A Week in the Life: February 15, 2020

This week I’ve been contemplating the idea that it’s much more work to be kind and generous in this life than it is to be an asshole. It’s easy to be selfish, to not work on imagining how other people might feel or be affected by things. Generosity is, of course, rewarding in many ways, but it is high effort. I keep thinking of the various tweets circulating the net that say things like “If you went through [terrible experience] and think other people should be forced to do the same because you ‘turned out okay,’ you did not, in fact, turn out okay.” Even if being nice is work, I can’t understand why people don’t want to make it better for the people around them. That’s become such a driving force for me, but maybe others are lazy? What do you think?

Consuming

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

Reading

Sisters of the Winter Wood book cover on the Kobo ereader
The Sisters of the Winter Wood

I got really invested in reading The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner. This book is a story of two sisters whose family lives at the edge of a forest on the outskirts of a small town. Early in the story, the sisters learn that they each have the ability to shape shift, inherited from their mother and father, respectively. It’s an ability passed down to them from ancestors who found that, in a time of great need, they were able to become something else. One of the sisters, like her father, can turn into a bear. She spends a lot of the story feeling large and awkward, and like people don’t like her. Plus, she worries that she might hurt someone if she turns into a bear. I found this very relatable. Not because I can magically transform into a bear, but I have known the feeling of being big, awkward, and not fitting in, although for much different reasons.

The story is grounded in Jewish history and folklore, which is something I haven’t often seen in fiction, but that I appreciated and really enjoyed. I love getting different perspectives when I read. The author uses a lot of Yiddish words and phrases, which was pretty cool, but proved to me that I know much less Yiddish than I imagined (oy).

Watching

We didn’t get a chance to watch any movies this week, but we have kept on with Star Trek: Enterprise. We just started season four. My interest is newly invigorated by the current story line that involves actor Brent Spiner. Also, Anne has been here watching a The Gilmore Girls, so I’ve inadvertently been exposed to this particular slice of early 2000s media. It’s too bland and wholesome for my liking, but it’s inoffensive overall.

Rampant Consumerism

I bought a new cable for my circular knitting needles because I needed a long enough one for the pattern I wanted to start, so that’s exciting. I also bought some powdered Gatorade mix because … athlete life, plus Kirk likes drinking it. Big excitement.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

It may be mid-February, but it’s basically spring here in Elk Grove. Last weekend, we cleaned and organized our garage, which was much more satisfying than it sounds (Am I old?). I’ve also been tending to our garden and I hung up my hammock so I can enjoy reading in the afternoon sun.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, which we kind of don’t care about, but Kirk likes to use it for an opportunity to amuse me. In years past, he’s bought me things like a heart-shaped box of beef jerky. This year he bought me an assortment of cheeses, and some chocolate. Can’t go wrong with a man who will buy you snacks, you know? We don’t like to go out to eat on Valentine’s Day because it’s a scam, but this morning we went out to breakfast after donating blood, which, in a macabre way, does seem on theme.

Roller Derby

Well the results of try outs are in and I remain on the B team! I was low-key hoping to be on our upper-level B team that gets invited to some A practices, but it’s okay to stay where I am. I still have a lot of room for improvement here.

I coached my first practice of the season on Wednesday at the combined new skaters/C team practice. It was a little weird because most of the C skaters are basically my derby peers. However, several of them told me it was a good practice and they enjoyed it, so I was really happy to hear that. I’m definitely looking forward to coaching more and finding new and interesting drills for us to try.

Knitting and Crafts

I went a little wild last Sunday with projects I’d been putting off. I’d been meaning to put things on my new statement vest for months and finally got around to it. I realized most of my patches were, in fact, iron on and that gave me a bit of momentum to do the rest. I have been wanting to learn a little embroidery, so I hand stitched the last three patches using the back stitch. I was also happy to stick on all my pins, which may be an excessive amount of flair, but I need all the tokens that people have given me, like the horrible goose Kirk recently bought for me.

I also tested out my new yarn winder, which, once we got it going, was pretty satisfying. It’s hand powered, so I have to stand there and manually wind it, but this is a big step up from the completely hand powered method I was using before: bracing the yarn across the backs of two chairs and winding it up in my hand.

Although I made a small amount of progress on knitting the finicky sock pattern this week, I am more excited that I started my next project, the Harmonia’s Rings tunic. I’ve had this on my radar basically since I started knitting. Last night I got it cast on, which is time consuming because mobius cast on is tricky, and knit a few rows.

Kitchen Witchery

Last Saturday was our first cookbook club of 2020! We used the Feed Zone Portables cookbook as inspiration. It is essentially a compendium of high-carb snacks for athletes (we ate so much rice). While I’m not sure it made a good dinner per se, the food was good and we have some ideas for how to survive future derby tournaments. I made carrot waffles (waffles in which the main liquid is carrot juice), sticky rice “balls” (I am far too lazy to shape things into balls) with coconut and sesame, and potato “cakes,” which were basically mashed potato fritters. It was very blustery outside last weekend and the power went out halfway through dinner, which was kind of great in a way. We lit a few candles and grabbed a lantern then spent a while chatting in the dark.

On Thursday we observed Galentine’s Day with a breakfast-for-dinner feast. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos, so you’ll just have to trust me. I made waffles (non-carrot lol), bacon, and hash browns, plus picked all the oranges from my tree to make juice. Anne requested mimosas so that’s where most the juice went. It turns out you can press 16 oranges and get about a quart of juice. It’s a little underwhelming, but I don’t know what I expected.

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.

A Week in the Life: February 7, 2020

Have you registered to vote yet? Only 61 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in 2016, which leaves a lot of room for improvement. You can register online here. This is a federal site, so it doesn’t matter what state you live in, you can still use that link to get registered. You can also use this site to check the voter registration deadline in your state. California’s primary election is on March 3. If you want to register to vote online, the deadline is February 18.

I really want everyone I know to vote, even if we don’t vote the same way. If we’re going to have a functional democracy, it’s important to use our right to vote and fight to maintain it. I’ve learned that figuring out when and how to vote can be confusing for a lot of people, which is why I’ve been doing my best to share that information. I hope you’ll share it too! I’m also going to make a post in the next week or two about my choice for the Democratic primary and some thoughts on the rest of the California primary ballot. I hope that makes it easier for some people to vote. It shouldn’t be confusing, but it often is. I recognize that not everyone can easily find time to sift through the information, but I can, which is why I share it.

Consuming

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

Reading

book cover of The Broken Heavens as seen on the Kobo ereader
The Broken Heavens

I finished the last book of Kameron Hurley’s Worldbreaker Trilogy and it was worth the wait. One theme that has emerged in her recent books, including The Light Brigade and The Stars are Legion is a kind of aggressive hopefulness. Hurley’s characters always choose to fight their way out of horrible shit. Things are messy but they believe that life can be different and they eventually make good choices. Hurley reminds us that people have to choose to make things better. Justice doesn’t just happen. In short: Hurley’s writing books for our times.

Meanwhile, the best internet reading I came across this week was an article about teens creating group instagram accounts to fuck with the algorithm. First of all, teens are savvy as hell. Second, I don’t blame them! I was musing just this week on the fact that instagram seems much more ad heavy than it was in the past. I started counting how often ads appear in my feed and it’s now reliably every four or five posts. Twenty-five percent advertisements! I just want to look at cool knitting and cats, god damn. It’s interesting to see what kind of action these increasingly intrusive tech companies are inadvertently encouraging.

Watching

In our continuing Star Trek watch, we watched Wrath of Khan last Saturday. It was much better than the first Star Trek movie. I believe this is because the actor who plays Khan is a much better actor than any of the Original Series cast. Also, why do I want this outfit? Post-apocalyptic couture?

When inspiration strikes

If you follow me on social media, you surely already know this, but I’m posting it anyway. You can listen to me on the latest episode of the podcast Holding Space with Magical Wheelism! I met Magic at Rollercon last year. She’s since started a fascinating podcast where she talks to roller derby people about all kinds of things. You can hear me talk about books, derby, and autism in this episode.

It’s lit and it’s me!

Rampant Consumerism

Because I already have three plane trips on my schedule this year and I am becoming committed to my rich white woman lifestyle, I decided to sign up for TSA pre-check. It’s $85 and it’s good for five years. I’ve been increasingly annoyed with the rigamarole of removing my shoes and taking any electronics larger than a cell phone out of my bag. Plus, now that I travel with a CPAP, it feels like too much to juggle. What’s weird is how simplistic of a system it is. I shouldn’t be surprised considering how little airport security checks actually contribute to security, but I guess I expected more. You fill out a questionnaire, pay the money, get fingerprinted, and go through a background check. Assuming you pass, TSA gives you a “known traveler number” that you provide to airlines when booking tickets. The number shows up on your ticket and that’s how TSA knows to let you through. It seems ridiculous but I’m at a point in my life where I’ll pay $85 not to be hassled at the airport.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

Over the last few years, I’ve realized something important to me is making whatever I do better and more accessible for anyone coming up after me. It’s why I’ve been doing things like making sure my derby league gets new announcers on the mic. This year, I’m playing a bigger role in leading our new skater program, so I’ve been working on putting together some orientation materials. I’m finding this weirdly satisfying. I really like trying to anticipate people’s questions and give them the information they need to do their thing without worrying about the logistics. That’s why I don’t understand people who say things like “I had to pay off my student loans, why should people now get their loans forgiven?” How can you go through something and then say, nah, everyone else should have it as bad as I did? People with that attitude make me want to hustle 10 times harder to improve things for others. I will make this world better out of spite if I have to.

Derby Life

a promotional poster for a derby game with my picture on it. Framed and hung on my wall
When you become famous and celebrate yourself

I am excited that I’m on the promotional materials for our first game of the year! This is the first time I’ve been featured on the flyers and it is really cool. We’re supposed to use the posters to hang in a public place to advertise, but I took one home to frame and display in my office collection of Cool Shit about Me. No remorse.

Derby practice this week was actually tryouts for the season. Coaches evaluated us to decide what team level (A/B/C) skaters should practice and play at. I felt pretty good about try outs but more because I went into it with a certain “fuck it” energy than because I think I did exceptionally well (I’m sure I did okay though). It’s easier to not be wound up when I’m already in a good place. It would be cool to move up but it would also be cool to stay where I am.

Knitting and Crafts

After finishing the Slytherin socks I, predictably, cast on another pair of socks. The pattern is cool but it’s also tiny and fiddly and I realized that may not be what I want to knit right now. I think I’ve settled on making this blouse, which has been on my radar almost as long as I’ve been knitting and is beautiful. I know I need to knit a swatch, but I don’t feel like knitting a swatch. In short, I haven’t knit much this week. Stalemate.

Kitchen Witchery

Well, after making a delicious pizza for myself the week before last, I promised I’d make one for Kirk and I to share, which I did. I made 1.5 times the amount of dough so it would better fill my skillet and that worked perfectly. Kirk said it was an excellent pizza. On Sunday, I wanted to bake a treat but also didn’t want to go to the store to buy any ingredients. I found this recipe for chocolate ganache peanut butter bars, which is exactly what it sounds like: a peanut butter cookie baked in bar form and covered with chocolate ganache. They are quite rich so I’ve been pecking at it all week. Last night I made chicken noodle soup using homemade stock. I roasted a chicken earlier in the week, but it was not photogenic so I’m not including a photo. Next time, I hope. To accompany my soup I made crescent rolls, because why not.

Finally, here’s Viola for your nerves.

A Week in the Life: January 31, 2020

I worked all day today, so this is another special evening edition of the blog. I normally logoff work at 4, but today I was stuck editing until 6, mostly due to the incompetence of others (naturally). I’m getting better at not being riled up when I have to work late. I know the trade-off is freedom to be a little loose with my hours the rest of the time. So while I didn’t enjoy it, at least I’m not mad. We’ve had several urgent projects happening, which I don’t appreciate. I have to keep financing my existence, alas.

Consuming

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

Reading

Between work and roller derby, I don’t think I got in a lot of reading this week. I did finish reading Kameron Hurley’s Empire Ascendant and I started the non-fiction book Nine Pints: A Journey through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood, although I didn’t read much of either.

A few things I read from the internet:

  • Facebook will now show you exactly how it stalks you — even when you’re not using Facebook via Washington Post. Entry number 780,444 in why facebook sucks (and yet, I’m still using it -_- ). This article is useful in that it both identifies the problem and tells you how to avoid it by adjusting your facebook settings.
  • My Instagram via n+1. A long read on social media, hating social media, instagram, and its impact on how we interact with the world.
  • Patriarchy Proof: Thinx and the Perils of Emphasizing Female Founders via Bitch Media. This is interesting to me because period-proof underwear is something that’s constantly in my social media ads, even though I have an IUD and don’t menstruate much, and when I do I am all about that menstrual cup. The article explains that there is now some evidence that Thinx are toxic (yikes) and that the company is not as woman-friendly as it likes to project.

Watching

Last weekend’s movie was Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which is a fun, pretty sci-fi movie. It’s directed by Luc Besson, who directed The Fifth Element. Valerian definitely had a similar feel. I did think it was trying a little too hard to be “woke,” but not so hard as to be objectionable. It was a fun movie, even though, in Kirk’s opinion, the leading man was not likeable.

Rampant Consumerism

I made plans to visit my sister in March so I bought a plane ticket! I am feeling fortunate because I have a bunch of airline miles banked and only had to spend $11 on my tickets to pay some of the required fees. It seems like some kind of insane loophole that you can get free plane tickets in the form of “miles” for using a credit card (especially when you never accrue interest), but okay.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

Here are some things I did and made this week.

Strongs

This is the last week of my current set of workouts. My program has been focused on jumping this month, which has actually gone okay. I definitely feel better at jumping and I have more stamina for it. I was worried that jumping would hurt my knees, but it hasn’t. Actually, roller derby has been making my knees sore, which has made me somewhat disinterested to go do a jumping workout. However, assuming I make it to the gym tomorrow, I’ll still have done two workouts each week all month, plus two nights of derby, which is a respectable amount of exercise.

Knitting and Crafts

textured socks in green and silver stripe with grey heel, cuff, and toe
Slytherin socks

The socks are done! I almost wrote “finally” done, but they didn’t really take that long. Everything I knit feels like it’s “finally” done when I’m finished, but that’s the nature of constructing textiles one stitch at a time. You may notice that the toes are a little uneven. I was about to run out of my contrasting color (which I ironically used a lot of in the cuff because I was worried about running out of the striped yarn), so I gave the second sock just a bit of toe. I still need to wash and block them, but otherwise, they’re finished.

My next project is going to be another pair of socks. I have been planning to start a shirt, but I decided on another pair of socks because new things are hard.

Kitchen Witchery

I’m not trying to brag, but I made some really good food this week. The highlight was this pan pizza recipe, which is definitely the best pizza I’ve made. If you’re wondering, I topped it with olives, pepperoni, and cashews, which is the ideal pizza. Kirk said he was sad that I always make good stuff like pizza when he’s not here, so I’ll be making it again tomorrow night for our eating pleasure. I also tried this recipe for loaded sweet potatoes covered in roasted chickpeas and tahini. Even though I like all those ingredients, I was skeptical that I would like this dish, but it was delicious. Kirk said he loved it too, even though he’d expected to hate it.

I gave myself a sneak peak at our next cookbook club selection, Feed Zone Portables, which is a cookbook of snacks for athletes. It’s for people sick of granola bars and the like. Instead you can make your own rice cakes or other portable, nourishing snacks. The two recipes I tried were better than I expected. I am always in need of snacks (#foreverhungry), so I’m going to try working these into my regular rotation. This week I made date and almond rice balls as well as sweet potato cakes, which look like a muffin but are more just sweet potato and rice held together by a bit of egg and flour.

Finally, here are some photos of Huey for your nerves. I can’t get enough of her snoozing on the edge of the couch lately.

A Week in the Life: January 24, 2020

I almost didn’t write anything this week because I don’t feel like I have a ton to say, but I want to keep at this weekly blogging, so I’m here anyhow. The big thing of this week is that my dad come over to remodel our kitchen lights. The results are really great. I’m so happy with how it turned out. This was a two-day process, with a marathon of demolition through texturing on Saturday, followed by painting and cleaning on Sunday.

Consuming

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

Reading

Kameron Hurley released the final book in her Worldbreaker trilogy last week, so I’ve been re-reading the first two books to refresh my memory before I read the new one. I am a big Hurley fan. I think her writing is interesting and she has women characters who span the full range of human personalities. She embraces the brutality of life and writers in a variety of speculative fiction scenarios. The Mirror Empire is the first book in the series, followed by Empire Ascendant. The new book is The Broken Heavens and I can’t wait to read it.

Watching

I can’t recall watching anything other than a few episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise this week. To be fair, there are quite a lot of episodes. There have been some good ones, but here in season three the show is definitely declining in quality.

Rampant Consumerism

I bought a great little device called the ChomChom Roller. It’s kind of like a hand-powered vacuum for picking up pet hair. It’s really just a piece of plastic, but it actually works. I cleared the couch of cat hair and I was impressed. It’s a good alternative to lint rollers, which is what we had been using, and it’s more effective.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

I spent the first few days of the week recovering from last weekend’s remodeling bonanza and the rest of it being sore from the gym and derby. Tuesday’s practice was footwork focused and last night’s involved a lot of contact and gameplay scenarios. Both tired me in different ways. I’ve also been keeping up on my workout program from Iron Octopus Fitness, which has been pretty challenging this month. I guess what I’m trying to say is: I don’t want to move right now.

Language Learning

I’ve been getting a lot of Spanish practice in this week, but have completely dropped my Icelandic now that derby has started. I’m still seeking an balance but I’m happy with this week’s Spanish efforts. I’ve been actually enjoying the novel I’m reading and I’ve made a big dent in my flashcard backlog. My teacher had me do some writing practice for the DELE exam and, even though I kind of hate some of the prompts, I tried to make it fun for myself, like in the essay asking me to write a letter of complaint about a recent beauty treatment in which I named the imaginary salon I went to “Cabello Bello.” I’m an artist.

Kitchen Witchery

Nothing too complicated this week, but I did keep myself fed. I made a winter minestrone soup (from the Daily Soup Cookbook) and a beef and broccoli from the Washington Post. I’ve made a few WaPo recipes lately and they’ve all come out pretty tasty. I’ve been a Post subscriber for a year or two now, but I recently signed up for their food newsletter, which has turned out to be a good choice

Finally, Here are some cat photos for your nerves.

A Week in the Life: January 17, 2020

I had another week of feeling messed up, but today I am feeling a lot better. It has been hard to motivate or be interested in things lately. Yesterday I had some clarity and realized that, of course, these are signs of depression (and that brains are dumb). After talking this out with Kirk and some of my friends, and going to roller derby practice last night, I’m feeling significantly better. I think part of the answer was just identifying the problem and articulating my feelings (spoiler: everything feels pointless because of climate anxiety). The other part is that it seems like I need a high level of activity to keep my brain chemistry in check. Plus, since I work from home, derby is my main social outlet. As exhausting as it can be to interact with people, it seems to be necessary.

Consuming

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

Reading

book: Betraying Big Brother, the Feminist Awakening in China
Betraying Big Brother: the Feminist Awakening in China

This week I read Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China by Leta Hong Fincher as part of my ongoing non-fiction jag. I can’t say I know much about China, but I like reading about feminism so this book piqued my interest. I knew China was an authoritarian state, but reading the stories of the Feminist Five, five notable feminist activists who have crossed with the state, was illuminating. As much as I rail against the patriarchy, I can see that I have it way better than a lot of women in the world. Chinese authorities regularly harass feminists just for participating in activism like passing out stickers with messages against sexual harassment. Anti-women attitudes combined with the Chinese surveillance state are making it extremely difficult for feminists to speak out, but they’re doing it anyway. Leta Hong Fincher is bearing witness to their experiences and sharing them with the rest of the world.

Something else I found interesting in this book was that the obsession with “purity” and prohibiting women from having sex outside of marriage is also a part of China’s patriarchal culture. Although this is something I associate with Christianity, a Confucian value and another blunt weapon that men wield against women in the fight for bodily autonomy. Patriarchal bullshit has no borders.

Other reading on the internet:

  • Virginia Finally Ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment via News and Guts Media. This news made me more emotional than I anticipated. With Virginia ratifying the ERA, there are now enough states approving it and it can move on to congress and maybe really become an amendment to the constitution. Being considered fully human by our government would be great.
  • Every Place is the Same Now via The Atlantic. This article really resonated with me. The thesis is that, by having smartphones that let us do any task in any place, we have made places lose their meaning. Everywhere is the same because we can do all the same stuff anywhere we go.
  • A Clear Menace via The New Republic. We make lots of buildings with a glass exterior to be fancy, but it’s actually horrible for the environment and we should stop.

Watching

We watched the original Star Trek movie from 1979. It was … something. There are excruciatingly long, loving shots of the Enterprise—like five straight minutes at a time of panning over the ship exterior. And there’s all the weird slowness and antics you’d expect from an Original Series episode. It was a strange experience, but I’m glad that I’ve seen it. Although we have been watching Star Trek in TV form for a while, this is the first movie I’ve watched. Kirk says the other ones are better and I hope he’s right.

Rampant Consumerism

newly installed stainless steel faucet
behold, my new faucet

The backpacks I ordered last week were delivered so now we have the beginnings of our emergency kits. So far, all that’s in there are our N95 breathing masks, some water bottles, and a couple of my old glasses, but I’m planning to gradually build it up so we’re ready in a crisis.

This week we bought a new kitchen faucet, and had some bonus house drama. Kirk attempted to fix a problem we had in the kitchen with the faucet only putting out a small amount of hot water, in comparison to the cold. Unfortunately, this resulted in even less hot water—barely a trickle. We called a plumber who, after some investigation, informed us that the problem was in the faucet itself and we’d need a new one. I was unwilling to wait for a warranty replacement, so we used some of the Home Depot gift cards we got for Christmas and bought a new one instead. The plumber came to install it this morning and now I can use the kitchen again. Praise Odin.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

Something I’d been mulling over, but hadn’t acted on until this week, was changing my email address. I’ve had a gmail account since gmail was new in the mid 2000s. I’m used to it and I like it, but I am tired of so much of my internet use being mediated by big tech companies that are just here to make money off our data and meddle in the democratic process. Last year I started blogging as an alternative to facebook (and look how well it’s going!). This year, I’m taking on email. I own this site, and lindseyhalsell.com so I can set up all the email addresses I want. I decided to go for something simple: mail at lindseyhalsell.com for the new account. It’s been kind of a pain switching over subscriptions to the new address, but it’s been a good opportunity to unsubscribe from things I routinely delete anyway. So far I’m enjoying this process of internet self-sufficiency, although I am missing some features.

Derby Life

Roller derby started again this week and I’m happy about it. We’re doing two practices per week until we have tryouts in mid-February. It’s a good way to ease back in without too much stress. I was pleasantly surprised to not feel too physically strained at practice. I mean, it’s always hard and a lot of effort but I felt strong and I felt able to breathe. I’m not sure if altitude sickness put everything in perspective for me or my off-season workouts really paid off. Perhaps both.

I’m also excited because our head coach this year asked me to improve our new skater program. I have a lot of ideas and it’s going to be interesting to see what we can do.

Yesterday was the anniversary of my derby wifedom with Taco and Stomp (although is the date of our Rollercon wedding our real anniversary now?), and it was great to practice with them both. Here’s to four years together!

me, Taco, and Stomp smiling for the camera
Happy Derby Wife Anniversary!

Strongs

me at the gym, wearing a pink shirt with a ham planet on it and flipping off the camera
ham planets against patriarchy

I made it to the gym twice this week. I had good intentions of going three times, but after Tuesday’s derby practice, my body felt kind of in shock from all the effort, so I took a day to rest. Today my knees were still feeling it but I did my best. I wore my Team Ham Planet shirt today in honor of a coach telling us that we need to get in shape. Okay.

Domestic Witchcraft

Saturday, we finally planted the vegetables we bought over a month ago. We cleaned out the garden bed and put in leeks, lettuce, spinach, and broccoli for some winter vegetable gardening. We are still learning what works well in our garden, but I’m hoping at least some of it grows and gives us tasty food.

I didn’t cook much this week, but this time because of our faucet woes. I was unwilling to dirty a bunch of dishes with no simple way to get them clean, in the absence of running water in the kitchen. But before all that, I made this chickpeas and orzo recipe, which was really tasty and I pickled some onions for kirk (it took two jars to contain the one GIANT onion I bought). I also made milkshakes again. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Knitting and Crafts

The photo says most of what needs to be said here, but I’m celebrating that I finished one sock and have knit half of the second. I got the heel turned and now am ready to pick the stitches back up to knit the gusset. I may even finish this weekend. I am a little annoyed with myself though because I thought I would run out of the green/silver yarn so I padded the length with the grey yarn. Nope. I’m almost out of grey and I still need to knit the toe of sock two. We’ll see what happens. Tune in next week for the exciting conclusion to this knitting cliffhanger.

one fully knitted sock and one halfway knit
sock progress

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.

A Week in the Life: January 10, 2020

This week has been difficult for no tangible reason. I don’t know if it was hormones or what, but it felt like I had a mini-bout of depression for most of the week. I was tired and didn’t feel like doing anything. I was upset and having imposter feelings about work. I do have anxiety and I have dealt with depression in the past, but usually I’m good about talking myself down from these kinds of moods. Plus, I am medicated, which helps. I am, however, feeling better today. I can’t say what the turning point was for sure, but I had a giant plate of nachos last night and felt a lot better after. Better living through Mexican food? (note: this is not to say that anyone with depression just needs to eat. This is my sense of humor; why cry when you can laugh?).

Consuming

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

Reading

Here’s some of the good stuff I read on the internet this week. Although by good I don’t mean “feel good” because these are all real downers, but they are interesting and important.

  • What our weighted blankets tell us about our late-capitalism angst via Forge. Weighted blankets seem to help people sleep, but is selling them just commodifying sleep?
  • Meet the CEOs cashing in on Trump’s aggression against Iran via CounterPunch. A reminder to us all that Trump isn’t starting wars just for fun, but also for profit. Eat the rich.
  • The Dark Side of Good News via Dame Magazine. Author Brooke Binkowski advances the argument that “heartwarming” stories of children raising money to pay of classmates’ lunch debt (sidebar: why the fuck does “lunch debt” exist?), or people fundraising for each other’s medical care are not just cute human interest stores, rather they distract us from the underlying issues and structural problems that cause people to go bankrupt over medical care in the first place.
  • ‘Like sending bees to war’: The deadly truth behind your almond-milk obsession via The Guardian. Another entry under “wow, capitalism just sucks.” Something like one-third of the bees employed to pollinate California’s almond orchards die in the process because the environment is so toxic to them. It’s an example of why there’s no ethical consumption under capitalism, even a morally “better” choice, like eschewing cow milk for almond “milk,” means you’re taking part in a system that’s not healthy for human workers, bees, or probably those of us drinking almond milk.

Watching

I’ve been watching season two of Killing Eve and really loving it. Watching Sandrah Oh’s character become more of a sociopath is fascinating and I love Jodie Comer, who plays Villanelle, particularly for her language skills and ability to do good accents. We also watched The Disaster Artist last weekend, which is about the movie The Room, widely considered to be one of the worst movies ever. It was absurd and hilarious and, perhaps predictably, left us with more questions than answers.

Consuming

a regular backpack, but bright orange
Swiss Gear “pumpkin” backpack

Kirk and I have been talking about making some basic emergency kits, so we ordered a pair of bright orange backpacks to build our kits with. I have a hard time with emergency preparedness stuff because it makes me feel like a nutjob. Obviously there’s plenty in the world now to suggest that having an emergency kit is smart planning, but it takes me back to days of Mormonism and church leaders encouraging everyone to have a year’s supply of food storage and do other wild “end of days” prep. I know that’s not what I’m doing, but somehow I’m having a hard time shaking that feeling. Hopefully with time it will leave me alone.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

Thanks to feeling out of sorts, I didn’t do a whole lot this week. We’re getting back into normal routines and I spent most of the week wanting to nap.

Knitting and Crafts

This week I’ve knit the better part of a sock. I started out with a different pattern last week, decided it wasn’t working, and started this version instead. I wasn’t sure that the grey yarn on the cuff and heel were going to match the main yarn that well, but now that I’ve got it knit up, it’s working better than anticipated. Hopefully by this time next week I’ll be well into this sock’s partner.

a sock, knit to slightly past the heel
sock in progress

Language Learning

I did the listening portion of a DELE practice this exam this week and did … surprisingly well. It’s not that I doubt myself, but I am a realist and these tests are meant to be tricky. Hopefully this is a sign that my skills are improving and not that I just got a lucky test that made sense to me.

I’ve also confirmed that my Icelandic teacher is on maternity leave now. I’m faced with the challenge of maintaining some Icelandic without direction and with the pressure of Spanish. So far I’ve been fitting in around 20 minutes of flashcards a day, which is pretty good. I’m thinking I can expand it to watching videos or something just to keep what skills I have.

Strongs

This week is the beginning of my new cycle of workouts and Prime has us working on jumping. A jumping-focused workout is not something I would choose for myself because I’m heavy and jumping is a high-effort proposition. However, so far it’s been pretty good. Hard, but good. I do feel a little stupid doing lots of weird jumps in the gym, but I always feel kind of stupid in the gym and maybe gyms exist to make us feel stupid anyway (thank you for coming to my TED Talk)? I did every workout in the last cycle and was proud of that, but this week I’ve already skipped one, which I am also okay with. Gotta do what feels right for the body and today that’s an epsom salt bath instead of a trip to the gym.

Kitchen Witchery

I didn’t to much in the kitchen this week other than put together some chili and cornbread for dinner. We’ve been eating a lot of leftovers and I haven’t wanted to do a whole lot. Although I did finally manage to make a decent bowl of oatmeal, which is a great accomplishment. I followed the instructions from The Kitchn, and added some cinnamon, honey, and pecans, which turned out quite tasty.

Finally, here is a cat photos for your nerves.

Viola from above
Viola, on guard

A Week in the Life: January 3, 2020

rainbow shawl lace pattern detail

Last Friday seems like a really long time ago, but perhaps our arbitrary new year starting in the middle of the week made me feel like everything should reset. Perhaps it’s because my good friend Anne is staying with us so it seems like there’s more going on. Or maybe because I wrote a bunch of year end/year beginning blog posts already this week. In any case, here we are, three days into the year. Shit is on fire and Trump has brought us to the brink of war with Iran so that’s a lot to take in. I don’t know what to do other than keep living my life so here is this week in review.

Consuming

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

Reading

book: The golden thread by Kassia St. Clair
The Golden Thread

My first book of 2020, by instagram post and by the date I finished reading it was The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History by Kassia St. Clair. This book is something of a cousin to another recent read: Threads of Life: A History of the World through the Eye of a Needle, but it manages to deal with different topics, and it’s more focused on fabric itself, rather than needlework. I liked some of the historical discussions but the most interesting part to me was the chapter on space exploration and the role textiles play in creating a safe environment for astronauts. It was a well-written book but didn’t hook me quite as much as Threads of Life did, probably because it didn’t have any of the memoir components, and stuck strictly to the history.

I also read the first two books of The Murderbot Diaries (All Systems Red and Artificial Condition), which is essentially about a humanoid robot that has anxiety and depression (I’ll say it again: Big Millennial Energy). It’s a lot of fun to read both for the concept and the way the story is told. Recommended reading for sure.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

Watching

Anne wanted to see Frozen 2 and, while I’m not that invested in Frozen, I was willing to go along for the ride. The plot was kind of bizarre and there was a whole lot of singing, but okay. One thing I was amused by was Olaf, the magic snowman sidekick whose every waking moment was spend staring into the void of existential angst. It’s the biggest Millennial Energy I’ve seen on screen and it made me laugh. That fucking snowman has no idea why he’s alive, what the point of anything is, or why nothing make sense but god damn it he presses on anyway.

Rampant consumerism

This week I received the hilariously named Glute Loops, which I ordered last week. It’s a fancy resistance band for leg exercises. It offers a lot more resistance than the cheap bands I’d been using and the weird round bands they have at my gym. I used it for hip abductors this week and was like, god damn. Recommended if you need an exercise band.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

In Anne’s honor, we threw a Halloween-themed New Year’s Eve party: New Hallow’s Eve. We got the Halloween decorations back out, watched Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice, and other Halloween classics, and invited people to dress in costume. We also had an “Oreo Tasting” to sample some of the many, ridiculous Oreo flavors, which are all surprisingly good. I have eaten a great many of the leftover Oreos this week. The carrot cake and peanut butter chocolate pie are standouts.

Language Learning

a page of my notebook tracking what studying I did in Icelandic in December
Icelandic studies: December 2019

December was a good month for Icelandic. I got through almost my entire flashcard backlog (no easy feat) and actually did homework (and did a good job at it). We had a couple of lessons before heading into the holiday. Unfortunately, I’m not sure when we’re starting up again because of my teacher’s maternity leave. So, I’ve been focusing a little more on Spanish this week, but I’m hoping I can maintain some balance so I don’t lose the knowledge I’ve gained.

To start preparing for the DELE exam, I am digging into my Spanish flashcard backlog (almost up to 5,000 cards to review -_-) and I’ve been making a point of scheduling myself to do listening and reading practice. I decided if I write down what I’m going to do for the week in advance, it removes some of the friction from the process and I study more. That’s basically a complicated way of saying I’m giving myself homework now.

Knitting and Crafts

I technically finished the Higuera shawl (okay, wrap) last week, but I didn’t want to spoil the surprise for Abby so I’m posting it now. I’m quite happy with how it came out. I love the cable pattern along the edge and, now that I’m done knitting it and can actually look at it, I really like the lace pattern too. The pattern calls for only three rounds of the leaf pattern, but I kept knitting to finish the rainbow so it’s huge. But that works out: more rainbow, more pride.

This week I also made a Hallowenmas stocking for Anne, who does not like Christmas that much. It’s a patchwork of Halloween fabrics that I had on hand (because you can’t readily buy Halloween stuff in December), but I think it works and I like the look of it. Anne liked it too and that’s what’s important.

Kitchen Witchery

My dutch oven has so far been very pleasant to cook in! I tried it for the first time last weekend to make braised french onion chicken with gruyere, aka chicken thighs in french onion soup, and it was delicious. We followed that with some homemade milkshakes to use up the last of the ice cream. Since Anne has been here, I also made carnitas (by request) and pinto beans (not pictured), which I cooked in the dutch oven. Today I made cinnamon rolls. We’re making a lot of good choices here.

Finally, here are some cat pictures for your nerves.

2020: New Year, Same Great Me

It’s 2020! My main goal for the year is to keep on being the best version of myself. I like the person I am. I want to keep being me, do good, and make and do cool stuff.

collage of pictures representing my mood for 202, including "okay, boomer," "legalize witchcraft," Giles (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) with a chainsaw, and a possum wearing a foil hat.
2020 mood board

Here’s what I want to do this year:

  • Make good food and not waste the food I make or buy.
  • Read at least one book per week.
  • Read the books I already have.
  • Read library books and bike or walk to the library for most trips.
  • Bike or walk to places around town as much as possible.
  • Keep at my weight lifting and exercise, mostly as a support for roller derby. It is really fun and rewarding to compete in weight lifting, but it’s hard to do both. This year I’m going to focus on derby as my main sport.
  • Play roller derby and have fun doing it. I’m going to take breaks when necessary and remember that it’s a fun hobby.
  • Announce derby at tournaments, make opportunities for new people to try announcing and find ways to support other announcers.
  • Coach derby. I started coaching towards the end of 2019 and I aim to continue.
  • Knit a shirt or sweater and learn a new knitting technique, like brioche.
  • Sew a cool item of clothing.
  • Learn how to mend things and do some mending. I bought thread and needle, plus some books on embroidery techniques. I’m two-thirds of the way there.
  • Stop buying shit I don’t need.
  • Support small/local/woman-owned businesses when I do need to buy things.
  • Garden. Keep my herbs alive for more than a month. I usually get lazy and stop watering them, but I like to have fresh herbs.
  • Try new things.
  • Be an informed voter and help others to be informed, especially considering the upcoming election.
  • Take the DELE C1 exam. This is a Spanish proficiency exam I’ve been thinking about for a couple of years but I’m going to do it this year for real. I already have the date set: July 10.
  • Get better at Icelandic.
  • Spend time with people I care about. Don’t rely on facebook to maintain my relationships.
  • Be generous.
  • Have and enforce boundaries.
  • Relax (not as easy as it sounds thanks to 🌈anxiety🌈).

2019: The 12th Annual Year in Books

This year I read 73 books, which is a lot! Last year I read 58 and my average for the previous decade of reading was 52 books per year. This is the second-most books I’ve read in a year (the most is 90), beating out 2015’s 71 books.

  •  Page count: 23,510. Interestingly, this is only about 1,300 more pages than last year, so I read a lot more books this year but they were shorter.
  • Library use: 30 of this year’s 73 books were from the library. I did start the year trying to read through books I already own, but the allure of the library is strong, especially because I have made it a weekly custom to ride my bike to the local branch.
  • Female/male authors: 58 books by women authors, 3 books with multiple authors that included men and women, and 12 just men. That means about 80% of the books I read this year were written by women, even excluding the mixed-gender authors.
  • Digital and analog: 42 ebooks, 31 paper books. ebooks are more convenient, especially when traveling or lounging in the bath, but I still enjoy paper books.
  • Fiction and non-fiction: 42 fiction, 31 non-fiction. I read a lot more non-fiction this year. I’m preoccupied with the world and what’s happening in it. I’m reading for the revolution.
  • Books in other languages: just one, though I started and abandoned several. 2020 may be more fruitful on this front.
  • Favorites: This is a lot of favorites, but I have good taste so it makes sense that a lot of the books I read would be that good. Looking at my list, I want to recommend almost everything as a favorite but I kept it to just these 10.

And now for the list!

Date FinishedTitleAuthor
1/1/19Read and Riot: A Pussy Riot Guide to ActivismNadya Tolokonnikova
1/8Cold SteelKate Elliott
1/10Crow After Roe: How “Separate But Equal” Has Become the New Standard In Women’s Health And How We Can Change ThatRobin Marty and Jessica Mason Pieklo
1/15Fighting Fascism: How to Struggle and How to Win Clara Zetkin
1/17She Would Be KingWeyétu Moore
1/28Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession Alice Bolin
2/2The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption Kathryn Joyce
2/4My Sister, the Serial KillerOyinkan Braithwaite
2/18The Mortal WorldGenevieve Cogman
2/19The Third HotelLaure Van den Berb
2/21Roller GirlVictoria Jamieson
2/24Tomorrow’s KinNancy Kress
3/7If Tomorrow Comes Nancy Kress
3/18Terran Tomorrow Nancy Kress
3/21The Light BrigadeKameron Hurley
3/21Brillant ImperfectionEli Clare
4/2The Raven TowerAnn Leckie
4/9SemiosisSue Burke
4/12VoxChristina Dalcher
4/26Lost Children Archive: A NovelValeria Luiselli
4/29How Long ’til Black Future MonthN. K. Jemisin
5/1Handbook for a Post-Roe AmericaRobin Marty
5/8A Memory Called EmpireArkady Martine
5/13Wild SeedOctavia Butler
5/15The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban TragedyAnna Clark
5/24Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry that Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in your Car, and Food on Your PlateRose George
5/26Mind of My MindOctavia Butler
5/31I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of LifeEd Yong
6/1El Espejo EnterradoCarlos Fuentes
6/5CirceMadeline Miller
6/13The Collected SchizophreniasEsmé Weijun Wang
6/20The Night TigerYangsze Choo
6/22Anti-Social Media: How Facebook Disconnects us and Undermines DemocracySiva Vaidhyanathan
6/26Mother of EdenChris Beckett
6/29Daughter of EdenChris Beckett
7/4The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp HumanityAmy Webb
7/6The Water CureSopihe Mackintosh
7/13Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, WitchNeil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
7/16The Black God’s Drums P. Djèlí Clark
7/23Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for MenCaroline Criado Perez
7/24Storm of LocustsRebecca Roanhorse
7/27This Is How You Lose the Time WarAmal el-Mohtar, Max Gladstone
8/1How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention EconomyJenny Odell
8/10Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of LanguageGretchen McCulloch
8/13Late in the Day: A NovelTessa Hadley
8/15WitchmarkC.L. Polk
8/23Confessions of the FoxJordy Rosenberg
8/26Not Funny Ha-Ha: A Handbook for Something HardLeah Hayes
9/17House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian MafiaCraig Unger
9/17Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of PlantsRobin Wall Kimmerer
9/20Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary AmericaKathleen Belew
9/22The TestamentsMargaret Atwood
9/27InlandTéa Obreht
10/4The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 ElectionMalcolm Nance
10/14The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and GirlsMona Eltahawy
10/23New Suns: Original Speculative fiction by People of ColorNisi Shawl (editor)
10/29Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our PastSarah Parcak
11/4Burial Rights: A NovelHannah Kent
11/9Interference Sue Burke
11/11In the Dream House: A MemoirCarmen Maria Machado
11/16A Jewel Bright SeaClaire O’Dell
11/19Magic for LiarsSarah Gailey
11/23Silent SpringRachel Carson
11/26The Ten Thousand Doors of JanuaryAlix E. Harrow
11/30Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You HaveTatiana Schlossberg
12/9Threads of Life: A History of the World through the Eye if a NeedleClare Hunter
12/10You Have the Right to Remain Fat: A ManifestoVirgie Tovar
12/16All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator Barry Levine and Monique el-Faizy
12/20You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It’s Making the World a Weirder PlaceJanelle Shane
12/23How to Be an AntiracistIbram X. Kendi
12/26Gideon the NinthTamsyn Muir
12/28ALL SYSTEMS REDMartha Wells
12/30Artificial Condition Martha Wells

2019: A Year in the Life

This year has been a lot. Living in these bullshit times is fatiguing. New political insanity on the daily makes every week seem like at least a month. It’s mind boggling but all we can do is keep on living and raging against it. That said, here’s my annual celebration of living and raging on.

Looking back at my goals and my mood board for the year, I feel like I lived up to it as best I could. Although I didn’t meet some of my specific goals, like deadlifting 405 pounds (see you in 2020, 400-pound deadlift), I kept to the spirit of my goals of being resourceful, consuming less, and doing cool stuff.

A collage of images representing my mood for the year
2019 Mood Board

This year I started writing/blogging regularly, which has been really cool. I’ve had this blog for about five years now but haven’t used it for much. Giving my weekly update a standard format and schedule has made it a lot easier to write. I look at it and think “well, what did I cook this week?” Instead of “fuck what have I done this week.” With that in mind, allow me to address the question of, “what the fuck have I done this year” with something familiar.

Consuming

Here are some things I read, media I enjoyed, and stuff I bought this year. I won’t talk much about reading here because my next post will be my annual Books of the Year list. My stated goal for the year was to read at least 52 books. As of this writing, I’m over 70, which is awesome.

  • Podcasts: I’m a huge fan of Gaslit Nation for the hosts’ ability to make complex political topics understandable, and help us understand what we can do about it. I’ve also enjoyed the Lingthusiasm podcast, which deals with linguistics and Holding Space with Magical Wheelism, which deals with representation and other important topics in the roller derby community.
  • TV and movies: Kirk and I watched Star Trek: Voyager, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and The Legend of Korra, among other fun shows. I re-watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer because sometimes that’s just what you need.
  • Rampant Consumerism: Notable things I bought include my Raaka chocolate subscription, Bombas socks, shirts with my own face, and who could forget our newly remodeled shower?
a screenshot of my amazon "your orders" page showing 0 orders placed in the last 6 months
Zero Amazon orders in the last six months. Progress.

As a footnote on the issue of rampant consumerism, I checked my Amazon account to see if I really did stop buying things on Amazon. It wasn’t something I listed as a goal for the year, but it is something that has been on my mind as part of thinking and acting locally and sustainably. I made only one purchase from Amazon this year, in February, to use up some gift cards and buy a kindle ereader, so I’d still be able to read all the ebooks I’ve bought through them (I switched to Kobo a couple of years ago).

Making Things and Doing Stuff

I did so much this year! I really tried to get in the habit of not getting lost in the internet’s infinite scroll and to do things that I enjoy. A few major factors make it possible for me to do a lot of things and not die. First, I got diagnosed with sleep apnea at the end of last year and started using a CPAP. I really can’t overstate how much more awake and alert I feel all the time. Second, working from home makes it a lot easier to do things. I can set up a bread dough and check on it every hour or so and that doesn’t make it any harder for me to get work done. Finally, I’ve developed a general level of comfort with myself and my life in the last few years. I don’t feel the need to stare into the void looking for validation all day so I can go about my business. When I was younger, I really did feel the need to be online all the time because I didn’t know what to do with myself and felt weird and needed that lifeline. Now I’m more self actualized.

This year I had fun traveling and hanging out with Kirk. We went to Peru in November and we spent a weekend at Lake Tahoe in June, during which he took me axe throwing. We built a garden bed in the backyard and started gardening, which was not all that successful but I’m hoping we’ll do better in 2020.

Languages

This year ended up being something of a maintenance year for both Icelandic and Spanish studies. I got a little bored with my routine and took a long break from flashcards and the “work” of studying, which is good and bad. For Spanish, I kept working with my teacher and we met regularly to keep up my skills but I didn’t feel like I learned anything new. Icelandic has been hard because I keep getting to a point where I’m about to improve and then our classes get interrupted for various reasons. Although I’m only learning Icelandic for fun, so it’s not like there’s any real pressure or deadline. This is a long paragraph for essentially saying “nothing changed,” but blog space is infinite.

Derby Life

I’ve said before that roller derby will take over your whole life if you let it. Derby wasn’t my entire life in 2019 but it was for sure a significant portion. Here are some roller derby highlights for this year:

  • Made the Sacramento Roller Derby B team and played almost every B and C team game this year, including some back-to-back games for double headers
  • Took second place at the Attack of the C Squads tournament
  • Went to Rollercon and did everything
  • Announced at the Lobstah Roll and Boardwalk Empire tournaments
  • Started coaching new skaters
  • Went to, like, a million hours of practice
  • Scheduled announcers for all of our home games and gave new people the opportunity to learn
  • Received the Announcer of the Year award from my league

Knitting and Crafts

So much knitting! Knitting has become what I do to relax, for the most part. Most of my other activities involve a lot of thinking or a lot of moving and this requires only a little of each. I learned the art of socks, made three hooded caplets, and learned how to sew buttons onto things. I intended to do more sewing this year, but while knitting is something I can do kind of passively, sewing is a whole activity unto itself. That said, I did make a set of cloth napkins and a table runner. I also made half of a blanket for me (other half, coming soon I suppose), and a whole blanket for my friend’s baby.

Strongs

This year I felt more tension between wanting to lift and wanting to play roller derby. I competed in one strong(wo)man competition in the spring and took third place in my class. In the summer, I decided to change gyms, which started with deciding to leave a gym and then it took a few months to rejoin a new one, so I didn’t make a whole lot of gains this year. The major upside of the new gym is it’s just a few minutes from my house and I can go whenever I want. It’s been nice to get my workout done during my lunch breaks. The downside is it’s a regular gym and not all close-knit like it was at Body Tribe. I started a lifting program from Iron Octopus that is specifically for roller derby athletes. So I’m looking forward to more gains and better roller derby in 2020.

Kitchen Witchery

Food is probably what I write about the most here so I won’t belabor the point, but I did want to post a gallery of some of the best foods I made this year. I made so many new things and improved my bread skills majorly. I learned to pickle things (for Kirk’s sake. I still hate pickles) and tried out sous vide cooking, mostly so I could cook food at Rollercon. This year was also the first year of cookbook club! We technically started last December, but 2019 was the real start of things. Cookbook club is cool because it got me making things I wouldn’t have thought to make plus I got to hang out and eat food with my friends.

Finally, would it even be a post if there weren’t some cat photos for your nerves? Huey and Viola had a pretty good year too.