“Safe” is the happy common denominator.

It would be pleasing to write for real right now, but I’d need all two of my thumbs to operate the space bar, and I can’t. I have a tiny open wound on the tip of my right thumb and I rubbed acetone into it when I was removing black nail polish, and now I can’t touch anything with that thumb, and that’s the absurd situation. I washed my hands and coated the wound with pain-relieving Neosporin and loosely applied a Band-aid and took two Tylenol, but idiocy isn’t that easily undone.

I wanted to expand upon this: If you live in the States, have a happy and safe Day of Expressing Gratitude! If you live elsewhere, have a safe day.

 

Burning down to the dregs in the deep fall. (Mood.)

Fall cleaning took place today, finally, and now my freshened house smells like sweet, warm spices and apple cider. It’s been years since I’ve been much of a candle person; I cycled back around to candles this season. Currently I’ve got a “pumpkin muffins” soy candle burning on my dining table, along with a couple of tea lights.

 

Burning down to the dregs in the deep fall.

 

You wouldn’t know it from my last post (which I edited for brevity), but my mood for the month has been super chill. Now that October is over, I back-burnered my Halloween Spotify playlist and created one for November. It’s what my house would sound like if you were step into it at any given time these days, and I thought I’d share it.

Warning: Four of the 13 songs contain explicit lyrics. I should add that I’m not about the lyrics in the case of this playlist. I love its lilting, slow tempo and its soft roundedness and occasional edge. I keep it on in the background for the melodies, for the vocals whose sounds I find gorgeous in and of themselves, and for the lulling effect of the beats. Nine of these tracks are old favorites, so there’s a bit of a nostalgia factor here, too.

 

 

Also in the vein of seasonal festivities, I confess that the winter holidays ahead have me envisioning Michael Myers’ return to the front patio sporting a Santa hat and a lei of colorful Christmas light bulbs around his neck. It’s a whim and a fairly potent temptation, and I’m already shrugging my shoulders at whatever anyone night think. I feel that my neighbors think I’m strange, anyway… even more so now that I’m free to be my strange self.

I’m that neighbor, I guess. I won’t yell at people to get off my proverbial lawn, but I’ll put a mannequin out there dressed like a classic fictional serial killer.

Not to get ahead of ourselves, though. Thanksgiving is coming up this week in the States! I’m going to spend it safely with exactly two people, both of whom see me on a regular basis. I’m prepared. I’ve secured a tofurky – a minor triumph, as they sell out so quickly – that’s hunkered down in the freezer. I have the Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider, a Thanksgiving must. My Sunday baking tomorrow will include pumpkin scones with raisins and walnuts that’ll keep in the freezer until Thanksgiving Day, as well.

Happy autumn holidays to you!

 

 

In which I’m going to get slightly obnoxious. (COVID pandemic-related plea.)

[Edited for brevity]

I don’t know, man. We all need to wear masks. We really do, because we’re being stalked by a demonic virus, and there’s no exorcist, and no, I’m not being overly dramatic. The virus has now infected a person in my life, and from what I’ve heard from that person, I wouldn’t wish COVID on my worst enemy.

It can’t be said enough that this virus is not “like the flu.” There might be more deaths from the flu, but statistics like that aren’t reassuring or meaningful. COVID is more contagious than the flu, and I’m pretty sure that death by flu isn’t as painful and horrific as death by COVID. Pretty sure no one ever lost hands, feet, arms, or legs to the flu. COVID can and does attack every organ in the body. Blood clots are common. COVID can lead to amputation and kidney dialysis, among other critical medical interventions. I just haven’t heard of this happening with the flu. Neither have I heard first-hand testimony about the flu to match the awfulness of the first-hand testimony I’ve heard thus far about COVID.

Please be careful out there.

Let’s all just stay safe.

 

 

Happy belated National Black Cat day, Salem! (Laundry room tour, + it’s getting cold.)

It’s getting chilly. I’ve resisted turning on the heater at home or in my car, because my unheated workplace is colder on the inside than it is on the outside, and I don’t want to leave a heated house and get into a heated car to drive to a cold place where I will spend eight hours. I figure I need to develop some degree of tolerance to the cold if I want to get through the cold months.

I’m forcing myself to acclimate, and I’m fine with it. I’m trying to be comfortable and safe at work so I can keep loving my job. Comfortable relative to the cold. Safe relative to the virus, which is even scarier now because the cold encourages it. (Not to mention, the virus has now infiltrated my workplace.)

Here at home, I have a kid who also does her life in unheated places, and that would be Salem, my little black cat. She’s acclimating to the weather, too. I take inspiration from her!

Salem is a special little girl. National Black Cat Day was on October 27, did you know? My friend Caroline texted me that day to inform me of this. I never did get to posting a pic of Salem on social media that day, but I intended to make up for the cat mom fail with a blog post all about Salem. Here we are! I’ve got a ton of pics, too. I have pics of Salem, and also of her room, aka the laundry room.

First, the sweetheart, herself:

 

Salem at home in the backyard.

 

Salem is a happy girl.

To say that she’s come a long way from her terrified-of-humans-rail-thin-foraging-for-food-in-the-garbage days is an understatement. She’s still feral in the sense that she doesn’t let me touch her, but she’s increasingly comfortable with me, and she’s recently had a couple of major breakthroughs: She discovered furniture and the joys thereof, and she realized that the toys in her room are there for her to play with.

Yes. Without any guidance from me, she’s chosen to sleep on the old ottoman I’d moved into her room, and she plays with her toys… domesticated cat behaviors more than feral cat behaviors. She’s had toys in her laundry room for the last two years, and she always ignored them. Heading into this third winter, she’s comfortable to the point of relaxing into playfulness. When I go into her room every evening, I find the stuffed fishy and various meeses scattered hither and yon, and the two rugs pushed out of place. I can envision her tossing her toys around and skidding on the rugs as she chases after them.

Every day, I make her bed and gather her toys and put them back where they go. The rugs, too. I love arranging everything perfectly in the evening and then seeing the disarray in the room the next day. The nest she’d made of her blanket, her toys all over the place, the rugs wherever they’d moved. Picking up after this little girl is the best thing ever!

Salem used to disappear during the day and stay out half the night. Now, she’s home more than she’s away. She slips out for a little while, and next thing I know, she’s back in her yard, lounging here and sleeping there.

She comes home to this house. She comes home to me.

Going out isn’t the norm for her anymore. Staying here is. She loves her yard, her patio, her room. In the morning, she comes out to eat her breakfast, and then she goes back in. I’ve noticed on the weekends that she sometimes stays in the laundry room well into the afternoon.

 

Salem napping on her patio, as seen through the screened side of the sliding-glass door.

 

Salem seen from afar.

 

Salem getting closer to me, little by little. One day!

 

Salem grooming on the go.

 

Salem lounging in the grass.

 

Salem stretching and blinking at me. Cats will only lie on their backs and expose their bellies when they’re comfortable and trusting that they’re safe.

 

Meatloaf Salem.

 

Salem on her path.

 

Salem owning the place.

 

Salem in cuddle-mode. Those little paws, though!

 

Salem on her doorstep, surveying her yard.

 

If that’s Salem’s doorstep, then that’s Salem’s door, and if it’s her door, then it’s her room. It’s my laundry room, more technically, but let’s be real here. When a cat lives in a place, it’s her place. It is not up for discussion. This is Salem’s room. She often hangs out on the doormat on her front porch next to her food area.

This brings us to the room, itself. Its aesthetic? Well, I’ve filled it with old furniture and old treasures, found treasures. A dusty candle last lit over a decade ago, fake dead flowers, natural objects I’d picked up in nature – hiking trails, beaches, backyards – with every intention of keeping them forever. Crystals, an antique doll handed down to me, re-homed tapestries, a few garish cast-offs. It’s kind of witchy and celestial and grimy in there. You might decide that it’s cottagegoth or goblincore. I’m still adding to it; I have the ashes of several beloved furbabies in their wooden urns waiting to be arranged in the shrine to them that I’m going to make.

This laundry room is attached to the house, but it’s only accessible from the outside.

 

(LED) candle-flame lights on either side of the door.

 

Looking in from the doorway at night.

 

I don’t think I’ve ever brought you into my laundry room! I believe this is also the first time I’ve dedicated an entire post to Salem.

 

Lest there’s any doubt as to whose room this is.

 

The long wall to the right of the door.

 

Bookcase corner (to the left of the door): stones, crystals, a piece of coral, a pinecone, a wooden Tibetan figurine, an owl trinket-holder, fake dead roses, everything old or found or gifted or all of the above. I’m going to create the shrine to my dead cats in one of the cubbies in this bookshelf.

 

Washing machine corner: an old floor lamp, a string of cloth elephants from an Etsy shop in India (which I got to replace my cherished elephant string that I’d lost), a small handmade plaque I’d purchased in a ghost town.

 

Dryer corner: a clock sent to me by mistake, more fake dead flowers, a dusty old candle, an antique doll handed down to me, the green bats’ blood bottle I had in my office during its dark academia iteration.

 

Water heater corner (to the right of the door): the water heater, of course, and the utility sink. Above the sink, a cast-off sakura paper lantern, a small round mirror in a wooden frame in the shape of an eye. Next to it, my little glass and wrought iron table from 20 or so years ago that now holds my laundry detergents, a fake tree, and random objects.

 

My celestial tapestry on the long wall, with faerie lights and glittery, jewel-toned paper origami stars.

 

Tapestry at night.

 

Salem’s bed: an old ottoman with mismatched old cushions and Salem’s winter blanket. The black and gold rug used to be in my office. The rug is never neatly positioned like this when I go in during the day. It’s askew, and often, I’ll find a toy mouse beneath the ottoman.

 

Above Salem’s bed. These things are self-explanatory.

 

Daylight detail: top of the bookcase. These treasured objects are much easier to see in the daylight. The pinecone is obscured from this angle, though. It’s behind the blue crystal.

 

Daylight detail: corner shelves. I didn’t like the look of the doll sitting up. I prefer her lying down, looking deceased.

 

Daylight detail: top of laundry table.

 

Salem’s toy area beneath the laundry table. She used to sleep in this space. By the time I moved the ottoman in, she was brave and comfortable enough to choose it for her new bed. It started to get chilly at night soon after I realized that she was sleeping on the ottoman, so I put her blanket there instead of down here. Most of these toys are scattered throughout the room when I come in during the day.

 

Salem’s doormat and rug. This is the old rug that’s really dramatically out of place when I go in every day. It’s pushed aside, bunched or folded. Sometimes, I find it in the middle of the room. Often, I find one or two of Salem’s toys where the mat should be. They tell the whole story.

 

Doorknocker above the door on the outside. It also used to be in my office.

 

Since I took these pics, I wrapped Salem’s ottoman in heavy plastic sheeting all the way down to the floor, in case of wandering male cats feeling territorial for no good reason. I will not be laundering piles of bedding every day in order to clean up male cat spray, thank you! Furthermore, the ottoman is upholstered. No surefire way to get the male cat odor out of that. Salem would never sleep on the ottoman again! With the plastic sheeting protecting the ottoman, I’d only have to wash her towels and blanket. With luck, I won’t have to deal with it at all.

I hope you enjoyed this first post dedicated to Salem and her room! Happy belated National Black Cat Day, little girl.

And a lovely rest of your weekend, friends.

~~~~~

ETA: I just took this pic of Salem eating and thought I’d include it, as this post is also a journal entry for my own memories. She ate her breakfast when I gave it to her at 7:30am, and here she is finishing it after having gone back to sleep for a few hours. (Just like her mommy.):

 

Salem finishing off her breakfast on a Sunday morning.

 

Alright! I have some baking to do right about now. Until Wednesday, then. Stay safe, friends.

 

 

Welcome to the Hotel Arizona – such a lovely place. (Desert tortoise update! Hibernation 2020.)

October is over. Short Horror October is over. Michael Myers is once again in the house, in pieces piled up on the bed in the spare bedroom (pending my decision on where to store him). You know I seriously considered leaving him out year-round. I had to talk myself out of it, as the mail carrier was visibly skittish bringing the mail up to the box.

At October’s end, I had a few requests for a Geronimo update. What’s going on with Geronimo’s hibernation? When are we getting a pre-hibernation updates post? I was eager to provide the updates, too, but it’d been a few weeks since I’d seen him. I’d had to cancel his pre-hibernation exam because he wasn’t out that morning (it was a Saturday), though he’d been out a few days before that.

I wanted to oblige your requests right away, but I also wanted to wait, because I wasn’t sure what was going on. Maybe he would come out again, like he did after I thought he’d gone in last year! False hibernations happen.

In the weeks following Geronimo’s canceled pre-hibernation appointment, I searched for him every day when I was home. Eventually, I had to assume that he’d already tucked himself in for the year.

To tell you the truth, I’ve been a little sad about it. His departure was so unexpected! I didn’t have a chance to tuck him in, myself, and wish him a good night. I wasn’t ready. I never am, but this year, I really wasn’t. Last year and the year before, he went into hibernation toward the end of November. This year, it was mid-October-ish.

If I had to guess, I’d say that Geronimo was eager to hibernate because he wanted to retire to his new digs. (Pun totally intended.)

In 2018, he wasn’t 100% out of sight during hibernation. The edge of his heel could be seen in the shadows of the deep turn from the back of his burrow where it dips down and veers off to the right into the tunnel he’d dug. It was his first year here. His burrow was new.

In 2019, he dug a little more while he was out in the spring and summer, and he couldn’t be seen at all during his hibernation.

In 2020, Geronimo went on an obvious mission in the spring, spending even more of his warm-weather time digging. It can be assumed that he’s now got a sprawling labyrinth of a subterranean tortoise mansion in a network of tunnels beneath the backyard, an occluded, wondrous interior that’s fit for Architectural Digest.

I’m thinking that Geronimo was eager to move into the dream home that he’d built for himself. He wanted to get settled in down there at the first lick of cold weather, not knowing (or caring) that the weather was a cold front that would give way to a week back up in the 90’s. If my suspicions are correct, I don’t blame him for wanting to go in early. His burrow looks exactly the same from the outside, but on the inside, his achievements probably match those of Frank Lloyd Wright’s.

I would love to behold Geronimo’s architectural wonder with my own eyes. I’m still planning to look into what sort of camera one can use for such purposes.

I’m sorry that a real hibernation post isn’t going to happen this year. I remember the last time I saw Geronimo: I’d just gotten home to grab lunch, and he was out on the patio. As always, I wanted so badly to go to him, but I couldn’t, because I had to get back to work. After work, I’d thought… but I haven’t seen him since.

 

SNACKS! [18 September 2020]

 

I talk to Geronimo for a few minutes every evening, sitting outside of his burrow. Maybe he can hear me down there, in some part of his resting brain, wherever he is in the depths of his splendiferous winter abode. I hope that he can, so he can know how much I love him and miss him and wish him sweet dreams.

The post I look forward to writing the most is the one where I tell you about Geronimo’s emergence in spring 2021!

 

 

Keeping the candles burning. (October Favorites!)

Saturday’s bright, sunny blue sky and blustery, cool(ish) air made it an ideal fall day here in the desert. October is over, but as far as I’m concerned, spooky season continues with our gradual dip in temperatures.

(Speaking of which, I will have a Geronimo report for you soon, probably a week from today. I haven’t forgotten!)

In keeping with the continuation of spooky season, I’m here to share my October Favorite “little things” with you, my usual smattering of entertainment, food, and products. Scroll down to see the little things that I enjoyed in October!

 

1). Still/Born (Shudder Original movie)

 

 

This film spooked Nenette, who then spooked me when I was myself already a little bit spooked. We basically freaked each other out in the middle of the movie, and I ended up on the phone with Caroline, my partner-in-horror with whom I was watching the movie, and I think I had to finish watching it the next day, as I was preoccupied with Nenette and with being spooked by the entire situation. There was a specific event in the movie that did it. I’ll just say that Still/Born was an effective work of horror, and I do recommend it.

 

2). The Mortuary Collection (Shudder Original movie)

 

 

Like Still/Born, The Mortuary Collection is a Shudder Original. It wasn’t the best movie ever, but I found it to be good fun for Halloween season! It fueled the mood, and I loved it for that.

 

3). Evil (Netflix)

 

 

Evil is an excellent slow burn of a paranormal investigative series that’s available to stream on Netflix. It’s one of those that gradually tucks itself under your skin, almost while you aren’t aware of it, and leaves you with an eerie feeling at the end. That was my experience, anyway. I’m looking forward to Season 2.

 

4). The Haunting of Bly Manor (Netflix Original Miniseries)

 

 

What I can say about the excellent Netflix miniseries The Haunting of Bly Manor is that it’s a gorgeous, gothic work of horror, skillfully wrought and, in my opinion, deserving of awards nominations. Really beautiful work!

 

5). To the Lake (Netflix Original series)

 

 

In this Russian series (it’s unclear whether it’s a series or a miniseries), we have a virus in a pandemic scenario from which the characters frantically try to escape. It’s not our virus, mind you. It’s a bit on the zombie-ish side. It has a vibe that’s more post-apocalyptic/dystopian, which I adore… and I love that the lead character is played by Kirill Käro, a Russian actor whose work I’d admired in Sniffer and Better Than Us.

 

6). Roasted, salted pumpkin seeds.

 

Roasted, salted pumpkin seeds

 

I snacked on roasted, salted pumpkin seeds throughout the month. I’m more of a salt person than a sweets person, so roasted, salted pumpkin seeds taste more like October to me than pumpkin spice anything.

 

7). Food Should Taste Good Blue Corn Tortilla Chips.

 

Food Should Taste Good Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

 

Ingredients: Organic blue corn, high oleic sunflower oil and/or safflower oil and/or canola oil, brown rice flour, flax seed, sesame seed, sunflower seeds, sea salt, quinoa

I found my new favorite brand of blue corn tortilla chip in October. These chips from the brand Food Should Taste Good are thick and crunchy and delicious with sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and quinoa. They’re fabulous for nachos! They’re sturdy enough to hold a whole lot in the way of toppings, and they’re perfectly salted for my tastes.

 

8). Siete Cashew Queso (Mild Nacho).

 

Siete Cashew Queso – mild nacho

 

Ingredients: Water, Cashews, Tomatoes, Carrots, Green Bell Peppers, Nutritional Yeast, Sea Salt, Distilled White Vinegar, Flax Seed, Fermented Extract (Oregano, Flax Seed, and Plum), Coconut Milk Powder, Lactic Acid, Onion Powder, Tomato Powder, Garlic Powder

The texture of this cashew queso may not be quite what you’re used to in a dairy queso, but its flavor is outstanding. This queso with the blue corn tortilla chips above make a wonderful plate of movie theater/convenience store/sports arena-style nachos, even more so when I pile them up with jalapeño peppers, as I always do.

 

9). Sweet Earth Spicy Kung Pao Plant-Based Jerky.

 

Sweet Earth Spicy Kung Pau Jerky

 

Ingredients: VITAL WHEAT GLUTEN, WATER, SOY SAUCE (WATER, SOYBEANS, WHEAT, SALT, ALCOHOL), SESAME OIL, GARLIC, GINGER PUREE (GINGER, WATER, CITRIC ACID), SUGAR, NATURAL FLAVORS, 2% OR LESS OF TOASTED SESAME SEEDS, VINEGAR, SZECHUAN PEPPERCORNS, YEAST EXTRACT, SPICES, SALT, CALCIUM LACTATE, LACTIC ACID, SUCCINIC ACID

(All in caps because I copied/pasted the text from the company’s website.)

This is an amazing vegan jerky! I swear to you that if you were to eat this jerky blind, you wouldn’t even suspect that it’s not animal meat. It’s faintly spicy, with the subtle heat developing in the aftertaste.

 

10). Pacifica Natural Origins High Vibration and Cosmosis Perfumes. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

Pacifica Natural Origins High Vibration and Cosmosis Perfumes

 

I mentioned these fragrances earlier in October, and I’ve been enjoying them ever since… the sandalwood (High Vibrations) and vanilla (Cosmosis) ones, that is. A co-worker’s assessment is that I now smell like sugary cinnamon, as I’m still using the vanilla-scented hairspray that everyone says makes me smell like sugar cookies. It’s the sandalwood scent that they’re catching on top of the vanilla. I love it, too.

 

11). JASON Softening Cocoa Butter Hand & Body Lotion.

 

JASON Softening Cocoa Butter Hand & Body Lotion

 

I had a Shea Moisture body lotion on a “favorites” list not long ago, and it turned out to be one of those favorite little things that ultimately didn’t work out. It was wonderful at first! It was fabulous until the lotion became separated and required shaking to reintegrate… and after that, it was so thick that it wasn’t coming out of the bottle. At the same time, its scent turned bad. It was weird how it became unusable all of a sudden.

All of this to say that I had to go looking for a replacement, and I’m super digging this JASON product that I picked up from the beauty aisle at the grocery store. I love its scent as much as I did the Shea Moisture one’s before it went bad, and I prefer its consistency over the Shea Moisture’s.

 

This brings us to the end, my friends. I’m sitting here in the wee hours of Sunday morning, falling asleep. I have a feeling that I’ll be offline most of the day when I wake up, because I’ve got the new Jack Reacher novel sitting here on my desk. Priorities!

 

 

 

Get out of my entertainment, Virus!

November, to me, signals full-blown fall and all of the deliciousness that comes with it. Now that Halloween is over, I’m relishing the natural blessings of the season. You can always tell where we are in the year by looking at what’s on my kitchen counter. Currently:

 

It’s fall! Walnuts, apples, Peruvian (purple) potatoes, and dried persimmons. I’m rich with these blessings. I don’t take them for granted.

 

October was sublime in every way. I enjoyed Short Horror October more than ever before! You might be curious as to what’s on my screen now that my 31 days of chain-watching horror content is over. WELL.

It’s November, and I stumbled into the real horror content.

Because season 4 of The Good Doctor is underway. I was so excited to get into the first episode! I settled in eagerly on Hulu Tuesday night for some much-needed escapism, but in an unforeseen plot development, I didn’t make it through the episode. I had to stop watching it halfway through, because it was utterly terrifying. It was the furthest thing from the entertaining escapism I was after. It was pure horror, and not in a good way. It was about The Virus.

I geared myself up to continue with the episode last night (maybe it was just my mood), but again, I had to peace out. The episode chilled me to my core with fear like no horror movie or series ever has. I’ve never had to turn away from an actual work of horror because it was too scary! Take notes, Ryan Murphy, and congratulations, The Good Doctor, for finally doing it with episode 1 of season 4.

[Side-note: Midsommar doesn’t count. I tried to turn away from that beastly film, but it wouldn’t let me.]

All I wanted was to get back into the storyline, right? That’s why we anticipate new seasons of the series we enjoy. I wanted to resume enjoying. Instead, I found myself swept into a nightmarish COVID State of Emergency scenario at the San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital, where I got to see COVID-infected people suffering and dying in horrible ways, presenting with all kinds of symptoms and developing all kinds of complications. I got to see the heartbreak of family members not being able to be with their loved ones in intensive care, and then the pain of being told “I’m sorry” by Dr. Lim when a young woman’s mother died alone while in isolation. And SO MUCH MORE. I can’t even get into all of the terrible and sad events of the episode, and I wouldn’t do it, anyway, lest I “spoil” it for anyone else.

I mean, I get it, TGD. You want to take your hospital dramedy there in tribute to frontline workers and address the pandemic while also scaring us into wearing our masks. Fine. BUT you do too good of a job. Your actors are too good. Your writers are too good. Your commitment to authenticity in a COVID-gripped hospital is too complete. I just couldn’t.

So I had to stop watching the episode on Tuesday night, when I especially needed to escape into a fictional world. (Thank you, Bob’s Burgers, for providing your own new season.) I thought I would give it another try last night, but I took one look at the scene where I left off and immediately exited again, horrified anew by the sight of the sickened patient in that scene.

Tonight, I was determined to finish it. I was doubly prepared. I was going to do it. And I did. I sat through the whole damn episode that not only was un-entertaining and difficult to watch, but IT WAS MISSING DR. MELENDEZ, WHO WAS SENSELESSLY AND INEXPLICABLY KILLED OFF at the end of season 3 (you’re walking a thin line, The Good Doctor), and I was further appalled by the horrors that’d awaited in the second half of the episode. The episode is called “Frontline, Part 1.”  Yes, it will continue in next week’s episode, “Frontline, Part 2”.

Now you might be wondering why I insisted on putting myself through it. It’s The Good Doctor, that’s why. It’s excellent. I’m invested in the characters in their world, and I’m not going to stop watching it just because their world looks like our real-life world.

I hope that we can leave the real world behind starting with episode 3, though.

Happy almost Friday Eve, my friends, and FFS, wear your masks.

 

 

In lieu of an actual post,

I’m just popping in here to apologize for having been zombified by sleepiness and general fatigue since around 6pm today, meaning that tonight’s post will happen tomorrow night. I hate to miss my posting time. Alas, it can’t be helped. The energy has been fraught all day, and I’m feeling it.

Tomorrow night is a new night. Until then, my friends! And thank you for being the understanding lot that you are!

Halloween 2020! (Short Horror October, day 9, + trick-or-treaters, a full moon, and a costume.)

Merry Samhain and Happy Halloween a second time today! In case you missed it, I posted briefly this afternoon to share my Halloween playlist with you.

We’re past the witching hour. The last of the trick-or-treaters have long gone. This was the first year families brought their kids to this street! As a just-in-case, I bought a small bag of candy in the 11th hour this afternoon and filled up a caldron/bowl thing from a previous Halloween and set it outside on the wooden beams next to Michael Myers. I wrote HELP YERSELVES on a piece of cardboard and set that in there, too. The families still rang the doorbell, though, and I opened the door so the kids could scream TRICK OR TREAT!!!!! before I directed them to the caldron of candy.

Not going to lie, guys. Costumed children joyfully trick-or-treating brought a little tear to my eye as our country struggles with the pandemic under what seems to be the penumbra of a civil war. The children’s exuberance drew an emotional response from me. It’s like for one night before potential chaos ensues, they got to skip down the street in costumes, laughing and shrieking and collecting candy as their parents stood by having just as good a time.

It just made everything seem so normal.

But why was everyone shrieking when they arrived, you might be wondering? Because of Michael Myers. Ol’ Michael was a huge hit out there. The reactions were priceless! I could hear them as I sat here in my office, shrieks and laughter and loud exclamations in front of the house, and I knew that trick-or-treaters were afoot.

Tonight was beautiful. As I’d rhapsodized in a previous post, our Halloween moon is a full, blue moon in Taurus, a special astronomical and astrological circumstance. On a personal level, the full moon in Taurus resonates especially deeply, I think, because Taurus is my rising sign.

Of course I went outside and tried to take pics of the moon with my cell phone! There was a cloud cover that obscured it, but my phone is a Google Pixel, so I got some pics that I like nonetheless. This pic is raw and untouched, as usual:

 

Halloween 2020, full blue moon in Taurus

 

I love the history of this holiday, too. It started in ancient times as Samhain, the Celts’ seasonal celebration, and then the Romans came along and conquered Britain and imposed their Autumn Festival revelries onto Samhain as they wanted to do away with the native Celts. (A familiar story, this business of conquerors on a mission to destroy the natives.) In turn, the Pope eventually crashed the party and insisted on giving the day a religious makeover by dubbing it “All Saints Day,” because he wanted to convert the pagan Romans to Christianity. (Another familiar story, this business of The Church on a mission to Christianize the pagans by taking their holidays and renaming them to fit with Christianity.) But this, as you probably know, is how we got this holiday. “Hallow” is another word for “saint,” so All Hallows Day, November 1st, is just All Saints Day by another name. The night before All Hallows Day is All Hallows Eve, which was popularly shortened to “Halloween.” Thank you, 7th-century Pope, for giving us this holiday!

In their celebration of Samhain, the ancient Celts respected that the end of summer brought in a transitional time of the year during which the veil between worlds was the thinnest. Spirits of the dead could slip back into the world during this time.

This year, I’ve really been feeling the ancient holiday of Samhain. My nods to it were simple, following the Celts’ cautionary practices of dressing up in scary costume, setting out a Jack-O-Lantern, and offering up treats. The Celts dressed up to be scary on Samhain in order to ward off the darkly mischievous spirits. With respect to this tradition, I dressed up to be scary on Friday and went in to work as a psycho surgeon:

 

Yours Truly, at work

 

I then went home and took some selfies. We had half the day off in observance of Halloween… another holiday first for me!

 

Halloween 2020! Yes, I’m wearing a wig.

 

Halloween 2020, in character as a psycho surgeon.

 

Now for the moment I’ve been dreading: our final horror short films of Halloween 2020. I’ll start with this little gem: Happy Halloween, Gore score: 1. Run-time: 3:49.

 

 

This next one isn’t what you’d think it’d be; I’m still scratching my head over its title. Here’s Wet Willy, Gore score: 3. Run-time: 4:28.

 

 

And for tonight’s feature presentation, I bring you Dinah, Gore score: 1. Run-time: 11:05.

 

 

The End, until 2021! I’m about to get busy watching all the short horror I can in the next 365 days so I can stash away my favorites to share with you in next year’s Short Horror October.

Happy November, my friends. Until next week!

 

 

Merry Samhain! Happy Halloween! (A little bonus post to share some music.)

I’m doing some fall cleaning while listening to the Halloween playlist I made on Spotify. I’ve had this playing all week, and it just occurred to me to share it with you in case you’re interested! These are just some of the tunes that put me in the mood for Halloween, though they’re not all related to the holiday – collected into a list, they bring Halloween to life in my little world.

If it’s already late or beyond the 31st of October where you are when you see this, perhaps you’re someone who celebrates Halloween as a two-day holiday: All Hallows Eve (Halloween on the 31st), and All Hallows Day (the next day, All Saints Day on November 1st).

I’ll be back later tonight with my Saturday night post! Have at the playlist, if you’re so inclined.

 

 

Until later, my ghoulish friends.

 

 

The penultimate! (Short Horror October, day 8 + Blair Witch audio ookiness.)

Halloween is three days away! I’m all the way into it, starting with the music I’ve been listening to the most. The Halloween 2020 playlist I put together on Spotify is short and basic, but it does the job.

Let me tell you what music really spooks me, though. (Because there’s music for enjoyment, right, and then there’s music for getting creeped-out.) I discovered one playlist out there that makes my spine sweat ice, and that would be “Blair Witch (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).” I don’t know whether you have to have seen The Blair Witch Project in order to be provoked by the film’s soundtrack album, so I can’t say objectively that it’s a spooky set of sounds. How about for a fun Halloween experiment, click “play” on the soundtrack I’ve handily provided here and just have the sounds going in the background as you do your things.

 

 

Let the festivities begin, yes? No? I find it to be spooky, anyway. I love this soundtrack. It makes me want to watch The Blair Witch Project again.

As for dressing up, why yes, I have a Halloween costume this year. I won’t say what it is yet, but I took a pic of these props:

 

Pens. Clearly, I’m easily amused.

 

And about today’s films, already!

To my exaggerated dismay, only two Short Horror October blog posts remain in this year’s series. There’s this one and there’s Saturday’s and that’s it for 2020. I’m going to double or triple the films in these remaining posts so I can share more with you. Two of the three I’m posting tonight are short-short. Let’s start with those!

Together, these first two films amount to a mere six minutes. I’ll start with The Rickety Lady, Gore score: 1. Run-time: 2:30.

 

 

Next up, we have And the Baby Screamed. Gore score: 1. Run-time: 3:27.

 

 

Moving on to our superb feature presentation, we’ve got Skickelsen. If you’re not Swedish, you’ll want to turn on Closed Captions, as this is a Swedish film. You might want to dim your lights, too; this short film is dark in its lovely Scandinavian noir way. Gore score: 1. Run-time: 13:51.

 

 

Happy almost-Halloween Eve!

 

 

Oh, Michael. (Short Horror October, day 7 + mannequin shenanigans, Part 2.)

It’s Saturday night on the 24th of October. Halloween is one week away. Saturday the 31st will arrive under a full moon, and a full moon in Taurus, no less – our first Taurus full moon on All Hallows Eve since 2001. I can already feel and rejoice in the charge of this powerful, impending full moon that will oversee 2020’s ancient celebration of Samhain. What a magical thing to occur in the middle of a pandemic that’s stolen most of our year!

And I’m feeling it. Every day is Halloween for the next seven days. To start, I got Michael Myers where he needed to be. It was somewhat of a journey for him that started in my living room one week ago, as you’ve already seen (unless you haven’t):

 

Greetings.

 

Michael was originally going to come to work with me, but that idea went horribly wrong when I tried to put him in my car in the dark of night on my dimly lit street. The length of him fit in the car from the very end of the trunk to the front seat, but I couldn’t get his heavy base all the way in and his leg detached from his pelvis as I struggled with him, so when I finally gave up, I had to wrestle him out of the car backwards with his slippery leg dangling loose inside his thin, slippery mechanic’s suit and I eventually managed to get my left arm around his torso and my right arm up in his crotch so I could try to grip his butt that was the only remotely grippable thing on him and extricate him from the trunk that way while I prayed the neighbors weren’t watching the spectacle of me wrangling with a body in the trunk of my car, and just then, his head fell off and rolled a little ways toward the sidewalk. I gathered him up as best as I could and dragged him to the front of the car, and that’s how I found myself looking down at a partially dismembered and decapitated Michael Myers lying on my driveway in the white glare of the motion-sensor lights above the garage door, and I was done dealing with him for the night. I left him there.

 

You’re welcome, Jamie Lee Curtis.

 

The next morning I brought him into the house, undressed him, and detached his remaining limbs before I dumped the lot of him on the bed in the spare bedroom with no plan for him whatsoever. I was on my way to work, and he wasn’t coming with me. I hadn’t thought about his future beyond that original idea.

 

He was probably more comfortable here than on the driveway.

 

One week later, he’s standing in front of the house looking out at the street, as Michael Myers does.

 

He came home.

 

I moved Michael in a little closer to the door, figuring that a post further away from the driveway would make things more daunting for the fool who considers stealing him.

Honestly, I’d be amused to see anyone try to take Michael. Their attempt would surely end in the same frustration that befell me. His limbs don’t lock on tightly; if you hold him the wrong way while moving him, they fall off. He’s about 6′, 3″ when he’s attached to his base. He’s slippery, bottom-heavy, and ungainly.

 

He has one job: greet the mail carrier.

 

For tonight’s brilliantly crafted horror short, I wanted to share Lane 9 with you. In addition to being done very well, it’s one of the most original films I’ve seen. This is Lane 9, Gore score: 1. Run-time: 14:52. Settle in for 15 minutes of some truly unique horror content!

 

 

The end… until Tuesday!

 

 

Laughing all the way to the blood bank. (Short Horror October, day 6 + self-pity fest!)

You know what has me worried where this whole COVID business is concerned? My blood. I have Type A blood, aka Type Higher Risk of COVID Infection with Severe Illness and Organ Failure.

Type O blood, the most common type, is Type Less Likely to Get Infected with COVID and Less Likely to Experience Severe Illness and Complications.

Type A is at higher risk of getting the virus, longer time spent in ICU, and interventions such as kidney dialysis. Type O is greater resistant to the virus, milder symptoms, less time in ICU, if any at all, and easier, faster recovery.

[::shakes fist at genes::]

I’ve also read, though, that these findings are not a reason for blood Type A people to freak out, or for blood Type O people to drop their guard. Everyone still needs to Keep Calm and Wear Their Masks and Wash Their Hands and Practice Social Distancing.

There. Now that I’ve thrown my little woe-is-me fit, we can…. Oh, wait, there’s more to this that makes me nervous, which I’ll share for those of you following my health adventures:

My lungs still haven’t fully recovered from the pneumonia I had back in January. Ten months later, my doctor found lingering tightness in my lungs when she listened to my breathing. (This was a couple of weeks ago when I went in for my flu, pneumonia, and cortisone shots.) She now has me using a nebulizer four times a day to help with my breathing, though I’m a terrible patient and I only do it once or twice.

For the most part, I’ve been ignoring my ridiculous lungs. I’m still going beastmode in my workouts, as I enjoy doing. I grabbed these screenshots from today’s self-critique video clips:

 

Self-critique, Les Mills Body Combat (21 October 2020)

 

Self-critique, Les Mills Body Combat (21 October 2020)

 

Regardless, with my age (50+), Type A blood, and long-term effects of pneumonia going on, I’m feeling a little vulnerable to the virus right about now. Doctor’s orders are to take extra precautions while I go about life. Stay home as much as possible. Avoid hanging out with people outside of my “bubble.” Avoid going out to eat, or anywhere else unnecessary, for that matter. Avoid being stressed out as much as possible.

To follow that last bit of advice, I’ll move past this topic and get on with Short Horror October, already! I’ve got your excellent horror short of the mid-week sitting right here.

This is Facility 4, Gore score: 3. Run-time: 14:53

 

 

My little rant was somewhat related to the film, wasn’t it? That was the idea.

Thank you for reading and watching and hanging out with me here, my friends.

 

 

In which we obsess. (Short Horror October, day 5 + mannequin shenanegans!)

As of a sort-of collab with my friend, there is, as of today, a mannequin dressed as Michael Myers standing in my living room.

 

Michael Myers in the house

 

He’s nowhere near as creepy as the mannequin without the mask, though, in my opinion.

 

Maskless mannequin

 

This mannequin is just a little too intense for me with that piercing stare. You have to be standing in front of it at my height in order to fully appreciate this. I was relieved to put the Michael Myers mask over its head! I’ll be further relieved when I get the mannequin to its final destination in the next day or two. For now, I’ve got Mr. Myers standing in front of the living room window.

Nenette was very suspicious just now when she walked out to the living room to inspect him, but she wasn’t too spooked. I have a little video that I took of her doing the inspecting, but it proved to be too large when I posted it here – it takes up too much space on the screen. You can’t see the top and bottom of the video without scrolling up and down, and then what’s the point? So I’m thinking that maybe I should post my videos to YouTube so I can share them here the way I do the short horror films.

Speaking of, I have two for you tonight. Have at it!

The first excellent horror short is Vexed. I’m not going to say a word about this one, because anything I tell you might ruin it for you. Gore score: 1. Run-time: 12:59

 

 

This next one’s called The Cost of Living. I wanted to include a film in the genre that it represents (you’ll soon know which one that is), and it’s less than five minutes long, so it’s a good complement to Vexed. They’ve got it labeled as a horror comedy. Honestly, I don’t see the comedy in it, but you might! Gore score: 1. Run-time: 4:27

 

 

Farewell for now, my friends!

 

 

Monster Mash. (Short Horror October, day 4 + Happy belated Indigenous Peoples’ Day, America!)

We had Monday off from work in observance of Columbus Day Indigenous Peoples’ Day, so today feels like a Tuesday. This is not a bad thing. Nenette also had the day off, though she didn’t know it. We’ve never had this particular holiday off from work before. It was good to reflect on it at home.

 

She was too chill to be mad when she woke up with a camera in her face.

 

I must say that I’m feeling a bit off my game right now, because I just spilled an enormous cup of water all over my desk. The water spared nothing in its path: computer, speaker, mousepad, floor, wall, etc. I’m actually surprised that I’m sitting here in front of the same laptop. It was thoroughly soaked, as in, I lifted it up from a puddle of water. The real horror involved in this post was watching water drip from the vents. Honestly, I’m not sure how this thing is working right now, but it is, 30 minutes and five rags later.

[NOTE TO SELF (that I shouldn’t have to make, because duh): a large, ill-placed black cup on a black desk in a dimly lit room = high disaster potential. Don’t be a dumbass.]

So let’s get straight into today’s Short Horror October selection, shall we? You’re in for something different this time, my friends. The films I’ve posted thus far have been of the paranormal horror  sub-genre, whereas this one, Latched, is a creature-feature. It’s quite original for a monster movie, or for any horror flick, for that matter. You’re not going to win any prizes if you play horror trope bingo while watching it. Also, I was impressed by the unusually sound choices made by the unusually quick-witted heroine. But enough of this! I’ll let you discover it for yourselves.

Without further ado, here’s Latched. Gore score: 3. Run-time: 16:38

 

 

Until Saturday night, then!

 

 

Taurus rising. (Short Horror October, day 3 + new Pacifica perfumes.)

Beginning with random: Have you ever noticed how a pink Himalayan salt lamp resembles another planet?

 

A planet with its interior sun

 

First, I wanted to say that Pacifica’s new Natural Origins line of vegan, cruelty-free perfumes are quite spooky and evocative. I tried out three of them today, as I’m looking for a new fragrance. They’re lovely. I’ve never written a perfume review before, and I’m not writing one now, but I’ll share my thoughts upon experimenting with these three. I jotted some short notes:

“High Vibration”
This smells like good luck.
It smells like sandalwood incense at midnight in a jasmine garden
It smells like somewhere you’d go to get a tarot reading
It smells like secrets

“Cosmosis”
This smells like my forgotten dream entombed in a bottle.
It smells like a forbidden carnival
It smells like sugared violets and berry-infused sweet cream
It smells like an afterthought

“Kindred Spirit”
This smells like an attic haunted by the ghost of an incurable romantic.
It smells like a sachet you’d tuck into the satin lining of a coffin
It smells like an immortal grandmother
It smells like a Victorian death

I can’t decide which one I like the best. They’re all beautiful as they dry down and warm to the body, and they’re so light and close to the skin that likely no one but me would be able to smell them.

~~~~~

Now! For tonight’s Short Horror October selection, I’ve got Vicious for your creepy viewing pleasure. Gore score: 1. Run-time: 11:53

 

 

Until Wednesday, my friends.

 

 

 

There wasn’t even a moon to blame. (Short Horror October, day 2 + storytime.)

“Every day is Halloween!” I came home from work today and changed my t-shirt and put a little make-up on my face and did my go-to vampire lipstick to take this derpy selfie for you:

 

Left the lipstick on my teeth because vampires don’t care if they get blood on theirs. [7 October 2020]

 

I took this pic out in my laundry room. I love it in there, and the natural lighting is ideal. I persist in my apathy when it comes to adjusting lighting and whatnot in pics. I don’t care to learn it, so I go where the light is good.

Also in the spirt of the season, let me tell you…

one of the creepiest sounds I could ever hear is that of my doorbell echoing through the house in the middle of the night, followed by the quick, rhythmic rap-rap-a-rap-rap, rap-rap! knock, and then by evenly paced, louder pounding. I’d been asleep when this happened two nights ago. I live alone. I do not answer my door when someone pounds on it after ringing the bell well after midnight. The urgency of it heightened all of my senses and propelled me out of bed.

I walked swiftly down the hallway and stopped where it opens into the living room. I waited. Nothing further. After standing on alert for a good few minutes, I went into my office and carefully raised the window blind just enough to see out from the bottom. I didn’t find anyone on my front patio, but I noticed two guys walking onto the driveway of the house directly across from me, coming from the side. They were preceded by the light of their bright flashlights, targeting the windows of the house across the street and the one on the other side further down. They also went around to the sides of the houses.

Ringing my doorbell and knocking and pounding and then walking up the street shining flashlights into my neighbors’ windows in the dead of night? Yeah, I got on the phone with Tempe Police.

The person who answered the phone told me that it’d probably been police officers at my door. She said that an intruder had broken into the house next door to me… the bro house… and the cops probably wanted my permission to enter my backyard to see whether the intruder had jumped the wall between our yards. She said that they had several officers on the scene, and she advised me to stay up and stand by in case they needed to come back over to question me.

I hung up and went back to my office window to continue spying. I did indeed count four police vehicles parked along both sides of the street, and a fifth one on the street perpendicular. I watched the cops canvassing the area, and other cops standing around in discussion. Then I went back to bed.

The next morning (yesterday morning), I drove my sleep-deprived ass to work and walked in feeling totally alert and awake, because on my short drive there, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe the person ringing my doorbell and knocking and pounding wasn’t a cop. Maybe it was the intruder, themselves! Wouldn’t the cops identify themselves with “TEMPE POLICE” while trying to get me to open the door? The woman on the phone at the station had said that it was “probably” a cop at my door. She couldn’t know for sure.

Whatever the case, the whole incident left me thinking that maybe I should get window coverings for the window and sliding glass door in my kitchen and dining rooms, because what if someone ever does jump the wall or the fence? Last thing I want is to be watched from my own backyard. My kitchen and dining room comprise a brilliant fishbowl when it’s dark outside. The situation is bad for my PTSD, in general.

~~~~

Let’s get on with today’s Short Horror October film selections, shall we?!

One of these two short films made my scalp prickle with the creeps, and the other one made me cry. It’ll be obvious which one was which after you watch them both. These excellent films are low on the gore-score.

First, I’ll present you with Klown Skool, if I may. Gore score: 1.5. Run-time: 5:47

 

 

Next, we’ve got La Noria. This one is a proverbial feast for your eyes, my friends. It’s an animated film, and it is absolutely breathtaking. I recommend that you watch this film even if you’re not a fan of horror. Gore score: 1. Run-time: 12:59

 

 

 

See you again late on Saturday night!

 

 

Let the ghoulfest begin! (Short Horror October, day 1 + little life updates)

October got off to an auspicious start when, at work, a couple of co-workers and I speculated as to whether you could claim workman’s comp for demonic possession. We weren’t even talking along the lines of October or Halloween. It came up naturally in brief, in-passing conversation. We were laughing and joking about it, of course, but in retrospect, it was a little spooky.

Here at home, I changed out the t-shirt on my office closet:

 

Michael Myers, my favorite boogeyman of lore from Halloween (1978), my favorite classic horror flick

 

Speaking of, you know how your phone will periodically display a message about system updates ready to be installed? And you can either click to start the process, or click to delay it by setting a future time? On my old phone, I could delay it as often as I needed to. On my new phone – the message recently came up for the first time – I was able to delay the updating maybe three or four times before it stopped giving me a choice. The last time the notification popped up, there was no option to delay, no way to bypass the message. The only thing I could do was click to start the system updates installation process, and my phone was out of commission until it was completed. It took a good while.

Over my annoyance, I could only think but what if I was in a horror movie with Michael Myers stalking me in the house? The updating took long enough that if I needed to call 9-1-1 in the event of a deranged intruder creeping around with a weapon, I would be dead before I could get into my phone to place the call. My phone will have decided that I delayed the system updates installation too many times, and my punishment was murder.

Truly a dangerous idiosyncrasy of the phone, if you ask me. It’s the only thing about this phone that I don’t like, but it’s an important thing. We need our phones in case of emergencies. If the phone insists on installing system updates before you can place an emergency call….

But I still love my phone. And now that I know how it is, I’ll allow the updates sooner. I’ll set it to install them while I’m sleeping. Lesson learned, Google.

Little life update: I took yesterday afternoon off to go to the V.A. to address my hand issue, and I managed to get everything done! I didn’t have to make another appointment with orthopedics after seeing my primary care doctor, after all. Ortho took me as a walk-in. All told, I got my annual physical, a flu shot in my left arm, a pneumonia shot in my right arm (recommended because I had pneumonia back in January), and the cortisone injection in my left thumb. I got stuck with all kinds of needles, and I was so happy about it. (More on the cortisone injection forthcoming.)

~~~~~

On that note, let’s talk about short horror films! I’ve been watching and selecting these excellent titles for months upon months in anticipation of Short Horror October, and today, I’m posting the first two for your spooky viewing pleasure. This year, I’m going to give each short film what I’ll call a “gore score” (on a scale of 1-10, with 1 having little to no gore, and 10 being extremely gory) as a warning to you who may not be into gore. Today’s films involve no gore at all. Turn your lights off – or down, at least, so you can properly see the pictures – and enjoy!

This first one is called Oscar’s Bell. Gore score: 1. Run-time: 11:57

 

 

Next, we have Not Alone in Here. Gore score: 1. Run-time: 6:18

 

 

More to come, my friends. Stay safe out there!

 

 

Mommy paparazzi. (Kid updates!)

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

 

That glare!

 

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

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

 

Crashed-out.

 

Crashed-out.

 

Startled awake.

 

Weird face.

 

Weird face.

 

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

 

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

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

 

She’s intense. An intense sweetheart.

 

And Geronimo, of course!

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

 

Close

 

Closer.

 

HI MOMMY I HAVE ARRIVED

 

My little dinosaur is doing well, too!

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

Happy Sunday to you, friends!

 

 

 

Moral of the story: eat more pasta.

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

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

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

So much for that.

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

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

 

Screenshot I took today of my step-counter app

 

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

Happy almost-Friday-eve, my friends!

 

 

Waiting for the wind to whistle. (September Favorites!)

Wednesday’s turning out to be a good new blog day, despite the fact that I work out on Wednesday evenings, same as I do after work on Tuesdays. Here’s my theory: Wednesday is easier because I do my Wednesday workout “with” Jessica, my friend/workout partner, on the phone. The set time for our Monday/Wednesday workouts is 5pm, but even if we push it to 5:30pm some days, I’m still more than likely going to be finished with the workout by 6:30pm. Wednesdays are structured.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, however, I’m on my own. What happens when I don’t have anyone expecting me, waiting for me, counting on my being there? I get sucked into doing other things, and next thing I know, I’m starting my workout at 7pm or later. I don’t manage my time well here at home, evidently.

Wednesday and Saturday nights, then. After so many years of Tuesday/Thursday posts, that’s how it’s shaking out here in TALC in the wake of going back to work and switching all of my workouts to evenings. I’m fine with it. I like it. I hope that you do, too.

~~~~~

We’ve arrived at the end of September, and my next post will land on the 3rd of October. OCTOBER, guys, as in SHORT HORROR OCTOBER. (!!!) It’s finally here! I’ve got a lot in the way of short horror to share in the weeks to come.

For this list of little things that I enjoyed in September, I only have one shareworthy film, and there were no new streaming series (as I continued watching Shameless throughout the month).

As for food, now that I’m looking at the list, I see that many of these items were products I’ve included in past “favorites” lists. I’m posting them anyway, though, since it’s been a while, and I enjoyed them quite a bit this last month.

[Side-note: My friend Caroline has been texting in efforts to convince me to rest my hand and to NOT post tonight! She’s straight-up trying to sabotage this post by making me laugh, blowing up my phone to keep me from writing, and letting me know that I’m a terrible mother because Nenette is being neglected as I sit here writing this. I told her I’d try to keep it short.]

Let’s get into it, then!

 

1). Host (Shudder Original film)

 

 

You might remember that I was impressed by the effectiveness of this low-budget horror flick… I mean, it actually scared me. In case you missed it, you can click here to read what I had to say about it. Highly recommend!

 

2). Kashi Whole Wheat Biscuits, Autumn Wheat (cereal). (Vegan)

 

Kashi Autumn Wheat cereal

 

(Repeated item.) Since I enjoyed this cereal throughout September, it’s worth listing it again. I love this simple cereal… it’s organic, vegan, and just barely sweet.

 

3). Frozen mango chunks. (Vegan)

 

Frozen mango chunks

 

(Repeated item.) I still enjoy eating frozen mango chunks straight out of the bag for a healthy and refreshing dessert.

 

4). Taylor Farms Sweet Kale Chopped (salad) Kit. (Vegan – without the included dressing)

 

Taylor Farms Sweet Kale Chopped (salad) Kit

 

(Repeated item.) I’ve been eating a lot of this salad as of late. It’s still my favorite pre-prepared chopped salad! I use olive oil and balsamic vinegar instead of the dressing provided in the kit, so it’s vegan and I can really taste the fresh ingredients: broccoli, green cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, radicchio, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries. Delicious!

 

5). American Flatbread Vegan Harvest frozen pizza. (Vegan)

 

American Flatbread Vegan Harvest frozen pizza

 

This frozen pizza is hands-down my favorite vegan cheese pizza. My most-favorite vegan pizza is Amy’s No Cheese, but if I’m going to get a vegan cheese pizza? THIS ONE.

 

6). Siete Grain-Free Nacho Tortilla Chips. (Vegan and Paleo)

 

Siete Grain Free Nacho Tortilla Chips

 

I expected to see a list of chemicals when I picked up these chips to inspect the ingredients panel. Instead, I saw:

Cassava Flour, Avocado Oil, Coconut Flour, Nutritional Yeast, Tomato Powder, Chia Seed, Sea Salt, Citric Acid, Garlic Powder, Jalapeño Powder, Onion Powder, Serrano Powder

My friends, I will have you know that I bought these chips and ate the entire bag myself in one weekend. I’m not sure how I feel about that. They’re not terrible for you, but they’re not exactly nutrient-dense, either. They’re a not-terrible junk food, I guess I’d say… and they’re super tasty.

 

7). Urban Decay Stay Naked Correcting Concealer. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

Urban Decay Stay Naked Correcting Concealer

 

I was going to re-purchase my NARS concealer when I finally ran out, but in the time it took for me to use it up, NARS started selling their products in China. Consequently, NARS products are no longer cruelty-free. China requires that products are tested on animals!!

One of the things I appreciated about the concealer was how perfectly the shade matched my skin tone. I found a shade in this Urban Decay line of concealers that matches well, too, and I like the formula as much as I liked NARS’… plus, it’s vegan! If you’re looking for a good vegan and cruelty-free concealer with a wide shade range – and if you’re okay with a pricier concealer – I recommend this Urban Decay line.

 

8). VEBE shock-absorbing fingerless gloves. (Ordered on Amazon)

 

VEBE shock-absorbing fingerless gloves

 

I ordered these gloves in the interest of protecting my troubled left hand at work, and I liked them so much, I bought two more pairs. One, I use for lifting weights, and the other, I keep as a clean pair for doing things in the house should I need hand protection. That extra pair also serves as a back-up. The great thing about these gloves is their shock-absorbing gel pads. They do help! They’re easy to clean, too… I throw them in the washing machine once a week, and they come out like new. I don’t know about cycling/mountain-biking (for which the gloves are marketed), but they make for great everyday work gloves and weight-lifting gloves.

That’s all I’ve got for the month, my friends. Happy OCTOBER Eve!

 

 

 

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

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

Small victories.

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope you’re having a great one!

 

 

Apropos of nothing, + Geronimo

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

Merry Sunday!

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll leave you with the trailer:

 

 

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

 

 

Well if it isn’t (wasn’t) Tuesday.

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Whole Foods deli tofu spring rolls with spicy peanut sauce

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Looking in

 

The haunted cathedral (Canterbury) hasn’t moved

 

The wall of nothingness:

By day

 

By night

 

Where I sit more of the time:

My desk in distress

 

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

Desk corner

 

Tapestry corner

 

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

 

Memorabilia corner

 

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

 

Speaking of…

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

 

A few details…

The haunted mirror in its (tapestry) corner home

 

Indoor starry night

 

Now for a closer meeting with my plant babies!

Holder:

Holder

 

Little Guy:

Little Guy

 

Thoreau:

Thoreau

 

Flamingo:

Flamingo

 

Baby Barclay:

Baby Barclay

 

Snake:

Snake

 

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

Barclay

 

Four of them along their wall!

Holder, Little Guy, Thoreau, Flamingo

 

Also, my friend Jessica gifted me with a sloth.

Resident sloth loves Flamingo

 

More details:

Thrifted bottles and goblet

 

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

The Beowulf gargoyle hasn’t moved, either

 

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

Sirus (band) – the Apocrypha album

 

And on the window sill…

My old dragon candlestick from West Germany (1987)

 

There you have it.

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

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

 

 

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

Why hello there, weekenders.

Well!

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

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

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

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

Eh.

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

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

 

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

 

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

Happiest of weekend vibes going out to you!

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Roasted Brussels sprouts with steamed cold Japanese sweet potato

 

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

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

The End.

 

 

Rain at last!

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

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

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

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

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

 

First monsoon storm of 2020 – Thursday, August 20

 

Whether verbena or lantana, this is a hardy plant.

 

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