Escapism + Food + Skincare = (April Favorites!)

First: We didn’t see any movies in April, but we found a couple of Netflix series that we thought were pretty great.

Second: I’m always talking about my efforts to avoid processed foods, yet every month I come to you with a list of the processed foods I ate all the previous month. I don’t even know what to say about this hypocrisy of mine, except that I’m still cognizant of eating a lot of whole foods, too, and I’m also trying to minimize the chemicals and other b.s. you often find in the ingredients lists of many processed foods. There are “healthy” processed foods out there. I don’t mind taking the time to search for them.

Without further ado, let’s talk about some of the awesome Little Things I found in April.

 

1). The Five (Netflix series)

Despite O-T Fagbenle’s minimal screentime in The Handmaid’s Tale (S1), we recognized him immediately when we started The Five. His starring role in this well-paced, artsy British mystery series showcases his talent. Based on his performance here, I’m pretty confident that we’ll get to see more of this actor in the near future.

 

 

2). Hotel Bon Séjour (Netflix series)

We’re two episodes away from finishing this Belgian (or Dutch… it’s unclear, as it straddles Belgium and the Netherlands) crime drama. It had me at the opening credits. This one is a stunner and a must-watch if you enjoy the genre! Tip: watch it in its original Flemish and enjoy the subtitles.

 

 

3). Quaker Select Starts Organic Instant Oatmeal.

I’ve been breakfasting on this oatmeal as of late. I went through an oatmeal phase about 10 years ago, and now that I’m in the mood for it again, I’m loving it. Oatmeal is funny… if I’m not in the mood for it, I can’t get into it. When I am in the mood for it, I love it. I make this oatmeal with water and add a little light agave syrup and a lot of cinnamon and call it good, because it is good.

 

Quaker Select Starts Organic Instant Oatmeal (Plain)

 

4). Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice and Sweet Earth Big Sur Breakfast Burrito.

How to make a satisfying approximation of a Chipotle sofritas burrito bowl in five minutes with very little fuss: zap this burrito, cut it up, put it in a bowl with some of this Trader Joe’s brown rice that you’ve already zapped, top it with fresh pico de gallo, shredded iceberg lettuce, salsa, and guacamole, and wonder why you’ve never thought of it before.

 

Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice and Sweet Earth Big Sur Burrito

 

5). Kashi Dark Cocoa Karma cereal.

Kashi Dark Cocoa Karma has been my go-to cereal for quite a while. My favorite way to eat it these days is dry, as something to munch on when I want a little sweet, but I’m not really hungry. This cereal is as close as I get to eating sugary sweets. For me, it’s just sweet enough. If you’re used to eating sugar, you might find it less than satisfying. Either way, it’s pretty benign for being a processed food… any six-year-old can read and comprehend all six ingredients on the list.

 

Kashi Dark Cocoa Karma cereal

 

6). Skinny Pop Popcorn.

I’ve cycled in and out of Skinny Pop phases for years, too. It’s currently saving the day when I’m craving salt, but I have no appetite. It’s like eating salty, corn-flavored air. What could be better for nausea?

 

Skinny Pop popcorn

 

7). POW Red Lentil Power Protein (rotini) Pasta.

Ingredients: organic red lentil flour, organic quinoa flour. That’s it.

I tried this pasta in my mission to maximize the nutritional density of the processed foods that I eat. I’m not going to lie and say that this pasta is “good” pasta, because to me, it’s not. Reasons why I don’t really care for it in and of itself: its vaguely unpleasant taste when sampled plain. Its texture that’s never “right.” However, it is good and satisfying when I mix it with my standard pasta sauce (organic tomato-basil jarred pasta sauce, nutritional yeast flakes, olive oil, sea salt, oregano, and crushed red pepper). I make the sauce spicy and thick (lots of the nootch), and I don’t even think of the red lentil pasta as pasta. It’s just good. Really good.

As for the pasta’s nutritional density: 14g protein, 7g fiber, 35g carbs, 1g sugar, 1g fat, 25% iron. POW, indeed.

 

POW red lentil rotini pasta

 

8). Perrier Sparkling Water.

I’ve been drinking Perrier for years. What can I say about it now other than it’s even better these days because it combats my nausea? Nothing. In the last month, it’s gone from good to wonderful.

 

Perrier

 

9). Alba Botanica Very Emollient Body Lotion Maximum.

I’m not thrilled about the scent of this product, but that aspect is easy to disregard because I love the lotion, itself. This is what you want a hardcore body lotion to be: thick, moisturizing, and non-greasy. Besides, the scent is very light, and it disappears quickly. (Where I got it: Target)

 

alba botanica very emollient body lotion maximum

 

10). Nourish Organic Argan Face Serum.

This is like a lighter, dryer version of the Oils of Life facial oil (The Body Shop) that I use at night. It’s fabulous, and I love its light, citrusy scent for daytime use. I put this on first, then layer on eye cream, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Like the lotion above, I will be re-purchasing this product! (Where I got it: Target)

 

Nourish Organic Argan Face Serum

 

The end… I think I finally succeeded in keeping the text to a minimum in this Monthly Favorites post! Happy Tuesday and month of May, everyone.

 

Advertisements

Medical first-world problem. (Ft. See’s)

My rheumatologist added a med to my treatment plan, and I’ve been having some side effects, mainly on-and-off dizziness and lightedness, muscle fatigue, and mild nausea. I’m also experiencing THIRST, which makes no sense when you guzzle water all day. I drink a glass of water and five minutes later I’m hit with a crazy pang of thirst like I need water NOW and if I don’t get water NOW I’m going to die, as if I hadn’t had water for hours. What else… my appetite is somewhat different. I crave sweet things (which I normally don’t) and salty things (which I normally do) while having no appetite.

If this is it for side effects, I said to myself after a week, then this is nothing. This is easy. I can handle this for a year!

Then Callaghan came home from work yesterday.

A client brought me a gift, he said. I’m giving it to you, he said. He opened his backpack and removed a bag I knew very well. My reaction at the sight of it was instantaneous and visceral. I backed away while yelling: “OH MY GOD NO!!! GET IT AWAY FROM ME!!!!”

As if the bag contained roaches, right? Plot twist: the bag contained a half-pound box of See’s Candies. Furthermore, since I tend to assume the worst when I’m down, I knew that the box would contain mixed nuts and chews, my favorites… AND IT DID. To this, my reaction was: “AAARGH NO I’M DOOMED.”

At least the worst of worst-case scenarios didn’t happen. There were no scotchmallows in the box. Our neighbors would not have to hear me screaming in the street.

Callaghan’s response: “Hahahahahaha!!!! But they’re your fav – ”

“No no no no no!! Thank you, but no.”

“You mean you’re not going to eat them? Haha!”

But he knew that I wouldn’t. I was starting to see the whole thing as a prank.

 

Why. Are these. In the house.

 

I’d lost my taste for sugary sweets ages ago, since I quit eating them. I don’t want to start eating them again. I wasn’t a sugar person in the first place, but there were a few sweets that I’d crave, and the number one thing on that short list was See’s Candies. The dark chocolate scotchmallows were my downfall, as some of you may remember.

So I’m alone in the house with the box of See’s Candies in the kitchen. No, they’re not vegan. This never mattered, because I’d eat them pretending that I didn’t know. My See’s Candies weakness was that bad. 

Since I quit eating sugar, I’ve had no problem avoiding it once it was out of my system. It’s been a non-issue. I don’t even “resist” sugary things. I just don’t want them. Now, THIS. And by the way… See’s Candies aside… it’s just weird to crave something without having an appetite. For me it is, anyway.

Truly, though, I’m very grateful. A lot of people suffer horrible side effects from the medication I’m taking, even at the low dose that I take, and I’m feeling mostly fine in comparison. This See’s Candies “problem” is a new one for me. It’s a medical first-world problem.

 

Quantifiable. (Writing updates!)

Have I mentioned that I’m finding this second-draft business to be incredibly satisfying? Just thought I’d state that again, because it can’t be overstated.

This is my 4th writing update since starting work on Round 2. Make that the 6th update, if you want to count my two “office updates” posts, the latest of which was really all about my plants.

I’m still feeling good about my non-deadline deadline. I’m still enjoying polishing, re-writing, and deleting, cutting any gratuitous scenes (there’s been at least one) and any fluff (to which I lovingly refer as “sentimental bullshit”) that doesn’t serve any purpose. Just as importantly, I’m finding and fixing inconsistencies. The “replace all” option in “find” has been invaluable.

Here’s a quick look at the quantifiable changes I’ve made to the manuscript since completing the rough draft at the end of November:

Word-count: I’ve written 1,888 more words. Current word-count: 86,478 (up from 84,590)

Page-count: I have 29 more pages. Current page-count: 427 (up from 398)

To note: Many of the additional pages came not from writing more words, but from restructuring existing text. I’ve broken up paragraphs, moved lines, created new section breaks, etc. That sort of thing pushes down everything that follows, adding to the page-count.

My increased word-count is mostly the result of polishing through deep edits and re-writes, fleshing out original text in some places as well as adding to areas that needed more. I haven’t changed the story at all.

Current status: I’m on page 299 as of today. As it stands, I have 128 pages to go. It’s inevitable that the word/page-count will look different when it’s all said and done, though!

Commemorative pic: I’ll have you know that I spent the earlier part of this afternoon trying and failing to take a selfie with Nenette, as she’s my near-constant companion here in my office. At this point, she’s reached ninja-level abilities to escape having her picture taken. My plants can’t escape, though. I ended up taking this selfie with Barclay, my first office plant. [insert heart emoji here]

 

(April 2018 Writing Updates from Crazy Plant Lady)

 

And that would conclude this writing update! I hope you’re all having a great week so far.

Desert tortoises and laundry don’t mix. (Geronimo update!)

Geronimo is so ridiculously cute and sweet. That’s good for him, because he raised hell in the laundry room on Sunday. I’m not exaggerating. I wish I’d taken pics. Just when you thought that a tortoise is the most placid creature to walk the earth, you get one. Our little “dinosaur of the desert” went Jurassic up in that laundry room.

 

So innocent.

 

We don’t usually allow Geronimo into the laundry room because there’s a lot of stuff he can get into in there, but I was running in and out trying to get through the laundry in a hurry because I was also writing… so I thought, why not. As long as I’m here, he can’t get into trouble.

Everything was fine, except that he kept getting between my feet as he tried to push his way between me and the washing machine, causing me to stumble and almost trip as I wanted to avoid stepping on him. When he wasn’t between my feet, he was repeatedly folding the large rug back from the corner – or, more accurately, he was bulldozing it back – because he wanted to sit on the tile beneath it.

The next time I went out to the laundry room, he came with me again and fitted himself into the corner of the bottom shelf of the bookcase we have in there. I turned my back for one minute when I went to the side yard to shake the dust from the dryer’s lint trap. When I got back to the laundry room, Geronimo had ripped the shelf’s contact paper lining to jagged shreds.

Because I live my life in the hindsight zone, I decided to leave him in the laundry room when I went back into the house that time. It’ll only take 10-15 minutes to put away this load of clean clothes, I thought, and then I’ll come back to check on him. He just seems so happy in the laundry room! If the worst thing he can do is tear up some contact paper, I can live with that.

I was in the bedroom folding the clean laundry when I heard a clanging commotion outside. It sounded like someone had thrown a T.V. into a metal dumpster. It sounded like it might have come from behind our back fence, as our “alley” is an apartment complex parking lot, and we sometimes hear people throwing heavy things into the dumpster back there. I resisted the urge to run to the laundry room to make sure it wasn’t Geronimo. It can’t be him, I thought. How could he make such a racket? He’s a tortoise. Someone threw an appliance or an armful of pots and pans into the metal dumpster, that’s all.  

When I went back to the laundry room, I found that hurricane Geronimo had struck. The laundry room was trashed. The narrow, spindly metal shelving rack we used to hold rags and garden tools and cables had fallen. On the way down, it caught onto the metal post of the table next to it. The half-fallen rack obstructed the middle of the room; not only was it too tall to land flat on the floor, but it was dangling from the metal table post. It hovered above the floor at an angle, festooned with towels and one of its shelves swinging free.

After some searching, I identified Geronimo sitting in the middle of the havoc he’d wreaked, directly, to my horror, beneath the gigantic pair of gardening shears (with long, pointy Edward Scissorhands blades) that balanced precariously from the juncture of the rack and the table post. The shears were tangled up with coils of cables and cords, a loaded tool-belt, a length of extension cord, and whateverthehell else we had hanging up there. Oblivious to the danger he was in, Geronimo held down his spot, which was, no doubt, exactly the spot he wanted to be in. He’d achieved his goal. All he had to do was simulate a catastrophic natural disaster.

All I wanted to do was get Geronimo out of harm’s way and make sure that he was okay.

To achieve my goal, I had to perform a Cirque du Soleil contortion sequence in order to carefully extricate the Edward Scissorhands shears from the table and the rack so I could remove the rack without the shears falling onto Geronimo, who was still sitting in his spot, not moving, probably because he was plotting his next big move.

With the metal rack balanced on my right shoulder and my feet planted in a leaning horse stance, my right foot braced against the door’s threshold, I managed to grasp the shears with my left hand, twisting my upper body to settle the contraption of metal shelving more on my back so I could transfer the shears to my right hand and toss them out the door. Then I had to remove the whole rack, which was also a feat because it’s so tall, and it was jammed across the width of the room between the wall and the shelving on the opposite side. Geronimo had pushed himself up against the rack’s forward-most back feet. I had to extricate the rack without hitting him. I managed to lift and maneuver the rack backwards out of the room, carry it to the side of the yard that he can’t reach, and throw the whole thing over the cinder-block barrier, towels, cables, tool belt, and all.

I returned to the laundry room. Geronimo was still sitting in his spot, camouflaged in the rubble, surrounded by towels, bottles of laundry detergent, the heavy box of motar, an empty metal bucket and a metal wastepaper basket (so much metal!), the tools and the cords and the so on and so forth. I checked him thoroughly and found no damage to his shell, which is probably made of Kevlar. “That’s it,” I said. “You’re done in here.” Even though it was my fault for leaving him unattended. Who knew that our gentle little Stegosaurus was going to pull a T-Rex and storm the laundry room? I picked him up and carried him out. He huffed and puffed in annoyance at being evicted, and when I set him down on the patio, he literally stomped off to his burrow, as if I’d sent him to his room without dinner.

I left the laundry room exactly as it was, so Callaghan could see what our prehistoric child of the desert did while he was gone.

Seriously, guys. I’ve had various combinations of dogs and cats most of my life, and I’ve never seen dogs or cats cause this sort of destruction.

Geronimo loves the laundry room. When we couldn’t find him yesterday afternoon, we split up and combed the entire yard, and then we noticed that the laundry room door was open. It’d been closed, though! We went in and found Geronimo sound asleep, tucked away behind a tall 30-roll pack of jumbo Charmin toilet paper rolls. The door had been closed, but I must have neglected to pull it all the way until it clicked. He’d pushed it open. I can’t get over his strength!

I think my next minimalism project is going to be the laundry room.

UFC-inspired minimalism musings and The Body Shop lipstick review! (Minimalism, post 11.)

Minimalism paradox of materialism: when you’re so bored with everything, you want nothing. This is a new mindset for me, one that developed naturally as I began to settle into minimalism. It used to be that if I grew bored with something, I would want something else, or I would think of something else. Now, it’s just good-bye when I’m no longer enamored with that thing.

I do differentiate between replacing something because 1.) I’m bored (“I need something different”); 2). there’s something else that I want (“something has to go”); and 3). there’s necessity… something happened to my old one, or I have to get one because I need it and I don’t already have one. With minimalism, my inclination toward #1 has melted away.

Then there are special cases of I just want that thing, like last Saturday when I bought a new t-shirt and it didn’t replace a damn thing. UFC Fight Night came to Phoenix (specifically, to Glendale). We went, and we were confronted with once-in-a-lifetime merch. It was a t-shirt that had to happen. It’s one of those shirts that if I’m still alive 30 years from now, I’ll come across it and bemoan that it’s full of holes and falling apart. The shirt will go on into infinity. Good memories will wear the shirt more than I ever could.

Come to think of it, though, I do have a thing for souvenir merch. I always get a t-shirt when we go to concerts and whatnot. We don’t go to them so often that I’ve had the opportunity to consider it since moving my mindset into minimalism. I’ve had the opportunity now. I bet the UFC has no idea that it can inspire people to think about minimalism.

Speaking of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night case and purchases made to fill an empty space (this one would be the red lipstick space): I wore one of my new The Body Shop lipsticks to those UFC fights, and I wanted to report on how it held up, because that was a long night. This is my public service announcement to you lipstick-wearing individuals: The Body Shop’s Colour Crush lipsticks kick ass. I give this product five out of five stars.

I was impressed by how well the lipstick held up after eight hours of wear. The color stayed vibrant even after chewing gum, eating a protein bar, drinking water, and applying lip balm over the lipstick several times. (Granted, a protein bar is not a good indicator of how well the lipstick would wear while eating an actual meal.) I took some selfies in the car on the way home, in three different lights, as lighting fluctuates on the freeway. As usual, I didn’t filter these pics, neither did I use a lip-liner. The color-saturation shown here is authentic, and the color is visible even in the darkest light. It didn’t bleed onto my face in the absence of lip-liner, either. This is The Body Shop’s Colour Crush lipstick in 125 (“Crazy Sexy Crimson”):

 

The Body Shop Colour Crush lipstick in 125 (“Crazy Sexy Crimson”) – 8 hrs later

 

No retouches after eight hours! Callaghan’s surprise was real, too, and he expressed it even though I didn’t ask him about it. We got home and he said, “Did you put on more lipstick?” and I said, “No,” and he said, “Wow that stays on!” Yes, it does… especially surprising because the lipstick is so weightless and moisturizing. I added to the moisture with lip balm, as I’d said; you’d think that several applications of lip balm over lipstick would cause the color to fade and bleed. That did not occur.

The next time I purchase this lip product, it will be a minimalism-considered replacement. I would love to get another UFC souvenir t-shirt, too, but that’s much less likely to happen.

“…Nor There” (Sharing an original poem.)

This one is from 2011.

 

“…Nor There”

 

…Nor There

 

Mid-morning, the groom waits for the arborist

while gifts begin to arrive.

Two days ahead, the wedding sways the house,

 

the green sputter of early spring

draping the tree.

 

He knew he’d get caught in the scrolls of rain

running down to the roots. He wants the tree scraped clean.

He’ll ask the arborist

(if he ever shows up)

to make a quick peel of the bark

before everything dries.

 

He spends the next day

turning from the rustic to prepare the wedding

ceremony, rinsing his shirt,

wringing it on the rail, because it’s all he can do.

 

There’s nothing to be done

about the brassiere, the lacy red one,

her last conversation with him

hooked around the handle of the remaining suitcase,

his…

 

at least she didn’t take all of her.

She left the halo of her voice,

her braided hair,

purple mouth, genitalia.

 

He thinks it happened

when she recognized the painted eggshell

as a favor.

He tries to take it back,

 

but she’s flown to the Himalayas

where she found ice reflecting a bride

poised with her soaked lungs

fueling the despondency of mountain goats.

 

In the crevasse, brindled in the cold,

she sets a lien on her bones

in the name of the groom

still waiting for the arborist’s call.

She separates her tendons,

weaves them into her shawl.

Getting personal: autoimmune disease. (Sjögren’s syndrome)

Though I’ve mentioned it in recent posts, my current medical situation has been a big enough part of my life that it warrants a post of its own, I guess, for anyone who might be interested. I’ve spent most of my adult life dealing with autoimmunity, working around various symptoms until receiving my diagnoses with Sjögren’s syndrome and autoimmune thyroiditis (hypothyroidism). I used to write about my Sjögren’s syndrome a lot. I haven’t written about it at length in years.

I felt fine when I left the country in 2011 and stopped taking my medication (hydroxichloroquine – Plaquenil, in my case), and I assumed that I was in remission. A few years later, I came back to the Land of AZ and went to my optometrist for a routine vision check. He informed me that as far as my eyes were concerned, I never went into remission. (Telling myself that I was in remission sure helped me to feel like I was in remission, though!)

Musculoskeletal symptoms started up again toward the end of 2016, along with worsening “brain fog.” I’d entered an autoimmune disease “flare,” and it left no room for denial. Weird things started to happen, as they do with autoimmunity. When the middle of one finger turned blue one night (“Idiopathic Blue Finger,” diagnosed the E.R. doctor – not Raynaud’s, which I also have), I returned to the rheumatologist, who put me back on hydroxichloroquine (again, Plaquenil). I shrugged my shoulders and pressed forward. I had a rough draft to finish! It was the thing that was causing my stress, but it had to get done.

Toward the end of 2017, my immune system went into overdrive again, even as I diligently took my daily dose of hydroxichloroquine.

2018’s been more difficult, yet. The last three months have revolved around some of the most painful attacks on my joints I can remember, some of it incapacitating. My agenda jammed up with medical appointments and testing of various sorts, as my rheumatologist wanted to rule out the development of other autoimmune disorders before deciding on our next course of action. Let me just say that my rheumatologist at the Phoenix V.A. has been the best I’ve ever had! She’s fantastic. Autoimmunity is something that can gather steam with time and generate additional disorders, so it’s good to re-check everything when things go awry.

Genetics likely play a role here, by the way, and I think I know the source of mine: when we met, my bio-mom told me that I physically take after my father’s mother’s family (the Ashcrofts, in England). I would love to meet them and find out who’s had what autoimmune disease. I’m assuming there’d be something to learn.

It’s pretty easy for me to dismiss my symptoms. I’ve had dry eyes for so long that I forget that it’s a part of my disease. A lot of people have dry eye syndrome without having Sjögren’s. It’s “my normal” to be unable to open my eyes in the morning until I put in artificial tears. (I might have stopped taking the hydroxichloroquine when I moved to France, but I’ve never stopped with the eye drops.) Since I push myself in the gym, it’s easy to assign blame to my workouts when I experience bouts of musculoskeletal pain. I focus when I work out. I don’t consider that I’m dealing with Sjögren’s symptoms. I don’t want to go there in my mind.

I don’t feel sick, for the most part. There’s a general malaise sometimes. My energy levels are mostly good, but fatigue sets in more quickly during my workouts now, and I can feel that it’s Sjögren’s-level fatigue. I have occasional abdominal pain and nausea. The brain fog has led me into some embarrassing conversational exchanges. All of this is minor enough.

Since 2016, my white blood cells have mainly attacked my joints and my eyes. My vision in my right eye has worsened slightly over the course of a year, and there’s more scarring on my corneas. My optometrist applied a temporary contact lens bandage to the cornea of my right eye (the more affected one, the one that hurts) and sent me to a corneal specialist.

My last musculoskeletal attack started at a party a week ago Saturday. In typical autoimmune fashion, it struck all of a sudden and out of nowhere. My left hand seized up with intense pain, starting at the large joints on the outside of the hand and radiating inward. For the rest of the night and into the next day, I couldn’t open or close that hand all the way. It swelled up a little bit and changed colors, and it felt like a mild constriction was happening. It was excruciating. Thankfully, the episode lasted less than 24 hours. Some of my recent attacks have lasted for almost two weeks.

I’m grateful that so far, Sjögren’s syndrome has left my internal organs alone.

Meanwhile, my plant-based lifestyle helps me to function at a physically high level with Sjögren’s syndrome.  I’m trying to keep processed foods to a minimum. I’m trying to get more sleep. I’m continuing to drink water all day long, including water spiked with organic, raw apple cider vinegar. I really believe in that stuff!

Now that my test results have come back, my rheumatologist is adding methotrexate to my hydroxichloroquine. On the alternative side and courtesy of my amazing parents, I’m also adding Manuka honey (Comvita brand, from New Zealand) and Ukon (tumeric) to my daily supplement cocktail. I’m hoping for the best, but expecting life to continue as it is, with good days (as in, I can go to the gym) and bad days (as in, I can’t go to the gym). No, it’s not all or nothing – there are days that are bad because I’m in pain, but I can still do something, so I go to work out and I do whatever I can.

I went to the gym this morning. I took this selfie about an hour ago, in the late afternoon. I’m still feeling fine.

 

Autoimmune, don’t care. Today is a good day.

 

With my new treatment plan, I hope to see the end of this flare. The attacks on my joints should stop. My head should clear up so I can remember things like, say, the first thing about a prominent politician, and that a person who’s ridden in my car on many an occasion does, indeed, know what my car looks like, and that a friend’s get-together was in April, not in March. About that last: I’ve never missed an occasion by a whole month before. It just happened, and it sucks, because the friend who invited me lives out of town, and it might be years before I can see her again… not to mention, I’d accepted her invitation. I accepted, and I didn’t show up, and I regret that very much.

That’s the story. I know that many of you also live with chronic illness. HUGS to you all. Let’s keeping fighting the good fight!