something in the sky

something in the sky from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.
image: Aleksandra Waliszewska

OKAY! Here is the penultimate Christmas playlist! And by that I mean I have envisioned this soundtrack playing as we are invaded by changeling creatures from beyond the moon and it just so happens that this threat to our planet occurs during the holiday season. There actually is no Christmas music in it. Alright, I won’t lie. This is kind of anti-Christmas music.

Track list: Requiem (Intro), VHS Glitch  |  The Return, FANTASTISIZER  |  The Child (extended version), Umberto  |  Cry Havoc, Rock Action Records  |  Black Lotus, Displacer  |  War Against Machines, PERTURBATOR  |  SEQUENCER LIEBE, Sankt Otten  |  Only a dream, DANCE WITH THE DEAD  |  Zombie Workout, Vincenzo Salvia  |  Summoning The Forgotten One, Voyag3r  |  Orfada, Spirit of the Forest  | Apparitions, In Death It Ends  |  Mozart On Lsd, In A Church, With Vampires​.​., Alonewolf  |  Beyond Event Horizon, Quantum

Hexmas wishes

hexmas

 

 

Here are a few baubles and trinkets that I would love to unwrap this holiday season!  See below for details.  What are some of your Hexmas wishes? Do tell!

1. Moonseasons calendar at Catbird NYC | 2. Kasun Vampire Stud Skull earrings at Wolf & Badger | 3. Incense Sticks by Comme des Garcons at Luckyscent | 4. Suspiria Witches tee shirt  | 5. Blood Milk Endless Night ring series, part I. & II. | 6. Deborah Lippmann nail lacquer, Dream Weaver at Net-a-Porter | 7. Eye throw pillow at TheWatsonShop | 8. Jessica deLotz Awakened Eye Necklace | 9. Othello candle by Laduree at Luckyscent

midwinter’s eerie light

midwinter’s eerie light from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

A wintry mix to soothe gentle souls savaged by 24/7 Christmas jingles in your face all the time. [Image by Chris Van Allsburg from the“Ghosts” volume from the Time Life Enchanted World series. (personal scan)]

Tracks:
The Last Christmas, Peter Broderick | Wind and Snow, Grouper | Winter Rhymes, Hexperos | Ashen Snow, Dirty Three | O Vis Aeternitatis, Hildegard Von Bingen | Silver Snow Fall, Oaqk | Winter Solstice, Ampop | The Winter, Balmorhea | Darkwood 2, David Darling | I Saw A Swete Semly Syght, Anonymous 4 | The snow prelude n.2, Ludovico Einaudi | Snow, Hauschka | Winter, Saunder Jurriaans And Daniel Bensi | 11 Winter 1, max richter | Sacrament, Adam Hurst | Silent Snow, Chiaroscuro | Es Kann Nicht Ewig Winter Sein, Bersarin Quartett | A v Jerusalime, Kitka | Hands, Be Still, Ólafur Arnalds | Snow + Light, Dustin O’Halloran | Snowdonia, Message To Bears | End (Snowing), Jóhann Jóhannsson

 

 

 

A Thing About Me

Allow me to preface the following bit of writing with the confession that this is difficult for me to think about, let alone write – and so it is far from perfect  There are many thoughts, though I desperately want to articulate them, for which I cannot seem to find the proper words. Below you will find the best approximation of my experiences that I am capable of, at this point in time.

There are some experiences so special, so meaningful to you, so good that you want to keep them with you, play them over in your head on loop, carry with you always from place to place for all your life until you take them to your grave.

This is not one of those.

These are the sort of memories you lock away, deep in your heart because you are embarrassed, and ashamed. They frighten you. They enrage you.  They are now a part of your past, and you have moved on, so you bury them deep and tamp them down when the emotional sands shift, or time and vulnerability wear down the burial mound and the gleaming bones of these old hurts begin to resurface.

I recently began watching the brilliant BBC series Black Mirror, a sort of modern take on The Twilight Zone focusing on the dark side of life and technology. One episode in particular unearthed many things for me which I had desperately tried to burn and bury.

In “The Entire History of You“, there exists technology that, if you are fitted for it, you are constantly recording and storing memories in an implant that you can play back at any time – whether in your own head or projected onto a monitor or a screen or some other device. This makes for, example, fun times at a party; it’s practical for gauging reactions at a recent interview or job assessment; and for the more obsessive, for replaying and dissecting every interaction to which you’ve bore witness between your significant other and the man with whom you’ve begun to suspect she is having an affair.

A glimpse of a glance between his wife and a seemingly random man at a party sparked an almost instant preoccupation for the main character.  Their combined past memories were portrayed as happy, familial and content, and at the start of the episode he was presented as a reasonable, well-adjusted, normal, guy but watching how quickly he devolved into obsessive paranoia regarding his wife and this stranger just floored me.  Had he been this intensely awful the entire time?  It stopped me in my tracks.  It absolutely terrified me.  I stopped what I was doing and realized my heart was racing and I felt physically ill. I ran to the bathroom and vomited repeatedly and then sat on the floor and wept.

For almost 10 years of my life, I was involved with this sort of person. This obsessive, possessive, paranoid, controlling, manipulative person who estranges you from friends and family and is not satisfied until he browbeats you into believing it is your idea. Who negates your opinions because they are not the same as his.  Who mentally beats you down over time until you have just given up and it is easier to do things his way rather than bother to argue for your own.  From the age of not quite 25 to barely 35 I ate, slept and breathed this man. And that is precisely, I believe, how he wanted it.

I cannot even say it “began innocently enough”. It did not. Out of a sense of ennui and being a bit of a serial relationship-hopper I was newly dating a law student, an affable enough young man, but he was sort of an oaf and all of my friends hated him and he had terribly stinky feet. I was often bored at work and in 1999 I was just discovering the pleasant distraction of chatting with interesting people online. At that time, very out of the blue, a person started IMing me who seemed very interested in me, and getting to know me. We appeared to have much in common. I was about to hit my mid-twenties, I was at a dead-end job, I had a boyfriend I was not particularly excited about one way or the other, and life just seemed so incredibly dull. I latched onto this new friend with a ferocity that should have been a warning sign to anyone observing, had I let them or myself, if I had that level of self-awareness at that age. We chatted for several months in depth, about everything under the sun and I realized I was desperately infatuated with this person.  Despite the fact that I already had a boyfriend, I agreed to meet this person, who lived 1100 miles away.  I was ready to fly to NJ without telling anyone at all -even my family and my best friend – to meet a total stranger. It was at that point my online suitor revealed to me that he was already married. With two children. Of course, I too, was involved, but I had been up front about that from the beginning.  I had not suspected this on his end and was devastated.

If this was not troubling enough, it also became clear to me, through our interactions, that he hated me spending time with my friends and grew positively enraged if any of these friends happened to be male.  The interrogations were relentless on this point; he would not stop until he was convinced I saw eye-to-eye with him on this subject.  He would keep me up late at night emailing at length about his thoughts on the matter and if he thought I was sleeping, he would phone me at 2AM and growl into the phone for me to check my email.

It never occurred to me to not answer the phone.  To not respond to the email. To never talk to him again. There is a huge part of me that does not believe in regret; I believe that every choice we make leads us to something else and in my case I am very happy today and  to have regrets would be lessen the choices I made that got me here.  But there is a part of me that wishes at that critical point I had seen what was there all along, and what was only going to get worse. That I had never spoken with him and certainly never met him.

I was so blinded by what I thought was love that I went through with it.  I met him.  Afterward I broke up with law student in a very confusing way which he probably still don’t understand. And I carried on long distance, in secret, for several miserable years, with my internet stranger. By the time his wife found out, I was convinced that instead of him leaving her for me, he would do everything he could to keep his family together.  At that moment I thought, OK, well maybe this is for the best.  I sent him an email not to contact me anymore and I promptly signed up for a dating site. I met up with someone, which, in hindsight, was not really a great way to deal with things, but maybe I thought it would be helpful to do would be to skip the mourning period of the relationship by distracting myself with getting to know someone new.

A week later, after work and just before getting ready for a date, I walked into my apartment to find the back window open, a pile of dirt on the floor, and my jilted long distance secret lover standing in the corner.  When he did not hear from me, after several attempts to contact me when I had asked him not to, he flew to Florida and broke into my home. I did not, unfortunately, run screaming from the scene to file a police report.  Instead I convinced myself that someone who would do such a thing must really love me quite a bit and we reunited with promises that I would move up to NJ to be with him.

And I did. Leaving my friends, family, and everything I’ve ever known behind, with no prospects for employment, I moved to New Jersey in February of 2003. I truly believed that there was some sort of happily ever after waiting for me in this place called Manville, NJ.

Six months later I tried to kill myself.

I don’t know why I thought that us living together would change things; if anything he was even more possessive and controlling. He wanted a play-by-play commentary on the week I had dated someone else. He wanted to me spend all of my time typing it up in an explicitly, graphically detailed, time-stamped manuscript for him  and would grow furious if I spent any time on anything else.  He would keep me up late at night interrogating me on the matter until we were both screaming and shouting and truthfully, after I while I just wanted it all to end.  I had nothing, no one, not even and especially the one person that I had given up everything for. I couldn’t do it anymore.

I spent a week in a psychiatric ward at a local hospital and when I came home nothing had changed much, except where he had once been vocal and hateful and manipulative, now he was quieter about it.  There were cameras in the house, keyloggers and spyware on the computer.  Any emails I wanted to send to friends, any internet related things I wanted to be a part of (online forums, livejournal, etc), I did from work or the library from email accounts that I set up in secret.  These were the only friends that I felt I had, but neither they nor anyone else knew how I was living.  Secretive, scared, walking on eggshells all of the time, worried that anything I said might set him off. The wrong ingredients in a stirfry, the scent of my perfume – there was always something there to agitate him, to stir him up and set him on a path dredging up the past, rubbing it in my face in it and beating that horse to death which he would then begin to meticulously resurrect and commence beating all over again.

It must be noted that during this time, during the entire time I was in New Jersey – he was still living with his wife and children. He never left them. Never got a proper divorce.  He lived with me 3 days a week, and with them the other 4.  Out of the entire 6-7 years I lived there, I maybe spent one weekend with the man. This is how I lived during that time.

One day, in 2010 a few weeks before my birthday, he told me that he couldn’t do it anymore.  He was hurting his children too much, he said. He was moving back home.  After all of that – he was leaving, just like that.  He packed up his stuff and was gone a week later.
I should have taken a moment, reassessed and been overjoyed, but instead I was heartbroken. Through everything I had come to believe that he was the best partner I could hope for, that no one would ever know me like he did, would love me like he did.  I was distraught.  Destroyed.

Not long after this abandonment, he came to me and admitted he made a mistake, that things were not working out the way he envisioned or hoped. By that time I had decided I would move back to Florida to be with my friends and family and everyone I had left behind. I had not made many friends in New Jersey, I hated the snow and cold and ice, I never went anywhere at all other than to work and back; there was absolutely no reason for me to stay. And yet this was a still a terribly hard decision for me to make.  I suppose it meant that things were truly over.

Inexplicably (as in, I look at it now and can’t figure out why), we still spoke on the phone and met up secretly right until the day I left.  I could not let go.  I don’t know why  – he hadn’t changed at all, he was still sneaky and manipulative and spying on my emails to friends – and yet I could not fucking let go of that monster. That fucking monster.  I am shaking with rage as I am typing this right now.  I am thinking of something he did in the few months before I left that perfectly illustrates the type of shitty, obsessive activity he engaged in. He knew I had been corresponding online with a male friend who provided me with facts and information for piece that was posted in a blog that I wrote for.  The morning the piece went live, he created an email address with that friend’s name and emailed me from it, pretending to be that friend, and essentially asking me out on a date to celebrate.  He thought this person had designs upon me or vice versa, and he wanted to see what sort of response I would send. (Friend, if you are reading this, I am deeply mortified about this. I never told you this and I hope it doesn’t bother you too much)
He often created accounts pretending to be some person or another and would try to cozy up to people that I was friends with online, to either learn things about me, or learn things about that person as it related to me.  This is the sort of thing he would do.

When my sister, who helped me leave New Jersey, pulled the car away from the curb and drove past my former 6th Street home, I never looked back.  When we arrived 2 days later in my other sister’s driveway, I realized I could never feel those things for that man again.  They simply were not there anymore.  There was a gaping hole, yes, where what I thought was love used to be, but I knew that whatever connection we had (though deeply damaged and dysfuntional) was severed. Permanently.  I have not looked back since. All I needed to do was leave.  For me, it really was just that simple.

I was never struck, or beaten, or physically injured by him…although one time he did shove me up against a wall, because he thought I was corresponding with women on a perfume forum–about perfume– against his wishes, and lying to him about it. I was. Does it make any difference? But I was absolutely mentally and emotionally abused by this man for years, there is no doubt about that.
He wasn’t always horrible.  He took me to a bed and breakfast and a tea room and a winery for my birthday once, because he knew those were the kind of things I like.  He encouraged me to finish college.  He always found me bits of poetry or prose that he thought might strike a chord with me. I guess these are the fleeting moments that keep you in such a relationship, aren’t they? But things like that…they are like a coat of glossy paint on a rotten wall in a structurally unsound house. It might look ok from a certain angle every once in a while but chances are it will fall apart while you are still inside and then you are trapped there forever.

I try not to look at myself as a fool, or a victim, but while watching that episode of Black Mirrors I found myself screaming at the television. “You don’t have to answer him!” I shouted at the wife as he was browbeating her about some detail of her past.  “Just walk away, leave the room, GET OUT OF THERE!” I screamed until I was hoarse, as she collapsed on the bed sobbing, as she played back her private memories for the monster of the man she thought was her husband.  Whether or not she was having the affair was not the point (though yes, it turned out that she was).  The point is you cannot treat another human person like that. No one deserves that.
And you, fellow human, cannot allow yourself to be treated like that.

Unfortunately, sometimes you can scream that at someone until you are blue in the face and it will mean nothing until they’ve hit the point when it means something. It never meant anything to me, until one day it did.

I am writing this because it breaks my heart to think that there is someone out there like me. I hope one day you realize that you mean something, you are something. That other person, the one making you feel small, making you feel ugly, making you feel like no one will ever love you. That has nothing to do with you.  They are nothing without you. And if you leave, they will be nothing at all.

I hope you will walk away and never look back.

 

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When I awoke this morning, I could tell from the way the air felt in the house – heavy, damp, oppressive – what I would find outside before I even opened the door. And when I finally did, it confirmed what I already knew to be true. One of those overcast Florida mornings where every molecule of air feels saturated to bursting, but it never quite rains.

The blue of the sky is painted over with a formless smearing of clouds – the entire canvas now awash with a dull, greyish, off-white causing the trees and grasses and shrubs and houses – everything, really – to seem so dull and drab and dreary. There’s a sharp tasting breeze ruffling the palm fronds and the jasmine, and the neighbor’s stunted cat skulks under the saw grass uneasily. I can hear the highway sounds just beyond the neighborhood but the roads between our homes now are perfectly still, with only an occasional wind chime breaking the silence. There are no bird calls, no lawn mowers, no early rising children playing outside.

These strange, sunless mornings are those I remember best from my childhood. I knew I would not be expected to play outside, so I would grab a pile of books and lock myself on the screened porch all day, only pausing for lunch or chores (if threatened and only then). Until it grew too dark to see the words on the page I was immersed in these stories, and I considered that time well spent.

Now I have a day before me precisely the sort I remember so fondly from so many years ago and I am sitting here, writing about it. I shall remedy that now. There is a stack of books patiently waiting for me and that sky is only getting darker.

This, that, and the other thing (IV)

The magical life of one pair of Icelandic twins, as documented by photographer Ariko Inaoka

Inaoka strives to give her photos of the twins—which were taken at the their house and other “timeless” natural locations about 30 minutes outside the city—a magical, otherworldly quality, because she finds the twins’ relationship as similarly extraordinary and mysterious.

 

The extraordinary art of R.S. Connett, full of vibrant color and exquisite detail


All the horror manga by brilliant author Junji Ito that you need for a lifetime of distress & disquiet

(Bonus listening: Paradoxical Night on 8tracks)

 

A bevy of fantastic Shirley Jackson titles & cover art over at Too Much Horror Fiction

 

The International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME!
Let’s start planning our field trip, now.


Supervenus 
by Frédéric Doazan for the 17th Brussels Short Film Festival
, a macabre statement on standards of Western beauty.

 

Evening In Space – Daphne Guinness nonstop weird fashion and decadence

 

 

 

Little magics : postal apparitions, mailbox rituals

rayna

Letter lottery prize from R.

A few months ago I wrote about those little magics which brighten our days and make life sweeter. Small instances of wonder and beauty and kindness, whether bestowed upon us or passed along by us to a friend or a stranger. I felt those things missing in my day-to-day goings on at that time and made a conscious decision to do what I could to change that.

All seeing sorceress illustration from B.

All seeing sorceress illustration from B.

I was reminded of how, at one point in my life, I worked for my (ex)stepfather.  He ran a small business, strictly mail-order, selling rare & antique occult books; it was my job to process orders, pack and ship the books, handle the customer service items, and update the website (which I built!), along with the eBay auctions he ran. I also unpacked the shipments and stored/restored some of the books, though the latter not so often and I didn’t work there long enough to become proficient at it. Can you imagine spending your days patching up delicate grimoires or fragile first editions written hundreds of years ago? I could, at length and in detail, and was completely enamored with the idea. This was the sort of daydream I entertained as I went about my day. More often than that, though, I wondered, as I wrapped and secured each parcel -where was this book going?  What sort of person was this?  What were they using it for? I loved to imagine the little thrill they got as they carefully unpacked and opened their new book, and all of the possibilities it held for them.  My favorite time of the day back then was the trip to the post office after all of the orders had been handled, passing each parcel over to the postal worker, seeing each stamped, some certified, some registered, and tossed in a bin, ready to head off to its new owner. I have not since had a job that made me so happy or that was so fulfilling.

books

A legion of lurid tales from Prof. J.

There’s something about receiving a package or letter or a handwritten post card in the mail, isn’t there? I know my heart skips a beat or two on my casual stroll to the mail box every day, just wondering what might have been placed there by the mailman.  More often than not it’s bills or coupons or something for the previous tenant, but every once in a while, when the time is right and the stars align,  something unexpected and exciting appears from overseas or across the country or maybe even the city right next door. You just never know!

Scents and secrets from J.

Of course nine times out of ten we know that’s not really “magic”, now is it?  There is something in the mailbox because someone is responding to a letter you sent them, or perhaps they swapped with you a hand drawn illustration for a hand-knit pair of mitts. (Or, maybe you just …bought something.)

You can’t really just wait for these things to happen.  Or, well, you can, but I can assure you, that is a very disappointing business. Far better to reach out to some friends, set something in motion, to MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN.  A pen pal swap, a letter lottery, a handcrafted doodad exchange, a book trade.  Or maybe something “just because”. Something do you not expect to be reciprocated, something you made or wrote just for someone because you think they are special and you want them to know that you were thinking of them.  Sending a piece of yourself out there to someone, a thing with no expectations or attachments.

Ah, now.  That’s the real magic, I think.

At the risk of sounding cheesy,- I truly believe one of the most lovely feelings in the world is sending a little surprise out there to someone and imagining the look of wonder on their face as they are opening it. I believe it is a nice habit to cultivate, this unexpected sharing with a far-away friend, and perhaps something you can even build a bit of a weekly or monthly ritual around. Brew a pot of tea, light some candles or incense (or forego all of that and just spritz yourself from head to toe with your favorite scent) put on a bit of music, and spend some time penning a note to friend. Wrap up a small gift that you’ve been meaning to send – don’t wait, do it now. If you wait until you are in the mood, you will never do it.  I can’t tell you what will work best for you, but as for me, I like to send a small note to a new friend, along with perfume samples,old recipes, song lists (along with a cd or a thumb drive of favorites) or hand knit items.  If I could draw I would probably include a doodle or two, but I cannot and I am terribly self-conscious about my lack of talent in that department, so you are not likely to see that from me!

Chocolate hippo crack from A.

Chocolate hippo crack from A.

I have received some wonderful packages in the past few years from friends all over the world, in all sorts of places. I have included photos of some of these treasures here.  Unfortunately, I never take any pictures of the things that I mail out.  I will have to work on that. And it’s weird, writing that – “friends all over the place”. I don’t think of myself as someone who makes friends easily, who has a lot of friends.  And yet, I somehow, I have? How did this happen? I don’t know, but I don’t want to take it for granted, and so I try to appreciate my friends in small ways, whenever I can. Mailbox magics!

burdock, blue aconite, and thistle and thorn

A new playlist, October magics.

► burdock, blue aconite, and thistle and thorn | ghoulnextdoor | 8tracks

Photo by Jason Blake

Track list:
As Old As The Grave, Eaves | knitbone, Kathrin deBoer | Blood I Bled, The Staves | Harvest Home, Mark Lanegan Band | Bronze, The Woodlands | Turn Away, Laura Moody | Holy Smoke, Vashti Bunyan | Wild Waters, Jane Tyrrell | “Some Winters” Weyes Blood | The Electric Mountain, Jane Weaver | iamamiwhoami, fountain

Weight loss for weirdos: the deblobbening

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Goths at the Gym for VICE magazine. Photo: Matias Uris

Let me get this off my chest right at the beginning.  I have 0% will power.  If I want to have popcorn for dinner, I can’t fob myself off with a more nutritious option and tell myself to wait it out and eat a bowl of popcorn during the weekend.  That won’t work for me.  Chances are I will eat the salad and the small portion of whatever healthful protein du jour AND I will just end up eating the popcorn later that night anyhow.  I have learned it is just easier to give in to my baser cravings and get it out of my system.

Also: I am slow.  I am maybe one of the slowest moving people in the world. Slow to reach a decision, slow to act on that decision, interminably slow to carry out that decision.  I remember as a child, my mother on more than one occasion, shouting at me to hurry up and “get in the car/get to the dinner table/ get out of bed, Sarah GOD SARAH YOU’RE SLOWER THAN MOLASSES”. It’s true.  And I have not gotten any faster 30 years later.

I can also tell you that rewarding myself for goals met is not something that works for me. That bottle of perfume? I want it now.  It won’t wait til I’ve lost 5 or 10 pounds.  Chances are I have already ordered it and it is setting on my shelf and I am wearing even while I am typing this out.  I’ve probably already ordered another bottle of something else.

Excuses and personality defects aside, with regard to my weight loss for weirdos  progress, I will report that I have lost 12 pounds.  Now, you might be thinking “huh…12 pounds in 5 months doesn’t really sound like fantastic progress” and you’d probably be right. But to be perfectly honest, I am not really going at this in a hardcore type of fashion and I’ve got no deadline and I’ve no desire to buy new, smaller clothing every month, so why not take it slow?I am not about to give up my Monday night popcorn-for-dinner and my glasses of wine during the week.   I’m not in it to torture myself, I mean really.

But as to the changes I am making and the aspects of deblobbening that I am getting right:

  • I purchased a fitbit.  Yeah, they are gimmicky. No they are not absolutely necessary.  But I hate to exercise, and ANYTHING that gets me to move around a little bit more is worth it to me. I work a desk job from home, so in addition to all the activity I am not getting from a more physical job, it’s not like I even have to walk to and fro in a building to interact with co-workers or walk to my car to drive to lunch or anything like that.  I am in my chair in front of a computer in more or less the same position for 10+ hours.  The fitbit would have you believe that your daily goal is 10K steps a day and I was rather horrified to find out that with no modifications to my daily schedule, I was lucky if I hit 2K.  Now – armed with the fear of a wee gadget sticking its tongue out at me – I find myself infinitely more motivated to find small, strange ways to exercise during the day.  My work day has basically turned into a 10 hour long extended peepee dance. But I am surpassing the 10K step goal and I figure hey – whatever kind of movement it is, no matter how ridiculous it looks, it’s got to be better than none at all, right?
  • Walking (or any sort of exercise, I suppose)with a friend.  I have made a commitment to meet a friend twice a week for walking and catching up.  On Wednesday evenings we meet at the local library and walk around the pond, about 2 miles or so.  On Saturday mornings we meet for a 6AM beach walk which amounts to about 4.5 miles.  Sometimes we do a healthy meal after, sometimes not, but the food isn’t really the point – it’s that we are getting out of the house, we are getting some exercise, and having a friendly human encounter.  I suspect that last part might be especially important for me, since other than my live-in paramour, this might be the only person I see all week long.
  • Finding some exceptional exercise music.  I’ll admit, so far it’s just one album, but it works perfectly for me.  Daft Punk Alive 2007. In the meantime, you have got to fill me in on what you are listening to now whilst running or walking or crossfitting or milking cows or hoisting cadavers into the crematory or whatever you do.  I need variety.
  • Having some meals planned.  I am lucky enough to live with someone who will, for the most part, eat – and like – any homecooked meal that I put in front of him… so when cooking for myself, I automatically know that the other person I am living with will eat it as well, with no complaint. This makes meal planning for me so much easier than other folks might have it. Some recipes I have found myself preparing quite often and for which I can personally vouch for their tastiness: black bean soup, chana masala, tofu stir fry with peanut sauce and “zoodles” & sauce. For breakfasts it’s been steel cut oats with a dollop of skyr and fruit or toast and peanut butter if I am feeling lazy.  Lunches have been tuna salad or avocado-egg salad or canned soups, and a quick cucumber tomato salad. Simple stuff. It is during the weekends that I encounter trouble, as we are usually visiting friends or family and that usually means dinners out and cocktails and I don’t always make the smartest choices.  Especially after the cocktails.

I am not one for before and after pictures and anyhow, I really don’t look any different.  So you’re not going to see that sort of thing here.  I have, however, managed to wriggle my rump into my first ever pair of skinny jeans.  Oh, how I railed against skinny jeans! For years I wouldn’t even acknowledge their existence. They were the devil’s denim, I thought, and would never darken the door of my wardrobe.  I’m afraid I was wrong.  And I am wearing them today. And they are amazing.  You can only see my face in this picture, but I promise you, I am wearing them.

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Also, amongst other things that wouldn’t serve as a proper weight loss reward because instant gratification is not soon enough for me, I am wearing this oversized cross tee shirt from Aakasha (recommendation courtesy Tenebrous Kate!) and it is pretty great.  One of my current favorite pieces.

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I hope to report back in the next four months with similar results, but in the meantime, I would love to hear what’s been working for you, health and fitness-wise? Where do you run into problems? How do you reward yourself? And etcetera.  I am nosy and want to know all of your secrets!

BONUS: The ultimate after death workout experience!
Zombies, keep your bodies fit! Never stop training!

SUPER EXTRA BONUS: A lovely lady friend recommended the 7 minute workout to me, stating that it is quite remarkable, it has incredible effects and it is perfect for weirdos!
Weirdos? That’s US!  Let’s do it!

“In 12 exercises deploying only body weight, a chair and a wall, it fulfills the latest mandates for high-intensity effort, which essentially combines a long run and a visit to the weight room into about seven minutes of steady discomfort — all of it based on science.”

P.S. She also said it is quite unpleasant, but let’s do it anyway!

Angelique

I am finally getting around to reading this stack of books, ostensibly about a healthy looking lass with barely concealed bosoms, named Angelique.  I picked them up at the start of the summer, rescued, on a whim, from a dusty, sagging particle board shelf in the shadowed corner of a cramped used book store.  I thought they would be light, campy summer reading.
They – the covers, at least -also reminded me a bit of how my mother once read the riot act to a nosy, churchy neighbor who had a problem with me, as a 10 year old, reading Clan of the Cave Bear (which I was thoroughly obsessed with at the time). I don’t remember it was a great book, and true, I was only reading it for the sexy bits, but thank you mom, for never censoring my reading.

Looking at the covers, you’d think this was a series of bodice-rippers, wouldn’t you?  Yet, from even a cursory glance on Good Reads I can see that this is a much beloved heroine – witty, charming, beautiful, utterly captivating – and that many readers have been swept away by her adventures, and even more, the writing is supposedly superb and the historical details are amazingly accurate. This is a collection of stories that people return to and re-read time and time again.

It is now October and I’ve barely read a single chapter. I paid the princely sum of $15 for all eight of these paperbacks and I really need to start getting my money’s worth from them.
Or at least read the sexy bits.

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