Hello, friends. I’m sorry for my inconsistancy here… still. Again. You know. But I am, really.
We had a houseguest all last week, so that and related festivities took precedence. This week, I’ve been trying to get back into a schedule. Work has been busy, and good, and I do not feel inclined to get online when I get home.
I’m not going to lie: I’m still working through grief from events of a few months ago: two people very special and dear to me passing away within weeks of each other. To say that we were close is a massive understatement. They were two of the most important people in my life, one since the 1990’s, and the other since before I was born.
There’ve been other ongoing situations, none of which I’m at liberty to divulge, I’m afraid. And that’s the thing: I’m not used to having compartments of life that need to stay locked when I’m here to share with you.
Certain aspects are sharable, though. Fitness. Spiritual practice, to an extent. Fur- and scalebaby updates. For these… at least for the first and last of the above… I will want to include visuals, which means taking pics. Posts about mental health and wellness, not so much.
This brings me to the point in the morning where I start to get ready for work; it’s Friday. I’m still so grateful to have a job that I love. My job is like pain medication for heavy life events. I go in with a purpose, mentally focused and out of the dark part of my head that wants to wallow, and that probaby would wallow were I to sit at home. Work is a balm. Leaving at the end of the day with a sense of accomplishment helps to combat the lows.
Here is my secret to achieving that sense of accomplishment and doing my job with joy: My Dad. He’d said to me that he’s proud of me for working hard, and I want to always know that he would be proud, every day. Every day, I check in with myself periodically, self-evaluating with questions like, Would Dad be proud of me right now? Is my work performance today making Dad proud? Would he be proud of me if he were here? If the answers are anything but Yes, I assess and make adjustments in whatever way I’m falling short of his (and my own) expectations as I continue on. Sure, there are days that it’s a bit of a struggle. On those days, it’s enough to know that I tried, because he would know that I made 100% effort… and that would make him proud.
That’s my advice: Work like someone who matters to you is watching.
With that, I’ll say good-bye for now, my friends. Until next time!
A magnificent thunderstorm rolled over the Valley last night, with dramatic winds and violent, cold rain. Tempe got pounded. The air smelled so fresh and crisp in the backyard where the creosote shrubs grow. Creosote is to the Sonoran desert what eucalyptus is to the Bay Area, where I grew up, and what plumerias are to Hawaii, where I spent my childhood summers. It’s funny to think that I have a longer history with creosote than I have with eucalyptus and plumerias. I moved out of California decades ago, and I’ve only been to Hawaii a handful of times since Grandpa died. That was at the end of the last millennium.
I’ve been feeling contemplative of late. A little saddened. As I’ve mentioned over my last few posts, there’s been death again in my small world, the deaths of two people whom I loved, and who loved me. They passed within weeks of each other. I’ve been thinking about death and deceit, and about how nice it would be to jump into a post-apocalyptic world in which everything mattered. In the post-apocalyptic world I imagine, nothing that is said would be anecdotal. Every utterance would carry weight… healthy weight… and ethics would be built into the structure of existence out of necessity, as in the new world of opposites, people would simply look out for each other, politics be damned.
Lightning struck my crossroads last night. That was interesting.
The downside of the rain is the humidity. It’s a psychological closing-in, and at the superficial end of the spectrum, I have to say that “founding father” is not a good hairstyle look on me.
That said, I’m grateful. Above all, I’m so very grateful.
17th-century magistrate hair.
That’s going to do it for now, friends. Have a grand time in your daily adventures until next time!
Good morning, friends. Thwarted by technical difficulties and nearly all manner of peripheral distractions, I come to you with only a wish for a good end-of-week, if your schedule makes you a traditional weekendist, or, if not, a good two days to come.
My weekend plans involve working out, doing taxes, cleaning and picking up around the house, shopping for flooring for one of the bedrooms, having dinner with Boyfriend’s mom, playing with cats, and secret plotting. A movie will be watched. A music playlist will be completed, and another one begun.
It’s exciting stuff, and I’m not being facetious. It’s the little things. Little things are the tendons and ligaments that hold life’s big things together, the connective tissues without which we couldn’t function. Out of little things comes daily moments of joy, revelation, and feeling of accomplishment, as well as learning that leads to inner growth. Stresses and sorrows teach gratitude. Challenges encourage innovation. Creative endeavor promotes mental and emotional wellness. Big plans are thrilling, but the no-plan plan can be a balm.
Mundane is good.
I hope you’re all enjoying a magickal turn of season, too, wherever you are in the world. Until next time!
When a co-worker told me that he would occasionally take a photo and post it online with a lengthy caption, I knew that I wanted to follow suit, because I loved the idea of it. I, myself, enjoy a peek into the lives of others. It’s the connectiveness, the feeling of sharing in an experience, whether superficial or internal. An unremarkable snapshot in the course of a day or night. A letting-in.
This is my first “Life in a Snap” post. The scene: the wall in front of me as I sit on my bed, cozy in the warmth of the electric fireplace.
My thoughts scatter like stars as I look at the fireplace and the dresser and the moon phase calendar and the white cat statue; namely, they scatter into constellations of magickal moments.
Because there’s more to a magickal moment than gazing at an electric fire and a moon phase calendar and a cat statue.
Headbanging to the Arctic Monkeys’ earlier albums while rolling through the psychedelic auto car wash is a magickal moment.
Climbing into bed fresh and clean after a hot shower, stretching out, and breathing deeply of aromatherapy while falling asleep is a magickal moment.
Getting out of bed in the morning is a magickal moment, especially when it happens without pain.
Caring for the body is a magickal endeavor… nourishing it, exercising it, giving it enough sleep. (I know, I know! Still working on it. Still failing at it. But still trying.)
Nesting in the home is magickal.
Simple, tasty foods: roasted, salted peanuts in the shell; whole wheat crackers with hummus; steamed leafy greens; pumpkin seeds; dried apricots; brown rice, and dark chocolate.
Things that make me feel magickal: the smell of fire; a charged deck of cards; wearing or carrying a crystal; practicing daily color magick; tracking moon phases; journaling my spiritual workings; music; sleeping; the desert; candles; Stevie Nicks; being underwater, nature, weather; animals and their rights; cooking and baking; poetry; plants; incense; cats.
Learning from mistakes and not making them again is magickal. The splendor of personal evolution is magickal, and also blinding, sometimes, in the best of ways.
A smile shared with a stranger is a magickal thing.
Human stories about real humans with real struggles, humans with all of their faults and foibles… magickal. Not a one amongst us is perfect or without problems or flaws. The human experience is too far-ranging and varied for judgement to collapse itself into the big picture of it, and yet we all judge, whether we know it or not, want to or not. That’s why I feel that…
…open-mindedness is one of the most magickal traits that an individual can possess.
I’m stopping here on account of sleep-deprivation-induced rambling, friends! I love that you’re here, reading thoughts that emerged from a photo.
Well, it’s been roughly 5,000 years since my last “favorite little things” post, so I figured that now would be a good time to share a few favorites since then. We’re one month and two days into 2023 paradise, after all. Thought I, why not share some of the things that I discovered in recent months of the former year?
Without further ado, then. Let’s get to it!
1). Film: Smile
Of the horror movies I’ve watched in recent years, this one creeped me out the most. I’m not saying that it’s the best movie I’ve seen of late, horror genre included, nor was it my favorite. I just found it to be the most effective solid scare of the lot. I felt obliged to share.
2). T.V. show: The Last of Us
Ah, The Last of Us! Both seasoned and uninitiated fans recommend reading the book and/or playing the video games before getting into this new post-apocalyptic horror action series. I, on the other hand, recommend that you watch the delightful documentary Fantastic Fungi on Netflix as your preparatory material. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
3). T.V. show: Taboo
If you like your revenge salt and peppered with treason, incest, and explosives, this series is for you. True story anecdote: my bio-father in England – who had no idea what I was watching or that I was even watching anything, and who, himself, doesn’t watch anything – phoned me while we were in the middle of an episode, and he randomly lectured me on the three main components of gunpowder. Coincidentally, that very topic crept into the remainder of the episode after we hung up, and the story widely revolved around the making of gunpowder thereafter, with the explosives expert character describing its components almost exactly the way bio-father did on the phone. I mean this literally. The series is British and takes place in England, so my British bio-father in England calling and educating me on the components of gunpowder right in the middle of it was uncanny. (My boyfriend assured me that the FBI definitely listened in on my phone conversation after that topic came up.)
I super-enjoy this salad. Whole Foods carries Urban Remedy refrigerator cases in their stores (the ones here do, anyway), and the offerings include a number of delicious salads. This one contains beets, and yet I love it. Beets, my friends. You heard me right.
Back when my boyfriend and I were in denial about our feelings for each other, he dropped off a sumo mandarin along with the grapefruit he offered to bring me when I was coming down with what might have been (but wasn’t) Covid. It was the beginning of last year’s January. When citrus season came to a close, we spent the rest of the year looking forward to the return of this spectacular winter fruit. Needless to say, our 2023 paradise has been gloriously citrusy.
Like my old favorite Clifs Builders bars, this one contains 20g of plant protein. Unlike Clifs Builders, the Garden of Life bar is not a glorified candy bar. It’s not particularly scrumptious, but I do like it, and it’s filling enough to serve as an effective meal-replacement bar if I find myself without time to make a sandwich for lunch. It takes precisely one second to throw one of these bars into my bag.
I mainly drink water, water all day long. I have a large coffee in the morning. I enjoy Pure Leaf plain, unsweetened iced tea. And when I tried a Steaze Peach Mango organic iced tea, it immediately became my go-to flavored iced tea. I find that it’s scented somewhat of guava juice, and tastes a little bit like it, too! It is heavenly.
Nenette, my feline daughter, is now taking kitty Prozac, and Purrfect Bistro Chicken Recipe Pâté landed on this list because Mommy loves that she loves it. She loves it so much, I can mix her powdered medication into it daily, and she doesn’t notice. I warm it up slightly, mash it into a paste, and mix in the contents of one of her capsules. Thank you, Purrfect Bistro, for making a food that my very picky cat likes so much, she laps it up without a clue that it contains her medication.
12). Skin care, body: Alba Botanica Very Emollient Body Lotion Maximum. (Vegan and cruelty-free)
I’ve tried for years to get into a routine of using body lotion nightly. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon this lotion of Alba Botanica’s that I succeeded. It’s just so good! I use it on my arms and legs after my shower. It feels amazing.
13). Skin care, face: Derma-e. (Vegan and cruelty-free)
I’ve used Derma-e here and there in the past, but this last year I started using Derma-e products on my face almost exclusively. My skincare arsenal has gone from a hodgepodge to 99% Derma-e. It’s not cheap. (Fellow skincare junkies, you get me.) I use too many products to list – I have a morning routine and a night routine, both with their own products. That’s a lot, so I’m just dropping the entire brand into this space for you to explore at your leisure, if you’re so inclined. I could not recommend it more highly!
This one cosmetic item cut my daily make-up routine down to seven minutes, my friends. I adore it to the point where I stocked up in the event of discontinuation. I use it on my eyelids and on my cheeks, and on the weekend, I wear it as lipstick, as well.
My favorite thing about the new year so far is that I haven’t dragged anything old or unwanted into it.
2023 feels like a prairie scented with clover and bluebell and violet, subtly alive with faery rings and grasses brightly animated in sunny breezes. Fresh. Magickal. It’s January and therefore mid-winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, but my world beams from within as springtime energy pierces the cold nights and dark mornings. Perhaps the exceptional rainfall we’ve had here in the desert this winter speaks to the illusion of spring, as well.
(Or, too, it’s my candlelit inner world, dusted and brilliant.)
I made moon water under the light of the year’s first full moon, the Wolf Moon, on the 6th.
The moon right now is a sliver of a waning crescent, my favorite moon phase. (Blessing and bane grow on the same stalk.) The new/dark moon will rise in two days, and I’m eager to work with her energy. My new year’s resolution is to get more sleep. It’s been a joke thus far. The new moon will help a lot.
Because as always, really the only thing standing between me and a solid seven to eight hours of sleep is my 10:00pm burst of energy, which no amount of fatigue can squelch. I’m tired and then instead of winding down, I come alive. It’s difficult to get yourself ready for bed – and then actually go to bed – when your internal wind-down mechanism goes haywire and does the counterintuitive thing, night after freaking night. I know that some of you can relate, as surely I’m not the only night owl attempting to riddle this out. Don’t get me wrong… I love my late-night drive to do things… it just doesn’t work when you have to get up at 5:30am.
New Year’s, though. It’s special. It’s actually unfathomable to me, the power that we create together in welcoming and celebrating the new year. Can there be a more potent time in the energy than at the turn of the calendar year when millions of humans are setting their intentions all at once? Millions of people getting that energy of determination out there into the Universe can only be a powerful thing. It’s a mass-scale charge of energy, an energy of hope, and let’s face it, it’s a great opportunity. What a shame it would be to waste it, right?! We ought to make an effort… at the least, join in with the intention-setters. At the most, show up for one’s intentions. And at the best, continue pressing forward. This is what the new year asks of us, I feel.
Oh! I celebrated my birthday a week before the new year. I can’t begin to express my gratitude. I’m 54, my friends. I never could have taken this glorious age for granted. One never can; one’s life can end in an instant, without warning. I’m simply in awe that I’m here to roam the Earth beyond half a century. I love to reflect and marvel at world events that’ve taken place during my stay here, and I anticipate witnessing more. I’m here for it all, the good, the bad, and the proverbial ugly, despite my occasional grumblings about the absurdity of the human condition and how it sometimes makes me want to stay in bed forever.
On a more mundane and superficial birthday note, I feel obliged to report the usual; e.g., nothing has changed: I’m still not wearing granny panties, still haven’t had anything “done,” and still have yet to field a midlife crisis. I’ve experienced various other manner of crises, but none of the midlife sort. Perhaps my version of a midlife crisis is a rebirth. If that’s the case, I’ve arrived, I suspect. (I turn 54 and life is a magickal prairie.)
Methinks that this is a good spot for the obligatory birthday selfies, so have at it!
I took these tonight. [19 January 2023]
My favorite answer to a filter is light in front of my face. I still haven’t gotten onboard with fancy filters and adjustments and what-have-you, but I have a lamp!
(You may recognize that I’m in my office. An office update post may or may not be forthcoming – I’ve indeed changed things up again around these here parts.)
Aaaaand with glasses:
My boyfriend loves this pic the best, so I had to include it!
(Yes, I’m in a relationship. It was a surprise to me, too. I am blessed.)
In New Year’s summary, I’m trying not to ask too much of myself. There are many avenues of self-improvement I need to follow this coming year, but it all has to start with getting more sleep, so I’m leaving the official resolution at that. That’s the intention, and I’m setting it. I have set it. I’m going to show up for it.
I wish you all the very best in 2023, friends. Here’s to 2023 and you!
I’m just popping in here to insist, yet again, that I’m not abandoning you or this space. I was going to post a post tonight! But then! A trip to the veterinarian emergency room had to be taken, as Nenette, my daughter of the feline persuasion, had been suffering with a severe flare of her Feline Interstitial/Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC). It was a doozy of a flare, poor baby. This time she also had vomiting and diarrhea. We just got home now, and it’s after midnight.
She’s doing much better after several hours in the E.R. She’s been subcutaneously hydrated. She was administered an anti-nausea drip, and she was given a dose of probiotics as well as a painkiller with sedative effects. We’re okay. Tired, but okay.
Somewhat out of it and feeling better.
The best time to capture Nenette in a pic is when she’s taking something.
Speaking of taking something, there was an interesting moment in the waiting room when a vet tech came out with a gray French bulldog and handed him over to the guy sitting in a chair by the door. “Here’s Fester. He’s fine. He’s exhibiting telltale signs that he got into some marijuana. He’ll sleep it off.”
In case you haven’t seen one before, let me tell you what a stoned French bulldog looks like: a French bulldog. It’s the eyes.
And so that’s where we are at the moment. I wanted to talk about the New Year rather than unwell cats and stoned French Bulldogs, but it is what it is.
On that note, I shall leave you all to your days and nights, wherever you are. I hope your New Year is off to a magnificent start, my friends. We all deserve it.
Hello, friends. It feels odd popping into this space. It feels all of a sudden, though I started writing this post last week. I wrote it with every intention of posting it. I mean, I’m never one to feel like I’ve got it all together – I’ve long since given up on that goal – but these days I’m feeling it more than usual.
Nothing has been “usual,” though.
Firstly and most importantly, I haven’t lived in one place consistently in the last two months. I’m currently (as in again) not living at home.
Me without stability:
I am in no place, or I am in one place, and not another, or I’m not in a place, and yet in another, or I have one foot in one place, and one in the other,
I have one foot in one life, and one in the other.
There. I think I nailed it with that last one. I’m between lives.
I have a life, but. I have no place. But. My head rifles the in-between, looking for… whatever. Looking for everything. Looking for a thing, somewhere in the bardo, disconnected. The calendar says holidays, and I say what day. What days? There are no days. There is one day. A day. Like today. Today was a day.
It might be “fine and well,” which you wouldn’t suspect after reading up to this point. Is it weird to state what I’ve stated above and yet maintain that things are good? I’m happy. It’s hard to explain when I can’t explain what I can’t explain.
There’s no mental or emotional hand-wringing going on here. I just want to find land and then swim somewhere. It’s that kind of go-from-here situation.
Another thing about the last two plus months: I haven’t worked out at all, my friends. This is a huge, HUGE deviation from my normal routine, as many of you are aware, and I’m not okay with it. I don’t approve. I don’t feel good or do well when I’m not working out. The disarray will continue up to the New Year, after which I’ll be able to reinstate my regular workouts in my schedule. Thus I will unwittingly join the ranks of the fitness Resolutioners. The best thing about this prospect is that I’m heartily amused by it.
(I stay strong because of my job, though, so there’s that. I have my functional strength. I just know that I’m not in my usual shape.)
The holidays? I usually do Christmas cards. This year, I’m not.
In the last two-three months, I’ve been erratic here in this space, and I’m not okay with this, either.
There’s just a lot these days. I feel like I’m usually at my worst when I’m living out of a suitcase, but here we are, and to my surprise, I don’t actually feel like I’m at my worst-worst. I feel like I’m okay, so I’m not sure what I’m rambling about here.
Tonight I went to my work’s holiday party and took a pic before leaving:
Tonight, being Not At My Place (undisclosed location). [15 December 2022]
I think the main thing is that I have one foot in one life, and the other in another life, and I can’t talk about either life at the moment. I’m sorry for the vagueness. One day it shall be explained. Just… today is not the day (though today was a day).
At any rate, I hope this finds you all doing well on this beautiful weekend eve. Go in peace, friends.
Good morning, boys, girls, and anyone else who may be reading this. I’ve missed you.
It bothers me to go so long between blog posts. I’d gotten into my Thursday posting groove and then suddenly, in the last month or so, everything that happens happens on a Thursday. Seriously! Last week’s holiday vacation included! Oh, but I went somewhere, if you can believe that. I went road-tripping to Utah with a bunch of friends and found myself off-roading in a Jeep in Moab. It was brutally cold and gorgeously sunny and bright and altogether epic, despite the former.
Of course I come bearing pics from that little getaway. I took hundreds of them and decided to deposit my 39 favorites here – memories, you know – so you can hopefully get a feel for the wild and magickal energy of the places we visited (we stopped at Monument Valley on our way back through Arizona).
Without further ado!
Starting with some views from our Jeep and some of the places along the way… we were divided between two Jeeps…
Trekking out on rough and beautiful terrain.
Watching the vehicle in front of us gave us a glimpse of what we were in for…
I wasn’t driving, natch.
This pic is not crooked. We were. In several places I thought we’d flip over for sure, but we were fine.
This is what I look like bundled up in three layers of clothing plus a super thick puffy jacket, hat, and gloves. It was freezing, but 100% worth it!
We often stopped to take in the nature around us.
Love the texture of these rocks…
A little hiking was involved, which made the whole experience even better.
Obligatory selfie. (Ahem)
…and later, we went off in a different direction – not in Jeeps – to do some sight-seeing. It was nature in every direction, my friends, and there were very few people at most places we explored.
I could feel the presence of deities here, I swear.
It was like being on another planet.
As in the Land of AZ, the sky was SO beautifully, ridiculously blue. I love the American West.
Extra-terrestrial rock formations everywhere we looked. I couldn’t take enough pictures.
The way I imagine Mars to be… the sand was so red and soft.
The La Sal mountains in sight all around…
And a lot in the way of balancing boulders.
Rounded. Cragged. The winds of ancient times carved these gigantic natural artifacts at which we can marvel today.
Those snow-capped mountains, though!
This bird was quite large and so blue. I wish he held still enough for a clear pic.
A watery horseshoe.
Canyonlands as far as the eye can see.
…with dramatic late-afternoon skies.
I love this tree.
In town, I tried on this sweat jacket and ended up not purchasing it.
Then we stopped at Monument Valley on our way back!
I didn’t want to leave. It was fabulous getting to get away.
The End… thank you for scrolling through my crazy plethora of pics, my friends!
And thank you for putting up with my recent inconsistencies. I’ll get back into the groove, I promise!
Friends, on this beautiful moonlit night in the early hours of November 11 – Veterans’ Day here in the States – I opened Selected Late Poems of George Trakl, and my eyes fell on his poem “In The East.”
Allow me to share:
In The East by George Trakl*
The grim anger of nations, Like the wild organ-sounds of the winter storm, The purple wave of battle, Stars that have shed their leaves.
With shattered foreheads & silver arms Night calls to the dying soldiers. The spirits of the battle-dead groan In the shadows of autumnal ash.
A desert of thorns surrounds the city. The moon chases the terrified women From steps that are bleeding. Wild wolves have broken through the gate.
It is Veterans’ Day in America, and Trakl’s haunting lines of verse give me pause. I feel more reflective this Veterans’ Day than most, and I’m not sure why. If I were to attempt to listen and characterize the energy of the American people right now, I’d say that we are anxious, restless within our borders, like dogs straining forward at the ends of our leashes.
My cat sleeping on the chair next to my bed calms the world… I’m convinced of this, and I’m grateful. It’s always the little things.
Happy Veterans’ Day, my fellow veterans. Thank you for your service.
*George Trakl was a German poet who served in the army during World War I. He died of suicide at the age of 27. He’s one of my favorite poets.
It’s been a month. It’s been a good two months. I don’t know about you, but on my end, life has mimicked a fault line in constant tremor and sudden change and general chaos where there used to be order (a workplace moving into a new building will accomplish the latter pretty well). I missed you last week when another circumstance arose out of nowhere. But we’re here now.
And the desert, my friends. The desert can always be relied upon when you’re in Phoenix or anywhere else in the magickal Land of AZ in which I’m so blessed to live. Last weekend I escaped into nature and did some magickal grounding with the Earth.
This was a mere just-over-two-miles in, but you don’t have to go far.
The healthiest ocotillo I’ve ever seen, lush and alive in the wild after a series of rains.
Into the distance…
The sky was wild that day.
November on the verge.
Yours Truly looking shaggy in the days leading to a much-needed haircut. I trimmed my bangs and cut two inches off this mess.
Every direction you turn looks different.
To wander is to live.
A perfect view. My perfect view, anyway.
One wants to wander forever.
Boots tossed to the side. Feet buried in the sand after a meditation. Grounding.
Scenery along the way.
The magick is real.
Communing with nature always brings me back to center.
Friends, I hope this finds you feeling well under our gorgeous waxing gibbous moon. May your days be full with splendors.
I’ve found this well-paced, well-written short Sci-Fi horror that I thought I’d share for anyone who’s interested. It stars a couple of faces that may be familiar to some of you – Marisa Tomei and Minnie Driver – and the writing’s quite nice. Furthermore! In discovering this short film! I stumbled into a YouTube channel that specifically features short Sci-Fi films. You know I’m all in over there, and I will certainly bring some of my favorites to you.
On another note, I received a lovely comment from one of you yesterday. To your kind expression of appreciation, I say thank you, as well, and indeed I will keep writing. I’ve somewhat fallen out of a groove here in the last year, but grooves are designed to get back into (please forgive not only the cliché but also my ending that clause with a preposition), and I look forward to doing that.
All of that said, please enjoy Laboratory Conditions at your leisure:
So where was I when I left off two weeks ago when I wanted to post but needed to sleep so I didn’t and instead greeted you from a far-off half-awake place in my brain in a way that I hoped was somehow coherent but I have a feeling that I wasn’t and I’m too embarrassed to go back and look at what I wrote to confirm my suspicion but now I’m awake enough to return to the topic?
Ah, yes. Here we are.
As I was somewhat/somehow saying two weeks ago, I now have a mystery snail, and his name is Sherlock. Allow me to share details with any of you who may be interested! I’ll tell you up front that this newest addition to my little family is a riot. My kids are little, but they have big personalities. I shouldn’t have been surprised to discover that Sherlock was far from an exception.
Sherlock was given to me a few weeks ago in a small plastic food container. I knew nothing about mystery snails, much less of proper living arrangements for them, so I asked Google, who told me in no uncertain terms that one mystery snail needs a five-gallon tank, minimum… but I ended up getting him a 3.7-gallon tank. I regret that decision now, of course. One mystery snail needs a minimum of five gallons of water! How difficult would it be to, I don’t know, set up Sherlock’s habitat in accordance with the experts’ wisdom? So now Sherlock is in a tank that’s too small for the maintenance of his optimal health, and I’m not sure what to do about it. (Is it too late to make an exchange? I’m pretty sure that the store won’t accept a return of a used tank, but I can ask. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I got this tank.) Maybe I’ll get a five-gallon tank for Sherlock at some point and just grow plants in the 3.7 gallon-tank.
Between Sherlock and Geronimo, I have two kids who live in shells and who are vegan. Sherlock’s favorite thing to eat is green beans. It’s fascinating watching him chomp away at the green bean with his tiny alien mouth, but I’m even more in awe when I witness his UFC-caliber take-down technique when encountering a vertical green bean. It happens sometimes that the green bean will land on its end when I drop it into the water, and it’ll stay that way until Sherlock comes along – 0 to 60 when he sniffs out the green bean, which is immediately – to grapple with it. I never knew that grappling could be simultaneously ruthless and elegant until I saw this pretty little snail take down a green bean.
In addition to green beans, Sherlock enjoys climbing up and down the aquatic plants, and also diving down from the surface of the water. At first it was alarming to witness him plunging to the ground from the greatest height he could reach, but it soon became clear that this is his idea of a good time. He always lands on his one large foot. Sherlock is an MMA fighter and a diver. Big personality, I’m telling you.
I’m not sure how long Sherlock will be with me. Mystery snails live about a year; Sherlock was full-grown when he arrived, so he’s already well into his one-year lifespan. He’ll carry out his remaining months – or weeks, or days, whatever the case may be – eating green beans and gliding around his tank, free-falling and climbing the leafy stalks of his aquatic plants.
Good morning, my friends. I got up with my super early alarm an hour ago to write in this space, but I had to get back into bed due to lack of adequate sleep, and while I’m sorry that I failed to post here, I’m glad that I got in the extra sleep mileage, especially since I ended up having a fascinating dream that I hope to remember. (I should try to jot it down.)
I wish you all a fabulous day or night, wherever you are and whatever the case. I’ll sign off with a pic of my new snail, who I’d planned for you to meet today! This is Sherlock the mystery snail, and he wishes you a good day or night, as well:
We’ve had a light and semi-steady rain these last three days… unusual in the desert. A double rainbow appeared in the sky yesterday morning, and yesterday evening the sunset was spectacular. It compelled me to take a photo (which I thought I’d share above). Thus summer winds down gloriously, and I’m looking forward to the new season.
Geronimo has his pre-hibernation appointment tomorrow, so I can see what’s what with the little guy. It’s an exciting time to be a desert tortoise!
On that short note, blessings to you all, my friends. May your days shine bright and your nights shine softly.
When you absentmindedly step off of a loading dock and your mistake hits you in an instant not unlike the one wherein a cartoon coyote realizes that the ground beneath him disappeared because he’d run off of a cliff and your immediate physical reflex is to pull up your feet so you can land on the soles of them and you do but then you also fall forward onto your knees because you didn’t have time to re-calibrate your center of gravity before landing and you couldn’t catch yourself with your hands because you were holding something in each one and then you spring up from your hard-impact Olympic-caliber foot/knee-landing combo feeling even more like an idiot than you did at the beginning of the day when you wore your new prescription sunglasses into work and forgot that you had them on and wondered why everything was dark and the whole thing strikes you as an elaborate metaphor but you can’t think of for what and this seems like a part of the problem plus the ramifications of an entirely different flavor of bad decision unfold into the evening and as you slip into the resulting episode of depression you feel that you’d jinxed yourself by writing a positive mental-health post the previous week and the only thing that came of the whole thing was this run-on sentence the length of a long paragraph. This is all I have to offer you today, my friends. I’m sorry.
Here’s hoping that today is better than yesterday (and the day before, for that matter). I’m taking my bruised knees into work along with a Starbucks triple-shot energy coffee drink because I’ve recently fallen into the habit of dumping chemicals into my body first thing in the morning and now I’m addicted, but that’s a topic for a whole different blog post, perhaps.
I hope this find you wrapping up a much better week than the one I’m about to finish. Take care out there, my friends.
Hello, friends. I don’t know about you, but it’s been a weird week over here on my end. For instance, I took my car, Dysis, to the car wash yesterday. It should have been just another visit to the car wash, the same one I’ve gone to for years, but all of a sudden, it wasn’t. It wasn’t the same. It was different.
Instead of standing at the window ledge in the large car wash store – which was gone, the store – to watch my car as she passed through the mechanical stages of the wash, I found myself sitting inside the car as she passed through those stages. They changed the entire operation. You now sit in your car to go through the wash, then pull up where they tell you so you can get out and wait while they vacuum and wipe down the inside and probably the outside, too.
I avoid drive-through car washes because of my high anxiety levels when I’m in them, closed inside of a vehicle with the sound of water and air hitting it and visibility reduced to practically nothing. Now I was there, in it, going through it, beset with alarming neon lights that turned the water into psychedelic rivulets, bright color shooting through the torrents of water. It was all so unexpected and bizarre that I almost expected Nicolas Cage to step out in front of me at the end. Have you ever seen Mandy?
Of course I took pics.
The disappearing car wash wasn’t the only weirdness of the week, but it was the only one that I could photograph. And nothing was weird in a really bad way. It’s just been a strange seven days.
Greetings from the night of this magickal new moon, my friends. This week’s gone quickly, I feel. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. It was one of those weeks where anything weird that may have gone down was inconsequential. For instance, I had a wardrobe malfunction at work yesterday, but no one noticed, so that was okay. I fixed it immediately and life went on.
One thing I like about wearing our company t-shirts is the uniformity of it. We’re all in jeans and black shirts. The only time that people pay attention to my clothing is when something obvious is going on with it, like my phone’s flashlight is on in my back pocket, which happens a lot.
My phone in my back pocket gets up to all kinds of shenanigans. In addition to turning on my flashlight ten or so times a day, it operates the calculator. It plays songs on Spotify. It turns on airplane mode. It turns on Do Not Disturb. It turns off Bluetooth. It informs me of the current moon phase. And it does call people. And there’ve been times it’s done all of these things at once! It’s aggravating, but I’m kind of proud of it. I mean, does your phone light up your ass like a Christmas tree? Does it perform and solve extended and intricate mathematical equations?
I mean, look at what my butt did with my calculator the other day. I took screenshots. My ass is a goddamn mathematical genius.
I could see it as amusing, but it’s mostly just a pain in the butt to have to undo things it does. If there was a more convenient way to carry it around, I’d consider it.
Like my minor wardrobe mishap the other day, though, my butt horsing around on my phone is pretty inconsequential.
I hope you all have a marvelous day or night, friends. Do something rejuvenating for yourselves as the moon is new.
It’s been too long since I’ve come at you with cat pics, I’ve realized, so tonight I’m here to remedy the situation. Another thing, my friends, is that my last few cat posts have been dedicated Salem posts. While Salem lived her beloved feral kitty experience outdoors, Nenette’s lived her own truth here in the house. Which is to say that she occupies her space in the loudest quiet way possible, her every soft step deafening in its decisiveness. Even if changing her direction mid-course. Even if startled by the drop of a gum wrapper. Nenette invented the “I meant to do that” save.
She still communicates with a shake of her collar jingling her two metal tags. She still drinks from her little water glass, and she still paws at the floor in front of it before dipping in.
And she still hates having her picture taken. She’s so good at avoiding it that I’d more or less given up on the endeavor. Last night, though, I could tell that she was too chilled out to want to make an escape. I took advantage, and here we are.
This is Nenette waiting for me to get into bed.
My favorite inexplicable thing about Nenette is that she smells like floral perfume. It’s one of the greatest spooky and fun mysteries of ever, and I wish I could share it with you, this fragrance. I’ve long since stopped trying to figure it out. It’s not any perfume that I wear, and she never comes into contact with anyone else, much less someone who wears fragrance. Nenette just smells like her sweet self, which, I guess, is flowers.
As if I could love her more.
I wish you a wonderful day today, or night tonight, as the case may be. Thank you for being here, friends. You are beautiful.
if you’re one to follow special holidays here in the part of the world where it’s July 5th. How to celebrate? According to one website:
–Take it literally and work like a dog.
–Celebrate someone who works like a dog every day.
–Celebrate your hardworking dog.
–Flip the coin to the other side and celebrate your lazy dog.
Good morning (or evening), my friends. I don’t have an actual post for you today, but I still wanted to say hello, so I’m popping in to do that. I first looked up today’s special holiday, though, and it prompted me to think that it’d be funny to come up with my own special holidays, as in 365 of them. 365 special days!
Maybe I’ll give it some thought here and there. You know I’ll publish the list for you here in TALC if I end up doing it, for anyone here who who’s as easily amused as I am.
Meanwhile, I wish you all a wonderful day today, whether you work like a dog or not.
When I told my friend that my workplace provides us with Gatorade and Gatorade Zero, he told me that Gatorade was developed at the University of Florida, whose mascot is the Gators, hence the fortified water’s name. The drink was meant to help the university’s athletes, so “Gator aid” was created to help the Gators. Some wise guy on the research team decided to spell “aid” as “ade” – I put it that way because it’s better than supposing that people at the University of Florida can’t spell – and as if this crime against spelling wasn’t enough, when I went online to read about alligators, I discovered that according to Wikipedia, “Louisiana has the largest American alligator population of any U.S. state,” not Florida, so now I was looking at fraud because the Gators being the University of Florida’s mascot is a perpetuation of the lie that Florida is the alligator state. I don’t know about you, but I hadn’t known otherwise. I never associated Louisiana with alligators. And then I thought that if alligators have a beverage named after them, than so should crocodiles. Is there a school whose mascot is the crocodiles? If there was, their teams would beat the Gators’. I watched a documentary on Hulu called Croc That Ate Jaws about alligators and sharks occasionally cohabiting in brackish waters and the giant toothy lizards preying on the giant toothy fishes. Watching it led me to investigate caimans and crocodiles, which was where I learned that the most aggressive member of the Crocodilia Order is the Nile Crocodile, and when I say “Crocodilia Order” I’m including alligators, because they do belong to that club. Doesn’t “Crocodilia Order” sound like a secret society? Is there such a secret society – Reptilians?! Alligators and crocodiles are great big reptiles, after all. (Mental note: ask Google whether alligators or sharks have a stronger jaw, and whether it’s true that alligators and crocodiles can’t turn well, so if you’re running from them, you should zig-zag.) I have so many questions.
I was writing all of this and this is where my fluffy post about alligators and crocodiles veered in the direction of a rant, as it’s here that I Googled Nile Crocodile and encountered this article that led to me shutting my laptop, because nothing stirs my ire like stories celebrating the States’ trophy hunters going over to Africa with their privileged American firearm-toting asses looking to murder Nile crocodiles on the locals’ behalf so they can have their picture taken with the crocodile corpse before “sending it on to the purse factory” and coming home as “dragon-slaying” “heroes.”
(The article is a publication of the NRA.)
But not quite. I want to wish you all a happy next seven days in your various time zones and hemispheres, because new weeks are invigorating opportunities to do better and be better than you were the previous week. That’s how I’m look at it, anyway.
At any rate we’re on the horizon of the traditional Saturday-Sunday weekend and I hope you all have an enjoyable and/or productive one.
Hello there, friends. Tonight I’m tired; therefore, I come to you bearing nothing but this selfie I took in the bathroom at work the other day so I could show my Mom my haircut – I got layers – as I’d forgotten to take it the day before. I told her I’d send her a picture, so I was going to take one when I finally remembered to think about it. Here we are! My hair is a sweaty mess, but you can see the layers nonetheless.
(Rhyme not intended.)
So Mom got this pic, and now you’re getting it, too. I used to always post pics after getting my hair cut. I guess you could say that this selfie signals a return to that silly tradition. Why not?
I’m in a mood, my friends. Not a bad one. I think I’m actually just tired.
I’m so glad to be here.
I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying the splendors of the universe in whatever way means the most to you. In my world, my perfect activities in direct connection to the universe – and my deference and gratitude for it – are looking at the stars and listening to music.
This is my mantra: There’s much to celebrate: all that’s bright, and there’s a lot of brightness.
Hello, friends. Have you ever sat down to write something only to realize that further investigation on the topic would veer the mood of the post in the opposite direction?
It happened to me tonight. I was writing something fluffy and light and then a little delving-in turned the mood of the post into something somber (or richly empty, or just irked)… that stirred in me the urge to go on somewhat of a rant. And it’s too late at night for me to go there. Suffice it to say that I won’t be posting on this particular topic at the moment. Wait for it, though, if you would! It’s about alligators and crocodiles.
Instead, I’m here to wish you all a merry end-of-week. The power of the full moon in Capricorn still vibrates in the air, lending to us gifts of quiet reflection and self-discipline in whatever ways they’d serve us best. Let’s absorb some of that powerful energy! A moment to sit with closed eyes and a clear mind as we reflect on our usage of time can only bring us back to center in renewed self-awareness. I don’t know about you, but I could use some of this right about now. I should take my own advice.
–In the last month, the spacious parking lot I’ve enjoyed at work for two years has gradually become more populated by people who work at the dispensary on the corner. Today there were twice as many cars there than the usual. Also, the parallel parking on the street between the dispensary and our warehouse is packed. It’s like all of a sudden a million people are working at the dispensary. But where are they, exactly? And what are they doing there? Mysteries.
–But it doesn’t matter, because my work is MOVING. Soon. And it’s not yet clear where we’ll end up. Adventures are afoot, my friends. Capital-A Adventures.
–I did not observe this year’s “Independence Day” holiday. I haven’t felt “free” since American women’s rights were burned to the ground on the 24th of June. It made me sick. I couldn’t bring myself to turn around and celebrate this country on the 4th of July. The “Land of the Free” is a song lyric, and it doesn’t apply to women.
–Something is up with Geronimo, and I don’t know what. More on this in a future Geronimo post.
–A guy came into my workplace today to do some inspecting, and he said to me, “I can’t see your smile behind that big ol mask.” To which I INEXPLICABLY removed my mask and smiled, and then I immediately cringed at myself as he crowed his approval on his way out. (WHY did I do that???)
–I have discovered that the road to junk food heaven is paved with Trader Joe’s ridge-cut salt and pepper potato chips.
I’m going to leave you on that note, my friends. If you’re lucky enough to have access to a Trader Joe’s, do yourselves a favor and get a bag of those chips.
Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of Salem’s death, the last Sunday in June. It’s hard to believe that a year ago that day I went outside in the morning and called her for breakfast – it was already strange that she wasn’t sitting on the patio waiting for it – not realizing that she would never come back.
That’s all I can bring myself to say about it right now.
Because two nights ago was the new moon in Cancer, June’s new moon, the dark moon.
And last week we reached the longest day and shortest night of the year, Litha, the Summer Solstice. Here in the desert we’ve had a couple of monsoon storms so far this summer. At work I drink water all day, and it tastes like winter.
My mood is generally good, but sometimes, I move through the world feeling insecure. That’s when the pace of life feels the slowest. I think to myself, if insecurity could be a quick and painless thing, like a perfect death. Instead, it drags forward, forcing me to look at it and all of its facets and dimensions, which are mostly held in shadow. Insecurity is a space in which there’s very little light, and not in a good way. I recognize this feeling as a probable by-product of my depression, but it could also be an aspect of my psyche in and of itself likely rooted somewhere in my past… or maybe it’s just me armchair-shrinking myself, dredging from random articles I’ve read, common beliefs that are perhaps more misconceptions. Stereotypes. In any case, insecurity is a cruel creature. I try not to feed it. It goes away eventually.
But I’m grounded in the structure of my simple routines. Every other day I empty the watering hole in the yard and freshen it, lately inserting myself into the cloud of thirsty bees and wasps – there are both- that surrounds the dish and hovers and drifts upward when I snatch the dish away to rinse it out and refill it. The bees and wasps are very patient with me, as if they know that I’m going to put the dish back filled with fresh water.
Every two weeks I hand-wash my face masks.
Every 10 days I water all of my plants; that’s when I talk to them, kiss them, and honor them to the best of my ability, hoping to adequately reciprocate the blessings that they offer to me. I thank them for their gifts of serenity and affirmation of life. I’m as proud a plant mom as I am a cat mom and a tortoise mom.
There’s more to my contentment than my simple daily personal routines, though. There’s the delight and joy of Geronimo clomping speedily along to greet me on the patio, Nenette napping in her eagle’s nest at the top of her cat tree, on her side, so all I can see of her from my desk are ear-tips and her tangle of front paws splayed out over the edge.
Meanwhile, at night, I have an active dream life that I’m not allowed to remember.
And stone fruit season has finally arrived here in the northern hemisphere, and I love all of its offerings. Cherries are my favorites.
Thank you for the blessings, my friends. I feel the love. You are loved, too.
I thought it would be fun to come at you with a Post-pandemic/New Normal/Whatever We’re Calling It These Days post, because I was washing my masks yesterday evening and I suddenly realized that I was performing a task that I never would’ve thought could become a regular part of my chore routine.
Yes, I hand-wash my masks.
Yes, I still wear a mask every day at work and when I go out.
No, I’m not planning on stopping. I’ve become fond of wearing a mask. There are several advantages: I don’t have to breathe in dust; no one tells me to smile more; I feel protected from viruses of all sorts; my seasonal allergies are negligible when I’m wearing a mask; my facial skin is shielded from the sun; and I don’t have to deal with people thinking that I’m irritable because of my resting bitch face.
Though I do own a few fancy masks, my everyday mask uniform is basic black. I have 16 of them, all the same.
I wear a fresh one every day and let them build up in the laundry. When I’m down to one, or even none, I wash them all by hand. It’s the most pleasant and calming chore that I do. It’s a moving meditation, washing them in the bathtub and then hanging them on the rack to dry.
Yesterday evening I took my speaker into the bathroom with me and listened to my favorite old Reiki track as I did the mask-washing. There’s a particular song that I love that’s not available on Spotify, so I dug out the CD from my ancient German trunk of treasures and snapped it into my even more ancient external CD player.
I can’t explain it, my friends, this pleasure I take in hand-washing masks, of all things. The whole deal just feels like a divine activity. I’m so grateful to be able to feel this way. Sometimes I think that I take more pleasure in the mundanity in life than in the major exciting spectacular events.
I like the way John Rhys sums it up:
I have decided on a place to eat in at midday, a
place to eat in at night, a place to have my drink
in after dinner. I have arranged my little life.
On that note, I’ll wish you all a good end-of-week… if your week is traditional like that, of course. Otherwise, I wish you a good next few days.
Newsflash! Dandelions are in season here in the northern hemisphere, my friends. They’re weeds. I picked some up from Sprouts a couple of weeks ago and got down on some weed salad. If we are what we eat, I’d be a bitter green; I love them so much.
I’m just here to rave about noshables tonight, apparently, because this is the time of year I’m the most excited about food. Along with delicious weeds, many other leafy greens are fantastic right now. Artichoke season has arrived, and stone fruit season is nigh. I’m impatient for all of the latter… cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots.
(If I was a stone fruit, I would be a Santa Rosa plum… the ambrosia of my childhood.)
Everything is about refreshment and balance. I’m convinced that Humanity couldn’t exist without either of those things.
But back to tasty news: I’ve returned to drinking my favorite fizzy fruity probiotic drink on a fairly regular basis, and I’ve also kicked up my near-daily sparkling water habit – plain, as I’m not fond of flavored sparkling waters – to where I bring one to work every day. I have to keep bringing them on account of the fact that my sparkling water at work provides free entertainment.
It’s become a running commentary that my afternoon sparkling water translates to an actual commercial break for my co-workers because the water “seems so refreshing when I crack open the can and tilt my head back to drink.” Who am I to snatch that away?
Here’s the thing: I have certain duties and responsibilities at work that are of great importance; however, this one duty of providing my co-workers with a sparkling water commercial break is the most critical. I’m thrilled to provide. Who could suspect that there’s so much joyful good power in the cracking open of a can? It makes people happy. That’s real. And I love that I arrived at this place here tonight… happy people.
I hope this finds you experiencing some degree of happiness that registers on the happiness scale, my friends. Because you – we – all deserve it.
Hello, my friends. I’m sorry that this is a “watch this space” post. I’m here and I’m writing, but my schedule’s still thrown off. Thank you for your patience as I continue to work on it. Getting my shit together was never my strong suit, as some of you already know.
But I have plans, oh yes. In the near future, I’m going to resume my Tuesday/Thursday posting schedule. Let’s see if I can make it happen starting next week.
Well, friends, I did some dabbling recently. I ventured into the “woo-woo” territory of past-life regression, which was a thing I’d heard a lot about, though I’d never given it much of an actual thought.
Probably I just did it because I was curious to see what would happen. I actually did two past-life regression self-hypnosis sessions.
I found a video on YouTube and got all comfortable on my back on the floor here in my office. In my first session, I saw, as if on a projector, an old-fashioned black and white film strip with perforated edges advancing quickly at irregular intervals. When it stopped advancing, the grainy still image looking back at me was a witchy headshot of a dark-haired woman with pale skin. Her hair was worn in a jaw-length 1920’s bob cut with bangs. Either during the hypnosis or immediately afterward, I knew – how, I don’t know, I just did – that she was a flapper. The perforated black-and-white film rolled through two more times, each time stopping on the same image. So that was what I saw: what looked to be an old negative film stock photo of a flapper, a 1920’s party girl. I suppose, since I saw this in a past-life regression hypnosis session, this might mean that that was me in one of my past lives.
(I don’t go around with the Roaring Twenties on my mind, ever, so I can trust that my imagination did not conjure this up.)
In my second past-life regression hypnosis session, the only thing I saw was my own feet as I was standing still. On my feet, I wore some sort of sandal or footwear made of leather. Beneath my feet, I saw wild grass. I also caught a flash of the hem of the dress I was wearing. And that was it: I was just standing on wild grass looking down at my leather-sandaled feet, clad in some sort of long dress.
So that was my experience with past-life regression self-hypnosis. It was underwhelming. I guess I was expecting to have a whole experience as many people report they’ve had. Mine did not deliver much in the way of concrete information. I don’t have cool stories to share with you about who I might have been in a past life, but I was fascinated by that which I did see, and I do plan to do it again!
I hope this finds you well, my friends. Thank you for bearing with me these days as I continue to work on my footing.