A Week in the Life: February 21, 2021

I said last week that things were chaotic but this week did its best to top that. One of my coworkers was abruptly removed from the proposal we’re working on, which left her work redistributed to the few that remained and left me learning how to do new things on top of doing quite a lot of my normal stuff. Another coworker died of coronavirus this week, which is really sad. He’d been in the hospital for the last month. I feel for his family, but I did not know him that well. My boss and colleagues are torn up about it all and it seems like people expect me to be the same. It feels weird. I do feel sad for him, but I’m still grieving for Viola, I don’t have the emotional space to cry about someone I barely talked to. On top of all this human stuff, I was working late this week to get the proposal ready. On Friday morning, my boss told us to stop work on it because we’re not going to bid after all. This has been a lot of ruckus for nothing.

A squirrel sitting on top of the fence, a flower in its paws. The squirrel is facing the camera
forest friends and dirty windows

Amid all this work-related chaos, on Thursday a squirrel visited me. The fence around our house is a squirrel highway and I often see them cruising around. Sometimes they even stop to (it seems) look at me. On this day, a squirrel with a flower in its hands stopped right in front of me and sat there for at least a minute, as if showing me this flower. It was surreal and made me wonder if I’m becoming one with nature. After this display of what could, perhaps, be called affection, the squirrel started enthusiastically eating the flower. This is probably be a metaphor for something, but fuck if I know what.

an 8" by 10" watercolor art with a drawing of a cat. The cat has a speech bubble that says "Somewhere, in a parallel universe, it is always this moement and I am always in your arms." The print is framed and placed above a display of cards and a wodden box of Viola the cat's ashes
sad arts

In non-work topics, my sister bought me this beautiful artwork from an artist called Club Waaa. I won’t lie, I opened it up and immediately started crying. I love the sentiment but I still feel so raw about losing Viola. I have been trying to take comfort in the fact that time is an illusion and she still exists in the past. Sometimes I feel guilty for not doing enough for her in her short life but, since I started working from home about four years ago, she was in my face demanding constant attention. Perhaps we were able to concentrate a few more years of love and affection into that period. Maybe she knew she wasn’t well in the last year and that’s why she got so possessive of me. Thursday night I couldn’t fall asleep because I couldn’t stop thinking about her and I was crying. I sat on the couch in the dark and held her box of ashes and cried for an hour. It feels almost too personal to talk about this out here on the internet where everyone can read it, but it feels important to share.

Consuming

Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.

Books and Other Words

Other than work, this week I spent a lot of time reading. I’ve been making an effort to read the books I already have, which most recently meant reading Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys. I got this book in my Powell’s Indiespensable subscription last year. This was a hard read, thematically speaking. It told the story of two black teenagers sent to a “reform school” (aka prison for children) in the 1960s. As with most works that illuminate the shitty conditions this country has imposed on black people, I’m struck by how terrible it was (and still is in many ways) and how it really wasn’t that long ago.

Winter’s Orbit was my monthly purchase from an independent bookstore. This month I bought from a small shop called Books and Crannies (which wins the award for cutest bookstore name). This book was a lot of fun. I knew I was going to love it once I found out it was about gay princes in space—I have a tag in my LibraryThing for lesbians in space, so this is an adjacent genre. Winter’s Orbit is a slow-burn romance with an arranged marriage in which one half of the couple is recovering from an abusive relationship. It has good character development and a happy ending.

Finally, I finished last month’s independent bookstore purchase Work Won’t Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone by Sarah Jaffe. This is a great book. Jaffe analyzes 10 professions, split into two groups—caring professions like teaching and “fun” jobs like making video games. For each job, she introduces us to a person in that job then discusses the history and how the myths of doing your job out of love or loving what you do help employers exploit workers. Consider teachers: when they strike, school boards might guilt them (“think of the students!”) into going back to work. The same logic applies in jobs where you do what you love. For example, professional athletes are led to believe they don’t deserve a fair wage since they enjoy what they do. This book gave me a lot to think about and it’s another excellent piece in understanding modern life.

TV and Music

When I wasn’t reading this week, I was playing Nintendo. Kirk bought us a new game, Super Mario 3-D world, a game that asks “what if Mario was a cat for some reason?” and we’ve been playing that a lot. And yes, you literally do play as a cat for a lot of the game. I bought us Mario Kart as a Valentine’s gift and we’ve had fun playing that together too. It seemed a little indulgent to buy a Nintendo Switch last year when the pandemic started, but considering how long this has dragged on, I’m glad I did it.

Rampant Consumerism

Because cooking and eating are among my main hobbies these days, my purchases are food related. I’ve been getting a lot of facebook ads for chocolate companies, whether because they know too much or because it was Valentine’s day, I don’t know. In any case, one of the ads was for Compartes chocolate and I gave them a try. The bars come in wild flavors like peanut butter and jelly and they have really nice packaging. I like the ones I’ve tried so far! I saw that they also have a chocolate subscription and I have to admit I am tempted to sign up.

I discovered Burlap & Barrel spices recently when looking for unusual ingredients I could send to my cookbook club friends (among other things, the received some dried Icelandic kelp to work with). I found they have a spice subscription box and signed up because I love subscriptions. I got my first quarterly box this week. It came with multiple spices, plus a bar of soap (more Icelandic kelp! lol) and magnets. One thing I appreciate is that it included a sheet with some recipes so there’s somewhere to start if you don’t know how to use the spices. I’m looking forward to trying some new recipes.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. Without Viola to boss her around, Huey has been all up in my business. She has always loved to lounge on top of me, but I hadn’t realized she hadn’t been doing in much in the last year. Now she’s back at it, including, for some reason, sitting on me in the middle of the night and pushing my cheeks with her little peets. Why, Huey? Why wake me up in this way? Huey has finally decided it’s safe for her to hang in my office, which was one of Viola’s main haunts. She spent a lot of time in there with me the last few days; and a lot of time without me because Huey does what she fucking wants.

A Week in the Life: February 14, 2021

Happy Valentine’s Day! We’re not in the habit of making a big deal of Valentine’s day in this house, but I do like it as a reminder to appreciate the people I care about and who care about me. This morning, I made biscuits and gravy for breakfast and then Kirk and I played Mario Kart 8, which was my Valentine’s gift to us. Kirk is going to make us dinner tonight. In non-pandemic years, we made it a custom to go out for dinner the day after Valentine’s day. It’s a good way to avoid crowds and high prices at restaurants. Going out on the 15th instead of the 14th doesn’t mean you love each other any less.

This week has been a little chaotic for me. We have a big proposal at work that we’re trying to finish and the writers keep blowing off their deadlines. I was scheduled to edit it this weekend since that was the only time remaining. Fortunately, the potential client extended the due date. Unfortunately, they published that announcement at midnight Saturday morning, so I still worked late on Friday and worked early on Saturday before finding out about it. I’m glad I got to keep three-quarters of my weekend, but all the stress wore me out. Having personal time is so important to me and enjoyable free time is the main benefit of having a job (aside from the paycheck!). So, when work cuts into my time, it really stresses me out. After being so keyed up over the threat of working all weekend, I was exhausted when it didn’t happen. Emotions are annoying that way.

Consuming

Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.

Books and Other Words

book cover of Mexican Gothic, shown on kobo ereader. Puffin stuffed animal peeking out behind the book
Mexican Gothic

This week I read Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic. This is the second book of hers I’ve read and I had pretty high expectations because I loved Gods of Jade and Shadow. Mexican Gothic is a spooky novel set in 1950s Mexico. The protagonist, Noemí, gets a semi-incoherent letter from her cousin, who married a white man and moved to his fancy house in the middle of nowhere, and the family is concerned. Noemí is sent to investigate and horror ensues. I usually don’t like scary books (real life is enough, thanks), but I liked this one a lot even though I was scared. There is an interesting supernatural element, but the real horror comes from the forces of colonialism and patriarchy. I recommend this book if you’re looking for some chills from a different perspective.

Meanwhile on the internet:

TV and Music

I mentioned months ago that I had started watching the Golden Girls. I’m still slowly making my way through it—I’m now in season three. This show just gets better as it goes on. Since one of my other new pandemic activities has been ballet, when I hear the theme song, I keep thinking I should make a little ballet routine to perform to it to celebrate my pandemic pastimes. Perhaps I will do this to celebrate the end of the pandemic.

Rampant Consumerism

My old slippers were beat to shit and my feet have been hurting (I have a sit/stand desk for work and I like to stand when I can) so I decided to spring for some nice slippers that would hopefully improve that situation. I bought these lovely tiger print slippers from a brand called Vionic. They are pretty comfortable. They do feel more like a shoe than a fluffy slipper, but that’s what I wanted. So far, I like them.

After hearing me complain about how much I hate mint toothpaste (but continue to use it for lack of alternatives), Kirk did some research for me and found this Hello brand toothpaste. I bought strawberry and grape flavors, which are ostensibly for children, but they include fluoride so they are appropriate for adults. Brushing my teeth is now way more pleasant. Between this and the Cocofloss, I’m actually doing a really good job of taking care of my teeth!

Making Things and Doing stuff

We’ve let our garden get a bit … feral this season. We planted things and have pretty much let the rain take care of the watering and left it at that. The lettuce shot up to start producing seeds before we got around to picking it. The broccoli starting flowering much sooner than expected (Kirk suspects the freezing temperatures we had confused the broccoli). The herbs are going crazy. If I’m smart, I will pick them and dry them out before they, too, begin flowering. Although, I have been using the fresh herbs quite often, I can’t keep up with this massive quantity.

Spanish

This week I finally started feeling the pull of being more serious about Spanish again. Part of the end-goal of learning Spanish—or any language—for me is being able to experience things in the language just like I would with English. This week I started reading the Spanish edition of Vagabonds by Hao Jingfang and I’m feeling a little success on this front. This is one of the first books I’ve read where I feel like I’m understanding it all and I just want to read it to read, not to “study Spanish.” It’s actually translated from Chinese, so why not read the Spanish translation and not the English? It’s a relatively long book and I expected it would take me a while to read, but I’m moving through it relatively quickly, which is satisfying.

Kitchen Witchery

It turns out that I took no food photos this week, but I did make food (one must eat). I tried out this pasta e fagioli recipe from Rancho Gordo since I saw the recipe and had all the ingredients on hand. It was good but I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. I also made brown butter brownies so I could have something to stress eat while editing this weekend (now I don’t have to work so I’m just normal eating). I wanted to do my Peruvian kitchen trip this weekend, but I am going to have to save it for next week instead!

Cat Therapy

Finally, here is a cat photo for your nerves. Sometimes when I pet Huey wrong, she corrects me by putting her paw on top of my hand and making me stop.

Huey the cat looking at the camera, with her front paw on top of my hand
“please stop”

A Week in the Life: February 7, 2021

I’m going to change things up and start today by relaying some good news: we’re refinancing our mortgage! I feel like we’ve leveled up as functional adults by doing this and that I deserve a merit badge. We’re about 3.5 years into our current, 30-year mortgage, which has a 4.125% interest rate. Our new mortgage will be 20 years and a 2.85% interest rate. Our monthly payment is staying almost exactly the same but now we’re skipping almost seven years of payments. It seems like black magic but apparently this is how finances work? The “value” of our home has increased a lot since we bought it (somehow?) so we’re able to get rid of the PMI from our payments too. This is going to save us something like $160,000, which is nuts. It’s only by chance that the rates and home values have aligned by this and a bit of luck that a friend mentioned he was refinancing, so I started looking into it. It doesn’t seem like a matter of $160,000 should hinge on coincidence, but that’s 21st century America for you.

I know last week’s post was quite dramatic on the subject of Viola. I’m feeling better than I was, but I was, indeed, feeling big emotions last weekend. I’ve set her box of ashes in the living room with a feather toy and a little mouse. I wish I could do more. I miss her every day, but I haven’t cried this week. This is probably the last I’ll say about her for a while. We’ll focus on Huey living her best life instead.

Consuming

Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.

Books and Other Words

I read two novels this week: The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas and The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray. I liked both books quite a lot. The Psychology of Time Travel was great because it asks how time travel would fuck you up on existential and emotional levels and it looks at the kind of measures a corporation would take to stay in the time travel business. There’s also time traveling lesbian romance, which is the kind of content I’m here for you. The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls is a non-fantastical story about a family, focusing on three sisters, trying to deal with their childhood trauma. Be warned that you shouldn’t read this if you don’t want to read about eating disorders or abuse. It’s not the main focus of the novel, but it is a theme.

Meanwhile on the internet:

TV and Music

I’ve now watched the first season of Orphan Black, a show about a woman who discovers she has a whole bunch of clones living different lives out in the world. I started watching this with Kirk, but after a few episodes he kept stalling on watching it. I finally learned that he didn’t want to continue with it and I was free to watch on my own. I’m liking it a lot so I finished up the first season pretty quick. I just got the first disc of season two in the mail so I’m looking forward to watching that this week.

Rampant Consumerism

a bundt pan and a madeleine pan, new and sitting on my counter
new pans in funny shapes

In anticipation of baking a babka this week, I bought a bundt pan from The Kitchen Table, a local shop that sells kitchen wares. I decided to buy a madeleine pan while I was at it because why not. I have resisted buying single-use pans but I realized I have the space to keep them and, frankly, what else am I doing these days? I was very pleased that Kitchen Table dropped my order off on my doorstep! I thought I would have to wait for it to come through the mail.

Making Things and Doing stuff

As an editor, I hate seeing a header directly follow another header, which is why I feel obligated to put something here. My only subheading here today is “kitchen witchery” because I don’t have much else to say about things and stuff. I’m plugging away at knitting and dance and Spanish, but I don’t have anything new to tell you. Let’s get on with what you really want: food photos.

Kitchen Witchery

Last weekend, we “went” to Morocco. I made a few more recipes from Feast of the Islamic World and listened to some Moroccan music. Recipes included North African layered flatbreads, Moroccan kefta (aka meatballs), “the chicken that flew” (a dish of chickpeas and sweet potatoes—the chicken flew away!) and rice pudding. I liked the flatbread and the chicken that flew quite a lot; I would make them again. I didn’t love the meatballs, I don’t know if they were too dry or if I don’t really like lamb. Kirk said they were good though and he told me he doesn’t like lamb, so who knows. The rice pudding was good too. I scaled down the amount of orange blossom water the recipe called for and it ended up just right.

I’ve been alternating weekend baking experiments with kitchen travels. Yesterday I made a chocolate babka! I’d never eaten a babka before, but I had heard about it and thought it sounded delightful. I made the recipe from The Baking Bible, which called for baking in a bundt pan. It was really good. I already want to make more.

As to normal weeknight cooking, I tried a recipe from Jubilee: Recipes from two Centuries of African American cooking. I’m always looking for new bean dishes because they are usually filling, cheap, and tasty. I liked this one a lot. It’s a one-pot dish in which you cook the beans and rice in chicken broth and coconunt milk. I also tried another round of bagels. This batch came out a little uglier than the last but they were just as good. I tried making onion bagels, but didn’t do a good job of making the onions stick, so they were basically plain. I think I’ll do a sesame or poppy seed bagel next time because seeds are easier to work with.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. Huey came to hang out while I was in the middle of dance class this week. This was fine until she plopped down in the middle of my dance floor (such as it is) and started taking a bath. Thanks, Huey.

A Week in the Life: January 30, 2021

A framed photo collage featuring 7 photos of Viola the cat
Viola tribute collage

Last week I said I was feeling okay about Viola’s death and, after this week, I’ve realized that was a premature assessment. I ordered a photo collage of her and hung that on the wall this week. When the picture arrived, I had to spend some time howling and crying again. Then I had to adjust to seeing her on the wall when I walk by (which is good and bad, but I’m hoping the bad feelings will ease up over time). Today, Kirk and I drove to the vet to retrieve her ashes. This was also a highly emotional activity.

I guess this blog is a grief diary now.

a small wood box containing the ashes of the late Viola the cat
Viola’s final resting place

It feels a little weird to write about some of this stuff. When I got home, I curled up on the bed with her box of ashes and cried for a long time. I currently have it next to me as I write. Viola used to position herself between my body and the keyboard when I was typing and I’ve got it in the same spot right now. I’m not planning to carry it around forever, but it is comforting me, in an odd way, to have it nearby for now. I know this sounds a little weird but I am sharing it because I think it’s important to talk about how we grieve.

Consuming

Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.

Books and Other Words

This week’s books are Big Dirty Money by Jennifer Taub and How the Multiverse Got Its Revenge by K. Eason. Big Dirty Money is a look into white-collar crime and how it is (rarely) punished in the U.S. It’s informative and it will probably piss you off. How the Multiverse Got Its Revenge is the sequel to How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse. It’s a space opera with cool aliens and character growth and it’s a lot of fun to read.

Meanwhile on the internet:

  • Emotions on Strike via Dissent Magazine. More on work and burnout and their emotional impact. I was nodding along with this article and realized when I reached the end that I’d just ordered a book from the author.
  • What happened with GameStop via Markets Weekly. There have been many articles describing what’s going on with the stock market and the proletariat this week, but I like this one. It characterizes the situation not as a popular uprising (which is fun to imagine and maybe also partly true) but a game of hedge funds striking at each other.
  • The Art of the Cover Letter via The Paris Review. This is about cover letters but it’s not cover letter advice. Here’s a preview, “I’ll say this: what I have done to language in the service of cover letters haunts me. At worst, cover letters strain one’s faith that words convey meaning at all, let alone that sentences can shimmer, steal breath, or gird spines. I spend each day climbing mountains of junky paragraphs, scavenging for hunks of usable scrap—like so much copper wire—my senses deadened by the incessant clang of multipart adjectives.”

TV and Music

Kirk and I have started watching Star Gate: SG-1, not the least because it has, like, a million episodes. So far it’s entertaining despite the cheesy nineties-ness of it all. That’s okay though because I’m not in a deep-thinking mood when it comes to TV right now.

Rampant Consumerism

hardcover book; Work Won't Love You Back
Work Won’t Love You Back

One of my goals for this year is to support independent bookstores by buying a book every month from a different shop. This month I pre-ordered a book I have really been looking forward to, Work Won’t Love You Back by Sarah Jaffe, from Vroman’s Bookstore. Vroman’s is in Pasedena and has been in business for over 100 years. I heard about them from a social media post going around last summer encouraging people to support the store due to their history—during World War II, Vroman’s donated books to Japanese people in California’s internment camps. If you have other independent bookstores to recommend, let me know about them for future months!

Making Things and Doing stuff

My things and stuff energy has been a little low lately, but here’s a little bit.

Moving It

I’ve been doing ballet class for home the last few weeks given the state of the pandemic. I read that we should be doubling up on masks or upgrading to better masks and I said, you know what, I’ll just stay home, thanks. I’m enjoying class from home a lot more now that I’ve made my own barre. Being in the studio is still more fun, but at least I can do everything I need to from my living room and not stress about coronavirus. I’m also starting to feel like I’m “getting” ballet a little more. I joined the class with kind of a “well, why not” vibe but I’m enjoying it and starting to understand why this kind of movement is interesting.

Kitchen Witchery

I was hoping that I’d be able to share my next kitchen “vacation” today, but I’ll be making a Moroccan feast tomorrow and I wanted to get the blog up today. You’ll have something to look forward to next week (or tomorrow if you follow me on instagram). This week I did try a really good black bean soup recipe from the Cool Beans cookbook, which I bought myself for Christmas. The soup is topped with masa dumplings, pumpkin seeds, and feta, although I will probably replace the feta with a queso fresco next time I make this. It was really tasty and pretty easy to make! I also tried out a recipe for popcorn balls this week. Why? I don’t know, but I bookmarked it months ago and the spirit moved me to try it (Side note: I keep singing “popcorn balls” to the tune of Uptown Girl. Brains are weird). Because you can never have enough cookies, I also made a batch of chocolate chip and walnut cookies. These are the Levain-style chocolate chip, but I baked them in normal cookie size.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. As a special treat, I’m sharing a photo of Huey as a kitten to accompany this goofy picture of her taking a bath.

A Week in the Life: January 23, 2021

five everything bagels cooling on a wire rack. The counter below is covered in a tea towel that says "bitch I am the secret ingredient"

The last week was emotionally turbulent, but I am starting to feel better. I spent the first few days after Viola’s untimely departure crying and howling that I couldn’t believe she was gone. I still feel haunted by her absence but my body and mind can only physically sustain so much sorrow. I’m not crying (much) anymore and I’m starting to feel normal again. I am, however, exhausted. Strong emotions are tiring. On top of everything, I had to get out of bed and go through the motions at work all week. What the heck.

I appreciate all my friends for being so kind and supportive. Many people have offered condolences and help, some people sent cards, and I even got a plant. I think our culture (or at least the part of our culture I inhabit) has come a long way in recognizing how important pets are and how real our emotions about them are. People have said to me that it’s hard to lose a member of the family. Pets aren’t human but they are important parts of our lives. Unlike people, they can’t really disappoint you or be an asshole, so it seems unfair when they die.

This is my first real grief—I haven’t lost any close family members or friends as an adult, which is fortunate (especially in these times). So, I have been thinking a lot about what we say when someone dies. Most of my life I have heard “may they rest in peace,” in the Christian tradition. “Rest in peace” is really about the dead more than the living. They’re dead. It would be hard to disturb them, I think. I’ve come to appreciate the Jewish version, “may their memory be a blessing.” It seems to better acknowledge that grief is about the living. Someone dear is gone but we hope that, one day, their memory will bring you joy and not pain. A few days ago, I could only imagine pain when thinking about Viola. Now I’m starting to see where her memory can be a blessing. I have a story highlight on my instagram of her pictures and videos. I’ve been paging through it every night when I get in bed as if it’s a set of prayer beads. Last night was the first time I relaxed while looking at it. In life, Viola always helped me feel calm. I’m relieved to know she lives on, in a way, in photos and video. (Of course, writing this has made me cry again, so there’s no winning).

Consuming

Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.

Books and Other Words

It was a little hard to read this week because Viola was always my reading companion. Many times I sat down to read and started crying instead, but I did manage to finish some books I had started including When Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo and Culture Warlords: My Journey into the Dark Web of White Supremacy by Talia Lavin.

I also finished up some reading on composting that I got from the library: Composting for a New Generation and Bob’s Basics: Composting. If you only have room for one composting book in your schedule, I recommend Composting for a New Generation. It is a good guide for beginners. It explains all the different ways you can compost and provides instructions for making your own composting containers. Composting is something I want to start doing this year and I feel like now I actually understand it enough to do it, which is exciting.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

  • The ignominious deceits of Congressman Cawthorn via The Nation. The new, 25-yaer-old, Trump-supporting representative from North Carolina has been lying about everything, including his education and business history. The article researches Cawthorn’s claims about training for the Paralympics and found that he’s not at all a serious person. The thing with some of these Trump-leaning conservatives that continues to baffle me is why lie? Why lie about this? Do you think your constituents are too stupid to care? Is the liar themselves too stupid to make a good lie? I can’t comprehend it.
  • The meaning of the mittens: Five possibilities via The Intercept. After sharing so many Bernie in his cozy mittens memes this week, of course I was interested in Naomi Klein’s analysis of the situation.
  • Do ‘elder Goths’ hold the secret to aging successfully? via The Washington Post. Most of our culture is youth-obsessed, but goths are all about the macabre past. From the article: “Bush argues that Goths’ success in aging has a lot to do with their ability to juggle opposing, seemingly paradoxical energies. Take Goths’ emotional intensity: While off-putting to some, Goths’ willingness to harness dark feelings such as despair, gloom and hopelessness, rather than repress them, can prove healthier in the long run, Bush says. Equally vital is Goths’ ability to find humor, irony and beauty in supposedly “ugly” sources, such as flowers that grow by a cemetery or the absurd frailties of the aging body. In a culture, for instance, that already treats older women as frightful, why not own that, and become the most fabulous grand dame of darkness the world has ever seen?”

TV and Music

We are living through a great time for RuPual’s Drag Race because we have season 13 airing right now and Drag Race UK season 2. I’m enjoying both, but the UK season has a certain je ne sais quoi and it’s hilarious. It’s really great to have something so fun to watch right now.

This week I started re-watching Star Trek: Deep Space 9 because I wanted something that wouldn’t be too wild and something I’ve seen before. It’s fitting the bill but I did kind of make a mistake because I forgot that in the first episode we have to deal with Sisko losing his wife in a spaceship accident. That set me crying again but I’m okay now. I also had to yell at the TV when they had an episode with a pandemic spreading around the station. Have they even been a pandemic before? Total amateurs.

Rampant Consumerism

a pile of zotter chocolate bars on my countertop
zotter chocolate

For some reason, facebook has started showing me lots of ads for chocolate makers and I keep clicking on them because I guess they’ve got my number now. I mentioned previously that I am going to order a book from an independent bookstore every month. I ordered my book for this month (it’s not here yet!). I thought it would be fun to get a fancy snack to accompany my reading. The chocolate got here before the book this month and we’ve been sampling it. It’s really good! This is Zotter chocolate and they make bars that are like a bonbon but in bar form. This year I’m all about trying to make fun or interesting events for myself at home while I ride out the rest of this pandemic. If that means buying fancy chocolate, so be it.

Making Things and Doing stuff

A weekly pill organizer containing daily vitamins and medication, plus an M&M in each slot
tip: add candy to your pill organizer

This week I was inspired to add peanut M&Ms to my weekly pill lineup. Why? Because they fit perfectly. Plus it makes taking my anxiety meds every night a lot more fun. Literally no one can stop you from adding candy to your pill organizer.

Knitting and Crafts

details of a shawl in progress with a pattern that sort of looks like stained glass
mystery “knit-a-long” update

Now that I’ve had a little break from my Christmas gift knitting marathon, I’m getting back into my groove and working on this shawl. I don’t know what the finished pattern will look like since it’s from a “mystery knit-a-long” that my mom bought for me last Christmas. However, I’m super into this part of the pattern because it looks like stained glass. Knitting is cool as hell.

Kitchen Witchery

I’ve kept things simple in the kitchen this week, but I did do a little bit of baking. I made a batch of my favorite pumpkin rolls to give myself something to do (and eat) because I still had some pumpkin in the pantry. In an effort to use the large amount of carrots I accidentally ordered, I made carrot bread (recipe from The Bread Bible). The recipe calls for raisins, but I don’t hate myself so I substituted pecans. I really like making quick breads like this in the mini-loaf pans. It bakes faster and it’s easier to deal with.

I also made bagels for the first time! I’m alternating my “kitchen vacations” with baking techniques and this week it was baking time. The bagels weren’t too hard to make, just a little bit of effort at the end with getting all the bagels boiled and topped with the “everything” blend before baking. I’ll definitely make these again because they were delicious. I used the recipe from The Bread Bible, which has yet to let me down. I tried both methods of shaping a bagel: one where you make a ball and push a hole through it and another where you make a snake then close it up into a circle. The snake-dough versions didn’t quite hold together as well as the hole-poke ones. You can probably tell which is which in the photos. A valuable lesson for future bagel efforts.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. Huey seems to be enjoying her new status as the only cat in the house. She’s been cuddling with me a lot more and sleeping on the bed every night. This is great but it makes me feel like I was neglecting her before. Kirk says I wasn’t, it’s just that Viola always made herself the center of attention. Regardless, Huey is getting plenty of high-quality attention now.

Two Weeks in the Life: January 18, 2021

a single croissant on a small black plate

When I was thinking about what I wanted to write this weekend, I had some ideas about novelty and how the pandemic has made novelty a difficult proposition. Of course, then Viola died and that has provided me with a horrible type of novelty that no one asked for. I’m writing this on Sunday night, past when I normally quit the computer to go to bed. When I was retiring for the night, I used to call Viola and she would race past me down the hall the hang out in the bedroom with me. She was always next to me when I was reading in bed. Normally I love getting in bed at the end of the day but now I’m only dreading it.

I thought about not writing a blog this week, but I didn’t write last week and I have some things I want to share/not forget about. It might be a little jumbled but this website is free.

Consuming

Here are some things I’ve recently read or bought.

Books and Other Words

Essa Hansen’s Nophek Gloss is another book in one of my favorite motifs: found family. It’s a space opera, there’s a crew of misfit privateers, and people trying to work through their trauma. I liked the story in general, but one thing I thought it was particularly effective at was its portrayal of PTSD. So this is a good book for sci-fi fans and for people who like to see complicated characters dealing with their shit.

Lauren Beukes’ Afterland was really good. It’s set in the present day United States, but a terrible virus has killed almost all men. The novel rotates points of view between Cole, her son (Miles) and her sister (Billie). Miles survives the plague only to be scooped up by the government’s research apparatus. Cole just wants to get her son out and travel home to South Africa. What follows is a wild road trip novel of family drama. There’s even a cult! What’s not to love?

Meanwhile, on the internet:

Rampant Consumerism

a bag of high-gluten flour and small jars of malt powder and "everything bagel topping" on my kitchen counter
preview of coming attractions

Something I’ve wanted to try baking for a while is bagels and I finally bought the ingredients I need. I looked into it last year, but this was during the rush on baking supplies when everyone was suddenly a baker. The thing I really needed was malt powder, but the high-gluten flour helps. The everything bagel topping is an added bonus. I’m hoping try this out next weekend.

Making Things and Doing stuff

Spanish

I am finally registered to take the DELE C1 exam! It’s November 13th in Seattle, which was the closest option for the testing date I wanted (I could have done Los Angeles in May but I am not that optimistic about the pandemic). I’ve been thinking about taking this test to validate my Spanish skills for years, but now I’m finally going to do it.

Kitchen Witchery

I’m trying to bring a little more excitement to my at-home pandemic experience so I’m making some new things in the kitchen. First, I’m tackling some new baking techniques. I made croissants a couple of weeks ago. It was fun and they came out amazing! It was my first time laminating dough, but it didn’t seem too complicated. It just required patience.

Second I am taking “trips” in the kitchen. On Friday, I went to Egypt with two recipes from Feast of the Islamic World: koshari and a semolina cake. I spent the day cooking and grooving to Egyptian music. It’s not the same as actually going somewhere, sure, but it was something fun and it broke up my routine. I shared the whole process on my instagram and took suggestions for where we should “go” next time. Popular suggestions include Cuba and Morocco, so that may be coming soon.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.

Viola Halsell, 2008 – January 16, 2021

Viola, stretching her front legs out

Viola died today. I did not expect that today would be the day she died. She had been lethargic all week. She spent a couple days curled in a ball on the bed. She rallied to eat some wet food earlier this week and I thought she was feeling better. Then she stopped eating and refused to acknowledge food. We put food in front of her and she would walk away from it. I thought she had a belly full of hairballs. This morning I put some hairball medicine on her paws and, rather than lick it off, she seemed to sigh and accept her sticky fate. That’s when I started calling around for a vet.

The vet today told me that Viola had a mass the size of a tangerine in her abdomen, she was dehydrated and sick. The vet said that it was likely cancer and, were it her cat, she would choose to euthanize her. The alternative was a battery of tests and a long weekend staying in the hospital, with no guarantee that she’d be able to recover. I did not want Viola to spend her last days scared and alone.

I adopted Viola in 2008 from the animal shelter in Seattle. I’d had Huey for a few months and thought she would like company (narrator: she would not). Viola was in kitty foster care with a brother, a fluffy white kitty named Chai. Viola was then named Viola Mae, but I’ve never once called her all that.

When I first brought her home, she was scared of everything and thin. But she always wanted to play and she warmed right up to me. She never slept on my bed until my then-boyfriend and I broke up. Once I moved, she was on the bed constantly.

Viola was a trooper who weathered several moves, including from Seattle to southern California, and from there to Sacramento. She was always by my side when I was home, either in my lap, purring next to me on the couch, or even sitting on the floor near my desk. She was a diva who wanted to be the only object of my attention. She sometimes harassed Huey by chasing her out of the bedroom and often tried to murder Kirk with her glare. She tried to be a bully, but the sound of the doorbell always sent her running to hide under the bed.

A eulogy

Viola, I love you so much and I will never be the same. You were my darling kitten. You were beautiful and fluffy and deserving of the best life. I hope your time on this Earth was cozy and worthwhile and that you felt loved and cared for. I wish I had known sooner that you were so sick. I wish I could have done more for you, played with you more, pet you more. I’m sorry you got cancer and you spent the last days of your life sick and tired. If there’s something after this life, I hope you’re getting the best of it. I love you so much and always will.

Here’s one last collection of Viola photos for your nerves.

Young Viola

Viola sitting on me

General Viola appreciation

Last Days on Earth

A Week in the Life: January 3, 2021

It’s 2021 and I have to go back to work tomorrow! I’m happy to be employed but I wish I didn’t have to work. Taking a week off has been really good. I read a lot of books and made foods, I played video games, and got myself organized for the things I want to do this year.

Consuming

Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.

Books and Other Words

Nicky Drayden’s Escaping Exodus is about future humans who fled the Earth and are living inside giant, space-faring beats. This is a weird, squishy sci-fi and I liked it a lot. It reminded me of Kameron Hurley’s The Stars Are Legion, which also features a matriarchal space-faring society eking out a living on ships made of organic matter. Escaping Exodus takes a more class-focused lens and gives us a perspective into who suffers to keep society functioning. I’m always up for a sociological fiction so I thought this was a good read.

What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about Fat by Aubrey Gordon is so good. It’s a perfect blend of research and personal experience as a fat woman. This book was a lot to take in. It’s good but terrible to see the statistics about how fat people are treated because I’m glad I’m not alone but also, fuck why are so many people so terrible? Research is pretty clear on the fact that dieting is not effective in the long-term, so why is our culture bent on demonizing fat people? Gordon posits that thin people have to see themselves as morally superior than fat people, otherwise they would need to acknowledge that body weight is largely luck, circumstance, and genetics instead of some kind of righteousness or good personal choices. This book is truly essential reading.

Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World is also a combination of memoir and data. Leslie Kern discusses cities and the fact that they have been designed by men for men’s needs—seeing “respectable” women in public is a relatively new phenomenon. She asks what cities would be like if women’s needs were accounted for? How might housing be organized so that women could work together to share child care and other labor? What could make women feel safe? This book didn’t blow my mind, probably because I had already read Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible Women, which chronicles the many ways that our environment favors men.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

  • America’s vaccine rollout is already a disaster via the Intelligencer. From the article: “As a country, we have only 40 million doses, and had aimed, according to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, to vaccinate 20 million by year-end. That’s bad enough. But we have administered only 2 million of those — barely 10 percent of the goal. At this rate, achieving sufficient vaccination to reach herd immunity and bring the pandemic to a close in the U.S. will take about seven years.” All I can say is ughhhh
  • Would you believe me if I said I was starving? via Talk Poverty. A reflection on being both poor and fat in keeping with what is apparently this week’s theme.
  • Fat lady attempts to get health care: An oral history via McSweeny’s. This is satire but I almost cried reading it because it is really resembles my experiences. I’ll never forget the time I went to the doctor because I was really sick and he was like “we need to talk about your BMI.” Bro, I am SICK.

TV and Music

I was excited to watch Wonder Woman 1984. That excitement was misplaced (spoilers ahead). The first Wonder Woman movie was a lot of fun because we see Diana being joyful and fighting for a better world. WW84 has none of that. Diana is lonely and spends all her time pining over a man who’s been dead since the last movie—which took place 70 years ago! She’s the greatest warrior in a generation, she stopped a god in the last movie, and now she’s spending all her time being sad about a man. Being sad for 70 years! I can’t get over that. This is not the paradigm of fully realized womanhood we need. I thought Diana was going to make friends with Barbara Minerva, who joins the museum staff where Diana works. But no, Barb is uncool and not in the cute way. I really did not appreciate Barbara’s story arc: she gets a magic wish to “be like Diana” and then starts getting strong, popular, and good at putting on flashy eyeliner. Do we need another version of the “let your hair down and take off your glasses to be a hot girl” trope? I argue no. There’s a lot of crazy shit in this movie (like Chris Pine’s character from the last movie doing a ‘Quantum Leap’ style body possession of an unsuspecting man. I’m not even going into this), the villain becoming a magic stone for making wishes, and Wonder Woman saving the world by whispering quietly to humanity. Next time I want a girl power pick-me-up, I’m going to watch Mad Max Fury Road or that scene from The Boys instead.

I think some people are going to be indignant about this but here it us: until this week I’d never listened to a whole Madonna album. I am passingly familiar with Madonna and obviously know her hits but she was not a fixture in my household’s musical landscape when I was young. In 12th grade, some school assembly had a 1980s-themed “name that tune” game and I got to be a contestant. I was super into new wave at the time, so I got almost every song within a few beats. I was not able to identify Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” despite fellow students shouting “MADONNA” at me. Alas. In any case, I listened to the “Madonna” and “Material Girl” albums this week to educate myself. They were fun. They sound a little dated now, in a way, but it was fun to hear some new-to-me songs.

Rampant Consumerism

The targeted ads got me again and I bought a scrubby thing that’s meant to replace bath poufs. Because I wanted free shipping, I also bought their weird toothbrush. Both the scrubber and the toothbrush feel quite nice, but the scrubber doesn’t seem to lather body wash up in as satisfying of a way. However, it does stick to the shower wall, which I like, and it’s supposed to be recyclable.

Making Things and Doing stuff

Languages

I had a mediocre showing in Spanish last month but did a fair amount of French. Good for me. I’m feeling re-energized this month (which seems normal for me this time of year). I’m really looking forward to taking the C1 DELE exam in Spanish so I am feeling motivated.

Kitchen Witchery

I had some leftover egg whites I needed to use (I’m stuck in a cycle of having too many whites or too many yolks). I tried out this coconut macaroon recipe, which I liked better than previous versions I’ve made. I also put some chocolate on top because why not. I used the rest of the egg whites on this white chocolate mousse because I wanted to try something different. It was delicious but so rich. I am rarely bested by a dessert, but I’ve had to portion this out over the last few days. I couldn’t eat much at once.

Outside of desserts, I had some fun cooking this week. Including a butternut squash and blue cheese tart with caramelized onions (recipe from Salt, Fat, Acid Heat), a chili (roughly based on this recipe), and biscuits and gravy. I actually made a cream biscuit for the biscuits and gravy because, although I thought I had bought buttermilk last week, I did not. Shame on me. Regardless, the cream biscuits were really good.

I love the new year and I love snacks, so I went wild with a snack-based dinner for new year’s eve. We had ranch dip with various accoutrements, plus a baked brie. Kirk bought me a gift basket of cheeses for Christmas (it’s true love), which included brie, so this seemed like the right time to eat it. I baked it with the awesome salted honey that my sister bought me and it was, in fact, delicious.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. Huey has been enjoying the Christmas gifts.

2020: The 13th Annual Year in Books

I was really hoping I would beat my past reading record (90 books!) this year, but alas, it was not meant to be. I made it to 88 books, which makes 2020 the new second-place for my competition with myself to read the most books. Looking at past books of the year posts, I saw I had written this in 2017, “I made it through 62 books in 2017, which feels like a success considering the madness this year wrought.” All I can say is, wow, she didn’t know a damn thing.

  • Page count: 32,996 pages, based on the page numbers recorded in LibraryThing. When I read 90 books in 2014, the page count was 35,177 pages. So maybe I wouldn’t have beat my record anyway, were I to count pages.
  • Library use: 49 library books, 39 of my own books. Shout out to the library for keeping reading from being prohibitively expensive.
  • Female/male authors: 77 women authors, 10 men authors, 1 with a mix (from an anthology). This means about 88 percent of the books I read were by women. Come through, matriarchy.
  • Digital and analog: 47 digital, 41 paper. This stat doesn’t mean much, since I’m an equal-opportunity reader, but it is fun to see how things shake out each year.
  • Fiction and non-fiction: 56 fiction, 32 non-fiction. About one-third of this year’s books were non-fiction, which seems to be my new trend. Earth is full of interesting things.
  • Books in other languages: I read 8 books in Spanish, which I think is the most I’ve read in one year. It’s finally starting to feel more natural. It only took -checks notes- 10 years.
  • Favorites:

And now, the list!

Date FinishedTitleAuthor
1/3The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed HistoryKassia St. Clair
1/4Indelible in the Hippocampus: Writings From the Me Too MovementShelly Oria (editor)
1/5Rogue ProtocolMartha Wells
1/10Exit StrategyMartha Wells
1/12Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in ChinaLeta Hong Fincher
1/19The Mirror EmpireKameron Hurley
1/30Empire AscendantKameron Hurley
2/3La fruta del borrachero: Una novelaIngrid Rojas Contreras
2/4The Broken HeavensKameron Hurley
2/8Nine Pints: A Journey through Time, Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of BloodRose George
2/12The Sisters of the Winter WoodRena Rossner
2/16The Secret Lives of GlaciersM Johnson
2/18StormsongC. L. Polk
2/21The F*ck It Diet: Eating Should Be EasyCaroline Dooner
2/24The Secret ChapterGenevieve Cogman
3/2The Luminous DeadCaitlin Starling
3/10AutonomousAnnalee Newitz
3/12The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of PowerShosana Zuboff
3/18Mostly Dead ThingsKristen Arnett
3/21Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in ChinaLeta Hong Fincher
3/23DocileK. M. Szpara
4/1The Starless SeaErin Morgenstern
4/2UmamiLaia Jufresa
4/13Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of AmericaSarah Kendzior
4/13Little GodsMeng Jin
4/17The City We BecameN. K. Jemisin
4/19Women TalkingMiriam Toews
4/24How Rory Thorne Destroyed the MultiverseK. Eason
4/28The Glass HotelEmily St. John Mandel
5/2CarameloSandra Cisneros
5/4The Voyages of Cinrak the DapperA. J. Fitzwater
5/8GingerbreadHelen Oyeyemi
5/14Network EffectMartha Wells
5/16Los hombres me explican cosasRebecca Solnit
5/17The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about RaceJesmyn Ward (ed.)
5/20Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement ForgotMikki Kendall
5/24Ancestral NightElizabeth Bear
6/1The Night WatchmanLouise Erdrich
6/7American Oligarchs: The Kushners, the Trumps, and the Marriage of Money and PowerAndrea Bernstein
6/12Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress CycleEmily Nagoski, Amelia Nagoski
6/15The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s DaughterTheodora Goss
6/25European Travel for the Monstrous GentlewomanTheodora Goss
6/28Children of TimeAdrian Tchaikovsky
7/1El reino del dragón de oroIsabel Allende
7/5The Vanishing HalfBrit Bennett
7/8They Were Her Property: White Woman as Slave Owners in the American SouthStephanie E. Jones-Rogers
7/10The Long Way to a Small, Angry PlanetBecky Chambers
7/16Gods of Jade and ShadowSilvia Moreno-Garcia
7/21The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing GirlTheodora Goss
7/24GoldilocksLaura Lam
7/25A Closed and Common OrbitBecky Chambers
7/29Record of a Spaceborn FewBecky Chambers
8/4Children of RuinAdrian Tchaikovsky
8/8American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey into the Business of PunishmentShane Bauer
8/16Harrow the NinthTamsyn Muir
8/24A BurningMegha Majumdar
9/1How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United StatesDaniel Immerwahr
9/1Technical Communication Today, 6th EditionRichard Johnson-Sheehan
9/6Empress of ForeverMax Gladstone
9/6Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce RacismSafiya Umoja Noble
9/11The First SisterLinden Lewis
9/16Miracle Country: A MemoirKendra Atleework
9/20Sistema nerviosoLina Meruane
9/25Sisters in Hate: American Women on the Front Lines of White NationalismSeyward Darby
10/1Feminismos: Miradas desde la diversidaded. Pikara
10/1Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout GenerationAnne Helen Petersen
10/6A Witch in TimeConstance Sayers
10/16MachineElizabeth Bear
10/19The Midnight BargainC. L. Polk
10/19Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the VoidMary Roach
10/25Mill Town: Reckoning with What RemainsKerri Arsenault
10/30The Once and Future WitchesAlix E. Harrow
10/31Beowulf: A New TranslationMaria Dahvana Headley
11/2PiranesiSusanna Clarke
11/5The Space Between WorldsMicaiah Johnson
11/6Sombras de ReikiavikAnthony Adeane
11/8Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and their Surprising Rise to PowerAnna Merlan
11/12Transcendent KingdomYaa Gyasi
11/20The Language Hoax: The World Looks the Same in Any LanguageJohn H. McWhorter
11/22The City of BrassS. A. Chakraborty
11/27The Kingdom of CopperS. A. Chakraborty
12/4The Empire of GoldS. A. Chakraborty
12/9Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked ProtestZeynep Tufekci
12/11Thick: And Other EssaysTressie McMillan Cottom
12/13The Empress of Salt and FortuneNghi Vo
12/22The Unreality of Memory and Other EssaysElisa Gabbert
12/27Escaping ExodusNicky Drayden
12/29What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about FatAubrey Gordon

2021: Let’s Do This I Guess

collage of pictures including a garden, a goat in a sweater, a woman lifting weights, a girl with an owl and a cat wearing sunglasses
2021 mood board

I know that all of our troubles won’t magically disappear at the stroke of midnight on January 1, but I wish they would. I’m thinking about what I want to do in 2021 with present conditions in mind. I hope that, by the end of the year, we’re all vaccinated and living our best covid-free lives. I know I’ll be last in line for a vaccine since I don’t have to talk to the public or care for anyone. I’m thinking about the year with that in mind and with nine months of pandemic experience.

Hobbies and Other Witchery

  • Books. My private goal in 2020 was to read 100 books. I didn’t make it, but I got close. This year I am making it a public goal: I want to read 100 books. This is mostly just to say I did it and see what it feels like to read that much. Besides, I don’t have much else going on. I also want to do my part to keep independent bookstores alive because they always have the best stuff. Something fun I want to do for myself is buy a book from a different bookstore each month. I can’t go anywhere interesting so I have to bring things to me.
  • Music. Make a point of listening to new (or new-to-me) music and finding stuff I like. Kirk bought me a lovely blue tooth speaker for Christmas so that will help.
  • Knitting. Knit a sweater! I’ve knit many small things (and one top), but I have yet to knit a sweater, which is the quintessential knitting activity. I have yarn and a pattern picked out for a big, chunky sweater and I’m looking forward to making and wearing it.
  • Baking. Expand my baking skills and try new things. I know in the not-too-distant future I want to try making croissants, donuts, and a babka. I’ve got my bread game going strong so now it’s time to branch out.
  • Cooking. I have a lot of great cookbooks and a number of them are about cuisines from other places. I can’t travel so I want to try travel by cooking. My general plan is to try a few recipes from another place every month, but we’ll see what my energy levels are like. I have already marked a few recipes to try from Peru: The Cookbook and Feast of the Islamic World.
  • Composting. Maybe this is weird, but I want to start composting. Why throw away all these food scraps when we can turn them into soil?

Languages

  • Spanish. I have talked about taking the DELE exam before and, in fact, had planned to do it in 2020. This year I’m going to do it for really real. I mean it. I’ve even sent in a registration form already. I’m trying to register for a date in November, when, one hopes, things will be fairly safe.
  • Icelandic. I want to get back into learning Icelandic this year. I have been thinking about it a lot without actually studying. I’m hoping my teacher will be available again, or perhaps she can refer me to someone else if not.
  • French. I started learning French again on a whim, so my plan this year is to keep at it as long as I’m having fun. I also want to find something to read or watch in the language that makes it more interesting for me.

Intangibles

  • Take it slow. It’s hard for me to relax and not fill all my time with activities. That’s a little bit because I get bored easily and a lot because of how I cope with anxiety: be too busy to worry about it. This year I want to work on taking things as they come and not overfilling my schedule for the sake of it. This is also going to be important when/if we can start living that non-pandemic life again. I know I’ll want to do everything at once, but I also know that will quickly overwhelm me. I don’t have to make up for “lost time” or anything like that. I want to ease back into things.
  • (Re-)establish routines. The most difficult part of 2020 was that basically all of our routines were destroyed. Now that pandemic life is more of a known quantity, I want to focus on resetting some routines and establishing new ones to get me through all this at-home time. I’ve particularly struggled with exercising regularly since exercise used to be an activity that happens outside of the house. I’m hoping to find a new rhythm for my days and work in some good habits. I’ve started flossing and have kept at it for the last two weeks so I know there is hope for me.
  • Community. I’ve been donating to causes but I want to get involved in something that will better my community. I’m not yet sure what form this will take but probably some kind of volunteering. I’ve learned from the last few years that we are all responsible for making society and our communities not suck. Now I have to start putting in some work.