Two Weeks in the Life: July 9, 2023

Hello, friends and enemies. One thing that you probably already know about me is I love to get interested in things. I’m willing to get obsessed with almost any subject. This weekend, my dance studio held a weekend intensive for the adult dancers, which I attended because I like doing things and learning stuff. I got to try two new styles of dance—hip hop and contemporary—and was like, yeah I could see taking a class in this. Not that I’m going to because I already have full schedule but I could certainly get interested in more things. It made me want to read up on where contemporary dance comes from and get all up in their internecine drama. That of course reminded me that I already have some dance styles I could read more about so I promptly put a hold on a library book about the history of tap dance. I feel like every day I have to talk myself down from trying to start another degree or getting some kind of certification or whatever learning process because the world is full of subjects. It’s not FOMO (the fear of missing out), but it’s maybe the bummer of missing out (BOMO?).

A defining feature of autism spectrum disorder is having special interests. This is an idea that I used to struggle with because I thought I didn’t have one. Or I thought that maybe my interests were too broad. It turns out that you can have multiple special interests and they don’t have to be stereotypically autistic interests like trains or computers. You could have a special interest in reading fantasy and science fiction (like me for my whole life), or it might be something that seems normal (like me in high school getting really into 80s new wave music [NB: I am not that old, I graduated high school in 2004]). Then there was, of course, when I got super into ancient Egypt and thought I was going to be an Egyptologist, to the point that I took graduate-level courses in middle Egyptian as a freshman in college. Very normal! Now my interests are kind of everything, if I’m not careful. Language learning remains a big topic for me and probably always will. Same with reading. I’m currently hot on dance and movement. Every topic I pick up starts linking with new interests. Like knitting goes with Icelandic for me (did you know you can get certified as a master hand knitter? Because I did). I could be working on my French to support ballet. Liking things is a slippery slope.

Autism itself seems to be developing into a special interest for me. I’ve been reading up on it since I got diagnosed, but lately I’ve gotten more academically interested and have been reading publications too. Should I get a Ph.D. in neuroscience with a focus on autism? No, I definitely shouldn’t. But should I read as much as someone with a Ph.D? I might. I’ve been getting increasingly curious about this condition that shapes my brain as I encounter more and more people who share it. It’s mind-boggling to me how little understood it is. I feel like it’s part of my calling to say “Did you know that’s an autism thing?” to people whenever they bring up something connected to it. For example, a friend in my dance class this weekend mentioned hypermobility, which has some kind of connection with autism. I almost hollered across the room “Are you autistic too?” but I restrained myself. When I talked with her after, she mentioned that her daughter is autistic and then I was like ME TOO and I brought up the hybermobility thing. This is why I think autistic people on instagram and tiktok are doing the (non-denominational) Lord’s work by posting about the experience of autism rather than autism from a clinical perspective. What does it feel like to be autistic? So many un-diagnosed/unaware autistic people would recognize themselves if they could see it.

What I am trying to say is that I had a good weekend doing things and being interested in stuff. I lose my fucking mind whenever people say things like “Oh, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I didn’t have to work” or when I encounter stories in which someone is “cursed” with immortality. I know exactly what I’d fucking do if I were am immortal who didn’t have to work. I’d be learning all the languages, reading all the books, taking up every performing art (and maybe working my way around to visual arts eventually, but you know your girl loves an audience). So if anyone would like to sponsor me to be a loud genius and learn about everything, please get in touch.

Doing Things

a sign that says "Worried about kids? Protest the Catholic church" in marker
one of the protest signs I made

On Friday, our local Elk Grove book store held a drag queen story time. Unfortunately, fascist idiots threatened to come protest this event. Why they wanted to protest a private business doing what they want is baffling to me. I thought letting business do what they want was the whole conservative thing? I don’t know anymore. In any case, a counter-protest was organized in support of the bookstore and the drag queen, so we went to that. What was weird about this whole thing is the anti-drag queen story time protestors never showed up. There was a whole crowd out there waving pride flags and hanging around outside and nary a fascist in sight. This is obviously the best outcome: no fascists, everyone gets to be safe. But it is kind of anticlimactic to go to a protest and then have nothing happen. I am glad nothing happened, yes, but I am not really sure what was going on. Moral of the story: haters can get out of Elk Grove.

Books and Other Words

A Court of Silver Flames ebook cover
A Court of Silver Flames

I’m very happy to report that I have finished the Court of Thorns and Roses series, A Court of Silver Flames, and can now free myself from the Sarah J. Maas fairy-smut industrial complex. Yes, she has other series. No, I am not planning to read them (might I get pulled in by their gravity at some point? I can’t rule it out). I get why people like these books and I even thought some of them were pretty well done. However, there is better fantasy and better smut and better writing out there. The thing that really got me on this last book was that the writing (and editing) got lazy. Don’t have your character shouting “go to hell!” in a world that explicitly does not have Christianity. Hell doesn’t exist here! Invent new swears! You’re not even trying!

Meanwhile, on the internet:

Kitchen Witchery

I have a few highlights for you from the last couple weeks of cooking. First, I learned that you can make risotto in the instantpot. This is great because I love risotto (affectionately called “fat rice” in our house) but hate standing at the stove for thirty or more minutes to make it. I served it with this chicken with hibiscus barbecue sauce, which I made because I got powdered hibiscus in my spice subscription a year ago and had so far used it for just one recipe. It was surprisingly good! Second, I made ice cream for the Fourth of July. This was the only thing I did for the holiday. We had strawberry frozen yogurt and chocolate ice cream. I also made meringues, which in theory is a great way to use the leftover egg whites produced from making ice cream. In practice, I added the sugar too early and couldn’t get any air into the eggs so I had to start over again. Now I have leftover egg yolks. I’ll have to make more ice cream (oh no). Finally, I made black-ass brownies, which use extra-dark cocoa powder to create this attractive color. They also taste awesome. I threw a chocolate chip blend on top for a little extra excitement.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. Huey was aggrieved last night when I refused to take a second shower, thus denying her the opportunity to drink shower water, which is her preferred source of hydration. We also have here a photo of Fritz wrapped up in his favorite pair of my pants. I don’t know what it is about these pants in particular, but I can’t get through folding my laundry without him burrowing inside.