CELESTIAL ELECTROJUNGLE. (Office decor updates, redux.)

I wound up having to re-decorate my office barely two months after I finished my Haunted Cathedral theme. It was fun while it lasted, as they say.

What happened? My house had been literally pulled apart and scattered for over six months, and it was finally time to deal with the fall-out. (I opted to keep our major home renovation out of my blog, because it went on and on and on starting when the A/C debacle ended in May. Among other reasons, I didn’t want this to turn into a HOME RENOVATION blog. You already had to sit through my posts about the A/C.)

After ignoring the mess for so long, I finally jostled myself awake from my stupor of resistance and willful procrastination. Being grounded post-surgery left me with no more excuses. Plus, I didn’t like having a room piled high with stuff. I wanted my guest bedroom back!

That’s right – despite minimalizing more during the renovation, we still had things piled up in the guest bedroom. We had furniture and rugs; bedding and lamps; pictures and candles; cushions and clocks and wastebaskets; cat toys and kitchen items; tools and leftover parts; old fixtures and just, I don’t know, odds and ends of all kinds… because in addition to our own stuff, we had renovation leftovers and debris. There were items to be trashed. There were items to be returned to Home Depot. We had yet more things for the Goodwill. Some of the stuff, we gave away. Some of it went into the alley for college students to scavenge.

And inevitably, I guess, some of it ended up in my office, where it disrupted the Haunted Cathedral theme I’d just completed. Truth be told, I felt kind of selfish having this perfectly decorated room all to myself while there were things that had nowhere to go. All the furniture-rearranging and storage space reorganizing (four closets!) I did wasn’t enough.

There was no use in fighting it. Ultimately, though, chaos became a catalyst as creative energy took over and inspired me in the direction of a new vibe. I got into it!

Revolving around the black moon tapestry that used to be in our bedroom, the vibe in my office turned out to be celestial and futuristic, and the space homey rather than merely decorated. Where office v1 was plants-only/no decor, and office v2  was Haunted Cathedral/themed decor, this new version is simply an agglomeration of stuff over which I threw some blue string lights; I took the jumble of miscellany and tried to shape it into something that proclaims I meant to do this. The string lights and the new tapestry above my desk are my only new acquisitions. They help to make sense of it all.

By day:


Office by day

(The moon tapestry used to be in our bedroom. It came down when we painted the whole house, and we never put it back up. It inspired my new vision for this space.)



(Nenette has to have her glass of water at all times. ~I’m trying hard to save Jerome there on the left side of the bookshelf. It’s not looking good. Sad face.)



(Here’s my new tapestry, one of the two things I bought… this, and the string lights.)





(These are the same flowers I had in my Haunted Cathedral theme.)



(I’m already in January. I didn’t want to wait to hang up the calendar, which was a gift from Callaghan.)


cat tree

(I accidentally bought a roll of string lights 10 miles long. The bulk of the roll ended up in the Buddha’s lap.)





(The dress is hanging there temporarily. I wore it to a party last weekend, and I’ll wear it to another party this weekend. Then it will go back into the closet.)



(Still, “No one is perfect.” This tee is still where it was, only it’s behind the dress at the moment. Grendel the Gargoyle also remains.)



(I’m finding it easier to capture Nenette in this new office arrangement.)




At dusk:


Office at dusk

(As the day darkens, you can see my laughable attempt at shaping the lights into a Capricorn symbol. It’s close enough, though. ~The brown patches on the cream rug are made of Nenette’s bronze fur. She loves to sleep on this rug. I didn’t lint-roll it for these pics. This is real life.)







(Flamingo the tree, that is.)



(Office in the front, club in the back!)


At night:


Office at night



(She sleeps on all of the rugs, actually.)



(I love the combination of the pink salt lamp and the blue lights. They create a purple light.)



(Plant family!)





(The antique mirror leans in the corner behind Flamingo, my tree. It’s a place of honor.)




Canterbury Cathedral

(The Haunted Cathedral isn’t going anywhere. It’s staying right where it’s been from Day 1).




And there you have it.

Incidentally, the completion of this project happens to coincide with the revision phase of my novel, which I’ll tell you about in a near-future “writing updates” post.

I hope you enjoyed this unexpected office updates post! Thanks for sticking around, always.



Back at Body Pump? Cardio re-set? Starting zumba?! (Gym updates!)

This week was rad, because I WENT BACK TO THE GYM.


I hadn’t seen the inside of a gym since before Halloween, which is crazy. I went to Body Pump on Monday, and again yesterday, and I already feel 100% better. It’s incredible how working out transforms my entire being for the positive.

Since we’re here, let’s do a quick “2019 workout year in review”:

The year’s shenanegans included random life interruptions such as medical appointments, people coming to do work on the house, and out-of-town commitments, but it was due to big events starting at the end of July that I’ve stayed home from the gym more this year than any year since 2013. Since I wounded my ankle on July 25, I’ve only gone to the gym 25 times until this week.

It was the ankle incident (there following an extended period of healing and not being able to wear shoes), and surgery (there following an extended period of healing and not being able to eat). In between, I had two severe 5-8 day autoimmune flares three weeks apart.

We’ve arrived at December, and there are eight Body Pump days left between now and Christmas. I plan to hit all of them and get back into cardio. Unbelievably, I haven’t done any cardio at all in over six months!

My gym will open two new locations in the next six weeks; between them, I’m hoping to find a morning BODY COMBAT class I can attend. Meanwhile, I’m going to start walking. I can wear shoes other than high-tops now, so I need to get my ass moving to make up for lost time. A body needs cardio. It’s mandatory.

It was just such a relief to return to Body Pump this week. It was interesting, too: I came back to more changes. I found myself getting emotional with nostalgia during yesterday’s class when the instructor took us through a mix of old, old tracks. Everything is different now, going to a new gym and attending three different locations and doing Body Pump classes with all new instructors, and I miss the old days of Pump when I first started… but things do change.

All I can say is that a person is lucky to have a gym friend turned very cool friend-friend who’s been a constant since BODY COMBAT DAY 1 waaay back. She’s the one who convinced me to start Body Pump after I said I’d NEVER. I think I might finally join her at zumba (another thing I’ve insisted I’d NEVER). You’ll know if I’m there. I’ll be the one in the back flailing around like an inflatable air tube man advertising a car dealership.


Me at my future first zumba class.


Okay, bye!



One hour before midnight on Thanksgiving Day…

It is indeed Thursday! It’s Thanksgiving here in the States, and after a full, exhilarating day of food and family-related activities, I’m just now – in the middle of doing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen – realizing that today is a Thursday… and it’s an hour before midnight.

So I’m here to say Happy Thanksgiving to my people who celebrate gratitude with family and friends, and also to let you know that tomorrow I’ll be back with a proper Thursday post.  It’ll be my Black Friday of blog posts, buy one and get one free.

For those of you who aren’t aware, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, aka Retail Insanity Day (RID) as retailers mark down some of their wares to irresistibly low costs and millions of salivating Americans lose their minds trying to get them. I believe the day is actually meant to kick off Christmas-shopping season. Black Friday is a whole shopping event. For sure it’s a great time to get your appliances and other things that you need!

I prefer the online option to going out and getting trampled in the aisles, but I’m going to do less of that this year. Do I really need to stock up on a year’s worth of stuff from The Body Shop? I’m still trying to use up my stock from last year’s Black Friday!

At any rate, I’m now blathering (about I don’t even know what) while my kitchen needs me desperately. Until tomorrow, then.



OCTOBER office updates tour! (HAUNTED CATHEDRAL)

Many changes took place in our house over the summer. It’s basically a different house now, in more ways than I care to describe at the moment. This moment is the moment of my office, and it’s about time!

When my office had brown walls, brown carpet, and a brown ceiling fan, I loved having my plant family as my only décor. My desk was in the center of the room, facing the window. I was surrounded by greenery. It was earthy and calming.

After we re-carpeted the bedrooms, re-painted the walls, and replaced the ceiling fans, we had gray carpeting, white walls, and white ceiling fans. Gone were the cozy earth tones that yet made the house feel smaller and my pictures look strange with inconsistent lighting.

Facing the blank slate of my office inspired me to rearrange the furniture, and also to decorate. The changes put me in the mood to create a theme!

I had nothing particular in mind when I happened upon this framed black-and-white print of England’s Canterbury Cathedral at the Goodwill. I was elated. This is a gorgeous interior shot, and I found the picture to be in excellent condition.


Canterbury Cathedral print


Print detail


I carried the $5.00 print to the check-out thinking of the spirits that inhabit the famous Anglican cathedral in Canterbury. I thought of my old copy of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. I had all kinds of ideas in mind.

Canterbury Cathedral is a stunning monument of Gothic architecture, so all things considered, the vision came easily: “Anglo-Saxon Ecclesiastical Gothic,” or “Haunted Cathedral,” to get more to the point. The theme also pays tribute to my English side. I’ve recognized my Japanese side in past décor themes, but never my English side.

[My French husband has no comment. He’s always joked that he “only hates half of me” – the half that isn’t Japanese. He’s a bit miffed now that there’s an Anglo-Saxon-themed room in the house, but it’s my office, after all.]

It was early in July when I found this print. I slowly began to collect things. My “Summer office updates” got pushed into the next season, but it was worth it to wait for stores to fill up their “occasion” aisles with Halloween décor. I’m glad that I waited, too, because I was able to find that mysterious antique mirror on Craigslist. The Gothic design-inspired mirror works beautifully in this theme. It matches the architecture of Canterbury Cathedral.

Canterbury Cathedral is haunted by the ghost of Archbishop Thomas Becket and those of several others who were murdered there, but I did not create a murder scene in my office.

I do believe that the antique mirror is haunted, though…. (More on this later.)

The first item I picked up for my theme was this cathedral stained glass tapestry from an artist on Etsy. I’ll take you around the office from there, starting with my desk corner and going clockwise around the room. Enjoy!


Cathedral stained glass tapestry


Desk corner


(I stacked my two low bookcases to make a hutch behind my desk. The décor you see here is on the hutch part.)


Desk-facing wall


Relevant texts


(A few of the English literature textbooks I’ve refused to let go.)


Literary skulls


Area behind me as I sit at my desk


Desk corner wall, right side


Antique trunk


(I got this trunk in Germany back when it was West Germany, but we’ll just pretend that I got it in England.)


Skull and crow


Green bat bottle and icy purple pumpkin


Antique mirror with black roses


Clock and more plants


A better look at the clock – 2:45am


(I took this pic at almost three o’clock in the morning. I was still up because I’d decided to make a pie in the middle of the night. I’d just finished it.)

(Also, this was a plain, white clock. I arranged a black satin ribbon around it and made the pendulum with a couple of fake roses.)


Shirt and gargoyle


(This t-shirt currently up on my closet door is one of two departures from the theme. It’s just the message I need to see in my office right now.)


Gargoyle (Grendel)


(The gargoyle above the t-shirt, though, is Grendel from the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf.)


Buddha fountain


(Buddha fountain – the second departure from my theme.)


Hats and bags, behind-door hooks


(The two bags between which I’m currently alternating.)


Cat doorknocker


(This brings us back around to the tapestry in my desk corner.)


Desk wall with doorknocker (night)


Center of the room (night)


Desk wall at night


Desk at night


(The only picture I took of my actual desk, I realized!)

This is where I’m sitting right now, and we’ve arrived at The End. I hope you enjoyed! Let me know if you’re interested in where I got some of the décor pieces. It was all very affordable.

Happy Friday Eve, my friends.



Neuropsych eval? What neuropsych eval? (I’m a ditz.)

I had my three-hour neuropsych evaluation at the V.A. last week. As in Palo Alto back in June, it constituted an exhausting mental gymnastics meet from start to finish, though it was even more in-depth. The battery of tests revealed that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with my brain functioning.

Looking at a range of results typical for people my age, I came out average to above-average on every section of the evaluation; that is, my brain performs as average in most categories, and better than average in several others. This is a relief.

It gives me no excuse, though.

Having found that nothing is going awry with my brain in any biological sense, I’ve self-diagnosed: I’m a ditz. I’m sometimes forgetful, sometimes scattered; I sometimes get preoccupied and lose things and lose track of things. And here I thought I only had the hair of a stereotypical absentminded professor!

(This last week, I managed to lose a new box of Kleenex. I remember removing the cardboard tab from the box and putting it in the recycle bin. A little while later, I went to get a tissue, and I couldn’t find the box. Going all over the house in search of it led to nothing.)

My appointment was last week Friday. It was September 20th, but the V.A. was already getting festive, I was pleased to find. I happened upon these skeleton earrings for $8.00 in the V.A. retail store. Of course I had to buy them and put them on immediately and take a pic! Incidentally, I’ve discovered that the best lighting for selfies in my house is in the dining room side of my kitchen.

Skeleton earrings, plus the Marilyn Manson tee you haven’t seen:


Skeleton earrings from the V.A. retail store


(Skeleton earrings – a closer look)


At any rate, the case of my brain is officially closed. This is me wrapping it up for you. We can now forget this ever happened. Knowing me, I’ll have forgotten by the time you read this.

Happy Friday Eve… and hey! I just realized that this is my last post of September. I’ll share my September Favorites list on Tuesday, and after that, it’s SHORT HORROR OCTOBER, my friends. I’ll preface the series with my updated office tour… yeah, the one I’ve been talking about for the last three months… but that’ll be appropriate for the season.



Mundane but significantly awesome. (Updates of the week.)

This week has been satisfying, as in:

…when you have a Body Pump substitute instructor who allows the class to vote out the shoulder track, and your outnumbered ass leaves feeling like you did an incomplete workout, because you did (you didn’t have time to work shoulders on your own), but then the following week’s sub for the same class makes up for it 500% on account of doing the shoulder track and being one of the best instructors ever, regardless.

…when the changing weather brings your scale-baby out of his burrow twice a day, morning and late-afternoon, and you spend as much time with him as possible because mother/tortoise bonding time is important and he needs to eat all of his favorite lettuce and whatever hibiscus flowers can be found on the bushes this late in the season.

—when you’re on a long drive with your friend and your conversation turns to the critical matter of vampires who unknowingly dine on the blood of humans infected with zombie virus, and you debate whether they’re vampire-zombies or zombie-vampires, and you discuss the details of how they’d do life as double-undeads in either case.

…when you’re feeling festive so you dye your hair darker and polish your nails a celestial shade and pick up an antique, haunted mirror and thrift a fake purplish-black pumpkin coated in fake frost that you know will look rad in your office, and it does, in your opinion.

—when you rearrange your favorite soundcloud playlist as appropriate for the season, because summer is officially over in FOUR DAYS, so it’s already Halloween, and no argument is valid.


Ruella, end of summer


Happy Friday Eve!



The mirror came home, and good times were had.

I have an update on last week Tuesday’s post topic! My friend Margaret offered to take me to get the haunted mirror, and so we went… and we made a whole splendiferous day of it. That was Sunday. Now that the mirror is home and the listing has been removed from Craigslist, I can tell you that it was down in Tucson. What casual visitor doesn’t love a Sunday on Fourth Avenue in Tucson? That whole town’s got a great vibe.


Gargoyle above Tucson’s Sacred Art Tattoo on 4th


(No, Mom, I didn’t get another tattoo. Haha.)

Traffic was good, so it took just less than two hours to get there. Tuscon is 101 miles south of my house, and Sedona is 100 miles north, but it takes a little longer to get to Sedona because of the terrain and altitude of the high desert. The drive to Sedona usually ends up being almost exactly two hours long.


Restroom/junk food stop on the way to Tucson


Let me tell you about the mirror, though! It’s a beauty. It’s an authentic antique, said my antique expert friend and partner-in-crime, and I’ve currently got it leaning against the wall on my antique German trunk. I think I’ll leave it there.


“Very old mirror” in my office


In case you were wondering, never fear – I do plan to follow up on my threats to present an updated office tour. It’s coming together, this place. It’s very nearly finished. My décor theme is “haunted cathedral,” and this mysterious little mirror fits in perfectly! I’ve been waiting for Halloween season to arrive in all its commercial glory so I could find inexpensive finishing touches to add. (As far as I’m concerned, Halloween season is when you buy “occasion” stuff for year-round.) This mirror, though, is a piece of high quality. I haven’t seen evidence of possession yet, but it definitely looks like it has stories to tell.