Equinox greetings – and hello, Halloween season!

Exciting times! It’s fall, it’s autumn, it’s Mabon (if you follow the Wheel of the Year). I wanted to post here yesterday when it was officially the first day of the new season. It was the start of the dark months – for those of us living in the northern hemisphere, anyway. But this transition being an equinox means that in both the northern and southern hemispheres, whether we’re moving into the dark months from the light, or into the light months from the dark, we’re all balanced at the edge of one as we move into the other. I love this. I love the equinoxes.

For me, personally (and somehow in the fall more than in the spring), the equinox is a time to energetically perceive and appreciate the balance of light and dark… and so it’s a time that has me feeling an especially deep connection with the divine in nature. I think this is because the temporal balance between the light months and the dark ones inspires me to examine what’s balanced in my life; I find myself in a place of introspection where I can evaluate what changes I need to make in order to achieve balance as a whole. I know that I’m imperfect and I always will be, but still, I try to be a better human being as I walk this Earth. The angst that comes with surviving the trials of this mortal coil comes to light as the year turns dark, and I look inward in search of ways I can even it all out. It’s like a sort of quieting-down as I assess and reflect.

On a different note, there’s another hallmark of this equinox that has me all excited: Halloween Season!! All things horror! We’re coming up on SHORT HORROR OCTOBER, my friends. I’ve been viewing and vetting tons of horror shorts so I can share my favorites with you every day that I post in October. I can’t share my favorites if I haven’t seen them ALL, now, can I? But to watch all of them is an outright impossibility. There are thousands.

Not going to lie. I put this little living-room corner together the day after Summer Solstice. Haha!

The End, and the beginning. Happy new season to you!

A snowball has frozen in hell.

BECAUSE, my friends, I’ve managed to stick to my new nighttime routine. I think it’s been two weeks now? Or going on two weeks? That I routinely shut everything down at 10pm and start getting ready for bed. I have a whole routine, and it takes a little time. Here’s what I do:

–Any cleaning up in the kitchen that may still need to be done (usually not a lot, if any).

–Make my PB&J (peanut butter and jelly sandwich) for the next day’s lunch.

–Do the other things needed to get ready for work: fill my water bottle/put a clean mask in my bag/set my shoes and tool belt (if I brought it home, which I usually do, because I use my box cutter here, too) by the front door. I still love my day job, so it’s a pleasure getting ready for the next day, rather than a chore. I remember all my years of working in offices and dreading going in. Never again. I am blessed. The accident of getting my job was the happiest accident ever!

–Set house alarm system.

–Take a shower. I take cold showers now because they’re so incredibly refreshing with my tea tree soap.

–Nighttime skincare routine: either retinol cream or high-potency vitamin C serum, depending on the night (I alternate). When I use the serum, I let it dry down and then apply a hyaluronic acid and peptide complex cream to calm down the stinging. Eye cream goes on last. Lip balm.

–Gather up Nenette and put her on the bed, if she isn’t already there.

–Go in heavy with the super thick and moisturizing balm on my hands.

–Set my alarm.

–Triple-check doors to make sure that they’re locked. I finally have my new front door! What a relief to have a sturdy, tightly sealed one with a peephole and solid hardware that locks properly and securely.

Yes, this is a big deal. Would you like to know the saga of my front door situation? If yes, keep reading. If no, I don’t blame you. What’s to follow is a long, dry run-down of the events leading up to the installation of my new door, and let me tell you, it is riveting.

First, the backstory: One morning, in either April or May, I tried to lock my front door, and the mechanism fell off. It could not be fixed. The wood inside the lock aperture looked chewed-up and rotted away – that’s how old it was. I couldn’t lock my front door, but at least I had my good ‘ol steel security screen door on the outside. (The one that tried to cut off my foot.)
Secondly, I noticed a person who appeared to be staking out my house, being weird in his car and doing things like coming to my door, ringing the doorbell, and going immediately back to his car at the curb (not even waiting for me to answer the door) and sitting and staring at my office window before slowly driving away.
And then I noticed that the two padlocks on my two back gates had been turned upside down and left that way, keyholes pointing up to the sky. No wind could do that. The locks fit snugly, and they have to be wrangled with to even remove them and put them back in, much less turn them completely upside down.

SO:

–On May 8, the person who’d done my sliding-glass door came over to look at the front door (which was super old, anyway, and didn’t seal properly – it needed to be replaced for pretty much every reason) and give me an estimate for getting a new one installed.
–He said he’d send me the estimate in a few days, but he didn’t.
–We’d set a date set for him to come back and do a temporary fix on my lock, but he was a no-call/no-show.
–After several days of trying to reach him (his voicemail inbox was full and he wasn’t replying to texts), I finally got through. He said his truck had broken down, and that was why he didn’t show up.
–He said to find the door I wanted online and text it to him.
–I didn’t bother asking him to reschedule the temporary lock fix. I figured that my very sophisticated system of piling dumbbells up in front of my door at night was good enough.
–Found the door I wanted and texted it to him as requested. I bought new hardware (top-quality, tamper-proof lock set, because I am SERIOUS) for the new door.
–Never heard from him again. It was strange, because he’d been so friendly! I didn’t take it personally, though. I hope he’s okay.
–Contacted an actual door company to start all over with them. The manager came out immediately to take measurements. She was efficient and we had an effortless back-and-forth throughout the process from estimate to ordering to putting half down. We set a date for the install: August 16.
–Within a week of the install date, she called to say that the door wasn’t finished yet. We rescheduled for September 1st.
–I took September 1st off as a vacation day because she’d said that I had to be there all day. I had another (phone) appointment scheduled for the same day, so it was going to be a good use of a day.
–But at the very last minute, the door lady called to say that my door wasn’t going to be installed that day, after all, because IT HAD BEEN LOST. Those were her exact words: “Your door has been lost. We can’t find it.”
–She said that ten other peoples’ doors had been lost along with mine. The doors had been lost at the distribution company. (My day off worked out well, anyway, because in addition to my phone appointment, I also spent six annoying hours on and off the phone with the IRS, which had to happen but could not have happened had I not taken the day off from work – but that’s neither here nor there.)
–She stayed in contact with me every other day to update me on their progress in finding my door. At one point she called with good news: the door was going to arrive on the truck the next day! We rescheduled the installation for that Saturday. They were making an exception with the Saturday install because she knew that I wasn’t about to take another vacation day for it, and they felt it was the least they could do, anyway.
–But then she called to say that my door (along with five other doors) had not been on the truck. Later that day, she said she found out from the distribution company’s manager that my door hadn’t even been painted yet.
–She called again two days and a weekend after that to let me know that another truck was coming on Tuesday. Instead of telling me that my door would be on it, she said, “Let’s keep our fingers crossed that your door is on it, because they promised that it would be painted by then.”
–On Wednesday, she said that my door had arrived! It was actually in front of her eyes.
–Yesterday was Saturday, and they came early in the morning to install the door. It did take all day. It was a huge job. It’s perfect!


So finally, after five months, I have a new front door. The only thing left to do is paint the interior frame (or have the door company guys come back out to paint it; the door lady and I are going to discuss it tomorrow). But that’s cosmetic. I can now secure the house.

Here are a couple of pics of the long-awaited front door that had been on such an adventure, I’m surprised it didn’t arrive with exotic stamps and destination stickers all over it:

I finally have a peephole! And the little black things on top of the frame are pieces of black obsidian for added protection.
Security that also completes the room.

Between routinely getting ready for bed early (for me) and getting my new front door installed, that’s TWO snowballs frozen in hell! Also between the two of them, plus sleeping without a pillow, I’m sleeping better than ever.

Have an amazing week ahead, my friends.

I went to The Original Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit, Phoenix

The Original Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit is here in Phoenix through the end of November, and I went yesterday morning with my friend Caroline. Last weekend we went to a horror movie, this weekend, Van Gogh! These were my first social outings since the beginning of the pandemic.

And so it was that I found myself physically placed inside of a Van Gogh painting. Various Van Gogh paintings, in fact. Some of the environments were bustling with human activity, others were burgeoning with plant growth, yet others were shimmering emergences of faces. We stood inside the enormous 3D virtual canvas to experience the animated creation of some of the most beautiful, evocative, and iconic paintings in the world accompanied by a soundtrack of impeccably selected and created music. At times, we felt as though we were moving when we were standing still. This was The Original Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit. I felt tremendously fortunate to be there. Van Gogh created a world, and the show’s creators allowed us to enter it and experience it as it evolved.

I had a general idea of what to expect, but when I stepped into Gallery 1 and realized what was happening around me, what it was that I’d walked into, I knew that I couldn’t have imagined it. I could not have expected that my first response would be emotional, that tears would come to my eyes and stay there for the duration of the experience, at some times more than others. I say “experience” for lack of a better word. It’s a performance, of sorts. It’s a 2D/3D animated production that’s also an exhibit that’s also a musical presentation that’s also kind of a ride.

It was the best day I’ve had – and the happiest I’ve been – since Salem died.

It would seem counterintuitive to anticipate escaping into the world of another ill-struck mind, yet I found the experience to be humanizing and heartbreaking in the best of ways. It’s not necessary to know the basics of Vincent van Gogh’s life and evolution as an artist to appreciate the experience. You can see that some of his paintings are dark, traditional, studied renderings (i.e. The Potato Eaters; early career in his home country of The Netherlands), while others are filled with color, fluidity, and movement (i.e. Sunflowers, height of his career in France). Another work has a choppy, discordant feel to it, Wheatfield with Crows, which Van Gogh painted toward the end of his short life, when his mental state had deteriorated past a certain point. When the black crows appear before your eyes and take flight in their thick, crude brushstrokes, you feel the artist’s madness and doom on their wings. Van Gogh committed suicide just weeks after he painted them. In the temporal space between the vibrant Sunflowers and the fragile, chaotic Wheatfield with Crows, Van Gogh painted the fantastical The Starry Night as he contemplated the pre-dawn sky he saw through the window of his room in the insane asylum.

The Starry Night, Vincent van Gogh, 1889

The Original Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit doesn’t bring Van Gogh’s original paintings to us, but through the mediums of light, color, and sound, the exhibits’ creators bring us a shred of an idea of the mental and emotional space that the artist occupied. We can look at a painting on a wall with admiration and be awestruck by its visual qualities that appeal to us or touch us in some way, and it’s wonderful. We can look at a painting and simply appreciate that it’s a representation of whatever we see there in the style of its artist, whether it pleases us or not, and that’s wonderful, too. Here, we can meet Van Gogh and his paintings, not just see them. It is a novel way to view art and to appreciate it on a visceral level.

To perceive Van Gogh’s emotional connections to his surroundings. To note the importance of his relationship with color. To realize how painfully well he captured the souls of his subjects in his portraits of them, from their eyes to their body language. And to feel the devastation behind some of his self-portraits.

The Original Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit was created and directed by Massimiliano Siccardi and written by Luca Longobardi, Massimiliano Siccardi, and Vittorio Guidotti. Luca Longobardi was also behind the soundtrack (musical concept and composition). Several of the tracks are Mr. Longobardi’s original compositions. I especially love his piece “Narcissus.” Yes, I’ve put together an Original Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit playlist on Spotify.

Though visitors are allowed to take pics with the flash off, I took only one in the exhibit, itself. The few pics I took were outside of the galleries:

The exhibit begins before you enter the building. Behold Van Gogh’s beloved sunflowers come to life!
This hall led to the first of the two galleries
The End. The production ended, simply, with Van Gogh’s signature as the final image. This is the only pic I took in the gallery.
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A room to the side showcases some of Van Gogh’s letters lit up on glass, many of the letters to his brother, Theo. The letter gallery adds further depth and dimension to the Van Gogh experience.
I tried to wait for the space to clear before taking this picture! This was as empty as I could catch it. I’m sure these folks wouldn’t mind, as their faces aren’t visible.
The art continues on your way out, with Van Gogh’s peach blossoms painted on the exit stairs.

The Original Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit is a triumph. It is a must-see. Evidently there are several different immersive Van Gogh art shows running around the country and the world, so if you can get to any one of them, I highly recommend it! If you’re interested in the one that I went to, click the “choose your city” menu tab on the site for The Original Van Gogh Immersive Exhibit, Phoenix.

From sea to rain forest to rain.

You know what I love? Stormy summer nights.

It rained last night, again, blessings upon blessings for we in the Arizona desert whose summers haven’t seen significant monsoon activity since 2018. I was in pain again and decided to soak in the tub before getting into the shower. Despite the urgency of my intention when I received the bathtub liners last Sunday, I hadn’t actually taken a bath yet.

Turns out that the bathtub liners really work! It was strange at first. I thought of Dexter as I lined the tub. I thought of Psycho. Once I beheld the tub that was completely lined in plastic, I was a little creeped out by the idea of lying down in it. It was unappealing, and I wasn’t even sure that it would work, but I carried on with it because I knew it would be therapeutic if it did work.

I didn’t have Epsom salts, as I’d kept forgetting to stop off for them, so I used coarse grain sea salt, instead. The minute I found my comfortable position stretched out in the tub, my trepidation and doubt floated away on the surface of the water.

I’d unwittingly transformed my bath into a warm sea, forming both an enchantment and an elemental connection. It’d been nine years since I’d last taken a bath, so maybe I just wasn’t remembering it, but it seemed to me that the sea salt made the water extremely buoyant, bouncy and substantial like I’ve never felt bath water before. The water behaved like a solid thing propping up and supporting my upper back. Weightless and suspended in the warm sea salt water, I felt no pain. I closed my eyes in the dark, candlelit bathroom with the lingering scent of the frankincense and myrrh incense I’d used to cleanse the room beforehand, and I listened to Panda Bear’s album from 2011, and the whole experience was a mood, a trip, an escape from my body. It was 20 minutes without pain, and it was bliss. I remained motionless in a trance-like state, doing nothing but exist.

Then I got out and stepped into a cool shower to rinse off the salt and get clean. The tea tree oil soap I used is my new obsession. With its distinctive scent and the cool water, the shower fades away and becomes a rain forest. So I went from the sea into a rain forest, and then I sat down at my desk to listen to actual rain pouring down as I worked.

I’m grateful for my cozy haven of an office, especially at night, when I have candles lit.

Desk view at night

On that note, I’m heading off to bed. Have a wonderful day or night, whichever’s the case where you are, my friends.

Blessing and bane grow on one stalk.

Today I didn’t leave the house, which is always my preferred weekend scenario.

But tomorrow I’m going out, because I have an impromptu horror movie date with a friend! It will be my first movie theater visit since 2019, and I’m braving it, for sure. I’m fully vaccinated and I’ll be super careful. I won’t even take off my mask to drink water. Delta COVID is out there, and I’m nervous about it, but I really want to catch this psychological horror (The Night House) in the theater. Not to mention I would like a distraction from the pain I’m still dealing with, if only for one hour and 47 minutes.

I’m thinking I might try to do some yoga in the morning to see whether that’ll help at all. To be honest, though, I’m thisclose to getting a massage somewhere. And unbelievably, I’m in enough pain that the thought of edibles has crossed my mind, but I’m not going to go there because it’s not a good idea to mix that with my psych meds. It’s weird enough that I’m even thinking about it.

It feels like it’s been forever now. The last time the pain was this bad was on Wednesday afternoon at work. Now, it’s even worse. I feel like I’m closing in on incapacitation-level pain.

At this point it’s concentrated itself in the upper left side of my back, between my shoulder blade and my spine up near my neck. It’s ghastly no matter what position I’m in, and it’s aggravated even by the act of swallowing water. It’s so bad, it’s making me nauseous. It’s stretching toward the limit of my relatively high pain tolerance and I’m not a whiner and don’t want to start whining now, yet it’s hard to think about anything else, so I’m going to peace out of here, with sincere apologies.

Before I go, though, a Gratitude list is in order!

1). Nenette.

This was in my office last night. She was too sleepy and content to protest getting her picture taken!

2). My loved ones are healthy and doing well.

3). My life is rich with simple blessings, which are the best kind.

4). I managed to accomplish quite a bit in the house today despite the pain!

5). There are no major stress factors in my life.

6). I recently crossed my one-year aloneversary! [::throws confetti::]

7). With this, I realized that I now consider myself to be my own best friend rather than my own worst enemy.

8). Arizona Monsoon 2021 has been spectacular. Three more days of storms are in the forecast for next week!

9). The moon and stars and planets and asteroids and black holes and all of the wonders and mysteries of the known universe and beyond are still out there, whether I’m outside to soak it in or not. Just the idea of that incomprehensible magnificence makes me ecstatic, and I can tap into that energy as easily from inside these walls.

10). My four-step plan toward optimal home security will be completed in just a few days, finally! The one remaining action item – getting a new front door – will be checked off the list by the time I come back here to post mid-week next week.

11). The Universe and my spiritual guides are talking to me. I’ve seen the angel number “444” FOUR times in the last four days. I am not making this up.

The angel number 444 “is associated with honesty and inner wisdom. If you’re seeing this, it could mean that your spiritual guides are encouraging you to look inward for answers to the challenges you’re facing. It also is an acknowledgement that you’ve been working hard, so give yourself a pat on the back.”

12). So I’m giving myself a pat on the back, even though it hurts.

13). I have some incredible humans in my life who inspire me to try to be a better human, myself.

14). My bathtub liners arrived tonight, so tomorrow I’ll pick up some Epsom salts (I thought I already had some, but I guess I didn’t), and tomorrow night I’ll be able to soak in hot water! The last time I soaked in a bathtub was in 2012, my friends. It was in France. It’s bizarre to think that it’s been nine years since I’ve taken a bath.

15). I’m grateful for all of you. Thank you for hanging out here with me. It means a lot.

I know I could add more to this gratitude list, but I’m going to close here and get into a hot shower to boost the effects of the ibuprofen I took half an hour ago. It’s starting to take the edge off!

Many blessings to you all, my friends.

The wound is where the light enters you. (Grief update)

Rumi wrote that beautiful quote. [::points up to the title::]

I wanted to write a full moon post last weekend, but I’m still not there yet since Salem’s death, and I’m sorry to those of you who anticipate those full-moon posts. I will start writing them again at some point.

I did marvel in the brilliant full moon on Saturday night, though, from my bedroom window. Jupiter was right there with her, bold and spectacular (the full moon was in Aquarius, which is governed by Jupiter), and the smaller pinpoint of Saturn a little way to the right of Jupiter. It was all quite breathtaking and amazing. I wanted to write about it, but I just couldn’t.

My mundane news of the week is that I’ve been in pain, which is nothing new in and of itself. It was acute, though, and severe. What happened was a knot formed on my back somewhere just below my left shoulder blade on Monday, and two days later (yesterday), I found myself in Level 10 pain. By yesterday afternoon the pain had moved up into my upper left trapezius muscle and deltoids, but I think it was garden-variety upper-body workout soreness from Tuesday that merged into the knot lower down until it was all the same excruciating mess.

My body seems to be sensitive these days, reacting to things (my recently mentioned contact dermatitis – my body suddenly rejecting products I’ve used for years) and holding onto grief. I sometimes cry at the end of my workouts as my mind flashes to Salem, as if the physical exercise loosened up and released knots of grief in my body.

Mind-body connection is real. My system is clotted with heavy emotion that’s gotten stuck since Salem’s death at the end of June, and now, nearly two months later, it’s manifesting in these ways. An itchy rash on the back of my neck. Severe pain knotted into my back. Pretty sure I have more than one knot back there.

Today was less painful than yesterday thanks to the self-acupressure contraption that I used last night and also the hot shower that I took, but it’s by no means gone. I would put today’s pain level at 4, meaning that I could still see straight at work.

I spent a good long moment this evening contemplating the situation. A deep-tissue massage would be truly amazing for working out the knots, and I’d certainly get one had I budgeted for one. What I need, I thought, is to soak in a hot bath with Epsom salts and certain essential oils. What I have, I remembered, is a bathtub that’s unsuitable for soaking, unless I want to add flakes of rust to the salts and oils, which I do not. (Yes, a bathroom renovation lingers somewhere out there in the future.) But what I can do, I realized, is line my tub. I did some research and discovered bathtub liners on Amazon that are $15.00 for 12, and they arrive tomorrow, and I can’t wait.

On that note, I’m going to get into a hot shower right now. It’s been bliss taking nightly cool showers with my fresh hemp tea tree oil soap, but I need the hot water on my back!

I’m grateful for the shower, for the running water, for the hot running water. I’m grateful that someone invented bathtub liners. I’m not thrilled by the idea of soaking in plastic, and I’m concerned that maybe I won’t be able to recycle the giant plastic liners, but for medical reasons I need to soak in something, and the liners are the most doable of all of the options I’d considered. (For various reasons I would rather not have a portable foldable bathtub that can fit into my shower stall.)

So that’s what’s going down this weekend, my friends. A HOT BATH with Epsom salts and some healing essences that can hopefully take away or at least further reduce my pain. Also, I need to get back outside at night to reconnect with the stars and other cosmic bodies I’ve been too afraid to face since Salem’s death. Perhaps that will happen this weekend, too. I feel like once I can get back out there, I can start writing about the moon again.

A merry weekend to you all!

Divine little changes.

Greeting, friends! I’m late again. I stayed up late last night more or less frantically making budget management changes, because once again, my bank is being merged with (taken over by) another bank, and this time, I’m not having it. I’ve gamely gone along with these shenanegans over the last few decades, but with this latest one, the time has come to jump ship. It’s times like this that make me especially grateful for having overcome my negligence in opening my mail. I’m on top of things now, and so I’m free to launch into anxiety-driven midnight quests to stop automatic payments from an account that will soon cease to exist.

In other news of the mundane change variety, it’s been two weeks today that I started using a prescription topical steroid on the back of my neck to treat contact dermatitis, a rash from an allergy I’d developed to the fragrant hairspray I’d used for over a year. I don’t smell like “sugar cookies” or “dessert” anymore, and that’s okay. The part I was less okay with is the consequence of not being able to wear my necklaces anymore, my triple quartz and my black obsidian. They were more about their (magickal) protective and healing properties and less about adornment, but rather than lamenting the situation, I’m viewing it in terms of the gemstone(s) I’m supposed to be wearing at this moment, because that’s what really happened, I believe. My body let me know that I’m meant to wear another stone.

At the same time that the contact dermatitis started, my body developed an allergy to other fragrant products I’d used on a daily basis, so I stopped using everything and switched to just one new thing, and that one thing is a thing (Dr. Bronner’s hemp tea tree pure castile soap) that I love more than all of the old products put together, so that was an amazing happenstance. Tea tree oil is good for healing and for helping to resolve energy blockages, as well as for aiding in banishing negativity.

My body is sensitive these days, reacting to things. It’s serving as a conduit. Nature in its entirety is miraculous!

Back patio, 22 August 2021

A lovely new week to you, friends.

Arizona desert monsoon bliss! (But mosquitoes.)

This year we’ve been blessed with a spectacular magical monsoon in our spectacular magical desert! This monsoon’s brought us the thunderstorms and rainfall we’ve missed in recent summers past, and it’s been fantastic. We had that intense heat wave in June, right around the time other states had theirs (I’m thinking of 119 in Portland, where many people don’t have A/C), but the temps dropped to classic monsoon lows almost as soon as July got underway. We’ve had cool temperatures ranging from the mid-90’s to mid-100s, we’ve enjoyed frequent storm activity (thunder! lightning! strong winds! RAIN!), and yesterday, my friends, I discovered mushrooms growing near the date palm in my front yard.

Mushrooms near the roots of the front yard date palm

Unfortunately, the monsoon’s also brought out mosquitoes with its humidity. And the mosquitoes have kept me from being with my son, who’s been out quite a lot in the early mornings and late afternoons and onward into the night. Yes, my tortoise child has been sleeping under the stars near his beloved hibiscus plants.

23andMe reports that I’m genetically likely to get more mosquito bites than others, which explains my entire life. It has nothing to do with perfumes or other fragrances I might be wearing. It’s not about fragrances. It’s about molecules.

Female mosquitoes have a complex olfactory system that lets them sniff out their food. As it turns out, mosquitoes have preferences! Mosquitoes are attracted to certain molecules in body odor and breath and depending on the proportions of these molecules, some people may appear more delicious than others. But keep in mind that anyone can get bitten by mosquitoes, which can carry disease. So to deter those itchy intruders, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend using mosquito repellent, wearing protective clothing, and staying indoors during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

“…staying indoors during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.” – Of course. That’s when Geronimo is also the most active.

I’ve learned the hard way to spend just a few minutes with him at a time, dressed in full mosquito battle gear. I was trying to stay away from chemical mosquito repellants, but after doing some research, I’ve accepted that essential oils aren’t going to be adequate if I want to spend quality time with my scale-kid. It’s one of those things I have to say to hell with and just get the scientifically created repellent. It’s okay. This evening I stood at the window and watched Geronimo playing and grazing and patrolling the back fence, and then I went to my computer and ordered some repellent for curbside pickup. I’ll retrieve it tomorrow after work, so when I get home, I’ll be ready!

I didn’t mean to shift the focus of this post to the mosquitoes, though. It sounds like I’m complaining when really I just wanted to rave about the wondrous, exhilarating monsoon this year.

May this find you all doing well and staying safe!

From all angles.

I would announce that this space is reserved for my upcoming mid-week post because my mind went on vacation this weekend, and I was actually going to say as much and leave it at that, but then I impulsively stuck my phone in Nenette’s face as she was sleeping and caught this pic of her the very second she opened her eyes in annoyed surprise:

She didn’t appreciate this.

Then I zoomed in on her eyes and found myself reflected there as a silhouette against the bright window behind me.

Reflections.

And there it is: Proof of my existence in Nenette’s eyes.

More to come in a few days, my friends. Spoiler alert: I binged a series that defies immediate coalescence of my thoughts on it at the moment, but I’m sure I’ll have some collected idle thoughts on it by the time Wednesday/Thursday rolls around, and I’ll want to share them with you, because holy crap.

A wonderful new week to you all!

A claim.

A guy backed into me in the supermarket parking lot yesterday after work and it was a minor hassle with damage to only one vehicle (mine), but I couldn’t be mad because it turned out he was the forty-something guy who’d been in front of me in the check-out line, and I’d noticed that baby wipes and baby food were among the few items he was buying, and I’d thought to myself that his purchases made sense of his depleted energy. He was clearly exhausted, and when I went to his vehicle to talk to him about the accident, his energy was defeated on top of his exhaustion. He apologized and I said nothing to worry about these things happen and we’re not hurt and then we exchanged info while I had my insurance agency on the line. We took pics of the back of his (unscathed) Jeep Wrangler and then went to my (dented and scraped) Honda Accord to take pics of the damage to the driver side rear door and quarter panel and after the guy left, there was this bystander who’d followed us – a glamorous young woman who looked like a human version of a Kardashian – who wanted to be helpful and told me that her friend had a similar dent in her car and was able to pop it back into place with a suction cup and it was super easy, and when I asked, she said this is kind of awkward but she used the suction cup on her dildo, and I said like the kind you stick to your shower wall, and she said exactly, and I said I don’t have one of those but thanks for letting me know. I came home and finished filing my claim online and now I’m impatiently waiting to be contacted about making an appointment for the inspection/estimate because my instant-gratification-craving Gen-X ass wants the car in the shop STAT. I am not interested in suction cups. Also, my car, Dysis (Goddess of the Sunset), shouldn’t be sitting around looking like someone backed into her. If you know me in person you’ll see me driving a rental in the very near future (I hope). I’ll let you know if it’s snazzy or not.

A little good-night (with some words about my children).

Well. I’d planned to present Geronimo updates for my mid-week post this week, but I didn’t realize that since my last Geronimo post in early April, I’ve taken, like, 500,000 pics of him. Never fear (I tell myself) – after hours pass of sorting through and deciding upon, it’ll be Saturday, and I’ll have the smattering of pics that rose to the top.

You see, we’ve been enjoying a proper monsoon season for the first time in several years, and Mr. Dinosaur Man out there has been having a blast!

Me, I’m still wading through the new landscape of my daily life without Salem in it. I’m been having a time. I made a major mistake: It was absolutely NOT a good idea to put off going to the V.A. pharmacy and therefore letting my antidepressant lapse during this last month. My idea was that “Some doctor once told me that Wellbutrin stays in the system for a couple of weeks after you stop taking it, so I can coast for a little while.” WRONG answer, my friends. I don’t know what I was thinking. I mean, I’ve been grieving. Maybe the doctor’s words would’ve held true for a few days or even a week, but I procrastinated for almost three weeks. Every day, I got home from work and fell apart. It was only last weekend that it occurred to me that, yeah, maybe I should go get that prescription refilled. I went on Tuesday to pick up the medication, and I swear I felt a little better within an hour of taking it.

Yesterday was the first day since Salem’s death that I didn’t cry at all, but this evening I dissolved again as I spent time with Geronimo in the fragrant cool monsoon breeze at dusk, thinking about how Salem would’ve been so blissfully happy to be there with us.

Nenette still sits in front of the sliding-glass door, wide-eyed, looking for her sister. She’s clearly still confused about Salem’s absence.

I can’t get past the feeling that Salem was only out there exposed and vulnerable that night because I’d been with her until nearly 1am, and when I went back into the house, she simply stayed where she was in the middle of the yard and fell asleep. Salem rolling around happily in the middle of the yard was a part of our little ritual that we did under the stars every night. Have I said all of this before? I can’t remember, but it wouldn’t surprise me if I had. Apologies for any redundancies here.

At any rate, I may have cried this evening, but I’m still feeling a little better overall now that I’m back on my medication.

And I’m excited to post my pics of Geronimo this weekend as I write about his updates!

Merry Friday, all.

(Not a post about) July’s Buck Moon in Aquarius.

After nearly two weeks, the wildfire smoke has cleared over Phoenix, and two nights ago, I was able to view my brilliant summer triangle in the sky again: alpha stars Vega (of Lyra), Deneb (of Cygnus), and Altair of Aquila). Scorpius was also visible again, more prominent than ever, especially alpha star Antares.

-I wrote the above in my journal on June 14th, which feels like forever ago. It’s been a month since I’ve been outside at night! I’m getting there, in my own time. While Salem is no longer with me in this earthly realm, I know that she’s with me in the celestial realm. Our twin star certificates bring me back to this reality, but the absence of Salem in her physical feline form is still fresh. I’m not ready to go out there knowing that I can’t see her and interact with her at this earthly level.

All of this to say, I didn’t step out to admire July’s Full Buck Moon in Aquarius when it rose the other night, though I did celebrate her. As it was, we’ve had monsoon thunderheads covering ours skies, so I doubt that any celestial bodies could have been seen this entire past week.

May I just say that our monsoon season has been wondrous this year!

Hibiscus after a rain

To those of you interested in my full moon posts, I apologize for my lack of one this month.

May this find you all doing well, my friends!

The night I was held hostage by a roach.

My friends, I don’t know how many posts I’ve written about my roach phobia and how I need to do something about it. You OG readers are probably tired of reading about it. But I was reminded of it again during our recent heatwave when I came home several hours after nightfall and it was a refreshing 108 degrees outside. I pulled onto the driveway, turned off the ignition, and was about to get out of the car when I saw something moving quickly and erratically on the front patio. I sat still in a vise-grip of fear-induced paralysis as my brain interpreted what my eyes were seeing. There’s only one thing that can scare me enough to freeze me like that, anyhow.

My eyes had fastened onto a huge roach that was covering my front patio helter-skelter at 500 miles per hour, running, flitting, zig-zagging its way from one end to the other, partway up the side of the house, then down, partway up the steel screen door, back down again, and around and around. There was no way I could get out of my car, much less walk onto that patio and open my door. I was stuck.

I called my friend who shares my roach phobia, and she graciously stayed on the phone with me for 34 minutes. The roach eventually slowed down and stumbled over the edge of the patio immediately to the right of the front door, and there I could see frantic yet static motion. I realized that the roach had crossed the invisible line of Creepy Crawley’s magic potion (laid down around the perimeter of the patio the day before), and so it was in the process of dying. The behavior I was watching was the roach’s physical response to the substance. When I say it’s nontoxic, I literally mean that there’s no poison involved. It’s an agent that instantly dehydrates the insect, sucking the moisture out of it. Death occurs fairly quickly. In the case of a large roach, it occurs after about 30 minutes.

Let me tell you, the turbo-charged panic and then death throes of a huge roach made for quite the spectacle to have to watch, and I had to watch it, because I had to keep track of where it was. I was going to have to get out of my car and go into the house eventually. I had to know the location of my enemy.

At any rate, I won’t bother recounting my eventual entry to my house. You can imagine that I was half-dead before I made it in.

Thus again I feel the need to overcome my phobia, though all the overcoming in the world could never convince me that it’s a good idea to attempt side-stepping a monster roach running amok on the front patio.

Meanwhile, in the backyard, Salem’s absence is allowing birds to eat dying roaches. I had the occasion to witness this ghastly extravaganza one morning as I was breakfasting. Birds that were clustered on the back patio drew my attention to a large roach that had also encountered Creepy Crawley’s solution. It was past the berserk stage and well into the disabled stage, and I couldn’t help but watch as two of the birds took turns pecking at it. The roach got smaller and smaller as bits of it disappeared down the birds’ gullets.

Salem is making sure that I won’t have to see a dead roach on the patio.

And if I ever actually embark on a roach-phobia-curing adventure, you’ll be the first to know about it.

Happy weekend eve, Everyone!

Dressxx.

I recently (last week) decided that I want to start wearing dresses again after decades, like, just casually around town, so I picked one out at the Goodwill that I thought was cute and out of my gothy comfort zone because I thought it would be fun and brought it home to try on after washing it, and the try-on started out okay as I slipped the dress on over my head with my arms raised up so the sleeves could fall over them and the right sleeve went on first but then my arm on that side got stuck while the left sleeve was halfway on and also getting stuck at the top of my left forearm so then I had one arm completely stuck and the other arm halfway stuck as my upper body was contorted due to my upper back and shoulder also being wedged tightly at an awkward angle into the upper body part of the dress that was made of 100% polyester with no give in the fabric at all and thus ensued my frantic attempt to escape, and I live alone so there was no one there to help as I blindly wriggled and careened around the bedroom trapped in a dress with my arms in the air and my head covered and my upper body twisted and bent, thinking of how I was going to die and this was how my body was going to be found and I wasn’t even wearing nice underwear.

When I finally got out of the dress I tried to take a deep breath but it hurt so I couldn’t and I realized that I pulled a pectoral muscle on my right side, and all night it hurt to breathe and I couldn’t take a deep breath and the discomfort reminded me that I actually injured myself trying to get out of a dress I probably had no business putting on in the first place, and then I thought of the movie Slaxx about the jeans on a killing spree and I was thankful that the dress didn’t murder me, because it could have.

WAY more out of my comfort zone than I’d thought it’d be.

I’m taking it back to the Goodwill this weekend.

The big brown wall: Inside an Arizona dust storm (aka Haboob).

Me at 4:00pm yesterday: I wonder which stars will be visible later tonight?

The sky at 11:00pm last night:

Late-night dust storm in NW Tempe (Phoenix), July 9, 2021

Yes, my friends. It’s that time of year! A fantastic dust storm, aka haboob, rolled in late last night, and Yours Truly stepped out into it, as I like to do before things get too crazy. There’s something strangely mystical about dust storms. They don’t come empty-handed. They bring with them a special, wild energy. I took pics and recorded for almost a minute, and I’m posting the video here in case you’ve ever wondered what the world looks like inside of a dust storm.

It always starts with one of these blaring on one’s phone:

The video:

We didn’t get any rain with the dust storm last night, at least not where I am, but some fleeting monsoon action kicked up a little while ago tonight: thunder, lightning, strong blowing dust, and rain. It lasted for, I don’t know, 15 minutes? 20? That’s been it so far, but there’s still time for the monsoon to return. I hope it does. Monsoons bring the drama, and it’s the good kind.

Well. I must say that I had quite a time trying to get this video to display in a reasonable size, and while it’s still large, it’s the best I could do… and now it’s glitching! I’m going to post this now before anything else can happen. I hope it shows up and stays in place at this size. Sheesh!

(I do love an opportunity to use a vintage exclamation.)

Be well, my friends.

First roach sighting of the year, check.

I saw a roach on the back patio the other day. It was early in the morning, and I spotted it through the sliding-glass door as I was about to step outside to feed Salem. It was at a glance and without my glasses, but there was no mistaking the narrow, orangish-brown oblong shape on its back with its legs tangled in the air and long antennae flat on the concrete. The sight of it threw me into a panic. I wouldn’t be able to avert my eyes. I wouldn’t be able to walk around it and pretend that it wasn’t there. It was right in front of Salem’s bowl. It was exactly where I’d have to crouch down to scoop out her food.

Here in Phoenix Metro, this is how we know it’s officially summer. It gets hot, and the large roaches come out at night. This one was dead because I have Creepy Crawley come out regularly to spray. Not that it matters. They freak me out when they’re dead as much as they do when they’re alive. As far as I’m concerned, roaches are nature’s abomination. Something has to be, right?

I stayed in the house and thought about what to do, and then I braced myself to carry out my plan, which would be to sweep the roach away from the area without looking at it. I knew that some amount of looking at it would be necessary, but I figured if I could glance down quickly, just once, just enough to position the broom where it needed to be, then I could follow through with the sweeping motion without looking.

It’s internal chaos with this paralyzing phobia. I could feel my heart pounding my stomach into knots as I stepped outside. My lungs were afraid to breathe, and the crawling sensation on my lower legs made it hard to move. But my baby was hungry, and I had to get ready for work. There was no time for messing around.

I gripped the broom with both hands and stretched my arms out to their fullest extent so I could stand as far away from the roach as possible, then glanced down quickly, lowered the broom to where I thought it needed to be, and swept. It didn’t work the first time, but the second time, I stepped back and bent forward to get a better reach with more accuracy (should I take up golf?) and executed a more forceful sweep. The roach went flying out of the patio area and onto the path leading to the back gate.

Sitting off to the side, Salem, who’d been watching me intently, followed the roach’s trajectory with her eyes and pounced on it. This actually gladdened my heart. Another sign of Salem’s transformation from feral to domesticated! She’d been playing with her toys in the laundry room for months. I’ve found them all over the place, even outside of the laundry room, but for her to actively engage with me while playing would be taking it to the next level. It would be another milestone in her development!

With this thought in mind, I was able to feed Salem with a little happiness to take the edge off the horror. But dismay lingered in my mind for the next few days as I contemplated the issue of roaches outside on the hot summer nights.

Because my habit is to go out to the backyard every night to be with the stars and the moon and the planets. Going outside at night to gaze at the celestial bodies while bonding with Salem is the highlight of my day. How was I going to manage it with the roaches out there, too?

At first, I thought I’d just have to stop doing it. I couldn’t see bonding with the stars and the moon and Salem AND THE ROACHES. The idea of standing out there with roaches skittering around was pure nightmare fuel.

But in the end, I was not going to let the roaches keep me inside and away from my beloved night sky and sweet daughter of the night. And that is why there’s now a pair of combat boots in the basket by the sliding-glass door. I have an official uniform for summer nighttime skygazing: jeans tucked into combat boots with whatever t-shirt. It makes me feel safer.

Salem seemed disappointed when she found a roach rather than an actual toy, but when I got home from work that day, the roach was gone. Either she’d deigned to play with it, or a bird had come to take it away. Either way, good riddance.

Apologies for my eyes (that won’t stay open).

Nah… let’s not blame my eyes, which are innocent. It’s me with my terrible time-management skills. [::shakes fist at self::]

In lieu of a post tonight, I thought I’d drop in with an apology for not having a post tonight. I know I’ve been delinquent in getting my mid-week posts up, and this is not how I would like for things to be. Lest you think otherwise, I do plan to continue with the mid-week posts!

I had one planned for tonight – a much-requested and long overdue “garage gym” (read: living room) post – but it’s not going to happen until next week, unfortunately.

This Saturday, now! I’m beside myself with anticipation of next week’s lunar event, so I’ll be writing about that for Saturday night.

A sneak peek:

–Next week, on Wednesday, May 26, May’s full moon will rise in Sagittarius while we are in Gemini season.

–It will be the second supermoon – and the last – of 2021. This supermoon will be slightly more “super” than last month’s; it will be the largest, brightest moon of the year.

–It will be the Flower Moon.

–And it will be a Blood Moon. Why? Because we’re going to have a total lunar eclipse. The supermoon will be reddish in color.

It will be an ideal time for us all, if we are mindful of the opportunities for growth the cosmos is going to set before us. The total lunar eclipse Super Flower Blood Moon in Sagittarius during Gemini season promises to be one of the most spectacular celestial events of the year, if not the most, not to mention one of the most powerful times!

There’s so much going on, and I can’t wait to get into more detail when I post this weekend. For now, though, I’m going to crawl into bed. This is where I call it a night.

I hope this finds you all well!

I was just passing by… (and feeling blah)

Today started strangely, with my brain enmeshed in fog. When I left work an hour early with stomach cramps, nausea, and other intestinal discomfort, I thought it was possible that the brainfog was related. But I believe that it was something I’d eaten at lunch… maybe a bit of bread that’d gone past its time. It wasn’t anything as dramatic as food poisoning, but it was definitely a stomach-disagreement situation.

I can power through colds and even pneumonia, but I crumple when it comes to gastrointestinal maladies, no matter how mild.

So I came home early, and the afternoon turned to dusk. I wasn’t hungry until I was, and then, with my sour stomach, all I could think of eating was bland crackers. Luckily, I had some on hand (for just such occasions). Then I began to crave peanut butter and jelly and more peanuts and also dates, so I ate all of those. That was dinner. I recoiled at the idea of anything salty, oily, or acidic (e.g. my favorite things). No salt, olive oil, tart fruit, or apple cider vinegar? Yeah, something was off.

The obvious downsides of feeling unwell included having to skip my workout. On the up side, I got to see Geronimo and spend a good amount of time with him. I usually just miss Geronimo when I get home from work at my normal time!

Now it’s super late, but I’m feeling better. Hopefully, it was all just a reaction to the bread. I think that it was.

Speaking of bread:

Nenette being a loaf in an actual bread basket…

…on the dining table, where she’s not supposed to be. This was a first! I put a firm end to it. Well, what I actually did was put something uncomfortable in that basket. That solved the problem nicely.

Happy Friday and weekend, my friends!

Beltane blessings! (May Day!)

Greetings to you on the 2nd of May!

Yesterday was a holiday. It was Beltane, the last of the spring celebrations in the wheel of the year. It’s all flowers and maypoles and passion and honeybees… and, above all, fire. Beltane is a fire festival. It is the fire festival. There’s usually a bonfire somewhere in Beltane celebrations, but any fire will do if a bonfire isn’t possible! I kept candles burning all day.

A bit of background, for anyone who’s unfamiliar: Outside of the religions of Wicca and Paganism, Beltane is celebrated as May Day on the 1st of May, just as Samhain is celebrated as Halloween on the 31st of October. Beltane and Samhain are the two times of year when the veil between worlds is the thinnest, so both holidays involve traditions around protection from spirits… the spirits of the dead at Samhain, and the spirits of nature and the Fae at Beltane. The two holidays are not only direct opposites on the wheel of the year, but they’re also opposites in essence: Beltane is about celebrating life and fertility (of all beings, and of nature), while Samhain is about honoring death.

A part of my Beltane celebration was spending time outdoors in nature with Geronimo and Salem. Another part was baking. It was while I was baking that a bird hit the living room window. Again.

I hurried out of the kitchen to look through the guilty window, and I saw the little gray bird lying on his side on the patio, struggling. I didn’t know what to do. I went back into the kitchen, then returned to the window about 15 minutes later. There was no movement that time. The bird’s spirit had left his body. Suddenly, my day of celebrating life had been punctuated by death.

I felt responsible. (Why did I ask for a picture window in that huge window space?) It wasn’t the same kind of sad as Salem’s dove kills in the backyard. I wasn’t facing the disposal of days’-old, torn-apart pieces of large bird remains. It wasn’t nature that killed the little bird in the front yard. It was my window.

At dusk, I went out to the front yard and dug a tiny grave about a foot and a half deep. I tried to collect the bird gently, but his little head was stuck to the concrete with his dried blood… I believed that he’d broken his skull. I had to slip my fingers beneath it and work a bit to loosen it. (Yes, I was wearing disposable pandemic gloves.)

When I laid him down to rest in his grave, I said a prayer before covering him up, telling Mother Earth that I was returning to her the body of one of her children.

After that, I did some (alchemy) workings in the Beltane energy, then ate a Simple Feast of (vegan) vanilla cake, fresh strawberries, and ginger ale sweetened with extract from the stevia plant. Stevia.

It was a beautiful and magickal day overall. Even though.

Now, to end on a cheery note, I want to share these pics I’ve taken recently of the flowers in my yards. I’ve got a plethora of them!

First, the ones that are not in my yard:

Gerberas – flowers in the daisy family (which is associated with Beltane) obtained at the grocery store a few days ago.

Beltane colors are fiery and botanical: reds, yellows, greens, colors that happen to be in generous bloom all over my front and backyards.

Starting with Geronimo’s hibiscus! These plants are exploding! I’ve never seen so many blooms at once on all of the hibiscus plants.

Even this one by the back gate is loaded with flowers this year. It’s always been sparsely flowered.
Prickly Pear in bloom in the front yard, which is entirely carpeted in golden Palo Verde pollen.
Back to the backyard! The red hibiscus behind the burrow of a certain desert tortoise that I know.
Desert willow
Ruella
Verbena? Lantana? One of the two. I never know which.
Mesquite
Fig tree doing nicely!
Desert rose also doing nicely!

This desert rose looks like a Dr. Seuss flower, doesn’t it? What a wonderful character it is.

Happy Beltane Season to you, my friends.

Love your mother. (Earth Day 2021!)

Happy Earth Day 2021, my friends!

In recognition of Gaia, the ancient Earth goddess….

She is the first Goddess, Gaia,
our mother, Mother Earth.
She is our Ancient Mother, and she needs us right now. This is her time of need! Sadly, it’s been her time of need for a very long time, and she’s worsening.

What, as an individual, can I do for her?

I already recycle. I’m already vegan. I already keep my driving to a minimum. I plan to go solar one day… that’s on the long-term list.

What I can do right now, I realize, is resolve to limit my use of synthetic resources. There’s more to this than bringing reusable bags to the grocery store, which I already do. I mean, I already do, but…
but then I’ll sometimes reluctantly ask for plastic bags, and I’ll put them inside my reusable bags. This is my Earth Day walk of shame for all of you to see, my friends: I ask for plastic bags at the grocery store every so often because I use them for the waste that I scoop out of Nenette’s litter box.

A couple of week ago, my feelings of wrongness regarding this finally got to me, and I purchased a hefty packet of brown paper lunch bags. I didn’t know what else to do. When I looked up “eco-friendly kitty litter bags,” I found bags designed for the purpose. The problem is that I’m not confident that they’re okay. They’re made of plastic, I believe, and technology aside, plastic is synthetic. Maybe I’m not understanding it; I’ll do more research. All I know for now is that I’m using up the plastic grocery bags I have left, and then I never want to see a plastic grocery bag in my house ever again. I’ll use the paper lunch bags until/unless I find a better way.

So there’s my Earth Day confession and intention.

To close, I’ll leave you with my movie recommendation in honor of Earth Day! Allow me to suggest Seaspiracy (Netflix Original Documentary).

The End… but not.

Thank you for reading, as always! Merry mid-week and HAPPY EARTH DAY!!

Paranormal encounter at work? (Possible ghost story.)

Greetings, my friends. I have a story to share with you. I actually meant to post this last night, but I couldn’t stay awake. Typical!

Something unexplainable happened at work last week Friday: I heard footsteps approach and pass as I was fixated on the task before me, and they didn’t sound right. I mean, they didn’t sound familiar, much less right.

(I wish to relay the story without workplace details, so please to excuse the vagueness henceforth.)

The footsteps sounded odd, like a sort of shuffling and gliding at the same time, and they were swift. They were gone within two seconds, as that’s how long it took for them to shuffle-glide past me.

My reflexive glimpse almost missed it completely; it was just at the outer edge of my peripheral vision that I caught an impression of black footwear and dull attire, some kind of pale neutral fabric with mottled dark patches. It looked dirty.

But it was the footsteps that made the back of my neck prickle. The way they sounded. The quick and light shuffle-glide. It was a walking cadence that I hadn’t heard before, at work or anywhere.

A chill went through my body. I had to take a deep breath.

I took a long step sideways to look around the corner, and I saw no one. Then I quickly moved to where I could see the expanse of space between my location and the front. I was afraid of what I would find, but I had to look! Sure enough, I saw most of my co-workers at the front end. Not only were they nowhere near me, but the footsteps had gone in the opposite direction.

Three co-workers were missing from my view, so I thought there was still hope for a logical explanation. One co-worker was on the other side of the space. It couldn’t have been him. Another one was on the side that I was on, but toward the front. It couldn’t have been him. When I ran into the remaining person, he said that it wasn’t him, and I believed him.

None of my co-workers shuffle-glided past me in old black boots and pale clothing dirtied with fading black splotches. Someone did, though.

Now, we all know how I love horror and all things spooky, but I’ve looked at this situation from every objective angle and can’t convince myself that I conceived of it somewhere in my subconscious. I do believe in ghosts and in the supernatual, in general.

Could it have been a ghost? Absolutely, especially since a couple of people had told me before that the place is haunted. I wasn’t thinking of this on Friday morning, though. My brain wasn’t set on high alert for ghosts, and even if it was, my body reacted to the incident in a fraction of a second, before I could formulate thoughts around the lore of hauntings.

And there you have it.

I don’t have a ghostly pic to share, but I have this pic of a spookyish corner of my bedroom:

Cozy corner

Merry Friday and weekend to you all!

When the dark side of the moon is also the brightest. (New Moon!) (In Aries!)

A new moon will rise tonight.

There won’t be a moon to see, of course. The moon is new when she’s aligned herself between the Earth and the sun, with her dark side facing us; new moon night is a dark, moonless night. Planting crops on the night of the new moon boded well for farmers, as the darkness allowed their planting activities to go unseen by plant-eating wildlife. I love this mental image of farmers working in the dark of night, planting their crops in secrecy.

So there won’t be anything to see, but there will be a lot to feel. We have an exciting and momentous occasion with this new moon, because the sun is in Aries right now!

The new moon marks the beginning of a new lunar cycle (there are 12-13 new moons in a year), and Aries, being the the 1st of the 12 astrological houses, opens the new astrological/solar year. The new moon is about goals and intentions. Aries is about springing to action. New moon energy is charged with potentiality to begin with, so imagine the new moon in Aries!

Aries is one of the three fire signs in the zodiac, and it’s the one that means business. This fiery sign is about doing. The new moon is about planning. If you want to change your life, now is the time! The new moon in Aries is the moon that lights the fire under our asses. The new moon is the catalyst, and Aries is the fuel.

We’ve been thinking, planning, preparing. Now is the time to start the doing, to take our plans and set them into motion. Aries encourages us to get out of our comfort zones, take risks, and dare to make changes, large or small.

Common examples:

Quit smoking or drinking or (fill in the blank). Change your dietary lifestyle. Start an exercise program/routine. Pursue new employment opportunities. Open a savings account and pay yourself every month (if you aren’t doing it already). Mark your calendar with the Ironman Triathlon (or whatever event) date and plan your training strategy! Change your hair color, your name; reinvent yourself. Re-decorate your home, or re-arrange your furniture. Start learning the instrument or the language or the (fill in the blank) you’ve always wanted to learn. Start school. Start writing your novel. Start auditioning for roles. Change your career path. Re-locate. Seek out new friends, whether in person or online; socialize more or in new settings or both. Start whatever new habits you’ve had on your “to start” list. Change your relationship status, if you’ve known for a while that you should. Work on yourself. The new moon in Aries is a tremendous time for self-improvement goals, in particular.

Whatever the case, we’re well-positioned to begin working toward our goals with focus, care, and intent.

(Note: If we set goals and intentions during the new moon – any new moon – and apply dedication and drive as we move forward with them, we should see signs of fruition at around the time of the new moon’s corresponding full moon… about six months down the line.)

All that said, Happy New Astrological Year! Let’s make the most of the new moon rising under the energetic influence of Aries!

50% vaccinated, 100% wiped out. (+Happy Easter!)

My plan yesterday was to go to the V.A. hospital after work for some prescription re-fills, and I did. My plan did not include getting the COVID-19 vaccine, but I ended up doing that, too. They were taking V.A. patients as walk-ins, and I was right there! Pfizer vaccine injection #1: check. My second shot has been scheduled accordingly.

Everyone’s different as far as vaccine side effects go. In my case, it’s arm pain much worse than from other vaccinations, capital-F fatigue, and an occasional stab of pain in my head. Mild nausea this morning. Mild body aches as we speak. I finally took some Tylenol for the arm pain toward the end of the day, but Tylenol can’t alleviate fatigue. It’s a strange feeling to be this lacking in energy.

So I’m heading to bed. No doubt I’ll be back to myself tomorrow.

Speaking of! Happy Easter to you who celebrate the holiday. I’m still reveling in Ostara, the vernal equinox, so I’ve been celebrating spring for a couple of weeks now.

I don’t want to take my Ostara wreath down, so it’s staying on my door for another little while.

Love the colored eggs in my wreath! Love the Germanic folklore behind the Easter bunny. There exists many versions of the pagan story and countless endings for it, but they all arrive at a bird who was turned into a rabbit who can still lay eggs. The egg-laying hare was created by Eostre, the German Goddess of Spring, so we have her to thank for our Easter traditions involving the Easter bunny.

With that, I’m signing off to get ready for bed so I can pass out in the appropriate place.

Until mid-week!

Tonight’s Worm Moon, the first full moon of spring.

With the thawing and melting away of winter, earthworms can emerge from the soil. Here in North America, Native Americans named the first full moon of spring the “worm moon” for this reason… and this year, it’s not just any Worm Moon!

The treat we’re in for this evening at moonrise will be a “Super Worm Moon,” because in a couple of days, the moon’s orbit will bring it as close to the Earth as it gets (perigree). If we’re lucky, we’ll chance to see the large orange sphere close to the horizon.

2021’s Worm Moon rises tonight, and I have plans.

I’m going to celebrate this powerful lunation with a blessing ritual. The Worm Moon marks an auspicious time for new beginnings and fresh starts in any year, but this year, there’s a unique circumstance lending added importance to “new beginnings.”

It’s been a year.

It’s been a year since shit got real with the pandemic. I’m looking at my 2020 planner and remembering that social distancing began on Monday the 16th, and we went into full lock-down on Monday the 30th (here in Arizona).

It’s been a year and we now have a vaccine available to the general population, but we haven’t returned to BeforeTimes normal. I don’t believe we ever will. As we level out into our new normal at this vaccine stage of our year-long virus ordeal, I’m feeling a special reverence for the Worm Moon and its correspondence with new beginnings and fresh starts.

As above, so below.

I obviously don’t have a personal pic of tonight’s moon to share with you, but yesterday I took a pic of my not-so-feral-anymore daughter and partner in all things magickal in the Realm of the Outdoors:

Salem

Because she’ll be with me tonight under the full moon, as always. She’s such a blessing. We’re all so blessed!

Merry meet again, my friends.

Good times in the spring.

It’s been a productive and relaxing weekend, which translates to mundanity when it comes to summing it up, I’m afraid.

Mundanity can be invigorating, though. It can make you feel victorious. Yesterday I surprised myself and spent more than four hours cleaning out and organizing nine drawers out of the 15 that I have between my bedroom and bathroom, plus my closet.

I didn’t premeditate this act of violence. My original idea of organizing just one particular drawer blossomed, and next thing I knew, I was surrounded by the inner chaos of these eight other drawers that had been in my back-burner sights for too long. I took everything out and piled it up on my queen-size bed and stepped back to regard and assess it. There could be nothing more motivating than spreading out and looking at the evidence of my negligence. It was an egregious display of wasted space.

I vacuumed out the drawers and wiped them down with a delicious apple cider scented natural cleaning spray before putting anything in them.

Then I went through my closet ruthlessly and purged it, too. (Again, yes.)

Finally got around to freshening my hair color at 10pm last night.

Laundry this morning involved a little bonding with Salem. She’d been napping in the laundry room (aka Salem’s Lot – her room), and I felt badly about flushing her out with my insistence on doing laundry. I fed her and we spent some time together and it was sweet. I took a few pics.

 

Salem this morning

 

Also Salem this morning

 

We’ve been in the throes of a cold spell, but the energy of the equinox vanquishes! Doesn’t it always? That’s the beauty of this season, and the reason why I love it. Spring is when we come alive, along with everything else on Earth.

My neighborhood is even livelier now, and it’s not just the spring birds. The people across the street moved out, and the next day, new renters moved in: an ASU bro-squad of three.

[Sidenote for any of you keeping track from posts of yore: Now there’s the five bros in the (now unofficial) bro-house next door, and the three new ones across the street. The two bros in the house next door on the other side are the long-term renters who are actual brothers (their father bought the house for them to rent while they’re in school).]

[/University neighborhood demographic status]

Anyway, the new people across the street have been feeling celebratory, and so they’ve been celebrating. They’ve been adding to the spring bird symphony, only theirs has a pretty sick bassline.

Good times energy is good.

 

 

Not single. Solitary.

I realize that there’s been something of a mystery here for you longer-time readers, and some of you have asked me about it: “The Mystery of Callaghan.”

You’ve noted that in recent months I’ve mentioned living alone, that I never talk about “we” anymore, and that my personal life/domestic life ramblings are in the singular.

Yes, we broke up. We separated a year ago, and he moved out last summer, and it was the best thing for us both. (He knows that I’m writing this here, so there’s no blindsiding with this post.)

I don’t consider myself to be single, because “single” implies that I’m available and open to meeting people, and I’m not. Rather than single, I’m solitary… happily, purposefully solitary. It’s my choice now to walk my path without a romantic partner, as I know that it’s a path best walked alone. At long last, I see this. I think I would have always made this choice had it occurred to me. I don’t need to be with anyone. Finally I’m at ease, free to be myself.

I’m experiencing a personal revival of sorts. I am blessed.

 

[09 March 2021]

 

 

The late afternoon sun struck oddly when I took these pics in the backyard yesterday, but the desert wind blowing my hair in every direction made everything feel magickal. Elemental. The ghostly wave of light coming up in the lower-right corner of the pics was created by the synergy of my crystal pendant and the sunlight as it struck from its particular angle. This isn’t the first time this has happened. My crystal pendant and the sun have a connection, and the camera picks up on it.

I’m so excited for my 60th birthday that I wish I could wake up to it tomorrow, but I have to be patient and grow as I need to in the next eight years before I reach that milestone. There’s an infinity of knowledge to be gained through experience, and I want to take as much as I can into my next decade.

Blessings to you all!

 

 

The grass is always greener on the other side of midnight.

This week has been a strange one, a week of mundane evening obligations mostly of a domestic nature. Things that “came up.” Someone coming to repair something. Spontaneous but urgent and necessary errands to run. I’ve actually missed workouts! I didn’t work out on Tuesday, Wednesday, or today.

Neither have I been online much these last few days.

Pain developed in my right eye yesterday afternoon, making screen-time impossible as the evening progressed. I shut my laptop and played one spread of Quiddler solitaire and tried to get to bed early. I turned off the lights just after midnight. I was actually tired, and I fell asleep feeling victorious!

The previous night, I got to bed just before midnight, and it was a fail. I was tired, but I wasn’t ready to sleep; trying to force sleep when I’m not passing-out tired never ends well. I become a hostage in a compound of anxiety, and the morning alarm rings brutally too soon after I fall asleep.

But it’s been a good week. I do feel the need to ponder my relationship with sleep yet again, recognizing that I’m a night owl by nature… nothing is going to change that. There must be a way to reconcile this with the fact that I need to get up early!

Before I go, I thought I’d share Nenette in her own sleep haze the other night when I (inadvertently) woke her up:

 

I woke her up. She still loves me, though.

 

Happy Weekend Eve, my friends!

 

 

Tonight, I come bearing cat pics. (Nenette’s horrible camera ordeal.)

I took some pics of my office for an upcoming “office updates” post this evening, and I tried to capture Nenette in the process. Since I know you’re all totally about cat pics, I thought I’d do the magnanimous thing and share a few!

Given Nenette’s unwillingness to have her picture taken, these seven pics constitute a whole extravaganza. Let us rejoice.

Here’s the caveat, though: Nenette’s loathing of the camera is apparent in these pics as her expression and demeanor change in each one. She’s more about attitude than action in these pics.

 

1). WARINESS.

 

Bloody hell, not this again…

 

2). ANNOYANCE.

 

MOM.

 

3). INCREDULITY.

 

Seriously WTF!

 

Then I had the audacity to get closer.

4). ALARM.

 

WHAT.

 

5). REFUSAL.

 

Here’s a plant leaf. I can hide.

 

6). IMPATIENCE.

 

MUST I?

 

7). RESIGNATION.

 

Fine. Here’s a pose. Now drop the camera and back slowly away.

 

The End. (Says Nenette.)

Until Saturday, then; the aforementioned “office updates” pics are forthcoming. I hope you’ll all staying well!

 

 

This is what it sounds like when doves cry. (Cleaning up after Salem.)

[Started writing last night; fell asleep….]

It’s been an interesting week as I went into it determined to stop procrastinating. I had a situation in the backyard to address, and Monday was the day.

At the end of the day, I started my Monday evening workout with a slight headache after spending more time than I should have picking up dead bird parts. They’re not going to pick themselves up, I’d reminded myself firmly when I got home from work.

Such as it was that I found myself crouched in the shade of the hibiscus late that afternoon. I was there with a pair of disposable gloves and a plastic bag. Salem had been feasting on white-winged dove, and mommy finally got off her ass and went out to clean it up.

I found that she’d decapitated the dove and eaten almost all of its body.

Native birds of the Sonoran desert, white-winged doves are as common in my backyard as the hummingbirds and the grackles. They’re large, and they’re beautiful. Their cooing melodies are beautiful. My (also beautiful) feral feline daughter is delighted with them, too. What’s dangerous for them is the watering hole, actually a large plant plate, from which Salem drinks. Birds congregate in it, on it, and around it in the hot months. It’s warming up now, and the doves are starting to visit. It’s going to be murder and mayhem around here all summer, I fear.

 

Salem at the watering hole. [10 Feb 2021]

 

 

I collected one large white-edged wing still attached to the sparse remains of the dove’s body, and its iridescent head – hues of lavender and teal shimmering on the bluish dove gray – from its resting place a little further away. Smaller chunks of bird lay here and there, and there were so many feathers. Feathers, and a carpet of down impossibly adhered to the large gravel, stuck to the sharp edges of the rocks. But I gathered up what I could, tied up the bag, and took it out to the dumpster in the back alley (which is also an apartment complex parking lot).

And that should have been the end of that.

But it wasn’t. It was only as I was coming back in that I noticed the rocky gravel at the back gate looking fuzzy, like the ground had gone out of focus. I stepped up to inspect and found the carnage of a second feast splayed across the threshold of the back gate, where Salem often lounges.

It was a birdplosion even more dramatic than the one behind the hibiscus. Again, a patch of large gravel rocks blurred beneath a mass of soft gray down and feathers. Another white-edged wing, mostly intact. I went into the house and got another bag.

Two birds, many stones.

Oh! One thing is for certain: the mystery of Salem’s lethargy and lack of appetite last week has been solved. I actually thought that I might lose her the day I came home and she wasn’t waiting for me at the sliding-glass door.

Every day when I come home from work:

 

Salem at the sliding-glass door. [10 Feb. 2021]

 

 

The day Salem didn’t come to the door for her dinner, I found her huddled against Geronimo’s burrow. She blinked “I LOVE YOU” at me, but she could barely raise her head. She wasn’t interested in eating. I set her plate down and went inside (perplexed, trying not to worry) thinking that she’d come to eat eventually. She didn’t.

I admit that I was quite worried. What was I supposed to think? She didn’t want to eat. She was slumped against the burrow, barely moving. She managed to lift her head and blink at me before putting her head back down, her face resting against the mound of dirt. If you knew Salem and her habits, you’d be alarmed, too. I naturally thought that something was wrong. Anyone would. Turns out that she was just in a food coma.

So the yard is clear now, and I’m relieved. Geronimo will come out of hibernation soon, as tortoises do, and the last thing I want to see is my scalebaby plowing through dead bird remains and coming out covered in feathers and down.

I hope you’re all having an accomplished week, too!