A Week in the Life: October 18, 2019

Well we have now lived through two weeks of this shower remodeling process and I have to admit I am about ready to do some murders. I’m so stressed and annoyed by it all. On Monday, we were scheduled to get a hot mop (the waterproofing process, which turns out to be coating the floor of the shower area with tar), but the hot mop guy showed up, declared the shower not ready for him and left. Then I had another guy here for half the next day doing I don’t know what. The hot mop guy returned the day after that. He did a fine job, I suppose, but dragging a bunch of hot tar into the house creates quite a stink and the house was super smokey. I was displeased. The tar has been drying since but yesterday we had the building inspector come to sign off on it all. Unfortunately, he concluded he could not approve the job because the contractors had installed the wrong type of window; it was supposed to be made of tempered glass.

Now I have a tar-filled shower stall and an un-tempered window. I haven’t been able to use the master bathroom for two weeks and my whole house is covered in dust. However, what really set me off was, this afternoon, two guys showed up to drop of materials. They left the front door open when they entered and I told them we have to close the doors because I have cats. I directed them to the bathroom and suggested it might be easier for them to haul everything in through the backdoor. These fools propped the screen open and left the door wide open. I went back to check on the progress only to find a clear path of escape. Luckily, my cats hate people and were hiding, but they could have gotten out! I am furious. To top this off, they set one of their bits of equipment in the still-sticky tar. I went to move it and it pulled off a bit of tar in the process. How fucking deficient do you have to be to set something in WET TAR. Reader, I’ve had it. I can’t wait for this shit to end. My shower better look flawless and be leak-free by the end of next week.

Consuming

Here are some things I read, watched, or bought this week.

Reading

highlighted quote "It is difficult for me not to hate men"
true sentiments

I finished reading The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls and I am still recommending it to everyone. I highlighted this line “It is difficult for me not to hate men” because it’s like, yeah, it really is difficult. So many of them are acting like fucking jackals every day and then we’re just supposed to pretend nothing is wrong? Even when they’re leaving our doors open and tempting our cats to escape? It is difficult.

Man-hating aside, I read a lot of good stuff on the internet this week.

Watching

I may have mentioned this channel in a previous post, but I can’t stop watching these low-key insane videos on the MepearlA youtube channel. For those who don’t know, it’s the opossum lady. The subtle, weird humor of it is just amazing. She’s an inspiration.

I’m also still watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer because that’s how I roll. I will say that Giles wielding a chainsaw is also an inspiration. I take inspiration from many places.

Rampant Consumerism

an olympus camera
the new camera

In anticipation of our Peru trip, I bought a new camera. I mostly rely on my phone for pictures these days, although I do have a DSLR and a 10-something-year-old point-and-shoot camera. I hate hauling a big camera on trips though because I just don’t feel that strongly about photography. I use it when I want a really nice picture but otherwise leave it at home.

I picked this Olympus camera because it is supposed to produce pretty high-quality images, it’s water proof, and can be dropped from about six feet without shattering. Seems ideal for adventuring and for my clumsy self.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

Something fun about doing things and sharing them on instagram is that you make instagram friends who just like what you do. This week’s things got a few new people talking to me. It turns out that one of my followers is actually a former student from my painful years of teaching middle school. She messaged me this week to talk about my bread (see below) and then asked if I used to be a teacher and, when I said yes, she said she thought I was her English teacher. It turns out she was right! I hadn’t been able to recognize her although she looked familiar. I had just assumed it was the account of some derby person I’d encountered. I joked that I hope I hadn’t traumatized her and she replied that, on the contrary, she still talks to one of my other former students about how much they liked my class. So that was really nice to hear because my own memory of teaching middle school was that it was stressful and I hope I encouraged some of them but really the most I can hope for is that I was neutral and didn’t harm anyone. But eight years on, at least two of my former students are okay.

Derby Life

I had fun announcing our home team game on Saturday with one of my favorite announcers, Sexy Beast. He told me after we were underway that it would be his last game and he is retiring! I am upset because he’s just so much fun to work with, but I get it. I’m glad I got him to come visit us in Sacramento while I could. We had some technical difficulties with our receiver, which resulted in at least 15 minutes of us being off mic, sitting around and chatting. It was probably more fun for us, if less great from a game production standpoint.

My new glasses finally came in and now I have all the luxury of peripheral vision while playing. It’s a little weird though because it’s almost too much visual information. My brain is still adjusting, but hopefully it will get adjusted quickly. This weekend, our C team, Kodiak Attack has a game in Roseville. It should be a lot of fun. We have a few skaters playing their first inter-league game so they are excited and the enthusiasm is contagious.

Knitting and Crafts

me modeling the freshly knit hooded caplet
unblocked hooded caplet. focus not required

Knitting! It’s chilly so I am mainly interested in nesting on the couch and knitting, so that’s what I did almost all weekend. I finished up the hooded caplet for my mom (Christmas spoiler, lol) and got a request from my friend Mandy to make one for her too. I am getting my money’s worth out of this pattern, that’s for sure. After finishing the caplet, I started on a pumpkin hat for Mandy’s baby, Ronni, who will, in the tradition of babies everywhere, be dressed as a pumpkin for Halloween. Luckily I had some extra orange yarn lying around so I was able to save myself a trip to the yarn store. Well, save myself a trip and the money of buying more yarn I won’t use for another year.

I have also started doing a little research into where to buy the good yarn when I visit Cusco next month. I really want to get a little bit of vicuña yarn, but that is expensive so I want to plan ahead and know where to get the good shit. Suggestions welcome if you happen to have this highly specific information!

Kitchen Witchery

I still have our last cookbook club selection, The Art of Simple Food, on loan from the library so I opted to have my own personal second round of cookbook club. I made Alice Waters’ gingersnap recipe, but cut it out using the ripndip cookie cutter that my mom bought for me. Because who doesn’t need cookies shaped like cats giving the middle finger? We all need this. They are good cookies but not my favorite gingersnap, but that’s okay. Cookie diversity is important. I also tried the recipe for white bean and butternut squash soup, which turned out better than I expected. I thought it would be fine but plain, but it was actually really tasty. I tried a new bread recipe to accompany the soup, although this was from The Bread Bible, so not part of my mini-cookbook club effort. This “hearth bread” came out pretty good, but I know I can do it better. I’m going to try again this weekend and see if I can nail the bake and be patient enough to let it rise more. I have been inspired by the Great British Baking Show and I want to try slashing a spiderweb pattern onto a bread for Halloween, but first I want to get the bread right.

Finally, some cat photos for your nerves. With the colder weather, Viola has enjoyed hanging out and being cozy with me. We sat on the couch watching the Great British Baking Show and knitting (well, Viola didn’t knit anything) almost all day last Saturday.

A Week in the Life: October 11, 2019

When I was 19, I got kicked out of Brigham Young University and had to move back in with my dad. That’s a story for another day, but I will tell you that, at the time, I was profoundly unhappy. I thought I had failed and my life was over because I am the high-achieving type and for a long time, college had been the end-all-be-all. Even though my dad wasn’t excited about the idea, I adopted a cat when I moved back in. I named him Khan, but nobody else called him that. I, of course, moved away again for school and Khan stayed with my dad and my sister Mia. He eventually became Mia’s cat. The cat formerly known as Khan had a rough couple of years despite Mia’s careful ministrations. On Monday, Mia called me to say he had passed. The news hit me much harder than I anticipated. He was there for me during a rough period and he has been there for Mia too. We’re devastated.

When I adopted him, the shelter said that, until recently, he had been housed with the feral cats because they didn’t realize he was used to people. I don’t know what kind of life he lived before we adopted him, but he must not have enjoyed it much. He never wanted to run outside. Even if I carried him out into the yard, he wasn’t interested. He knew how good he had it indoors. He used to sleep against the back of my knee. When I last visited Mia, he slept next to me on the air mattress. He will be remembered as a fine cat and he will be missed. Snuggle your pets while you can.

Consumerism

Here are some things I read or watched this week.

Reading

I didn’t read a lot this week because I had to read a lot for work and then my brain was too pudding-like to read much else. That said, I did start reading Mona Eltahawy‘s book The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls. This is the strongest work of feminism that I’ve read in some time. It’s aggressive and it’s perfect. I’m about halfway through it so far. I keep highlighting lines, which I am not normally much in the habit of doing (even with ebooks). Required reading for all.

As for internet reading:

  • On Nextdoor, the Homeless Are the Enemy via Medium. I like seeing people talk about the shortcomings of things I don’t like because it’s validating. Even though I have a house, I’ve resisted Nextdoor because it sounds like it’s fairly ridiculous. Turns out that defining the residents of a “neighborhood” as “people who own property in an area” is as limiting as you would expect.
  • The knitting community is reckoning with racism, via Vox. This article is not new but it was new to me this week. I follow a Spanish knitter named Sonia Masegosa and, on instagram this week, she mentioned several known racist knitters in the community and that she would no longer follow anyone who followed them. I follow a few knitters but had missed the recent push-back against racism so I, naturally, did a little investigating to find out what happened. This article provided some perspective.
  • 1880s party starters had their own version of Cards Against Humanity via Atlas Obscura. This one is just fun. We citizens of the present tend to think we have the market cornered on humor and irony, but we don’t. I thought this 19th century “Cards Against Humanity,” called “Peter Coddle’s Trip to New York” was pretty interesting and a good reminder that people in the past also liked to enjoy themselves.

Watching

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is now online so I’ve been watching it. My first impressions are that I love Bagga Chipz and The Vivenne. They’re just so funny and have so much personality. Also, I don’t know who writes the show and designs the challenges, but they are leaning way too hard on the monarchy, but perhaps that will fade as the show settles into itself.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

I spent a lot of this week in a manic state of editing. I got assigned a huge proposal to review and then, less than an hour after finishing, the state that had put the bid out cancelled the proposal. Reader, I was displeased. Still, I did make some time for other things.

a screenshot of one of my tweets that says "Just changed 'manned' to 'staffed' in a work document. #EditingAgainstThePatriarchy"

Derby Life

I realized this week that I’m completely ready to take an off-season from derby. So I decided not to go to practice, with the exception of the practice I coached on Wednesday. Our new skaters are so nervous for their upcoming tryout, so we focused on skills for that. In my opinion, they have nothing to be nervous about, but I’m also not in charge. We concluded that I’m the Waldorf coach of the group because I’m always running drills that involve working out skills on your own and I tend to avoid a lot of high-pressure whistling, plus I’m willing to adjusts practices based on what people want to learn that day.

This Saturday we have a home game double header and I’m excited because I’ll be announcing! I have hardly announced any games because I’ve played so much this season, which is not a bad problem to have, but it’s tricky when you want to do everything. In any case, I’m looking forward to exercising my other favorite derby skill and watching some good games. I hope to see you there!

Kitchen Witchery

the book "The Art of Simple Food" by Alice Waters
Our Cookbook Club Pick

I haven’t done a whole lot of cooking this week in part because Kirk was limited to eating soft foods thanks to last week’s root canal and temporary (now permanent) crown. However, my cookbook club met on Saturday! We organized this month’s get-together on short notice and I wasn’t sure I could get the book in time, but my library hold came in on Friday afternoon and I picked some recipes that didn’t require too much time. I like this cookbook and want to try some more of the recipes, which I’ll probably do this weekend. For cookbook club, I made two new-to-me recipes: a chocolate tart and cheese puffs! The tart used a sweet dough, which was filled with chocolate ganache. The cheese puffs essentially involved making a choux pastry, mixing it with a big pile of cheese, then baking them into bite-size pieces. I also made some whipped cream (not pictured) to accompany the tart and that was a good choice. Both items were highly tasty!

a chocolate tart in a round pie dish and cheese puffs in a glass dish
cookbook club offerings

Knitting and Crafts

I got back to working on my cat quilt this week. I hadn’t done anything since cutting the pieces last month. On Sunday, I laid out my design and sewed it all together. It only came out mildly lumpy. The next step is going to be to sew on the back and decide if I want to fill it with something or leave it as is.

I’ve also been working on knitting another hooded caplet. My mom said she wanted to see it (even though it’s a Christmas gift!) so here it is, about one-third done. In fact since I took that photo, I have since finished the hood, but you’ll have to live with a little mystery.

Finally, here’s one more cat photo for your nerves.

Huey and Viola lying near each other on the floor in a patch of sunshine
just here for the sun

A Week in the Life: October 4, 2019

Huey the cat on the bed, looking at the camera

I can’t say this with total certainty, but this may have been one of the longest weeks of my life. I was looking through my photos the week to jog my memory and prepare to write and realized that last weekend feels like an age ago. This week was long because it was full of work, which, as we know, cuts into my carefully balanced schedule, and because so many things happened. As of today, our shower remodel has started. The contractor came in to rip out the old stuff, which was kind of cool but also quite loud. I played bingo last weekend, saw one of my best friends perform in a stand-up comedy show, and got new glasses, which is all great. On the downside, a tiny rock hit the windshield of my car and now we have to replace it (careful readers may recall that we just bought this car in July) and Kirk had to get an emergency root canal. This has all been quite a lot to take in. If one were to ascribe intent to the universe, we might say that it knows it’s October and is being extra spooky by afflicting us with the terrors of adulthood. Thanks?

Consuming

Here are some things I read, watched, or bought this week.

Reading

I finished reading The Plot to Hack America, which discusses Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. This book was very well researched, which is always nice to read. It was also interesting because it’s something of a time capsule. The book was written in 2016. We already know so much more about Russia’s involvement, although not the whole story. This book helps summarize the issues and captures what we knew at that time (which was PLENTY).

I read a couple of thoughtful articles this week about bodies and exercise:

  • I’m a fat cyclist—and I don’t need to fix my body. You can be fat and athletic and can exercise without the goal of weight loss. The shocking truth! This resonates with me because I do really like to ride my bike and do things, but there is definitely a smug undercurrent from many people out there like, oh, good for you for exercising. Notable quote from the article, “The true problem is with our culture around sport, and our ideas of athleticism. Really, with who gets to move their body because they want to and who has to move their body because they need to fix it.”
  • The quiet harm of #TransformationTuesday. Another piece on body acceptance and how celebrating weight loss and before-and-after photos isn’t really helping us be body positive or move forward as a culture. Reading this reaffirmed to me that, although I am personally working on losing some weight, I don’t want to publicly talk specific numbers or post weight loss photos or dumb pictures where you wear your old pants and hold out the waist as if to say “haha, look how dumb I was for wearing pants that could fit two smaller humans.”

Watching

This week, the Untitled Goose Game caught my attention. The description reads “It’s a lovely day in the village, and you are a horrible goose.” I haven’t played it yet, although I expect I will this weekend because it looks hilarious. I did watch this video by youtuber videogamedunkey and had a good laugh about it. I am ready to be a horrible goose. Untitled Goose Game also caught the Washington Post’s attention this week. They published an article called Playing ‘Untitled Goose Game’ is the new punching a wall. The article’s conclusion? “We’d say it’s improbable that such a simple game would go as viral as it has in recent days, but “Arrest for Treason” trended on Twitter on Monday and it’s not like anyone has any better ideas on how to cope with everything that’s going on.” Same, WaPo, same.

Rampant Consumerism

As previously stated, our shower remodel has begun. We had originally thought we’d remodel the bathroom in some not-too-distant future, but eroding grout has resulted in the shower leaking. So here we are, remodeling.

I am also going to consider Saturday’s bingo trip an act of consumerism because it’s a zero-skill gambling game. Kirk and I went because Sacramento Roller Derby was holding a fundraiser and so … why not? Well, bingo is boring as all get out is why not. When we arrived, we were assigned electronic bingo machines, about the size of a travel board game. The machine has some 40+ bingo cards running at once and fills in the numbers for you after you press “enter” to accept the next number. Meanwhile, you can fill out paper bingo cards in case you think you can do a better job of keeping up than a computer. I concluded that the paper was just to keep us busy and keep our minds of the coming A.I. apocalypse. Typical.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

photo of a painted sign that says "Punch Line Sacramento"
this way to Punch Line

One of the best things I did this week was go to the Invisible Disabilities comedy show at Punch Line on Sunday to watch my friend Abby perform. There were a lot of funny women in the show—in fact, the show was all women—who did sets around disabilities like OCD, anxiety, and fibromyalgia. I just want everyone to know that I have awesome friends and Abby is both hilarious and depressing in just the right combination. Afterwards, in the tradition of performers everywhere, we went to Denny’s and stayed out too late, considering it was a “school night.”

Language Learning

It was a full month with lots of tutoring (#RichBitchFantasy) and as much effort as I could muster. Studying is one of the first things that gets cut when life is busy because, ultimately, there’s no real reason for me to learn Icelandic; I just want to. Although maybe that’s the best reason of all. My strategy to watch more TV in Icelandic and soak it up seems to be helping. I’m starting to get better at stringing thoughts together, but it might also be that I was coming to my next stage of learning anyway. Icelandic is a language that requires a lot of groundwork. Spanish studies continue. I am doing what I can but I am still having a hard time just sitting down and putting in the work. Maybe I feel less urgency because my Spanish is pretty good? I don’t know. More to come, I suppose. Perhaps my Peru trip will result in some kind language-learning epiphany.

Working Out

A couple months ago we stopped working out at Body Tribe because we got tired of driving downtown three times per week. This week, we finally joined a new gym and I’m happy about it because I like picking heavy things up and putting them back down. We found a nice enough gym that’s really close to our house. In fact, it’s so close that it only takes a few minutes to get there by bike. Bonus exercise!

To complement this, I signed up for Iron Octopus Fitness‘ Cuttlefish Crew, which is a largely hands-off program for roller derby athletes. I learned in the last few years that it helps me a lot to have someone else do the math of how to work out for me. So far I really like the program, and it comes with a cool app that shows how to do each exercise and logs your weights, so it can graph how much you lift over time.

Kitchen Witchery

I’m taking full advantage of colder weather and baking and running the crock pot often. I made carnitas this week, which is great for slow cooking. I also baked some hamburger buns and made turkey burgers (not pictured). Yesterday I made sweet potato biscuits (recipe from The Bread Bible), which are maybe my favorite food? I don’t know. I just love bread.

Knitting and Crafts

My instagram followers have already seen this, but I am posting it here too because I can. I washed and blocked my new hooded caplet. It looks awesome and I am excited to wear it. I ordered a cool clasp for it. Once it arrives, I’m going to be looking for excuses to wear this.

Finally, some cat photos for your nerves.

A Week in the Life: September 27, 2019

It’s finally fall! It was stupidly hot for most of this week but at least there are shorter days upon us. I don’t know exactly why I revel in this season so much—perhaps it’s an oppositional joy that comes from being a Californian.

halloween bunting strung across my living room wall
Return of the Halloween bunting

I put up my Halloween decorations, such as they are. I made this bunting last year so now I have the joy of reusing it. Kirk noted that it’s early for Halloween decor, but it makes me happy and it’s decorative gourd season, so no one can stop me.

Consuming

Here are some things I read, had anxiety about, listened to, or bought this week.

Reading

Book cover of "The Testaments" as seen in greyscale on my kobo reader
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Last weekend I read Margaret Atwood’s new novel, The Testaments, which is a sequel to the more-popular-than-ever Handmaid’s Tale. As I read, I considered why Atwood would return to this story. In the past, she’s been pretty adamant about letting the work speak for itself and not saying definitively what “happened” at the novel’s end. The Testaments explores how and why an ordinary person might buy into a totalitarian regime that she is theoretically opposed to. One of the novel’s viewpoints is that of Aunt Lydia, regime loyalist and, from the view of The Handmaid’s Tale, oppressor. However, Aunt Lydia sees herself as a survivor, someone playing the long game to topple the regime. She carefully accumulates kompromat on the men in charge and tries to give the young “aunts” in her care enough knowledge to join the game. She does what she can to spare women pain, but limited by the society she’s a hostage to, this lesser torment is, well, still torment.

Through The Testaments, Atwood is both giving us hope and asking us a question. Hope because, as readers of The Handmaid’s Tale know, Gilead doesn’t last forever. The original story is framed as part of a presentation at an academic symposium, as is The Testaments. Even if our government is terrible, we know it can’t last forever. The question Atwood asks is, effectively: what would you do? Would you be an Aunt Lydia, working the system but contributing to overall suffering and legitimizing the regime in the meantime? Would you be an activist? A collaborator? These questions aren’t theoretical at this point, given the bullshit times we’re living in. Plenty of people have said things to the effect of, if you’ve ever wondered what you would have done during the Holocaust, it’s probably what you’re doing now. To me, The Testaments is making the same declaration. What would you do in Gilead? What would you do if your government were separating families? Separating children from their mothers? What are you doing now?

Climate Anxiety

Meme presented without comment.

I’ve been talking about this so much that I decided it should have its own heading, at least sometimes. The big news in climate this week was, of course, Greta Thunberg addressing the United Nations. She is so raw and it’s agonizing. Her frustration resonated with me because it’s how I feel too. I sympathize with her though, and all the young activists that are sure to follow, because she just wants to go about her life. She doesn’t want to be an activist (who among us does?), but she is doing the most to wake people up to the immensity of global warming.

Of course, rather than engage with how incredibly grave global warming is, a lot of men on the internet have derided Thunberg for not being cute, cheerful, or any of the other “virtues” that are expected of women and girls. Fellow feminist killjoy Jessica Valenti captures these ideas neatly, along with similar recent incidents, in her article The Niceness Trap on Medium. Valenti has a knack for summing up why men are often trash, stating “There is a reason men resort to calling women ‘nasty’ or suggest we’re unpleasant when we try to hold them to account: They believe it’s a conversation ender. If we’re not sufficiently pleasing or deferential, we’re not really worthy of listening to.”

In climate … hope, I suppose, Kate Wagner, author of the ever-hilarious McMansion Hell blog, writes in A Green New Home about how a Green New Deal could impact our living spaces. This is an interesting perspective on climate change because we tend to think about transit and institutional changes, but less what a climate-friendly home might look like. I’m sharing this article to remind us (and myself) that change isn’t always bad. Some really innovative changes could come out of how we respond to the climate crisis—assuming we do it in time.

In a similar vein, I came across this Ask Polly entry on The Cut from a reader who is paralyzed by climate change. I won’t summarize it here, but I will say that the response is definitely worth reading.

Listening

What do you listen to when you need to calm down? A while ago, I started a Spotify playlist for myself called Anxiety Jams to fill with music that is just songs that help me take a deep breath, feel like I’m not alone, or make me laugh. This song, You Will Return by Quantic, really makes me feel good for reasons I can’t explain and I finally remembered to add it to the playlist after it came up on my shuffle the other day.

Rampant Consumerism

Several small bags of chocolates inside a paper bag
When you have to bribe yourself to get through work

I bought a bag-full of candy to soothe my soul on Tuesday. I had to do an extra day of working in the office so on the way I bought some treats from Andy’s Candy Apothecary. I don’t know what to tell you other than their candy is delicious and you should go there. I bought a bag of pretzel chocolate caramels and a bag of peanut butter chocolate caramels. No regrets.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

In my Icelandic class this week, we had a discussion about books and reading. We’ve been working on the passive voice and part of my homework was to write about a book. So we got to talking and I told her I keep a list of what I read every year and I’m already over 50 books this year. She was shocked. She wanted to know how I have time to read so much amid all the other things I do. I told her, ég á ekki börn (I don’t have kids). I usually introduce this section bemoaning the dearth of things made and stuff did, but this week, I’ll let this anecdote speak for itself.

Kitchen Witchery

Are you dying for a pickle update? I was, so I convinced Kirk to try the pickles. He tried the pepporchinis first and said he wasn’t sure if he liked them or not (despite this uncertainty, he ate five). He sampled them again later and told me that, in fact, he did not like them and that they would perhaps be improved by using less vinegar. However, the pickles themselves were a success. He said they were really good and he would like me to make them again. He encouraged me to try one, despite my total hatred of pickles, and I did, much to my regret. I nibbled one brined nub, tried really hard to finish what I started, then admitted defeat and spat it into the sink. I cleansed my palette with a fat piece of bread with butter. Pickles are disgusting.

Don’t worry, reader, I also made foods for myself. I made a pizza on Sunday night and topped it with pesto, mozzarella, ricotta, and cashews. It was delicious. I also tried to welcome cooler temperatures on Thursday night by making chili in the crock pot, which I neglected to take a picture of. I made another batch of granola in the crock pot too and got a little container for it so it doesn’t take up valuable food storage real estate from my regular tupperware rotation.

Knitting and Crafts

I finished my hooded caplet today and I’m excited about it. It’s not completely done—I still need to block it and get some kind of fastener for the caplet—but the knitting is done and that is the hard part. This was my first go at cable knitting and I am looking forward to doing more. Behold!

Next on the knitting docket is … the same thing! My mom requested that I make one for her so I’m going to get started. Holiday knitting season is now happening.

Finally, here’s a cat picture for your nerves.

Viola lying on her back on the floor, her fluffy belly exposed
I will never not obsess over this fluff

A Week in the Life: September 20, 2019

a white dishtowel with an image of the grim reaper riding a unicycle and the words "killin it"
the author showing off her shoulder which has bandaids from getting shots
post-injection

It has been another busy week here between the onslaught of proposals (boooo, work), roller derby, my mom visiting, and the minutia daily life. I’m able to cope with work being full by focusing on my upcoming trip to Peru. On Monday, we went to get vaccinations and a flu shot in advance of traveling. My doctor recommended hepatitis A and B vaccines, typhoid, and rabies, but I skipped the rabies shot because really. I also got some pills for altitude sickness and food poisoning that I hope I won’t need to use.

Consuming

Here are some things I read or bought this week.

Reading

book: Bring the War Home
Bring the War Home by Kathleen Belew

I looked at my reading log earlier this week and realized I hadn’t finished any books yet this month. Then I went on to finish three books this week. I’d had three non-fiction books going at once—no wonder I hadn’t finished anything. I just wrapped up Braiding Sweetgrass, House of Trump House of Putin, and Bring the War Home. I know I have already talked a bit about the first two here on the blog, but not yet about Bring the War Home, which discusses the white supremacist movement beginning around the Vietnam War through to the Oklahoma City Bombing in the 1990s. The author, Kathleen Belew, charts the development of the white power movement and how it was organized, both in spirit and function, around experience in and dissatisfaction with the Vietnam War. It was a lot of information but really interesting to see that these white power activists have been using the same methods and talking points for decades. Belew concludes that more recent acts of white power terrorism, like those committed by Dylan Roof, were inspired by the movement that grew out of the post-Vietnam era. She states that, because we haven’t been able to understand and reflect on these actions as a true movement, we’re stuck with many of the same problems now that we had through the 1970s to the 1990s. This book has been a worthy entry in my ongoing practice of reading for the revolution.

This week’s internet reading:

  • You watch TV. Your TV watches back. via the Washington Post. Televisions, like every other piece of technology in the modern world, are privacy nightmares. One interesting thing I learned from this article was that you can say no to the TV tracking options that you’re prompted to opt-in to when you set up the machine for the first time. I had kind of assumed that if you say “no,” the TV won’t work. I think I’m not alone in this, yet the TV industry interprets our agreement as understanding.
  • Why Nothing Works Anymore via The Atlantic. Ian Bogost asks what the purpose is of technology, like automatically flushing toilets, that vexes us. He concludes it serves its own purposes, not ours.
  • Also via The Atlantic, The Challenge of Margaret Atwood. Atwood has a new book out and this is a cool article about her and her work. Plus she mentions people associating riding a bicycle with being a socialist, which made me laugh because I joke about that a lot.
  • Mona Eltahawy: Civility Will Not Overturn the Patriarchy via Literary Hub. “Fuck the patriarchy” is Eltahawy’s rallying cry and should be ours too.

Rampant Consumerism

When my mom was here, we decided to take a lap around one of the seasonal Halloween stores. I wasn’t that impressed by most of it, mostly because I hate cheap stuff (#RichWhiteWomanFantasy), but I couldn’t pass up this ridiculous dish towel featuring Death on a unicycle. We also hit the local yarn store, Knitique, because I told my mom I would knit her a gift and she could pick out the yarn. I bought new glasses this week too, which I am quite excited about. I’m ready for a new look. Plus I bought new sport glasses for derby that should provide me with more peripheral vision. True luxury.

I got my monthly chocolate subscription from Raaka Chocolate this week and the photos generated a lot of interest on my instagram. I started subscribing a few months ago, but this month’s box has been the best so far. It included a tahini swirl and a chocolate halva bar, which were so tasty. Highly recommended if you need more chocolate in your life. I like the predictability of it because it helps me avoid randomly buying treats as often because I know I’ll have something good in the future.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

a woman with a fork in hand admiring a cheese board
my mom, psyched about cheese

My mom came to visit me last weekend so we tried to show her a good time. We started her trip with lunch at The Rind, Sacramento’s foremost cheese-based restaurant. You can see her in this photo getting hype over the cheese plate we ordered. We also hit up Leatherby’s because we love ice cream. On Saturday, we did a little shopping, going to the yarn store and running some errands. Saturday night mom came to watch me play roller derby! Of course she wore one of my shirts which resulted in a lot of positive attention. Mom was planning to stay until Monday, but she got sick and left on Sunday instead. I still took Monday off work though because I’m a rebel.

Parent visits aside, I made the mistake this afternoon of riding to the library at the same time that every student in Elk Grove gets out of school. I thought I was early enough to enjoy the solitude of my weekly bike ride, but alas, the streets were thronged with unruly youths. If work hadn’t been so busy this week, I wouldn’t have had this problem. I had to spend the morning re-outlining a proposal because someone apparently has no idea how an outline works. At times like these, I never know if I’m a judgmental asshole or if everyone is really bad at things. My dad says I’m arrogant and sometimes I believe him. Although I think that today I’m in the right.

Derby Life

We had our second home team game of the season last Saturday and Team Blue Steel faced off against Team Yellow. We coordinated a couple of silly jams, which ended up being quite fun. Those of us who hadn’t played home teams before are still experimenting with what we can do and I’m glad we’re trying things out. Blue Steel got close to winning, but didn’t quite make it. However, I learned after the game that somehow we lost 10 minutes of game time from the period clock. If we had played another 10 minutes, we would have won! It’s hard not to be offended but there’s nothing to be done about it. I know in my heart that we won the game.

Kitchen Witchery

Kirk harvested our onions from the backyard garden for me. I must say I expected something a little … bigger. This has been an experimental year in the garden. Now we know that onions are not going to work that well (at least during the summer) .

We went to the farmers market on Sunday since there was no morning derby practice. I picked up a pretty big load of vegetables and didn’t even spend twenty dollars. Sometimes the farmers market really pays off. We saw a few vendors selling cucumbers for pickling, so we bought some and I pickled that. This is not my first pickling experiment, but I am still not sure of the results of the first one. I pickled pepporchinis last month, but Kirk has yet to sample them. I’m interested to see how the pickles come out, not because I want to eat them (gross) but to find out if I’m good at pickling things.

Finally, here’s some cat photos for your nerves. Huey desperately wants to spend more time on the futon in the guest bedroom. Unfortunately for her, I have since put the bedding away and shut her out. Her life is very hard.

A Week in the Life: September 13, 2019

This week was a busy one. We are in the “flow” portion of “ebb and flow” at work right now and a lot of proposals have come in. Yesterday, I spent six straight hours editing and afterwards I wanted to collapse and never get up again. It’s been a week busy with some good things too, though. I’ve been reading a lot and I made some good progress on my knitting. This weekend, my mom is coming to visit me and I’m taking a couple extra days off work, so I have that going for me too.

Consuming

Here are some things I read and bought this week. Spoiler: it’s all books.

Reading

the book "braiding sweetgrass"
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

I’m not quite done yet with Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, but I am already profoundly affected by it. This is an essay collection by indigenous ecologist Robin Wall Kimmerer that blends, as the title suggests, her scientific background and indigenous philosophy and perspective in writing about nature and the world. Kimmerer speaks a lot in this books about plants and their importance in indigenous thinking. Plants are there to provide us with everything we need, but we, in turn have to respect plants and take care of them.

This book has made me feel like crying at times almost as if it’s making me miss something I never had. As regular readers know, I’ve been feeling a lot of climate anxiety lately. The way Kimmerer thinks about nature offers something of an antidote to our current ecological woes. She articulates the concept of the Honorable Harvest, which calls for not taking more than we need from the world, not taking the first thing we see, leaving resources for others (including other animals), and respectfully using what we take. It’s something that resonated with me a lot as I read the book. It’s impossible to completely opt out of the capitalist system we’re inhabiting (at least, as an individual), but I want to incorporate some of this approach into my life. I highly recommend reading this book if you have been worried about the environment. It makes me feel like there’s something I can do.

Rampant Consumerism

I try to get a lot of my books from the library so I don’t spend all the money I earn on books (-insert rueful laughter-), but I also make a point of pre-ordering books from authors I like or for stories that look exciting because first day sales really determine a book’s success. On Tuesday, my pre-orders of Margret Atwood’s new book, The Testaments, and of The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow dropped onto my Kobo. In paper book activities, I bought Pantaleón y las visitadoras by Mario Vargas Llosa on the recommendation of my Spanish teacher because she’s helping me prepare for my upcoming Peru trip. I also bought The Cook’s Herb Garden in hopes of stepping up my herb game.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

Work cut into my making things and doing stuff time this week (and my energy), but I was able to rally and still do quite a bit.

Kitchen Witchery

On Saturday, my cookbook club met! We made food from Signs and Seasons: An Astrology Cookbook. Although I’m not a great fan of astrology, it was a fun theme and everyone made great food! I choose two of the Taurus-themed recipes: brisket and mashed Lima beans. I was excited about the brisket because I’d never made it before. I cheated a little bit though and didn’t exactly follow the recipe as written in part because I wanted to make it in the slow cooker. The brisket came out really tasty and so did the Lima beans, although I still prefer mashed potatoes as an accompaniment to meat, but I wouldn’t turn down beans.

Outside of cookbook club, I made a corn chowder (which I think turned out a little too thin, but there are worse things) and biscuits for dinner last night. I also made another batch of zucchini bread because my mom requested it. I used up the last of the large zucchini that I got from Taco. True derby wifehood is sharing your garden produce.

Knitting and Crafts

squares of fabric of different cat designs preppared for quilting
ready to quilt!

I finally got started on the blanket I bought fabric for a couple months ago. This week, I ironed it all and cut it into squares so I can get ready to sew it. Next up is the fun part: deciding on the design and how the pieces are going to fit together.

I was going to post a picture of my knitting until I realized that the pictures I took were blurry and terrible. Regardless, I finished knitting the hood part of my hooded caplet. It looks handsome and I’m really pleased with how the cable turned out. It’s amazing to think that I can make something so nice.

Derby Life

It’s been a good week for derby and (hopefully) it’s still getting better. On Sunday I coached my peers for the first time and it was great. I love thinking through skills and figuring out what small pieces we need to work on to build up to the larger whole. We worked on improving our lateral blocking in pairs and our jammers practiced patience. I think the best part was running some jams and pausing mid-action to think about the next move. Everyone knew what they wanted to do, they just needed to practice thinking faster. On Wednesday, I coached again but for our new skaters. They have been learning how to hit people so obviously that was a fun session for me to coach. I let them all hit me for practice, which seemed to make it less scary for them. They didn’t have to worry about their own instability plus a teammate’s.

Tomorrow is our second home team game of the season. Team Blue Steel is taking on Team Yellow. We lost our first home team game, but I’m hoping we’ll win this one! It has been much less stressful to make a roster because more of our blue skaters are available, so that has been a relief. We also have a visiting announcer who I’m excited about. I’m looking forward to a good game!

Finally, some cats for your nerves. This week, we have cats in the sun.

A Week in the Life: September 6, 2019

a bike basket carrying two books and my purse

I’m glad it’s September because that means summer is almost over. It has still been a bit warm this week, but I sense the days getting shorter and it’s cooling a little more at night. It’s not much, but I’ll take it. The end of August invigorates me—I think I said as much last week. I’m looking forward to colder weather.

Seasons aside, I started playing World of Warcraft in the last week or so. I never played it when it was in its heyday, but Kirk was excited for the release of the “classic” edition of the game so I, being an absolute romantic, agreed to give it a try so we could play together. My character is a night elf druid who I have named Goatmancer. This makes me chuckle whenever I’m being assigned quests and the NPCs (non-player characters) give me serious instructions and say “we need your assistance, Goatmancer.” I’m 13 levels in and it’s still funny. My character also has the ability to turn into a bear. So I guess what I’m saying is that I’m entertained by this game, despite my initial suspicions.

Consuming

Here are some things I read or bought this week.

Reading

I’m currently in the middle of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America by Kathleen Belew and House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia by Craig Unger. Both are interesting but fairly heavy. I’m going to have to mix in a novel here soon so I don’t combust with rage.

Here are some of the articles I read this week:

  • Relax, Ladies. Don’t be so uptight. You know you want it. via Medium. This piece deals with norms, how they change, and the horrible bullshit many of us were brought up to see as normal and fine. “Look, I get it. I was 20 years old in 1990. After my boyfriend punched me in the eye, he cried too. I held him until he felt better. I told friends I’d stupidly walked into the corner of an open cabinet. Because, like the Washington Post in 1990, I understood it was my job to help men feel better about themselves. “
  • New York Times Columnists vs. the Haters via Slate. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this but the author chronicles all the recent New York Times opinion columns that are basically a response to someone being mean to the author on twitter, which … seems deeply unnecessary but that’s 2019 for you.
  • Against Cheerfulness via Aeon. The author asserts that American cheerfulness is bordering on psychosis and I must agree. “… but forcing yourself to smile when you don’t feel like it amounts to lying to the people around you. ‘Fake it till you make it’ has brutal consequences when applied to the emotions. When conceived as the attempt to trick others into thinking that you feel cheery, cheerfulness is far from a virtue. It’s a vice. It falls on the deficiency end of the spectrum of trust. Too much trust is called naïveté, and is a vice of excess. But cheerfulness is just as bad. It confesses: I don’t trust you with my darkest feelings; I don’t think you are responsible enough to handle my inner life. Forced cheerfulness is a denial of life.”

Rampant Consumerism

Partial receipt from my August Patreon

One thing I like spending money on is the artists and creators I support on Patreon. I follow a number of authors, journalists, and podcasts. This is one way I can contribute directly to things I like and value. Plus I think it helps keep our media landscape from getting too homogenized (I hope).

I think I have talked about our pending shower remodel in a previous post. This week we finally picked a contractor and we went out to their showroom to choose tile and sort out the details, plus make a deposit on the work. I am looking forward to showering in the master bathroom again, although they’re not scheduled to begin work for almost a month. Getting a contractor for a remodel like this feels like one of the most adult homeownership tasks we’ve done yet. The upside is we’ll have a nice shower and hopefully we’ll never need to do this again.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

a bike basket carrying two books and my purse
library bike ride

I know I say this all the time, but I always feel like I do so little (-anxiety intensifies-) but the business of being alive takes up a lot of time. I spent a lot of time knitting and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer this week, which is, frankly, a very good use of my time. I also did a bit of around-town bike riding, including a ride to the library today, which is my favorite Friday custom.

Language Learning

August has ended which means I start a new page in my notebook. I didn’t do a whole lot but I did start focusing more on watching things and getting input in subjects that interest me. I’m watching a knitting podcast in Spanish and a a cooking show in Icelandic. I’m hoping that getting into language in things that interest me will help build some more groundwork for understanding other things, particularly in Icelandic.

Kitchen Witchery

It was a little warm this week but I’m out here pretending it’s fall (yes, I know it’s still summer). I had leftover chicken and homemade broth from earlier in the week so I decided the right thing to do was make a chicken pot pie. It’s not warm weather food, but it was a goodchoice anyway. The recipe I like comes from The Harvest Baker. I also made a loaf of bread today (recipe from the BBC, although it’s a plaited loaf and I’m too lazy to do all that) that’s destined to become garlic bread to accompany spaghetti tonight. Last weekend, I picked the pepporchinis from our garden and bottled them up to be pickled. I’ve never pickled anything before—largely because I don’t like pickles—but Kirk loves them so I thought I’d give it a try. Plus it’s another handy skill for the coming collapse of civilization. (lol … but really). No word yet on how they came out. The pickling takes a week minimum.

Knitting

Last week I started knitting a cool shawl but got frustrated at the level of attention it required. I switched to knitting this hooded caplet, which I am very excited about. This is my first time knitting cables. I was shocked to find that it’s so easy because it’s one of the handsomest knitting techniques, in my opinion. I’m looking forward to having something fun and foresty to wear once things cool down. Probably after this I’m going to start knitting some holiday gifts so knitting updates may slow down.

Finally, here’s some Huey cat appreciation for your nerves.

A Week in the Life: August 30, 2019

I’m always pleased when August is finally at an end. I know September is still summer for the most part, but it’s the emotional start of fall (although for some I suppose pumpkin spice latte season is the true harbinger of fall). I hate being hot and I love being cozy and making foods so summer is not my favorite, especially here in adulthood when “summer” and “vacation” no longer have anything to do with each other. Alas.

Consuming

Here are some things I read, listened to, or bought this week.

Reading

I’m in the middle of a few books right now, so I’m going to take another week of sharing articles I read.

  • The Misogyny of Climate Deniers from The New Republic. Another article about the weirdness of caring about the environment being coded “feminine” (p.s. please abolish gender roles), but it adds an analysis of the misogyny that women standing up for environmental causes experience.
  • The Case for Climate Rage from Popula. I love this essay. This is such a good, strong entry into the corpus of feelings on climate change. You should definitely read this.
  • Amazon’s Ring is a Perfect Storm of Privacy Threats from the EFF. A discussion of these Ring doorbell cameras and how Amazon collaborates with police departments (including Elk Grove’s, it seems) to provide data collected from Ring.
  • After Abortion Ban Attempt in Alabama, a Flood of Confusion and Phone Calls from PBS Frontline. In short, no one knows what’s happening with women’s health care in Alabama right now. The law banning abortions isn’t even in effect but it’s already impacting women because so many people are confused.
  • Unfulfilled at the Amazon Tour from The Outline. Vicariously experience the existential horror of an Amazon shipping facility.

Listening

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I love the Gaslit Nation podcast. It’s the clearest discussion of current events at the moment. This summer, they have hosted a bunch of interviews with journalists and other experts and it’s been fascinating. It’s also really filled my “to be read” list. Last night, I checked out House of Trump, House of Putin from the library after hearing the Craig Unger interview.

Rampant Consumerism

We had a roller derby game in Rohnert Park last weekend, so Kirk and I decided to have a look around Sebastapol beforehand because if we’re going to drive somewhere, we might as well do something other than see the inside of a roller rink. We bought lunch at a cute tea house that unfortunately made Kirk sick to his stomach. We did not realize that the entire menu was vegan (and the menu was not very clear on this subject). So, while I had some cute food, it was not worth it. In fact the whole day was full of difficult food. I was starving after eating miniature tea foods. I later bought a burrito at some bougie Mexican place and it was the worst burrito I’ve ever had in my life. I don’t know what was in it, but it was so acidic that it was inedible.

The good thing about this misadventure was I did get to by some books at a local bookshop, Copperfield’s Books.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

The week was full of roller derby, knitting, and making food, as well as a smattering of work and language studying. Perhaps as an anti-doing stuff entry, Kirk and I decided to stop going to Body Tribe for our workouts. We realized we’re tired of driving all the way downtown three times a week to go to a gym, although it’s quite a good gym. We’re thinking about setting up a garage gym, but it won’t happen for a couple of months. So this week I’m going to be figuring out how to get my sweet gainz in the meantime. If anyone has a lead on cheap gym equipment, please pass it along.

Derby Life

a glittler-painted skate wheel on a wood block
Best Blocker Award

As mentioned above, we had a game last weekend. Our B team played Resurrection Roller Derby. The other team was a little rowdy and didn’t totally understand the rules, which probably worked to their advantage since we only had four referees (out of the typical six). I always find it hard to play my best game in these kind of circumstances. It’s difficult not to play worse in response to sloppy play, but I think we did alright. That said, the opposing team did vote me as “best blocker” for the night. I’m pretty sure I only got it because they remembered being hit by me. I’m not convinced I was actually the best blocker. The more I get these awards, the less I think I deserve them. That’s anxiety for you.

Knitting

I finished knitting my socks! They are delightful and cozy. I can’t wait for the weather to cool down so I can wear them. I’m already on to my next project, but I think it’s going to be a little bit tricky and will take a whole before I have any photos worth showing.

Kitchen Witchery

I tried some new things and revisited things I already know I are good. I made granola in the crockpot with a recipe from Adventures in Slow Cooking. It’s actually quite good and pretty simple to make. I will probably make it again, but perhaps with some variations on the spices. I am not sure the cardamom the recipe called for tastes great with the yogurt I typically eat.

My derby wife Taco gave me some zucchini from her garden so obviously I had to put it to good use. I made shells with bacon, zucchini, and onions for dinner and it was a success. Simple and not too heat-generating for a warm evening. Yesterday I made (and ate a large amount of) zucchini bread using the recipe from The Bread Bible. I had a huge amount of zucchini so I doubled the recipe and stashed some of the bread in the freezer for later.

Here’s a cat picture for your nerves. It’s Viola again this week because Huey has spent the morning vomiting and I must say it’s not cute.

Viola the cat, sitting on a pillow, reaching for a ball of yarn
Viola trying to ruin my life

A Week in the Life: August 23, 2019

a meal and a book on a table in my backyard

It’s been a week. I’m exhausted today. My week was full of roller derby, actual work, and a hearty dose of climate anxiety despite trying to avoid the news.

Consuming

Here are some things I read, watched, or bought this week.

Reading

This week I read Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg. It was a really interesting novel and very different from anything I’ve read lately. I have a lot of thoughts about it but I’m not quite ready to distill them into a paragraph. Suffice to say, I recommend it.

Some articles I read and appreciated this week:

Watching

In search of something to knit by, I started re-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I wanted something that would amuse me and not require too much investment. Also, Giles is my style icon.

screenshot of a tweet about buffy the vampire slayer
Seriously though

Rampant Consumerism

After last year’s fires and the horrible air quality we had in Sacramento, I’d been mulling over buying some respirator masks in anticipation of the fire season. It feels kind of crazy and like a “prepper” thing to do but I do honestly think these kinds of things are the new normal. This week I ordered masks for us so we’d be ready for whatever comes next. The next day I saw news of a fire in Shasta and that the Amazon rain forest is on fire, so maybe I’m not too crazy after all.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

my bike with a new, light green basket
new basket who dis

Now that I’ve sat down to write, I realize I did quite a lot this week. I never feel like I do anything (lol, anxiety) so it’s good to reflect and realize that I’m doing plenty.

One of the highlights of the week was getting my bike back from the bike shop. I took it in because I had a flat tire and it needed a tune up anyway. I spotted a festive bike basket and the spirit moved me to upgrade. So this week I’ve been enjoying bike errands (despite the heat).

Spanish

I can’t say whether it’s my summer doldrums or something else, but I’ve been thinking about how to invigorate my Spanish studies because I am flagging. My usual routine involves lots of flashcards, reading and identifying words to save in my flashcards, weekly chats with my Spanish teacher, and maybe some TV or other things when I find time. This routine is not doing it for me lately. I was reflecting on why I want to keep learning Spanish, especially since I’m at a point where I can more than get by, so what is the point of endless studying? The answer is, in part, there is no point to endless studying. I want to be fluent in Spanish so I can communicate and appreciate everything that’s in Spanish. With that in mind, I realized I need to let go a little of the “studying” part of my studies and just enjoy what I do know. I want to read more in Spanish but the whole process of reading for me normally includes underlining words I don’t know, adding them to my flashcards, and learning them. I am still going to do that with harder books or things I really want to focus on, but I’m also going to have something I read just to read to take the pressure off myself and enjoy it. I love to read but I’m not finding the pleasure in reading in Spanish (partly because it’s still kind of hard), so I hope this will help make it fun for me.

I wrote the previous paragraph as kind of a note to self earlier this week. I’ve since added a bunch of Spanish sites to my feeds and started watching a knitting podcast called Desmadejada. So far, so fun.

Derby Life

It has been a derby-filled week here. On Saturday, we played our first home team game of the season. Although Team Blue Steel lost, we had a lot of fun and it was quite a good game, all things considered. We had a number of skaters playing their first game, and I was glad to see that they had fun. Helping new skaters keeps me from getting too jaded by derby drama.

I also made my debut coaching our derby 101/201 class, what would have been called “fresh meat” in times past. It was fun to plan out a practice and then teach it. I always forget that I actually like teaching, I just hate children (RIP teaching career, 2011–2013). The skaters had some requests for things to learn, so I let that guide me instead of doggedly adhering to my plans and I think that worked really well. Might as well seize that enthusiasm when you have it. Plus now we have a bunch of newbies who can’t wait to jump the apex.

At last night’s practice, three people showed up wearing my face. It’s surreal that people were willing to pay money for these and then actually wear them. I also think it’s delightful that Amandaconda fashioned hers into a crop top. #fashion.

photo of me with three people wearing shrits with my picture
Fan Club because Stone rocks

Knitting

one and a half hand-knit socks
Socks in progress

I had hoped to finish knitting my socks this week, but I didn’t quite make it. I blame having to do work. However, I got through the heel turn and the gusset so the rest should go pretty fast.

I’m excited to start on some new knitting projects. I mentioned last week that I had a pattern picked out for the yarn I dyed. I also looked up some youtube videos for how to knit cables and discovered that it’s shockingly simple. I can’t wait to get some handsome cabled garments into my life.

Kitchen Witchery

I went on a bit of a baking frenzy last weekend. Maybe it’s an attempt to avoid the news, maybe I’m just ready for fall. After making the sweet potato biscuits last Friday, I went on to make chocolate bread (from The Bread Bible) and bacon, cheddar, and corn muffins (from The Harvest Baker). Both were delicious, although the corn muffins were definitely much better fresh out of the oven than as a leftover. I also got to enjoy some time out on the back patio after we swept up all the pine needles last weekend. We have three huge trees so if we don’t keep at it, nature reclaims the yard before long.

Finally, here is a cat photo for your nerves. Huey and Viola are surprisingly close to each other. By their standards, they’re practically cuddling.

two cats lying on the floor about a foot apart
afternoon cat truce

A Week in the Life: August 16, 2019

It’s been incredibly hot this week. The kind of heat that promotes nothing but lethargy and a need for ice cream sandwiches. Yesterday we hit 107 Fahrenheit (a word that I will never learn to spell correctly) and today it’s projected to be 105. At the time of this writing, it’s about quarter to 10 in the morning and I’m currently baking biscuits because I know I won’t be willing to bake later when it’s hot. Reading this back it looks melodramatic, but the heat just shuts me down. What can I say.

Consuming

Here are some things I read, listened to, or bought this week.

Reading

I read a couple of novels this week. It’s been too hot for the gym or roller derby so I’ve been parked in front of the fan with books or knitting for the last few days. I finished one of the Powell’s Indiespensable books that’s been languishing on my shelf for a few months: Late in the Day by Tessa Hadley. I read the whole thing but didn’t enjoy it all that much. It was well written, the characters were complex people, but I guess I’m just bored of stories about straight people having affairs with each other. Why is that interesting or new? I don’t know. But, I tried something new so good for me. Most of the Indiespensible picks are really good but this one didn’t resonate with me.

cover of the book "Witchmark," shown on kobo e-reader
Witchmark by C. L. Polk

The book I did enjoy this week was Witchmark by C. L. Polk. It’s a speculative fiction/fantasy/steampunk-ish tale of sticking it to the man and trying to find your own way in a society that has a certain idea of what you should be doing with your life. Also: gay witches. Need I say more? I was super invested in this story. I was also disappointed to learn that the sequel won’t be published until February. So rude.

I also came across this article about a fashion line designed to frustrate license plate-based surveillance. I don’t have a lot to say about it other than I think it’s really cool and innovative. I hate that we’re living in what is becoming a surveillance state.

Rampant Consumerism

I ordered some fabric this week because I had a Spoonflower gift card and was hit with inspiration. I decided I want to make a quilt out of cat fabrics. I want something that’s going to make me happy when I look at it (file under: coping strategies for bullshit times), so that’s what I’m doing. I also ordered a new hoodie from TomboyX because they finally got theirs back in stock and I will need a new one once it cools down again. I guess there’s something about the hot weather that makes me dream of being cold again.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

It feels like I haven’t done or made anything this week, but I know that’s not exactly true. I definitely haven’t been studying my languages at the level I want to, but with Spanish in particular, I’ve been feeling a bit undirected. I’m at the point where my progress with the language is going to come from getting interested in native materials. I guess I need to find some new media to keep my attention. Or perhaps it’s only a matter of habits and discipline.

Kitchen Witchery

I haven’t cooked a whole lot this week, but this morning I did make some delicious sweet potato biscuits using the recipe from The Bread Bible. They are amazing. I want to eat them all immediately. The recipe was quite different from other biscuits I’d made—it called for yeast and egg yolks, among other unconventional biscuit ingredients—but I can’t argue with the results! I think I will make these at Thanksgiving this year (plus whenever I feel like eating biscuits).

Knitting

My #WarmLadySummer presses on with knitting. I finished a sock and started it’s partner this week. I really love making socks. I also found the perfect pattern for some yarn I’ve been wanting to use. I took a yarn dyeing workshop last fall and have some forest-colored yarn that I want to make into a leafy shawl. I’m looking forward to knitting up this forestgreen pattern once my socks are done.

Derby Life

We’ve got our first home team game of the season tomorrow! My team (Blue Steel) will be facing off against the white team. We won the home team championship last year but I’m not sure if we’ll be able to hold onto that trophy. It has been pretty stressful preparing for this game. I’m the team captain and have had a hard time getting enough people willing and available to play on my roster. We’re going to have a lot of newer skaters on our team tomorrow, which is exciting but I’m not sure our teams have ended up being evenly matched. I guess we’ll see how it goes!

Finally, here are some photos of Viola for your nerves.