Happy Valentine’s Day! We’re not in the habit of making a big deal of Valentine’s day in this house, but I do like it as a reminder to appreciate the people I care about and who care about me. This morning, I made biscuits and gravy for breakfast and then Kirk and I played Mario Kart 8, which was my Valentine’s gift to us. Kirk is going to make us dinner tonight. In non-pandemic years, we made it a custom to go out for dinner the day after Valentine’s day. It’s a good way to avoid crowds and high prices at restaurants. Going out on the 15th instead of the 14th doesn’t mean you love each other any less.
This week has been a little chaotic for me. We have a big proposal at work that we’re trying to finish and the writers keep blowing off their deadlines. I was scheduled to edit it this weekend since that was the only time remaining. Fortunately, the potential client extended the due date. Unfortunately, they published that announcement at midnight Saturday morning, so I still worked late on Friday and worked early on Saturday before finding out about it. I’m glad I got to keep three-quarters of my weekend, but all the stress wore me out. Having personal time is so important to me and enjoyable free time is the main benefit of having a job (aside from the paycheck!). So, when work cuts into my time, it really stresses me out. After being so keyed up over the threat of working all weekend, I was exhausted when it didn’t happen. Emotions are annoying that way.
Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.
Books and Other Words
This week I read Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic. This is the second book of hers I’ve read and I had pretty high expectations because I loved Gods of Jade and Shadow. Mexican Gothic is a spooky novel set in 1950s Mexico. The protagonist, Noemí, gets a semi-incoherent letter from her cousin, who married a white man and moved to his fancy house in the middle of nowhere, and the family is concerned. Noemí is sent to investigate and horror ensues. I usually don’t like scary books (real life is enough, thanks), but I liked this one a lot even though I was scared. There is an interesting supernatural element, but the real horror comes from the forces of colonialism and patriarchy. I recommend this book if you’re looking for some chills from a different perspective.
Meanwhile on the internet:
- How a sluggish vaccination program could delay a return to normal and invite vaccine-resistant variants to emerge via The Washington Post. Only read this if you want to be stressed.
- New Zealand Parliament scraps tie requirement after Maori MP ejected from chamber over dress code tiff via The Washington Post. I thought this was interesting in terms of what we think is “respectable” and normal and how that is defined by the dominate culture (white Europeans). Does wearing a tie make a politician better at their job? I highly doubt it, but this Member of Parliament was kicked out for not wearing a tie! Fortunately, the New Zealand Parliament then eliminated the rule, but it’s ridiculous that it existed in the first place (and that someone felt the need to enforce it).
- Macaroni and cheese at Monticello via EatingWell. I liked this examination of how macaroni and cheese became American food (hint: through black people, like many American traditions).
TV and Music
I mentioned months ago that I had started watching the Golden Girls. I’m still slowly making my way through it—I’m now in season three. This show just gets better as it goes on. Since one of my other new pandemic activities has been ballet, when I hear the theme song, I keep thinking I should make a little ballet routine to perform to it to celebrate my pandemic pastimes. Perhaps I will do this to celebrate the end of the pandemic.
My old slippers were beat to shit and my feet have been hurting (I have a sit/stand desk for work and I like to stand when I can) so I decided to spring for some nice slippers that would hopefully improve that situation. I bought these lovely tiger print slippers from a brand called Vionic. They are pretty comfortable. They do feel more like a shoe than a fluffy slipper, but that’s what I wanted. So far, I like them.
After hearing me complain about how much I hate mint toothpaste (but continue to use it for lack of alternatives), Kirk did some research for me and found this Hello brand toothpaste. I bought strawberry and grape flavors, which are ostensibly for children, but they include fluoride so they are appropriate for adults. Brushing my teeth is now way more pleasant. Between this and the Cocofloss, I’m actually doing a really good job of taking care of my teeth!
Making Things and Doing stuff
We’ve let our garden get a bit … feral this season. We planted things and have pretty much let the rain take care of the watering and left it at that. The lettuce shot up to start producing seeds before we got around to picking it. The broccoli starting flowering much sooner than expected (Kirk suspects the freezing temperatures we had confused the broccoli). The herbs are going crazy. If I’m smart, I will pick them and dry them out before they, too, begin flowering. Although, I have been using the fresh herbs quite often, I can’t keep up with this massive quantity.
This week I finally started feeling the pull of being more serious about Spanish again. Part of the end-goal of learning Spanish—or any language—for me is being able to experience things in the language just like I would with English. This week I started reading the Spanish edition of Vagabonds by Hao Jingfang and I’m feeling a little success on this front. This is one of the first books I’ve read where I feel like I’m understanding it all and I just want to read it to read, not to “study Spanish.” It’s actually translated from Chinese, so why not read the Spanish translation and not the English? It’s a relatively long book and I expected it would take me a while to read, but I’m moving through it relatively quickly, which is satisfying.
It turns out that I took no food photos this week, but I did make food (one must eat). I tried out this pasta e fagioli recipe from Rancho Gordo since I saw the recipe and had all the ingredients on hand. It was good but I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. I also made brown butter brownies so I could have something to stress eat while editing this weekend (now I don’t have to work so I’m just normal eating). I wanted to do my Peruvian kitchen trip this weekend, but I am going to have to save it for next week instead!
Finally, here is a cat photo for your nerves. Sometimes when I pet Huey wrong, she corrects me by putting her paw on top of my hand and making me stop.