Archive of ‘unquiet things’ category

Currently: February 2020

Author Photo 3

I hate looking at my face in photos that other people have taken of me.

It’s hard to articulate why you think your best angles are your best angles, because quite frankly when we look at ourselves, I’m fairly certain that all we see are our flaws. (If you’ve evolved beyond this, I tip my hat to you.) My weak chin, massive forehead, my wonky tooth, my squinty, asymmetric eyes, my weird albino mole, and conversely, that dark splotchy sun-spot–I have been evaluating, assessing, and critiquing these problems with my gargoyle face in photos for …well. My entire life.

Our friends, however, aren’t as intimately familiar with how hideous we believe that we are; they don’t examine our repulsive facial topographies in the mirror every day (they’ve got their own faces to deal with, I imagine) and since they probably think we’re decent-enough looking humans, they are not as circumspect and calculated as we are in capturing our own portraits on film. I am certain that anyone who has ever been tagged in a friend’s Facebook photo looking like a chubby, inbred goblin is mortifyingly familiar with this oversight on the part of our friends, and this is why I think we need consent forms and NDAS and binding contracts promising that they will never ever ever tag us in a photo on Facebook unless we have pre-approved said photo. In my opinion, there is no betrayal quite so heinous as being marked as yourself by a “friend” in a particularly ugly photo.

Anyway, I had some author photos taken last weekend. I tried not to be too critical of them afterward; they were shot by my brother in law and I think he did a great job! He made me feel comfortable, and I knew I wasn’t going to wind up looking like anyone else other than me. (I am terrified of getting my makeup done, because, as part of the process, I may be given those terrible fuzzy caterpillar Instagram eyebrows; I am so scared of this that I wore exactly zero makeup in these photos except for some tinted moisturizer. My eyebrows may be non-existent, but at least they are not Eugene Levy-levels of lepidopteran larvae hovering above my eyeballs.) These photos came out looking exactly like me, for better or worse. But the one above is my absolute favorite. “Cackling into the void,” a friend of mine captioned it. And I don’t think anything captures me better than just laughing at how scared and ugly I feel all the time.  It’s kinda hilarious. And sad. But mostly funny!

bagels1

One thing that -mostly- never makes me feel sad or scared or ugly though, is spending time in the kitchen. (Just don’t ask me about the time I had the “brown rice risotto meltdown”! It was just last week. Too soon.)

Last year, thanks to the recipe and encouragement of dear Sonya, I tried my hand at making gravlax; this year, I thought…why not make the bagels and cream cheese to accompany it?

bagels 4

bagels 3

This time around I went with Brad Leone’s gravlax recipe from this episode of It’s Alive. I left out the turmeric because that just seemed…a little weird. The peppercorns and coriander seeds smelled so beautiful; sharp and fresh and floral and a bit citrusy, and I wish I could wear the glittering finery of this salt and sugar sprinkle half as well as this little slab of salmon!

bagels 5

bagels 7

bagels 6

Did I feel the slightest bit of trepidation contemplating the creation of homemade bagels? Maybe. But even bad bagels had the promise of being pretty freaking amazing, and please indulge me when I tell you that these were not bad bagels. Were they perfect? Lordy. No.
Were they a lot of work? Like maybe a thousand times the effort of going to Bagel King? Yes, they were. Were they probably twice as expensive? Yes, they probably were.

Were they absolutely worth the mess and the effort? Oh yes. And they were even more delicious knowing that I made the dough, I kneaded the dough, I shaped and boiled and I baked the dough, and I had a hand in nearly 100% of the processes that brought these wee bagel bebes into existence. I didn’t grow the grains and grind them into flour. And that was a pre-packaged everything bagel seasoning (it needs more salt!) But other than that…I did it. And that feels pretty amazing.

The bagel recipe is from Joshua Weissman, and I chose it because he wasn’t adding extra ingredients like malt extract and vital wheat gluten. Those might have made the end product tastier, but I didn’t feel like futzing around with them. The cream cheese is really more of a “cream cheese-like spread” and the recipe is from Chef John of Foodwishes. I really dig how he compares the cheesecloth marks on the spread to the pattern that fishnet stockings make on the flesh of someone’s leg. I think the world needs some erotic foody fanfiction from Chef John, but maybe that’s just me, hee hee.

Bean Soup

Since we are on the topic of food (and if we’re not, let me bring it back to what’s really important here) I’d like to tell you about this soup.

We were low on stores and I didn’t want to do any extra shopping. I had a really excellent chicken stock I’d made from the remnants of this chicken recipe, a handful of old vegetables, and two half-full bags of dried baby lima beans. I am not sure why I had two bags, and why there was an equal amount of beans missing from both, but I suppose that shall remain a kitchen mystery. I soaked the beans in some cold water for a few hours, and then I chopped and sauteed two celery stalks and two carrots with three cloves of garlic, minced, in a splodge of olive oil. I would have added onions, but I had none, so subbed in a hefty tablespoon of onion powder, along with some salt and pepper. I added the soaked beans and stirred them around with the veggies for a few minutes or until everything looks friendly with each other and smells lovely and then I added several cups of broth and a bay leaf or two. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the beans are as tender as you like and the soup starts to thicken up a bit.

I used to hate bean soup as a kid, but I think this one is better than the one my grandmother used to make me eat. It was actually quite delicious. Sorry Mawga!

SK

RE: my Stephen King project (here’s a link to a spreadsheet if you are interested! It’s…a bad spreadsheet. Spreadsheets are not my thing.)

So far in 2019 I have read The Institute, The Dead Zone, and The Outsider; I have watched Pet Sematary (2019), IT Chapter Two, In The Tall Grass, Doctor Sleep. I am currently watching The Outsider television series, listening to The Dark Half, and reading The Gunslinger

Of course, I am reading other things, too, alongside this Stephen King madness, but still…I think I am making progress!

this, that, and the other thing {li}

Exquisite-Creatures-Christopher-Marley-8

☨ Beauty Eternalized: Christopher Marley’s Exquisite Creatures
Robot Saints in the Middle Ages
Baba Yaga’s Wild Spiced Honey Cookies
HEXES The Final Hex
Insect Jewelry of the Victorian Era
The 20 Most Anticipated Horror Books of 2020
Lord Byron used to call William Wordsworth “Turdsworth”
7 Billion-Year-Old Stardust Is Oldest Material Found on Earth
Werner Herzog’s Eerie Prose Script for Nosferatu the Vampyre
‘Awful and fabulous’: the madness of Flowers in the Attic
56 Books By Women and Nonbinary Writers of Color to Read in 2020
☨ Bjork and Microsoft use AI to create music that changes with the weather
A Floating Hotel with Aurora Views Just Opened on a Frozen River in Sweden
The Mysterious “Order of the Odd Fellows” that frankly, belongs in a Wes Anderson Movie

Featured photo by Maika Keuben of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s Christopher Marley Exquisite Creatures exhibit

An Open Letter To Everyone I Have Ever Ghosted

Angela Deane, Meet Cute

Angela Deane, “Meet Cute”

I don’t believe that I owe anyone any explanation for my absence from their life or my exit from their bad behavior and foolishness, but I sometimes wonder how I might feel if someone was in my life one day, and then had all but disappeared the next. Probably a little hurt and somewhat confused. “What could I have done?” I might ask myself on occasion while hoping that it wasn’t anything too awful.

If any of you people ever stumble across this missive, you may find your misdeeds recorded here. Oh, I’ll tell you what you did. If you’re reading this, and don’t like your reflection in what I have written, remember the following (and thank you for reminding me, Angeliska)

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

You were my high school boyfriend. I was wild about you. You dumped me after you graduated, right before my senior year. I still mooned over you for years and took whatever little scraps you threw my way. I grew up, I moved away, I got over you. I moved back as an adult and here you are. Still here. Still an eternal teenager. Your Facebook feed is all big trucks, guns, and half-naked women. Were you like this the whole time? I think you were. You posted about your disgust regarding “government handouts.” You want to know why I won’t talk to you, why I ignore your messages. Gross. Look at yourself. Would you talk to you if you were me? Did you ever even know me, know anything about the person I was? You certainly don’t know who I am now, thirty years later. And honestly, the person I am now has no use for a 45-year-old perpetual man child with no kindness or compassion in his heart. Fuck off.

You were the girlfriend of my high school boyfriend’s best friend. Our boyfriends were the only thing we had in common, I think, but we clung to each other after we both got dumped. We had some nice times in our early twenties, weekly visits where we’d cook together and watch Melrose place, while your baby played in the room with us. I moved away and came back. You’re still here. You’ve got another kid by another husband, and maybe some drama, but who doesn’t really? I think you love your children and that’s beautiful. What’s not so beautiful is your ugly politics. We never talked about this type of thing and so maybe you were this way all along, but when you posted that Ted Nugent meme (it was either racist or something to do with guns or survivors of a shooting…it’s hard to tell with him, I think he’s always saying something terrible and offensive) I knew then that this was not a friendship I wished to revive. I blocked you on social media. I pass you in the grocery store sometimes. I ignore you.

You were my best friend in middle school. Ours was a fraught friendship, though probably not from your end. I was just always afraid that we were doing something that would get us into trouble, but that seemed to be your nature and your modus operandi. We grew apart in high school, you had a couple of kids very young, and we lost touch. A few years ago I looked you up. I don’t know why I haven’t yet learned my lesson about this. “The past is another place, and I’m not headed that way” kind of lessons. “Let what is dead stay dead.” Oh, Sarah. Will you ever learn? I found you on Facebook and we chatted a bit. Made a coffee date. On Facebook, you shared your thoughts about why we need to build a wall. NOPE. I am not having it. And say what you want about the evils of Facebook, but man, people sure show you their true colors over there. We live in the same town but I have somehow never run into you. If that day occurs, I will ignore you, too.

You…I can’t talk about you. You genuinely upset me last year in the most triggery, traumatic way, and I still have a hard time with that. I know I eventually have to get over it and interact with you, because of reasons, and there is no way you could have known what you did when you were doing it, but until then I just have to pretend you don’t exist. When we finally do see each other again, I am hoping that I can act as if nothing ever happened, and I hope that I actually feel that way too.

You. Are so fucking gross and opportunistic and I am sorry that I was every aligned or associated with you in any way. You actually did the worst thing that anyone could ever do to me. And I say that as someone who was in a toxic, abusive relationship for years.* You embarrassed me. You embarrassed me in front of several smart, talented friends who may have only worked with you because of our association. You embarrassed me in front of a lovely, long-time friend with your pushy, gross demands. When she messaged me privately to ask “what’s this guy’s deal??” I was mortified. Maybe one of the only reasons she was even entertaining your transaction was because I vouched for you in some way.  Also, I was told that you said some pretty nasty things about me behind my back afterward. That was a weird and novel experience because as far as I know, that’s not ever happened to me before (but how would I know, I guess?) Anyway, fuck that and fuck you.

I’m never going to apologize for cutting people out of my life. I am ruthless about it. It might take a lot to get me to that point; I am patient and I am very forgiving. But I’m at a point now where I know very well who I am and what I’m all about, and so listen well when I tell you: I am not about your shitty politics, and whatever else you do to me, don’t fucking embarrass me.

Other than that, we’re good. You can stay.

* this person is not on this list. I have written about them everything that I ever want to write.

2020 Motivations & Ambitions

Actress Mary Pickford writing at a desk, by Hartsook Photo Studio, San Francisco & Los Angeles, California, 23 March 1918.

Actress Mary Pickford writing at a desk, by Hartsook Photo Studio,  23 March 1918.

I really hesitate to use the word “goal” here, and much like many people I know, I shy away from talking about “resolutions.” But aren’t they all really the same thing, these earnest efforts to better ourselves in an attempt to reach, oh…I don’t know what…our final form? Our ultimate, enlightened evolution? Or maybe just plain old success and happiness? And really, what’s wrong with that? On the whole, I think it’s a grand idea.

But I think, for me, at least, it might be smarter to consider all of that in terms of little processes and practices rather than a massive end-goal or two. Sure, I could say that I want to lose 50 lbs in 2020, but that’s a big number, and a lot to expect from a body, and it’s so easy to lose motivation and become discouraged along the way when progress looks slow.

I’d rather take action with smaller check-ins. For example: make sure I’m moving enough, and not even because exercise is all that helpful toward weight loss–which I don’t believe it is–but because I feel better when I get my daily walks. And when I feel better, I make better decisions about when and where and why and how much to eat. Or maybe try my best to cook most meals at home– because I both love to cook and I am more invested and excited about food when I make it myself, and when I have made the food myself, I know exactly what ingredients and how much of them are going into it. Get enough sleep, because when I’ve had the opportunity for my body to heal and refresh and reset itself, I’m more likely to wake up for those early morning walks, and I later in the day have the mental clarity and energy to plan out meals and make them. All of those things may add up to choices more aligned toward that big goal but more importantly, I think it will get me fairly well-sorted and stronger and healthier along the way.

I realize that I am pretty well privileged to live in a place where I feel safe taking walks in the dark and that I have a body that is capable of taking those walks. That I have the access and resources to buy fresh ingredients and the time to make a nice meal for myself. That I don’t have (too many) concerns related to sleeping or getting a good night’s rest. This may look very different for you, or for someone else. I can really only speak for myself in this regard, but I am not blind to the fact that not everyone can or is able to do these things. Not everyone even wants to do these things!

Which brings me to my next point RE: weight loss and body positivity. You can be confident and healthy and beautiful whatever size or weight you are at–all body types can and should be celebrated. My body doesn’t feel like a celebration, though. And honestly, it never has, but it especially has not felt like much of a party these last few years. I have accepted that this is the only body I’ve got and there’s only so much I can do about it, and after a certain point, it’s just going to look however it looks. That’s fine. What I do not accept is being resigned to it feeling a certain way. I don’t want to feel like a creaky old house with too much pressure on the structures that are meant to be holding it together. I don’t want to feel old and stiff and sluggish and slow. Well, slow is okay, I guess. I am a Taurus after all.

I want to feel better and I have no doubt that includes losing a pound or two. I know that a great many folks find talk of this a little triggering, and I get it. I find it triggering, too. I’ve dealt with the issues attached to fat-shaming and bullying and eating disorders my whole life. But I can’t ignore the other realities here, either–which is that I am carrying around too much body for my body to manage and I have to do something about that, even though it’s not comfortable to address to myself, nor is it fun or interesting to discuss with others, or even to just share here on my blog.

I suppose this is all a disclaimer, really. I know this is my little internet space to whisper or holler about whatever I want at my leisure, but I never want to lose sight of the fact that there are actual human beings out there who are reading what I have written…and I become awfully upset with myself when I pause to think that there may be friends or acquaintances who read this thing or that thing I have written and feel hurt or betrayed by my words. Body acceptance and positivity is great, is what I am saying here, but I don’t always feel positive about my own body.  I’m sorry for how that may make you feel, but in the end, how I feel about my own body is my own business.

This list below is mostly not even about my corporeal human meat suit issues! But I suppose I felt that I had probably better make sure I said all of the above, anyhow. These are the ambitions and objectives that in 2020 and the rest of this new decade I would like to try to stay on top of, incorporate more of, or maybe just try out and see how it feels, in terms of assisting with daily goings-about in this world, and leveling up along the way. Until the end of it all, when I have hopefully done the work and put in the effort and have finally achieved my true form:

Medusa, 1892. Alice Pike Barney

Medusa, 1892. Alice Pike Barney

Move more, cook more, sleep more:

I mentioned these above, but they bear repeating. I try to walk most evenings for 45 minutes or so, and if I can wake myself before the sun is up in the morning, I take gentle wake-up walks at that time as well. I have been saying for years now I’d like to start doing yoga (I figure if I learn one new stretch every year, at the end of a decade, I will have a routine.) I would also like to start doing pilates again. I had a pilates DVD years ago, and I can’t believe I am saying this, but I really liked it. I live with someone though, and I am really shy and squirrelly about working out in a place where someone could potentially walk in on me exerting myself and looking sweaty and stupid. I would trust my partner with just about anything, but I gotta draw the line somewhere. So I have to find a secret pilates nook, I guess?

I do cook at home quite frequently already, but there are probably more occurrences of Chipotle runs than we need during the week, and on weekends it seems like we eat out for practically every meal. Lately, I’ve been feeling particularly inspired the Simple cookbook by Yottam Ottolenghi which features a lot of Middle Eastern flavors, and the Rabbit and Wolves blog, which has the most amazingly delicious vegan recipes (I made the mac and cheese stroganoff and holy cats, it is so good.) Cooking is the one facet of my life where I have any amount of confidence; one might even say that I approach all of my culinary endeavors with all of the certitude and bravado of a mediocre white man. I feel most at home in my kitchen, and it’s my sanctuary. I want to spend as much time there making beautiful meals as I possibly can.

And with regards to sleep, this is where I am really struggling. I like to wake up early, but I often don’t get to bed until a much later hour, and these habits, combined, make it difficult to consistently obtain an optimal amount of sleep. Finding a balance has been difficult. I like to sleep mostly because I like to dream, but otherwise I kind of wish I didn’t have to bother with it. There’s so much reading and knitting I could be doing! But I can’t because my body needs to shut down for an apparently non-negotiable amount of time, and I must say, it’s rather inconvenient.

Meditation:

I recently visited a medium, and during my reading, she observed that I had either just begun to meditate or that I would/should shortly. Well! As it happens, I had just begun, ten days prior. I am using the Headspace app and I have been doing the 3-5 minute guided meditations every morning. I know the benefits of meditation are numerous, but I’m actually not sure what I am personally hoping to get out of it. My mind can be a pretty noisy place sometimes, and there are instances that I get myself worked up over something, or perhaps blow something out of proportion and get in a fight-or-flight state, and I’d love to cultivate a practice that helps me slow and calm the escalating anxieties.

Reach out more:

I don’t know that I am always the best friend or sister that I should be. Just because I feel like I am pretty low maintenance and I don’t need much in terms of care and watering, doesn’t mean that those I love feel the same way. (And I really need to take a closer look at why think I don’t need that same care, myself.)

More phones calls–any phone calls, really–would be a good start; more texts and messages and check-ins during the week. Maybe even send a few emails or postcards. A vlogger I watch on Youtube mentioned making a practice of reaching out to 5 people a week, and I really liked that idea. But I don’t want to get so caught up in reaching out to far-flung acquaintances that those loved ones I am really close to begin to fall further down my list of priorities (I can get really caught up in things, and so I foresee how I could let this happen.) I guess like practically everything else on this list, it is a matter of balance.

And I would really like to stay more on top of my thank you card game if for no other reason than I have a massive amount of stationery that needs getting used up and well, also, it’s just a classy thing to do.

Budgeting and saving:

In the past few years, I have become a person who sees something they want and who buys that thing immediately. I don’t even pause to give it a second thought. I think there are several issues to explore and address as to what’s going on internally and giving rise to this behavior. Probably a lot of avoidance and depression, past poverty/deprivation, and something I just read about and which makes a lot of sense in terms of my experience: Symptom Substitution.

“Often when a person overcomes one type of compulsive behavior, they replace it with another, especially when they have not addressed the underlying reasons. Many women with eating disorders “graduate” to compulsive shopping.”

Ooof. Some graduation gift.

Now I have an abundance of stuff and a scarcity of savings. Some of these things have never been used, still have the tags on them. And then there’s my house full of mountains of useless clutter. Don’t get me wrong, I have no interest in minimalism. I just want to enjoy the things I have without longing for more, more, more. Why does it always seem like there is something better and why do I think I need it?

I thought it might be smart to begin tracking my spending habits and to make a budget for myself. I started using the EveryDollar and I will tell you, I was shocked at what my spending actually looks like. Much of my money goes to eating out and to credit card bills. What am I, 20? Get it together, lady! Now that I am paying attention, I feel like I have at least got a place to start.

Therapy:

In 2019 I finally began to see a therapist on a regular basis. I stopped going in July because I was immersed in writing, and it just seemed like too much to deal with. But I finally went back last week, and have got an appointment scheduled for next month, so we are getting back on track.

I don’t yet know what I am getting out of these sessions, but I do know that I often talk myself to some epiphanies and revelations and flashes of self-discovery in the hour that I am there. And maybe it’s just good practice for me to talk. I’ve always been a “…no, it’s fine, I’m fine!” type of person, and if I get used to saying “no, this hurts” or “no, this isn’t comfortable for me” or “what are you, a fucking idiot?” in a setting where I feel safe, maybe one day I will be able to assertively say these things to the people who need to hear it.

Stephen King:

Ok, so this is a frivolous little project. And ok, it’s not exactly a little project. But the other day I was thinking “well if you’re such a Stephen King fan, why haven’t you read, like, his last fifteen years worth of work?” That’s an excellent question! So I am embarking on a quest to read all of his titles that I have not yet read, to listen on audiobook all of the titles that I have read already, and to watch all of the television and film that I have not yet seen. And of course, as soon as I decided to do this, Stephen King said something really out of touch and entitled and cringey on twitter the other day, and man just keep your mouth shut and go to a Red Sox game or something. We don’t need your thoughts and opinions on everything. Just keep scaring us.

Sweaters

I have not knit a sweater since 2009 or so. My results were never that great, but they weren’t terrible, so I thought I’d try my hand at it again. I am currently knitting up a sleeve on the Emerge sweater. I’ve already screwed it up twice. Whee!

Herbs

For as long as I have lived on my own, I have always had a pot of herbs on my porch. Sometimes, depending on the amount of space, I might have had a whole porch full! I don’t exactly have a green thumb, but I know there’s a handful of green herbs that I get along quite well with: rosemary, mint, oregano, marjoram. Currently, I’ve kept a parsley plant alive for over a year, which is a minor miracle, but it’s still with us! My basil and dill always croak, and I think Florida may be too hot for lavender, but I’m giving a new lavender plant another try even as I type this.

Other than throwing a few leaves in a sauce or salad every now and again, I never do anything with these herbs…even though for years I have been intrigued by the idea of making my own teas and tinctures and candles and soaps, etc. I’ve just never even tried! Unlike my cooking and knitting confidence, I have no surefootedness when it comes to attempting new endeavors. Like many of us, I find the thought of not achieving perfection on the first try extremely prohibitive. And so… I don’t even try.

Both a reiki healer and a medium (the same one referenced above) in the course of a day, just a few hours apart really, both separately told me the same thing: they thought I was already an herbalist or someone who works very closely with herbs. These women did not work together; I am not even sure they knew each other. And yet they both recognized in me this affinity. I think I am going to get to know my herbs a little better this year. If I try something and make a mistake, or I fail completely–well, I think that just means I learned something. Maybe I’ll fail a lot. Maybe I’ll learn a lot of things.

I think that’s really what this year–this decade, maybe–is meant to be about. Little steps. Mistakes. Failures. And learning, always learning along the way.

What have you got planned for 2020? What are your motivations and ambitions and objectives? What do you plan to fail at, spectacularly? Let’s fail and learn and grow together, my strange, beautiful friends.

2019 Lists: Things Knitted

mitts

I knit a decent amount of things in 2019, but I did slow down over the summer when I was meant to be working on some other things. I still knit a little here and there, but I guess I was feeling guilty about doing anything other than the task at hand. I felt furtive and underhanded about those sneaky stitches, like I was somehow doing knitting crimes, and let me tell you, I did not care for that feeling at all.

The above Underwing Mitts, pattern by Erica Heusser, were knit at the very beginning of the year, before all of the aforementioned criminal stitchery. I think I actually cast on at the tail end of 2018, but they were my first finished project of 2019, so it counts, I think. This was the first colorwork project I’d ever actually completed, and I guess it wasn’t so bad, but it wasn’t so great I went back for more, either. Like most things I knit, I have since given them away to a dear friend.

jord

I always love knitting Caitlin ffrench’s patterns and the exquisite Jörð was no exception.  I think I might have screwed this up somewhere after one of the repeats where the stitches doubled. My stitch count was correct, but somehow it seemed like…parts of the pattern…just…didn’t match up? Ah, well. I just kept knitting. I have no idea where this one ended up! To be honest, the homes in which the majority of last year’s knits currently reside is a mystery to me–I have forgotten where I sent them all!

clothilde

Clothilde by Kristen Hanley Cardozo was a lovely and simple knit, or at least I don’t recall it being particularly challenging. I really don’t remember much at all about it. But it turned out quite lovely, and I was quite pleased that I had enough yarn leftover from Jörð to create an entirely new and separate thing!

swallowtail

The Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark was a pattern that was all the rage in 2006 or so, when I was a wee fledgling knitter. I recall seeing all the popular knitting bloggers posting photos of that one and thinking to myself, “lordy, I will never be able to do that!” I had quite forgotten about it until I needed a pattern 13 years later that would use a certain amount of a certain weight of yarn, and I thought, “aha! why not!” I wish I could say it was a piece of cake but it was fraught with the intensity of too much pattern left for too little yarn, and I actually did run out of yarn, with six stitches to go. Yikes.

charade 2 Charade by Sandra Park is my go-to sock pattern, always and forever. This amethyst toasties now keep my Best Good Friend’s feet warm.

deco city

I thought the elegant geometric pattern of Amy van de Laar’s Deco City shawl seemed refreshingly different from the sorts of florid froofiness that I typically gravitate toward, and it coincidentally seemed like a good fit for some Shibui yarn that I’d somehow gotten ahold of (if you are the friend who gave it to me, thank you!) Not sure where this ended up, but it was a joy to spend time with.

bitterroot

I have Romi Hill’s Bitterroot so many times now. The first time I knit all of my grief into it, after a beloved feline companion died. This most recent time I sent it off to a glamorous friend. This was a humbling sort of project where I was probably overconfident and screwed something up even though (or perhaps precisely because) I’ve worked on it so many times that I should know these stitches by heart. It’s a pretty forgiving pattern, though. It didn’t matter in the end, and it was as beautiful this time as it always is

charade

It’s the Charade socks again! I loved the demented joy and unhinged vibrancy of these colors, so I sent them away to an NYC witch who I thought might appreciate their twisted exuberance.

find your fade

Andrea Mowry’s Find Your Fade, was, in theory, a neat idea. And I can’t say that I wasn’t warned. But this thing was a tedious knit and it is freaking enormous, and I feel like to give it away might be rather punitive to the person who must accept the gift, so for the time being, it still lives with me, crumbled sadly (and massively) in a corner.

odyssey More colors! I usually save the brightly colored yarns for knitted socks, but I had several bits of leftover sock yarn and thought that a colorful shawl might be in order–and from this sentiment, the Odyssey Shawl by Joji Locatelli was born. I often found myself losing track on this project; the number of stitches, the number of rows, even which side I was on! These are good things to pay attention to. I suppose it turned out rather nicely, though! It made its way to a writer and perfumista who I am hopeful might wear it every now and again.

stoker

I truly adored knitting Stoker by Kristin Lehrer. This was a soothing project, with the most beautiful yarn. The pattern was perfectly written and though it wasn’t especially complex or challenging, it wasn’t mindlessly stupid, either. Just a really, really nice thing to knit on for a time. It now graces the home belonging to a mistress of cake witchery, and I’d like to think it smells of warm kitchens and sweet frostings and gentle spices now.

2019 Lists: Film & Television Consumed

OA

Throughout the year I keep an ongoing list in google docs of all of the movies and television series I have watched, and then I unceremoniously dump in on the blog here for posterity. This is not necessarily media that was released during 2019 (although some of it was) but 2019 was the year that I got around to viewing it. I don’t suppose this is of interest to anyone but me, but I do like to keep a record of how I spent (wasted?) my time during the year.

Standouts and favorites are marked with an asterisk, but I think what I loved the most were a handful of fantastical, eerie, enchanting television shows, and I am fairly certain they were all on Netflix: The second seasons of The OA and Dark, as well as the first season of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. In terms of film, I really did love Knife + Heart, and Into the Spiderverse was surprisingly awesome and a total treat for the eyes.

What were your film and television favorites from 2019?

dark crystal

Watched:
1/? finished Castle Rock S1
1/? Into The Spiderverse*
1/? Started True Detective S3
1/? More Frankie and Grace S?
2/5 Russian Doll*
2/6 Velvet Buzzsaw
2/15 Suspiria
2/23 Valerian
2/23 Lego Movie
2/24 The Hangover
2/27 Sorry To Bother You*
3/4 Tale of Tales
3/? The Little Stranger
3/7 Captain Marvel
3/9 The Order S1
3/10 The Nun
3/? The OA S2*
3/23 Us*
4/? Killing Eve S2
4/? Game of Thrones
4/3 Crimes Of Grindlewald
4/5 Akira
4/6 Blade The Immortal
4/7 Sabrina Season 2
4/11 Shazaam
4/29 Avengers Endgame
5/9 Pyewacket
5/12 Down A Dark Hall
5/16 The Favorite
5/17 Big Little Lies S1
5/18 Fleabag S2
5/20 Crazy Rich Asians
6/? Good Omens
6/12 Dark Phoenix
6/13 Maleficent
6/15 Always Be My Maybe
6/24 started Schitt’s Creek
July? Midsommar
July? Dark S2*
July? Stranger Things
8/6 What We Do In The Shadows S1*
8/6 Greta
8/23 SheRa S3
8/27 Dragula S3
9/6 Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance S1*
9/? Carnival Row S1
9/20 Happy Death Day 2U
9/26 AHS S9
9/27 The Accountant (don’t ask)
9/29 Training Day (also don’t ask)
9/29 Knife + Heart*
10/? Barry*
10/? Peaky Blinders S5
10/? Marianne S1
11/? The Good Place S1
11/? Toast of London S3
11/? Derry Girls S2
11/? NOS4A2 Season 1
12/? Castle Rock S2
12/? Lodge 49 S1
12/15 The Mandalorian S1
12/21 Ready Or Not
12/23 Cat’s Eye
12/24 The Rise Of Skywalker

 

Currently: End Of 2019 Edition But Don’t Call It A Wrap-Up Because Nothing Is Wrapped Up

quilt

In previous years I have done year-end, wrap-up sorts of things on this blog, but you know– I just don’t feel like it this go-round. And not even because I’m feeling low, or that there’s not much to report on. There was quite a lot! It’s been an interesting year for sure–some of it maybe more than I even bargained for. But I guess we can never really know what we’re getting into, what’s in store for us.

I guess I’m feeling, well, that I know what I accomplished (and what I didn’t)  in 2019 and maybe I just don’t need to talk about it or share. And it also occurs to me that many aspects of my year remain a work in progress. I haven’t wrapped up much of anything at all! And I’m okay with that! And I will probably even change my mind next year, if indeed in 2020 I have a list of things to share. But eh, this year I will give it a pass.

Instead, just a few diary-like peeks into the last two months, a record of days.

square

As I have done previously in the past few years, anytime I am between more exciting projects, I feverishly knit a few squares for my baby sister’s divorce blanket. Her divorce was final two years ago, so as I say every time I bring this up– I really need to pick up the pace. I know! Also, the woman is almost 40. But I can’t not think of her as my baby sister.

porridge

burrata

salmon

tea

In November I had a week to myself and I treated myself to a Fuck Off World! weekend, which I have written about before, but in recent years I like to think I have improved the formula. It still involves solitude and massive amounts of puttering, but instead of eating caveman frat-bro meals (I still love you though, Cheeto-burrito!) I have been trying to treat myself better by treating myself to proper meals. So I guess this is a “Fuck Off World! weekend–But Make It Fancy.”

Above is a bowl of porridge which you probably do not need a recipe for, a lunch of burrata and tiny tomatoes, broiled salmon and garlicky mashed potatoes with kale, and a loaf of cranberry-ginger bread that I made in an attempt to use up leftover homemade cranberry sauce. The recipe is actually for muffins, but I feel very this way about muffins ( but substitute muffins for froyo and donuts for ice cream) so I do not make them. Also, during Thanksgiving, someone complained about my cranberry sauce being too bitter and I’m still feeling peevish about that…don’t complain about my food to my face!

golden milk

I am always intrigued by trendy hot drinks. I mean, I am also always late to the party, so golden milk was probably trendy in 2017, but whatever. Unfortunately, every time I have been out and about and ordered golden milk at a coffee shop, it’s always been pretty awful. Chalky and somehow both overly sweet and bitter at once. See how I did that? I waited til I was out of earshot to complain! Anyway, last month I found a recipe for it over at Pick Up Limes and it was actually really lovely! I’d also love to give her chai hot chocolate a try. Maybe later in January, while we still have some chilly days. Though it’s going to be 80 degrees on January 2nd, so who knows? That’s what AC is for, I guess.

Although I have not begun to read them, I am super excited about both of these books! Emma WhispersRed has put out an ASMR guide/memoir (?) called Unwind Your Mind and one of my favorite bloggers, The Ghost In My Machine has published a really fun looking little book, Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark. I initially found The Ghost In My Machine after hearing about The Elevator Game (where did I first hear about that? Probably Tanis, a podcast that freaked me out so badly that I had to stop listening for a while, and I never did pick it up again.)

Not pictured and which I actually am currently reading and which seems very, very valuable thus far: Pixie Lighthorse’s Goldmining The Shadows, a book for personal and collective healing. It’s available on Kindle Unlimited right now, and I have highlighted the heck out of it, but there’s just something about having a physical copy to flip through and underline with a pen held in your hand, marked passages to come back to again and again for revisiting and reflection.

Here is a quote that I loved, and which may not mean much taken out of context, but then again, maybe it will mean a great deal to you. It’s a powerful thought:

“No amount of punishing yourself will ever result in peace.”

I just purchased the book itself, and two more copies for future gifting.

sodastream

Lastly, …speaking of gifting. Or rather, not gifting. Or rather, agreeing not to gift and then sort of gifting anyway: this year, in our house, we decided not to exchange gifts. It’s too much pressure and sometimes it feels a little wasteful (especially when you’ve gotten someone a gift, “just to get them something”) and it just ends up not being very much fun. Don’t get me wrong, I like gifts, and I am pretty sure that my partner does as well. But I think we have discovered that we prefer random, “just because” gifts, not this fraught, enforced tradition of family gift-giving that happens around the holidays.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t get his family on board with this idea, but since we are the bosses of our own household, we decided we’d control what we could, and concede where we couldn’t, and it would be ok. And it was! And after all that, we decided that we would purchase a Soda Stream-esque “sparkling beverage maker” (it’s actually by Kitchen Aid) as a gift “for the house.” We drink a lot of fizzy water in this house, and we thought it might be good to cut down on the cans and the packaging we consume, and the waste we create but also and more importantly I refuse to drink even a single drop more of a beverage that refuses to pronounce itself correctly.

Yes, these are the hills that I will die on.

As the last few hours of 2019 crowd in and remind me of all that’s left undone for the year year, I do not want to let this moment pass without thanking you for peeking in and reading here at Unquiet Things; for encouraging me and supporting me, for challenging me, for being my friend, or at least a sometimes acquaintance! Thank you and all the best, most wonder-filled of wonderful to you and yours–this year, next year, and always.

How To Wear A Farewell (To 8tracks)

HTW feature

I reckon I was not surprised to get an email yesterday from my favorite “mixtape” site, 8tracks, informing its users that within less than a week’s time, they’d be shutting down.

I’ve loved 8tracks ever since I first discovered it and it’s been the sonic palette upon which I painted a lot of my feels over the past decade, both those of profound melancholic and wild, ecstatic delirium. But nothing lasts forever, I suppose.

I used to make a habit of creating an ensemble for every mix I made, but then when Polyvore disappeared (ugh, so many shutting of doors in recent years!) I let that fall by the wayside. I haven’t much of an excuse as I found a site that’s every bit as good as Polyvore, but somehow… it’s just not the same.

In the spirit of those good old days though, here’s an farewell ensemble that I put together to pair with the last mix I created at 8tracks. Details can be found at urstyle.

P.S. I’ve just spent the last 8 hours importing all of my 8tracks mixes to Spotify, which I realize isn’t ideal, but it’s the best option I’ve got for now. You can find me here.

P.P.S. Curious about the art I used in my 8tracks mixes? I share a little bit about that over at Haute Macabre today!

HTW

Night Time Routines & Rituals For Sleep Seekers And Dream Gazers

 Sleeping Beauty by Edmund Dulac

Sleeping Beauty by Edmund Dulac

If I were to wait for someone to ask, “oh, Sarah, won’t you divulge your bedtime routine and rituals to us?” Well, I imagine I would be waiting a very long time indeed because unfortunately, no one ever asks me those kinds of questions. But I do enjoy talking about all things bed and sleep and dream-related, so I won’t let a little thing like lack of inquiry or interest stand in my way!

how-much-sleep-does-your-star-sign-need-scorpio-30-15053833

It’s funny how a lot of those zodiac memes like the above have us Taurus folks sleeping and napping all the time, our persons permanently parked in beds beautified by our need for comfort and luxury. That’s not me at all! Well, yes, yes, I like the beautiful bed part of that assumption and ok, sure, I have been known to hit the snooze alarm a few times– but I am not one to lounge and linger in bed once I am already awake. Once I am up, I am up! Otherwise, if I lay in bed not sleeping, I just start to feel antsy and peevish.  And RE: naps–I nap maybe once a year, at most. I understand that naps can be restorative, a good form of self-care, and for some individuals a necessity, and I truly do not begrudge anyone their naptime…it’s just…I’d rather be doing something. Anything. Even just puttering around! But preferably knitting or reading. Or cooking or watching a creepy film! To me, those things are almost as relaxing and recuperative as a nap, but I actually have something to show for it at the end of an hour– whether it’s a few chapters read or a few more inches completed on a handknit shawl.

I suppose that puts me in uncomfortable territory regarding our addiction to productivity culture and how we determine our worth and value based on our output and deliverables and what not. I don’t mean to do that. What’s right for you is right for you. For me, personally, napping feels like a waste of my time, and I’d rather waste my time while I’m conscious.

As I don’t nap, and I don’t linger in bed– I don’t spend much time in the bedroom other than my 6-8* hours of sleep at night. I don’t even read in bed! So the time I do spend in the bedroom is pretty special, and I like my environment and my rituals and routines surrounding that time to reflect its importance to me and to be optimized for how I like to best use the room: SLEEP.

* I was routinely getting 6-8 hours of sleep until about 2 months ago, at which point I cut it down to five. The reason for this is because I wanted extra time in the morning while it’s quiet to get in some more reading and start the day on my own terms, doing the things that I like to do. Now I am reading that 8 hours of sleep is pretty non-negotiable if you want to avoid many deleterious effects to your health. Yikes. I’ve got to re-think everything! And I guess that’s what happens when you try to get more reading done

Paolo Roversi for dazed-confused-july-2013-10

Paolo Roversi for Dazed & Confused

As the day comes to a close, but there are still a few hours left before I plan to turn in for the evening, I have a handful of pre-pre-bed items that I like to take care of. If I typically cozy up in bed around, say, 11PM, I will get to these things around 9:30 or so:

-Clean up the lingering dishes in the sink. When I stumble from bed in the morning and attempt to orient myself to the wakeful world, the last thing I want to do is be scrubbing sharp knives or stacking clanking piles of plates in the cupboard. For you, this may mean something different. Folding the laundry, tidying up, whatever. The things that need cleaning up and clearing away so that you don’t have to look at them first thing in the morning. It’s easy to say, “ugh…can’t that wait til tomorrow?” Sure it can. But then …you have to do it tomorrow. Take five minutes and do it now, instead.

-Fiber and bedtime vitamins! Yeah, I know, adequate fiber intake isn’t very glamorous, but I feel like once you reach a certain age (I’m not sure what that age is, but I am guessing I am there now) it’s just a fact of life. I mix the powdery stuff with water in a charming spring green juice glass embossed with enchanting scroll-y motifs, and pretend I am drinking a magic potion. Spellwork to keep my innards working!

-Put my phone on the charger and curl up to do something gentle and quiet for an hour, with  a cup of tea (or sometimes a glass of wine, but I am trying to break that habit.) For me, “gentle and quiet” might mean reading or working on a hands-on type of project. Sometimes this is knitting, but I feel like maybe that is not the most relatable thing to keep bringing up, so let’s say that you’re preparing your overnight oats or packing a lunch for the next day, instead. Some people might take this time to journal or write in their planners for the next day. I think the point is to start letting your brain wind down, and you probably don’t want to do this in front of a television or phone screen.

Mert & Marcus for Vogue Paris.

Mert & Marcus for Vogue Paris.

When I feel my eyes begin to grow heavy, or perhaps I’ve noticed that the hour is beginning to draw late, I have another handful of habits and practices I walk myself through before tumbling into bed:

-A skincare routine, which–I know, I know, every blogger and Instagrammer and Youtuber has got a skincare routine, and you probably don’t need to hear about one more, so I won’t bother going into that (unless you are curious? Let me know in the comments and we can tackle that in another post!) My skin has issues with redness and inflammation, and all of the products that I use are geared toward addressing that. It’s nice to go to bed with a face free of makeup, or, if like me you don’t wear much makeup, free of the grime of the day, pampered and anointed with nice, calming balms and salves.

-Cozy pajamas. I used to be super self-conscious about the size tags in my pajamas. Why? Who is even going to see that, and why on earth are they looking down the back of my pajama pants? And furthermore, if there is any time that you want to be comfy, it is definitely when you are trying to fall asleep at night. Nowadays I buy my pajama bottoms up to two sizes larger than what I might normally wear because, friends, I want elasticity and stretch. I do not want a seam caught up in my booty and suffocating my nethers all night long and I’m here to tell you, that does not lead to restful sleep. Buy your jammies for comfort! I cannot stress how much I love my Sudara pajama bottoms. I could probably wear them as loungewear if I were someone who lounges in public or actually even left the house in any capacity. But I also love this spooky-cute pair that I got from Target in October for 365 Halloween sleepy feels.

-Light stretches. I still don’t do any actual yoga. I’d love to start. Maybe in 2020, who knows! There are quite a few “yoga for sleep” videos on Youtube, which I’ve never actually followed along with, but there are two stretches in particular that I like and actually do, while lying in bed: the supine spinal twist and what I believe is called the “reclining goddess pose.” Again–I don’t know yoga, I don’t do yoga, but I think I am doing these correctly and most importantly, they just feel like a nice, much-needed unknotting before sleep.

Perla Maarek for l'Officiel magazine

Perla Maarek for l’Officiel magazine

Some sensory ambiance that helps send me off to dreamland, once I have settled in:

-Sounds. I don’t like to sleep in complete silence, and I love the sound of rain, so that’s my preferred lullaby. Sadly, it does not rain every night– nope, not even in swampy, humid FL. So we tune in to a rain channel on Youtube, darken the screen, and set a timer on the tv, and allow the pitter-patter of rain on celluloid windows lull us to sleep at night. Alternately, when I am sleeping alone, I play Mortiis’ Født til å Herskewhich is one long eerie song, split into two tracks, of the gloomiest most monotonously marvelous dungeon music. Or if I’m not quite sleepy enough and I need a little extra help along the way, I will plug in some headphones and put on the WhispersRed ASMR channel on Spotify.

-Scent. I like a bit of fragrance before turning in for the evening, but your mileage may vary on this point. I think it’s either a lovely way to calm your senses with a soothing aroma or, the chance to try something fun and new and let it completely influence your subconscious for a few hours. I have written about some of my favorite night-time scents on my personal blog, in the past, and these scents are still some of my favorites! To this, I will add that LUSH’s Sleepy lotion is the loveliest sweet lavender scent to slather yourself in before burrowing under the covers.

-(Inner) sight. If you find your thoughts racing and anxious before bed, you might employ a bit of visualization. These are two unrelated (I think) techniques that I learned from my therapist, but I typically bundle them both together at bedtime. First, I think about all the things that are plaguing me, and I open the hinge of my skull and pluck the items out, one by one (I imagine them as little people, pinched between my thumb and forefinger, wriggling with outrage!) I then plop them one by one into a jar, plink! –I envision an empty Claussen pickle jar, for some reason– screw the lid on tight and stick in the refrigerator overnight. Plague me no more, petulant pickle people!

After I’ve ousted the rabble from my brain, I take a moment to imagine somewhere that I find deeply peaceful and soothing. I breathe deeply and spend time in this space. This is a technique that my therapist encouraged me to practice with regard to finding a “safe space,” but I also think of it as a space for giving my mind a bit of tranquil beauty before slipping away to dreamland. I have for some reason chosen to conjure forth imagery of places I’ve never actually traveled, but after months of nightly visits, I don’t feel like that’s exactly true anymore. They feel very real to me now.

S. Elizabeth bed

S. Elizabeth bed 2

S. Elizabeth bed 3

-Touch/feel. This is the year that I finally committed to giving our bed situation an entire overhaul. We had been sleeping on a mattress that was very, very old, and it was time to put the old gal to rest, so to speak. We replaced it with an Airweave mattress; which, if you’re interested, is a Japanese mattress brand–and it must be noted that this thing is very, very firm. I’m still not decided on if I love it or not but I am the kind of person who will stubbornly and relentlessly stick to a decision that I made no matter what, so I guess this mattress is here to stay. I will say that it is great for sleeping on, but not so much for lounging on, so it will definitely propel you out of bed in the morning. And because it is so firm, and in case you are wondering, it is also great for other things that people might do in the bedroom…but I’m not here to talk about that. (Not today, anyhow!)

We treated ourselves to super luxurious bed linens–actual linens— from House of Baltic Linen, and I will be completely honest with you here: they are not inexpensive and you are probably going to wait a very long time for them to arrive, but they are worth every penny. Even my partner, who would normally never notice such a thing, remarked dreamily after climbing into bed “…these are so nice…” They are absolutely SO NICE.

I previously had a glorious William Morris duvet cover, but I have discovered that I utterly loathe the hassle of dealing with duvets, and I also felt that it was almost a little too colorful for the space I was trying to create, so I found a nice, lightweight linen quilt from Brook Linen. I have the black variant–which, while I didn’t want too much color, I also didn’t want to summon my inner angsty goth teen with pitch-black bedding, either–but it’s been washed a few times and has faded to a nice neutral charcoal, and it is precisely what I envisioned that it should look like. Not a Crayola explosion but not too crypt-y, either. Maybe even a little boring. But that’s ok, I’m trying to fall asleep in here, after all.

For pillows, we have a bunch of old raggedy things that lay there during the day just for looks, but as far as functional nighttime cushions for sleep, I also have a bunchy, insanely heavy buckwheat pillow for me to hug to my chest while I am sleeping, and memory foam Ghost pillows for our heads. I first slept on a Ghost Pillow at Maika’s house and it was a revelation. I immediately fell so profoundly in love that I had ordered one as soon as I woke up the next morning. Highly recommend!

another nightstand

Upon my nightstand is a small stack of books including a dream dictionary, and:
Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey by Alice Robb
A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming: Mastering the Art of Oneironautics 
Children’s Dreams: Notes from the Seminar Given in 1936-1940, Carl Jung

as well as Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker, which is not pictured above, because I am currently reading it, and like I mentioned, I don’t read in bed, so it’s not even in the bedroom at the moment. Thus far it is an alarmingly eye-opening read, although the author himself has suggested that if you find your eyes slipping shut and you nod off while reading it, he is fine with that, too! All of these pages are kept company by a small but splendid altar cloth from Poison Apple Printshop, a gently-scented moon phase candle from DeuxMoons, and a gorgeous third-eye sleeping mask from Sleephammer.

Also not pictured is my dream journal, which doesn’t actually live on my nightstand. I record my dreams at the kitchen table, oddly enough. And I will share that I am not sure what initially prompted me to do this, but I take my glasses off while I am writing out my dreams, and because my vision is so poor, I have to scrunch my face down to about a half an inch from the page while I am scribbling. I look like a grade school kid taking a test and trying to make sure that no one is cheating off me, I’m sure it looks pretty ridiculous! Somehow, though, when I remove my glasses and everything becomes unfocused and insubstantial, it opens the pathways for better recall of that unconscious territory I had just been visiting. It’s a peculiar little trick that works for me!

Additionally, Naomi Brodner has a wonderful Dreaming 101 class offered via ritualcravt, where she shares some more helpful thoughts in this vein and some incredible insights and information in general. At Luna Luna magazine, Lisa-Marie Basile has some lovely ideas for keeping a dream diary, as well as other beautifully-written rituals and practices involving your dreams. Looking to the tarot to interpret some of the baffling and bizarre questions raised by your dreams? Well, perhaps you can ask Acanalogue!

dreamshelf

dreamshelf 2

A moment of whimsy a few months ago inspired my desire to build a dream-shelf/altar (which I did not literally build, it came from West Elm) and which I have stocked with scents and oils that I use before bed, I have adorned with dreamy crystals and quartz with properties to assist in untroubled sleep and lucid dreams, and I have bedecked with blooms, that, while perhaps not associated with sleep, are shades of color that I find soft and soothing. A surreal little tintype by Wenzdai rounds out the menageries, to remind me of the important symbolism to be found in the strange stories my brain cooks up while I am slumbering.

One last thing that may be of use–do you perhaps talk in your sleep? Do you wake your partner up with your babble, but in the morning, no one quite remembers exactly what was said? Well, like they say, there’s an app for that! Do they even say this anymore? I am so out of touch. Anyway, I don’t talk in my sleep but my little sister carries on entire conversations that sound so clear you would swear there is someone else in the room responding to her. She began using a sleep recorder app so that she can eavesdrop on her nocturnal ramblings, and she routinely shares them with me for help with interpretation, or mostly, I suspect, for a laugh. She’s given me permission to share this one, (the sleep-talk is right in the first 8 seconds, afterward it’s just snores and mumbles.) She’s pretty clear and lucid sounding, so I thought this was a great example of what you might capture on a recording but of course, your mileage may vary–you might be a mumbler or a whisperer. Or a shouter! I’m excited for you to find out.

It’s a good time of year to cozy up and hibernate for a while, and while you certainly don’t need any of the things I’ve listed above for a good night’s sleep or to gain entrance to the Land of Nod, and I am in no way an authority on these matters, listed above are all of the rituals and practices that routinely help me get to the world of dreams and wake up rested afterward. Let me know if any of this helps you–or if you have any tips or tricks of your own up your cozy pajama sleeves!

Bonus! If you are looking for a few nocturnal luxuries for yourself or a friend– earlier this week I shared a wishlist of sumptuous sleepy-time favorites…!

A similar version of this article was also published at Haute Macabre on 12/17/19.

A Sleepy, Relaxed Hexmas List

sleepy hexmas

I can’t even remember the last time I put together a list of fripperies! I say, it’s been much, much too long.

The theme for this year’s Hexmas holiday wishlist is “Hexmas Sleepies”, I guess! These are a few things I have either been lusting over, or, I have purchased and highly recommend, and they all seem to fall into that category of “soothing balms for frizzled folks” and for wrapping up the day on a lovely, luxurious note, before bed.

1.  Silk Ines pyjamas from Morpho and Luna. This moody floral pajama set is from Morpho and Luna’s 2017 collection and the design is apparently a modern interpretation of the mythology of Persephone and Demeter. For two whole years now I keep peeping at them but I haven’t been able to pull the trigger yet.

2. Unwind Your Mind. This is the book that ASMRtist Emma WhispersRed of YouTube just released and if you haven’t fallen asleep to the sounds of her brushing someone’s hair or perhaps her guided meditation with Tibetan singing bowls, you’re really missing out. My copy is sitting atop a stack of books as tall as I am, but I’ll get to it soon, I promise!

3. Antoinette Incense burner from Catbird NYC I just think this looks really neat. And none of my incense burners look quite like this!

4. Hinoki Onsen Shizumi Luxury Bath Salts with Japanese cypress oil.  These gorgeous bath salts are on my list as a “congratulations, you did it!” gift to myself, but I guess I haven’t done whatever must warrant doing because I still don’t have them. I will report back.

5. LUSH Sleepy Lotion At first sniff, you almost think this wonderfully purple lotion is going to be too sugary, but somehow it’s not. Sleepy is a lovely lavender whose sharp herbal edges have been tamed by rich and subtly sweet tonka, and trust me, you need the matching shower gel to go with this as well.

6. Parachute Turkish Cotton Waffle Robe. This robe is an INVESTMENT. It is the most incredible thing you will ever put on your body and I cannot sing its praises enough. If you have never ever before paid attention to anything I was trying to convince you of, hear me now: this robe is as luxurious as it is practical and you need it in your life.

7. Kindred Black Immortelle I have a few other offerings from Kindred Black and I am so impressed with the quality of the oils and the beauty of their packaging, and I feel like their immortelle oil belongs on my shelf (along with the jojoba, argan, and zdravetz, which I own –and love!–already.)

What’s on your Hexmas list this year?

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