It’s that time of year again!

A bit dog days of summer, a bit where has the summer gone, a bit do I still need to get dressed on days no one sees me — and yes, you do, but eyebrows are optional.

It’s time for Bliss’ second annual Julie Awards, so named for the month of July, celebrating all that is awesome and getting Bag Lady through the day. Let’s reflect, let’s cheer, let’s count the days until 2022 when surely the Worldwide Calamity Meter will drop from an 88 to a manageable 10.

Last year, we celebrated vacuum-sealed meat, top-entry litter boxes and pun-tastic golf shows.

So yeah, there’s only up!

The Julie Award for Smelling Great: Irish Spring moisture blast body wash, 32 oz., Walmart, $6.94

To heck with preconceived notions about womanly body washes and manly body washes, or heaven forfend, neutral body washes. (*cough* Dial spring water *cough*) Irish Spring has a sharp, spicy smell for the right kick in your yes-you-still-must-shower step. Eyebrows still optional.

The Julie Award for Finding Joy in Unexpected Places: Several months ago, Mr. Bag Lady and I hauled a pair of moderately dusty, cool-in-1994 end tables from the basement to the end of our driveway, taped a “FREE” sign to one and waited. Within the hour, *poof* they were gone and it was the BEST FEELING EVER.

Our stuff had a new home, off to live in a mystery person’s living room/den/dungeon to continue its end table mission. Someone driving along spotted them and said to themselves, heck yeah, free! And we said to ourselves, heck yeah, less clutter with no waste and very minimal effort! And the universe hummed happy for a second.

We’ve since FREE’d a few tables and totes, peeking out the window every 20 minutes, marveling when they disappear. Still such a great feeling.

The Julie Award for Best Distraction in 2021: Streaming TV. I mean, clearly.

In the past year, we’ve signed up for Disney+, Discovery+, Apple TV, Peacock, HBO Max and Hulu, which, yes, now that I type that out is an absurd amount of television, but when you’ve been largely home and avoiding crowds, it’s been the best distraction. They range from $14.99/month for HBO Max to $4.99 for Peacock with ads. Watch almost any movie, TV show or documentary you want, when you want. Might I suggest “Schitt’s Creek” or the “Lady and the Dale”?

The best $5/month Bag Lady has spent all year was upgrading to the no-ads tier on Hulu so I can watch old seasons of “Love Island U.K.” that much more quickly.

And no, myself two years ago would not recognize myself today, but that’s what a pandemic does it transforms you into someone who watches shows about chain-smoking, wedge-wearing, bed-hopping Brits. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.

The Julie Award for the Best Home Office Bargain: ClipClicks ballpoint pens, 8-pack, Dollar General, $1

Before these, I could never find a flipping pen. But keep one or two packs in a drawer and it’s immediate Bliss at 13 cents each for a perfectly fine pen that even sports a black rubber grip. I have to offset those streaming bills somehow …

The Julie Award for Best Things to Look Forward to: Season 2 of Apple TV’s “Ted Lasso” debuts on Friday. (The first season, which I rewatched last week, was SO. GOOD.) “The Suicide Squad” with a talking — or, at the least, grunting — shark comes out in two weeks in theaters and on HBO Max. After that there’s apple picking. Halloween. Target opening sometime in Auburn.

Find things to look forward to and it feels like that Worldwide Calamity Meter drops a tick.

The Julie Award for the Best Person to be Locked Down With: Mr. Bag Lady

No question. Even though I razz him, and even though he continues to freeze me out of our home with his wanton air conditioner use, there’s no one else I would have rather been holed up with. He’s really a delight.

Now, to go FREE some more stuff. Eyebrows optional.

Bag Lady’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who would bestow a Julie Award on a box of Fruit Loops, their favorite vice, if they could) and the customer service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at [email protected]

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