.

Good morning, my friends. I got up with my super early alarm an hour ago to write in this space, but I had to get back into bed due to lack of adequate sleep, and while I’m sorry that I failed to post here, I’m glad that I got in the extra sleep mileage, especially since I ended up having a fascinating dream that I hope to remember. (I should try to jot it down.)

I wish you all a fabulous day or night, wherever you are and whatever the case. I’ll sign off with a pic of my new snail, who I’d planned for you to meet today! This is Sherlock the mystery snail, and he wishes you a good day or night, as well:

Sherlock, my new baby! He’s a mystery snail.

Until next time, then.

Driving into the (Arizona) sunset.

I am where I’m supposed to be.

We’ve had a light and semi-steady rain these last three days… unusual in the desert. A double rainbow appeared in the sky yesterday morning, and yesterday evening the sunset was spectacular. It compelled me to take a photo (which I thought I’d share above). Thus summer winds down gloriously, and I’m looking forward to the new season.

Geronimo has his pre-hibernation appointment tomorrow, so I can see what’s what with the little guy. It’s an exciting time to be a desert tortoise!

On that short note, blessings to you all, my friends. May your days shine bright and your nights shine softly.

The world is a treacherous place.

When you absentmindedly step off of a loading dock and your mistake hits you in an instant not unlike the one wherein a cartoon coyote realizes that the ground beneath him disappeared because he’d run off of a cliff and your immediate physical reflex is to pull up your feet so you can land on the soles of them and you do but then you also fall forward onto your knees because you didn’t have time to re-calibrate your center of gravity before landing and you couldn’t catch yourself with your hands because you were holding something in each one and then you spring up from your hard-impact Olympic-caliber foot/knee-landing combo feeling even more like an idiot than you did at the beginning of the day when you wore your new prescription sunglasses into work and forgot that you had them on and wondered why everything was dark and the whole thing strikes you as an elaborate metaphor but you can’t think of for what and this seems like a part of the problem plus the ramifications of an entirely different flavor of bad decision unfold into the evening and as you slip into the resulting episode of depression you feel that you’d jinxed yourself by writing a positive mental-health post the previous week and the only thing that came of the whole thing was this run-on sentence the length of a long paragraph. This is all I have to offer you today, my friends. I’m sorry.

Here’s hoping that today is better than yesterday (and the day before, for that matter). I’m taking my bruised knees into work along with a Starbucks triple-shot energy coffee drink because I’ve recently fallen into the habit of dumping chemicals into my body first thing in the morning and now I’m addicted, but that’s a topic for a whole different blog post, perhaps.

I hope this find you wrapping up a much better week than the one I’m about to finish. Take care out there, my friends.

(Mental health post.) So I drove along the road

…lined with light-rail tracks this one day, which led me directly to the roundabout I was trying to avoid in the first place. Does that kind of thing ever happen to you? You go out of your way to avoid a situation, then encounter detours that lead you right back to it? But usually, I end up feeling grateful for the opportunity to undertake a navigation situation I wanted to dodge. I always come out fine.

This is going to sound silly, but there was a fire extinguisher that used to present me with a challenge every time I’d encounter it in a certain way. I felt that it was my nemesis. (Even though I believe that comparing a fire extinguisher to the Goddess Nemesis was actual sacrilege.) But those encounters would simply remind me to move cautiously through the world, and that would be lesson enough.

For those of you who don’t know, I have PTSD, OCD, and depression. It’s been a while since I’ve posted about it – I used to do it quite frequently – because I’ve been doing really well. I still am. I just thought I’d pop my head into this space today.

This is an idea of my mental health tableau as it fades in and out on a bad mental health day:

When the air in a room is strange, disquieting in a ghostly kind of way (when the ghost is a stranger).

When a conversation can be more treacherous than a heavy iron bar free-falling in rapid descent toward your head.

When I’m impacted by things that are nothings, like the time I heard an R&B remake of Nena’s “99 Luftballons” and felt that all hope for humanity had been lost.

When I feel that two words that should be added to the English language are “ungood” and “unignorable.”

It can be a dicey time, but those are also the days on which I can turn a particular dark, tight corner and feel like I’m protected from the world. I learn things about myself that surprise me in positive ways.

Sometimes I pay attention to the sound of my own typing. I tap the keys lightly and rapidly and imagine that I’m listening to rain, or to a drum from another country.

I’m doing well, friends. Monday morning I had an OCD episode that almost made me late for work. (Then I got to work and learned that a co-worker’s car battery died on Friday evening at the same time as mine did, and he purchased his new battery on Saturday morning and had it installed at the same time as I did, as well. What are the odds? But that’s neither here nor there.) …I’m doing well overall.

I know that some of you appreciate reading these posts as much as I feel grateful to write them. This is for us. I know that I can relate when I read other bloggers’ mental health posts, so I’m glad to give back.

Car wash.

Hello, friends. I don’t know about you, but it’s been a weird week over here on my end. For instance, I took my car, Dysis, to the car wash yesterday. It should have been just another visit to the car wash, the same one I’ve gone to for years, but all of a sudden, it wasn’t. It wasn’t the same. It was different.

Instead of standing at the window ledge in the large car wash store – which was gone, the store – to watch my car as she passed through the mechanical stages of the wash, I found myself sitting inside the car as she passed through those stages. They changed the entire operation. You now sit in your car to go through the wash, then pull up where they tell you so you can get out and wait while they vacuum and wipe down the inside and probably the outside, too.

I avoid drive-through car washes because of my high anxiety levels when I’m in them, closed inside of a vehicle with the sound of water and air hitting it and visibility reduced to practically nothing. Now I was there, in it, going through it, beset with alarming neon lights that turned the water into psychedelic rivulets, bright color shooting through the torrents of water. It was all so unexpected and bizarre that I almost expected Nicolas Cage to step out in front of me at the end. Have you ever seen Mandy?

Of course I took pics.

This is what I saw – all I could see – as I sat in my car going through the car wash. Nightmare trip fuel.
A Nicolas Cage moment minus Nicolas Cage.

The disappearing car wash wasn’t the only weirdness of the week, but it was the only one that I could photograph. And nothing was weird in a really bad way. It’s just been a strange seven days.

Take care out there, my friends.

My butt is more talented than your butt.

Greetings from the night of this magickal new moon, my friends. This week’s gone quickly, I feel. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. It was one of those weeks where anything weird that may have gone down was inconsequential. For instance, I had a wardrobe malfunction at work yesterday, but no one noticed, so that was okay. I fixed it immediately and life went on.

One thing I like about wearing our company t-shirts is the uniformity of it. We’re all in jeans and black shirts. The only time that people pay attention to my clothing is when something obvious is going on with it, like my phone’s flashlight is on in my back pocket, which happens a lot.

My phone in my back pocket gets up to all kinds of shenanigans. In addition to turning on my flashlight ten or so times a day, it operates the calculator. It plays songs on Spotify. It turns on airplane mode. It turns on Do Not Disturb. It turns off Bluetooth. It informs me of the current moon phase. And it does call people. And there’ve been times it’s done all of these things at once! It’s aggravating, but I’m kind of proud of it. I mean, does your phone light up your ass like a Christmas tree? Does it perform and solve extended and intricate mathematical equations?

I mean, look at what my butt did with my calculator the other day. I took screenshots. My ass is a goddamn mathematical genius.

I could see it as amusing, but it’s mostly just a pain in the butt to have to undo things it does. If there was a more convenient way to carry it around, I’d consider it.

Like my minor wardrobe mishap the other day, though, my butt horsing around on my phone is pretty inconsequential.

I hope you all have a marvelous day or night, friends. Do something rejuvenating for yourselves as the moon is new.

Nenette on the (pillow) case.

It’s been too long since I’ve come at you with cat pics, I’ve realized, so tonight I’m here to remedy the situation. Another thing, my friends, is that my last few cat posts have been dedicated Salem posts. While Salem lived her beloved feral kitty experience outdoors, Nenette’s lived her own truth here in the house. Which is to say that she occupies her space in the loudest quiet way possible, her every soft step deafening in its decisiveness. Even if changing her direction mid-course. Even if startled by the drop of a gum wrapper. Nenette invented the “I meant to do that” save.

She still communicates with a shake of her collar jingling her two metal tags. She still drinks from her little water glass, and she still paws at the floor in front of it before dipping in.

And she still hates having her picture taken. She’s so good at avoiding it that I’d more or less given up on the endeavor. Last night, though, I could tell that she was too chilled out to want to make an escape. I took advantage, and here we are.

This is Nenette waiting for me to get into bed.

Trying to decide whether she should care that there’s a camera looming.
She cares.
A lot.
Everything is fine.
But hey, dinnerz was tasty.
And the bed is comfy.
There’s no such thing as too comfortable though.

My favorite inexplicable thing about Nenette is that she smells like floral perfume. It’s one of the greatest spooky and fun mysteries of ever, and I wish I could share it with you, this fragrance. I’ve long since stopped trying to figure it out. It’s not any perfume that I wear, and she never comes into contact with anyone else, much less someone who wears fragrance. Nenette just smells like her sweet self, which, I guess, is flowers.

As if I could love her more.

I wish you a wonderful day today, or night tonight, as the case may be. Thank you for being here, friends. You are beautiful.

The most horrifying vehicle personalization I’ve ever seen had nothing to do with politics.

Hello, friends.

Question for you: What’s the most disturbing vehicle personalization you’ve ever seen? I’m talking about vanity license plates, bumper stickers, license plate frames, decals, magnets, and the like.

I’ll cut to the chase and tell you about mine, because I still can’t believe it.


I’m one of those people who reads everything in front of me while in my car. I’ve seen it all, and I’m here for it, even if I don’t always like it.

I’ve gone through every emotional state looking at other peoples’ personalized vehicles. They make me smile. Roll my eyes. Nod in agreement. Throw up in my mouth a little. Some of them restore my faith in humanity, while others obliterate any hope I had for the human race. I laugh at a lot of them, too. My personal favorite: “Proud parent of a kid who’s sometimes an asshole but that’s okay.” I’ve gone home and Googled musicians and bands and other organizations, or acronyms on vanity plates, just out of curiosity, so I’ve learned a few things from these personalizations, as well. It’s all interesting to me in some way or another.

But then there was the day, not long ago, that I found myself stopped behind a certain car at a red light on my way home from work. Its vanity plate number started with the letters “ANA,” followed by a space, so those three letters stood out… and then a number followed by a capital “K” like something-thousand, and then a final single digit after that. I couldn’t decipher it as a whole, but those first three letters.

I didn’t want to assume what it meant, but of course my mind went immediately to the dark side. Because when I see ANA, the automatic association in my mind is pro-ANA, or pro-anorexia.

It couldn’t be, though, right? Pro-ANA lives online as a dark, shadowy alley of a subculture. Pro-ANA does not drive around town in real-life broad daylight in a pretty little red car.

Unless it does.

I really wanted to think that “ANA” was the name of the car’s owner, but then I noticed the butterfly decal placed with perfect precision at the top center of the tinted rear window, the white of the decal contrasting boldly with the dark window. A cold skeleton finger tapped along my spine when I also noticed that the “ANA” license plate was fitted into an elegant chrome frame, a simple piece adorned only with two butterflies, one at each of the frame’s two bottom corners.

Might it have been a coincidence? So a woman named Ana likes butterflies, I reasoned with myself. Big deal. But the innocuous possibility wasn’t convincing. I couldn’t know for sure, but from where I was sitting, it looked like a pro-ANA car.

I’m familiar with the horrifying online world of ANA/Pro-ANA. If you didn’t know, “ANA” is slang for “pro-ana,” short for “pro-anorexia.”

Eating disorders are fetishized in the ANA community. Members encourage each other in their starvation journeys, giving each other advice, tips, tricks, and hacks. They share pics of themselves, they share thinspiration (“thinspo”) pics, and they watch ANA “thinspo” (“thinspiration”) “role models” on YouTube. They make their own videos, body-checking and showing off their bones. And they’ve adopted the eating disorder recovery symbol of the butterfly as their own symbol.

Now in my view, it’s normal to share your personal and political convictions, beliefs, and ideologies on your vehicle. Festooning your car with the obvious intention of antagonizing people and riling them up is normal. Putting the letters “ANA” with butterflies on your car, however, is not normal. It’s saddening. It’s sick. It encourages like-minded people to their slow suicides. I’m surprised that a vanity plate submission could pass review and make it onto a vehicle at all.

The sight of the car shook me. Five minutes later I pulled up to my driveway feeling unnerved. It was like I’d come face-to-face with an urban legend, and not the good kind.

That was what I wanted to share: that the personalized vehicle that’s horrified me the most was the one with a few dainty little butterflies and three letters that could very well by the car owner’s name. I could be wrong. I hope that I was. But the sight of the car got me thinking.

If you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders hotline for help.

Thank you for reading and for just being here, my friends.

Today is Work Like a Dog Day,

if you’re one to follow special holidays here in the part of the world where it’s July 5th. How to celebrate? According to one website:

–Take it literally and work like a dog.

–Celebrate someone who works like a dog every day.

–Celebrate your hardworking dog.

–Flip the coin to the other side and celebrate your lazy dog.

Good morning (or evening), my friends. I don’t have an actual post for you today, but I still wanted to say hello, so I’m popping in to do that. I first looked up today’s special holiday, though, and it prompted me to think that it’d be funny to come up with my own special holidays, as in 365 of them. 365 special days!

Maybe I’ll give it some thought here and there. You know I’ll publish the list for you here in TALC if I end up doing it, for anyone here who who’s as easily amused as I am.

Meanwhile, I wish you all a wonderful day today, whether you work like a dog or not.

Until next time, then!

Falling down the rabbit hole. (Or alligator hole, as the case may be.)

When I told my friend that my workplace provides us with Gatorade and Gatorade Zero, he told me that Gatorade was developed at the University of Florida, whose mascot is the Gators, hence the fortified water’s name. The drink was meant to help the university’s athletes, so “Gator aid” was created to help the Gators. Some wise guy on the research team decided to spell “aid” as “ade” – I put it that way because it’s better than supposing that people at the University of Florida can’t spell – and as if this crime against spelling wasn’t enough, when I went online to read about alligators, I discovered that according to Wikipedia, “Louisiana has the largest American alligator population of any U.S. state,” not Florida, so now I was looking at fraud because the Gators being the University of Florida’s mascot is a perpetuation of the lie that Florida is the alligator state. I don’t know about you, but I hadn’t known otherwise. I never associated Louisiana with alligators. And then I thought that if alligators have a beverage named after them, than so should crocodiles. Is there a school whose mascot is the crocodiles? If there was, their teams would beat the Gators’. I watched a documentary on Hulu called Croc That Ate Jaws about alligators and sharks occasionally cohabiting in brackish waters and the giant toothy lizards preying on the giant toothy fishes. Watching it led me to investigate caimans and crocodiles, which was where I learned that the most aggressive member of the Crocodilia Order is the Nile Crocodile, and when I say “Crocodilia Order” I’m including alligators, because they do belong to that club. Doesn’t “Crocodilia Order” sound like a secret society? Is there such a secret society – Reptilians?! Alligators and crocodiles are great big reptiles, after all. (Mental note: ask Google whether alligators or sharks have a stronger jaw, and whether it’s true that alligators and crocodiles can’t turn well, so if you’re running from them, you should zig-zag.) I have so many questions.

I was writing all of this and this is where my fluffy post about alligators and crocodiles veered in the direction of a rant, as it’s here that I Googled Nile Crocodile and encountered this article that led to me shutting my laptop, because nothing stirs my ire like stories celebrating the States’ trophy hunters going over to Africa with their privileged American firearm-toting asses looking to murder Nile crocodiles on the locals’ behalf so they can have their picture taken with the crocodile corpse before “sending it on to the purse factory” and coming home as “dragon-slaying” “heroes.”

(The article is a publication of the NRA.)

Nile Crocodile

The End.

But not quite. I want to wish you all a happy next seven days in your various time zones and hemispheres, because new weeks are invigorating opportunities to do better and be better than you were the previous week. That’s how I’m look at it, anyway.

At any rate we’re on the horizon of the traditional Saturday-Sunday weekend and I hope you all have an enjoyable and/or productive one.

Until next them, my friends.

Nothing to see hair.

Hello there, friends. Tonight I’m tired; therefore, I come to you bearing nothing but this selfie I took in the bathroom at work the other day so I could show my Mom my haircut – I got layers – as I’d forgotten to take it the day before. I told her I’d send her a picture, so I was going to take one when I finally remembered to think about it. Here we are! My hair is a sweaty mess, but you can see the layers nonetheless.

(Rhyme not intended.)

So Mom got this pic, and now you’re getting it, too. I used to always post pics after getting my hair cut. I guess you could say that this selfie signals a return to that silly tradition. Why not?

I’m in a mood, my friends. Not a bad one. I think I’m actually just tired.

I’m so glad to be here.

New layered hair!

I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying the splendors of the universe in whatever way means the most to you. In my world, my perfect activities in direct connection to the universe – and my deference and gratitude for it – are looking at the stars and listening to music.

This is my mantra: There’s much to celebrate: all that’s bright, and there’s a lot of brightness.

Many blessings to you all!

When that happens.

Hello, friends. Have you ever sat down to write something only to realize that further investigation on the topic would veer the mood of the post in the opposite direction?

It happened to me tonight. I was writing something fluffy and light and then a little delving-in turned the mood of the post into something somber (or richly empty, or just irked)… that stirred in me the urge to go on somewhat of a rant. And it’s too late at night for me to go there. Suffice it to say that I won’t be posting on this particular topic at the moment. Wait for it, though, if you would! It’s about alligators and crocodiles.

Instead, I’m here to wish you all a merry end-of-week. The power of the full moon in Capricorn still vibrates in the air, lending to us gifts of quiet reflection and self-discipline in whatever ways they’d serve us best. Let’s absorb some of that powerful energy! A moment to sit with closed eyes and a clear mind as we reflect on our usage of time can only bring us back to center in renewed self-awareness. I don’t know about you, but I could use some of this right about now. I should take my own advice.

Until next time, then.

Little life updates.

Here’s a general and random run-down:

–In the last month, the spacious parking lot I’ve enjoyed at work for two years has gradually become more populated by people who work at the dispensary on the corner. Today there were twice as many cars there than the usual. Also, the parallel parking on the street between the dispensary and our warehouse is packed. It’s like all of a sudden a million people are working at the dispensary. But where are they, exactly? And what are they doing there? Mysteries.

–But it doesn’t matter, because my work is MOVING. Soon. And it’s not yet clear where we’ll end up. Adventures are afoot, my friends. Capital-A Adventures.

–I did not observe this year’s “Independence Day” holiday. I haven’t felt “free” since American women’s rights were burned to the ground on the 24th of June. It made me sick. I couldn’t bring myself to turn around and celebrate this country on the 4th of July. The “Land of the Free” is a song lyric, and it doesn’t apply to women.

–Something is up with Geronimo, and I don’t know what. More on this in a future Geronimo post.

–A guy came into my workplace today to do some inspecting, and he said to me, “I can’t see your smile behind that big ol mask.” To which I INEXPLICABLY removed my mask and smiled, and then I immediately cringed at myself as he crowed his approval on his way out. (WHY did I do that???)

–I have discovered that the road to junk food heaven is paved with Trader Joe’s ridge-cut salt and pepper potato chips.

I’m going to leave you on that note, my friends. If you’re lucky enough to have access to a Trader Joe’s, do yourselves a favor and get a bag of those chips.

You’re welcome.

Middle of the night face.

I love you all. Thank you for being here.