A Week in the Life: March 28, 2020

It’s been another week of covid-19 life. I haven’t been feeling my best this week (who is?), but I don’t know if it’s psychological or if I’m really fighting a cold. Earlier in the week, Kirk and I were wondering if we had a light form of coronavirus. I’ve been very tired and having headaches and he hasn’t been feeling great either. The longer it goes on though, the more I think this is “just” stress. Kirk also thinks he’s having some severe acid reflux, which seems to have been unfortunately catalyzed by my sourdough baking marathon this week. Fun fact: sourdough is acidic.

In a certain way, staying home all the time baking and knitting is kind of my dream life. But because humans are dumb animals, we only want things when we have options and can choose to do what we want. It’s not as fun to stay home all the time when you have to. Also, I secretly (perhaps not so secretly) like doing things, even though things make me tired. I’m trying to let myself relax into doing the home-stuff I enjoy and not get too wound up in the news (-insert bitter laughter here-). I’m also trying to remember that we’re all living through something we’ve never had to deal with before and that’s really scary and stressful.

Consuming

Here are some things I read or bought this week.

Reading

These are a few of the many depressing things I’ve read on the internet this week. I’ve also been reading books, but I haven’t finished anything that I want to write things about, so depressing internets it is:

  • Coronavirus modelers factor in new public health risk: Accusations their work is a hoax via Washington Post. It’s amazing (in a horrible way) that our sense of reality is so warped and enough people think this pandemic is a hoax that people who study these things can’t accurately predict the course of the disease. Also, if you were hoping you could leave your house soon, you might want to slow your roll. Estimates suggest that coronavirus will peak in mid-April and won’t have run its course until the end of June.
  • Why telling people they don’t need masks backfired via The New York Times. Yes, healthcare workers need masks more than the rest of us, but masks are still useful for the masses.
  • Guess what’s flying off the shelves now: Hair dye via NPR. This is interesting because it shows how our buying habits have changed in the last few weeks. Baking yeast purchases have increased by almost 650 percent, which explains why people keep telling me they want to make bread but can’t find yeast. It also explains why everyone is making a sourdough starter right now: no yeast necessary.

Rampant Consumerism

Partway through this week, I woke up from a nap with the sudden clarity that I needed to buy a Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately, it seems like many other people had the same idea after a week of staying home and every store is out of stock. Luckily, I’m living that rich bitch life and can afford to throw money at my problems now and again. I bought an overpriced one. Kirk and I need a distraction, like many people do, I am sure. It’s supposed to get here sometime mid week, so this time next week, I should be living my best life playing Donkey Kong.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

winter garden with growing broccoli and leek plans, plus leafy spinach
the winter garden presses on

I haven’t left my house since last Friday so all the things and stuff are house-based now. The garden is still going strong. One of those broccoli plants looks like it’s about to do something edible, but for now it’s just taunting us. I picked some of the spinach but have yet to eat it because who could be in a spinach mood right now? We also planted some recently sprouted garlic, so I hope to have more garlic in my future, you know, for when I run out and the world ends. Or whatever.

I’ve also been napping when I feel like it and not doing much exercise. Part of me wants to work out but I’m just tired. The existential strain is too great.

Knitting and Crafts

I am pleased and excited to announce that I finished the Harmonia’s rings tunic! This is the first clothing I’ve knit, other than socks. I was so nervous that it wouldn’t fit. I finished knitting it and almost didn’t try it on because I was worried that after all that, it wouldn’t be right for my body. Luckily, those fears were completely misplaced; it fits great! I am feeling emboldened and definitely want to knit more tops, although I’m going to take a break first.

a small piece of newly started knitting, so far a little triangle in blue yarn
on to the next knit!

Of course I have already started my next project. This is going to be a shawl. I’ve been organizing my yarn stash and logging it all on my Ravelry account. I came across a package of several hues of blue that I bought a while ago and didn’t know what to do with. I finally womaned up and figured it out. I’m sure I’ll be posting updates since I don’t have a whole lot else going on right now.

Kitchen Witchery

I have been taking comfort in cooking lately, which is not unusual, but with more time on my hands, I think it’s escalated. Last weekend we enjoyed burgers and milkshakes for dinner one night, followed by pizza the next. Because why not? Although I am going to have to ease up on my baking because I’m almost out of flour. I ordered some online and am planning to get groceries this week, but I’m not optimistic that I’ll be able to find what I want since everyone decided to take up baking this month. Not that I can blame them.

Quarantine Sourdough Club

After multiple people asked me about baking bread and finding yeast last week, I decided this was the right time to make a sourdough starter. I shared on social media last weekend that I was going to make sourdough and encouraged people to join me (some did!). I spent the week tending to my starter, discarding the under-fed parts and feeding it with new flour and water. I started on Monday, and today, Saturday, I now have bread.

I’ve learned that making a starter results in a lot of “discard,” which you can use for mildly sour bakes. I put my discard to use in biscuits, pancakes, and a very delicious coffee cake. Anyway I am now out of bread flour and nearly out of all-purpose flour, so if I can’t make it with self-rising flour or what little cake flour remains to me, I’m not baking it this week. These are the hazards of quarantine life.

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.

A Week in the Life: March 21, 2020

It’s weird that two weeks ago I took a weekend trip and was like, yeah, coronavirus does seem bad, but we just have to be careful and wash our hands. Now, we’re officially sheltering in place. I’m not going to try to recount how things have escalated on the pandemic front in the last week because that’s not really what this blog is for. But I will note that the speed and intensity of how we’re responding to covid-19 is crazy to witness. Even though it feels like every day we’re responding fast and changing our lifestyles, it sounds like officials in the U.S. still did not act fast enough to avoid disaster. It’s stressful enough coping with a novel virus and friends losing jobs, and then you see the president responding to a question about people being afraid by saying it’s a stupid question and insulting the reporter. How do you survive a plague season when the president is a sociopath?

My emotions have been all over the place this week. I spent a few days reading a lot of news, feeling stressed, and manically cleaning before I either got too tired to be anxious or perhaps just moved on and now I’m mostly living my normal life. I already work from home and am recovering from a sprained ankle (preventing me from being too active), so in a way, very little has changed in my personal life. However, I can’t ignore the huge physical, emotional, and financial toll this is taking on everyone. The scariest thing is that we don’t know enough about coronavirus and how contagious or deadly it really is because our government is incompetent. The other factor that I find particularly stressful is that it is going to take a long time to recover from this. Our society is changing. It’s an opportunity, in a way, but of course any change is scary—and this one is coming with causalities.

Consuming

Here are some things I read or bought this week.

Reading

Here are a few things I read online this week. No, these will not make you feel good.

Rampant Consumerism

I’ve been doing my part to stimulate the local economy this week. I ordered yarn for two larger projects (a sweater vest and a big, squishy cardigan), I bought books from Capital Books on K (they drove the order to my house!), and I ordered some candy from Andy’s Candy Apothecary because if I’m going to be inside I want snacks and things to do.

I also ordered a bunch of odds and ends to organize the house. Something about staying inside indefinitely really drives me to tidy up (shocking, I’m sure). I finally addressed the long-neglected closets in my office and in the guest/sewing room. I also have plans for my annual-ish re-organizing of my clothes closet. To facilitate, I ordered a few little baskets and some shelf separators, which are kind of like bookends to keep your piles of clothes from tumbling into each other. I also bought a variety of hooks and hangers to organize a lot of closet junk. These have yet to be delivered, so closet frenzy 2020 will continue.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

You would think that I wouldn’t feel much stress about sheltering in place and staying inside because that’s pretty much what I do anyway. To keep spirits high, I’ve been trying to share entertaining stuff (along with most internet citizens). I posted my Collected Essays (1997) to the blog earlier this week, which was a lot of fun both to share and to hear about people’s reactions. Inspired by #derbytwitter, I posted a few videos of play-by-play commentary of my cats’ activities. I’ve been inspired to make more sports broadcast-style clips after seeing this collection of real-life commentary. Perhaps I’ll make some more clips in the coming days.

Kitchen Witchery

Given the state of things—being stressed about the impending collapse of social order and staying indoors to avoid plague—I’ve been baking a lot. In fact, let’s just make a list:

  • Sweet potato pecan pound cake with maple glaze (recipe: The Harvest Baker). This is pretty much what it sounds like, a dense cake covered in maple glaze like you’d find on top of a doughnut. Delicious.
  • Chocolate chip cookies (recipe: the back of the Guittard chocolate chip bag). Total comfort baking and eating.
  • Granola (recipe: Adventures in Slow Cooking). I make this granola regularly for breakfast. I like to mix it with yogurt.
  • Cheddar cheese bread (recipe: The Bread Bible) and grilled cheese sandwiches. I ran an experiment with this bread and it didn’t exactly work out, but the bread is still good. Normally the recipes from The Bread Bible call for kneading in the stand mixer with a lot of resting in between. I tried putting the dough in my bread machine but the results were … weird. All the cheese in the dough was melted by the time it came out of the bread machine (before I even baked it). Is it a good bread? Yes. Is it what I was supposed to get from this recipe? Probably not.
  • Chicken and rice soup (loosely based on this recipe): After cooking a chicken this week, I had plans to make chicken noodle soup. However, I decided to save my valuable noodles for future macaroni and cheese and make chicken and rice soup instead. It turned out better than I anticipated so I’m happy for that.
  • Crescent rolls (recipe: Taste of Home): I absolutely love crescent rolls and, when you have a bread machine, they’re not very difficult to make. I baked them to accompany the chicken and rice soup.
  • Roast chicken: (using the instructions from the Kitchn). We are out of chicken breasts, but I got lucky and found a whole chicken at Nugget earlier in the week, which was fine by me since then I was able to make broth (not pictured) and the previously mentioned soup.

I’m feeling less frenzied here at the end of the week so I’m sure next week won’t be so kitchen-intensive. Although I am currently making buns for hamburgers tonight so clearly we’re not slowing down all that much.

Kitting and Crafts

nearly shirt-length knit tunic in purple yarn
tunic progress, nearly there

I took this photo a few days ago, so my knitting is actually even longer than pictured here. I’m only a few inches away from finishing the body of this shirt. Next I have to finish up the sleeves, which is a little intimidating because I haven’t knit sleeves before, but hopefully it will be fine. I’m excited to be almost done with this and I expect to finish in the next few days! Afterwards, I think I’m going to knit another pair of socks. I also have some sewing I want to do, you know, as long as I have nowhere else to be. I never finished my cat quilt and I have some smaller stuff I want to work on too. Perhaps next week will see some big crafting energy?

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.

Collected Essays (1997)

A little while ago, my dad unearthed some of my early “work” while clearing out the garage. Included among various sticker-based arts was this small folio of collected essays from 1997. In 1997 I finished the fifth grade and turned 11 years old. I think my teacher had us write regular essays (weekly?) and then we bound up the best at the end of the year.

Presented here for your quarantine-reading pleasure are selected essays from my 1997 collection. You will note my life-long commitment to self-confidence, general unwillingness to give a fuck about what people think I should be doing, and complete fearlessness when it comes to telling people they’re being dumb.

green construction paper with text in marker "Collected Essays. 1997. Written by: Lindsey Ann Halsell"
I provided my own cover art.

The first essay is “The hardest things about being a kid.” Mostly, this proves how not-at-all hard my life was, or perhaps that it was hard in ways I was unable to articulate at the time. I don’t know what my sister was doing that was making me so mad (probably just being a seven-year-old), but we’re over it now.

Next are some thoughts on my “plans and dreams” for the future. I was clearly very fixated on getting married and having babies (thanks, Mormon propaganda), but luckily I was able to shake that with age. I guess my life was supposed to end after having kids though? I’m going to assume that my fifth-grade self would be way more impressed with how I actually turned out.

What will I remember about fifth grade? Apparently, how much I hated it all. Yes, I do appreciate the irony of not wanting to write essays week after week and becoming a professional technical writer. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

An essay describing the many things I hate about fifth grade
Forever meta.

Finally, we have my self-assessment of my performance in fifth grade. I am a master of all that I do.

Thank you for sharing a laugh with me on this. I hope it gives you a chuckle during this time of social isolation.

Two Weeks in the Life: March 14, 2020

I had intended to get a short post up last Friday, before leaving for Long Beach to visit my sister, but it didn’t happen. So today I’m writing about the last two weeks, which, in these times, means covering a lot of ground.

First I want to talk about Elizabeth Warren. It already feels like a lifetime away, but Super Tuesday was only about 10 days ago. I have been vocal about my support for Warren. To me, she was the best candidate. She had the plans and the compassion and I think she would have been the perfect president for these bullshit times. Unfortunately, sexism won again. I got really emotional when I read that she was ending her campaign—much more than I expected to be. It’s so hard to see competent women losing again and again while the most incompetent, most corrupt president ever wreaks havoc. I really thought Warren had a chance, but it was an uphill battle against the media ignoring her, billionaires working to maintain the status quo, and so-called progressive bros shouting down women online. We need Warren but I guess we’re not ready yet. I hope I live to see a woman president.

imagine of Elizabeth Warren apparently flying through space with the caption "i think it might be sexism"

Next, I of course have to discuss life in the time of coronavirus, which I have learned is two words, not capitalized (thanks AP Stylebook). When we look back on this, what’s going to be hard to understand and remember is how fast things have moved. Monday was kind of normal. By Friday, everything was cancelled. We’re suddenly using terms like “social distancing” to refer to the concept of staying away from people to limit the transmission of disease.

It’s hard not to feel some anxiety. People are freaking out and hoarding toilet paper for some reason. The State of California has instructed us to not attend events of more than 250 people and sports are cancelled. People are losing their income while everything shuts down or being forced to work without sick time if their workplace is still operating. Basically, society is cancelled.

Let me remind you how smart you are | Psychology Today South Africa
Why flatten the curve when you can “catten” it? via Vox.

Despite the anxiety, I am fortunate in that I already work from home and I have a pantry full of food. I can afford to buy a few extra things. I can also afford to support my friends (or, hey, total strangers) if they need it. I know I’ll be okay but it’s hard to watch the country melt down on such a large scale. We knew the social safety net was broken but this is emphasizing how hard it is for so many people who are living paycheck to paycheck. While I’m not necessarily optimistic, I truly hope that this crisis drives our country to make some choices and enact policy that would support someone other than the rich. I was furious when I read that the federal government gave a $1.5 trillion bailout to wallstreet. Why are they still too big to fail? Why not spend some money making the coronavirus test free? Send funds to people losing work? Create housing for vulnerable people? I’m so sick of this bullshit. Why are the rich the only ones who get help in America? Why aren’t the rest of us considered worthwhile?

hand-washing-1
Wash your hands correctly!

Public service announcement: For those of you looking for non-paywalled updates about coronavirus, the Washington Post has free coverage of the pandemic online.

Consuming

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

Reading

I finished two books in the last week. The first, Autonomous by Annalee Newitz is a sci-fi story set in the next century dealing with different forms of freedom. The other book was a little more serious: The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shosasna Zuboff. This was a tough read mostly because Zuboff uses the work to define and document “surveillance capitalism,” tracing where it came from and how it’s impacting us—it’s always tricky to adjust to new concepts. Something she discusses is how we often say “if you’re not paying for it, you’re the product.” Zuboff reframes this. Individuals are not the “product” of social media, rather we’re the grist for what she terms “behavioral surplus.” Social media companies and the like are trying to learn how to predict behavior to effectively nudge us all into buying more things. They do this by learning our vulnerabilities so they can suggest just the right product at just the right moment to make more money. This book is a lot to take in and it’s definitely more than I can summarize here, but if you’re interested in what social media is making from all our data, this book is the one to read.

Watching

Last night, Kirk and I watched Jojo Rabbit, which is a feel-good World War II movie. When this first came out, I saw the trailer going around and remarked that I was uninterested in anything else about Nazi Germany. Fortunately, I’m not above correcting myself when I’m wrong. This is a great movie. The titular character, Jojo, is a 10-year-old Nazi and ardent Hitler fan. His imaginary friend is a hilarious version of Hitler played by Taika Waititi. Jojo discovers that his mom is hiding a Jewish girl in their house and has to deal with his fanaticism and emotions. I highly recommend watching it, it’s something of an antidote to these extreme times.

Rampant Consumerism

I’ve seen the recommendation going around that it would be a big help to our local businesses and community to buy some gift cards while we wait for the covid-19 madness to blow over. This weekend I’ll probably buy some from my local yarn store, Knituque, a new local bookshop that I like, Capitol Books on K. I’m also thinking about some Elk Grove restaurants to hit up.

Making Things and Doing Stuff

As I mentioned, last weekend I went to Long Beach to visit my sister, Mia. It was cool to hang out and I got to see her new place and meet her new cat who is an adorable little maniac. We mostly just chilled out and ate food, plus we took a trip to Ikea because Mia wanted me to help carry stuff, of course. My mom came over to get lunch with us too, which was nice. Despite all these activities, the only pictures I returned with were of the cat.

Derby Life

me, smiling at the camera, wearing my statement jacket thats covered in patches and pins
looking fresh at The Rink

We had our season debut on February 29 and although I was featured on the poster (a true delight), I didn’t get to play because of my sprained ankle, which, for the curious, is still swollen. However, I did get to debut my statement vest and I wore my fiber optic bowtie, so at least I got to have some sartorial fun. I also enjoyed pairing up announcers for our games. Everyone did great but listening to Calamity Wren and Bob Uckerlele call was a lot of fun. As much as I like announcing, being able to step back and support other people is also satisfying.

Practice is now cancelled out of coronavirus caution, but I did get to coach one more practice before this break. I had a lot of fun coaching (as always) on Wednesday night. It’s great when skaters tell me they get a lot of my practices. It makes me want to keep doing it.

Knitting and Crafts

the Harmonias rings tunic, knitted about half way so it looks a bit like a crop top
Team Crop Top?

I’ve made more progress on my Harmonia’s Rings tunic. It’s now roughly crop top-length. Maybe I should just stop there and join Team Crop Top? It’s really cool to see it taking on the shape of an actual clothing item. I actually took this photo last week, so it’s a little longer now than it was, but not enough to warrant taking a new photo. Maybe with all this social distancing I’ll get it finished up in the next week or so.

Kitchen Witchery

From the photos you can see that I’m still putting my dutch oven to work. We had a big batch of beef stew (one last cold weather meal, I thought. Yet, it’s chilly and raining today) then last week a whole pile of macaroni and cheese. I’ve learned that adding in some munster cheese to your mix provides that magical cheese stretch that we all dream of, so I’m upping my macaroni game with that. This week was fairly warm so I decided to do some grilling. I made honey sesame glazed pork tenderloin and some asparagus. Of course, I also made treats. My sister requested toffee and who am I to say no? I also had another go at the oat tuilles. I had hoped to shape them into little bowls to put ice cream in, but that didn’t quite go as planned. Still, we ate them with ice cream and they were delicious.

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.

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.