2023 and me.

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!

As yet, Nenette.

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.

The shake-up.

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,

or

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.

Off-roading in a Jeep in Moab.

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…

Fun times!

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.

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I could feel the presence of deities here, I swear.

It was like being on another planet.

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As in the Land of AZ, the sky was SO beautifully, ridiculously blue. I love the American West.

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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.

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Every direction.

Rounded. Cragged. The winds of ancient times carved these gigantic natural artifacts at which we can marvel today.

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Those snow-capped mountains, though!

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This bird was quite large and so blue. I wish he held still enough for a clear pic.

Breathless.

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A watery horseshoe.

Canyonlands as far as the eye can see.

…with dramatic late-afternoon skies.

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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!

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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!

Blessings to you all.

A poem by George Trakl on Veterans’ Day.

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.

Desert Wanderings.

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.

Sacred scenery.

Every direction you turn looks different.

To wander is to live.

A perfect view. My perfect view, anyway.

One wants to wander forever.

And ever.

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.

The End… but not.

Today’s Short (SCI-FI) Horror October offering: “Laboratory Conditions” (with Marisa Tomei and Minnie Driver)

Short SCI-FI horror, that is.

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:

A fine and enjoyable day or night to you all!

So now I’m the mother of a mystery.

Greetings, friends.

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.

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.

(Gah.)

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.

The Life Aquatic with Sherlock.
Big foot.
Sherlock and a cross-section of a green bean.
This green bean will be 100% consumed in less than 12 hours!

Peace, my friends. Thank you for being here.

But I slept.

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:

Sherlock, my new baby! He’s a mystery snail.

Until next time, then.

Driving into the (Arizona) sunset.

I am where I’m supposed to be.

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.

The world is a treacherous place.

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.

Car wash.

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.

This is what I saw – all I could see – as I sat in my car going through the car wash. Nightmare trip fuel.
A Nicolas Cage moment minus Nicolas Cage.

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.

Take care out there, my friends.

My butt is more talented than your butt.

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.

Nenette on the (pillow) case.

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.

Trying to decide whether she should care that there’s a camera looming.
She cares.
A lot.
Everything is fine.
Maybe.
But hey, dinnerz was tasty.
And the bed is comfy.
There’s no such thing as too comfortable though.

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.

Today is Work Like a Dog Day,

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.

Until next time, then!

Falling down the rabbit hole. (Or alligator hole, as the case may be.)

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.)

Nile Crocodile

The End.

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.

Until next them, my friends.

Nothing to see hair.

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.

New layered hair!

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.

Many blessings to you all!

When that happens.

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.

Until next time, then.

Little life updates.

Here’s a general and random run-down:

–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.

You’re welcome.

Middle of the night face.

I love you all. Thank you for being here.

Salem one year later.

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.

Now.

Thank you for the blessings, my friends. I feel the love. You are loved, too.

Mask meditation.

Greetings, friends. Erm…

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.

Pic taken today: dusty dirty work-worn end of the day mask.

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.

Masks on a rack.

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.

Stay well, my friends.

Weed salad.

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.

Big bowl o’weeds. What we’re looking at here is a pile of dandelions with pumpkin seeds, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and coarse sea salt.

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.

“Watch this space”

Step aside!

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.

Meanwhile, I hope this finds you well!

Past life regression experiment results: I had cool hair in another life.

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.

In the present.

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.

Phenomena: Music.

Hello, my friends. Tonight I’m listening to a playlist I’m putting together on Spotify, and I’m so overtaken by the project that I wanted to try to describe it to you… “it” being the way – one of the ways – in which I experience music. I believe I’ve tried to do this before, but music is such a personal experience, it’s difficult to get the feeling across to others. Thank you for humoring me here. I know that many of you will be able to relate.

For example, then: When I’m sitting here blocked in my aura or my mind, maybe half-blinded by the dryness of my eyes, likely sleepy from night after night of scarce sleep, and there’s a faint, low echo of a howl on the wind so muted it’s almost imaginary… it’s in that moment that I can click “play” and rock out, loudly, carving from a chaotic soundscape a juncture in time that both divides and joins my light and shadow aspects. It’s when I turn the nothingness of the edge into the blessed oblivion of everything, a shift of energy that’s dramatic in execution but subtle in effect, from a stagnant void into the vibrancy of nirvana.

In other words, I love music beyond description (as you’ve been warned).

At the moment I’m sitting in the blue light of my office listening to thrash metal.

Right now. [07 April 2022]

I listen to music as I get ready for work in the morning, and I listen to it in my car on the way in, but I don’t bring my music in with me. I get too mesmerized by it. I enjoy my co-workers’ music, then go home and get lost in my own again.

It’s like that. And it’s:

The way that Tears For Fears saved my life when I was 15.

The way that I feel indescribable longing when I listen to Canteloube: Chants d’Auvergne: Pastourelle (as sung by Dawn Upshaw).

The way that The Piano became one of my favorite movies because in it, the piano is Ada’s voice.

And does it even need to be said that music can elevate a workout from good to world-class?

I hope you’re all doing well, my friends, and listening to something truly perfect for the moment that you’re in.

“Like a starfish that drifts in with the tide.”

My friends, I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t scrambling to get my shit together over here. What I mean by this is that I’ve been failing you by slipping up where my posting schedule is concerned. I’m considering altering my schedule to “early in the week” (Monday or Tuesday) to “later in the week” (Thursday or Friday).

I’m okay, though. Life is happening but it’s going swimmingly; I’m just finding that I need to switch up my footing right about now. There’s a seasonal shift taking place, and I’m lagging a bit, like I got left behind in a different time zone. When I keep waking up an hour later than it is, it’s time to re-set. I’ve hit the re-set button several times here in TALC over the last ten years.

It’s been ten years?!

Probably as theatrically angsty as I could get in a selfie.

In upcoming news, Geronimo’s been out of hibernation for a few weeks, and I do have pics forthcoming, along with his own updates. I’m looking forward to sharing those with you!

I hope this finds you all doing well, friends. April blessings to you!

Sharing another cooking video! Cuisine from Pakistan.

Hello, my friends. Tonight, I come to you bearing a video from a YouTube cooking channel with which I’m mildly obsessed. I’m especially excited to share this with you as the last cooking video I posted from Pick Up Limes (Afghani cuisine) was so well-received. You know that when I find something of great interest to me, I want to share it with you!

I stumbled upon this YouTube channel that features a young man and his mother (I believe that she’s his mother due to comments I’ve seen from people who appear to know them In Real Life) as they prepare food at home. They live in Pakistan and cook their meals in the Old Ways, and that latter bit is the reason why I love this channel. The channel is called Secrets of Gilgit, and this is the first video of theirs that I watched.

I thought I would share one of their lovely dessert videos, as well. This is one that I particularly enjoyed!

I don’t know about you, but these videos make me want to be a better preparer and enjoyer of food.

Goals.

A blessed weekend eve to you, my friends.

Teachiai. (An ode to tea.)

Combining the characters for “stand” and “meet,” “tachiai” is the term for the initial charge that gets all sumo bouts underway.

(Credit to John Gunning and The Japan Times for the paraphrased quote above.)

Hello there, my friends. Let’s talk tea… literally. No spilling!

Somewhere along the way, I went from coffee-drinkerism to tea-drinkerism, a conversion that started to brew five or so years ago when I experienced an odd occurrence of coffee-induced nausea during a bout of the common cold. It was a note-to-self moment, don’t drink coffee again until the cold’s run its course, and somehow, the moment never ended. It just so happened that I never got back around to drinking coffee. It was an incidental quitting rather than an intentional one.

Maybe it was because I wasn’t missing the daily jump-start into the morning that I didn’t make a special note of it.

I didn’t miss the coffee jump-start, but now that I’ve made a new morning ritual of matcha-mushroom tea – a concoction I started drinking in the third week of last October, so four months ago as of this writing – I’m enjoying a different kind of daily morning boost. A cup of matcha green tea has the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, but its caffeine delivery is a mellow slow-release. Where coffee roars, matcha green tea purrs. It’s a sustained purr that carries on for hours and hours.

The energy I get from matcha is significant yet quiet as its wonderfully juxtaposed calming effect is the opposite of the coffee jitters I remember too well. I find the whole experience of drinking this magickal beverage in the morning to be incredibly soothing, and I get to work with just the right amount of energy. With matcha green tea in my system, I hum along rather than bounce off the walls. There’s no crash-and-burn.

Mixing medicinal mushroom powder into the tea simply carries it over into another realm of goodness.

At night, I’ll sometimes indulge in another tea beverage: A Bengal Spice (Celestial Seasonings) soy milk latte. Celestial Seasonings crafted their Bengal Spice tea to be a caffeine-free chai, so essentially it’s a chai latte that can be enjoyed at night. I steep the tea for 5-7 minutes, covered with a cloth (so the brew is deep and intense in color and aroma) before filling the remaining 1/4 of the mug with soy milk. Those are my chai tea latte proportions of preference: 3/4 tea, 1/4 soy milk.

Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice soy latte.

On that note, my friends, I’ll wish you all a good night, this being later at night on my end. Translate this to “Good (whatever-applies-where-you-are).” Truth be told, writing about tea is making me want to get to bed earlier so that I can wake up sooner to my morning matcha-mushroom brew.

Until mid-week, then.

Early to grow. (Merry Vernal Equinox!)

Hello, my friends. I’m interested in knowing what the weather’s been like where you are. Here, a wild desert wind’s been blowing in gusts on and off for about a week now. I’ve perceived it with all of my senses; I’ve swayed in it. I’ve gone metaphysical off-roading with no say in the matter, except for the fact that I do, in fact, have agency and can go in any direction I choose. What I need to do is regain my footing. I mostly wasn’t here last weekend, and so I missed you again. And I’m sorry, again.

Weather is majestic, though. To me, it’s the opposite of fodder for small-talk. I think of a storm as an orchestration and a feat of nature comprised of powerful expressions of the four elements: Air (wind), Fire (lightning), Water (rain), and Earth (receiving and absorbing it all), and if there’s mundanity in the discussion of that, then I can’t see it. I’m not great at small-talk. I actually enjoy talking about the weather.

And I love storms for bearing the message that nature and her elements are in charge on this planet. Storms want it known that to respect nature is to respect ourselves, because everything we do that negatively impacts nature and her elements creates an effect with which we beings on Earth will have to reckon at some point. Our lives are affected by our actions toward nature whether we want to admit it or not.

In Sedona: A tree leans into me. I lean back. [19 March 2022]




“In every walk with nature one received far more than he seeks.” ~John Muir

Tonight, in these new hours of spring in the year 2022, I’m feeling in awe of our energetic connections with all sentient beings on Earth, with the Earth, herself, and with the Cosmos. Of how we’re affected by the Moon in her various cycles. Of how we’re tuned in to the rhythms of nature through the energy centers in our bodies we call chakras.

In the Sedona vortex the day before the vernal equinox last weekend, I leaned into the tree and felt the thin, faint vibration of nature chime in with my pulse. It was a lesson in listening. It was invaluable.

Merry Vernal Equinox to you all!

When all is still while the world shakes.

I don’t know what to say, friends. I’ve been blocked since it all began. I haven’t spoken to anyone but my shrink about it. My throat chakra – the energy center of communication, spoken and otherwise – is knotted up.

My shrink tells me that many of his PTSD patients are experiencing higher levels of anxiety with the atrocities taking place in Ukraine, and I’ve found this to be true for myself. My known triggers have become hair-triggers. I bowed out of a work happy hour get-together tonight because it’s St Patrick’s Day (which was the point of the gathering). The consequential vibe on the streets would potentially have amounted to the effect of a bad acid trip.

I don’t know.

If there could be a made-up monster as vile as the human one responsible for this.

If there could be some academic way to run toward light from darker places.

If the collective conscience cracking like old ice beneath the weight of the evil in the world could be more palpable.

I’ve found that staring hard at anything else is the only way, and yet it’s inescapable… as well it should be. One way to help support the people of Ukraine is to simply be with them.

My “commute” to work is less than ten minutes down surface streets, but it’s enough time for a vehicle with “Pray for Ukraine” spray-painted across its back windshield to get in front of me, and then I arrive at work in tears.

At the same time, I’ve been experiencing a joy that hasn’t visited me in years, and I’ve been focusing on enjoying and nurturing that. I have much for which to be thankful. And I am. I am blessed here in this dusty little speck of a large world.

The End.

It’s late, but my hair is clean.

I’m going to escape into nature on Saturday, and I can think of few things more profound than the making of that sacred connection.

For Ukraine, I say prayers at the end of the day, which is all that can be done to help the wounded, the suffering, and the bereaved. At the end of it all, the survivors will become the Earth’s newest generation of living scars.

Yikes, my friends… I’m drifting off. I hope this finds you safe and well.