A Week in the Life: October 4, 2021

Did you know it’s Fat Bear Week? Alaska’s Katmai National Park puts together a bracket of fat bears every year for people to vote on. It’s a lot of fun to get excited about some incredibly fat bears. They’re living the dream. We’re at the end of the bracket now, but it’s not too late to vote.

In other exciting news, we are finally planning a trip to Iceland! I’ve been learning Icelandic for a few years, but wasn’t really ready to plan a vacation. However, I’ve been keeping my eye on these Icelandic knitting tours and we finally got one booked. We’re going on the autumn knitting retreat, which has some nature sightseeing and cool textile stuff. Kirk doesn’t knit, but he’s happy to go along for the ride. We’re going to do some more traditional sightseeing either before or after the knitting stuff (Kirk’s only requirement is that we see a glacier, so that seems doable). Let me know if you have any Iceland recommendations!

I’ve spent this week trying to take my doctor’s advice about TMJ and that’s kind of been a drag. However, it is hurting less so I guess this is my life now. I’ve been avoiding hard or crunchy foods, which means I’ve converted most of my snacks to things like a tortilla with hummus or more snacking cakes (“snack” is in the name of the book!). I am annoyed that salad is kind of hard to eat or at least more limited now, but Kirk suggested using the peeler shred carrots into not-very-crunchy strips, so I have that going for me. I’ve also been doing some face massage (thanks, people posting youtube videos) and bit of the old alternating ice pack/heating pad. I’m hoping I can get to a manageable pain level then start introducing some more excitement back into my diet but, for now, pain avoidance is king.

Consuming

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

Books and Other Words

My reading habits lately have been pretty erratic. Some days I’m tired from vision therapy exercises and don’t want to read. Others, the kitten is bouncing off the walls and it’s distracting. So I didn’t read any books this week, but I did try to read what turned out to be a really horrible book.

Content warning for the next paragraph: eating disorders.

I recently found out that there’s an eating disorder called binge eating disorder. A podcast I was listening to made an off-hand mention of it and I was like wait a minute, I do/have done those things. So I checked out a library book about it called The Binge Eating and Compulsive Overeating Workbook. It was pretty fucking bad and I tweeted some examples. Maybe a book about eating disorders shouldn’t start by suggesting you calculate your BMI and telling you that being fat is bad? It says that nutrition is confusing and that’s why people are fat. BUT you need to trust yourself. Telling people with eating disorders to trust themselves is crazy bad advice. It’s hard enough grappling with suddenly being like “oh, maybe I do have an eating disorder” and then to have a book be like “you’re confused and stupid, which is why you’re fat,” is not great. I have a lot of thoughts about this, like “why didn’t my doctor ask any follow-up questions when I gained weight instead of suggesting I ‘let myself go’ after getting married?” However, I think I will return to this topic in a future post. For now, just know that this book was trash.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

  • The Death of a Spectacle via Gay Mag. On being fat and exercising in public.
  • How am I supposed to work? via The Riveter. On the difficulty of being a single parent and trying to get kids to all the activities middle class kids are supposed to do. This spoke to me because one of the reasons I don’t want kids is it seems like you have to devote 10 years’ worth of afternoons to just driving your kids to shit. No thanks.
  • The ‘Great British Bake Off’ Hall of Fame via The Ringer. It’s time for another season of Bake Off! This article honors many of the contestants who have made the show a delight.
  • Zoolander at 20: How a post-9/11 flop became the comedy everyone’s still quoting via Esquire. First, I am still quoting Zoolander because it’s supremely quotable. Who among us hasn’t felt that they, too, were taking crazy pills? Second, I was unaware that this movie was a flop. I saw this movie in the theater when I was 17 and it felt like the funniest thing I’d ever seen.

TV and Music

We haven’t watched a lot of TV this week because our “smart” TV is being stupid. It doesn’t want to stay connected to the internet. We get about 10 minutes before a connection error happens. We’re pretty confident the internet isn’t the problem because we’re not having the same problem at our computers. I’ve tried a few fixes, but nothing has stuck yet.

That said, we did start watch the first episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks and it seems really funny. We also started Stargate: Atlantis (because 10 seasons of SG-1 wasn’t enough). Let’s hope we can figure out the connection problems soon so we can relax and watch things again.

Rampant Consumerism

a new desk chair, which Fritz the cat is inspecting
fancy new chair

I have been wanting to get a new desk chair and decided to go all in and get the best one out there. I am now the proud owner of a Herman Miller Aeron Chair, which, yes, does cost over $1,000. It doesn’t look that exciting but it’s surprisingly comfortable. At first I wasn’t totally sure about it, but I’m liking it more and more. My old chair was getting so beat up that it was uncomfortable to sit down and work, so this is a much-needed upgrade, especially ahead of starting the new job. It was delivered fully assembled. Apparently this is how it feels to be rich—you don’t have to assemble your own furniture!

Making Things and Doing stuff

There are some things I’ve made and stuff I’ve done.

Languages

I have been getting into a productive groove with my language studies. which is important since I’m taking the DELE exam in five weeks! I’ve been doing more practice tests, and it’s going pretty well. Yesterday, I did one of the reading tests and I got all the questions right for two (of the five) reading passages. This sounds minor, but it’s exciting for me. Icelandic is going pretty well too. I like working with my new tutor, and we’ve been covering a lot of grammar, which is helping me review and fill in more detail. We’ve also done some fun reading exercises.

Kitchen Witchery

We are still enjoying all the Snacking Cakes in this house. I tried the chocolate yogurt cake last week, which was great. I tried another vanilla cake variation this weekend, which called for adding malted milk powered, and that was really good too. Kirk has even said he likes these cakes a lot, and he is not a cake super fan like I am, so this is nice to hear. Last weekend I also made potato gnocchi from the Pasta Grannies cookbook. This was really good but the recipe was huge. I felt like I was rolling out gnocchi forever. The good news though is I have a bit of gnocchi in the freezer for later, so it all works out.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.

Two Weeks in the Life: September 24, 2021

I suppose I won’t bury the lede this week: I got a new job! I had a second interview with New Wave Technologies on Tuesday and got the offer Wednesday morning. I’m feeling good about it. It’s slightly more money and a little better benefits, but what is really great is all the people I have talked to seem really nice and very human. A VP attended my second interview and actually asked me what I like to do outside of work. Pretty wild. I’m starting on October 18, so I have time to give a respectable two weeks’ notice and then take a week off before the new gig starts.

I was sort of holding out hope that the aviation company I interviewed with would call me back too—I thought my interview went well. However, yesterday I got a “thank you for your interest” form email from them, which I think is a little rude to do to someone you have interviewed. So many employers are complaining about applicants ghosting them, but that courtesy has to go both ways. Employers can’t just stop communicating with people who they interview. That’s fucking rude.

It has been a happy coincidence this week that I am off work. This time last week, my vision therapist gave me a light therapy kit to use for 20 minutes a day, 6 days a week for the next month. Adding this to my routine of vision exercises, regular nasal sprays as prescribed by my ear doctor, and the general difficulties of being alive made me want to scream. So, last Thursday I told my boss I needed a week off and here I am. This means I get to show up on Monday and give my notice.

On the topic of health issues, this week I finally saw the audiologist and ear doctor for the follow-up to the appointments I had in July. I’ve been diligently applying flonase twice a day and saline spray four times a day since then and, friends, I was absolutely fucking sick of it. The good news is that it did actually help my hearing (and I don’t have to keep doing it). My right ear is hearing a little better than it was before (about 5 to 10 decibels, depending on the frequency). The ear doctor said I could get a tube in my ear but I decided against it given that I did it before as a kid and here I am with fluid in my ears again, so I might just get caught in an infinite loop and what’s the point. This has been a lot of ruckus for almost nothing, but the good thing is I now know what to do if my hearing gets shittier.

What I really wanted to talk to the doctor about was TMJ issues, which I mentioned a bit in my last post, because it fucking hurts. The doctor gave me a pamphlet about it that basically says don’t eat tough, crunchy, or chewy foods, don’t open your mouth wide (-insert jokes here-), don’t use a straw, and avoid high-impact activities. He also recommended alternating warm and cold compresses for the pain and trying out some self-massage techniques. I am going to see if this stuff can help. If not, the doctor said I can work with my general practitioner to get physical therapy. I really don’t want to do PT for this until my vision therapy is done because I honestly can’t take any more body maintenance right now.

Consuming

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

Books and Other Words

  • The Season: A social history of the debutante by Kristen Richardson. This cover does not look great in black and white on my kobo reader, but the book itself is good. Richardson traces how the idea of the debutante emerged to solve the “problem” of daughters and help families stay in their social class/consolidate wealth. It helped me understand something I had long assumed to be frivolous.
  • Belabored: A vindication of the rights of pregnant women by Lyz Lenz. I subscibe to Lenz’ newsletter, Men Yell at Me, and I like it so I thought I’d read one of her books. Belabored is part memoir, part non-fiction exploration of pregnancy and the social issues that come with it. For me, it’s a bunch more reasons not to have a baby.
  • The Fallen by Ada Hoffman. This is the sequel to The Outside, which I read a couple of weeks ago. It was good, but I enjoyed the first book more. However, middle books often seem not as exciting as the first or third since they’re doing a lot of work but not giving us the payoff. I’m looking forward to the conclusion.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

TV and Music

Kirk and I finished watching all 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1. We’ve been trying to pick shows that go on forever to avoid the pain and annoyance of trying to find new things to watch. Stargate definitely fulfills that requirement, especially because there are multiple spin-offs. Overall, it was an entertaining, often cheesy show.

I’ve gotten on the Maintenance Phase podcast bandwagon this week, partly because I need something to focus on while I sit in the dark and do my light therapy. One of the hosts is Aubrey Gordon, author of What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about Fat and, once I learned that, I realized I had to tune in. The hosts do a lot of reading about diet and “wellness” trends and present some history and science about them in each episode. It’s really interesting to hear about how thin the science is for any diet trend and the hosts are fun to listen to.

Making Things and Doing stuff

There are some things I’ve made and stuff I’ve done.

Knitting and Crafts

I haven’t been knitting as much lately because I have to wait for times when Fritz is not being a maniac. Otherwise, he will attack the yarn and make it impossible to knit. I got about one-third through a sock recently then, last night, decided I needed to restart because my gauge was off and it was coming out way too baggy. Perhaps I’ll be able to share a finished product again some day.

Kitchen Witchery

I’ve been in a baking mood and I’ve been happy to welcome autumn because I hate summer and I’m sick of it. So, I decided to bake a bunch of pumpkin foods because it brings me joy. First I made pumpkin spice madelines based on this recipe, though I skipped the white chocolate dip and simply dusted them with powdered sugar. I also made the pumpkin spice cake from the Snacking Cakes cookbook. I guess you could say I’m embracing my caucasian roots (lol).

I also made my first recipe from the Pasta Grannies cookbook, which didn’t go as planned but came out tasty all the same. This recipe called for making little nubs of pasta, called gnochetti, but mine was too sticky so I ended up spooning it into boiling water like dumplings. I also made some mistakes with my chickpeas, which came out pretty mushy, so this soup dish did not look much like the cookbook photo, but we liked it. I’m looking forward to trying another pasta dish this weekend. I also made some malted chocolate chip cookies from the Best of Instagram Desserts book and was not disappointed.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. I am disappointed to report that, after over a month of good behavior, Fritz peed on the bed again yesterday! I am convinced he’s doing this to express displeasure despite the cat behavior expert we saw telling us that cats don’t retaliate like that. However, I closed Fritz’s windows, Fritz jumped up on the sill and shouted, I turned away for a minute and, when I returned, he had peed on the bed. You be the judge!

A Week in the Life: September 12, 2021

Welcome back to your regularly scheduled blog post. Before I get on with it, I must first remind Californians that you have to vote! Please vote no on the recall and don’t get complacent. We don’t want to become Texas. Check out my voter guides in English and Spanish for more information. Second, last week I shared some resources for chaotic times. Take a look if you would like some ideas for how to help people affected by the many ongoing disasters.

This week has been somewhat busy for me. I had two job interviews for technical writing gigs, and I always find job interviews to be totally draining. However, it was worth the trouble because I feel really good about both of them. I know I’ll have additional interviews for either (yet to be scheduled, so I’m nowhere close to an offer, but I’m optimistic), but I think I have a good chance. One of the companies is really cool. It’s called Joby Aviation and they’re making what’s essentially a passenger drone. I think this would be a difficult job because it’s about getting their air taxi FAA approved, which is totally new territory both for me as a writer and for FAA as a regulatory body, but it would be quite interesting. The other job is more similar to what I do now with writing about health and human services for government. The people there seem very nice. I’m hoping I’ll get my next interviews in this week.

Job searching aside, I know you’re all dying for updates on the pain of living in a human body. I wrote previously about visiting the ear doctor to find out why one of my ears doesn’t hear as well as the other. My follow-up visit is coming up in about a week and a half and I’m looking forward to being done with six rounds of nasal sprays every day. However, the recent development is that, since getting my eyes taken care of (thanks, new glasses and vision therapy), I’ve noticed I really do have a lot of pain associated with TMJ. When I last saw the ear doctor, he mentioned I have TMJ and I was like “well, what of it?” and he said don’t worry if it’s not bothering me. Well, it’s now bothering me a lot. I’m having regular pain that feels kind of like I’m being stabbed in and around the ear. I didn’t notice it before because it was only one voice in the chorus of things causing pain. Now that my vision-based headache has quieted, I’m able to identify this individual pain. In short, I’m straight-up not having a good time. I’m glad I’m getting my health issues handled but I’m not enjoying this process of solving one problem only to uncover another. Can a bitch get a break?

Consuming

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

Books and Other Words

hardback book: The Chosen and the Beautiful, illuminated by light coming in from a window
The Chosen and the Beautiful

This week I read The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo. This is a re-imagining of high-school-English-class favorite The Great Gatsby (thanks, public domain!) from the perspective of Jordan Baker. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this because, while I sort of like The Great Gatsby, I don’t love it, but I do like Nghi Vo and stories retold from a new perspective. I ended up liking it a lot, it’s a little gay, a little spooky and a little magical. I certainly prefer this version of Gatsby to the original.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

  • My nemesis, the piano via Vox. Some thoughts on having hobbies as an adult.
  • How the delta variant stole Christmas: Empty shelves, long waits—and yes, higher prices via The Washington Post. Is anyone else worried about the slow-motion collapse of the global supply chain or is it just me?
  • Slack and Zoom were distracting our teams. Here’s how we regained focus via Fast Company. I wish my workplace would do this. This company noticed that their creative-type employees were being constantly interrupted by manager-type employees with calls and meetings so they set quiet hours when no one is allowed to schedule meetings or demand instant responses via email or a chat. Sounds grand.
  • What if people don’t want a career? via Galaxy Brain. From the article, “When you talk to people who reject the modern notion of a career, many of them say the same thing: They crave more balance, less precarity, and better pay. They also, crucially, want to work. But they want to work for places that see them as three-dimensional human beings and that actually invest in them and their futures without expecting workers to sacrifice everything. They want to be a part of organizations that recognize that meaningful and collaborative work can bring dignity and create value but that work is by no means the only way to cultivate satisfaction and self-worth”

TV and Music

I’m still struggling to decide what to watch next now that I’ve finished Golden Girls. I’ve been filling the void by playing a lot of Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze, which has been fun (My new glasses have also made it easier to play video games; they’re the gift that keeps on giving). I’ve been browsing Hulu and HBO, saving long-running, completed shows to my lists, mentally fortifying myself to get invested in a new show, perhaps Fraiser or Absolutely Fabulous.

Rampant Consumerism

I am finally the proud owner of an 8×8″ pan. I keep making recipes that call for one and just trying to make it work in my 9×9″, despite the large difference in volume. I’m looking forward to using my new pan to make more snacking cakes, since I have finally acquired the Snacking Cakes cookbook for myself after returning the library copy. I bought a few other books this week too including the Pasta Grannies cookbook and Green & Clean. I spent yesterday afternoon paging through Pasta Grannies and bookmarking all the great pastas I want to make. I’m also quite excited about Green & Clean, which is a book of household tips by Great British Bake-Off alumna Nancy Bristwhistle. It has explanations of how to take care of various household tasks with do-it-yourself mixtures, like using citric acid and boiling water to clean the hard water from a kettle (currently the first on my list of remedies to test). I will report back on how well her tips work, but I’ve seen a lot of them on her isntagram page already, so I’m pretty confident in her methods.

Making Things and Doing stuff

There are some things I’ve made and stuff I’ve done.

Languages

I’m scheduled to take the DELE (diploma of Spanish as a foreign language) exam in just about two months. I’m not freaking out but I am like, wow, I should study more. Though I always think I should study more even if there isn’t a test coming up. Things are going well with my teacher though, we’re working on refining some of the things that bedevil me (prepositions, D-:<) and I think I am going to be ready. The other stressor about this is I’m not sure what my travel plans will be. When I booked the test, I thought covid would be mostly over (lol) and Kirk and I would make a little vacation of it. Now I’m not sure and I don’t feel confident enough to make plans. I’ve booked a hotel room in Seattle (that’s where I’m taking the test and it is the closest option for this time of year), but I have no idea beyond that.

Kitchen Witchery

I put the Labor Day weekend to good use and made bread. Last weekend, I asked Kirk what bread I should make and he requested a cinnamon loaf. Of course I have to be extra so I made a cinnamon babka, which he really liked. Kirk is not a great fan of bread like I am, so this is newsworthy. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite bake it long enough and the middle collapsed under its own weight as it cooled, but that’s okay because it was still delicious. I also made some whole-wheat oatmeal honey bread, which has become excellent toast and sandwiches.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. It’s easy to take a hundred photos of Fritz every week because he’s in my business being unreasonably cute at all times. Huey has been sheltering in corners of the house where Fritz is less likely to harass her. However, she still comes to hang out near my computer. I’ve been making an effort to cuddle with Huey more, but she’s not much of a cuddler at the best of times, so it’s tricky.

Resources for Chaotic Times and Two Weeks in the Life: September 5, 2021

me, wearing a opossum dress and holding up my ballot for the camera as I drop it off
look cute and vote

Last week I didn’t do a personal blog because I was busy working on my California recall election guides, in English and Spanish (please vote “no” on the recall!). This week, I don’t want to skip a personal blog, but I also want to devote some digital space to carrying out a suggestion from a friend for places to donate “because everything is terrible right now.” So today we are starting with:

What to Do When Everything is Terrible

The west coast is on fire, the east coast is underwater, Texas effectively outlawed abortion and the Supreme Court said, “sure, I guess that’s fine.” We’re also watching Afghanistan struggle after the U.S. pulls out of a war no one asked for. Those of us lucky enough to not be in immediate danger are left with the existential dissonance of watching a lot of things collapse at once and feeling helpless about it. So I’m gathering up some places you can donate and things you can do, with a little bit of focus on groups that are local to Sacramento. I’d also like to remind everyone that it’s good to be prepared for a disaster, so I’ve included information about how we can all be ready for bad things.

West Coast Fire Relief

The fires are close to where I live but not close enough that I’m immediately impacted. I was surprised I only knew a few places off the top of my head for donations, but I was able to fill in the gaps with a little searching. Here are my suggestions:

  • NorCal Resist has a fund for providing emergency support to families impacted by the fires. I donate to NorCal resist monthly. They’re always doing good, community-focused mutual aid.
  • The El Dorado Community Foundation has a Caldor Fire Fund you can donate to, which goes directly towards people impacted by the fire.
  • The California Fire Foundation is also providing immediate assistance to victims.
  • Placer Food Bank is a good choice for making sure people can get food while they’re displaced and trying to piece their lives back together (side note: donating to your local food bank is a great anytime activity).
  • If you want to help the many animals displaced in the fires you can donate to the El Dorado Community Foundation Community Relief Fund. Part of this fund will support animal services. The Sacramento SPCA has been helping El Dorado and Placer Counties with animal services so you can donate there too.
  • Evacuation Teams of Amador works with emergency services to evacuate and shelter animals during a disaster.
  • Project Camp is offering a day camp in Reno for kids affected by the fires and you can donate to their efforts.
  • To support firefighters and their families, you can donate to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.
  • HandsOn Norcal has a disaster service volunteer program for those of you want to go help in person. I’m not exactly sure what this entails since you have to make an account and sign up. If anyone has more information, let me know.
  • Donate blood. This goes for most of these crises, but donating blood is something you can do for free and you get a snack. This can help people with serious injuries resulting from a disaster.

Side note: if you’re searching online for how to help, most lists include links to the Red Cross and Salvation Army. Don’t donate to them. The Salvation Army is anti-abortion and they hate the gays. The Red Cross doesn’t put your donations to good use.

East Coast Hurricane Relief

I’ve tried to include organizations that are on the ground giving people immediate aid, but I’m not familiar with the area. However, these all seem like they’re actually doing something.

  • World Central Kitchen is working to keep people in New Orleans fed. You can donate or, if you’re a chef, sign up to volunteer in person.
  • Americares has emergency programs to help people get medicine and clinical services during a disaster. They are currently matching donations and I’m sure they are also helping California fire victims.
  • The Louisiana SPCA is accepting donations to support their disaster response and get animals to safety.
  • Also for the animals, the Humane Society of the United States has an animal rescue and response team and you can donate to their emergency animal relief fund.
  • Operation Blessing is coordinating volunteers in Louisiana via churches.
  • The Cajun Navy is providing disaster relief. You can donate or volunteer.
  • The Louisiana Bar Foundation has a fundraiser for legal aid to help displaced people with their legal needs.

Texas Reproductive Rights Support

The number one resource I recommend for this topic is the Handbook for a Post-Roe America website, which is full of resources and actions, plus reading the companion book Crow After Roe: How “Separate but Equal” Has Become the New Standard in Women’s Health and How We Can Change That. One of the most important things this book impressed on me was that there are already organizations that exist doing a lot of this work. We shouldn’t, as many people did after Trump won the 2016 election, individually start stockpiling Plan B pills. The Handbook website has a list of actions for protecting abortion access, plus a list of what to do if you’re in Texas (or anywhere, really) and preparing for an imminent abortion ban.

Texas abortion funds via National Network of Abortion Funds

There are lots of abortion funds in Texas. Check the National Network of Abortion Funds page, where you can view organizations by state. Texas has a whole bunch and the site has info about each plus links for donating or joining their mailing lists.

If, like me, you have a credit card that accrues airline miles, you can see about donating the points to a Texas abortion fund. I think this is especially effective if it’s an airline headquartered in Texas. My main rewards program is with Southwest Airlines. Unfortunately, Southwest has a very short list of approved charities that members can donate points to. I emailed customer service and told them I want to donate to a Texas abortion fund. I’m not expecting much response but I’m trying.

Another thing we can do is Americans’ favorite strategy—vote with our dollars. There’s been a call on social media to boycott Texas by not spending money at companies headquartered there. While many corporations spoke up about voting rights in the last year, few have commented on this abortion ban. Even so, comments are not enough. Corporations that stay in Texas, a state where women are now in imminent danger, are tacitly supporting this law. The Lincoln Project put together a list of some of the largest companies headquartered in Texas for convenient boycotting purposes, this includes Southwest airlines, as previously mentioned. There’s AT&T, Exxon Mobil and USAA which, according to VoteSmart‘s financial info, were all big contributors to Texas state senators (and thus the worst offenders here in my opinion). If you are a regular customer of any of these companies and you choose to boycott, please write them to tell them why you’re not shopping. I know it feels like it doesn’t make a difference, but it will if enough people do.

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Afghan Refugees

A lot of Afghan refugees are coming to Sacramento, so there are a lot of opportunities to help. First, it’s worth noting that the California Department of Social Services offers a Refugee Resettlement Program, so there are government services available for refugees in California. Next, since Sacramento is a big destination for refugees, the Mayor’s office has helpfully compiled a list of how you can help, thus saving me the trouble of figuring it out. There are opportunities to donate and to volunteer. The Sacramento Interfaith Council also has a list of ways to help, with some overlap from the Mayor’s list. Finally, there are some resources on the site for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Sacramento Valley chapter here.

One more note on Afghanistan: Arabic is not the language Afghans speak. Yes, most Muslims understand Arabic so they can read the Qur’an. However, Afghanistan’s official languages are Dari and Pashto (yes, they use the same alphabet as Arabic, but so do English and German and we don’t expect English speakers to know German). So if you’re trying to help Afghan refugees, those are the languages you need.

Emergency Preparedness

In the pre-covid times, I started working on an emergency kit. I felt a little crazy doing it not the least due to my Mormon upbringing and their intense focus on food storage for the end of the world/return of Jesus. However, things have changed a lot and I think we can all understand why it’s important to be ready for disaster. Here are a few guides:

  • Ready.gov explains some essentials you should have ready and how to plan for a disaster
  • The best emergency preparedness supplies via Wirecutter. I love this guide because it’s stressful enough thinking about being ready for an emergency and then on top of that I’ve got to figure out what the best radio or water storage container is? Wirecutter has done the work for us.
  • Emergency pet evacuation pack via Insructables. It makes me feel so much less anxious to know that I’m also ready to take care of my kitties in a disaster. I’ve found this guide very helpful. Something that also eases my mind is leaving the cat carriers out in the house. The cats like to hang out in there. If we did have to leave on short notice, I know where the carriers are and the cats won’t freak out if they have to go inside.
  • The Climate Resilience Project on Instagram also has a good list of how to prepare for wildfires from a little bit different perspective. There’s advice on community, getting disaster alert apps set up, plus tips for a “go” bag.

Another way to be ready for a disaster is to have the things you normally use or eat on hand, just keep a little extra supply, if you can afford it and have the space (not everyone does, I know). Remember in the very beginning of the pandemic when we were all afraid to go to the store and we just made do with what we had for two or three weeks between trips? Being ready for that kind of scenario is disaster preparedness. In my house, have some “emergency” foods like Cup Noodles or just-add-water soup mixes. These are good for us because they’re things we would normally eat anyway. Sometimes no one wants to cook so we do a soup for dinner. Or we want something fast for lunch and eat a Cup Noodle. The best food to keep for a disaster is the stuff you already eat. I also try to make sure we’re never totally out of soap or other household essentials.

I talk about building emergency kits a little bit in some of my posts, which you can find under the emergency preparedness tag if you are interested.

Making Things and Doing stuff

I’m going to keep the rest of this blog short because that was a lot. I do, however, have to share this story. My Aunt Ruth recently sent me some embroidery that, apparently, my great grandma, known as Mudder Dell, had made. I didn’t know Dell, but the stories I’d heard about her involve her being pretty rowdy and I remember hearing she always carried a small gun in her handbag. So, while she didn’t seem the needlepoint type, I thought it was cool to have these and I hung them on the wall to celebrate the matriarchal tradition of fiber arts. Not long after hanging them, one of the frames fell on the floor, broke, and exposed the backside of the embroidery. MADE IN FRANCE! I wish I knew whether Dell really passed this off as her own work or if something got lost in translation. I’m planning to buy a frame to display the back of the work because it looks cool and makes for a good story.

Languages

August is finally behind us so here are my efforts for Spanish and Icelandic recorded for posterity.

Kitchen Witchery

I present to you this tahini brioche without further comment.

a bunch of rolls baked together (tear-and-share), pleasantly browned and topped with sesame seeds
tahini brioche

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. Fritz has gone three whole weeks without peeing on the bed and I’m proud. However, I think he only stopped because he won the war for the bed. Huey won’t get up there unless I put her there and I stay with her. Fritz spends 90 percent of his time being cute though so I guess we have to accept his behavior.

Guía para votantes: Elección de destitución del gobernador 2021

Lista de cosas por hacer para la elección de destitución del gobernador: 1 Envía o deja la papeleta el o antes del 14 de septiembre. 2 Vota no a la destitución de Gavin Newsom. 3 Vota por un gobernador de reemplazo aun si votas contra destituir al gobernador. Mi elección para gobernador: Joel Ventresca

Por segunda vez en este siglo, California ha organizado una votación para remover al gobernador. Yo tenía 17 durante la elección para destituir al gobernador Davis y en ese entonces me parecía un chiste que Arnold Schwarzenegger se convertiría en gobernador. Pero aquí estamos de nuevo con un montón de candidatos quienes no se ven muy serios. Es probable que muchos de estos lo hagan mucho peor que Schwarzenegger. Me parece irreal que tengamos otra elección de este tipo. La cantidad de candidatos es abrumadora. La buena noticia es que estoy aquí para ayudarte.

Recordatorios y recursos para los votantes californianos

Descargo de responsabilidad: No soy experta en la política ni el gobierno. Soy solo una persona quien tiene habilidades de leer y buscar información. Puedes usar esta guía como un punto de partida para decidir cómo quieres votar. Si ya estás agotado/a y confías en mí, puedes votar como yo. Si crees que soy idiota, puedes votar de manera opuesta a mí. Vota como quieras, pero por favor, vota.

La papeleta

Esta papeleta tiene solo dos preguntas.

¿Debería ser destituido (removido) Gavin Newsom del cargo de Gobernador?

Mi voto: no

Un voto de “no” es un voto de mantener a Gavin Newsom como gobernador.

El quid de la cuestión para mi es que solo se requieren 1.5 millones de firmas para presentar una petición para remover al gobernador. Hay 39.5 millones de personas en California. Votamos en esta elección por menos del 4 por ciento de la población.

La elección cuesta al Estado de California $276 millones, lo que encuentro irónico ya que los que quieren remover a Newsom también creen que su uso de fondos es un motivo para destituirlo. Miré el sitio web de “Recall Gavin Newsom” para averiguar por qué quieren remover a Newsom. Han enumerado algunos asuntos importantes en una página titulada “¿Cuáles son tus porqués?” (en inglés dice “What are your whys?” y esto no tiene mucho sentido). El primer artículo en su lista es el incidente en el que Gavin Newsom fue a una fiesta al restaurante The French Laundry durante el pico de la pandemia sin llevar un cubrebocas. Concedo que es un error ridículo, pero no es suficiente para removerlo. También en los primeros puntos de la lista está “el gobierno se ha extralimitado con ordenes ejecutivas masivas sin la aprobación de la legislatura” (“extreme government overreach – massive executive orders – acting w/o legislature”). Me da risa porque la mayoría de este grupo también apoya a Trump, y es difícil de creer que les importe de verdad que el gobernador use ordenes ejecutivas, solo que no les gustan las ordenes ejecutivas cuando es algo con lo que no están de acuerdo. Siguiente, dicen que están en contra de “votar por correo obligatoriamente” y los “cierres continuos.” No obstante, no es “obligatorio” que voten por correo, ya que es posible que voten en persona. Con respecto a los cierres, si no puedes entender por qué necesitamos quedarnos en casa para detener la propagación de una pandemia mortífera, no sé qué puedo decir a este punto.

No voy a responder a todas las razones que tienen los partidarios de la destitución para remover a Newsom porque me parece claro que están enojados por la pandemia y las medidas que el gobierno ha tomado para mantener a los californianos seguros. El L.A. Times tiene un análisis interesante de los individuos que firmaron la petición de remover a Newsom. Muestra que los condados con la cantidad más alta de firmantes fueron los que apoyan más a Trump y tuvieron una tasa relativamente baja de casos de coronavirus. La gente de estas zonas rurales cree que las acciones para ralentizar la propagación del covid son desmesuradas porque ¡hay pocas personas allá para enfermarse!

El verdadero problema si Newsom es destituido es la probabilidad de que tengamos un gobernador por quien muy pocos californianos hayan votado. Hay tantos candidatos y el Partido Demócrata no recomienda un reemplazo porque tiene miedo que la gente vote por la destitución debido a que prefiere a alguien diferente. Mientras tanto, los Republicanos pueden unirse a un candidato (¡algo que se les da muy bien!) y podríamos tener un gobernador de California quien crea que no debemos tener un salario mínimo y quien esté en contra del aborto.

Finalmente, California planea votar por un nuevo gobernador en la elección general de 2022, sin tener en cuenta los resultados de la elección para destituir al gobernador. Si los californianos remueven a Newsom, su reemplazo estará en el cargo apenas un año. ¿Por qué no esperamos en vez de gastar mucho de dinero de los impuestos para una elección por correo a la cual se oponen fundamentalmente los partidarios de la destitución? Nada de esta situación tiene sentido.

Candidatos a suceder a Gavin Newsom como Gobernador si fuera destituido

Mi voto: Joel Ventresca

Aunque no quieras destituir a Newsom, es importante que elijas un gobernador nuevo si la elección de la destitución pasara. Es la única oportunidad de votar por un reemplazo que va a ser gobernador hasta la elección general de 2022. Si votas contra destituir a Gavin Newsom, aun tienes que elegir un candidato para ser gobernador si pasara la destitución.

¿Por qué Joel Ventresca?

Joel Ventresca es mi opción preferida porque tiene una plataforma clara. Tiene experiencia manteniendo grandes organizaciones y se ha presentado antes como candidato en San Francisco. Ventresca apoya aumentar el salario mínimo hasta $16 por hora, terminar el encarcelamiento en masa, prohibir el fracking y la extracción de petróleo, así como financiar las elecciones con fondos públicos. Todo de esto es excelente y son cuestiones que normalmente no aparecen en la plataforma de un candidato para gobernador, pero vivimos en una época caótica y hay algunas agendas muy progresistas en la boleta.

¿Por qué son los candidatos tan raros?

Hay 46 candidatos en la papeleta y ningunos son demócratas destacados (Newsom ha disuadido a Demócratas de presentarse como candidatos debido al miedo de incentivar su destitución como lo hicieron los Demócratas en 2003). Leí que cada candidato Demócrata/sin preferencia de partido/sin preferencia de partido calificado. Descarté los candidatos Republicanos inmediatamente porque, si todavía eres Republicano después de cuatro años de Trump, no hay ningún universo en que quiero que seas gobernador. Igualmente he descartado los candidatos Libertarios porque creo que el libertarismo es egoísta.

Antes de discutir los detalles, por favor disfruta este collage de las declaraciones más chifladas de la guía para votantes (anotación: puedes ver todas las declaraciones en español aquí).

a collage of 7 screenshots of gubernatorial candidate names andn statements. Each have a weird photo or weird statement (or both) such as simply "Love U," Search YouTube" or "Can you dig it?" for three of the candidates.
un campo lleno de chiflados

Después de reír sobre estas declaraciones, supe del Twitter de Josh Drake que los candidatos tuvieron que pagar $25 por cada palabra en su declaración en la guía para votantes. Me parecía demasiado ridículo para ser falso, pero lo quería verificar. En página tres de los Candidate Statement Guidelines (Guía de declaración para candidatos), allí está.

Text from a PDF reads "Payment for candidate statement: The fee for a candidate statement to be included in the state Voter Information Guide for the California Gubernatorial Recall Election is $25.00 per word, not to exceed $6,250.00 (250 words).
¡Y creíamos que los candidatos solo estaban chiflados!

En español: El pago por una declaración de candidato para ser incluida en la Guía para votantes estatal para la elección de destitución del gobernador es de $25.00 por palabra, y que no exceda de $6,250.00 (250 palabras).

¡Significa que los candidatos con las declaraciones más largas tienen más dinero! Algunas de las declaraciones cortas me parecen esfuerzos estratégicos para llamar la atención sin gastar mucho dinero, lo que tiene sentido. Me da una perspectiva nueva de las declaraciones de los candidatos.

¿Y qué con los demás?

Si no te gusta Ventresca, mi segunda elección es Dan Kapelvitz (sí, el tipo de “can you dig it?”/”¿lo entiendes?”). La foto y la declaración de Kapelvitz me hacen pensar en una copia cara de Vermin Supreme, pero si lees su sitio web, puedes ver que es uno de las mejores opciones del montón. Es un abogado en el campo defensor y además trabaja para los derechos de los animales. Apoya el Green New Deal, Medicare para todos, renta básica universal, y parar ICE (Servicio de Control de Inmigración y Aduanas o, si prefieres, la migra). Desde una perspectiva política, creo que sería un buen gobernador.

Aquí están mis opiniones de los demás, pero puedes leer todas los declaraciones de los candidatos en la Guía de declaración para candidatos.

  • Angelyne (sin preferencia de partido): Mira, Angelyne es claramente una trabajadora sexual intentando incrementar sus ventas, y respeto esto, pero no quiero que ella sea gobernadora. Aunque esta declaración de su sitio web la hace una opción atractiva: “By sheer virtue of Angelyne being governor, all citizens will rise to their higher self.” Traducido: Través la virtud pura de Angelyne siendo gobernadora, todos los ciudadanos se elevarán a su yo superior.” Tal vez podamos descubrir otra ruta para ser nuestros yos superiores.
  • Holly L. Baade (Democrática): Estoy de acuerdo con las políticas pero el tono tiene un aire de “no veo la raza de una persona” y un feminismo de blancas que no me gusta.
  • Heather Collins (Partido Verde): No ofrece ningunos enlaces a sitios u otra información. Todo lo que sabemos es lo que dice en su declaración “Partido Verde. Inmigrante y propietaria de pequeña empresa.” No es bastante para ser gobernadora.
  • John R. Drake (Democrática): Drake no se ve que tenga un día más que 20 años, lo que no intrínsecamente lo descalifica para ser gobernador, pero es una batalla de cuesta arriba para mostrarnos por qué es una buena opción para gobernar una de las economías más grandes del mundo. Dicho esto, sus políticas me parecen buenas y estoy segura que podría ser peor. Además, tengo que agradecerle por señalar en Twitter que los candidatos tienen que pagar por palabra por sus declaraciones. Espero que se presente como candidato para un cargo local después de esta elección.
  • James G. Hanink (sin preferencia de partido calificado): El sitio web de Hanink dice que su partido (su partido no calificado es realmente el “American Solidarity Party of California” o Partido de Solidaridad Americana de California) “trabaja para anular Roe v. Wade.” Jódete. ¡No!
  • Patrick Kilpatrick (Democrática): Su sitio web dice que es un defensor de políticas “pro negocios” y uno de sus asuntos más importantes es que la producción de películas regrese al estado. Es algo extraño en que fijarse. Creo que la política ya es bastante pro negocios.
  • Michael Loebs (sin preferencia de partido calificado): El partido no calificado de Loebs es el Partido Nacional de California, fundado en 2015. Loebs tiene muchas buenas políticas como apoyo para la renta básica universal y Medicare para todos, pero no creo que provea bastantes detalles para entender que quiere hacer como gobernador. Dicho esto, no creo que sea una opción mala.
  • Denis Lucey (sin preferencia de partido): Su declaración es extremadamente ridícula y tiene una onda de “that happened” (claro, eso pasó). Es un candidato quien no está preocupado por elaborar un sitio web.
  • Jeremiah “Jeremy” Marciniak (sin preferencia de partido): El enlace que Marciniak provee en su declaración dirige a una página de Facebook que no dice nada. Por lo mismo, no lo votaré.
  • Jacqueline McGowan (Democrática): Su plataforma entera trata del cannabis, pero no veo nada aquí del asunto más importante en relación a la marihuana legal: soltar a los prisioneros con condenas bajas ligadas a la hierba.
  • Adam Papagan (sin preferencia de partido): Papagan dice que se presenta como candidato para “desmitificar el proceso político a través de compartir cada paso para ser candidato,” lo cual es un proyecto genial e importante. Sin embargo, no lo votaré.
  • Dennis Richter (sin preferencia de partido): El sitio web de Richter es solo un enlace a una revista socialista que se llama The Militant (El militante). Aunque soy partidaria de la causa socialista, no me interesan personas quienes no me dicen sus propias opiniones y no hacen el esfuerzo de crear un sitio.
  • Brandon M. Ross (Democrática): No me gusta la declaración de Ross. Es una biografía y habla de su familia y educación y de ser un cirujano estético seguido de su ruina trágica debido a las drogas. Se describe como un demócrata moderado quien ha hecho un “resurgimiento,” y las dos son cosas que no me interesan.
  • Daniel Watts (Democrática): El sitio web de Watts solo habla de sus políticas de la universidad pública gratuita y los derechos de la libertad de expresión. Estoy de acuerdo con él en lo referente a la universidad gratuita pero no me gusta que no dice nada de otras políticas. También estoy desconfiada del tema de “la libertad de expresión,” porque la mayoría de las personas que habla mucho de esta, están, en realidad, enojadas de que alguien las llamó un pendejo.

¡Que divertido fue! Si encuentras esta guía útil, ¡por favor compártala con tus amigos! Si quieres ver la versión de mi guía en inglés, aquí está.

Voter Guide: 2021 California Gubernatorial Recall Election

black text on light-blue background reads: California Recall Election To-Do List: 1 Mail or drop off your ballot on or before September 14. 2 Vote no on the recall. 3 Vote for a replacement governor even if you vote no on the recall. My pick for governor: Joel Ventresca

For the second time this century, California is holding an election to recall the governor. I was 17 during the recall of Governor Davis and what I remember from that election is it seemed like a joke that Arnold Schwarzenegger would become governor. Here we are again with a bunch of apparently jokey candidates and many of them would probably do much worse for us than Schwarzenegger. It feels surreal to have another recall election. The number of candidates is overwhelming. The good news is I am here to help.

Reminders and Resources for California Voters

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on politics or government. I’m just a person who’s good at reading and looking things up. You can use this as a starting point for your own decision-making. If you’re already exhausted and you trust me, you can vote how I vote. If you think I’m a dumb idiot, you can vote the opposite of how I vote. Vote how you want, but please vote.

The Ballot

This ballot has just two questions.

Should Gavin Newsom be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?

My vote: No

A “no” vote is a vote to keep Gavin Newsom as governor.

Here’s the thing. It only takes 1.5 million signatures to submit a petition to recall the governor. There are 39.5 million people in California. We’re voting on this because of less than 4 percent of Californians want it.

This election cost the State $276 million, which I find ironic given that the pro-recall camp thinks Newsom’s use of funds is a reason to recall him. I checked out the Recall Gavin Newsom website to see exactly why they want to recall him. They’ve thoughtfully listed some important issues under a page called What Are Your Whys? (editor’s note: please get an editor). The first issue on their list is the incident of Newsom eating at the French Laundry at the peak of the pandemic and not wearing a mask. Granted, this was a ridiculous error for Newsom to make, but it’s not a good reason to recall him. Also near the top of their list is “extreme government overreach – massive executive orders – acting w/o legislature,” which, considering most of the pro-recall crowd consists of Trump supporters, it’s hard to believe that they actually care about “government overreach;” they only disagree with the use of executive orders for things they don’t want. They object to “mandatory mail-in voting” and “on-going shutdowns.” Voting by mail isn’t mandatory, you can still vote in person. As for the shutdowns, if you can’t understand why we need to stay home to stop the spread of a deadly pandemic, I don’t know what to say at this point.

I’m not going to respond to all the reasons the pro-recall crowd has for wanting to recall Newsom because it seems clear that they’re mad about the pandemic and the actions the state government has taken to keep Californians safe. The L.A. Times has an interesting analysis of who signed the recall petition showing that the counties with the most signers were those who were pro-Trump and had relatively low numbers of coronavirus cases. People in these rural areas think the steps we’re taking to slow the spread of coronavirus are excessive because there aren’t any people out there to get sick!

The real problem if the recall succeeds is the likelihood that we will get a governor who very few Californians voted for. There are so many candidates and the Democratic Party is not recommending a replacement for fear that people will vote yes on the recall because they prefer someone else to Newsom. Meanwhile, Republicans could unite around a particular candidate (something they’re good at!), and we could really have a California governor who thinks there should be no minimum wage and who opposes abortion.

Finally, California is scheduled to vote on a new governor in 2022 anyway. If Californians recall Newsom, the replacement will serve for barely a year. Why not wait instead of spending a bunch of taxpayer money on a vote-by-mail election that the pro-recall crowd fundamentally opposes? Nothing about this makes sense.

Candidates to succeed Gavin Newsom as Governor if he is recalled

My vote: Joel Ventresca

Even if you don’t want to recall Newsom, it’s important to pick someone to be the governor if the recall passes. This is your only chance to vote on a replacement governor who will serve until we vote for a new one in 2022. If you vote no on the recall, you still need to pick a governor candidate in case the recall passes!

Why Joel Ventresca?

Joel Ventresca is my pick because he has a clear platform. He has experience managing large organizations and has run for office before in San Francisco. Ventresca supports raising the minimum wage to $16 an hour, ending mass incarceration, stopping fracking and oil drilling, and making elections publicly funded. This is all really great stuff that would normally not make it onto a California gubernatorial candidate’s platform, but we’re living in chaotic times and some very progressive agendas are on the ballot.

Why Are the Candidates So Weird?

There are 46 candidates on the ballot and none of them are prominent democrats (Newsom has discouraged Democrats from running for fear of incentivizing the recall like Democrats did in 2003). I read about each of the Democratic/no party preference/other party candidates. I dismissed any Republicans outright because, if you’re still a republican after four years of Trump, there’s no way I want you governing. I have also dismissed Libertarians because I find libertarianism selfish.

Before I go into some details, please enjoy this collage of the nuttiest candidate statements in the voter guide.

a collage of 7 screenshots of gubernatorial candidate names andn statements. Each have a weird photo or weird statement (or both) such as simply "Love U," Search YouTube" or "Can you dig it?" for three of the candidates.
a crowded field of weirdos

After laughing about these statements, I learned from John Drake’s twitter that it costs $25 per word when printing a statement in the Voter Information Guide. This sounded too ridiculous to make up, but I wanted to verify it. On page three of the Candidate Statement Guidelines Gubernatorial Replacement Candidates, there it is.

Text from a PDF reads "Payment for candidate statement: The fee for a candidate statement to be included in the state Voter Information Guide for the California Gubernatorial Recall Election is $25.00 per word, not to exceed $6,250.00 (250 words).
And we thought the candidates were just being weird!

This means the candidates with the longest statements have the most money to throw around! Some of these shorter statements seem to be strategic efforts to get attention without spending a lot of money, which makes a lot more sense. This puts the candidates’ statements in a new light.

What about the Rest of the Candidates?

If you don’t like Ventresca, my second choice is Dan Kapelovitz (yes, the “can you dig it?” guy). Kapelvitz’s picture and statement make you think he’s some kind of Vermin Supreme knock-off, but if you look at his website, he’s actually one of the better candidates in the bunch. He’s a criminal defense attorney who also works in animal rights. He supports a green new deal, Medicare for all, universal basic income, and stopping ICE. From a policy perspective, I think he would be an good governor.

Here are my opinions about everyone else. Note that you can read all of the candidate’s statements in the Official Voter Information Guide.

  • Angelyne (no party preference): Look, Angelyne is clearly a sex worker trying to drum up some business, and I respect that, but I don’t want her to be governor. Although this statement from her website does make her a tempting choice: “By sheer virtue of Angelyne being governor, all citizens will rise to their higher self.” Perhaps we can find another path to our higher selves.
  • Holly L. Baade (democratic): The policies are all things I agree with but the tone is kind of an “I don’t see color,” white-woman feminism and I don’t want that as the governor.
  • Heather Collins (green): She offers no links to websites or other information. All we know is what’s in her statement, “Green Party. Immigrant Small Business Owner,” which is not enough to make me want her for governor.
  • John R. Drake (democratic): Drake looks not a day over 20, which doesn’t inherently disqualify him but it is an uphill battle for him to show us why he’s a good choice to govern one of the world’s largest economies. That said, his policies seem good and I’m sure we could do worse. I also have to thank him for pointing out on twitter that candidates have to pay by the word for their statements. I hope he runs for a local office after this.
  • James G. Hanink (no qualified party preference): Hanink’s website says that his party (the non-qualified party preference listed is actually the American Solidarity Party of California) “is working for the overturn of Roe v Wade.” No. Fuck you.
  • Patrick Kilpatrick (democratic): His website says he’s an advocate for “pro-business” policies and one of his top issues is returning film and media production to the state, which is a weird thing to focus on. I think politics are already pro-business enough.
  • Michael Loebs (no qualified party preference): Loebs’ unqualified party is the California National Party, which was founded in 2015. He has a lot of good policies like supporting universal basic income and Medicare for all, but I don’t think he provides enough detail for me to really understand what he wants to do as governor. That said, I don’t think he’s a bad choice.
  • Denis Lucey (no party preference): His statement is extremely ridiculous to me and gives me a “that happened” vibe. This is a candidate who can’t be bothered to make a website.
  • Jeremiah “Jeremy” Marciniak (no party preference): The link Marciniak provides in his bio is to a facebook page that doesn’t say anything. So, no, I will not vote for him.
  • Jacqueline McGowan (democratic): Her whole platform is about cannabis and yet I see nothing here about the most important legal-weed issue: releasing people with low-level weed convictions from prison.
  • Adam Papagan (no party preference): Papagan says he’s running to “demystify the political process by sharing every step of the way what it takes to be a candidate,” which is a really cool and important project. However, I won’t be voting for him.
  • Dennis Richter (no party preference): Although I am down with the socialist cause, Richter’s website is just a link to a socialist magazine called The Militant. I’m not interested in someone who won’t tell me their own opinions and can’t be bothered to make a website.
  • Brandon M. Ross (democratic): I don’t like this Ross’ statement. It’s his life story about his family and education and being a cosmetic surgeon followed by a tragic downfall because of doing drugs. He describes himself as a “moderate” democrat who has made a “comeback,” both things I’m not interested in.
  • Daniel Watts (democratic): Watt’s website only talks about his policies on affordable college and student’s free speech rights. I’m with him on the affordable education but I don’t like that he doesn’t discuss any other issues. Also I’m suspicious of the “free speech” discussion because most people who go on about being pro-free speech mean that they’re mad that people called them an asshole.

Well, that was fun! If you found this helpful, please share it with your friends. I will be sharing a Spanish-language version of this guide in the next week.

Two Weeks in the Life: August 21, 2021

from left to right: my dad, Kirk, and me, smiling at the camera
a rare family photo

It’s been a busy two weeks. Last weekend, my dad visited to deliver me a gift. A little while ago, he told me he was getting into woodworking and asked if I wanted something, so I said I would like a cedar chest for my knits. What’s really cool about this is he repurposed a toy chest that I had when I was a kid. He sanded off all the stickers I’d covered it with, refinished it, lined it with cedar, and added some handles. It looks great and now I have a nice spot for all my knitted items.

I was impressed with myself for remembering to take a photo together. It’s something we always forget to do, so here it is. And here’s the chest!

me, smiling at the camera, wearing new glasses that have a teal and reddish frame
new, mind-altering glasses

In other news I finally got my new glasses to reduce the effects of binocular vision dysfunction. I felt weird for a day or two—I had a new headache to replace the usual one for a little while—but now I’m feeling good. I’m already having an easier time reading, using the computer, and driving. I normally tilt my head to the right when I’m driving or computering and I’ve noticed I’m doing it and that it’s now just an uncomfortable position. I’m really happy that these are making my life easier. I’m also three weeks into vision therapy and that’s helping too.

Consuming

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

Books and Other Words

I actually read some books! Not the least because of the pressure of reading and returning library books on time. What can I say, I work well under pressure. First was The Outside by Ada Hoffman. This is a lovecraftian horror in space featuring an autistic protagonist. At first, I thought Hoffman was laying on the autism a little thick, but then I looked her up and realized that she herself is autistic and she curates a list called Autistic Book Party, keeping track of books with autistic characters and rating how well they represent the reality of autism. I did like this book, even though I don’t always enjoy creepy shit. I like space and it’s set in an interesting world where cybernetic “gods” ruling humanity. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

I also read Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner. People have been raving about this memoir of a mixed-race Korean-American woman chronicling her relationship with her mother and the grief of losing her to cancer. I thought it was just okay, which does feel like an asshole thing to say in the face of someone laying bare all their sadness over losing a parent. I admit I may not be the target audience for this book—my mom is still alive and I’ve never had to struggle with being mixed-race in America. Zauner’s relationship with her mom and with Korean culture centers around food and a lot of the book reads, at times, like a menu. I also felt the book was perhaps too personal, like a diary more than a memoir.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

  • I don’t want to be like a family with my coworkers via The Cut. I hate it when a workplace tries to force the “we’re a family” narrative. No, we’re not, we’re coworkers.
  • Why Afghanistan’s tribes beat the United States via Foreign Policy. Like most people, I’ve been watching the news about Afghanistan. I was trying to figure out why things collapsed so quickly. This article offers one of the better explanations. Afghanistan’s society is organized according to tribal alliances, something the U.S. didn’t account for when trying to support the Afghan government.
  • Slack and Zoom were distracting our teams. Here’s how we regained focus via Fast Company. I really like this approach to work. The company profiled here said they recognized that people who think creatively need uninterrupted time to work without meetings or expectations that they answer emails. They set aside certain blocks of time where the project manager types weren’t allowed to schedule meetings or otherwise be annoying. I wish my company would do this.
  • Why CAPTCHA pictures are so unbearable depressing via OneZero. See the world through the AI’s eyes.

TV and Music

As of last week I have watched all the episodes of The Golden Girls, a feat that has taken me the better part of the year. I really grew to love this show and its depiction of older women living together as friends and becoming a family because that’s how strongly I feel about my friends too. So I was very upset with the final episode (do we need a spoiler warning for a show that ended in 1992?). The show ends with Dorothy finally finding a man who isn’t her yutz of an ex-husband, getting married, and riding off into the sunset. She has known this man for two months. She trades years of sisterhood for a man she has known for two months! The whole crux of the show is that you can make your own family, a point emphasized in the episodes right before, when Rose goes to the hospital and the girls are insulted at the hospital staff insisting they’re not her family and refusing to let them visit her. The girls discuss how they made a pact to take care of each other no matter what. Now Dorothy leaves for a man? This show is visionary on many levels—older women having agency, addressing social issues that no other shows have—but still ends with a woman getting married and leaving everyone she knows and loves. I did not expect to react so strongly to the Golden Girls finale but here I am.

Rampant Consumerism

Burlap and Barrel spice club shipment. Spices are arranged in a small box with dividers. Included are: jars of taurus mountain thyme, drumstick lemongrass, black lime, a grinder of wild timur pepper and a dropper of biters.
august spice club

Sometimes I go through periods where it seems like all I’m doing is buying stuff. It’s not necessarily bad, but it feels like everything comes up at once. Last weekend I bought new shoes for dance class (tap and jazz, since the jazz shoes I bought online didn’t fit right and have already fallen apart), then there was this amazing opossum dress, and a bunch of kitten supplies. This week, my quarterly spice club subscription from Burlap & Barrel arrived. It’s got a lot of good stuff that I’m going to have to figure out how to use. Hopefully I discover some good, new recipes. If anyone has suggestions for lemongrass or black lime, please send them.

Making Things and Doing stuff

This week I went somewhere for the first time since the pandemic started, meeting up with my roller derby friend Magical Wheelism in San Francisco (here are some photos on instagram). It’s weird to think that this is the farthest I’ve been from home in a year and a half, but it is. It was extremely refreshing to look at different things and talk to a new person, plus I got to breathe non-smokey air all day. Truly a delight! We got to watch a lot of sea lion drama on Pier 39, plus we visited a psychedelic mirror maze, which was a lot more entertaining than I would have thought.

Kitchen Witchery

I’m still having fun with the Snacking Cakes cookbook, which I guess I need to buy since it will be due back at the library soon. I tried the vanilla cake and a spiced honey cake and both were tasty. I love that these are casual cake recipes with suggestions for adjusting each recipe depending on what you’re in the mood for.

Since my dad visited just a week before his birthday, we made some festive birthday foods. I made a yellow cake with chocolate whipped cream filling and chocolate icing (recipes from The Cake Book). I also made some Indian food: naan, saffron rice pilaf, Mughalai korma, and masar dal (lentils with garlic butter).

Cat Therapy

Last Friday, we met with a cat behavioral specialist to discuss Fritz peeing on the bed and what we can do about it. She had some good suggestions but a lot of it was way too intense for us, like feeding the cats wet food in small amounts six times per day and making homemade chicken broth to freeze into icy broth cubes for the cats to enjoy. It also felt, at times, like she was just here to sell us things since she sent us a giant list of products to buy afterwards. We bought a few things like a cleaning product called anti-icky-poo that’s supposed to actually get rid of the pee smell, even according to cat senses. We added another litter box to the mix (now we’re at four, but they only seem interested in two of them) but declined the suggestion of adding a litter box in the bedroom. So far, it seems to be helping but we haven’t let him be in the bedroom unobserved this week.

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.

A Week in the Life: August 8, 2021

This week started out annoying and kind of didn’t let up. The job search marches on, my will to leave strengthened by my boss telling me this week that she doesn’t really understand what I do but she thinks I am “underutilized.” She also asked me why I don’t want to be a proposal manager (for those who don’t know, I’m an editor), which, as Kirk put it, is like asking an accountant why they don’t want to be a marine biologist. I told her I felt disrespected by her from the start with her saying that anyone can edit and no one on our team should be a specialist. She said “I’m sorry if you were offended.” Neat. Get me out of here.

I started vision therapy this week, which is good overall, but also kind of annoying since I’m trying to train my eyes to do things they do not want to do. It’s tiring. There is a lot of work around peripheral vision and developing awareness of what the eyes are doing, what hurts, etc. I had to do tasks like cover one eye (I was provided with an eye patch lol), look in a mirror, and turn my head until I can just barely see my uncovered eye. This is surprisingly uncomfortable. I’m also supposed to repeat the activities at home and take notes, which is good because that is how I’m going to improve my eyes but it is uncomfortable and tiring to do. Only 31 weeks to go.

Consuming

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

Books and Other Words

I have, once again, read no books. My goal to read 100 books this year is slipping away but it’s okay because time is imaginary and numbers are arbitrary.

Meanwhile, on the internet I’ve been keeping up on the discourse around working remotely:

  • Companies want remote workers in all states but 1 via The Atlantic. Colorado passed a law that companies have to list the salary range on job postings, which is awesome. However, this makes it a lot harder for companies to take advantage of people. Some job postings now exclude Colorado residents from applying so that they don’t have to make salary expectations public. This is obnoxious for a lot of reasons, but it’s surprising that no one is worried about how big of a waste of everyone’s time it is. I’ve gone through many interviews only to discover that the pay range is way too low for me at the end. We could have skipped all this garbage instead, but corporations don’t want to play nice.
  • Why managers fear a remote-work future via The Atlantic. From the article: “Remote work lays bare many brutal inefficiencies and problems that executives don’t want to deal with because they reflect poorly on leaders and those they’ve hired. Remote work empowers those who produce and disempowers those who have succeeded by being excellent diplomats and poor workers, along with those who have succeeded by always finding someone to blame for their failures. It removes the ability to seem productive (by sitting at your desk looking stressed or always being on the phone), and also, crucially, may reveal how many bosses and managers simply don’t contribute to the bottom line.”
  • Why weight loss goals for a wedding/office/beach body never work via Vice. It’s annoying but not surprising that people are worried about their “office bod” with the threat of having to work in an office again.

Rampant Consumerism

I spent over $4,000 on vision therapy (that’s for the full series, not just this week. Don’t panic), and I never want to spend money again.

Making Things and Doing stuff

There are some things I’ve made and stuff I’ve done.

Knitting and Crafts

I’m excited to announce that I’ve finished a knitting project! I’ve been working on the Angostura sweater vest for a while now and I’m glad to be done. It’s, of course, too hot to wear it right now but I’m prepared to look good in the future. I learned two new techniques for this: a three-needle bind off (to create the shoulder seam between connecting the front and back) and mattress stitch, which is definitely an act of witchcraft because you can hardly tell there’s a seam once it’s done. I knitted this with about 8.5 skeins of Juniper Moon Farms Fourteen in goldspire.

Moving It

My ballet class, I think I mentioned previously, has been getting more intense but I’m enjoying it. My teacher is starting to point out things where I should be pushing myself more (she said she knew I was capable of holding my passe higher, for example). I am really excited that we started learning grand allegro (aka big ol’ leaps). I rarely get very excited about anything so this was a lot of fun for me. In class yesterday, my teacher said I was bringing the right level of energy, something I’ve probably never been told before so that felt great.

My dance studio announced that they are adding a tap class for adults and I thought that sounded fun so I signed up. If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be taking three dance classes a week (jazz is my other class), I definitely would have been confused, but I’m having fun now. The tap class is the same night that I had outdoor roller derby practice the last month. My initial thought was, that sounds fun but I have derby. Then I realized that dance class sounds a lot better to me than roller derby right now, so I am taking a hiatus from roller derby. I’ve gone skating a few times in the last couple months and wasn’t really feeling it. I’ve decided to stick with what feels good for now, but it was a hard decision because roller derby really feels like a community and I am afraid of losing that. As much as I’m enjoying dance class, it’s not a community like derby is.

Kitchen Witchery

I tried a few new recipes this week. First, I wanted to use a bunch of corn so I made this corn and bacon fettuccini, which was tasty because it’s a bunch of creamy pasta. Can’t go wrong. Similarly, in an effort to use some zucchini, I made these zucchini brownies. Because of the moisture in the zucchini, I thought it was more cake-like than brownie-like, but it doesn’t really matter because they were good and chocolatey and they are gone now. On Friday, I got the cookbook Snacking Cakes from the library and immediately made the sesame cake with a tahini glaze. I already like this cookbook because, for each recipe, it lists a few variations. This makes it easy to use what you have on hand and keep things exciting. The cake was really good and I’m already plotting to try my next recipe.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. Fritz is having a good week because we finally decided to let him roam the house all night. We had been keeping him in a bedroom (well appointed with toys, food, and everything he needs) at night to give Huey a break and because he can’t be trusted not to pee in weird places. However, we realized he is generally peeing in inappropriate spots when we won’t let him go somewhere. So we were like, fuck it, and let him run free. It went surprisingly well. He has peed on the floor next to the litter box a few times but otherwise he has behaved well. He is a super cuddler and is spending most of the night with me in bed, which I obviously love. We have an appointment this week with a cat behavioral specialist to help us train him to pee where he’s supposed to, so hopefully that helps.

A Week in the Life: August 1, 2021

The main news of the week is that I had my follow-up with the optometrist. Their assessment showed that, yes, I do have binocular vision dysfunction, plus specific problems with saccadic and pursuit eye movements. This means my eyes struggle to aim at the same spot and focus on what’s there. The remedy for this has two parts. One, I ordered glasses with neurolens, which has some kind of fancy “contoured prism” that’s supposed to give me some immediate relief from headaches. Two, they recommended I go to 32 sessions of vision therapy, which I start this week.

I’m relieved that I do, in fact, have vision issues because there was a part of me, even after going through the whole evaluation, that was afraid they would find I’d made it all up and I feel bad for no reason. I’m not so relieved at how expensive this is. I can, fortunately, afford it, but getting insurance to cover any of this is a struggle. The lenses for my new glasses alone cost $700 (not including frams), and my vision insurance apparently doesn’t pay for neurolens. Vision insurance also doesn’t cover vision therapy (I, too, was perplexed), but they suggested I call my medical insurance to see if they cover it. Kaiser said they cover vision therapy only if one of their doctors says it’s medically necessary. I am concerned I’m going to get stuck on this quest because I’m sure the Kaiser optometrists are not experts in binocular vision dysfunction, but I have made an appointment with one and plan to show up with all my test results and beg them to say it’s medically necessary so I can get reimbursed. I would prefer to not pay over $4,000 out of pocket for vision therapy if I can avoid it.

I spent the rest of the week feeling like I was waiting. Waiting for new glasses to make my head feel better, waiting for a new job, waiting for summer to end. The glasses should get here within the next two weeks, but there’s no telling how long I’ll have to wait for a new job. I’ve noticed that companies are getting better (and faster) about sending rejection emails (thanks?). I haven’t gotten any interview requests lately, but I know it takes longer than a rejection. I know, more or less, when summer will end, but in the meantime, I am hot. Yes, I have air conditioning and it works, but still in the afternoons I don’t want to move or do anything. I also recently learned that being on anti-depressants, which I am for anxiety, can fuck with the body’s ability to regulate temperature. No wonder I’m so uncomfortable in summer.

Consuming

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

Books and Other Words

This may shock you: I didn’t finish any books this week. I barely read at all. See above re: heat and waiting. I didn’t feel like doing anything. However, here are some things I read on the internet:

  • “Don’t you work with old people?”: Many elder-care workers still refuse to get COVID-19 vaccine via ProPublica. So, here’s something that will make you mad: “only 59% of staff at the nation’s nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are fully or partially vaccinated.” I’m baffled that people can work in health care and still not want to be inoculated against a terrible virus. The woman profiled in the story said she isn’t getting vaccinated, despite working in a nursing home, because “It never made sense to … that the virus seemed to strike randomly, with some residents getting sick while others did not. She said she is not convinced the vaccine would change the odds.” I’d expect a little more scientific literacy from a health care worker but here we are.
  • The Master’s Trap, Part Three via Culture Study. Anne Helen Petersen is writing about how lots of students get pulled into expensive master’s degrees that don’t do much for them. I particularly resonated with this part of the story because it talks about how professors recommend grad school to their good students because it’s really all they know. When I was finishing my bachelor’s in Arabic, I really wanted to get into translation. There wasn’t a single person at my school who had advice for me.
  • The day the good internet died via The Ringer. Remember how great it used to be to follow all your favorite sites and have google reader compile it all in one place for you? The author of this essay places most of the blame for today’s shitty internet on google for killing google reader. She might be right.
  • From ports to rail yards, global supply lines struggle amid virus outbreaks in the developing world via The Washington Post. I find myself fascinated by coverage of our economy cracking under the pressure of the pandemic.

TV and Music

I’ve been trying to catch up on some iconic movies and, to that end, I watched Cabaret this week (do I need to say “spoilers” for a movie from 1972? I hope not). I was put off a bit by this movie at first because Liza Minelli’s character, Sally Bowles, is such a brat. It becomes clear through the movie that she’s insecure and probably feeling as beat down by creeping authoritarianism, as we all are, but it was still difficult. I enjoyed Michael York’s character Brian a lot more. He’s a bisexual man in 1930s Germany—the nerve! Do you, Brian! This is a man who will straight-up start a fist fight with a Nazi and agree to raise your kid even if it’s only (at most) a 50-50 chance that it belongs to him. The cabaret scenes themselves were pretty nuts, they definitely give me “musical theater when the world is crumbling around us” surreal vibes, which I’m sure is the point. The important thing is that at least now I know who Bob Fosse is.

Rampant Consumerism

I spent $1,500 on two pairs of glasses this week and, frankly, never want to spend money again.

Making Things and Doing stuff

Yesterday, we went axe throwing and then bowling (there’s a place in Elk Grove that has both in the same building!) with my friend Abby. It was fun but a bit of a bummer because the venue has very loud music everywhere. I had been hoping to throw axes and bowl, while holding some conversation in between, but that was basically impossible. The bowling alley had music videos playing on the wall behind the pins, which, I found, made it quite difficult to bowl. It was nice to do something and see people, but I wonder why so many public spaces are designed around never being alone with your thoughts.

Languages

Things are feeling good on the language-learning front despite the summer doldrums. Spanish is going along and I’m feeling more and more ready for the DELE this fall. I’ve been having fun with my writing assignments. For some reason, that seems to be where I channel a lot of my creativity. My teacher has been telling me I need to start publishing, which is a lovely compliment. Icelandic is going well too. I’ve been studying vocabulary most days using the Drops app. I had my first real lesson with my new teacher yesterday and it went well. We’re working through a grammar-heavy textbook as a review, but I’m learning a lot of new stuff too because he is filling in more details about some of the basics, so that’s great.

Kitchen Witchery

a skillet of braised potatoes and chickpeas, topped with bits of green onion and parsley
potatoes and chickpeas

I took another light week in the kitchen because, again, I do not enjoy summer. I did try this skilled-braised spiced potatoes and chickpeas dish, which came out better than I thought. Sometimes I make food and I know, on paper, it should taste good but then I see it and I’m like ehhhhh, but this one was really good. I also made a batch of sour cream rye muffins (but forgot to take a photo). I liked them but Kirk didn’t. Do with that information what you will.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.

A Week in the Life: July 25, 2021

This week was tiring. Now that I’ve got a name and a reason for my eye/headache/dizziness troubles (binocular vision dysfunction, if you missed it previously), I’ve been keenly aware of my head hurting and my eyes getting tired. I think I’ve had a headache in the background for a long time now and just tuned it out because what else can you do. I’m looking forward to my follow-up with the optometrist tomorrow. I’m supposed to get the results of my evaluation and order fancy prism glasses.

I’m also tired of looking for a new job. I’d be so happy if I never had to apply for a job again. I’ve applied for some interesting ones, like a technical writer for the Wikimedia Foundation, and some that don’t seem that thrilling but that’s okay. I had an interview for a really good gig a couple of weeks ago, but ultimately didn’t get the job, although the manager offered to take me as a freelancer. Trading full-time work for freelance doesn’t seem great though. It would be easy to get a new job if I wanted to be a proposal manager—I get recruiters emailing me proposal manager jobs several times a week. I’m not currently a proposal manger (though I work on proposals) and I don’t want to be one. I really want to get more into technical writing, which is stuff like documentation, writing instructions, that kind of thing. There are a lot of jobs out there, but so many of them are for intangible “cloud solutions” or for “defense” contractors, which I am obviously not interested in. The good (and bad?) news is that my new boss has basically been ignoring me all month. In one of our first meetings with her, she said that she thought everyone on our team could edit, as if anyone can do my job, which I consider to be pretty rude (and which kicked off the current job search). She has since not interacted with me at all, which is super weird behavior for management. In any case, I’m still employed and the job search continues.

Consuming

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

Books and Other Words

I was excited to read an advance copy of Monica Byrne’s new novel The Actual Star. I’ve been a Patron of hers for years since reading her first novel, The Girl in the Road, which deeply resonated with me. Bryne is always telling her Patreon supporters that we make it possible to do what she does, so she wanted to let us read the advance copies of the new book. To share it as widely as possible, each person mails it to the next one on the list after reading. This generosity mirrors the ethos of the La Viaja religion in the novel. The Actual Star takes place in three timelines set in 1012, 2012, and 3012. By 3012, after the world has been, frankly, beat to shit by global warming and the dominant religion is La Viaja, in which followers wander the globe, embracing everyone they meet as family, never settling down or hoarding resources. Viajeras search for Xibalba (the Mayan underwold), in honor of Saint Leah, who was spirited away to Xibalba while exploring a sacred cave in Belize in 2012 and whose ideas are the foundation of La Viaja. Each timeline focuses on characters at an inflection point when the world is changing and how the characters accept or reject that change. I liked this book a lot and I really enjoy Bryne’s ability to imagine the kind of future that we might have.

Finna by Nino Cirpri was a short, fun read. It focuses on two minimum-wage workers in a version of Ikea who have to hope through parallel universes to find a customer who goes missing from their store. It highlights relationships, anxiety, and the shittiness of capitalism through adventure.

TV and Music

This might be hard to believe, but I watched two whole movies this week! It’s not as exciting as it sounds because both movies were just okay. I watched Rough Night, mostly because I love Kate McKinnon (and Ilana Glazer), in which a bachelorette party goes terribly awry when they accidentally kill a man. I accidentally did a Scarlet Johansson double feature since she’s the bachelorette in Rough Night and the main character in Black Widow, which we watched last night. Black Widow was passably entertaining, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. It is, however, completely inexplicable that Marvel released it now when it seems to take place in the middle of all the other Marvel movies. The plot seems to take a ham-fisted “the villain was patriarchy all along!” stance, which is cool but hollow considering Black Widow has been in every Marvel movie but just now got her own stand-alone entry into the canon.

Rampant Consumerism

five bags of about 12 toy mice each
a wealth of toy mice

Fritz is obsessed with these toy mice that have something inside that make a rattling noise. So when I ordered some cat supplies this week I thought, I’ll buy a few packets since the mice disappear quickly (where they go remains a mystery). I thought I was buying packets of three mice. Kirk opened the package and was like “wow you really stocked up.” I won’t say mistakes were made, but this was a lot more mice than I intended to buy. I think we’re now set for life on rattle-mice. I’m tempted to throw them all at once in a bacchanal of toy mice, but I guess I’m going to pace myself.

Making Things and Doing stuff

There are some things I’ve made and stuff I’ve done.

Moving It

I went to a roller dance class this week, which was fun and different! I don’t usually love skating at the rink because I’m like, well, I’m going in a circle, what now. I’m hoping roller dance skills will make it a little more interesting next time I go skating. It was fun to learn some basics and I was surprised (but maybe shouldn’t have been) to learn that some of the moves are based on non-roller dance moves. I was amused because one of the moves we learned was called a “six step,” which is something I just learned in my jazz dance class a few weeks ago.

In my actual dance class, my ballet teacher has decided it’s time to introduce some harder moves. Class has really kicked my ass the last few weeks but in a good way. I’ve been taking ballet class for a year now and I am pleased with how much I’ve enjoyed it. It’s good to know there’s still a lot more to learn and a lot of room to improve.

Kitchen Witchery

I tried making pasta again last Sunday because I’ve decided this is the season of learning how to make good pasta. The pasta came out better than I expected considering it got all sticky after running it through the roller. I thought it would come out in a big clump when I cooked it. Fortunately, cooking the noodles actually separated them. Sure, there were still a lot of irregularly shaped ones, but it was fine for eating. I used the noodles for this lemony pasta with cauliflower and bacon, which was really good.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. Fritz is currently obsessed with sitting in the windows in our bedroom, to the point that he felt the need to take his revenge (as I see it) by peeing on the bed after I closed them one morning when he was still trying to observe the outdoors. I was pretty aggravated since he hadn’t peed on the bed since we go the new bedding. He’s been surprisingly aggressive about peeing for a neutered kitten. If anyone has advice for how to encourage him not to be an asshole, I’d love to hear it.