Two house drama sagas were resolved this week: the ants and the shower. To be fair, the ants were resolved on the day they started. My duct tape barricade was effective, for the most part, but what really finished the job was the rain, which made it impossible for the ants to maintain their trail to the house. Kirk found the crack in the wall they were using to enter and patched it with a line of caulking, which also helped. As to the shower, it has been “done” for a month, but we were waiting on our final permit inspection, which finally happened yesterday (after a fair bit of harassing the contractor). The inspector approved everything, the contractor came out for a final walkthrough, and we sent the last of the money. FINALLY OVER. I look forward to never remodeling a shower again.
Here are some things I read, watched, or bought this week.
I read some interesting books this week! One, Threads of Life: A History of the World through the Eye of a Needle is a combination of a social history of needlecraft and memoir. I enjoyed reading about something that we don’t have a lot of documented (well, written) history about because it’s often disregarded as unimportant since it’s “women’s work.” I’ve said before that knitting has really taught me how much work goes into making textiles and this book is another entry into my personal syllabus. Side note: I borrowed this book from the library, but the library bought it because I asked them too, which is pretty boss. Sacramento Public Library lets you put in up to 30 materials requests annually!
The second book, You Have the Right to Remain Fat: A Manifesto is pretty well what it sounds like. This book is, in a word, refreshing. It’s good to have a plainly written reminder that you are under no obligation to be thin. You can take up as much space as you want. Two bits that stuck with me are the phrase “In the future, I’m fat” and an anecdote about how, in certain cultures, fat is prized over thinness. The part that particularly stood out is that women in these cultures will pile clothes on before being weighed at the doctor instead of taking them off, which is what I tend to do. It just emphasizes that this is all made up. You don’t have to be any kind of way. Be how you want.
Some other reading from around the internet this week:
- The Physics, Economics, and Politics of Wheelchairs on Planes via Undark. I, being a non-wheelchair user, had not given much thought before reading this article to the question of why you can’t sit in your wheelchair on a plane. But it’s a good question. This is an illuminating read.
- How to Have a True Hobby, Not a Side Hustle via Vox. Reading for everyone who has told me I should start an etsy shop for my knitting and/or baking.
- Toward an Applicable Theory of Just Not via Autostraddle. Related to the previous read, in a way. I don’t love everything about this article but I like it enough to share it.
In a run of total comfort-watching, I watched the holiday episodes of the Great British Baking Show. I got really excited when they made Icelandic laufabrauð in the technical challenge because I knew what it was, and I’ve usually never heard of any of the stuff they make in the technical challenge.
In the ongoing effort to reduce the plastic in my life, I ordered some “naked” soaps from Lush to replace my normal face wash stuff. I must report that so far, so good. They probably are a bit more expensive than buying Target brand or what have you, but they smell really nice and are less wasteful.
Making Things and Doing Stuff
This week has been full of activity. Despite that it’s the off season, there were derby things last weekend. I’ve been filling all my evening time with reading and baking. I have been invited to help out with something called the Cookie Project, which involves delivering homemade cookies to people working shitty, non-essential jobs on Christmas day, so I’ve finally got a good excuse to make an unreasonable amount of cookies (because otherwise I’ll just eat them all). On top of all that, Kirk and I went bowling last weekend. Kirk was into it, but I was like, what, you just throw balls in a straight line and the people around you make noise and that’s it? Regardless, I told Kirk I’d give it another chance sometime.
It’s cold, it’s the holiday season, and my evenings are free from roller derby so I have been on a baking rampage, in addition to my regularly scheduled cooking at eating. This week I made a bean and bacon soup that was perfect (here’s the recipe). I used to eat the canned version all the time and of course the homemade version is superior. I also made a turkey noodle soup to use up some leftover turkey and the turkey stock I made after Thanksgiving. Of course since I made soup I had to make bread and I tried a sweet potato loaf from The Bread Bible. It’s a totally soft, delicious loaf that I will make again.
On to the cookie rampage: I made ginger snaps, except I make them soft so I guess they are just ginger cookies, using the recipe in How to Cook Everything. I tried out this recipe for double chocolate coconut cookies, which was a success. They’re a little bit like little brownies. But the best thing I made this week was millionaire’s shortbread. I had an excess of dulce de leche (which I made for our derby awards party but most of it did not get eaten) so I tweaked the recipe to make what I am calling Million Peso Shortbread: cinnamon shortbread, dulce de leche caramel, and a bit of chili mixed into the chocolate. Catch me on the Great British Bake-Off next year.
I think I mentioned last week that I was getting back into my Icelandic groove and it is paying off. In my lesson this week, Svava told me that whatever I’m doing is working because I sound much smoother putting words together than even last week. I told her that the secret is flashcards. I have talked a lot this year about flashcards and should I do other things and am I bored/burned out with that, but at this stage of Icelandic, I just need that repetition. Flashcards are making a comeback for 2020.
Even though it is the off-season, there were roller derby happenings last weekend. Our junior team had a big game against Santa Cruz to test its ranking. As our head announcer, I decided it would be a good training opportunity and was very pleased to get Shanita Crutch on the mic for the first time. It’s very satisfying to make opportunities for people to try new things and develop skills. That’s the true spirit of roller derby.
On Sunday we had our end-season awards party. The league honored me with the Announcer of the Year award for the second consecutive year. My initial reaction was that I didn’t do a lot of announcing this year so is this just a popularity vote or what? But, I have been working some tournaments away from home and do behind-the-scenes stuff to train people up and keep us organized, so perhaps that is indeed award worthy. I was also very happy to receive the Dynamic Duo award with my partner in crime Jacked RipHer. It’s very cool to be recognized as a derby power pairing. Our C-team coaches also gave every skater an individual award. Mine is the “Stone Mountain” award for being an immovable object on the track. Pretty sweet.
Finally, here are some cat pictures for your nerves.