The last few weeks have been hot and things have been hectic between taking care of this ridiculous kitten, starting a job search, and dealing with my corporeal form. It’s hard to start writing again after skipping a few weeks, not because I feel out of the habit but because I don’t know where to start. I have to remind myself that I don’t have to address everything from start to finish. We can hit the highlights.
This week I had three doctor’s appointments. I went in for a two-hour vision assessment to determine if I have binocular vision disorder. To no one’s surprise, I do. I spent a while with a vision therapist who ran tests to figure out how hard it is for my eyes to work together. This included tasks like circling which letters were backwards in a word and picking out shapes from a bunch of other shapes and squiggles. It doesn’t sound like much but when your eyes don’t work right, it is tiring. I also got my eyes scanned by a machine that figures out what kind of prism lenses to make to account for the eyes not cooperating. I’m really looking forward to getting glasses that can fix this, but I have to wait another week for a follow-up appointment and then presumably wait some more while they make my glasses.
My other appointments concerned my ears. I had another hearing test to confirm what the audiologist saw in May. I was not surprised to learn that the hearing in my right is is uniformly worse than in my left—it’s been that way as long as I can remember, but I had never thought to consider it a problem with a solution. The audiologist sent me to the ear doctor, who says my hearing loss could be the result of my ear drum and bone inappropriately rubbing against each other and scarring my ears or from fluid in my ear. If it’s the fluid, I can get a tube in my ear (normally a procedure reserved for children, and I did have this done as a child), but if it’s the scarring, there’s nothing for it. The ear doctor thinks I might have fluid in my ear because of allergies (shout out to the City of Trees), so he wants me to spray a saline solution in my nose four times a day, and flonase twice a day, until we meet again in September. It’s so much that I had to set up reminders on my phone because no one could keep that in their head all day. Oh, and as an added bonus, this doctor asked me to describe the kind of dizziness I get and he said what I’m really describing is migraines. I’ve had migraines all along and not even realized it. Being alive is such a scam.
All this body maintenance is a lot but what really is depressing me about it is that I’ve had all this for years and done nothing. I assumed this was all normal stuff and didn’t rate complaining about to anyone. I feel really stupid. I remember being in high school and waking up every morning with a headache. I’d pop some ibuprofen and hop in the shower. I thought my head hurt because I was tired (to be fair I was. In retrospect: sleep apnea?). It never occurred to me to say something. People just get headaches, right? The times I did try to say something didn’t go well. When I started college, I was having a lot of issues with being dizzy. I went to the campus health center a few times and got different answers every time (low blood pressure, “we just don’t know,” and one time a prescription for a high-blood pressure medication that I thought was going to kill me the one time I took it). The other issue is I’m fat, so whenever I present a problem to a doctor they tell me I should lose weight. One time I went in because I had a really bad cold and the doctor felt it necessary to lecture me about BMI!
One of the reasons I always write about my health issues is that I hope it will spare someone else some trouble. If your head hurts, it’s not normal! You should be able to hear in both ears! Life shouldn’t make you dizzy! I’m 35 years old and just realizing this. I hope you get there sooner.
Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.
Books and Other Words
It’s been a a little hard to focus on reading lately, but I did get a couple of books in. First is With Teeth by Kristen Arnett. This book focuses on a lesbian couple raising a boy child. It explores memory, identity, and relationships and left me asking “Are lesbians okay?” Second is A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark. This is set in an alternate-universe version of Cairo in which magical creatures have been released into the world. In this history, Egypt did not become a colony of England, but stayed independent. It’s a little bit steampunk, a little bit fantasy. It’s also a lot of fun. It’s a repudiation of colonialism and an embrace of non-western fantasy. I liked it a lot.
Meanwhile, on the internet:
- Iceland tested a 4-day workweek. Employees were productive—and happier, researchers say via The Washington Post. This story deals with two of my favorite things: a four-day workweek and Iceland. It’s heartening to see evidence for the four-day workweek. There’s literally no reason to be at work for 40 hours; it’s an arbitrary holdover from unions winning a five-day workweek. My view is weekends should be three days long so we have one day for rest, one for chores or whatever you need to do, and one to socialize and enjoy life. You can’t fit it all into a two-day weekend.
- By now, burnout is a given via The Atlantic. The pandemic has burned us all out.
- The girlboss era is over, welcome to the age of the girlloser via Gabrielle Moss. On women being responsible and a certain strain of feminism that promises “that you’d be powerful enough to eventually abuse someone else and call it feminism.”
TV and Music
We watched Loki! I’ve been a fan of the Norse trickster god since before Marvel made it cool (sorry, I have to) and I liked the show a lot. I love how Tom Hiddleston plays Loki and I loved all the alternate versions. It’s fun to watch for sure.
Because of this little pee bandit of a kitten, I was forced to also buy new bedding for our guest room, where Fritz has been spending the night (he hasn’t yet demonstrated that he should be left to roam free at all hours). He hasn’t peed on this, which I appreciate because I’d prefer to have a guest bed that has not been peed on.
In an act of peak homeownership, we bought new toilets recently. The ones that came with our house kept having issues like running for no reason or taking 10 minutes to refill after a flush. It turns out that the manufacturer had discontinued those models years ago and it wasn’t possible to replace the flushing mechanism. We used the opportunity to get dual-flush toilets, so that’s exciting. Being an adult is wild.
Making Things and Doing stuff
There are some things I’ve made and stuff I’ve done.
I spent a few weeks with my new Icelandic teacher then decided she was not the right teacher for me. Last week, I tried yet another teacher and he was great! He asked me about my goals and how I want to learn, plus hooked me up with a ton of Icelandic resources. He also suggested a vocabulary-learning app called Drops, which I’m really loving, so I want to spread the good word. It has multiple languages and it’s a fun way to learn that lets you choose what to focus on.
I haven’t only made desserts in the last few weeks, but that’s all I care to talk about right now. My in-laws gave us a bunch of graham crackers (they’re clearing out all the food they bought for the end of the world last year) so I’ve been trying to find a use for them. I started with a s’mores pie, which has a graham cracker crust, chocolate ganache filling, and swiss meringue topping. Of course I had leftover egg yolks so I decided to make ice cream. I got halfway into a recipe for “aztec” chocolate (chocolate with cinnamon and chili powder) before realizing I was making an eggless recipe. The ice cream was good but I was forced to make another batch to use my yolks, so I made almond ice cream! I’ve recently discovered icebox cakes and have tried a couple recipes to use up the graham crackers. We really liked this pistachio icebox cake. I substituted the “whipped topping” with homemade whipped cream and added a little cardamom to the mix for some flavor. It came out good! Finally, I made another batch of croissants. I feel like I’m getting pretty good at this pastry game. I want to start trying some variations with my next batch.
Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.