Late at night and the situation is this. (This space is just a space at this time and place.)

My friends, I hope you’re well. I’m super tired. I’ve got several posts in drafts, and the one that I wanted to post for you tonight was more draft-y than I’d thought – it’s a weird storytime post in which I need to really get across how weird (and creepy) the situation was. Another one covers a sensitive topic and requires a trigger-warning; it needs delicate handling, and I don’t want to rush it. And the third draft could easily be read as a “woe is me” post when it’s definitely not, so that one needs more finessing of phrase and tone, too, as well as fleshing-out.

I love writing. I love writing for you. It means a lot to me that you stick around here to read my posts, and you deserve nothing less than my best efforts. So tonight, I apologize for not having an actual post for you.

What I can leave here, though, is this pic of Nenette in front of her electric fireplace right now:

Kitty darkened by the warm shadows.

End-of-week blessings to you from us both! I look forward to meeting you here over the weekend.

I’m the Queen of Priorities.

Have you ever wondered about the clutter on other people’s desks? Maybe they have unopened mail from a bank about an account they never wanted because that bank took over their former bank and when their original account at the former bank consequently ceased to exist they decided to open an account at an entirely different bank because now their bank has been taken over by another bank one time too many so the new bank that used to be their former bank can just go ahead and keep the 14 cents strategically left behind.

Maybe there’s this year’s planner and also a second one acquired by mistake that’s going to go unused if no one else wants it.

Maybe there’s a small, stitched patch, black with metallic silver embroidery, in the shape of a cat as a constellation in a night sky.

Maybe there’s a broken retractable-blade utility knife that has screws for reasons that aren’t discernable because the knife’s body remains intact and resistant to break-down when the screws are removed so the inside mechanisms can’t be cleaned and now it seems to be terminally bladeless and nothing online can explain it and no one at work can, either, and a replacement knife will be delivered today and it’s okay because the old knife was used daily and relentlessly for over a year and these things aren’t made to last forever if you pay so little for them.

Maybe there are five small neon-orange post-its with a note jotted on each: the name of a future black cat, a reminder of where the earbuds are stashed, a musician from the 70’s whose music will be sought out on Spotify, a reminder to write about the difference between hexes, curses, and jinxes, and the street names of a certain intersection in Berkeley.

Maybe there’s a tiny ceramic plant pot with a miniature cactus that could only be fake because it’s “planted” in a hardened glittery mass of fake soil, but then one day it was noticed that the fake cactus was dead, and the mystery of that is maddening.

Maybe there’s a small photo album holding photos of a desert tortoise with his human-reptile mommy taken by a friend who’s a talented photographer.

Maybe there are two manila folders called “taxes” and “mortgage” and it could be said that they’re on the desk because it’s that time of the year, but that wouldn’t be true because the folders have been there for six months pending investigation of matters whose relevancy has expired.

Maybe there’s a small remote control that turns on an electric fireplace.

Maybe there’s a black ink “confidential” roller stamp designed specifically to obscure sensitive information on papers destined for the recycling bin.

Maybe there’s a fabric-covered button that a cat pulled off of a colorful mandala meditation cushion.

Or a large reference book with spiritual correspondences.

Or a reference book with cosmic data.

Or an assortment of documents that need to be filed, including some that came in the mail and are still sealed in their envelopes because the same information can be seen online so why bother opening them.

Maybe there are sheets of return-address labels sent for free from charity organizations asking for further donations and their fate is unknown because they’re not needed due to a pre-existing collection of free return-address labels that already amount to more than can be used in a lifetime and they’re stickers so they can’t go in the recycling but they have personal information so they can’t go in the trash, either, so destruction by fire is being contemplated.

Maybe there are exactly four small dark-brown clip barrettes.

A rusty old steak knife long since used as a letter opener.

A check that was deposited via mobile app from the time the side-hustle client didn’t have the usual cash.

A spiral-bound notebook used partly as a journal and partly as a scribbled thinking and planning space.

An online shop’s business card sent with an appreciation discount code that’s already been used, and another one from a different online shop that hasn’t yet been used.

More documents that need to be filed.

Two larger post-it notes, neon-yellow, one with a list of names that needed remembering for a specific reason, and another with a list of topics that still need remembering for a different specific reason.

The small orange and large yellow post-it pads, themselves.

A reminder to purchase vegan Goli Ashwghanda gummies on Amazon as soon as credit for a recent return has been added to the account as a gift card.

Two crumpled receipts, one from a recent stop at Sprouts because only Sprouts has the Sprouts brand of pink Himalayan salt and coconut oil popcorn, and the other from Ulta because unlike Sephora, Ulta doesn’t cause claustrophobia-induced panic attacks.

A used sigil wheel.

A print-out of medical information that’s no longer needed because investigation into the condition has been going on for so long that its intrigue has disintegrated into nothingness.

A white marble drink coaster and a black beaded drink coaster adorned with silver moons and stars found on sale at Ross after Halloween because the best time to find deals on spooky things for use during the year is after the spooky holiday itself.

And a lot of dust.

Current desk clutter, not rearranged for the pic, left side only.

Maybe the person recently thoroughly cleaned their entire office EXCEPT for their desk. Perhaps they removed all of their plants and dusted and polished all of the surfaces and cleaned all of the objects, themselves; perhaps they triple-vacuumed the entire room and emptied, cleaned, and reorganized the bookshelves in the desk corner… then got to their desk and stopped.

Today I’m going to continue ignoring this mess because the only thing I want to do is binge the last four episodes of Archive 81 since I got too sleepy to continue it last night, and nothing bad will happen if I don’t deal with my desk today. But now I have shamed myself sufficiently by sharing it with you, and so it will be seen to sooner rather than later.

I hope you’re all having a divine moment, my friends. Blessings to you on the eve of the first full moon of the year! The Wolf moon is in Cancer, and we’re also on the verge of a Venus retrograde.

A wise elder witch – a close blood relation of mine – recently sent me a bracelet with tiny beads spelling out, in Morse code, “Do no harm but take no shit,” a good motto not only in the event of a Venus retrograde following a full moon in Cancer, but for life.

Until next time, then.

Plant Mom follies (or hero, depending.)

Not to brag or anything, but I saved Holder, my plant, the other day. I saved him from… me and my dubious decisions. See? Not bragging.

So I moved half of my office out into the hallway, as I was going to bring in an area rug. There wasn’t too much stuff to move, but it all wound up in the scant hallway space – awkwardly, might I add. Last to be hauled out was my plant Holder, who roosts on a stand, which, for some reason, I decided to keep him on as I removed them both from the room.

I don’t know, friends. Somehow, with the doorway partially blocked by my old German trunk that was halfway-in/halfway-out and everything else in the cramped narrow dark hallway haphazardly pushed out there at sharp angles, I thought it would be a good idea to try to maneuver Holder’s stand with Holder still on it, sitting up there and trusting me completely. All I had to do was get him out of the office and into the hallway. It wasn’t a big deal or any kind of a deal at all until my foot got caught on the edge of the old German trunk (that was blocking the doorway) and I tripped and teetered because I couldn’t use my arms for balance so in my effort to avoid falling I tried to use my legs but ended up ricocheting like a human pinball, bouncing off of one thing to another on my way down before I landed on my ass in the middle of everything. Holder then slid forward serenely off his tilted stand and landed gently in my arms, and that is how I found myself sitting on the floor hugging my plant while saying “I saved you! I saved you!” So the next time you see someone sitting in a narrow hallway crowded with furniture laughing and hugging a plant while taking to him, don’t judge. You don’t know what that person just went through.

Holder on his stand

It was quite the dramatic rescue and I have the battle scars to prove it but I’m not going to show you because no one wants to see my legs. (Trust me!) It’s just two bruises on my right leg and a bruise and a cut on my left, but Holder didn’t lost so much as a speck of soil, and I was giddy with this victory.

So the rug is in, and it does indeed tie the room together.

And now it’s heinously late! Good night or day, wherever you are! Happy weekend eve, my friends.

October-December and CURRENT Favorites! (31 Things.)

Hello, friends! Let’s get into my recent Favorite Things! Some of you have been asking about my next “favorites” list. I got you.

There’s a lot going on in this list because it’s a build-up of favorites ranging from October to now. 31 things, three months, the standard 10-per-month, plus one, as it’s the second week of the fourth month.

Surprisingly, I’ve only got two movies to show for the last three months. There were a few others that I watched, but I didn’t enjoy them enough (or wasn’t impressed enough) to want to share them. Whatever’s on this list is only here because it really knocked me out.

Without further ado, then!

MOVIES (In the order that I saw them)

1). Dune (IMAX theater)

Epic! Especially on IMAX!

2). The Power of the Dog (Netflix)

In my opinion, Benedict Cumberbatch deserves an Oscar for his work in this film. Cumberbatch as the dark and complex protagonist in a Western is one of the most surprising things I’ve seen in film ever, and his adeptness with the material in character is stunning. What a performance! And what a film, in general. I highly recommend this one.

—–

T.V. SERIES/MINISERIES (In the order that I saw them)

3). Midnight Mass (Netflix)

Spooky season in 2021 didn’t disappoint.

4). You, S3 (Netflix)

The finale episode of You, season 3 was without a doubt one of the best season finales I’ve ever seen, and season 3 is by far my favorite season of the series. This does not happen often. You season 3 is fantastic.

5). Maid (Netflix)

This one was difficult to watch, but I made myself sit through the whole thing, just one episode per week. That was all I could handle. I was relieved when it was over, but it was undeniably excellent, and I do recommend it. Trigger warning for domestic violence/abuse.

6). Escape From a House of Horror: A Diane Sawyer Special Event (Hulu)

Do you remember the case of the Turpin family? The group of 13 siblings who spent their lives locked up, abused, and malnourished, discovered by police after one of the daughters escaped? In this special on Hulu, Diane Sawyer interviews that young woman and her sister. It’s heart-breaking, but also inspiring.

7). Arcane (Netflix)

Outstanding animation and a great story!

8). The Witcher (Netflix) – Currently watching

9). Stay Close (Netflix) – Currently watching

———

FOOD

10). Lacinato (“dinosaur”) kale with Okinawan sweet potatoes and kimchi.

Okinawan sweet potato, Lacinato kale, and kimchi
Kimchi and the purple potato complement each other so well!

I can’t come up with words to adequately describe Lacinato kale, as it’s unique. It’s delicate, slightly bitter, solid and soft at the same time, and it melts in the mouth (I steam it). I’m hooked!

11). Green leaf lettuce, avocado, and plant-based chick’n salad.

Green leaf lettuce, avocado, plant chick’n

This salad is heavenly. I use an entire (small) bunch of green leaf lettuce, an avocado, and pan-fried Tofurky chick’n pieces, and then I drizzle the salad generously with olive oil, squeeze in half of a lemon, and grind sea salt and black peppercorns over the whole thing. I could eat this salad every day and never get tired of it.

12). Almond-butter-stuffed protein pancakes.

Almond-butter-stuffed protein pancakes

I came up with this creation one Sunday morning – Sunday morning pancakes almost every week! – when I couldn’t decide on almond butter or regular Earth Balance with maple syrup. I wanted both, so I spread almond butter onto one pancake, topped it with the second one (I make two large pancakes with the amount of batter that’s supposed to feed a family of four – serving sizes are ridic, in my opinion), spread Earth Balance on that top pancake, cut the stack into wedges, and poured on the maple syrup. It’s delicious and quite filling. I haven’t had these pancakes any other way since.

My go-to protein pancake mix is Birchbenders Plant Protein Pancake and Waffle Mix.

13). Healthy Banana Cookies.

Healthy banana cookies

This recipe is sorcery. Explain to me how a mere five ingredients go from a chunky slimy wet and sloppy mess in the bowl to these amazing cookies after 15 minutes in the oven…? The five ingredients are bananas, dates, oatmeal, oil, and vanilla extract. There’s no flour, sweetener, or leavening agents. These cookies defy standard baking chemistry rules (of which I’m aware, anyway). The problem is that knowing that they’re basically baked oatmeal in cookie form, I feel justified in eating half a batch in one sitting. I have to ration them in order to make them last. No more than five at a time, I tell myself (before I proceed to eat eight).

14). Sourdough toast.

Sourdough toast with organic Earth Balance.

Hot sourdough toast dripping with butter (Earth Balance, in my case) is one of my favorite comfort foods. I was born in San Francisco and grew up in the SF Bay Area, so I’m super picky about my sourdough bread. For myself, personally, I’ve found that the best sourdough breads this side of San Francisco are any of the options available at Trader Joe’s. They have classic, whole wheat, and multi-grain varieties, and they’re all good.

15). Made in Nature Apricots in the Buff Supersnacks Organic Dried Apricots.

Made in Nature Apricots in the Buff Supersnacks Organic Dried Apricots

Ingredients: Organic pitted apricots.

16). Prana Organic Kilimanjaro Deluxe Chocolate Trail Mix.

Prana Organic Kilimanjaro Deluxe Chocolate Trail Mix

Someone gave to this me as a gift. I wish that they didn’t, because now I know about it.

Ingredients: 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate* (Chocolate liquor*, Cane sugar*, Cocoa butter*, vanilla extract*), Raisins* (raisins*, sunflower oil*), Cashews*, Almonds*, Cranberries* (cranberries*, cane sugar*, sunflower oil*), Walnuts*, Sea salt. *Organic

17). Clif Nut Butter Bar (Chocolate & Peanut Butter).

CLIF Nut Butter Bar (Chocolate & Peanut Butter)

Literally stuffed with creamy peanut butter!

Ingredients: PEANUT BUTTER*, ROLLED OATS*, OAT FLOUR*, BROWN RICE SYRUP*, CANE SYRUP*, DATE PASTE*, PEA PROTEIN*, HIGH OLEIC SUNFLOWER OIL*, RICE STARCH*, TAPIOCA SYRUP*, PALM OIL*, PEANUT FLOUR*, CANE SUGAR*, RICE FLOUR*, VEGETABLE GLYCERIN, UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE*, COCOA*, NATURAL FLAVORS, SEA SALT, ALKALIZED COCOA*, SUNFLOWER LECITHIN, MIXED TOCOPHEROLS (ANTIOXIDANT).

*ORGANIC INGREDIENT

18). Sprouts Organic Popcorn Himalayan Pink Salt and Coconut Oil.

Sprouts Organic Popcorn Himalayan Pink Salt and Coconut Oil

Ingredients: Organic Popcorn, Organic Coconut Oil, Himalayan Pink Salt.

If you don’t have a Sprouts near you, any popcorn with Himalayan pink salt and coconut oil would be fabulous, I’m sure!

19). Rick’s Picks Smokra Pickled Okra with Seasoned Paprika.

Rick’s Picks Smokra

I love ingredients lists that look like this product’s. Everything on this list is whole, and it’s all stuff that I like. This pickled smoked okra is just sour enough, just spicy enough, and more than amazing enough. I’m totally hooked.

Ingredients: cider vinegar, okra, water, garlic, salt, smoked paprika, curry powder, mustard seed, chili flakes, dried chili peppers, cayenne pepper

———

Beverages

20). Jade Leaf Organic Japanese Matcha Green Tea Powder.

Jade Leaf Organic Japanese Matcha Green Tea Powder

Ingredients: 100% organic Japanese Matcha green tea powder.

Matcha green tea – an antioxidant bomb with a slow-release caffeine effect that tastes as mellow as some black teas can taste sharp.

21). Kiki Green The Eight Mushrooms.

Kiki Green The Eight Mushrooms

I’ve added medicinal mushrooms back into my daily supplement regimen, and this time, I’ve gone the route of mushroom powder. This blend is excellent with its eight mushrooms: Red Reishi, Cordyceps, Chaga, Lion’s Mane, Shiitake, Turkey Tail, Maitake, and Agaricus Blazei Murrill.

Kiki Green’s The Eight Mushrooms powder is a newer product that hasn’t found its way to their website yet. They themselves posted it on their Facebook page with a link to the product on Amazon. Still, I’m linking you to Kiki Green’s site page on mushrooms, where you can read about the mushrooms, how they’re sourced and grown and harvested, the medicinal properties of each, and so on.

This brings me to my new morning indulgence:

22). Matcha-mushroom tea.

Matcha-mushroom tea

Every morning, I ritually create a hot brew of matcha green tea and these eight mushrooms, and I bring the steaming mug into my bedroom and set it on the dresser next to my lit candle and magickal new fluorite skull – thank you, friend! – and drink it as I get ready for the day. Surprisingly, the brew tastes of dark, bitter (unsweetened) chocolate. The flavor of the tea, itself, is mellow, round, and smooth, and somehow, the added mushrooms give it a distinct cocoa flavor, exactly as I’d imagine hot chocolate tasted as consumed by the ancient Maya and Aztecs.

23). Pirq (“Decadent Chocolate”)

Pirq Decadent Chocolate protein drink.

It became less and less possible to get my hands on my years-long favorite plant-protein shake by Vega – I guess they discontinued it – so I had to switch. I landed on this one by Pirq, and I have to say, I can’t be mad about it. It straight-up tastes like chocolate milk.

———

PRODUCTS

24). Sprouts Shea Butter and Almond Bar Soap. (Cruelty-free and vegan)

Sprouts Shea Butter & Almond Bar Soap

My beloved Dr. Bronner’s tea tree liquid soap rebelled against me at some point in the fall… it started drying out my skin as the weather turned cooler. I had to go on the hunt for another option for the cold months, and I found a gem in the first one that I tried. It’s this unassuming little bar of soap, Sprouts’ generic brand, ivory in color and devoid of design or fragrance. The bar yields a generous, rich lather, and it leave my skin soft and moisturized. Another keeper!

25). Sea Witch Botanicals Krampus Solid Perfume. (Cruelty-free and vegan)

Sea Witch Botanicals Krampus Solid Perfume

My sister-in-law gave this perfume to me for Christmas. Its label reads: “A Sinister Winter Aroma of Frankincense, Woods, and Holiday Spice.” I guess if any fragrance could be described as “sinister,” it would be this one. It’s gorgeous.

26). Hask Biotin Boost 5-in-1 Leave-In Spray. (Cruelty-free and vegan)

Hask Biotin Boost 5-in-1 Leave-In Spray

I just wasn’t born with “nice” hair, and there are no miracle hair products, so any hair product that I post as a favorite gets onto the list because it works well relative to the ground-zero state of things. This biotin boost spray smells just awful – like a 1970’s beauty salon – and I was going to trash it based on that. Then I woke up the next morning and saw what it did to my hair. I went out immediately and bought another one before it could be discontinued. Enough said.

27). e.l.f. Luminous Putty Primer Universal Glow. (Cruelty-free and vegan)

e.l.f. Luminous Putty Primer Universal Glow

I’ve never had a good experience with primers, but I was happy to try three of e.l.f.’s putty primers when they arrived as free trial-size additions to an order. The original putty primer worked well, to my surprise, and this luminous version worked even better. I bought a full-size one.

28). Too Faced Peach Bloom Color Blossoming Lip & Cheek Tint (in Strawberry Glow). (Cruelty-free)

Too Face Peach Bloom Lip and Cheek Tint

I wanted to try the darkest one there on the right, but it was sold out, so I got the one that wasn’t orangey. It’s a perfect shade of just enough color, and I love its silky formula. Also, it’s long-wearing! Incidentally, I think this is my first lip-color product on a “favorites” list since 2019.

———

MISCELLANEOUS

29). Mrs. Meyers Iowa Pine (seasonal/limited edition) Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner.

Mrs. Meyers Iowa Pine seasonal cleaner

When Mrs. Meyer’s came out with their Iowa Pine limited edition scent for the holidays, I had a feeling that it would become my new, less-toxic Pine-Sol for my spiritual floor washes… and it did. Its pine scent is softer and lighter and just lovely, and I feel better about using it. I use this as my everyday cleaning spray, and when I go to do my floors, I just pour a little into the mop bucket with warm water. You know I stocked up vigorously. It’s now unavailable until next holiday season, but I’m set for the year.

30). Killstar “Don’t Care” slippers.

These slippers are adorable and that was what drew me to them, but that’s not why they’re on this list. They’re on the list because they keep my feet unbelievably warm and cozy. My house, as you know, is deliberately cold. My feet being warm is crucial. These slippers make all the difference, and their adorableness is a bonus!

On me:

Killstar Don’t Care Slippers

The link is going to break soon, because these slippers are on clearance and selling out!

31). Duraflame Freestanding Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove with Remote Control.

Duraflame fireplace space heater in my office

As I’d mentioned recently, this electric fireplace was a birthday gift from my parents. I’m blessed. 3D and flickering, the fire looks as real as hell, literally.

That’s it for the next… while, I guess! I’ll check in with another “favorites” list in three-four months, my friends. I do find that covering material over several months (rather than every month) makes sense.

May this find you healthy and safe!

Street clothes workout! (First living-room gym post of 2022!)

Hello there, my friends. I thought I’d start out the new year with a fitness-related post, as I did last year, so today I’ve got a living-room workout post for any of you who are here for it!

Monday’s workout was the first of 2022. At the last minute, I decided to do it without changing my clothes – as in, I came home from work and stayed in my work attire. My daily winter work uniform consists of jeans, three layers on top (tank top, turtleneck, t-shirt), a thick, oversize gray hoodie I found in the men’s section at Ross, long thick socks, and winter hiking boots. (I work in a warehouse, which, like many warehouses, is not heated.)

And as you know if you’re along for this ride, I’ve now somehow (inexplicably) committed to keeping my house cold this winter. I turn on the new electric fireplace in my office only when I’m in here at night. The rest of the time, it’s in the low-60’s throughout the house.

So the house was 62 degrees F when I got home on Monday, and I didn’t want to get undressed to change into gym clothes. Then I thought, but who says I have to? The workout on the agenda was, of course, Les Mills Body Combat. It’s a cardio workout, but the way I’ve always seen it, it’s a fighting-arts training session, an opportunity to practice my technique. It would be good to train in my street clothes, went my thinking. After all, if I were to find myself in a situation, it would be on the street, and I almost certainly wouldn’t be wearing workout gear.

Also, I had to pee, but I didn’t, for the same reason. In a real-life situation, I’m not going to tell my attacker to hold off while I run to the bathroom. And again for that same reason, I didn’t drink water before the workout, even though I was thirsty.

I’ve always been like this. I get random ideas in my head, test the proverbial waters, and then go all-out with the ideas until they’re strange. Challenge: See how long I can wait before turning on the heat. Plot twist: Don’t turn on the heat at all! Challenge: Work out in street clothes rather than in gym clothes. Plot twist: Don’t use the bathroom or drink water beforehand, either!

I love simulations of real-life scenarios as a method of skill-testing. My first memory of such a test comes from the day I graduated from swim lessons, when Hank-the-instructor threw me into the far end of the pool with all of my clothes on, including my shoes, without warning. I found out that swimming the length of an Olympic-size pool wearing clothes and shoes is not the same thing as swimming across in a bathing suit. Clothes and shoes in the water are heavy and restrictive. There was this new, foreign resistance in the water, and it was trying to hold me back. I was totally blindsided when Hank threw me in, but I thought it was hilarious. I was six.

So it was like that on Monday. I jumped into the workout fully dressed in my street clothes, hair down and everything. I was glad that I did it, because yeah, throwing kicks and knee strikes and all other strikes in jeans and multiple layers is not the same thing as throwing them in gym clothes. My jeans were soft and worn and had some stretch to them, but still, they were restrictive compared to workout gear. I’m grateful to the cold house for prompting this new, realistic angle in my fight training.

I did change into my indoor gym shoes, though. I drew the line at messing up my floor with my dirty warehouse boots! I also put on my gel-padded gloves, reason being that I needed to protect my mangled left hand in the event of push-ups, mountain-climbers, or burpees (indeed, I did all of the above in the workout).

[Aside: I don’t believe I’ve spoken of my mangled left hand. I swear, so much in the way of medical crap happened in 2021, it would’ve been boring and repetitive to tell you about all of it. More on this to come, as I’ve got surgery in my near future!]

When I did the same workout again after work on Wednesday, once again in my street clothes, I filmed it so that I could get screenshots for this post.

Without further ado, then!

Let’s go.
Let’s GO.
In it to win it
Call it a fist bump, because I’m not in any kind of a fight stance, so I’m not sure where this was coming from, haha
Duck

Weird angle, but here’s the bottom of my shoe
Punch
Hook
Uppercut
Something.
Making friends…?
TF haha

And that’s a wrap for this gym post, my friends. One of the benefits of home workouts is that you can wear whatever you want, right? Whatever you want, for whatever reason.

Here’s to all of you and to fitness year 2022!

New Year’s post and Happy New Year to you!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, my friends!! [::throws confetti::]

My 2-year retrospective and new year projection in a microscopic nutshell:

2020 was freeing for me while it was disastrous for the world, and I feel kind of guilty about that.

2021 was heinous. 2021 is unforgivable. One of my furbabies was murdered in 2021.

2022, though, is going to be wondrous in the best of ways, because I’m going to make it so. Oh yes, my friends. Oh yes.

This year, I don’t have goals, per se. I don’t have resolutions. Better than goals and resolutions, I have areas of focus. My life is a journey of learning and growing, and so “areas of focus” is more apt.

My areas of focus for 2022, then (as revealed to me by my spirit guides): boundaries, intuition, healing, gathering practical knowledge, embracing imperfection, continuing to provide for/protect stray backyard residents (one cat at a time), prosperity, psychic abilities, and the cultivation of wonder.

Nenette’s area of focus is to be snuggly in the pile of blankets and my white robe that I now leave on the bed for her. My bed is always made, but you’d have a hard time seeing that, as I pile blankets on top of blankets over the whole thing. Nenette loves it.

tonight – January 2, 2022
Not complaining
Not complaining
Nenette on Christmas Day – not complaining.

I hope you’re having a wonderful, marvelous, magnificent start to the new year, however that translates in your life. Maybe you started the new year with an airplane jump. Maybe you started it binge-watching a series. Exhilarating or chill or anywhere in between, I hope it was good. And I hope that 2022 brings you peace.

Blessings to you all.

My birthday happened. I’m still here!

My friends! I turned 53 on Monday, so on paper, I’m a year older now than the last time we met. I’m three years into the second half-century of my life here on Earth, and I love that. I call this my vampiring stage of life.

My birthday falls on the seventh day of Yule, so when I think about the year behind me and the year ahead, I’m actually reflecting on the entire calendar year. I realize now that this within-a-week alignment of my birthday with the New Year is the reason why my New Year’s blog posts feel so redundant.

Going over the usual run-down, nothing has changed: I’m still waiting for my mid-life crisis. Still not wearing granny panties. Still haven’t had anything “done.” Still haven’t yelled at any kids to get off my lawn. Still wondering why AARP isn’t sending me shit (not that I’m interested). Still haven’t “made arrangements” or “gotten my affairs in order”… though I am planning on doing that this year, just so it’s out of the way. I recently had two cancer scares – I’ve only spoken about one of them here – and they got me thinking that I need to have some plans in place, In Case.

At my new age, I don’t feel any less discombobulated, but I’m the happiest that I’ve ever been. I’ve never felt so free or unconcerned about being who I am and living the way I want to live. I love a solitary life. I’m never going back.

Here’s the obligatory birthday selfie, which I actually took the day before my birthday:

I’ve survived for 53 years!

I wore actual makeup on this day, as opposed to doing my everyday relatively light-handed eyes, only. I’m wearing e.l.f.’s luminous putty primer and NYX’s total control drop foundation on my face, and Too Face peach bloom lip and cheek tint on my lips, for those of you who are interested in such intel. And eyeshadow from Kat Von D’s shade and light palette. The rest (concealers, eyeliners, mascara, and brow powder) is my usual everyday assortment. My hair is still beyond hope and now it’s falling out, so perhaps you’ll see me in a wig or a scarf in next year’s birthday post! I got the wolf sweater from Ross almost ten years ago, and it’s one of my favorite articles of clothing.

My current amulet is a chunk of red jasper… Fire energy for strength, courage, creativity, and drive.

There’s nothing more to say about December 27th, really. I went to work, and it was enjoyable, as usual. Work gave me a lovely card signed by all, and a generous Chipotle gift card, and I felt so blessed, because I am. Oh! Presents! I don’t think that I usually talk about my birthday presents, but this year I have to share that my favorite gift was from my parents. It’s one of those space heaters that looks like a fireplace, because they know that I’m still refusing to turn on my heat! I’m now accustomed to the cold in the house, but the electric fireplace here in my office makes everything so cozy. It looks like a real fire, and it’s certainly a powerful representation of one. I’m going to do another office tour post soon, as there have been some significant changes and the whole Updated Office Tour thing has become a tradition, so the electric fireplace will appear in those pics.

Happy New Year, my friends. [::clinks champagne glasses, or sparkling water glasses, in my case::]

Blessings to you all!

ETA: I just hit “publish” and then saw the time on the lower-right corner of my screen. I published this post at 12:27, and my birthday, which is the topic, is on 12/27. Just thought that was a cool little synchronicity.

Joy to the world!

Greetings, my friends!

Nenette and I (and Geronimo, and also Salem) wanted to send a holiday card to each and every one of you, but since that would be impossible, we settled for making our card and posting it here. We hope you’re enjoying a wonderful, incredible, divine celebration of whatever it is you’re celebrating!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Blessed Yule 2021!

Love,
Kristi, Nenette, Geronimo, and Salem

p.s. Nenette said to kindly ask you not laugh to at her handwriting.

Yuletide greetings! (+ Yule altar and The Old Ways.)

Warm winter solstice greetings, my friends! The solstice took place on Tuesday, so we’re two days into the 12 days of Yule!

Some of you know this already, but for those who don’t (and who may be interested), the “12 days of Christmas” of which we sing was first the 12 days of Yule. Yule begins on the solstice because solstice is the year’s shortest day and longest night; the 12 days of Yule celebrate the year’s progression to longer days and a new season of growth. Many neo-pagans look to the Old Ways for inspiration in celebrating Yule.

Alas, I didn’t have a Yule log, but I could set up my main altar for Yule.

I started off with a natural pine essence floor wash to spiritually (as well as physically) cleanse my home for Yule, and then I hung my wreath on the front door. A note about the pine floor wash: I put very little of the (Mrs. Meyers Iowa Pine – a lovely limited edition release for the season!) pine cleaner into my mopping bucket full of water, and I followed up the wash with a plain water mop-up. I made sure to do it while Nenette was sleeping on the bed, so the floor would be dry before she could walk on it. (Pine is toxic to cats and dogs.)

With the house cleansed and the wreath hung, I got right into decorating my altar for Yule, starting with slicing an orange into thin rounds and setting the slices in the oven to dry. I’d received a beautiful little orange among the wonderful things I found in my stocking at work, and as soon as I had it in my hands, I knew that it would be a part of my Yule altar. I’d actually planned to stop to buy an orange after work, but instead, work gifted me with an orange!

Welcome wreath
Orange slices for drying

After some deliberation, I decided to move a small piece of furniture into my office to sit against the north wall, beneath the window, because I really wanted another north-facing altar… not just for Yule, but for general use as my main altar. My main altar had been against the north wall in another room, but for whatever reason, it never felt right.

Now it feels right.

I burned some Frankincense and Myrrh incense to smoke-cleanse my new altar as well as the crystals I chose for Yule, and I made a garland of star anise and the dried orange slices.

Come along on a small tour of my completed Yule altar, if you’re so inclined!

I had representations of evergreens and holly, but none of ivy. Ivy is there in spirit!
Dried orange and star anise garland with a cinnamon stick offering
Hematite, Aventurine, Pyrite, Obsidian, Amethyst
The Sun, as promised by the Solstice
Clear quartz, Citrine, Carnelian
The Triple Goddess and the pentacle

The five elements are represented in the pentacle… just the elements, and nothing more. The pentagram (and pentacle, which is an encircled pentagram) has been appropriated and thereafter feared, misunderstood, and maligned, but the pentagram simply represents Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. It is a representation of nature.

[Next morning edit to add several daytime pics to offer a better idea of the colors! Thank you for the request!]

On the left: Hematite at the top, Aventurine beneath it; Pyrite on the right
Clear quartz on the left, Carnelian at the (top) right, Citrine beneath it
Same shot, but in this one you can see the gold bell above the Carnelian (which I don’t think was visible in the night pic)
The Sun on a silvery tree… Solstice! The little white tree on the right was a stocking stuffer from work
Tree of pinecones and holly, with obsidian and amethyst crystals at its base. The tealight candle on the right is inside a mini cast iron cauldron
Triple Goddess cabinet
Orange slices, star anise, cinnamon stick offering, and pentacle

I’ll leave you with this Winter Solstice prayer, and a song of Loreena McKennitt’s. I don’t know to whom I should attribute the poem, but I thought it was lovely. I snipped this pic from a shop on Etsy.

Blessings of peace and love to you, my friends.

The Cold Moon.

Last night’s Cold Moon was the year’s full moon in Gemini, and I had feelings about it. For one thing, it was the last full moon of the year. For another thing, the Cold Moon is simply a special moon to me. It rises in Gemini, the polarity of Sagittarius (as is the way of the full moons – they rise in the zodiac polarities of the sun), and I feel a unique connection with Gemini. Among other small things I did with respect to the Cold Moon, I set out a vessel of filtered water to charge in the moonlight, and my crystals and gemstones alongside it.

This morning I brought them in just before dawn, before the sun could touch them, and later used the water to make moon water tea.

My favorite swampy Matcha green tea made with moon water

As well, I meditated and took note of the random thoughts that wandered into my mind before I cleared them out:

1). Like it or not, I can always count on this progression: The day will become the night. The night will become the too-late.

2). There are no real answers. Every day, there are more questions.

3). Memories are recycled, in a sense. Everything is a reminder of something.

4). In some cases, grief carries on to infinity.

5). I’m most alive when I have a challenge and a plan in front of me… when I’m taking action.

6). I love the sound of a train in the distance.

Some of this may sound bleak, but it doesn’t feel as much as I approach the contours of my experience on Earth. #5 is one of many ways in which I recognize that the element of fire lights up my core and drives me through life. Fire is about action and will. It’s the opposite of bleak.

Meanwhile, speaking of fire, I’m taking great and perverse pleasure in the challenge of keeping warm in a cold house. It was 62F in here when I woke up this morning, and I delighted in it. By January I may decide to turn on the heater, but for now, keeping the house cold is the business.

We spoiled desert rats love the heat, but desert rats also know that the desert gets cold in the winter, so why should it be a big deal? If we’re acclimated to the heat of the summer, then we should also be acclimated to the cold in the winter. But somehow, it is a big deal. I’ve always struggled with the cold.

The issue might actually have more to do with the desert’s dramatic temperature range in the winter: we’ll have nighttime temps in the 30’s or 40’s while daytime temps rise into the high-60’s or low-70’s. We can experience a 20- to 25-degree difference in temperature within a 24-hour period, and during the day it’ll be chilly while the sun almost always shines bright in a clear blue sky. It’s hard to reconcile our day and night temperatures. I do like a challenge, though.

I hope you’re all enjoying a wonderful day or night, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Until next time, my friends.

Analyze my dream! (+ still avoiding the heater)

[12/13/2021]
Last night I dreamt that the bros next door were involved in a Secret History-esque fraternity murder conspiracy. All of the houses on my street had standing sidewalk mailboxes rather than boxes attached to our house walls, and when I opened mine one day, there were papers inside that had been placed there by accident. They were supposed to have gone into the bro house mailbox.

The papers documented procedural information, minutes, and the actual proceedings for the ceremonial “work” conducted in the “killings” of one of the frat members in the house. My impression was that the killing was of a sacrificial nature, rather than of a punitive one.

Throughout the rest of the dream, I made continuous efforts to bring this to the attention of everyone around me in my house. The only person I remember specifically was Mom. The others were friends, acquaintances, and likely other family members, but they swirled around and in and out of rooms at random. The energy of the dream was hectic and fast-paced, and my efforts to put the papers in front of peoples’ faces were thwarted at every turn.

However, I did also verbalize that there’d been a killing next door, and that it was deliberate and documented, and people did believe me. Even so, it was important to me that they see the papers. I still hadn’t accomplished this when my alarm went off.

—–

Before bed, cheered by the notion of it.

—–

Desert winter has set in, and it’s cold in the house. It’s 65F. I check it every so often, wondering how cold it will have to get before I break and turn on the heater. I find myself questioning my identity for the second time this year. First, I didn’t recognize myself as I willingly shivered in the cold showers I took through mid/late-October. By the time I caved and started using hot water, my showers were capital-C cold, so naturally, I was like, who am I? And now I’m doing the same thing with the heater. It’s in the 30’s outside when I wake up! I had to scrape ice off of my windshield this morning. Ice on the windshield, no heat in the house, and somehow, I’m hanging in there without too much effort. Who am I?

This lunacy, too, shall pass, perhaps soon.

Meanwhile, the human mind-body connection continues to fascinate me. We are all so much more than we think we are.

Have a lovely Friday/Saturday, my friends. Stay safe, and keep dreaming!

Today’s post: A list of 16 down to 5 (favorite things!)

Hello, friends!

Well, I spent this whole morning working on my October/November/Recent Favorites list, and then I stopped and realized that we’re halfway into December, and I KNOW that there’ll be more to put on the list soon. For instance, The Witcher season 2 drops this Friday. Why post a “Favorites” list now when I know I’ll want to add The Witcher within a week? There are a couple of movies I know I’ll see in the theater in the next two weeks, as well, and my Cyber Monday skin care product haul from e.l.f. arrives today. I’ll be trying out those items over the next two weeks, and I imagine I’ll love at least one of them enough to share with you here.

I put the post on hold, figuring that the end of the month will be a better time to share it. I’ll be able to sweep up all of the little goodnesses left to share before the new year gets underway. It’ll be 2021, done and dusted.

Shelving the post I’d planned (and actually finished) meant that I had nothing for you, so I thought I’d share a few splendiferous things from today!

Today’s Favorite Little Things:

1). My cousin and I made a plan to catch a meteor shower together this (late) spring and make a four-day weekend of it!

2). My friend and I made a movie date plan to watch The Matrix Resurrections!

3). The cookies I made yesterday are even more magickal today than they were last night!

4). It feels like a spring day in here! It’s colder here in the house than it is outside, so instead of turning on the heater, I opened the windows.

It’s a stunningly beautiful, balmy 73F outside with clear blue sunny skies and an abundance of birds in my yard, none of this being the slightest bit unusual. Arizona in the winter is special. Arizona at any time of the year is special, but even we AZ natives and long-timers view it all starry-eyed when we think of how things are in other climates.

5). I’m getting my Yuletide deep cleaning and decorating underway!

I’ve got some pics to share from today, as well.

First, I have this one of the small desert cottontail rabbit who lives here. I’m surprised every time I see him because he’s so defenseless, and there are flying predators and stray cats around here, as we well know. Somehow, he keeps on living and living. I named him Bunnicula, because you never know, he might actually be undead.

It’s hard to get a clear pic of him.

Birds gathered on the lines:

Bird party

In this one you can see the edge of Geronimo’s burrow to the left:

the wild

The patio in front of the sliding-glass door.

patio

Magickal Mesquite! The deeply shaded little space beneath this tree is a spiritual haven, and I’m so grateful for it.

Mesquite

I hope you’ll all enjoying a lovely day, as well. Farewell for now, my friends.

p.s. I’m just going to ignore the loud clown horn that someone just started squeezing repeatedly somewhere on my street, haha

Dark-Sky Dreams.

Tonight, I’m sitting here wrapped in loose, knit layers, feeling cozy in my cold (70F) house – no, I haven’t turned my heater on yet, despite the nighttime dropping of desert winter temperatures – and I’m listening to the rain, and I thought I’d share with you my proverbial heart’s desire. Because we’re in the moment. We’re sitting beneath something spectacular.

It’s the Geminids, my friends. The Geminid meteor shower. I’ve been thinking about it all year!

It’s been one of my dreams to visit a dark-sky area to view the Geminids. Of all the (30) annually occurring meteor showers, this is the one I’ve most wanted to see. The winter constellation of Gemini is one of my favorite constellations, and its twin stars, Pollux and Castor, are two of my favorite stars!

It would feel especially magickal to view a meteor shower in the winter, I think. To be outside, in the dark, in the cold, watching for meteors. It’s cold in space.

Could I make this happen? I don’t know. I don’t drive on the freeway (the spot I’ve pinpointed is 32 miles away), and I’d want to settle under the stars at 2am. It’ll be December 13-14, Monday night/Tuesday morning, so… not a viable consideration for most of my friends, as they’ll have to go to work on Tuesday. (Whereas I won’t. I’m taking all of next week off for vacation.)

It wouldn’t be just the Geminids, either. There’ll be a lot to see! From a dark-sky location, I’ll be able to see stars that are obscured by the halo of city lights, constellations in their entirety, maybe, rather than just the alpha stars and other large stars. Even beyond that, there’s the band of our Milky Way galaxy! If I could see that one day, too. And while I’m on the topic of cosmic bucket-list items, I should mention the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).

Aside: I like to fantasize that somewhere next door in the Andromeda galaxy, our closest neighboring galaxy at 2.5 million light-years away, there’s at least one planet alive with sentient life forms, including intelligent beings. Beings who, unlike us, have the technology needed to leave their galaxy. That they exist, and that they’ve come to Milky Way and visited Earth.

I watched a video on YouTube that explained how the Andromeda galaxy has a history of devouring other galaxies, and how ours will be next. In roughly 4 billion years, Andromeda will collide with Milky Way, and the Milkomeda galaxy will be born.

To think that Andromeda is just one galaxy. According to current NASA reports, there are around 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe. (“Observable” being the operative word. There are 200 billion galaxies that we know of.)

The vastness of the universe is overwhelming. I’ll say it again and again: I can’t imagine that in the entire Universe, the only sentient life that exists is here on Earth, on this tiny planet in this small galaxy.

There’s us! The third planet from the left of the Sun.

I’ll share this with you, too: Two of my favorite ways to meditate are clearing my mind while gazing into fire, and clearing my mind while gazing at this picture. It’s mesmerizing to me, artistic renderings of the planets lined up in order, for comparison… Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, and then the Giant Planets on the other side of the asteroid belt: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

Here’s another pic:

L to R: Mercury; Venus; Earth; Mars; Jupiter; Saturn; Uranus; Neptune, and dwarf planet Pluto.

The sheer size of Jupiter! No wonder we can see him so large and bold in the sky. I’ve admired Jupiter in the bright morning blue sky as well as in the dark of night.

I’m forever in love with the Cosmos, though I’ve still yet to star-gaze from the backyard (since Salem’s death). I’ve tried. I just can’t. Watching the night sky for meteors 32 miles away from here, though, might create a different story. It might be a good way to return to that practice.

We shall see.

I hope this finds you all doing well, dreaming your dreams, and hopefully living them, too.

Roots in the wrong places. (Plumbing party of one!)

In today’s adventures in the little life of Yours Truly, a plumber just left. He’d been here all morning, since before 9am. But let me back up. (No pun intended.)

It started last night with a series of events.

First, an otherworldly, watery bloop bloop bloop sound echoed into the hallway. It sounded gentle and deep and dark. The mysterious sound seemed to be coming from the hallway bathroom. I went in to investigate and saw that the seductive bloop bloop bloop is the sound of large round bubbles rising from the sewer to the surface of the water in the toilet, one after the other. Most odd.

It stopped after a while, and nothing else happened, so I started getting ready for bed. When I turned on the water in my shower, though, I noticed that it wasn’t draining! I got in and washed my face, then turned off the water to see whether it would drain slowly, as it would if the drain was clogged. It didn’t.

It wasn’t behaving like a normal clogged drain, but I don’t know shit from Shinola when it comes to plumbing, so I went with the notion that the other shower would work.

And it was a good thing that I tried, because if I hadn’t, I may not have discovered that water wasn’t draining in that shower, either! I turned the water on for a few seconds and then off again to see what would happen, staring in puzzlement at the water pooled at the bottom of the tub, trying to think… and then, to my alarm, I watched as the drain started to spit black stuff out into the tub.

It was the Amityville Horror up in here, my friends.

I closed the shower door and backed slowly away, returning to my bathroom to use the toilet. It didn’t flush. When the tank stopped filling, I lifted the seat and found that the water had risen all the way up. The toilet paper was floating on top.

Give or take 20 minutes later – I spent the 20 minutes dancing to 90’s trip-hop, because I’ve been feeling that vibe lately, and what better thing to do upon realization that there’s a likely systemic underground sewer malfunction preventing you from showering and using the toilet – I lifted the toilet lid again to see whether the water level had gone down. It had. It’d gone all the way down. The toilet bowl was dry, and so was the one in the hallway bathroom. The water had drained from the showers, too. The black stuff in the hallway bathroom shower was stuck to the floor of the tub near the drain; it appeared to be dirt.

This confirmed my suspicion that the problem was systemic. I wasn’t amused. It wasn’t cool. The only way that an underground sewer malfunction situation could be amusing and cool is if alligators were involved, and they weren’t.

Fortunately, all of my sinks were working!

I was grateful for the sinks, and also for the handy little device I have that allows me to pee standing up, because I have to go a lot, and it would’ve been tedious having to pop a squat in the yard a hundred times before the toilets could get fixed. It wasn’t like I hadn’t already done squats in my workout that day, FFS.

It was midnight 41, but I called the plumber, anyway, because why wait? The person who answered the phone said that the plumber would receive the message immediately and would call me as soon as possible. I said okay and went to bed.

The plumber returned my call at 7:45am, and he arrived an hour later.

From my office window, I see all.

He listened to my suspenseful tale and was so experienced that he didn’t even look at the showers or the toilets. (So I didn’t have to clean them early this morning! But I’m glad that I thought that he would see them, because now they’re clean!) Instead, he went out to the backyard, scoped out the location of the bathrooms from the outside, and went straight up to the roof.

He spent some time up there with some sort of loud equipment, then came down and went to his truck to retrieve a different piece of equipment. Went up to the roof again. Made more noise. Came back down. When I became aware of a drilling sound coming from outside in the front, I looked out to see him drilling something on the sidewalk, metal on metal. Sparks were flying. I saw each individual spark as a dollar sign.

Eventually, he came to the door to ask me whether the patio outlet worked. (It did.) He explained that he had do (something or other) and then go back in with a more heavy-duty snake and camera to see what was going on. He got back up on the roof. More noise, and it still wasn’t sounding like getting-anywhere noise.

The next time he came down, he invited me to accompany him to the backyard to see where the snake with the camera had stopped. He had a gadget that could scan the ground and locate the camera, like a highly specialized metal detector. I tread lightly behind him as we made our way from the edge of the yard, out the back gate and along the fence on the other side, pretending that we were navigating a mine field.

The camera was elusive. I went back inside, and he went back up to the roof. More construction sounds reverberated through the house, and then I rejoined him in the backyard so we could return to our mine-clearing task. This time, the detector was able to find the camera! It was almost exactly beneath the back fence, on the border of my property and city property. Its pitch rose to a thin, high squeal when it found what it was looking for. (I realized in that moment exactly how easily entertained I am.)

The plumber said that I have newer pipes, which is good. They’re good. What he thought had happened was that there’d been a failure in the place where my new pipes met with the old city pipes, like the two parts had slipped and were no longer sealed together. Tree roots had grown into the pipe through the resulting gap. (Yeah, that story. The classic tree-roots-in-the-pipes story.) He said that the snake he’d used earlier in the morning kept pulling out roots, so he knew that roots were at the… (root of the problem, ahem). Now he could see exactly the where and the what and the how.

He’d dropped a video of the camera’s journey into my email while he was still up on the roof. It was pretty grody and cool. You wouldn’t know if you were looking at sewage system inspection footage or at colonoscopy footage. Plumbing is plumbing!

In the end, he was able to verify his assessment and blast out the roots with the hydrojet. Apparently it was difficult because of one large root that had grown in with the little ones; for a moment, he was nervous because it wasn’t going anywhere. He got it eventually, though. Now everything works!

But it’s a temporary fix. It’s a solution more than a fix, a solution for the moment, a way for me to use the plumbing for the next little while. I borrowed myself some time, because what has to happen (soon) is I’ll have to have him come back out to dig five and a half feet down at the back fence in order to remove a two-foot section of my clay sewer pipe (that goes toward the city sewer), replace it with a new section of pipe, and connect them properly this time. He was surprised that someone had taken the time to do an excellent job installing excellent, new pipes, but then messed up the part where the new pipes connect to the city sewer pipes. Like, details, man.

The official diagnosis on the invoice reads as: “Main Sewer Line Transition ABS To Clay Coupling Failed Underneath The Rear Alley Fence”

Kind of has a nice ring to it, I think. And I’m very happy with the service and with the plumber, himself. I would recommend this company to anyone. Local friends, if you need a plumber, hit me up!

I did some cooking and eating after he left, and then I sat down to regale you all with this thriller. Haha! I hope your morning/afternoon/night is going well, my friends.

And blessings upon you all. It’s Yule season now… multi-celebration season (including my own: my birthday is later this month)! We’re almost at the end of the year. Unbelievable!

Until we meet again, as they say.

More about my breasts than you ever wanted to know.

Hello! How was your weekend? I can sum mine up in two words: medical scare.

My breasts started feeling sore at some point early on Friday. The pain felt hormonal, similar to the soreness I’d experience monthly in my pre-surgery years. If you’re new here, now is a good time to catch you up on old news, and also for you to find out that I sometimes overshare (as if this entire post isn’t evidence enough): I underwent a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy with complete hysterectomy in 2008. I had my entire reproductive system removed (for familial prophylactic reasons). I’ve been on Hormone Replacement Therapy since then, meaning that I wear an estrogen patch… so when I experience the occasional hormonal discomfort, it’s due to my forgetting to put on a new patch, or my dosage needing an adjustment.

By Friday early evening, the pain finally had my full attention. It’d gotten worse. It was ignorable up until then. I mean, I didn’t think about it at all while I ploughed through my Salem’s Inn clean-out extravaganza!

I placed a hand on each breast and realized that it was only the left one that hurt. And when I probed that one, gently, as it was very tender, I felt a HUGE HORRIFYING LUMP positioned just below my nipple. A large lump in a small breast feels gargantuan, my friends.

I spent the weekend planning my f*cking funeral.

(I’m a hope-for-the-best-plan-for-the-worst person.)

It was two long days on the Hot Mess Breast Express.

It was a holiday weekend, and it was the worst!

After I found the lump on Friday night, I got on the phone with a V.A. teleheath nurse, who, after a thorough Q&A, advised me to go to the E.R. if things were the same by Sunday. And they were, and so I did.

The doctor who saw me in the E.R. said scary things, like she “wasn’t sure what the lump was, other than a mass.” And she said, “I just can’t say whether the mass is benign or malignant.” She also said, “If you were my sister or my mother, I’d tell you to go to the clinic ASAP.” And “I’m alarmed enough to think that you should go to the women’s clinic as soon as it opens tomorrow.”

She wrote a doctor’s note for my boss, and I was dismayed. It was my first time calling out sick in the whole year and four months that I’d worked there, and it was also the worst day anyone could call out. Not only was it a Monday, our busiest day, but it was a Monday following a long weekend, our very busiest sort of day! I felt awful about it.

But that’s neither here nor there.

At the clinic the next morning, I had a mammogram (which I was due for, anyway. I’d already scheduled a belated appointment for the end of January). I went into it with abject dread. I mean, I had a large painful lump that was about to get compressed between a platform and a metal slab! I’m happy to say that it was fine, though! It didn’t hurt. I’d forgotten that it’s your ribcage that’s pressed against the platform, not your breast, and the metal slab thing that comes down from the top causes the discomfort as it pulls down the skin above your breast.

Shockingly, the mammogram didn’t show anything!

No lumps could be seen. The radiologist blamed it on the density of my breasts. My dense breast tissue is the reason why I need to have an ultrasound examination in addition to the mammogram I get every year. In dense breasts, growths are often indistinguishable from healthy tissue. After my exam every year, I get sent home with a Dense Breast Information Sheet, which explains that dense-breasted people are higher-risk for breast cancer for this reason. Perky and firm can be life-threatening. If you didn’t know, now you know.

I followed the radiologist into the next room to have the ultrasound, and it was the ultrasound that revealed all… all 1.25″ of the CYST! Turns out that the lump is a regular old fluid-filled cyst that can be aspirated (drained) if I so choose. Cysts are common and nonthreatening. They’re not cancerous, and they don’t become cancerous. They just show up to terrify you when you’re doing your breast self-exam. They show up and they laugh at your pain when you find them. They’re benign but sadistic.

The doctor said that if the cyst doesn’t go down on its own after two weeks, I can ask my primary care physician to send in a referral for an aspiration. I’m happy to say that the pain has lessened significantly since then, so I’m doing much better now!

The End.

I would have included an image to go with this post, but I’m pretty sure that a relevant photo wouldn’t be allowable.

But do enjoy this not-gratuitous-at-all pic of my cat being sweet and demure!

02 December 2021

Many blessings to you, my friends. Stay safe, and stay healthy!

Ye Olde Salem Inn.

Something special happened yesterday: Salem communicated with me. She’s done it before, but this time, she told me about something that I ought to do. Key words in her message were “closure” and “completion.” She included the phrase “service to humanity.” Since this was coming from her, I knew that she meant closure and completion regarding her passing, and by “service to humanity,” she meant service to cats in need. Everything is connected; helping animals is helping humans.

In any event, my intuition reflex was lightning fast. Without thinking about what I was going to do, I immediately got up from my desk and headed to the back door. (Trivia: my most pronounced fire energy trait is springing to action.)

I went out to the laundry room. Salem’s room.

Her bed on the ottoman was still exactly as she’d left it. I hadn’t been able to bring myself to touch her bed or her toys, though I’d recently decided to leave the ottoman bed for cats in need. On the threshold of cold desert nights, it’d been on my mind to prepare the room. I just hadn’t gotten up the gumption to do it. Salem gave me the push that I needed to get it done, and so I did.

I shook out her layers of towels, blankets, and pillow cases from last winter and piled them into the washer, crying the whole time. I gathered her toys and put them with the trash to be taken out, along with the two throw rugs that’d been soiled when she threw up on them. I never bothered to clean them. They were cheap, and I had new ones waiting for a purpose.

My aim was to do what Salem wanted. As I went about the task, I wept and admitted to her that I still couldn’t reach a place of closure in my heart… but I could fulfill the “completion” part of her request and close up the laundry room as it’d been when it was her room. It’s still her room, but now in the sense that she’s the proprietor and hostess. The sign that says “Old Salem Inn” still hangs above the dryer, and its meaning has become literal. That is what the room is serving as now. It’s an inn that’s open to cats in distress, with Salem’s guidance, encouragement, and blessing.

So I cleaned the room and re-decorated a lot of it, mostly just rearranging things that were already there. I made up a fresh bed on the ottoman, put in the clean rugs, and finished with a generous misting of Florida water for purification, facing the directions of the elements and thanking the archangels who guard them. The room is cleansed and consecrated, and Salem is pleased.

And of course, I’ve got pics to share!

Come on in!
Salem welcomes you.
Cosmic tapestry with stars
More stars on the opposite wall
Salem’s bed beneath the stars and the triple Goddess with the elements
An artificial plant lends maintenance-free greenery.

Friends, it was hard. I cried while making up the bed because I felt, in my heart, that I was making a place for Salem to sleep. I couldn’t help it. Winters were special, as a part of my evening winter routine was shaking out Salem’s bed and plumping it up into a cozy warm nest for her. After four years, this will be my first winter without her. But I know that if any stray kitty needs a warm place to sleep this winter, they will find it.

Salem and I were together in the ancient past as well as the recent one, I believe. Our journey together hasn’t ended. I’m happy to be able to keep her inn open as a service to others.

Have a wonderful week ahead, all!

Gratitude day, gratitude night.

Nenette comes bearing this gratitude post tonight:

Thanksgiving 2021

I’m thankful for you, my American friends and friends in other countries. I’m thankful for so much, but tonight I just wanted to tell you again how much I appreciate you and the connectivity I feel that we have.

May this find you doing well! [::HUGS::]

From dream to dream and desert life.

This morning I woke up at 7:30, because my alarm told me to. I’d slept for just over seven hours, but my mind-body needed more. I went through the house opening the window blinds to meet a world blue-grayish with breaking dawn, fed my cat, reset my alarm for another hour and ten minutes. Climbing back into bed and pulling the covers over my head, I encased and delivered myself back into the darkness of previous hours, and it was like the first alarm never happened. Immediately my brain’s dream center drew me into stories vivid with color and adventure.

The first dream was inspired by my chronic fear of oversleeping on work days, drawing on the only source of stress in my daily life, which is that of being late. In my dream-panic, I threw together a sandwich for lunch with the first accessible ingredients: either peanut butter with mint jelly, or mint butter (?!) with jelly; in any case, the open-face sandwich was a beautiful, creamy mint green color. Through my stress, I laughed and exclaimed how weird it was. It was white bread, which I never eat. It was mint, which is pleasing to me, but which I’d never enjoy in a sandwich.

The second dream was inspired by a video of a woman’s solo performance in a pole-dancing showcase, which I’ve been watching repeatedly in sheer awe of the athleticism that goes into the art form of pole. In my dream, I watched as an unfamiliar female athlete went through practice routines of an art-sport pole-dancing/extreme obstacle course, as in American Ninja Warrior, moving through a series of course settings of increasing structural difficulty. She was vertically navigating an enormous green structure in the shape of a star whose multidimensional steampunk aesthetic lent it challenges nested within challenges when my second alarm went off. I heard the alarm as she was attempting to leap from a moving gear, and I woke up laughing. “I wanted to finish that dream,” I told my cat. “Now I’ll never know whether she made it.”

But I felt awake and refreshed this time, happy to get up into the room now bright with morning sun. From the quiet kitchen window I watched four species of birds hopping lightly through the branches of bougainvillea thickly shrouding my patio in a tangle of vines, green leaves and clusters of bright fuchsia, flitting occasionally to the nearby watering hole and back again. More birds came to the watering hole from other directions. Watching the birds in the bougainvillea around the patio, the birds in the watering hole, the small desert cottontail rabbit – a permanent resident who ought to be named at this point – also at the edge of the patio, up on his hindlegs reaching for bougainvillea branches, I felt immensely grateful to live in this tranquil downtown neighborhood.

Now, sitting in my office writing while listening to the front patio’s bronze soleri windbells that I’d brought home from Arcosanti, I think of how the bells’ unique sound help to form my definition of life in the Sonoran desert: the sound of these bells, the scent of creosote giving away a rainfall, our treacherous yet somehow captivating dust storms (haboob), and our monsoon seasons’ spectacular electrical storms. I never tire of it. I left it once, but the desert called me back; it felt like a longing seeded in my blood.

A person who lives in California asked me recently, after remarking on our legendary heat, “How can anyone live there? How does anything even grow in Arizona? How do you get your fruits and vegetables?” Taken aback, I realized that this must be a common outsider idea of Arizona: too hot to be livable, too barren to be beautiful, too absent of “seasons” to be interesting. I reassured her that things do grow in Arizona. I did not ask her how anyone would want to live on the San Andreas Fault.

(Sonoran desert farming dates back to the time of the ancient Hohokam, who lived here and developed extensive irrigation canals along the Salt and Gila rivers.)

I feel fortunate. If you love where you live, you’re as lucky a person can be on this planet.

Kitchen window view
Saguaro at the Desert Botanical Garden

The Desert Botanical Garden is near my house.

Interior of a dwelling at the Desert Botanical Garden

And if you love where you live, you’re living a beautiful dream of a life.

Blessings to you all heading into a new week, my friends.

Geronimo’s gone into hibernation, but before that, we had an impromptu professional-grade photoshoot! (Desert tortoise update!)

My friends, you know that I’m wont to take pics of Geronimo with my phone cam and then impose them on you. You’re very gracious about it. They are not good pics, but they’re the only ones I can offer… usually. Until today. Because today, I can show you some professional photos of my scalebaby, along with a few of us together!

And when I say “impromptu,” I do mean “totally unexpected.” I knew that these family friends were coming over, but I did not know that Kyle was bringing his camera. Thanks to him, you’ll finally be able to fathom the extent of Geronimo’s handsomeness and adorableness!!

May I present my darling majestic spectacular reptile kid:

(Photo credit: Kyle Schobloher)
(Photo credit: Kyle Schobloher)

Amber nebulas in his green eyes. I can lose myself in the wonders of them.

This next photo, now: If there’s a mother/son photo in existence that’s more adorable than this, it must exist on another plane of reality:

(Photo credit: Kyle Schobloher)

I mean, are you kidding me?! He’s looking at me and smiling! I’m beyond grateful to Kyle Schobloher for capturing this moment for us. There really are no words.

Geronimo isn’t smiling in this next photo, though. This was several hundred shots later, and he’s over it. He wants to get down so he can resume eating and being loved on by everyone. He was such a good sport during the photo-shoot. He just loves company, this one.

(Photo credit: Kyle Schobloher)

Here he’s emerging from his burrow after I coaxed him out:

(Photo credit: Kyle Schobloher)

Then we have a vanity shot of Geronimo’s exquisite scale pattern.

(Photo credit: Kyle Schobloher)

His gorgeous shell:

(Photo credit: Kyle Schobloher)

Hibiscus blooms were no longer in season, but Geronimo loves hibiscus leaves, too!

(Photo credit: Kyle Schobloher)
(Photo credit: Kyle Schobloher)

This next pic is kind of strange and wonderful. We were trying to get my face closer to Geronimo’s, so my head was tilted down toward him as I tilted him up toward me, and the result is Geronimo looking like a cobra with his face appearing at the top of his under-shell. You can also see what a wide Humvee of a guy he is. My knees fit beneath him with his legs on either side. Haha!

Proud little dinosaur! Stately winsome cobra! (Photo credit: Kyle Schobloher)

</photoshoot>

What makes this photoshoot especially meaningful is the fact that this day (October 3rd) was the last day that I got to spend time with Geronimo this year. I wasn’t able to catch him while he was out after that. Toward the end of the month, I assumed that Geronimo had gone into hibernation.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I received this text from my neighbor’s father (who was rebuilding the fence that divides our yards):

“I saw ur tortoise from 11:00-2:00. He was all over the yard foraging. It was hot that day… fast little guy”

The first thing I thought was, It’s not just me! Other people can see how fast Geronimo is, too. The second thing I thought was, Oh. He hasn’t been in hibernation all this time. I’ve just been missing him.

Thus, my neighbor’s father got to be the last person to see Geronimo this year. That would’ve been on Monday, October 25th. Perhaps that was actually Geronimo’s last day out.

Now begins the longest time of the year… the months spent waiting for Geronimo to emerge. I know it’s just 4-5 months, but that’s a long time under the circumstances. I’ll survive. [::flails helplessly::]

Happy Weekend Eve, my friends!

death in the garden.

Greetings, my friends. This post was very long, and I decided to cut out 50% of it and turn it into more of a reflection, because ultimately, that was where it was leading. It was a whole lot of narrative, so this is me attempting to make a long story short.

Immediately after Salem died, another stray cat came to live in my yard, and he died recently. I knew that he was dying the first day he came to live here, so his death wasn’t a surprise. My feeling from day one was that he had some sort of degenerative neurological disease. I’d seen it before: the tremors, the spine slightly twisted, the uneven gait; how he moved along with his body low to the ground, his spine fishtailing slightly back and forth as he walked. The eyes not quite right, his vision seeming impaired.

My resolve to turn away strays after Salem’s death ended when this cat moved in and I saw that he was nearly skeletal. My conscience wasn’t having it, and Salem would’ve been dismayed, too, had I not fed him. I was just riddled with angst over his presence here because Salem’s body was still warm in her grave, so to speak, and the state I was in was one of total devastation. I saw this cat as an intruder and a usurper, but chasing him out wasn’t an option given his plight. Instead, I kept his food bowl filled and the watering hole refreshed, and I vowed to avoid developing any kind of emotional connection with him, especially since I knew that he was dying.

It was mysterious to me that the Universe thought that I was strong enough, in the wake of Salem’s death, to endure another loss, but evidently it did. It went right ahead and moved a terminally ill cat into my care.

I kept to my vow and avoided loving him, but I did become fond of him. I cared about him as well as for him. Like Salem, he wouldn’t let me near him, but he did return my eyeblink kisses a few times, telling me that he could see at least a little bit.

When he arrived, I wasn’t sure that he’d live through the week, but he filled out and grew stronger over time, and he lived for three more months – he died almost exactly three months after Salem did. He’d grown healthier in that he wasn’t starving, and happier in that he wasn’t living his waning life in desperate search of food. His life here was one of contentment. He had his favorite napping spots, sticking close to the patio, the watering hole, and the grass. Occasionally I would see him lounging on top of Geronimo’s burrow. Like Salem, he enjoyed the times that Geronimo and I interacted. He would follow us around the yard and settle down to participate energetically from a comfortable distance.

Over time, I noticed his spine turn slightly more out of alignment, and eventually, he started to limp and then drag one of his legs. Despite his gradual loss of functioning, I never felt that he was suffering or in pain.

One day, he stopped eating. He died ten days later. The last time I saw him was two days before his passing. He was sitting on the edge of the patio near his untouched food bowl, and he didn’t move as I approached and crouched down. I spoke softly to him and blinked slowly, but his eyes were vacant, and I could tell that he couldn’t see much at all anymore, if at all. He died on Thursday, October 28th. I found his body lying next to the watering hole when I came home from work. From the look and feel of him, he’d died just hours prior.

He chose to die out in the open, as if making sure that I’d find him. Cats typically hide when they know they’re about to die.

He looked as though he’d gone to sleep and never woke up, and a part of me was angry. Within days of Salem’s cruel death, another cat was placed in my yard, and three months later, I witnessed him die the sort of peaceful death that Salem had deserved. My inner juvenile wailed and raged at the unfairness of it. Why did my Salem have to die the way she did while other cats were allowed to die of natural causes? I hated feeling resentful and small like that, hated feeling my gut twist with torment over the contrast between his quiet, peaceful death in a sunny backyard oasis and Salem’s brutal killing over an alley in the dark of night.

I was mostly sorrowful, though. I always knew that he was dying, but to find his body just made me so sad.

The next day I went to work dressed up for Halloween and tried to be happy. The weekend took its course and ended with Halloween and flowed on into Monday, as weekends do. I went into work still feeling down, yet again trying to be happy. It didn’t go well. In fact, I felt worse as the day went on. The day felt cold.

I still miss him. I’d come to appreciate his energy and his beautiful spirit in the yard. His death was expected, but still, it was another loss. Nothing like losing Salem, but a loss nonetheless. My sadness was profound… nothing like my grief over Salem, but sadness nonetheless.

This brings me to the contemplative part. This little guy was the fourth cat to come into my life only to die young at the hands of the wild. Ronnie James died from a lung infection caused by ingesting a poisonous spore from a caterpillar in France. Cita died of a skin disease she contracted while trying to survive as a stray. Salem was killed by an owl. Now there was this cat, who came to me as if knowing I’d provide him with hospice. I’m grateful that he was able to pass comfortably on to a better form of existence.

What if it’s my karma to care for cats and then endure the loss of them?

I’m convinced that the Goddess Bast sent this cat to me, and that Salem, now an angel in the constellation of Leo, approved.

And so it’s cold at night now, and getting colder; I find myself hesitant to follow through on my plan to pack up Salem’s bedding on the ottoman in the laundry room. Because what if another cat comes to take shelter while dying?

It’s interesting that stray cats don’t congregate on my property, as stray cats often do. My yard is a one-cat yard. No other cat came through in the three months that this cat spent dying.

I have these pics of him:

Sitting on Geronimo’s burrow
Napping on the patio
You can kind of see the deformity of his spine in this pic
Napping on the patio

Again on Geronimo’s burrow.

It seems that I didn’t succeed at making a long story short, did I. It feels good to have written this, though. Thank you for “listening” (reading), as always, my friends. November’s full moon in Taurus with partial lunar eclipse is coming up on the 19th, and I’m going to spend it doing the shadow work begged in light of this experience.

I wish you all a magickal week ahead.

Veterans Day – “Honoring all who served.”

My friends, it was already late when I sat down to write tonight’s post. I spent an hour on it, but now it’s really too late, and it still isn’t ready. I need to take more time with it in order to do the subject justice, and so I come to you now without it.

Today was Veteran’s Day here in the United States. Some very special people wanted to make my day special, and they did. My plans changed at the last minute, but I’m so grateful for it. It was an amazing day, and I am incredibly blessed.

My fellow American Veterans, I hope you had a wonderful day, too. Thank you for your service.

Until Saturday, then.

I quasi-failed at Halloween, but I have costume pics.

How did I kind-of-sort-of fail at Halloween? On the work front, I forgot which day was costume day, so I missed the most important contest, and I disappointed someone, and I hate that. It just wasn’t the greatest feeling ever. I wasn’t alone in dressing up on the wrong day, but still. I also failed to carve a pumpkin for the jack-o’-lantern contest, even though I had good reason not to. So there was that.

I did bake a festive cake to bring to work, though:

My contribution to the Halloween party at work.

On the home front, trick-or-treaters hit up my street to the point where I ran out of candy early and had to turn off my lights! This has never happened before. Last year there were a few, in contrast to previous years in which there were none. I was happy to have had any trick-or-treaters at all.

This year, I had more trick-or-treaters than I could count, but my glee was short-lived. It was especially sad because the last ones I could treat were a group of five, and I only had three pieces of candy left, and I had to tell them that. I never thought I would know the particular feeling of awfulness that comes with having to tell eager children on Halloween that you don’t have candy for them. The two older kids in the back immediately said to give the three pieces to the three littler ones in the front (the five of them ranged from four to ten, I’d say). Really adorable, sweet kids, all of them.

Between the costume fail and the candy fail, it was a bit of a disheartening Halloween, but at least ‘ol Michael Myers out there was a success. All of the parents who came to my door said that he scared them. My work here is done.

And what of my costume, you’ve been asking?

Well, I dressed up as a movie character this year. The last time I did a movie character costume was in the mid-2000’s when I went as the creepy ghost girl in The Ring. This time, I went as the protagonist (both of them, heheh) in Malignant. Basically, I just wore nicer clothing than usual, and a wig – but a wig with a twist.

Front, at home

This is what I look like with an abundance of thick hair, in contrast to my natural thin and sparse (and getting sparser) hair.

Front, at work (the tool-belt was not a part of my costume; it’s a part of my daily work attire.)

There was another person in costume standing next to me in the above pic, but as I forgot to obtain anyone’s permission to post their pics here, I cropped them out and refrained from posting others. All of the costumes were marvelous, though! You can take my word for it.

S P O I L E R – A L E R T !!!

If you haven’t seen Malignant and you’re planning to, do not read or scroll past this point.

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Now here’s the back:

Back. As with the toolbelt, the blue notebook was not a part of my costume.

And this is what I look like with an abundance of hair and a sentient tumor-face emerging from the back of my head. Malignant was inspirational! I went as both Madison and Gabriel, Madison’s deranged monster tumor twin who’d been lying dormant in the back of her head until he awoke and burst through to embark on his murderous revenge spree, dragging Madison’s body along as his vehicle. Madison in the front, Gabriel in the back. A talented friend generously sewed the mask onto the back of the wig, in case you were wondering how this came together.

And that was that for Halloween 2021! Michael Myers goes back into his box today. Samhain is over and Yule is the next holiday on the Wheel of the Year, but there’s a whole season of harvesty goodness and vibes in between, and I will be reveling in it. It’s always sad to see the last stone fruit disappear from the grocery stores at the end of summer, but put a fresh, tasty, in-season apple in front of me, and I’m all in.

Have a lovely day and week ahead, my friends.

Cosmic time-out.

It’s late, my friends, late as in (backsliding out of my progress) past-midnight late (slipping).

Just got out of my cold tea tree and hemp shower (have I mentioned that I haven’t taken a hot or even warm shower since sometime in September? Like who even am I?), and I went to glance at the calendar to check for the next day’s color, and I couldn’t help but notice that the cosmos has quite an agenda, quite a line-up of events going on in the next 24 hours. This ephemeral information completely distracted me away from the day’s color (which, by the way, is white).

Look at these shenanegans:

We start out all cool with the first quarter moon stationed in Scorpio (we had that powerful Scorpio new moon last night), and then it begins: we’ve got Venus entering Capricorn at 3:44am MST, the moon going void-of-course at 10:10am, Mercury entering Scorpio at 3:35pm, and finally, the moon stationing herself in Sagittarius at 6:52pm. Yes, the moon will be void-of-course for almost NINE hours, leaving us untethered, as it were.

With all of this combined (especially the moon being void-of-course all day), my plan is to do nothing. I’m going to drive my little ten-minute drive to work praying to Archangel Raphael to get me there safely, and then home again at the end of the workday, and that’s it. I’m not going to do anything, go anywhere, make any purchases, any (major) decisions; I’m not going to spontaneously stop at any store, not going to take risks of any kind, not going to start any projects, nothing. I’m going to lay low until Saturday, when the moon has solidly planted herself in Sagittarius and everyone else up there is in their spots and nothing is happening.

Because As Above, So Below.

On that note, my friends, I wish you all a good Friday!

p.s.
Remember, Remember the Fifth of November.

“The Chrysalis,” “Happy Birthday,” “The Ballerina,” “The Curve,” and “Snake D*ck” (Short Horror October, post 8)

On this night of the season wherein the veil between the worlds (of the living and the dead) is the thinnest, I’m going to stay home with my little bowl of candy for the few trick-or-treaters that may come by. There aren’t many, if any, here in my neighborhood. I’m surrounded by college students on this street; there’s one family at the end of the street, and one on the other side, I think, and those are the only two who came around trick-or-treating last year. Maybe there were three…? I don’t remember now. At any rate, I’ve got the candy.

And it’s a typical Arizona October day, a clear sunny blue sky warm and mildly crisp day, and I’m hoping that maybe I’ll get to see Geronimo, who seems to have gone into hibernation. He’s been known to make surprise appearances after I’d thought he’d tucked himself in for the winter, you see. I’m hopeful. Regardless, I’ll have a Geronimo hibernation update post for you in the next week or two!

Also, I’ll post Halloween pics in the near future, likely the next time we meet here in a few days. Halloween is today, but as it’s the last day of Short Horror October 2021, I’m going to bombard you with horror shorts, instead. I’ve got five to share with you in this post, including a horror comedy bonus. Yes, my friends, this is the end-of-October Halloween Day horror short film extravaganza you knew was coming.

Hope you enjoy!

1). The Chryslis – Gore score: 0. Run-time: 9:21.

3). Happy Birthday – Gore score: .5. Run-time: 6:36.

4). The Ballerina – Gore score: 0. Run-time: 7:45.

4). The Curve – Gore score: .5. Run-time: 9:51.

BONUS Horror Comedy!! Snake D*ck – Gore score: .5. Run-time: 7:17.

The End.

I mean, the end, the end, for 2021!

Happy Halloween and blessings to you who celebrate Samhain!

“Don’t Peek” (Short Horror October, post 7)

Unbelievably, we’re two days away from Halloween. I feel like I’ve been off my game with the horror shorts this year, but if you were missing Short Horror October selections, tonight, I got you. Sit yourselves back in the dark and get ready for seven chilly minutes, because I come bearing this creeptastic little gem of a horror short called

Don’t Peek – Gore score: 0. Run-time: 6:46.

Now this, my friends, is the kind of horror short I can imagine being developed into a full-length film. I would be the first in line! There’s a territory in horror wherein the supernatural meets technology, like this one, and I’m here for it. I love your standard creepy horror flick setting, but as one who lives more or less dependently on digital technology (how did I ever get to where I was going without Google Maps?), I find good supernatual horror set in such technology to be particularly effective.

With that, I’m off to get ready for bed. I allowed myself to fall behind in my schedule tonight because I’m waking up later than usual tomorrow, but still, I want to try to stick to my discipline!

The next time I see you will be for the last Short Horror October post of the year. I may lump two or three short films into the weekend’s post. We shall see.

“She is ball of energy. She is fire. Holding her back will leave your hands burned.” (October self-portraits.)

There are three aspects of fire: The smoke. The flame. The ash.

And they’re all powerfully magickal.

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve gotten down to taking selfies, and since I usually do a selfie photo-shoot sometime in October with respect to Halloween season, I decided that yesterday was the day. Last night, rather. I took these pics at around 8:30pm, sitting at my desk and doing what I do. Being myself. Over the last year I’ve healed and grown and journeyed my way into my potential, sliding consciously into the reality in my blood, and I discovered that it’s fire… and that it was fire all along. I just needed rekindling. I’m sure that my fiery Aries moon helped a lot. It was a culmination of realizations earlier this month that brought me here.

Speaking of Aries moon, did you see the incredible Aries full moon that rose last week? I still intend to resume writing lunar event posts. I’ll likely get back to it in January. New year, fresh start.

[23 Oct 2021]
[23 Oct 2021]
Selfie-ing for the first time in a while. [23 October 2021]

I’m never going to get better at this. My selfie photo-shoots are time-consuming because I take 5,000 pics in order to give myself a better chance at finding ones that please me, and then I take those and re-size them, and that’s it; after all this time, I still refuse to learn how to do things in photoshop (I don’t even have photoshop), and I don’t use filters. I will, however, sometimes set a lamp in front of my face, as I did in some of these pics. I find that I can’t really alter my expression while I’m taking pics. It is what it is. (Props to Instagram people who know how to do things and do them so well that it becomes their main source of income!)

At some point, I stopped “posing” and just took pics unselfconsciously, freezing still in my casual activity for the second I’d want to snap a pic.

Intentions. [23 Oct 2021]

I pushed away from the desk. I sang a song, as I do.

Raising energy. [23 Oct 2021]
The flame. [23 Oct 2021]
The smoke. [23 Oct 2021]

Blessings to you all, my friends.

Also, HAPPY HALLOWEEN WEEK EVE!

Short Horror October will resume with my next post. Apologies for the lack of a horror short this weekend. This will give you a chance to catch up, though, for any of you follow and fell behind.

Now THIS one scared me. “Hello?” (Short Horror October, post 6)

My friends, I’ve watched more horror short films than I can count over the last three-four years, but I never came across one that chilled me as much as this one did. This horror short left me with my nerves in absolute shreds. Everyone is different, of course, so that which scares me may not scare you, but if nothing else, you can appreciate Hello as an all-around excellent production of a short film.

Sit back (in the dark, if possible!) and enjoy Hello – Gore score: 0. Run-time: 18:07.

On that note, I wish you good tidings. Carry on! Until the weekend, then.

“Sonant” (Short Horror October, post 5)

Good morning, lovely darklings! The way Short Horror October works is I watch horror shorts over time – over the year – and save the contenders in a draft post to review at a later date. This one that I’m posting today is a film that I added to the draft about five months ago. I just re-watched it and remembered why it landed on the consideration list. I’ll now leave it to you. You’re next. Heheh.

Here’s Sonant – Gore score: 0. Run-time: 15:59.

Have a splendiferous spooky day… night… as the case may be.

“Making Friends” (Short Horror October, post 4)

Hello! I’m back to post this mid-week’s selection for Short Horror October. If you missed last night’s Halloween decor tour post and would like to check it out, you can find it beneath this one. I’ve been doing these little bonus posts lately to keep regular life content out of the SHO posts (though I did ramble a bit in one of my recent SHO posts).

At any rate, tonight we’re getting down to business with Making Friends – Gore score: 1. Run-time: 9:49.

Enjoy!

A happy end-of-week to you all!

Spooky Bathroom tour!

The hallway bathroom, my friends, is in dire need of renovation. For one thing, I would like to be able to soak in the tub. The bathtub/shower is old. Flakes of rust pollute the water when it’s run for a bath, and the glass doors are stained with soap and hard water from years of neglect before I bought the house. I’ve tried to clean them, but they always look gross. I suppose I could spend a whole day with a bottle of chemicals, but… nah. Instead, I slapped a dowel up there and hung a shower curtain to hide it.

This year, I decided to transform the room in the spirit of spooky season, and what a joyous undertaking it was! I ran around the house choosing what I wanted to put in there. I have spooky things all over the place, including some items that were still in my closet. It was a super fun decorating project because I didn’t have to buy anything or otherwise wait for anything to arrive. It was just a gathering of things.

So here we are at Halloween decor tour 2021, hallway bathroom edition!

Welcome.
Candles in the corner above the sink.
A silky thrifted scarf.
Glass shelves above the toilet.
Top shelf
Middle shelf
Toilet tank
Cabinet by the door. “We are the weirdos, Mister.” (From The Craft)
On the cabinet – favorite old books I’ve had for ages.
On the side of the cabinet – Trilogy of Terror!

I mentioned recently that my favorite horror films are Halloween (1978), Candyman (1992), and The Ring. I forgot to include Trilogy of Terror on that list!! How could I forget it? This movie is the only movie I kept from my old VHS collection. Karen Black is the OG Scream Queen. Trilogy of Terror is a classic I can re-watch until the end of time.

At the base of the cabinet – the spine sword that was a part of my Halloween costume in 2018, I believe.
The shower curtain – hidden or lost constellations, I think it’s called.

Look at the details! It was made for me:

Shower curtain detail – Black Cat constellation!
Shower curtain detail – Reptile Matrix constellation!

As a cat mom and a reptile mom, I approve of this shower curtain.

I’m thinking I may keep this decor scheme year-round.

I’m also thinking that I need to start getting ready for bed. I sometimes miss my 10pm shut-down time, but I manage to keep with my new and improved sleep schedule nonetheless.

Tomorrow night: Short Horror October, post 4!