The last month passed in something of a fugue state. I didn’t want to do anything or look at anything and that included writing on this blog. A few things were getting me down. Vision therapy has become more difficult. My therapist said we’re reaching the part of therapy in which we have to get my eyes to start working together. You may recall that eyes not cooperating is the entire crux of the problem so this has all been very tiring. I’ve been very gradually learning to cross my eyes which is, surprisingly, an essential skill. I’ve also been dealing with more TMJ pain lately. I realized that the headset I use for meetings was pressing directly on the TMJ and causing me extra pain—not to mention the existential pain of being in meetings. To top things off, we’re now observing the pandemic’s second anniversary and World War III is ramping up.
Despite these woes, I am here today. The last week, I’ve come back into myself. Perhaps because the days are lengthening? Because I bought new in-ear headphones that don’t aggravate my TMJ pain? Because my boss’s boss acknowledged that my boss, let’s say, leaves some things to be desired? It’s probably a little of everything but I am glad to have a little more energy and be back to writing my blog and doing my usual stuff.
Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.
Books and Other Words
Given the aforementioned vision stress, I’ve barely been reading. Between work and therapy activities, I don’t have a lot of visual energy remaining for books. This sucks because I, clearly, love to read. In any case, the last book I read was You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo. It’s a fun science-fiction tale in an emerging genre that I am thinking of as “cozy sci-fi.” The story follows a group of varies alien species gathered into a found family. They take in a stray, they go on an adventure. It’s a very enjoyable read that I couldn’t help but compare to The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. This isn’t a bad thing. I could read 100 novels like this and probably not get tired of it. I think these cozy stories are filling in something we don’t have a lot of right now. Life feels so chaotic and unstable. It’s nice to read a story where the characters are open and accepting and just want to do their thing. Part of the draw, too, is imagining a future in which humanity has survived whatever the hell is happening at present and gone on to join the rest of civilization in the stars. It’s a little optimism, as a treat.
I was looking at what links I’d saved for my “meanwhile on the internet” section and realized I saved almost nothing. Instead of reading the internet lately, I’ve been playing Guild Wars 2 with Kirk. The game recently published an expansion so we’ve been playing more. However, Kirk plays more than I do so he already has some of the fun new stuff in the game like a boat and a turtle-tank. He escorts me around the map, which is, frankly, the level of respect I deserve.
TV and Music
I’m still having fun exploring new (to me) music and I bought a few albums recently including Neyslutrans by Hatari. This band was Iceland’s representative at Eurovision a few years ago, although they are not the usual Eurovision sound. Actually they’re not even my usual sound but I like them even if they are kind of shout-y. The music is good and it’s in Icelandic. In a completely different genre, I bought an album from a band called Tomato Flower. It’s a very short, pleasant set of songs that I’m enjoying.
I have long resisted in-ear headphones, but I realized I had to get over it because my eyes were watering when I was in meetings from over-ear headphone pain. And meetings are bad enough already. I bought these Sennheiser earbuds, which I actually like. In-ear headphone technology has advanced significantly since I last tried putting headphones in my ears.
Making Things and Doing stuff
There are some things I’ve made and stuff I’ve done.
The worst news of the year so far is that the spring dance recital is going to be in an actual theater and it’s on the same Saturday that I’ll be in Seattle trying to take the C1 DELE test (my Spanish exam) again. I am really sad that I’ll miss the recital and I’m mad that this could have been avoided if my previous attempt at taking the test hadn’t gotten fucked up. The good news is that 95 percent of a dance recital is practicing in class, so in a way I’m not missing much. I’m still sad though.
I haven’t been getting too crazy in the kitchen lately. I’ve been getting better at keeping track of what meals were good and relatively easy so I can add them to my rotation (thanks to the power of spreadsheets). That said, I’ll never stop trying new things. I made scones (the recipe from The Bread Bible) for the first time and that was fun. There’s a lot of folding involved, but that wasn’t so bad. I made an almond and poppy seed scone because I rejected the recipe’s recommendation of currants (gross) and lemon poppy seed (fine but almond sounded better). I tried out another recipe from Feast of the Islamic World with ful medames, which is basically a fava bean dip. It was good but I think it would be better with feta cheese. I’m also considering frying the leftovers into felafel-like balls and eating them that way because there’s only so much bean I want to dip. Finally, I’ve developed a great appreciation for cookies made with seasonal M&M colors. I don’t know why they taste better but they do so here I am.
Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.