A Week in the Life: January 30, 2021

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

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

I guess this blog is a grief diary now.

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

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


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

Books and Other Words

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

Meanwhile on the internet:

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

TV and Music

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

Rampant Consumerism

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

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

Making Things and Doing stuff

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

Moving It

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

Kitchen Witchery

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

Cat Therapy

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