Favorites of 2019! (Late, but I’m a month behind on the new year.)

Hi, this is me outdoing myself on being late. I’m finally getting around to posting the “Favorites of My Favorite Little Things in 2019” list I’d planned on doing since December. Since 2020 just began for me when I made it back to the gym at the beginning of February, I’m finally here with the list!

The biggest part of the list is the products section, because I discovered quite a few holy grail, ride-or-die products in 2019. You’ll find that at the bottom of the list; I’m presenting these favorites in the same order I always do in my “favorites” lists: movies, series, food, products.

If you’re interested, take a look at my favorite “little things” of 2019!

Top three favorite theater movies: 
Parasite (October)
Joker (October)
Ford v. Ferrari (November)

In total, I saw nine movies in theaters in 2019. My top three favorites were the three I went to see in the fall.

Midsommar’s  artistic merits deem it top-three worthy, but Midsommar being Midsommar, its excellence made it unbearable for me. A cheesier, less deftly handled production may have made it more watchable. As it is, even the trailer still sends me into a panic. Why do I keep going back to watch the trailer?! There are scenes in the trailer that don’t even appear in the movie! Also, the trailer gives nothing away; one is in no way prepared for Midsommar’s atrocities after watching the trailer. I think it’s the music, the sound of the string instruments in the trailer that freak me out. Why am I rambling on about Midsommar when it’s not on my list? Ugh.

Moving on…

Favorite of the few movies I watched at home:
Train to Busan (Netflix). It’s now my favorite zombie film.

Favorite streaming T.V. series:
From Netflix: You, Dead to Me, Love, Death + Robots, After Life, After Life, and La Casa De Papel
From Hulu: Reprisal
From Amazon Prime Video: Fleabag and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Favorite athletic event:
The May 2019 Grand Sumo Tournament (Natsu Basho) Grand Sumo Highlights. This was the tournament in which Tochinoshin, my favorite wrestler, earned back his Ozeki rank.

 

World-class sumo wrestler Tochinoshin (Levan Gorgadze of Georgia)

 

Favorite miscellaneous project to watch:
Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Show (Amazon Prime Video)

Favorite processed food discoveries:
Birch Benders Plant Protein Pancake and Waffle Mix
Crunchy/toasted chickpeas with sea salt
Vega Protein Nutrition Shakes (especially the chocolate one)

Favorite skincare/cosmetic product discoveries*:
Earth Science Creamy Fruit Oil Cleanser A-D-E
Acure brightening facial scrub
Nourish Organic Lightweight Moisturizing Face Lotion
Schmidt’s Bergamot and Lime Natural Deodorant**
e.l.f. Radiant Gel Lip Stains
e.l.f. 16HR Camo Concealer
NYX Bare With Me Tinted Skin Veil
Jason Powersmile Anti-Cavity and Whitening Gel

*All vegan and cruelty-free

**I’d put a different deodorant as a favorite on December’s list, and it was my new favorite… until I developed an allergic reaction to it. I had to toss it. I picked up another of the Schmidt’s, and I’m glad to be using it again. It works fine, and I love its bergamot and lime scent! I probably won’t deviate from it again.

Favorite random little thing:
Bat birthday card (by Brace)

 

Bat birthday card by Brace

 

I don’t know what it is about this card. No one gave it to me. I came across it and I had to have it in my life and so I got it and it still makes me inexplicably happy. The front reads, “It’s when you can’t hear the bats, that’s when the bats are coming.” The inside reads, “Other than that, I have no birthday advice.”

On that note, I’ll bid you a happy rest of your day or night. I hope 2020 is off to a great start for you!

 

 

Anecdotally, (+ I went back to the gym!)

I’ve been feeling better little by little, and I’ve been released to roam around outside of the house.  Outside of the house rocks my world. Outside of the house this morning meant that I finally took my car, Dysis, out for the spa day I’ve been promising her. That is, I took her to the car wash. And I took myself to get my bangs trimmed. And I took myself to the V.A. for my annual DEXA scan. The guy behind the radiology counter said, “Miss Kristi! We might as well get you a desk back here!” Because today was my fifth visit to radiology in the last month. Haha!

Outside of the house happened on Saturday, and also on Sunday. I took backyard selfies on Sunday afternoon after I got home.

 

Facing the shade with February aloe vera.

 

Let me tell you about Saturday, though. It was the first day of February, and I went back to the gym for the first time since December. Body Pump! I kept five-pound plates on my barbell as my heaviest weight because five weeks is a long time to be sedentary. It was a good call – I started feeling the post-workout pain that evening. Glorious, finallygotoffmyass post-workout pain.

Yesterday was Monday, and I did not go to the gym again as I’d planned. I woke up in the morning and cancelled my booking for Body Pump because the act of opening my eyes riled up my cough immediately, which was good, because…

I suddenly realized that my gym regimen could do with a change. Having finally set foot in a gym, 2020 is just now starting as far as I’m concerned, so it’s a good time for a change, and… why not?

After reviewing my options online, I decided that I’ll ditch Monday morning Body Pump for Monday morning Ropes and Cardio, a class that allegedly works you out with battle ropes and cardio segments thrown into the hour. You know I’ll be reporting on my experience with it, because it’ll be something totally new to me.

Morning Body Combat classes are scarce despite all of my gym’s locations. I miss it. In any case, though, it’s time to get back into cardio. I haven’t done it in over six months.

See you on Thursday with my list of January Favorites!

 

 

Update on The Crud. (+ a stunning video about a stunning lake.)

Bet you didn’t think I’d subject you to yet another post about my ridiculous pneumonia situation. I feel that I should provide updates, which as of today should have simply been “I’m over it.” The current status is that I’m almost over it. And hey, I’m feeling a little better. I’ll take it.

I had a therapy appointment at the V.A. this morning. While I was there, I stopped by my primary care doctor’s office on account of my coughing despite having finished my antibiotics and steroids. The nurse sent me upstairs for another chest X-ray, which revealed the pneumonia continuing to lurk in my lower left lung lobe. It’s lurking feebly, though. It’s not as opaque as before, not as critical. I’m not over it yet, but I’m definitely improving! Definitely in recovery mode.

After the nurse told me this, I informed her that I’m planning on going back to the gym for Body Pump this Saturday. She stared at me. I quickly re-worded my announcement to turn it into a question. Am I okay enough to go back to the gym this Saturday? After some hesitation, she allowed that I can go if I take it really easy and stop if I get too tired or feel pain in my tendons. (It turns out that the risk of tendon injury as a consequence of my particular antibiotic, Levofloxacin, is no joke, especially since I was taking Prednisone at the same time. It seems that people post-Levofloxacin can remain vulnerable to tendon injuries.) (The things you learn when you actually read the literature that comes with the medication, man.)

The doctor then ordered more stuff from the pharmacy, so I stopped there on my way out. Cough pearls and another Albuterol inhaler. I’m all set!

For today’s pic, I’ll share this selfie that I just took, even though it’s a little blurry. Apologies for that.

 

Tired, but BETTER. [28 January 2020]

 

Touch of fatigue aside, I’m feeling pretty okay.

OH! This is so random, but I also wanted to share with you a mini-documentary beautifully crafted by my favorite mortician. I’ve been fascinated by the Great Lakes since I visited Michigan and crossed over to Mackinac Island by ferry; I couldn’t believe the vastness of this body of water that was actually a lake. It was mind-blowing. All of this… is… fresh water?!

These lakes are legendary for a reason. Lake Superior is gorgeous and terrifying. A lake. Respect.

 

 

Also, I’ve always loved this song by Gordon Lightfoot, “The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald.” Now I know the story behind it.

 

 

Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours? 

[::shivers::]

Until Thursday, my friends.

 

 

The Phoenix V.A. is awesome, Part 2.

Today, I’ve got an anecdote about the Phoenix V.A. Health Care System:

Last year, I took note as a gentleman roamed through the E.R. waiting room asking patients for their opinions of the Phoenix V.A. When a person stated that they’d had good experiences, he didn’t want to hear it. He moved on to his next target. It was amusing to watch him get more and more flustered as no veteran in the room had a bad word for the Phoenix V.A. We enthusiastically shared our approval of and appreciation for the Phoenix V.A., and our uninvited investigative reporter was left at a loss.

He was from Florida, if I’m remembering correctly. He was not a veteran.

It wasn’t like this guy happened to catch people in a good mood, either. No one is ever thrilled when they’re sitting in an E.R. waiting room, no matter what hospital they’re in!

Have I told this story before? How this guy wandered around needling veterans in his attempt to extract complaints about the Phoenix V.A., as it’s “one of the worst ones in the country,” as he put it?

I’m thinking of this now because I’m sitting here surrounded by things given to me at the V.A. last week… not at the pharmacy, but right there in the doctor’s office. In all my years of experience as a patient in privatized health care, I’ve never been to a doctor whose office handed out “Virus Kits” to patients with respiratory ailments during cold/flu season.

 

“Virus Kit” given to me at the Phoenix V.A. last week: lip balm; nasal spray; Ricola cough drops; hand sanitizer; surgical mask; and Kleenex

 

When I asked my friend for a writing prompt recently, she suggested telling of my V.A. adventures. They can be summed up thusly: I love the V.A., and I will defend it to the death. I’ve written about it before; click here if you’re new and curious.

The End.

p.s. Unrelated: I can’t wait to get better so I can run to the theater to watch Underwater.

p.p.s. Happy Friday Eve!

 

Sitting on my ass is hard work.

Pneumonia recovery still in progress over here. I have four more days of antibiotics, and I’m still coughing, though nowhere near as much as I was last week. I’ve been trying to just rest and do nothing, but of course I want to do everything… and during the day, no one is here to stop me.

Running Hank (our roomba, aka robot vacuum) in the kitchen/dining room the other day wasn’t as simple as that, because I wanted to dust and wipe down the counter-tops first, like I always do before I vacuum. It didn’t stop there, though, as I noticed that the drawers and cabinet doors could use a dusting, too. It’s easy and fast and takes almost no energy when you use a Swiffer wand, I reasoned.

I was tired after that, but some items on the counters needed to be rearranged, and it wouldn’t take more than ten minutes to do that, would it? (It did. But it was so satisfying!)

Then I noticed a spot of dried pasta water on the stove.

By the time I’d cleaned all of the appliances (because I couldn’t just do the stove), I was wiped out, even with lots of rest moments as I worked… but finally, I could let Hank loose to do the vacuuming.

All of this happened after I’d straightened up the living room, which isn’t even a big deal, either. None of this kind of stuff is a big deal until you’re not supposed to do it.

Every day has been like this. I scrubbed down my shower before I got into it last night, because it needed it. It’s just felt like forever since I’ve cleaned! Thing is, I feel like I can’t even work on my book if the house needs cleaning. I got some housework done over the weekend, which worked out because I had Callaghan here to help with carrying things (laundry) and moving furniture out of the way so Hank could vacuum after I’d dusted. I’m not used to asking for help with carrying things and moving stuff out of the way.

Tomorrow I’ll sort papers in my office and then file, recycle, and shred as necessary. Sit-down work.

Surprisingly, I’m still in high spirits. I can’t remember the last time I had to pull myself out of an extreme and prolonged depression abyss. I’m not sure why, but I’m grateful for it.

It’s been cozy times here with Nenette in my office. If she’s not curled up in her cat tree, she’s usually on the furniture with her glass of water. She loves to sit on the velvet panel I put there… she’s made it hers.

 

Kitty with her water! [21 January 2020]

That’s it for today’s updates, my friends. Until Thursday, then!

 

 

Mini life update, a New Year’s resolution, Australian wildfires, a weird dream.

I’m still sick, and today’s been the worst. It’s been one week and four days. Callaghan’s still trying to kick this virus, too, and he’s had it a week longer than I have! The same thing happened to him: just as he thought he was getting better, he woke up one day feeling full-blown sick again… even worse, in fact. This virus is the holiday gift that refuses to stop giving.

Still haven’t been back to the gym. (Last time I went was December 28.) Still would love to deep-clean my house. Despite virus-related set-backs, 2020’s off to a rockin’ start on account of the huge amounts of sleep I’ve been getting! I’m feeling upbeat and victorious at the same time that I’m blowing my nose and coughing up both lungs in my unclean house.

There are things I need and want to do, though. I have dry-cleaning to pick up, groceries to buy, friends to meet, a car to be washed; I need to hit a few second-hand stores before I can get my car washed, because I have a trunk filled with items I’d like to try to sell before I haul them off to the Goodwill. I’m behind on life, but still, I’m feeling good about life.

There’s no mail piled up anywhere, for one thing, and somehow that makes me feel like I have my shit together. Did I ever mention that my New Year’s resolution for 2019 was to get my shit together? I haven’t exactly managed this yet in the so-called big picture, but that’s okay. I don’t think everyone can stay on top of everything in their life every single day.

My resolution for 2020 is to focus less on myself and more on others. Family and friends. Veterans. Animals.

Things are good. All of my mail has been opened and dealt with. I know what I’m making for dinner tonight. Salem sleeps in her laundry room. I’m up to date on my banking. I’m free of pressing future concerns. Being sick, behind on housework and errands, and grounded from the gym (again!) are all just little inconveniences. I will get back on track, and next time my husband gets sick, I won’t kiss him until he’s well. Lesson learned.

Pretty sure it’s been weeks since I’ve seen the inside of a Target, which isn’t a terrible thing at all. Target deserves to be avoided as much as possible, for I am finally just annoyed with it. It has a way of shutting off my impulse-control, and not even in the way of impulse-shopping anymore! I mean, I’ll be in there, right, and suddenly I have to go to the bathroom and I just leave my cart somewhere and go, because I have to, even if I could actually hold it. Or it’ll occur to me that I’m hungry or thirsty, so I’ll grab an energy bar or a bottle of water to consume on the spot, even if I could actually wait.

I always feel kind of rude when I place an empty wrapper or water bottle into the cart. Thankfully, I’ve never had a cashier get mad about having to scan my garbage at the check-out.

People can be nice.

The world can be nice.

WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue is experiencing high volumes of traffic right now because the world is being so nice. Use Safari or Explorer when donating, they advise.

Two nights ago, I had a very clear dream in which the free world was ruled by a world government. I jotted it out by hand in note-form when I woke up:

Supreme Leader (w/Council – 5 people in total) of the world sitting at the center of a large sofa the shape of a half-moon, two council members on each side. Behind them is a gigantic bookcase built in from floor to lofty ceiling. The countries of the free world are stored as square or rectangular volumes in the bookcase in proportion to each other; the volume titled “U.S.” takes up almost a full column at the far right-end of the shelf, against the wall. The countries’ volumes are royal blue with their names embossed in gold. The bookcase is a dark, rich brown oak. The sofa is tan leather with a tufted back-rest. There are a few countries with unusual names, like “Measuring Line,” but recognizable countries are also there. When a country is pulled from the bookshelf, you see that it’s not a book, but a box, and when you lift its lid, a vaporous being/entity gives a signal or a vocal greeting, as in answering a door. The country I saw pulled from the shelf was “U.S.,” and the being inside greeted the opener with the utmost deference.

Just thought I’d share. It’s not often that I have a dream I remember so well, or in such detail.

I’ll close this post here before my sick ass can ramble any longer. Happy Friday Eve, all! Stay healthy.

 

 

 

 

Ze plague, ze plague!

First post of 2020! There’s nothing to report here except that I’m down with the upper respiratory plague that Callaghan brought home from work. We’re both sick. He’s at the end of it, and I’m in the thick of it. We cancelled our New Year’s Eve plans. I cancelled other upcoming plans involving people, as well.

We all know this, but I have to say it, anyway: being sick with an airborne virus morally obligates us to stay away from others. It’s so simple! Just stay home. If you must go to work, at least wear a mask and/or stay out of other peoples’ offices, and please cough into the crook of your elbow. (If you’re the person who went to work sick and spent much of the day in my husband’s office, thus getting him sick, thus getting me sick, then yes, I’m looking at you.)

There’s a 50% chance that I’ll miss Body Pump on Saturday.

My spirits are high, though, and I don’t feel all-over lousy. I’m actually feeling okay despite some pretty nasty cold symptoms, as this particular virus doesn’t include fever, body aches, or headaches. I can feel a clear delineation between the half of me that’s sick and the half that isn’t… weirdly energetic from my feet all the way up to my lungs, with everything from there on up being woozy and congested. I want to take my lower body to the gym and leave my upper body at home.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you this evening… basically just an update and a Public Service Reminder. I’m going to go eat something. Stay well, my friends! Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer. Avoid people you know or suspect to be ill. 

December Favorites post coming Tuesday!