Happy Halloween, blessed Samhain, and feliz día de los muertos! Although I’ve been enjoying fall, I haven’t been that excited about Halloween this year. I’m planning to put candy out in the birdbath for trick-or-treaters like we did last year and maybe bake something good for tonight, but that’s the extent of my enthusiasm. Although I am excited about baking pan de muerto. I’ve been meaning to do it for the last few years, but I always forget. Not this year!
I finished my second week of the new job and it’s mostly going well, but thanks to two coworkers going on maternity leave and another coworker getting pulled back to a different project, I am now the only technical writer left. So, that’s not a good time. Management has been pretty understanding and they said they don’t expect me to do all the work, which is good (and realistic), but it’s a little stressful when I’m so new and was hoping to just keep easing into it. The good news is that the job can only get easier. Eventually people will come back and I’ll have less work.
Would it even be a blog post if I didn’t write about health issues? This week I talked to a physical therapist about my TMJ. I now have a set of therapy exercises to do (yes, in addition to all my vision therapy stuff @_@). It’s good because it is helping with the pain. Between this and being easier on my jaw by not eating anything too chewy, etc., I’m feeling better. I haven’t had any of the pain that feels like a sharp needle stabbing my ear drum, which is a relief. The other good thing that came from meeting with a PT is she told me that TMJ pain usually comes in episodes. So I don’t have to do therapy exercises and eat super carefully all the time, I need to pay attention to my body and do those things if I feel like the discomfort is ramping up. I’m super relieved to know this isn’t a constant problem that I’ll have to manage.
Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.
Books and Other Words
This week I finished The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri and I liked it a lot. It’s a fantasy set in an Indian-ish empire. There’s magic, political intrigue, creepy religions, and lesbians, so basically a perfect read. There seems to be an emerging sub-genre of fantasy/speculative fiction of women rebelling against the colonial establishment and also having a relationship with their hot oppressor, which I think is great. See also: The Unbroken by C. L. Clark. The Jasmine Throne is the first in the series and I am looking forward to the next book coming out.
Meanwhile, on the internet:
- Herbs & Verbs: How to do witchcraft for real via JSTOR Daily. Some Samhain-appropriate content for you on witchcraft and language.
- “Dune” (the movie), annotated via Read Max. If you haven’t read Dune and want to know more about how the movie draws from the book, this is a fun read. I enjoyed it even though I am a Dune aficionado.
- ‘Dune: Part 2’ officially greenlit, release date set for 2023 via Variety. Speaking of Dune, it’s official. Shai-hulud is real and wants us to be happy.
TV and Music
Kirk and I caught up on season three of What We Do in the Shadows this week. It’s a perfect show and I won’t hear anything to the contrary. It’s so well written and I loved seeing how the characters developed this season. We also finished watching Star Trek: Lower Decks, which is not so much as show as an extended treat for Star Trek fans. It’s so funny and it makes me want to re-watch every other Star Trek so I can enjoy all the jokes.
This week I finally reckoned with the fact that I had to buy some clothes. I’m going to Seattle in two weeks for my Spanish test and I don’t have any outside/cold-weather clothes that fit right anymore. I generally do not like buying clothes because it’s hard to find stuff I like, stuff that fits, and stuff that feels good. I’ve gained weight since the pandemic started and have been reluctant to buy bigger clothes because it feels like a failure, not only for the weight gain but for the “wasted” money of the nice clothes I already had. It’s hard to maintain an intrinsic sense of self-worth when you’re fat. Getting fatter means seeing a little bit more of your worth as a person stripped away in the eyes of society and buying the clothes to accommodate a fatter body means that you can’t deny it anymore. So, I’ve been feeling some emotions around that but I’m trying to remind myself that I deserve to have clothes that fit. I don’t need to punish myself with ill-fitting clothes like I was punished as a teenager (I remember one time, for example, my step-mom commented on my pants being way too tight then declined to do anything to remediate that problem. thanks.). I’m allowed to look and feel good even though I’m fat.
Making Things and Doing stuff
There are some things I’ve made and stuff I’ve done.
I’ve been working hard on Spanish since my exam is in two weeks! I’m a little stressed out. I think I’m ready but it’s hard not to feel like I need to do more, especially since there’s not a point in language learning where you can really say “welp, I’m done.” I manage my anxiety by being as prepared as possible for things I do, so it’s hard to curb that instinct with something that is important to me like this. However, I’ve been meeting with my teacher twice a week and we’ve been working to fix some of the things I often get wrong, so that is encouraging.
I’m nominally still working on Icelandic. I’ve been meeting with my tutor but doing little else. I didn’t want to stop taking lessons so shortly after restarting. I’m looking forward to digging into Icelandic more after I take my Spanish test. Gotta prepare for next year’s trip to Iceland!
I’m still having fun trying out different pasta recipes from the Pasta Grannies cookbook. Last Sunday I made taglioli and bean soup, which was really good. This was an easy pasta to make—I didn’t even use the pasta roller, just a rolling pin. I also made a gruyère-stuffed loaf, which was very tasty.
Fritz is flourishing as a little bandit. He has recently discovered that he can jump onto our bathroom counter and that we keep q-tips there. Although the q-tips are closed in a little box, he has opened the box at least once to liberate q-tips to play with and gnaw. He has also, at various times, nabbed both of our wedding rings from our nightstands recently. We had to run a house-wide search for mine, but we finally discovered it under the bathroom scale along with a trove of hair ties and q-tips. He’s a criminal but he’s cute.
Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.