Last weekend I traveled to Seattle to finally take my Spanish test (the DELE C1 level). Unfortunately, I didn’t get to take the damn test. I showed up on Saturday, the day I’ve had in my calendar for almost a year, and the proctor there said they had waited for me on Friday. Apparently, the speaking portion of the test was rescheduled to Friday. They said they had emailed me about it a week before the test date with updated test information. I guess it wasn’t worth getting confirmation by email or calling me when I didn’t show up. The email they sent had the new time buried in an attachment; the body of the email had a campus map and information about covid protocols. You can’t pass the test without taking all of the sections, so I ended up not taking the test at all. I had the option to do the written portion on Saturday, but I wanted to cry and throw up so I declined and left. Something mildly reassuring is I wasn’t the only person who missed the Friday session. Not a lot of people take this test, so that means at least 25 percent of us missed it. The testing organization really fucked up here and I’m mad about it. I also feel stupid. Even though I strongly feel it’s not my fault, it feels really foolish to study for ages, travel to another state for a test and then … miss the test.
You may be wondering when I can take the DELE again. After a few days of hating the idea and telling myself that I know in my heart I would have passed, I have decided I will try again. They only offer this test every six months and the closest location is in Seattle so, I guess I’m making a repeat journey in May.
Despite this drama, I did make the best of the trip. I had planned to stay in Seattle for a few days to visit my friend Kira (and her cute dog, Poppy Marie) and go to some of the city’s excellent book shops like Book Larder and Elliot Bay Book Company.
Outside of Spanish studying and trips to Seattle, I have been working a lot. Not like overtime hours a lot but my workdays have been quite full with the new job thanks to both of the other women on my team going on maternity leave. I’ve been working on learning the new gig and finding my rhythm while also covering for two other people, so that’s not a great time. Despite that, I do like the job. It’s much less stressful than working in proposals like I was before (now I’m doing documentation). My boss is nice and he’s also a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race so we have plenty to chat about.
Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.
Books and Other Words
I recently read Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman and I sort of liked it but sort of didn’t. It kind of exists in this vein of pop culture where women are always in competition with each other, which I do not like to read. However, (spoilers for a 25-year-old book?), the protagonists—sisters—do finally learn to collaborate by the book’s end. I was also hoping for more magic if I’m being honest. This is more of a magical realism book, it skirts the boundaries of a witchy story without giving us much full-blown witchcraft, which isn’t as fun to me.
Meanwhile, on the internet:
- Sick days disappear in the remote working world via Axios. This article describes a trend that I’ve noticed in my own life: work-from-home employees not taking sick days. I rarely take sick days now that I work from home. It feels like there’s no point unless I can’t get out of bed. It seems easier to be half-present at work than to take the day off, but maybe we all need to use our sick days as intended!
- The CEO lip service of the “Resignation” movement is amazing to watch via Ted Bauer. I had a very laugh/cry moment reading this. Why do CEOs think that the answer to keep employees is “more emphasis on corporate purpose” or “more attention to culture” instead of, say, pay people real money? Truly baffling and quite an example of out out of touch CEOs are.
- Your herbs and spices might contain arsenic, cadmium, and lead via Consumer Reports. A public service announcement from your local kitchen witch.
- Deb Haaland seeks to rid US of derogatory place names via Indian Country Today. The power of having an indigenous woman as Secretary of the Interior!
TV and Music
We finished watching the latest season of Star Trek: Discovery which was good, if a little silly at times (which, frankly, is Star Trek for you). Now we have started watching Doctor Who again, which we stopped watching a while ago because I got so annoyed about the storyline with Clara that I had to stop watching. But, after a long break from it, I’m able to appreciate it for the campy science-fantasy show that it is.
I’ve also been watching a lot of the Great British Baking Show, both the current season and the older seasons. It’s the perfect show for lying around and being cozy. Although every episode I find myself saying “oh, I should try making that,” as if I live in a bakery or something (maybe I do though?). After the disappointment of my Spanish test last weekend, I went back to my hotel room, laid in bed, and watched GBBS for several hours to ease the pain.
Making Things and Doing stuff
There are some things I’ve made and stuff I’ve done.
We are coming up on dance recital season so all my dance classes have been practicing routines. I think it’s a lot of fun to learn the routines, plus it pushes me to improve my dancing. I’m up to three dance classes now—ballet, jazz, and tap—and am planning to perform in all three. The recital will be digital again and I’ll share the time, date, and link once I have it.
This is several-week-old news now, but I finally made pan de muerto this year for día de los muertos. I liked it and I have it on good authority from the local Mexican community (aka my friend Mandy) that it’s a tasty pan de muerto. I’m looking forward to trying again next year with some inspiration from this article with festive, colorful sugar and pictures of how to shape the “bones.”
This weekend, since I’m now have energy to make things again, I made a pistachio mousse tart. It’s got a chocolate shortbread crust and it is delicious. The only thing I would have liked to improve is getting the crust more even up the sides, and I might add some extra seasonings if I make it again.
Fritz has gone back to his bed-peeing ways after a few months of abstinence. He peed on the bed while I was away in Seattle, then the day I came back after I left for dance class in the evening. It seems like a pretty clear signal that I’m not allowed to leave the house.
Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.