A Week in the Life: December 5, 2021

I’ve been thinking a lot about anxiety lately. I recently had a moment where I was getting pretty freaked out and started thinking, oh, anxiety’s at it again. Then I realized what I would normally name anxiety was actually some feelings I now recognize as eye strain and TMJ pain striking intensely and simultaneously. It made me wonder if I truly have anxiety disorder or if physical pain is putting me so on edge that I feel stressed and unable to cope.

I was first diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder in my early 20s, at the same time I got diagnosed with autism. The doctor explained that it’s normal for autistic people to have anxiety because part of autism is struggling to predict what might happen or people will do, then facing a mismatch between reality and one’s expectations. Given this context, I hesitate to think that my anxiety in particular is purely physical (and I’m also not suggesting that anxiety isn’t a real, chemical problem), but it is interesting to consider how much of my anxiety is informed by being in pain and not having been able to identify it or deal with it. I’ve spent years thinking that having a headache or being “just tired” was the normal state of being alive so it’s interesting to me to work on unraveling all these troubles. Part of me wants to believe that my anxiety will go away once I’m finished with vision therapy and if I keep managing the TMJ, but another part of me knows that’s not realistic. Plus, even if I do deal with these issues, the state of the world is anxiety-inducing enough to replace whatever I might have healed.


Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.

Books and Other Words

I read Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse and it was great. I can’t wait for the sequel. This is a fantasy set in pre-Columbian America, which I don’t think I’ve seen before. I loved the world and thought it was a rich, interesting story. Highly recommended!

Meanwhile, on the internet:

  • Climate change fuels a water rights conflict built on over a century of broken promises via The Washington Post (This should be free to read even if you don’t subscribe to WaPo. I am a subscriber and got a link to “gift” this article.). This is an interesting deep dive into the tension between Native people in the Klamath River Basin and the farmers who grow things there. Something that stayed with me from this article is that is the farmers are mad because they’re saying this is their life, their grandparents owned the farm, and they don’t know anything else. However, the grandparents often got the farms after the government repossessed the land from Japanese people during World War II. Meanwhile, the Native people have been on the land for thousands of years. It’s wild seeing farmers being mad about not being able to farm after just three generations of it being their “identity,” as one put it, but then there’s not much consideration for the identity of the tribes who have been taking care of the land for much longer.
  • Utah makes welfare so hard to get, some feel they must join the LDS church to get aid via ProPublica. This kind of shit is exactly why I hate Mormonism. Church and state are supposed to be separate to avoid exactly this type of problem People deserve help whether or not they’re living the way Mormons think they should.
  • The deadly myth that human error causes most car crashes via The Atlantic. As usual, we’re quick to blame individual failings rather than systemic problems.
  • The escalating costs of being single in America via Vox. Recommended reading!
  • Stores can’t write off customer donations made at checkout via AP News. I have assumed for a while that stores ask for customers to make donation so they can get the tax write off and so they can publicly trumpet their charity. It turns out that I was half wrong. AP says stores don’t get to write off the donations that individual customers make at check out.

TV and Music

Kirk and I have started watching Doctor Who again. I used to love it, but I got mad at it sometime during season seven or eight because Clara annoyed the hell out of me. We are enduring her presence for a couple more seasons, but otherwise enjoying Peter Capaldi’s take on the Doctor. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the newer seasons where the Doctor is a woman (#feminism lol).

Rampant Consumerism

I haven’t bought anything exciting lately but I did join the Sacramento Buy Nothing group on facebook, which is really the opposite of consumerism. I realized my bookcase was becoming overstuffed, so I decided to give away some books that I know I won’t read again/I’d given up on reading at all. There’s an Elk Grove buy nothing group that I tried to join first and they denied my request. I’m still puzzled by this.

Making Things and Doing stuff

There are some things I’ve made and stuff I’ve done.

Moving It

Good news for dance recital fans: my studio will be airing the recital on youtube again this season. The dates are December 26 and January 8. I will share a link once it gets closer. I’ve been having fun preparing for our performances. I’m in three classes now (ballet, jazz, and tap) so I get three times the dance recital.

Kitchen Witchery

I made a few good things this week, including a pot pie from leftover turkey, using my favorite recipe from the Harvest Baker cookbook. I tried this gnocchi with brussels sprouts and brown butter recipe, which was not hard to make but satisfying, especially when served with a little chicken to round out the meal. As for my baking, I made the sugar cookies from the 100 Cookies cookbook and rolled them in Christmas-colored sprinkles. I have a surprisingly large quantity of sprinkles in my pantry so I’m making an effort to use them. I also wanted to make a bundt cake and use some of the buttermilk in my fridge, so I made this marble cake, which was delicious. I realized I’d never made a marble cake before now, despite loving it and always asking for it on my birthday as a kid. Now I know I can make it anytime!

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. I want it to be known that Fritz, who is now about eight months old, is getting very large. He’s also a complete nut.