A Week in the Life: February 29, 2020

It’s been another hectic week here between work and regular life. After last week’s work computer meltdown, I thought I was going to be in the clear. Not so. as of Monday, my copy of Microsoft Office began prompting me to sign in and refused to let me use any of its programs because I had an “unauthorized copy.” Being an editor without access to Microsoft Word basically renders me useless. Especially when the company won’t let me download any replacements like Open Office. This problem didn’t get resolved until Friday, when my boss started hassling people on my behalf. You’d think it would be nice to not work. Not working is nice, but continuously checking in and trying to make tech support help you while your boss grows increasingly agitated is not so nice.

My ankle has still been fairly swollen after last week’s injury so, at the suggestion of my friends, I went to the doctor. There were literally no appointments available, so I had to call Kaiser to be like “what gives” and they managed to find me a time slot. I don’t know how that works but what do you do if you aren’t assertive enough to call? After a bit of poking and an x-ray, the doctor determined that I have a serious sprain, but no fracture. I’ve been instructed to keep compression on it during the day and stay off my feet as much as possible. Of course, this also means no roller skating, which is pretty disappointing. I feel dumb for injuring myself just walking around. Even the doctor laughed at me when I said I tripped at the library. Sorry my injury wasn’t cool, I guess. In a certain way, I’m relieved I didn’t get injured from derby. Plain clumsiness got me this time.

Consuming

Here are some things I read, watched, or bought this week.

Reading

I have been reading but don’t have any big reading thoughts to share this week. I recently finished reading the most recent book in the Invisible Library series, The Secret Chapter. I keep thinking this series, which focuses on a librarian who’s job is to collect (read: steal) books for what’s basically a magical, other-dimensional library, is going to get old, but it doesn’t. It was a fun, relaxing read.

From the internet this week:

  • Scotland moves to become first nation to make pads and tampons free via The Washington Post. Sometimes I read news stories like this and I am overcome with unexpected emotions. Can you imagine not having to pay for pads and tampons? The underlying logic of a law like this—that women are people and our healthcare needs are important—is amazing. I hope we can at least stop taxing feminine hygiene products here in the U.S. I don’t expect them to be free anytime soon.
  • Netflix’s Love Is Blind makes one wonder: are straight people doing OK? via The Guardian. First of all, I watched about 10 minutes of this show when Anne was visiting and was basically horrified the whole time. This article makes the case that straight people are so obsessed with marriage as a milestone and marker of adulthood that they’re even willing to agree to marry someone sight unseen. I was reflecting on this idea and the heterosexual marriage obsession and I remembered being in middle school and joking with friends that we might get married when we’re 40 if we still hadn’t found anyone. Somehow we’d gotten the idea that it was so important to be married that we should have backup plan in case true love eluded us. To our culture’s credit, I don’t see so many jokes in that vein anymore. Perhaps Love is Blind is the last gasp of its genre.

Watching

While Anne was here, we also watched the Norwegian show Ragnarok on Netflix. I’m never going to say no to a show with a Norse mythology component and I thought Ragnarok was an interesting, modern take. Plus, it has a good dose of comedy and some handsome knits. One aspect that was really cool for me was that some of the characters occasionally speak in Old Norse. While the Norwegian is subtitled for English speakers, the Old Norse subtitles just say [speaking Old Norse]. However, Old Norse is very close to Icelandic and I actually understood a little of what they were saying. I was very surprised and pleased, especially considering that I haven’t been studying lately.

Netflix’s ‘Sabrina’ Top Binge, ‘Ragnarok’ Top Rising Show on TV Time Charts – Media Play News
Ragnorok’s cast is mostly surly Norwegian youths

Rampant Consumerism

I finally gave in and bought a wireless headset to use for work. I’ve been needing something new to use because my old headset was falling apart and I have to dial in to my fair share of meetings. I bought the Logitech Zone Wireless Plus, which can connect through bluetooth or a USB. The headset is actually really comfortable and I like that I can put myself on mute just by flipping the microphone up. As an added bonus, I no longer have a cord to get caught on cupboard doors when I’m doing dishes or cooking during meetings.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

I put together my 2020 Primary Voting Guide for California and Sacramento voters! Short version: I support Elizabeth Warren for president and am voting “yes” on Proposition 13 and Measure E. I don’t know how much this really helps anyone, but it feels like a way I can do something useful, so I’m doing it.

Knitting and Crafts

Since I’m largely couch-bound thanks to my ankle, I have been knitting quite a lot. I’ve made some more progress on my Harmonia’s rings tunic. I have completed the yoke and the next step is to split off some stitches for the sleeves and then continue knitting the body. Maybe I will finish this shirt before it gets too hot to wear it (but this is Sacramento so probably not). In theory, it’s big enough to sit across both shoulders, but I’m limited by the size of the cable they’re riding on, so I’ve pulled it over one shoulder for demonstration purposes.

knitting progress of the Harmonias rings tunic, which now falls over my shoulder
tunic progress + resting sad face

Domestic Witchery

My winter garden is doing pretty well, although my lettuce has died. The broccoli, leeks, and spinach are going strong. Hopefully I will soon be able to eat them.

a picture of the garden bed with its winter crops: broccoli, leeks, spinach, and now-dead lettuce
backyard garden update

I’ve been on a bit of a baking rampage this week, probably in part due to all my new-found “free” time. I tried out a handful of recipes from the Nordic Baking Book, which has been fun. First I tried coconut muffins, which came out tasty but overflowed their paper cups. The book is very clear that you should not use a muffin tin; the Nordic muffin style is to set free-standing muffin cups on a baking sheet. This did not go well. The coconut muffin batter was very thin. One of my friends suggested using a European butter next time because it has a lower water content. So, for my next “muffin” (these are tiny brownies and I won’t be convinced otherwise) I tried that and the results were quite good, delicious in fact. I also made an overnight breakfast bun, which I baked this morning. They were good although I wasn’t especially faithful to the recipe, which called for graham flour. I replaced the graham with wheat flour because I have no idea where to get graham flour on short notice.

In non-Nordic baking, I made chicken pot pie (recipe from The Harvest Baker) because Anne requested it. I normally transfer it to a pie dish to bake, but this time I made it a one-pot recipe, courtesy of my new dutch oven. I also made a potato and leek soup from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, although I add a little edamame for a bit of protein, and biscuits (also from The Harvest Baker). I suppose we’re getting in a few more warm, wintry dishes before the weather turns, which it seems on the cusp of doing.

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. This is a Huey appreciation post.

Voter Guide: 2020 California Primary Edition

It’s primary season, which means it’s time to vote! I am back with a 2020 voting guide because in 2018 I wrote a voting guide and a lot of people told me it helped them. Voting is important, especially in times like these when we’re overwhelmed by disinformation and attacks on our election integrity.

If you didn’t register to vote before the deadline, it’s okay. California allows same-day voter registration. You can find out more on the Secretary of State website here: https://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/voter-info/conditional-voter-registration.htm.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on politics or government. I’m just a person who’s good at reading and looking things up. You can use this as a starting point for your own decision-making. If you’re already exhausted and you trust me, you can vote how I vote. If you think I’m a dumb idiot, you can vote the opposite of how I vote. Just vote.

President of the United States

I’m all in for Warren 2020.

My vote: Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren is the candidate who gets it. She has a plan for everything. She listens, learns, and evolves on issues. She incorporates her competitors’ best ideas and credits them. I think Warren has the best sense of the work required to be president and to set things to rights in a post-Trump America. She’s willing and able to work with others while being a fierce advocate for Americans. She wants to tax billionaires, stop climate change, make healthcare available for everyone, and make our society better.

You might be asking: Why not Sanders? I think Bernie is a great second choice, but I have some concerns. For one, Sanders is Russia’s preferred Democratic candidate, probably because it would be easier to divide voters and swing more people to Trump (this is my conjecture based on what I have read and learned since 2016). I’m not convinced that Sanders is the best candidate for women because of things like endorsing an anti-abortion mayoral candidate in Omaha. I have concerns that Sanders would be able to work well with others in government because he is so polarizing and that he would struggle with the foreign policy aspect of being president.

Proposition 13

My vote: Yes

Summary: Authorizes $15 billion in state general obligation bonds for construction and modernization of public education facilities. Fiscal Impact: Increased state costs to repay bonds estimated at about $740 million per year (including interest) over the next 35 years.

Look, I went to public school and I’m almost never going to vote against funding public education. This proposition would allow the State to issue bonds to raise money for upgrades to schools, in contrast to using tax money to fund the upgrades. The text of the law specifically refers to fortifying schools against earthquakes and other disasters, which seems critical to me. Most of California’s democrats, teachers’ associations, and building unions support measure 13.

Local Issues

The rest of these matters are specific to where I live and may not be on your ballot. If you have questions about your own ballot, leave a comment and I will help you find information.

Measure E

My vote: Yes

Summary: Measure E would allow the Los Rios Community College District to incur bonded indebtedness up to a maximum amount of $650,000,000. The procedures from the insurance and sale of such general obligation bonds could only be used for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation or replacement of school facilities, including the furnishing and equipping of school facilities, the acquisition or lease of real property for school facilities.

Remember when I said I vote for education? This measure is similar to Proposition 13 in that it is asking for money to support school infrastructure (it specifically says the funds do not go to teacher salaries). Measure E uses bonds and taxes to fund the improvements. According to the Los Rios Community College District website, Measure E would extend current tax rates, but not increase them. Community college is really important for adults looking for additional education, whether to change careers, promote, or just learn more, so I am voting yes.

Congressional District 7

My vote: Ami Bera

Rep. Bera is the incumbent for this House seat. He generally does a good job of representing issues that are important to me. I also want to pick someone who has the best chance of keeping the seat for the Democrats in the general election. There are a few candidates who sound like they have good platforms, but would they be able to keep a Republican from taking the district? I’m not ready to test it.

Assembly District 9

My vote: Tracie Stafford

Stafford is actually not the incumbent in District 9 (our current assembly member is Jim Cooper), but I think she’s a good choice anyway. I like her take on the issues and I get the impression she really wants to do some good. I realized that she was in Elk Grove’s last election as a mayoral candidate, and I voted for her then. It looks like she decided if she couldn’t get into office that way, she would head to the state government! It is also important to me to elect women, when I have the opportunity and they’re good candidates. We need more women in government so we can have equal representation!

Did this guide help you? Let me know if you have more questions or think I missed something important. Also, let me know if you voted!

A Week in the Life: February 22, 2020

This week has been a lot. My work laptop broke first thing Monday morning. I tripped and sprained my ankle while locking up my bike at the library. Today we got our taxes done and have been informed that we owe the federal government about $3,850. Anyway, here I am.

Consuming

Here are some things I read, watched, or bought this week.

Reading

book: The Fuck It Diet: Eating Should be Easy
The Fuck It Diet

I got this book from the library and devoured it in just a few days. I kept taking pictures of the text to post on instagram, but decided I couldn’t post the whole book and gave up. The premise of The Fuck It Diet is that going on a diet makes your body think that you’re living through a famine. During famine, metabolism slows down and your body slowly cannibalizes itself. When you start eating again, the body wants way more calories than before so it can fortify itself against future famine. The only cure? Eat whatever you want, all the time. Not with the secret goal of “intuitive” eating or like “I’ll eat what I want for a while, then go back to losing weight” but truly eating whatever feels right. Caroline Dooner cites studies demonstrating that starving people need excess calories for a long time before the body stabilizes, and what are dieters if not starving people?

When I started reading The Fuck It Diet I thought, well, I halfway do that already so will I really benefit from this book? I don’t “diet,” per se but I have been tracking my calorie intake for most of the last year. I pretty much eat what I want and I’m “fine” with my weight and my body. However, this book evoked a lot of emotions (as it’s meant to). I still think I’m eventually going to “get my shit together” and lose weight, even if I have no plans to be thin. I am still afraid of gaining weight because I’m scared of taking up too much space and being in the way. I’m worried that people will think I’m lazy and stupid and not take me seriously. I fret over being able to find nice, comfortable clothes that make me look cool. One of the big tenets of the Fuck it Diet is that you can’t be afraid to gain weight. It’s normal to be hungry and follow up on that feeling. Your body knows what it needs to survive. It’s not normal to feel hungry, shout “Why am I still hungry?” and then sulk about it, which is something I often do.

I think I’m going to be processing what I read for a while, even though it didn’t take long to read. Would I really be okay with gaining more weight? Am I going to count calories … for the rest of my life? I don’t know. Emotions are complicated, but food should not be.

I’ve been collecting internet reads for the last couple of weeks without sharing them, so here’s a bunch:

Listening and Watching

How we met, the long version by Jens Lekman popped up on my Spotify this week and now I’m in love with this song. It truly is the “long” version.

We started watching the new HBO show Avenue 5, which is hilarious on a deep, existential level. I think this era’s primary art medium is going to be existentialism. In the 90s and early 2000s, everything was detached and ironic. I thought we were going to swing back to sincerity, but given the horrors of modern life, I think we’re in the throes of existential dread. I’m not complaining though—that shit is funny.

Rampant Consumerism

I think I’m gonna go with “taxes” this week. Yes, taxes. Normally, I really try to frame taxes as something we pay into as an investment into our civilization (which it is!), but it is offensive to get hit with a large tax bill. Why isn’t my company’s HR department better at taking the right amount out of paychecks? Am I really expected to understand this myself? Fortunately, our tax preparer gave us some advice for how to avoid this for next year. I don’t mind paying but I cannot abide surprise taxes.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

bike basket stuffed with books
all my holds came at once

I made a couple of trips to the library this week, which was enjoyable until I sprained my ankle. I had six holds to pick up on Thursday and I was excited to stuff them into my bike basket (simple pleasures lol). Unfortunately, I got caught in a large gap in the sidewalk, turned my ankle, and hit the pavement. It hurt and it always feels stupid to get hurt doing something basic, but here we are. I was able to ride home and I’ve since been alternately icing and compressing to try to get the swelling down. I’m hoping I’ll be able to play derby next Saturday.

Knitting and Crafts

I finally got the last pair of socks washed and blocked so they are officially done! I knit quite a lot on my tunic this week and I finished the cowl portion. Last night I knitted it out onto a non-twisted needle to get into the rest of the yoke. Progress!

Derby Life

I felt weird about derby this week after reading my feedback from tryouts. I don’t know who evaluated me, but I am sure they were trying to be supportive. I got good feedback about the gameplay-oriented drills, but I also got puzzling comments saying things like I ask “excessive” questions and that I “seem very sad.” There were some skills that I thought I had improved on but I got quite stark feedback about. That actually distressed me the most because I would hope that my coaches would give me some more direction during practices if I’m not doing things right. I thought my lateral movement was decent but my feedback says I look “uncomfortable” and “choppy.” This is a lot of hand-wringing over feedback, but it’s hard to take unactionable comments about something I work really hard at. I decided I wanted to get some one-on-one coaching to fine tune a few things and get advice for how to improve and I found out that Bay Area Derby offers that service (as a fundraiser for their travel team, in fact). More on that in the future.

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. Viola is a weirdo.

A Week in the Life: February 15, 2020

This week I’ve been contemplating the idea that it’s much more work to be kind and generous in this life than it is to be an asshole. It’s easy to be selfish, to not work on imagining how other people might feel or be affected by things. Generosity is, of course, rewarding in many ways, but it is high effort. I keep thinking of the various tweets circulating the net that say things like “If you went through [terrible experience] and think other people should be forced to do the same because you ‘turned out okay,’ you did not, in fact, turn out okay.” Even if being nice is work, I can’t understand why people don’t want to make it better for the people around them. That’s become such a driving force for me, but maybe others are lazy? What do you think?

Consuming

Here are some things I read, watched, or bought this week.

Reading

Sisters of the Winter Wood book cover on the Kobo ereader
The Sisters of the Winter Wood

I got really invested in reading The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner. This book is a story of two sisters whose family lives at the edge of a forest on the outskirts of a small town. Early in the story, the sisters learn that they each have the ability to shape shift, inherited from their mother and father, respectively. It’s an ability passed down to them from ancestors who found that, in a time of great need, they were able to become something else. One of the sisters, like her father, can turn into a bear. She spends a lot of the story feeling large and awkward, and like people don’t like her. Plus, she worries that she might hurt someone if she turns into a bear. I found this very relatable. Not because I can magically transform into a bear, but I have known the feeling of being big, awkward, and not fitting in, although for much different reasons.

The story is grounded in Jewish history and folklore, which is something I haven’t often seen in fiction, but that I appreciated and really enjoyed. I love getting different perspectives when I read. The author uses a lot of Yiddish words and phrases, which was pretty cool, but proved to me that I know much less Yiddish than I imagined (oy).

Watching

We didn’t get a chance to watch any movies this week, but we have kept on with Star Trek: Enterprise. We just started season four. My interest is newly invigorated by the current story line that involves actor Brent Spiner. Also, Anne has been here watching a The Gilmore Girls, so I’ve inadvertently been exposed to this particular slice of early 2000s media. It’s too bland and wholesome for my liking, but it’s inoffensive overall.

Rampant Consumerism

I bought a new cable for my circular knitting needles because I needed a long enough one for the pattern I wanted to start, so that’s exciting. I also bought some powdered Gatorade mix because … athlete life, plus Kirk likes drinking it. Big excitement.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

It may be mid-February, but it’s basically spring here in Elk Grove. Last weekend, we cleaned and organized our garage, which was much more satisfying than it sounds (Am I old?). I’ve also been tending to our garden and I hung up my hammock so I can enjoy reading in the afternoon sun.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, which we kind of don’t care about, but Kirk likes to use it for an opportunity to amuse me. In years past, he’s bought me things like a heart-shaped box of beef jerky. This year he bought me an assortment of cheeses, and some chocolate. Can’t go wrong with a man who will buy you snacks, you know? We don’t like to go out to eat on Valentine’s Day because it’s a scam, but this morning we went out to breakfast after donating blood, which, in a macabre way, does seem on theme.

Roller Derby

Well the results of try outs are in and I remain on the B team! I was low-key hoping to be on our upper-level B team that gets invited to some A practices, but it’s okay to stay where I am. I still have a lot of room for improvement here.

I coached my first practice of the season on Wednesday at the combined new skaters/C team practice. It was a little weird because most of the C skaters are basically my derby peers. However, several of them told me it was a good practice and they enjoyed it, so I was really happy to hear that. I’m definitely looking forward to coaching more and finding new and interesting drills for us to try.

Knitting and Crafts

I went a little wild last Sunday with projects I’d been putting off. I’d been meaning to put things on my new statement vest for months and finally got around to it. I realized most of my patches were, in fact, iron on and that gave me a bit of momentum to do the rest. I have been wanting to learn a little embroidery, so I hand stitched the last three patches using the back stitch. I was also happy to stick on all my pins, which may be an excessive amount of flair, but I need all the tokens that people have given me, like the horrible goose Kirk recently bought for me.

I also tested out my new yarn winder, which, once we got it going, was pretty satisfying. It’s hand powered, so I have to stand there and manually wind it, but this is a big step up from the completely hand powered method I was using before: bracing the yarn across the backs of two chairs and winding it up in my hand.

Although I made a small amount of progress on knitting the finicky sock pattern this week, I am more excited that I started my next project, the Harmonia’s Rings tunic. I’ve had this on my radar basically since I started knitting. Last night I got it cast on, which is time consuming because mobius cast on is tricky, and knit a few rows.

Kitchen Witchery

Last Saturday was our first cookbook club of 2020! We used the Feed Zone Portables cookbook as inspiration. It is essentially a compendium of high-carb snacks for athletes (we ate so much rice). While I’m not sure it made a good dinner per se, the food was good and we have some ideas for how to survive future derby tournaments. I made carrot waffles (waffles in which the main liquid is carrot juice), sticky rice “balls” (I am far too lazy to shape things into balls) with coconut and sesame, and potato “cakes,” which were basically mashed potato fritters. It was very blustery outside last weekend and the power went out halfway through dinner, which was kind of great in a way. We lit a few candles and grabbed a lantern then spent a while chatting in the dark.

On Thursday we observed Galentine’s Day with a breakfast-for-dinner feast. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos, so you’ll just have to trust me. I made waffles (non-carrot lol), bacon, and hash browns, plus picked all the oranges from my tree to make juice. Anne requested mimosas so that’s where most the juice went. It turns out you can press 16 oranges and get about a quart of juice. It’s a little underwhelming, but I don’t know what I expected.

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.

A Week in the Life: February 7, 2020

Have you registered to vote yet? Only 61 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in 2016, which leaves a lot of room for improvement. You can register online here. This is a federal site, so it doesn’t matter what state you live in, you can still use that link to get registered. You can also use this site to check the voter registration deadline in your state. California’s primary election is on March 3. If you want to register to vote online, the deadline is February 18.

I really want everyone I know to vote, even if we don’t vote the same way. If we’re going to have a functional democracy, it’s important to use our right to vote and fight to maintain it. I’ve learned that figuring out when and how to vote can be confusing for a lot of people, which is why I’ve been doing my best to share that information. I hope you’ll share it too! I’m also going to make a post in the next week or two about my choice for the Democratic primary and some thoughts on the rest of the California primary ballot. I hope that makes it easier for some people to vote. It shouldn’t be confusing, but it often is. I recognize that not everyone can easily find time to sift through the information, but I can, which is why I share it.

Consuming

Here are some things I read, watched, or bought this week.

Reading

book cover of The Broken Heavens as seen on the Kobo ereader
The Broken Heavens

I finished the last book of Kameron Hurley’s Worldbreaker Trilogy and it was worth the wait. One theme that has emerged in her recent books, including The Light Brigade and The Stars are Legion is a kind of aggressive hopefulness. Hurley’s characters always choose to fight their way out of horrible shit. Things are messy but they believe that life can be different and they eventually make good choices. Hurley reminds us that people have to choose to make things better. Justice doesn’t just happen. In short: Hurley’s writing books for our times.

Meanwhile, the best internet reading I came across this week was an article about teens creating group instagram accounts to fuck with the algorithm. First of all, teens are savvy as hell. Second, I don’t blame them! I was musing just this week on the fact that instagram seems much more ad heavy than it was in the past. I started counting how often ads appear in my feed and it’s now reliably every four or five posts. Twenty-five percent advertisements! I just want to look at cool knitting and cats, god damn. It’s interesting to see what kind of action these increasingly intrusive tech companies are inadvertently encouraging.

Watching

In our continuing Star Trek watch, we watched Wrath of Khan last Saturday. It was much better than the first Star Trek movie. I believe this is because the actor who plays Khan is a much better actor than any of the Original Series cast. Also, why do I want this outfit? Post-apocalyptic couture?

When inspiration strikes

If you follow me on social media, you surely already know this, but I’m posting it anyway. You can listen to me on the latest episode of the podcast Holding Space with Magical Wheelism! I met Magic at Rollercon last year. She’s since started a fascinating podcast where she talks to roller derby people about all kinds of things. You can hear me talk about books, derby, and autism in this episode.

It’s lit and it’s me!

Rampant Consumerism

Because I already have three plane trips on my schedule this year and I am becoming committed to my rich white woman lifestyle, I decided to sign up for TSA pre-check. It’s $85 and it’s good for five years. I’ve been increasingly annoyed with the rigamarole of removing my shoes and taking any electronics larger than a cell phone out of my bag. Plus, now that I travel with a CPAP, it feels like too much to juggle. What’s weird is how simplistic of a system it is. I shouldn’t be surprised considering how little airport security checks actually contribute to security, but I guess I expected more. You fill out a questionnaire, pay the money, get fingerprinted, and go through a background check. Assuming you pass, TSA gives you a “known traveler number” that you provide to airlines when booking tickets. The number shows up on your ticket and that’s how TSA knows to let you through. It seems ridiculous but I’m at a point in my life where I’ll pay $85 not to be hassled at the airport.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

Over the last few years, I’ve realized something important to me is making whatever I do better and more accessible for anyone coming up after me. It’s why I’ve been doing things like making sure my derby league gets new announcers on the mic. This year, I’m playing a bigger role in leading our new skater program, so I’ve been working on putting together some orientation materials. I’m finding this weirdly satisfying. I really like trying to anticipate people’s questions and give them the information they need to do their thing without worrying about the logistics. That’s why I don’t understand people who say things like “I had to pay off my student loans, why should people now get their loans forgiven?” How can you go through something and then say, nah, everyone else should have it as bad as I did? People with that attitude make me want to hustle 10 times harder to improve things for others. I will make this world better out of spite if I have to.

Derby Life

a promotional poster for a derby game with my picture on it. Framed and hung on my wall
When you become famous and celebrate yourself

I am excited that I’m on the promotional materials for our first game of the year! This is the first time I’ve been featured on the flyers and it is really cool. We’re supposed to use the posters to hang in a public place to advertise, but I took one home to frame and display in my office collection of Cool Shit about Me. No remorse.

Derby practice this week was actually tryouts for the season. Coaches evaluated us to decide what team level (A/B/C) skaters should practice and play at. I felt pretty good about try outs but more because I went into it with a certain “fuck it” energy than because I think I did exceptionally well (I’m sure I did okay though). It’s easier to not be wound up when I’m already in a good place. It would be cool to move up but it would also be cool to stay where I am.

Knitting and Crafts

After finishing the Slytherin socks I, predictably, cast on another pair of socks. The pattern is cool but it’s also tiny and fiddly and I realized that may not be what I want to knit right now. I think I’ve settled on making this blouse, which has been on my radar almost as long as I’ve been knitting and is beautiful. I know I need to knit a swatch, but I don’t feel like knitting a swatch. In short, I haven’t knit much this week. Stalemate.

Kitchen Witchery

Well, after making a delicious pizza for myself the week before last, I promised I’d make one for Kirk and I to share, which I did. I made 1.5 times the amount of dough so it would better fill my skillet and that worked perfectly. Kirk said it was an excellent pizza. On Sunday, I wanted to bake a treat but also didn’t want to go to the store to buy any ingredients. I found this recipe for chocolate ganache peanut butter bars, which is exactly what it sounds like: a peanut butter cookie baked in bar form and covered with chocolate ganache. They are quite rich so I’ve been pecking at it all week. Last night I made chicken noodle soup using homemade stock. I roasted a chicken earlier in the week, but it was not photogenic so I’m not including a photo. Next time, I hope. To accompany my soup I made crescent rolls, because why not.

Finally, here’s Viola for your nerves.

A Week in the Life: January 31, 2020

I worked all day today, so this is another special evening edition of the blog. I normally logoff work at 4, but today I was stuck editing until 6, mostly due to the incompetence of others (naturally). I’m getting better at not being riled up when I have to work late. I know the trade-off is freedom to be a little loose with my hours the rest of the time. So while I didn’t enjoy it, at least I’m not mad. We’ve had several urgent projects happening, which I don’t appreciate. I have to keep financing my existence, alas.

Consuming

Here are some things I read, watched, or bought this week.

Reading

Between work and roller derby, I don’t think I got in a lot of reading this week. I did finish reading Kameron Hurley’s Empire Ascendant and I started the non-fiction book Nine Pints: A Journey through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood, although I didn’t read much of either.

A few things I read from the internet:

  • Facebook will now show you exactly how it stalks you — even when you’re not using Facebook via Washington Post. Entry number 780,444 in why facebook sucks (and yet, I’m still using it -_- ). This article is useful in that it both identifies the problem and tells you how to avoid it by adjusting your facebook settings.
  • My Instagram via n+1. A long read on social media, hating social media, instagram, and its impact on how we interact with the world.
  • Patriarchy Proof: Thinx and the Perils of Emphasizing Female Founders via Bitch Media. This is interesting to me because period-proof underwear is something that’s constantly in my social media ads, even though I have an IUD and don’t menstruate much, and when I do I am all about that menstrual cup. The article explains that there is now some evidence that Thinx are toxic (yikes) and that the company is not as woman-friendly as it likes to project.

Watching

Last weekend’s movie was Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which is a fun, pretty sci-fi movie. It’s directed by Luc Besson, who directed The Fifth Element. Valerian definitely had a similar feel. I did think it was trying a little too hard to be “woke,” but not so hard as to be objectionable. It was a fun movie, even though, in Kirk’s opinion, the leading man was not likeable.

Rampant Consumerism

I made plans to visit my sister in March so I bought a plane ticket! I am feeling fortunate because I have a bunch of airline miles banked and only had to spend $11 on my tickets to pay some of the required fees. It seems like some kind of insane loophole that you can get free plane tickets in the form of “miles” for using a credit card (especially when you never accrue interest), but okay.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

Here are some things I did and made this week.

Strongs

This is the last week of my current set of workouts. My program has been focused on jumping this month, which has actually gone okay. I definitely feel better at jumping and I have more stamina for it. I was worried that jumping would hurt my knees, but it hasn’t. Actually, roller derby has been making my knees sore, which has made me somewhat disinterested to go do a jumping workout. However, assuming I make it to the gym tomorrow, I’ll still have done two workouts each week all month, plus two nights of derby, which is a respectable amount of exercise.

Knitting and Crafts

textured socks in green and silver stripe with grey heel, cuff, and toe
Slytherin socks

The socks are done! I almost wrote “finally” done, but they didn’t really take that long. Everything I knit feels like it’s “finally” done when I’m finished, but that’s the nature of constructing textiles one stitch at a time. You may notice that the toes are a little uneven. I was about to run out of my contrasting color (which I ironically used a lot of in the cuff because I was worried about running out of the striped yarn), so I gave the second sock just a bit of toe. I still need to wash and block them, but otherwise, they’re finished.

My next project is going to be another pair of socks. I have been planning to start a shirt, but I decided on another pair of socks because new things are hard.

Kitchen Witchery

I’m not trying to brag, but I made some really good food this week. The highlight was this pan pizza recipe, which is definitely the best pizza I’ve made. If you’re wondering, I topped it with olives, pepperoni, and cashews, which is the ideal pizza. Kirk said he was sad that I always make good stuff like pizza when he’s not here, so I’ll be making it again tomorrow night for our eating pleasure. I also tried this recipe for loaded sweet potatoes covered in roasted chickpeas and tahini. Even though I like all those ingredients, I was skeptical that I would like this dish, but it was delicious. Kirk said he loved it too, even though he’d expected to hate it.

I gave myself a sneak peak at our next cookbook club selection, Feed Zone Portables, which is a cookbook of snacks for athletes. It’s for people sick of granola bars and the like. Instead you can make your own rice cakes or other portable, nourishing snacks. The two recipes I tried were better than I expected. I am always in need of snacks (#foreverhungry), so I’m going to try working these into my regular rotation. This week I made date and almond rice balls as well as sweet potato cakes, which look like a muffin but are more just sweet potato and rice held together by a bit of egg and flour.

Finally, here are some photos of Huey for your nerves. I can’t get enough of her snoozing on the edge of the couch lately.

A Week in the Life: January 24, 2020

I almost didn’t write anything this week because I don’t feel like I have a ton to say, but I want to keep at this weekly blogging, so I’m here anyhow. The big thing of this week is that my dad come over to remodel our kitchen lights. The results are really great. I’m so happy with how it turned out. This was a two-day process, with a marathon of demolition through texturing on Saturday, followed by painting and cleaning on Sunday.

Consuming

Here are some things I read, watched, or bought this week.

Reading

Kameron Hurley released the final book in her Worldbreaker trilogy last week, so I’ve been re-reading the first two books to refresh my memory before I read the new one. I am a big Hurley fan. I think her writing is interesting and she has women characters who span the full range of human personalities. She embraces the brutality of life and writers in a variety of speculative fiction scenarios. The Mirror Empire is the first book in the series, followed by Empire Ascendant. The new book is The Broken Heavens and I can’t wait to read it.

Watching

I can’t recall watching anything other than a few episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise this week. To be fair, there are quite a lot of episodes. There have been some good ones, but here in season three the show is definitely declining in quality.

Rampant Consumerism

I bought a great little device called the ChomChom Roller. It’s kind of like a hand-powered vacuum for picking up pet hair. It’s really just a piece of plastic, but it actually works. I cleared the couch of cat hair and I was impressed. It’s a good alternative to lint rollers, which is what we had been using, and it’s more effective.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

I spent the first few days of the week recovering from last weekend’s remodeling bonanza and the rest of it being sore from the gym and derby. Tuesday’s practice was footwork focused and last night’s involved a lot of contact and gameplay scenarios. Both tired me in different ways. I’ve also been keeping up on my workout program from Iron Octopus Fitness, which has been pretty challenging this month. I guess what I’m trying to say is: I don’t want to move right now.

Language Learning

I’ve been getting a lot of Spanish practice in this week, but have completely dropped my Icelandic now that derby has started. I’m still seeking an balance but I’m happy with this week’s Spanish efforts. I’ve been actually enjoying the novel I’m reading and I’ve made a big dent in my flashcard backlog. My teacher had me do some writing practice for the DELE exam and, even though I kind of hate some of the prompts, I tried to make it fun for myself, like in the essay asking me to write a letter of complaint about a recent beauty treatment in which I named the imaginary salon I went to “Cabello Bello.” I’m an artist.

Kitchen Witchery

Nothing too complicated this week, but I did keep myself fed. I made a winter minestrone soup (from the Daily Soup Cookbook) and a beef and broccoli from the Washington Post. I’ve made a few WaPo recipes lately and they’ve all come out pretty tasty. I’ve been a Post subscriber for a year or two now, but I recently signed up for their food newsletter, which has turned out to be a good choice

Finally, Here are some cat photos for your nerves.

A Week in the Life: January 17, 2020

I had another week of feeling messed up, but today I am feeling a lot better. It has been hard to motivate or be interested in things lately. Yesterday I had some clarity and realized that, of course, these are signs of depression (and that brains are dumb). After talking this out with Kirk and some of my friends, and going to roller derby practice last night, I’m feeling significantly better. I think part of the answer was just identifying the problem and articulating my feelings (spoiler: everything feels pointless because of climate anxiety). The other part is that it seems like I need a high level of activity to keep my brain chemistry in check. Plus, since I work from home, derby is my main social outlet. As exhausting as it can be to interact with people, it seems to be necessary.

Consuming

Here are some things I read, watched, or bought this week.

Reading

book: Betraying Big Brother, the Feminist Awakening in China
Betraying Big Brother: the Feminist Awakening in China

This week I read Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China by Leta Hong Fincher as part of my ongoing non-fiction jag. I can’t say I know much about China, but I like reading about feminism so this book piqued my interest. I knew China was an authoritarian state, but reading the stories of the Feminist Five, five notable feminist activists who have crossed with the state, was illuminating. As much as I rail against the patriarchy, I can see that I have it way better than a lot of women in the world. Chinese authorities regularly harass feminists just for participating in activism like passing out stickers with messages against sexual harassment. Anti-women attitudes combined with the Chinese surveillance state are making it extremely difficult for feminists to speak out, but they’re doing it anyway. Leta Hong Fincher is bearing witness to their experiences and sharing them with the rest of the world.

Something else I found interesting in this book was that the obsession with “purity” and prohibiting women from having sex outside of marriage is also a part of China’s patriarchal culture. Although this is something I associate with Christianity, a Confucian value and another blunt weapon that men wield against women in the fight for bodily autonomy. Patriarchal bullshit has no borders.

Other reading on the internet:

  • Virginia Finally Ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment via News and Guts Media. This news made me more emotional than I anticipated. With Virginia ratifying the ERA, there are now enough states approving it and it can move on to congress and maybe really become an amendment to the constitution. Being considered fully human by our government would be great.
  • Every Place is the Same Now via The Atlantic. This article really resonated with me. The thesis is that, by having smartphones that let us do any task in any place, we have made places lose their meaning. Everywhere is the same because we can do all the same stuff anywhere we go.
  • A Clear Menace via The New Republic. We make lots of buildings with a glass exterior to be fancy, but it’s actually horrible for the environment and we should stop.

Watching

We watched the original Star Trek movie from 1979. It was … something. There are excruciatingly long, loving shots of the Enterprise—like five straight minutes at a time of panning over the ship exterior. And there’s all the weird slowness and antics you’d expect from an Original Series episode. It was a strange experience, but I’m glad that I’ve seen it. Although we have been watching Star Trek in TV form for a while, this is the first movie I’ve watched. Kirk says the other ones are better and I hope he’s right.

Rampant Consumerism

newly installed stainless steel faucet
behold, my new faucet

The backpacks I ordered last week were delivered so now we have the beginnings of our emergency kits. So far, all that’s in there are our N95 breathing masks, some water bottles, and a couple of my old glasses, but I’m planning to gradually build it up so we’re ready in a crisis.

This week we bought a new kitchen faucet, and had some bonus house drama. Kirk attempted to fix a problem we had in the kitchen with the faucet only putting out a small amount of hot water, in comparison to the cold. Unfortunately, this resulted in even less hot water—barely a trickle. We called a plumber who, after some investigation, informed us that the problem was in the faucet itself and we’d need a new one. I was unwilling to wait for a warranty replacement, so we used some of the Home Depot gift cards we got for Christmas and bought a new one instead. The plumber came to install it this morning and now I can use the kitchen again. Praise Odin.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

Something I’d been mulling over, but hadn’t acted on until this week, was changing my email address. I’ve had a gmail account since gmail was new in the mid 2000s. I’m used to it and I like it, but I am tired of so much of my internet use being mediated by big tech companies that are just here to make money off our data and meddle in the democratic process. Last year I started blogging as an alternative to facebook (and look how well it’s going!). This year, I’m taking on email. I own this site, and lindseyhalsell.com so I can set up all the email addresses I want. I decided to go for something simple: mail at lindseyhalsell.com for the new account. It’s been kind of a pain switching over subscriptions to the new address, but it’s been a good opportunity to unsubscribe from things I routinely delete anyway. So far I’m enjoying this process of internet self-sufficiency, although I am missing some features.

Derby Life

Roller derby started again this week and I’m happy about it. We’re doing two practices per week until we have tryouts in mid-February. It’s a good way to ease back in without too much stress. I was pleasantly surprised to not feel too physically strained at practice. I mean, it’s always hard and a lot of effort but I felt strong and I felt able to breathe. I’m not sure if altitude sickness put everything in perspective for me or my off-season workouts really paid off. Perhaps both.

I’m also excited because our head coach this year asked me to improve our new skater program. I have a lot of ideas and it’s going to be interesting to see what we can do.

Yesterday was the anniversary of my derby wifedom with Taco and Stomp (although is the date of our Rollercon wedding our real anniversary now?), and it was great to practice with them both. Here’s to four years together!

me, Taco, and Stomp smiling for the camera
Happy Derby Wife Anniversary!

Strongs

me at the gym, wearing a pink shirt with a ham planet on it and flipping off the camera
ham planets against patriarchy

I made it to the gym twice this week. I had good intentions of going three times, but after Tuesday’s derby practice, my body felt kind of in shock from all the effort, so I took a day to rest. Today my knees were still feeling it but I did my best. I wore my Team Ham Planet shirt today in honor of a coach telling us that we need to get in shape. Okay.

Domestic Witchcraft

Saturday, we finally planted the vegetables we bought over a month ago. We cleaned out the garden bed and put in leeks, lettuce, spinach, and broccoli for some winter vegetable gardening. We are still learning what works well in our garden, but I’m hoping at least some of it grows and gives us tasty food.

I didn’t cook much this week, but this time because of our faucet woes. I was unwilling to dirty a bunch of dishes with no simple way to get them clean, in the absence of running water in the kitchen. But before all that, I made this chickpeas and orzo recipe, which was really tasty and I pickled some onions for kirk (it took two jars to contain the one GIANT onion I bought). I also made milkshakes again. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Knitting and Crafts

The photo says most of what needs to be said here, but I’m celebrating that I finished one sock and have knit half of the second. I got the heel turned and now am ready to pick the stitches back up to knit the gusset. I may even finish this weekend. I am a little annoyed with myself though because I thought I would run out of the green/silver yarn so I padded the length with the grey yarn. Nope. I’m almost out of grey and I still need to knit the toe of sock two. We’ll see what happens. Tune in next week for the exciting conclusion to this knitting cliffhanger.

one fully knitted sock and one halfway knit
sock progress

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.

A Week in the Life: January 10, 2020

This week has been difficult for no tangible reason. I don’t know if it was hormones or what, but it felt like I had a mini-bout of depression for most of the week. I was tired and didn’t feel like doing anything. I was upset and having imposter feelings about work. I do have anxiety and I have dealt with depression in the past, but usually I’m good about talking myself down from these kinds of moods. Plus, I am medicated, which helps. I am, however, feeling better today. I can’t say what the turning point was for sure, but I had a giant plate of nachos last night and felt a lot better after. Better living through Mexican food? (note: this is not to say that anyone with depression just needs to eat. This is my sense of humor; why cry when you can laugh?).

Consuming

Here are some things I read, watched, or bought this week.

Reading

Here’s some of the good stuff I read on the internet this week. Although by good I don’t mean “feel good” because these are all real downers, but they are interesting and important.

  • What our weighted blankets tell us about our late-capitalism angst via Forge. Weighted blankets seem to help people sleep, but is selling them just commodifying sleep?
  • Meet the CEOs cashing in on Trump’s aggression against Iran via CounterPunch. A reminder to us all that Trump isn’t starting wars just for fun, but also for profit. Eat the rich.
  • The Dark Side of Good News via Dame Magazine. Author Brooke Binkowski advances the argument that “heartwarming” stories of children raising money to pay of classmates’ lunch debt (sidebar: why the fuck does “lunch debt” exist?), or people fundraising for each other’s medical care are not just cute human interest stores, rather they distract us from the underlying issues and structural problems that cause people to go bankrupt over medical care in the first place.
  • ‘Like sending bees to war’: The deadly truth behind your almond-milk obsession via The Guardian. Another entry under “wow, capitalism just sucks.” Something like one-third of the bees employed to pollinate California’s almond orchards die in the process because the environment is so toxic to them. It’s an example of why there’s no ethical consumption under capitalism, even a morally “better” choice, like eschewing cow milk for almond “milk,” means you’re taking part in a system that’s not healthy for human workers, bees, or probably those of us drinking almond milk.

Watching

I’ve been watching season two of Killing Eve and really loving it. Watching Sandrah Oh’s character become more of a sociopath is fascinating and I love Jodie Comer, who plays Villanelle, particularly for her language skills and ability to do good accents. We also watched The Disaster Artist last weekend, which is about the movie The Room, widely considered to be one of the worst movies ever. It was absurd and hilarious and, perhaps predictably, left us with more questions than answers.

Consuming

a regular backpack, but bright orange
Swiss Gear “pumpkin” backpack

Kirk and I have been talking about making some basic emergency kits, so we ordered a pair of bright orange backpacks to build our kits with. I have a hard time with emergency preparedness stuff because it makes me feel like a nutjob. Obviously there’s plenty in the world now to suggest that having an emergency kit is smart planning, but it takes me back to days of Mormonism and church leaders encouraging everyone to have a year’s supply of food storage and do other wild “end of days” prep. I know that’s not what I’m doing, but somehow I’m having a hard time shaking that feeling. Hopefully with time it will leave me alone.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

Thanks to feeling out of sorts, I didn’t do a whole lot this week. We’re getting back into normal routines and I spent most of the week wanting to nap.

Knitting and Crafts

This week I’ve knit the better part of a sock. I started out with a different pattern last week, decided it wasn’t working, and started this version instead. I wasn’t sure that the grey yarn on the cuff and heel were going to match the main yarn that well, but now that I’ve got it knit up, it’s working better than anticipated. Hopefully by this time next week I’ll be well into this sock’s partner.

a sock, knit to slightly past the heel
sock in progress

Language Learning

I did the listening portion of a DELE practice this exam this week and did … surprisingly well. It’s not that I doubt myself, but I am a realist and these tests are meant to be tricky. Hopefully this is a sign that my skills are improving and not that I just got a lucky test that made sense to me.

I’ve also confirmed that my Icelandic teacher is on maternity leave now. I’m faced with the challenge of maintaining some Icelandic without direction and with the pressure of Spanish. So far I’ve been fitting in around 20 minutes of flashcards a day, which is pretty good. I’m thinking I can expand it to watching videos or something just to keep what skills I have.

Strongs

This week is the beginning of my new cycle of workouts and Prime has us working on jumping. A jumping-focused workout is not something I would choose for myself because I’m heavy and jumping is a high-effort proposition. However, so far it’s been pretty good. Hard, but good. I do feel a little stupid doing lots of weird jumps in the gym, but I always feel kind of stupid in the gym and maybe gyms exist to make us feel stupid anyway (thank you for coming to my TED Talk)? I did every workout in the last cycle and was proud of that, but this week I’ve already skipped one, which I am also okay with. Gotta do what feels right for the body and today that’s an epsom salt bath instead of a trip to the gym.

Kitchen Witchery

I didn’t to much in the kitchen this week other than put together some chili and cornbread for dinner. We’ve been eating a lot of leftovers and I haven’t wanted to do a whole lot. Although I did finally manage to make a decent bowl of oatmeal, which is a great accomplishment. I followed the instructions from The Kitchn, and added some cinnamon, honey, and pecans, which turned out quite tasty.

Finally, here is a cat photos for your nerves.

Viola from above
Viola, on guard

A Week in the Life: January 3, 2020

rainbow shawl lace pattern detail

Last Friday seems like a really long time ago, but perhaps our arbitrary new year starting in the middle of the week made me feel like everything should reset. Perhaps it’s because my good friend Anne is staying with us so it seems like there’s more going on. Or maybe because I wrote a bunch of year end/year beginning blog posts already this week. In any case, here we are, three days into the year. Shit is on fire and Trump has brought us to the brink of war with Iran so that’s a lot to take in. I don’t know what to do other than keep living my life so here is this week in review.

Consuming

Here are some things I read, watched, or bought this week.

Reading

book: The golden thread by Kassia St. Clair
The Golden Thread

My first book of 2020, by instagram post and by the date I finished reading it was The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History by Kassia St. Clair. This book is something of a cousin to another recent read: Threads of Life: A History of the World through the Eye of a Needle, but it manages to deal with different topics, and it’s more focused on fabric itself, rather than needlework. I liked some of the historical discussions but the most interesting part to me was the chapter on space exploration and the role textiles play in creating a safe environment for astronauts. It was a well-written book but didn’t hook me quite as much as Threads of Life did, probably because it didn’t have any of the memoir components, and stuck strictly to the history.

I also read the first two books of The Murderbot Diaries (All Systems Red and Artificial Condition), which is essentially about a humanoid robot that has anxiety and depression (I’ll say it again: Big Millennial Energy). It’s a lot of fun to read both for the concept and the way the story is told. Recommended reading for sure.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

Watching

Anne wanted to see Frozen 2 and, while I’m not that invested in Frozen, I was willing to go along for the ride. The plot was kind of bizarre and there was a whole lot of singing, but okay. One thing I was amused by was Olaf, the magic snowman sidekick whose every waking moment was spend staring into the void of existential angst. It’s the biggest Millennial Energy I’ve seen on screen and it made me laugh. That fucking snowman has no idea why he’s alive, what the point of anything is, or why nothing make sense but god damn it he presses on anyway.

Rampant consumerism

This week I received the hilariously named Glute Loops, which I ordered last week. It’s a fancy resistance band for leg exercises. It offers a lot more resistance than the cheap bands I’d been using and the weird round bands they have at my gym. I used it for hip abductors this week and was like, god damn. Recommended if you need an exercise band.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

In Anne’s honor, we threw a Halloween-themed New Year’s Eve party: New Hallow’s Eve. We got the Halloween decorations back out, watched Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice, and other Halloween classics, and invited people to dress in costume. We also had an “Oreo Tasting” to sample some of the many, ridiculous Oreo flavors, which are all surprisingly good. I have eaten a great many of the leftover Oreos this week. The carrot cake and peanut butter chocolate pie are standouts.

Language Learning

a page of my notebook tracking what studying I did in Icelandic in December
Icelandic studies: December 2019

December was a good month for Icelandic. I got through almost my entire flashcard backlog (no easy feat) and actually did homework (and did a good job at it). We had a couple of lessons before heading into the holiday. Unfortunately, I’m not sure when we’re starting up again because of my teacher’s maternity leave. So, I’ve been focusing a little more on Spanish this week, but I’m hoping I can maintain some balance so I don’t lose the knowledge I’ve gained.

To start preparing for the DELE exam, I am digging into my Spanish flashcard backlog (almost up to 5,000 cards to review -_-) and I’ve been making a point of scheduling myself to do listening and reading practice. I decided if I write down what I’m going to do for the week in advance, it removes some of the friction from the process and I study more. That’s basically a complicated way of saying I’m giving myself homework now.

Knitting and Crafts

I technically finished the Higuera shawl (okay, wrap) last week, but I didn’t want to spoil the surprise for Abby so I’m posting it now. I’m quite happy with how it came out. I love the cable pattern along the edge and, now that I’m done knitting it and can actually look at it, I really like the lace pattern too. The pattern calls for only three rounds of the leaf pattern, but I kept knitting to finish the rainbow so it’s huge. But that works out: more rainbow, more pride.

This week I also made a Hallowenmas stocking for Anne, who does not like Christmas that much. It’s a patchwork of Halloween fabrics that I had on hand (because you can’t readily buy Halloween stuff in December), but I think it works and I like the look of it. Anne liked it too and that’s what’s important.

Kitchen Witchery

My dutch oven has so far been very pleasant to cook in! I tried it for the first time last weekend to make braised french onion chicken with gruyere, aka chicken thighs in french onion soup, and it was delicious. We followed that with some homemade milkshakes to use up the last of the ice cream. Since Anne has been here, I also made carnitas (by request) and pinto beans (not pictured), which I cooked in the dutch oven. Today I made cinnamon rolls. We’re making a lot of good choices here.

Finally, here are some cat pictures for your nerves.