Thanksgiving was this week! I like Thanksgiving but, as others have said more eloquently than me, I like the food but I don’t give a damn about no pilgrims. I know a lot of people were upset that they couldn’t visit family, but I love having quiet holidays at home, and that goes for any holiday to be honest. I was able to prep almost all my dishes during the week so I spent Thanksgiving itself mostly relaxing, followed by a couple hours of moving things in and out of the oven. A++ would recommend.
Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.
Books and Other Words
I said last week that I was reading the Daevabad Trilogy and this week I read the second book, The Kingdom of Copper. Last week when I meant to restart the series, I accidentally started on this book instead of The City of Brass. I got about one-fifth into it, spending the whole time thinking, “wow, I really forgot more of this book than I realized” before I finally double checked the series order. So I stopped reading, went back to the first book then re-started Kingdom of Copper afterwards. I know the pandemic has worn down my ability to respond emotionally to things because I got really upset over this. Despite this minor chaos, I liked this book a lot and how it built on the first one. I’ve just started book three and will report back.
Meanwhile on the internet:
- Grandparents are lying to their kids so that they can see their grandchildren via Glamour. First of all, what the fuck. Second, I do feel bad for grandparents who want to see their grandkids, but everyone needs to take the pandemic seriously.
- How much is 250,000 deaths? Enough to empty wide swaths of the country via Washington Post. We hit the “milestone” of a quarter of a million deaths (that we know of) in the U.S. a week ago. Yet, this week saw the most air travel since March. Yikes.
- What is the internet doing to Boomers’ brains? via Huffington Post. Older Americans are particularly susceptible to internet misinformation and social media is not helping.
- Covid’s cognitive costs? Some patients’ brains may age 10 years via Reuters. I do NOT want this thing and you don’t either!
- 22 ways to make Thanksgiving into your own weird, perfect holiday via Vice. I loved this. I laughed so hard. Much like getting people to go back to work in an office and wear pants, I think it’s going to be difficult to convince people they have to do holiday shit they don’t like after this year of anarchy.
TV and Music
We fulfilled our plan of watching all three Bill and Ted movies this week. I’ve been a fan of the original for a while, but I realized I had never seen the second movie all the way through. Excellent Adventure was as joyful as I remembered it and Bogus Journey was really fun too. I loved the new movie, Bill and Ted Face the Music. It kept what’s great about the original—Bill and Ted’s friendship, time travel hijinks, a love of music, and general goofiness—and layered in some great stuff, including their deeply cool children. On a related note, I am obsessed with the outfit Billie Logan wears in this scene. I am inspired.
This might actually be the opposite of consumerism, but I’m putting it here anyway. Now that I’m a person with disposable income, I’ve made a tradition of donating to Native American groups during Thanksgiving. If I’m going to enjoy a holiday that presaged their genocide, then literally the least I can do is give some money to the survivors. Something nice this year is that my corporate overlords are matching up to $500 of donations that any employee makes, so I made all my donations through the corporate site. Double donations! Here were my choices:
- Nevada City Rancheria. Last month I shared an article about the Nisenan tribe here in northern California. This is the tribe’s organization. They use the funds to fight for federal recognition of their tribe and for various cultural heritage projects.
- The Cultural Conservancy is a group based out of San Francisco dedicated to “cultivating foodways throughout Turtle island.” They work to revitalize native plants, improve the health of community members, and work on environmental justice. Thanksgiving is a great time to donate to preserve native food practices and I like that this is a local(ish) group.
- National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center is a native-led nonprofit that works to end violence against women and children. Considering the disproportionately high rate of missing and murdered indigenous women, this is an important cause.
- Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project. The Wampanoag people are the native people featured in the story of the first Thanksgiving. This organization is working to revitalize their native language.
- Endangered Language Fund. This organization works to preserve endangered languages around the world. Languages are so amazing and I want them all to survive.
- Elk Grove Food Bank. Not all of my donations were for native groups. I highly recommend donating to your local food bank, especially given how coronavirus is impacting so many people.
Since we’re here, these are some other indigenous causes you can donate to that I bookmarked this week. Some weren’t available through my corporate donation site (for various reasons, including that many aren’t registered charities) and unfortunately I have limited funds, unlike Jeff Bezos. I’m sharing these as much for myself as anyone else. I’m hoping I’ll be able to do another round of donations later.
- Four Directions Vote: helping get out the vote in Native communities
- Navajo and Hopi Families Covid-19 relief fund. Indigenous people played a big role in winning Arizona for Biden. If you want to say thanks, chip in to their coronavirus relief fund.
- Camp Mniluzahan and Creek Patrol: Part of the Land Back efforts for this branch of the Sioux tribe, this fund helps house indigenous people and provide food and supplies.
- K’é Infoshop: mutual aid for the Navajo/Diné, helping them live autonomously and get people supplies.
- Warriors of the Sunrise, to quote their website: “a group of Indigenous women from the Shinnecock Nation, and their allies are currently engaged in a nearly month-long encampment along Sunrise Highway in the Hamptons.”
- Sacred Generations is working against educational inequity and mass incarceration in Native communities, and is taking on climate injustice.
Making Things and Doing stuff
A lot of my free time this week went to cooking, so there’s not a lot of things and stuff to talk about this time around. Please enjoy this photo of my garden.
Something I’ve learned about myself in the last few years is that, while I do like exercise, I like it in the service of a larger goal. It was easy to work out and want to be strong while when I knew it would improve my roller derby game. I’ve had a hard time this pandemic with motivation to exercise (like many people, I expect), but taking ballet is starting to change that for me. I’ve been taking ballet for five months now, and I’m starting to see where I want to develop more strength and flexibility. I am getting more consistent about getting in some exercise to build up my ballet game, which I am happy about.
Thanksgiving is, perhaps, my favorite holiday because it’s about making and eating food and there is no weird, vestigial religious component (-side eye to Christmas-). I did most of the cooking, but Kirk made the all-important mashed potatoes, plus some asparagus and a sweet potato pie (a new addition to this year’s menu). I made a few of my usual dishes and upgraded some others. I spent five worthwhile dollars on the Kitchenista’s Holiday Recipe Collection ebook. I had only made one of her recipes before (this amazing mac and cheese), but she dispenses a lot of good advice on twitter so I wanted to check the book. It was a great investment! There’s a lot of information about how to plan for thanksgiving and what you can prep ahead so you don’t make yourself insane.
This year I made a chicken instead of a turkey since it was just me and Kirk. I dry brined it with the Kitchenista’s recipe but then cooked it according to this recipe. I also used her recipes for candied yams, roasted carrots, macaroni and cheese, and gravy. Kirk gave her sweet potato pie recipe a try and it came out really good. I used a few of my regular recipes too like my favorite butternut squash soup (which we had for dinner earlier in the week, then used leftovers on thanksgiving), this simple stuffing recipe, and crescent rolls.
Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.