I’m going to change things up and start today by relaying some good news: we’re refinancing our mortgage! I feel like we’ve leveled up as functional adults by doing this and that I deserve a merit badge. We’re about 3.5 years into our current, 30-year mortgage, which has a 4.125% interest rate. Our new mortgage will be 20 years and a 2.85% interest rate. Our monthly payment is staying almost exactly the same but now we’re skipping almost seven years of payments. It seems like black magic but apparently this is how finances work? The “value” of our home has increased a lot since we bought it (somehow?) so we’re able to get rid of the PMI from our payments too. This is going to save us something like $160,000, which is nuts. It’s only by chance that the rates and home values have aligned by this and a bit of luck that a friend mentioned he was refinancing, so I started looking into it. It doesn’t seem like a matter of $160,000 should hinge on coincidence, but that’s 21st century America for you.
I know last week’s post was quite dramatic on the subject of Viola. I’m feeling better than I was, but I was, indeed, feeling big emotions last weekend. I’ve set her box of ashes in the living room with a feather toy and a little mouse. I wish I could do more. I miss her every day, but I haven’t cried this week. This is probably the last I’ll say about her for a while. We’ll focus on Huey living her best life instead.
Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.
Books and Other Words
I read two novels this week: The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas and The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray. I liked both books quite a lot. The Psychology of Time Travel was great because it asks how time travel would fuck you up on existential and emotional levels and it looks at the kind of measures a corporation would take to stay in the time travel business. There’s also time traveling lesbian romance, which is the kind of content I’m here for you. The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls is a non-fantastical story about a family, focusing on three sisters, trying to deal with their childhood trauma. Be warned that you shouldn’t read this if you don’t want to read about eating disorders or abuse. It’s not the main focus of the novel, but it is a theme.
Meanwhile on the internet:
- On vibing via Close but Not Quite. I don’t know how to describe this piece so I will simply say that I was vibing with it.
- The Met digitally restores the colors of an ancient Egyptian temple, using projection mapping technology via Open Culture. I thought this was really cool! It’s interesting to see ancient art as it was intended to be seen instead of the washed-out version we normally get.
TV and Music
I’ve now watched the first season of Orphan Black, a show about a woman who discovers she has a whole bunch of clones living different lives out in the world. I started watching this with Kirk, but after a few episodes he kept stalling on watching it. I finally learned that he didn’t want to continue with it and I was free to watch on my own. I’m liking it a lot so I finished up the first season pretty quick. I just got the first disc of season two in the mail so I’m looking forward to watching that this week.
In anticipation of baking a babka this week, I bought a bundt pan from The Kitchen Table, a local shop that sells kitchen wares. I decided to buy a madeleine pan while I was at it because why not. I have resisted buying single-use pans but I realized I have the space to keep them and, frankly, what else am I doing these days? I was very pleased that Kitchen Table dropped my order off on my doorstep! I thought I would have to wait for it to come through the mail.
Making Things and Doing stuff
As an editor, I hate seeing a header directly follow another header, which is why I feel obligated to put something here. My only subheading here today is “kitchen witchery” because I don’t have much else to say about things and stuff. I’m plugging away at knitting and dance and Spanish, but I don’t have anything new to tell you. Let’s get on with what you really want: food photos.
Last weekend, we “went” to Morocco. I made a few more recipes from Feast of the Islamic World and listened to some Moroccan music. Recipes included North African layered flatbreads, Moroccan kefta (aka meatballs), “the chicken that flew” (a dish of chickpeas and sweet potatoes—the chicken flew away!) and rice pudding. I liked the flatbread and the chicken that flew quite a lot; I would make them again. I didn’t love the meatballs, I don’t know if they were too dry or if I don’t really like lamb. Kirk said they were good though and he told me he doesn’t like lamb, so who knows. The rice pudding was good too. I scaled down the amount of orange blossom water the recipe called for and it ended up just right.
I’ve been alternating weekend baking experiments with kitchen travels. Yesterday I made a chocolate babka! I’d never eaten a babka before, but I had heard about it and thought it sounded delightful. I made the recipe from The Baking Bible, which called for baking in a bundt pan. It was really good. I already want to make more.
As to normal weeknight cooking, I tried a recipe from Jubilee: Recipes from two Centuries of African American cooking. I’m always looking for new bean dishes because they are usually filling, cheap, and tasty. I liked this one a lot. It’s a one-pot dish in which you cook the beans and rice in chicken broth and coconunt milk. I also tried another round of bagels. This batch came out a little uglier than the last but they were just as good. I tried making onion bagels, but didn’t do a good job of making the onions stick, so they were basically plain. I think I’ll do a sesame or poppy seed bagel next time because seeds are easier to work with.
Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. Huey came to hang out while I was in the middle of dance class this week. This was fine until she plopped down in the middle of my dance floor (such as it is) and started taking a bath. Thanks, Huey.