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

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

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

Enjoy!

 

1). Snowpiercer (Netflix)

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

4). Ju-On: Origins (Netflix)

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

6). Red Dog (Amazon Prime)

 

 

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

 

7). Shameless (Netflix)

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Body Lotion with Songyi Mushroom

 

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

 

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

 

Shea Moisture Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-in Treatment

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The End. Enjoy your weekend, friends!

 

 

 

Ahem.

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

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

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

 

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

 

Thanks for hanging with me, friends!

 

 

I don’t take naps.

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

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

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

But there were no spoilers.

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

 

 

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

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

We’ll see.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Here’s what the site looked like on Wednesday:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy WEEKEND eve, my friends.

 

 

 

Blog fail tonight.

Ahem.

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

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

 

I call this the Dr. Seuss tree.

 

Tomorrow night, then.

Happy Friday, all!

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

First, though, we have short hair!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Testing, testing. [28 July 2020]

 

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

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

 

[28 July 2020]

 

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

 

[28 July 2020]

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(you figure out which is which)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Every weird feeling is (…)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

so there’s that.

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

New times.

So.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, neither do I.

 

too late baby

 

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

Happy Friday Eve, my friends.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Think positively.

 

 

Nenette’s triggers.

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

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

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

 

Nenette and her doomed water glass.

 

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

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

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

Nenette is mainly afraid of:

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

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

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

Happy Friday Eve, my friends!

 

 

Blessings. (AZ Monsoon 2020!)

Things I’m looking forward to:

–My next workout

–Going to work tomorrow

–The next horror movie I watch

–Falling asleep to the sound of Nenette purring

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

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

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

Nature prevails.

 

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

That is all.

 

 

June 2020 Favorites!

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

Without further ado, then:

 

1). Z (Shudder Original Film)

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

4). Cursed Films (Shudder Original Series)

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Pacifica Island Vanilla Perfumed Hair and Body Mist

 

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

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

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

Happy Friday Eve, everyone!

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

For those of you unfamiliar with this series of poems:

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

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

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

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

 

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 7

Phone girlfriend wanted
Music at bar
6Blocks away

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

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

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

Smoking car
Body in SCW
Nirvana Dispensary 11ish

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe try this:

Something you’ve never thought of doing before.

And know this:

All jobs do not suck.

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

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

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

I’m working on it. I’ll get there.

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

The universe has a sense of humor.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Please to let this slide. (The Grunge.)

Hello, my friends. I’m taking this blog post to Tuesday, at which point I’ll have sorted out my new schedule. I need this weekend to start preparing for this space, well, over the weekend!

Last weekend, my plans for today’s post were derailed by our broken-down washing machine. I spent most of my “free” time taking everything out of the laundry room and cleaning the space for the benefit of the washing machine technician (more for the benefit of my pride), and let me tell you.

Maybe not. If you live in the desert and have an outdoor laundry room, I don’t have to tell you. If you know, you know. If you don’t know: we have dust here.

Also, I’m not good at cleaning the laundry room, which is to say that I never do. When you have an outdoor laundry room in the desert and you never clean it, you end up writing in your blog that you don’t have a real blog post because you were finally forced to clean the laundry room due to a washing machine, and it turns out that the cleaning of a severely neglected outdoor desert laundry room engulfs the weekend most glamorously.

See, if I’d cleaned the laundry room on a regular basis (or at all), I wouldn’t have to replace an actual blog post with an admission that I never clean the laundry room, and that’s why we’re here. NOW YOU KNOW TOO MUCH.

This is not an excuse. Life will always happen; I just wasn’t prepared in the first place. My plans weren’t derailed by the washing machine. They were derailed by me not cleaning the laundry room, like, ever.

But I’m slowly fitting the pieces of my new life into a new shape. I will figure it out. I’m suddenly reconciling a 40-hour work week with five days of workouts and all of the regular things that need to get done.

I wish I could at least share with you the glorious news that my laundry room is now clean, but alas. It was in such a state that I couldn’t get it as clean as it could be. That will have happen after the washing machine technician does his work on Wednesday.

If my life was a horror movie, it would be called The Grunge.

 

 

 

The Geronimo updates I’ve been promising. (Desert tortoise update!)

It’s mid-June. I say “Where’s Geronimo?” More than I ask “Where are we going, Geronimo?”

Because we’ve reached the point in the desert summer where he’s scarce for days at a time, entombing himself deep in his burrow in order to stay cool. He was nowhere to be found all last week. On Saturday afternoon, my daily peek into his burrow was met with Geronimo sitting inside, just at the entrance. At long last!

He didn’t look good. My sweet reptile son was listless and encrusted with mud, and it seemed that he could barely open his eyes. He’s obviously dehydrated, said my maternal instinct. Perhaps severely. I leaped into mommy-emergency-mode.

Geronimo has access to the “watering hole” (the large dish that we keep filled with water for the wildlife as well as for Geronimo and Salem), but – to my consternation – he never goes in on his own. I quickly dumped it, rinsed it, filled it with fresh water just cooler than lukewarm, and ran back to Geronimo’s burrow. I snatched him out and hurried him back to the watering hole.

I put him in the water nose-first. That’s how he realizes that he’s thirsty… water touching his nose. When I set him down, he submerged his head and kept it underwater for a good long minute, just drinking and drinking. I’d never seen him hold his head underwater for that long, or drink so much water all at once.

Mud swirled around him. I waited for him to surface before I lifted him out to rinse and re-fill the dish. He promptly dunked his head again and drank and drank and drank as I poured water over his head and back.

I’m not exactly a helicopter parent, but I admit to being the hand-wringing sort. In this case, I had good reason to wring my hands. What if I hadn’t checked on him? He was just sitting there. He wasn’t coming out to drink the water that he so clearly needed.

Geronimo’s eyes were wide open when he climbed out of his dish. He was beautifully clean and smooth! I hoped that he would stay out and walk around so he could dry off, but he went directly home to his burrow, of course. Straight back into the dirt, soaking wet.

The next day, Sunday, I found him at the entrance of his burrow again, predictably covered in mud. His eyes were open and he looked a little livelier, but I repeated the soaking process. He held his head underwater and drank as if the day before hadn’t happened. He blew bubbles through his nostrils as I rinsed him all over. Callaghan joined the party. I held Geronimo up, and Callaghan hosed off his undercarriage.

That time, Geronimo went around the yard and ate, starting with the kale I brought out for him. Have I mentioned that kale is his new thing? He still loves Romaine lettuce, but kale is his favorite treat now! He happily ate kale, hibiscus flowers and leaves, grasses and weeds. He doesn’t eat the verbena, but he likes to sniff them.

 

Hello.

 

I’ve got a few video clips, if you’re interested. In the one where he’s walking back to his burrow, I’d gotten in front of him to retreat at his pace with my phone recording his walk. He’s faster than he looks. Before that, there was a lot of “Where are we going, Geronimo?” happening all over the yard as he foraged.

I love to walk him back to his burrow and tuck him in.

 

 

 

 

That’s the latest, my friends. Geronimo’s favorite time of year is coming up: monsoon season! I’ll be back with another update after he revels in the first summer storm of 2020.

 

 

Ch- ch- ch- CHANGES. (Involving active-duty Army flashbacks… in a good way.)

Get this! I started A JOB on Wednesday (yesterday), as in, I leave the house in the morning and return in the late afternoon. I’m not working from home.

This came as a surprise to me, too, though I’d been hoping for it… I really wanted this position at my new company (which shall not be named). What I mean, I guess, is that it happened suddenly. I did a phone interview on Monday, went for a drug/alcohol test a few hours later, got the call with the clean result and job offer on Tuesday, and started work on Wednesday. Today was my second day.

I totally deviated from my administrative norm with this one. This job is different than anything I’d done in my entire life, though it does remind me of my military service in many ways.

Without going into specifics, I’ll share the aspects of the job that remind me of my active-duty Army days (peacetime/garrison): 1. I don’t have a commute; 2. I wear a standard daily uniform (my usual: jeans, t-shirts, and combat boots); 3. I’m nowhere near a computer all day; 4. I’m nowhere near a desk all day (I’m on my feet and constantly on the move); 5. They sent me for a piss test. 6. I feel like I’m volunteering, but I’m getting paid for it; 7. I still work out every day, the only difference being that I do my PT after work instead of before; 8. I’m not working for the man; and 9). the way my manager runs the place very much reminds me of Army active duty. He’s like an NCO. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d served.

I love this job.

The only downside is that I’m away from my Nenette all day. We both especially miss our morning bonding time. Nenette is my daughter, my official feline companion animal (as designated by the V.A. for my PTSD). I miss her. I miss her, I miss her, I miss her, I miss her, I miss her. I also miss Geronimo, though he’s been nowhere to be seen all week. [!!!-???]

 

Today: at home, post-workout, post-work. [11 June 2020]

 

So that’s the news, my friends. My mission now is to settle into a routine that allows for housecleaning and such. I had domestic projects on my agenda, and suddenly, I have no time in which to do them. I’ll carve out some time one way or the other.

Happy Friday Eve!

 

 

 

 

Little Things. (May Favorites.)

I wasn’t sure whether I was going to post a “May Favorites,” to be honest. I had my running list, but in light of the critically important matters of the day, the idea of a “favorite little things” post just seemed ridiculous and self-indulgent.

I decided to post it, though I’m without many words. I’m sorry for this, for the fact that my heart just isn’t in it. My heart has been broken and flung to far more worthwhile places, along with millions of other hearts. I’ve been preoccupied with wanting to do my part as an ally in the Black Lives Matter movement. By this, I mean that I want to do more. I’m unsure of how. I’ve been educating myself. I’ve donated. It doesn’t feel like enough. I’m going to continue with my education, that’s for sure.

Here are those Little Things that I enjoyed in May:

 

1). El Camino: A Breaking Bad Story (Netflix)

 

 

Somehow, it’d escaped us that there was a movie continuing Jesse Pinkman’s story after the conclusion of Breaking Bad. We rectified the oversight, and we were glad that we did. Breaking Bad fans, if you haven’t seen El Camino: A Breaking Bad Story, you really must. Those of you who haven’t seen Breaking Bad: don’t bother with this. It’s excellent, but it’ll only make sense if you’ve seen the series.

(Also, if you haven’t seen Breaking Bad yet, WHY NOT? It hasn’t been over-hyped. It can’t be hyped enough.)

 

2). Alps (Amazon Prime rental)

 

 

 

I only got to one of the Yorgos Lanthimos films on my list, and Alps was it. I found it to be as bizarre, thought-provoking, risky, and lyrically semiotic as Dogtooth, The Lobster, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer. The next film of his I plan to watch is The Favourite, which I believe is his most commonly known film.

 

3). Ingrid Goes West (Amazon Prime rental)

 

 

I went for this film because of Aubrey Plaza, and her performance was as satisfying to watch as I’d thought it would be. Parks and Recreation fans could imagine how she’d own the role of a stalker. I think that this indie film would be enjoyable to many, but it’s a must-watch for social media influencers.

 

4). The Ritual (Netflix)

 

 

A proper horror flick seemed appropriate at the time that I watched this film on Netflix. It was rather “eh” to me, but it proved its worth in terms of my love for the cabin/camping-in-the-woods sub-genre of horror. As mediocre as I thought it was, I was in the mood for it. It worked. If you’re also a fan of this sort of horror, you might enjoy escaping into this film, too.

 

5). Hannah Gadsby’s Douglas (Netflix)

 

 

 

This Netflix comedy special also proved to be the right thing at the right time, and I found it to be excellent. It came recommended to me by a friend (thank you, April!), and I second her recommendation.

 

6). Dead to Me (S2) (Netflix)

 

 

Dead to Me: for when you want some light and funny with your crime. I was there for it, and also for the outstanding acting performances. I love the writing in this series, as well.

 

7). Bordertown (Sorjonen) (S3) (Netflix)

 

 

We enjoy Scandinavian noir, in general, but Bordertown (original title: Sorjonen) is our favorite project within this sub-genre of crime thriller. With its third and final season, its creators deftly wrapped up the series. They took the development of Kari Sorjonen’s eccentric character as far as they could. Story-wise, they left things exactly the way I would’ve wanted them to be left, though I didn’t know what that would look like until they did it. This is a great series, in general, but I’d especially recommend it to you if you’re new to Scandinavian noir.

 

9). JASON Calming Lavender Body Wash. (vegan and cruelty-free)

 

JASON Calming Lavender Body Wash

 

I used up all of my body washes from The Body Shop and decided to look to the drugstore shelves for another aromatic option. JASON is a brand that’s never missed the mark for me; I usually re-purchase the products of theirs that I try. This body wash will be no exception. I find its scent to be more crisp and invigorating than calming, but I like it nonetheless.

 

10). Pacific Shaving Company Natural Shaving Cream. (vegan and cruelty-free)

 

Pacific Shaving Company Natural Shaving Cream

 

Kiss My Face finally returned their vegan/cruelty-free shaving cream to their stock, but before I could realize that, I went looking through Callaghan’s products. He’d started using this Natural Shaving Cream, and I had no idea that it was vegan and cruelty-free! This is just a good product. I recommend it.

 

That about does it, my friends. Until Thursday!

 

 

15 questions: book trivia! (Reading for pleasure.)

Today, I’m finally posting that survey/quiz/meme about books. I love reading these when people do them; they offer some insight into the person giving the answers. You might dig this if you’re into reading for pleasure, or if you’re just curious about Yours Truly.

Have at it!

1). Favorite novel: He, She and It, by Marge Piercy

2). Favorite work of non-fiction: War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, by Chris Hedges

3). Most recent novel read: The Girls, by Emma Cline (excellent and chilling historical fiction ostensibly about the Manson murders)

4). Favorite underrated horror novel: Rose Madder, by Stephen King

5). Novel I’d want to see as a movie: The Secret History, by Donna Tartt. (I wish they’d made that one into a film rather than The Goldfinch, though the latter is also a brilliant novel that I enjoyed.)

6). Favorite fictional hero: Jack Reacher (creation of author Lee Child)

7). Favorite fictional hero novel of all time: Gone Tomorrow, by Lee Child (Jack Reacher novel)

8). Favorite work of creative non-fiction: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt

9). Favorite vampire novel: Dark Dance, by Tanith Lee

10). Favorite comfort/guilty pleasure re-read: Dark Dance, by Tanith Lee

11). Favorite fictional mythological world: Harry Potter (author J.K. Rowling)

12). Favorite fiction genres: horror, crime, mystery, historical fiction

13). Favorite non-fiction genres: biography; music; astrology; philosophy

14). Favorite foreign author: Amélie Nothomb (Belgian)

15). Literary tribute name you would give your dog/cat: If I were to adopt three male cats, I would name them Edgar, Allen, and Poe.

Along these lines, I’ve got an office preview pic for you. Why yes, I overhauled my office again. I wasn’t planning on doing a whole redecorating job… it just kind of happened. More on this later!

 

Office update 2020 (preview)

 

The End.

 

 

Lounging like a lizard/smiling like it never happened! (Post-op update 5 – the last!)

Hello, my friends. I have a little update from yesterday, and one from today. They’re complete opposites.

Yesterday:

Wiped-out.

My pain med schedule around the clock broke my sleep into two and four-hour chunks, and after several days of that, it showed. I did my makeup carefully, but no amount of concealer was going to disguise my tired eyes as alert eyes. I had an appointment, and I wanted alert eyes to show that I’m an alert person! I gratefully took my undereye bags and dark circles with me and tried to come across as alert. It was an evening appointment.

(I wish my brain could’ve been more alert yesterday, too. I did the best I could with the few intact brain cells that I had.)

I rested when I could during the day. The post-op instruction sheet said that I could remove the stent while “sleeping or lounging”; I had to lounge, because I can’t take naps. When I lounge, though, I lounge. I excel at it. I can lounge with the best of the lizards. I’m a true reptile mom.

 

Brain-dead and lounging. [27 May 2020]

Still brain-dead and lounging. [27 May 2020]

 

Today:

Elated!!!

Despite Saturday morning’s blood-gushing shenanigans, the doctor found everything to be great when he examined me this morning. My nine days of healing had not been undone. He REMOVED MY STITCHES and gave me the go-ahead to WORK OUT!!!

I’ll be back in the garage lifting weights on Saturday morning!

This surgical experience turned out to be nothing like November’s, and I’m so incredibly grateful for that. I still have pain on the roof of my mouth, but it’s tolerable with the ibuprofen and acetaminophen. I came home and tentatively ate a slice of bread with peanut butter and jelly! By “tentatively,” I mean I chewed on the left side. The tissue was removed from my right side. I’ll continue chewing on the left side for awhile.

 

Today: Stitches-free and waking up! [28 May 2020]

 

Remember how November’s surgery post-op updates went on and on and on? Not this time. This one is the last, and since both my upper and lower gums have been done now, it’s the LAST last.

Thank you so much to all of you who’ve left sweet comments on my social media, and to all of you who take the time to read my posts. It means the world to me.

Happy Friday Eve, All!

 

 

Complications messing with my plans. (Post-op update 4.)

I hit a little snag in my surgery recovery over the weekend. My mouth filled up with blood immediately after I got out of bed on Saturday morning.

As I’d learned from the steel door incident last summer, it’s awkward trying to control a bleed when it’s coming fast. My mouth kept filling up and filling up, and every tissue I shoved in came out soaked, and I had to do it quickly because the bleeding was constant, and I found out that it’s really tricky to continuously stuff tissues in and out of your mouth without getting blood everywhere while calling the doctor’s office and writing down the after-hours emergency phone number and then hanging up and calling that new number that’s not saved in your phone. I stopped with the tissues just long enough to gargle my brief message through a mouthful of blood when the emergency voicemail picked up. Do these kinds of post-op snafus ever NOT happen on a weekend?

Fortunately, the blood wasn’t coming from my graft. It was coming from my palette, the tissue-harvesting site on the roof of my mouth. The transplant site is fine.

It’s an excellent doctor who calls you back within two minutes of leaving a message, let me tell you. Have I mentioned before that my doctor is excellent? He is. He called right away and calmly made sure I knew that this isn’t an uncommon event, that the palette can and does re-open and gush blood. It was reassuring that he said “gush” when I hadn’t described it that way, because it meant that he was familiar with this scenario. This truly is a thing that happens.

He asked me whether I’d done anything that would’ve elevated my heart-rate. I said no, but thinking of it later, I guess I made the mistake of doing too much while not wearing my stent. I’m only supposed to have the stent out while I’m “sleeping or lounging.” I’d had it out the day before while I was doing things around the house, i.e. light cleaning. If I’d then had restless dreams that created tension in my mouth or caused me to press my tongue to the roof of my mouth, that could’ve done it.

Anyway, it all ended well. I followed the doctor’s instructions, and twenty minutes later, the bleeding stopped. The problem was fixed, over, and done within half an hour. He told me to put my stent back in and leave it in for 48 hours straight, as I did at the very beginning.

And that’s what brought me to the challenge of steering my mental state back toward the positive: I’m worried that I’m back at the beginning, since the clotting came undone after nine days of healing. Will it take another nine days to get to that point again? Or has the wound healed enough from the inside such that it’s not as deep now, so the healing can pick up where it left off? I’ll find out when I go for my two-week follow-up on Thursday.

In any case, the incident created a set-back that disrupts my plans. You know how I feel about my plans. I admit that it’s been a bit tough keeping my spirits up.

I was so confident when I checked in with you last Thursday, too!

I miss actual food, and I don’t know why I torture myself watching mukbangs on YouTube when I can’t eat.

Speaking of food, I did decide to step on the scale this morning. I was ready for it: I’ve lost six pounds. I’m back down to 115. I’d figured as much, even though I’ve been trying to consume more calories this time around. At least my nutrition is solid, and I know that I’ll regain the weight soon once I can eat normally again and get back to lifting weights. Of that, I’m 100% confident.

I added that last sentence lest this post dissolve into the whine-fest I didn’t want to write. I actually wasn’t going to share this incident here at all, but you’re here with me on my gum-grafting surgery adventure because I brought you along! I’m keeping it real.

On a happier note from Saturday morning, I went back to bed after the bleeding stopped and woke up to find Nenette sleeping on the pillow next to me. This is what I saw when I opened my eyes:

 

My sweet daughter purring on the pillow next to me.

 

I’ll have another update after my Thursday appointment! I hope you guys are having a great start to your week!

 

 

Healing like a boss + selfies with Geronimo! (Post-op update 3!)

Today was a largely wonderful, magical, splendiferous day for two major reasons:

1). My doctor was very pleased when he examined my healing progress this morning! This surgery’s one-week, post-op scenario proved to be the complete opposite of November’s. Despite the hydroxychloroquine I’m continuing to take, everything is healing and knitting together “beautifully” and right on track. I go back next week for my two-week post-op. That’s when I might get my stitches removed.

Thing 1: The doctor said it’s possible that my healing took longer in November because my body simply wasn’t eager to accept the cadaver tissue. We used my own tissue this time, so my body’s like, oh, okay, I know YOU. Come on in.

Thing 2: I’m still at pain levels that involve looking at the clock every other hour to see when I can take another dose of ibuprofen or acetaminophen, but it is getting better.

Thing 3: I haven’t weighed myself.

Before my home workouts, I weighed 115. After five weeks of lifting heavier weights and doing more cardio workouts at home, I weighed 121 (pre-surgery weight). If anything has happened to those gains in the last week, I don’t want to know about it. I mean, it’s inevitable that I’m going to lose some weight, but I’d just rather not see it on the scale, you know?  I’m confident that I’m not going to end up with another 7-lb loss! I’ve learned. I’m making a much greater effort to force down more substantial food this time around, even though it hurts and it’s gross.

Speaking of working out, I still can’t. I thought I might be able to do Pump this Saturday, but I have to wait another week, and I’m totally okay with that. The doctor explained that elevating my heart-rate would disturb the progress of the little blood vessels that are busy growing and connecting, and if that happens, the transplant could fail. I’m feeling confident that I’ll get back to Pump next week Saturday! It’s not going to take over a month, as it did last time. Resuming my workouts sooner rather than later is going to help a lot with maintaining my weight, too, obviously.

All told: Things are going well, and I’m feeling confident.

2). I got some selfies with my son this afternoon!!!

 

I’ve got that tortoise-mom glow going on

 

He’s smiling!! I love, love, love being a tortoise mom, a reptile mom, Geronimo’s mom! I have this other pic wherein Geronimo’s looking straight at the camera:

 

My baby boy

 

I can’t with this guy. My heart can’t contain the love that I have for him.

For lighting contrast, here’s a selfie that I took in my office this morning:

 

Hi from my office

 

The vagaries of lighting, right?! I’m wearing the same make-up and everything in these pics that were all taken today, but morning/indoors/daylight face looks totally different, hue-wise, than afternoon/outdoors/shade face. (Photographed in bright, direct sunlight, Nenette’s fur is amazing. You can really see it. I wish I could capture it more often.)

Happy Friday Eve, my friends!

OH! Wait! I wanted to share this video with you, because it’s made me so happy all week:

 

 

Okay, now I’m out.

 

 

Non-narcotic pain med combo FYI. (Post-op update 2!)

It’s now been six days since my gum-grafting surgery. Can I just say that I AM SO GLAD THIS IS THE END OF IT. We have upper gums and lower gums, and now that both of mine have been grafted, I am done.

Days 1-3 weren’t too terrible. I was happy that things didn’t seem as difficult as they were after my November surgery! Days 4-present, though, have been kind of rough. I stopped trying to take it day by day and started congratulating myself on getting from six hours to six hours. I can take an 800 mg ibuprofen (Advil) every six hours. The dose lessens the pain somewhat, but three hours in, I’m looking at the clock in desperation.

Other than intense pain, it’s really not so bad, and I’m thankful for that. I don’t have much in the way of bruising this time… just a little bit around my eyes, and a little beneath my chin. I’m not nearly as swollen and misshapen as I was in November. I’m not having to contend with the uncomfortable sensation of my gums suffocating beneath a thick band of foreign (cadaver) tissue.

But the pain, man.

The worst part of the pain comes from the roof of my mouth. From the looks of it, the doctor carved pretty deep into my palette to get the strip of tissue he needed. It certainly doesn’t feel like a mere “bad pizza burn” on the roof of my mouth, has he’d said it would. Doctors are hilarious in how they understate things like that, aren’t they? Hilarious and creative.

Callaghan took a pic of the tissue-removal site, but I’m thinking it’s kind-of-maybe too gory to post here, so I’ll refrain. Instead, I’m posting a video clip I took this morning. OH – those of you who follow me on Instagram, I’m sorry if you were around during my attempts to post the video to stories. It failed, obviously.

I recorded this after I woke up the second time today, just after noon. I threw on some clothes and sat down to tell you about my spectacular re-discovery: you can use both acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) for pain control, either alternating them or taking them together. I knew this, but I’d forgotten! If you’re also narcotics-challenged, this is good for you to know in the event that you have surgery.

Not sure why I’ve been inclined to film myself talking when it hurts to talk, but I have been, so I’m going with it. Again, I’m sorry for being less than clear. It sounds like I’m saying “i-be-profen” rather than “i-bu-profen,” so please forgive me for that. The best thing about the video is that Nenette appears in it, and she had no idea! We’re both looking a little pasty due to our lighting being less than ideal, as usual, but you can kind of see her colors.

 

 

That’s all I’ve got for today, friends. I hope your week’s off to a great start!

 

 

Gum-grafting surgery is over. It went well. (ALSO, Body Combat 82 is EVERYTHING.)

Coming at you from the glorious place that is AFTER my LAST gum-grafting surgery! It’s over, and I’m so glad. I’m feeling good, even. [::knocks wood::]

The highlight of the week, though, was yesterday afternoon’s Body Combat workout that I did as a phone meet-up with my friend. We did #82, which is officially my favorite Combat release of all time. I love everything about that release, including its tracklist and how the music goes perfectly with the workout segments. I’ve never loved a Body Combat release in its entirety from beginning to end. I’ve never had a “favorite” release, like I have in Body Pump. (Body Pump #101 is my favorite, if you must know.)

I was still wearing the makeup I’d put on in the morning before going to get my teeth cleaned.

It was a coincidence that my dental cleaning was the day before my oral surgery, and it was also a coincidence that makeup day fell on Body Combat day. The only time I’ve ever worn makeup to the gym was for Combat, because my Combat classes were evening classes, when I already had makeup on. No one in Body Pump (morning classes only, for me) has ever seen me there in makeup… except for that one time on Halloween, when we dressed up.

After Combat, I stuck my face in front of the phone for a selfie (aka video clip from which I snapped a screenshot, haha, sorry again for the graininess). My post-Combat face is always the same: satisfied, sweaty, and smeared with makeup.

 

Post-Combat. [13 May 2020]

 

I put the phone in front of my face again this afternoon, shortly after my surgery. I talked into the camera and posted it to my insta story. I’m mostly incoherent.

 

 

Those last words before I signed off were “I’m out of it,” as if that wasn’t obvious.

I’m so thankful that I don’t feel nearly as bad this time as I did after the November surgery. I have high hopes for a faster recovery!

On that note, I hope you’re all doing well. Happy Friday Eve!

 

 

 

Coronapocalypse quarantine week 9. (SURPRISE! I’m having surgery this week.)

Since yesterday, Arizona’s confirmed virus case-count has increased by 356, and our body-count has increased by 20. At 11,736 cases and 562 deaths, our numbers are still rising, and yet our governor is barreling ahead with his plan to lift our stay-at-home order this Friday. Expert, scientific data provided by our “universities’ model – an Arizona-specific model created by 23 researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Arizona – has projected that the only way to avoid a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases is to wait to reopen at the end of May.” Instead of considering Arizona’s data-driven projections in making his decision, our governor fired his state’s team of scientists and is now deferring to the federal data, whatever that may be.

We’re at the mercy of the inevitable percentage of Arizonans who will run back out into the world like “THE VIRUS IS OVER! THE VIRUS IS OVER!” when in fact, it’s far from over.

I’ll stay at home, regardless. Due to sudden, unforeseen circumstances of which I’m not yet at liberty to speak, I’m having my gum-grafting surgery this Thursday, as in the day after tomorrow!

I’ve been taking my hydroxycholoroquine all this time, but it’s too late to stop it now (I read that the drug stays in your system for two months after you stop taking it), so there’s no use in worrying about it. I’ll just be prepared for another prolonged healing process.

Also, I’ve been warned that my face will bruise more severely this time, because they’ll be taking tissue from the roof of my mouth. (New readers: they used cadaver tissue when I had my upper row done in November.) November’s bruises stayed on my face for weeks. I don’t want people to call the authorities when they see my face, so I’ll probably stay at home until mid-June.

And that is how you impose a stay-at-home order.

I’m going to miss food.

My post-surgery goal this time is to not lose weight. I don’t know how I’m going to manage this, but I’m going to try. I also hope to get back into my workouts in two weeks or less. Now that I’m working out at home, I don’t have to worry about people seeing my face.

Today, I extra-enjoyed my usual afternoon snack of raw almonds with crunchy, toasted chickpeas and a pear. I’ll extra-extra enjoy it tomorrow, because that’ll be the end of it for a while.

 

Current favorite snack combo: raw almonds and toasted, crunchy chickpeas with sea salt

…and a piece of fruit

 

I hope you’re all doing well!

 

 

7 movies, 3 series. (April Favorites!)

April was halfway-to-October month, as in, halfway to SHORT HORROR OCTOBER. Hence, I took it upon myself to watch more in the way of horror shorts than usual. It’s my responsibility, after all, to bring you the best in short horror when October comes around. As selective as I’m trying to be, I have 12 short films on my list so far. This number will probably (at least) double in the next six months, so you’ll likely get several horror shorts per post in October. I’m looking at the list and seeing nothing that I want to cut.

That aside, I’m here to tell you about the feature films and series that we/I watched in April, because that’s all that’s on my list this time. There were no new food items or products to try in April.

We were glad to be able to catch the three movies we’d wanted to watch in theaters in the last six months. As a wonderful coincidence, they’re all set on or in the ocean: The Lighthouse, Aquaman, and Underwater.

Then, Netflix dropped an original movie, Extraction, which readily delivered the sort of entertainment you expect and want from a high-octane action movie.

Also in April, I discovered the dark, arthouse films of Greek writer/director/producer Yorgos Lanthimos, whose work held my fascination for days after viewing it. I watched The Killing of a Sacred Deer, went on to The Lobster, and then to Dogtooth. One after the other, the films drew me into their simple yet elaborately designed little worlds, each one small in scope, grand in situation, and surreal on any scale. The minimalism of Lanthimos’ cinematic style is interesting, too, in the way that it isolates the story, with you in front of it like the proverbial fly on the wall – you can either walk away, or allow yourself to become engrossed in the material that’s ultimately thought-provoking, often macabre, and sometimes perverse. I found myself caught up in the spare complexity of Lanthimos’ excellent films with their carefully crafted, awkward characters. The only film of his I’d heard about in the mainstream was The Favorite. I’ll get to that one eventually, but the next two I plan to watch will be Alps and Kinetta.

As for series, Ozark’s third season dropped in April, along with The Terror: Infamy (season 2 of The Terror) and the Netflix mini-series Unorthodox. 

On with the list, then! The first four, I watched with Callaghan. The rest, I watched alone. (I’m going to start making that distinction.)

 

First, the “recently in theaters” from newest to oldest:

1). Underwater (Amazon Prime)

 

 

2). Aquaman (Amazon Prime)

 

 

3). The Lighthouse (Amazon Prime)

 

 

 

Next, the Netflix Original:

4). Extraction (Netflix Original Movie)

 

 

 

(That wraps up the four that I watched with Callaghan!)

Now for Yorgos Lanthimos’ excellent films:

5). The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Netflix)

 

 

6). The Lobster (Netflix)

 

 

7). Dogtooth (original title: Kynodontas) (Amazon Prime)

 

 

These last three on the list are series, which I found to be outstanding:

8). Ozark (S3) (Netflix)

 

 

9). The Terror: Infamy (S2) (Hulu)

 

 

10). Unorthodox (Netflix)

 

 

That does it for April, my friends. Happy Friday Eve!

 

 

 

Coronapocalypse quarantine week 8. (Fitness updates!)

I finally have fitness updates for you who’ve asked for them, and for anyone else who’s interested!

Our garage gym is at the top of the list of things for which I’m incredibly grateful during this quarantine. The virus has changed everything about my fitness regimen, and in a good way. I’m still doing Les Mills workouts via their On Demand (online) home workout subscription, but I’m using different equipment and lifting heavier than I was before. On the cardio side, I’m solidly back into Body Combat, and I’ve added a new class. I do three days of weights and three days of cardio per week, minimum.

It’s heating up outside, but that’s what the living room is for when I go to do my afternoon cardio workouts! Mornings are cool enough to comfortably lift weights in the garage.

I’m loving doing three of my six weekly workouts “with” my friend Jessica. Since our gym closed and we haven’t been able to hang out in Saturday morning Body Pump, we’ve been hanging out on the phone during Saturday morning Body Pump, instead. We both have home gym set-ups and Les Mills On Demand. We get on the phone in front of our online class and hit “play” at the same time and put our phones on speaker. We don’t talk during the workouts. It’s an invisible companionship and accountability thing. We have to show up, because the other one is expecting us. It’s rad.

Other changes:

–The new cardio class I added to my regimen is Body Step. (Thank you for suggesting it, Jessica!) The step and four risers are the only equipment I’ve had to purchase.

Those of you who’ve been here a while, remember when I tried to establish myself in a Sunday morning step class? I made the effort because it was the only other cardio class that fit into my schedule, but I didn’t love step enough to want to give up my Sundays. It’s different now that I can customize my schedule, and also, my new step aerobics experience is insane in the way that I like my cardio. The reason, of course, is that it’s Les Mills.

Step aerobics: We’re going to kick your butt with our hardcore workout!
Les Mills Bodystep: Hold my water.

Les Mills incorporates squats, lunges, regular burpees, snatch burpees, push-ups, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, and variations of dynamic planks into their step choreography… and that’s just what I’ve seen so far. They also have you pick up a weight plate or two from time to time.

In other words, Les Mills Body Step is not your grandmother’s step aerobics class.

–Body Pump: I’ve ditched the barbell, and, along with it, my February whim of sticking with light weights. I’m now lifting the heaviest dumbbells possible in our barbell-less garage, as in, “to failure” in every Body Pump track. We have dumbbells up to 30 lbs, so I can start heavy and quickly drop my weights down to lighter ones when I need to.

The luxury is that I no longer have to decide beforehand what weights I’m going to use in the next hour so can bring them to my spot on the floor. If I want to change my weights during the track, I don’t have to run back and forth to the equipment area, disturbing others while weaving around them. Body Pump is fast-paced lifting (which is why light weights are also effective), so the track would be over by the time I’d get back to my spot with the new weights. Neither do I have to worry about being that person spreading into neighboring peoples’ spaces with my cluster of weights.

All of the weights are within reach, and they’re dumbbells, so I don’t have to waste time messing with the barbell. I can do drop-sets easily, and so I do.

Dumbbell-only Body Pump is also intense and challenging because it involves more in the way of stabilization, I’ve noticed. I feel like I’m working my core a lot more with the hand weights.

 

Post-workout selfie [05/05/2020]

 

Bad lighting, I know. I’m totally washed-out here! I can’t technically explain the blinding whiteness of my right leg, but my apologies to your eyes. I’m standing in front of the open back door, peering down into my phone that was situated on a case of emergency water at about stomach-level. I’m rarely thrilled with the lighting in my pics, but I’ve yet to develop an interest in learning how to fix it, so that’s on me.

ALSO, I cut my bangs again, and I’m not hating it.

April Favorites coming Thursday!