A Week in the Life: August 1, 2021

The main news of the week is that I had my follow-up with the optometrist. Their assessment showed that, yes, I do have binocular vision dysfunction, plus specific problems with saccadic and pursuit eye movements. This means my eyes struggle to aim at the same spot and focus on what’s there. The remedy for this has two parts. One, I ordered glasses with neurolens, which has some kind of fancy “contoured prism” that’s supposed to give me some immediate relief from headaches. Two, they recommended I go to 32 sessions of vision therapy, which I start this week.

I’m relieved that I do, in fact, have vision issues because there was a part of me, even after going through the whole evaluation, that was afraid they would find I’d made it all up and I feel bad for no reason. I’m not so relieved at how expensive this is. I can, fortunately, afford it, but getting insurance to cover any of this is a struggle. The lenses for my new glasses alone cost $700 (not including frams), and my vision insurance apparently doesn’t pay for neurolens. Vision insurance also doesn’t cover vision therapy (I, too, was perplexed), but they suggested I call my medical insurance to see if they cover it. Kaiser said they cover vision therapy only if one of their doctors says it’s medically necessary. I am concerned I’m going to get stuck on this quest because I’m sure the Kaiser optometrists are not experts in binocular vision dysfunction, but I have made an appointment with one and plan to show up with all my test results and beg them to say it’s medically necessary so I can get reimbursed. I would prefer to not pay over $4,000 out of pocket for vision therapy if I can avoid it.

I spent the rest of the week feeling like I was waiting. Waiting for new glasses to make my head feel better, waiting for a new job, waiting for summer to end. The glasses should get here within the next two weeks, but there’s no telling how long I’ll have to wait for a new job. I’ve noticed that companies are getting better (and faster) about sending rejection emails (thanks?). I haven’t gotten any interview requests lately, but I know it takes longer than a rejection. I know, more or less, when summer will end, but in the meantime, I am hot. Yes, I have air conditioning and it works, but still in the afternoons I don’t want to move or do anything. I also recently learned that being on anti-depressants, which I am for anxiety, can fuck with the body’s ability to regulate temperature. No wonder I’m so uncomfortable in summer.


Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.

Books and Other Words

This may shock you: I didn’t finish any books this week. I barely read at all. See above re: heat and waiting. I didn’t feel like doing anything. However, here are some things I read on the internet:

  • “Don’t you work with old people?”: Many elder-care workers still refuse to get COVID-19 vaccine via ProPublica. So, here’s something that will make you mad: “only 59% of staff at the nation’s nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are fully or partially vaccinated.” I’m baffled that people can work in health care and still not want to be inoculated against a terrible virus. The woman profiled in the story said she isn’t getting vaccinated, despite working in a nursing home, because “It never made sense to … that the virus seemed to strike randomly, with some residents getting sick while others did not. She said she is not convinced the vaccine would change the odds.” I’d expect a little more scientific literacy from a health care worker but here we are.
  • The Master’s Trap, Part Three via Culture Study. Anne Helen Petersen is writing about how lots of students get pulled into expensive master’s degrees that don’t do much for them. I particularly resonated with this part of the story because it talks about how professors recommend grad school to their good students because it’s really all they know. When I was finishing my bachelor’s in Arabic, I really wanted to get into translation. There wasn’t a single person at my school who had advice for me.
  • The day the good internet died via The Ringer. Remember how great it used to be to follow all your favorite sites and have google reader compile it all in one place for you? The author of this essay places most of the blame for today’s shitty internet on google for killing google reader. She might be right.
  • From ports to rail yards, global supply lines struggle amid virus outbreaks in the developing world via The Washington Post. I find myself fascinated by coverage of our economy cracking under the pressure of the pandemic.

TV and Music

I’ve been trying to catch up on some iconic movies and, to that end, I watched Cabaret this week (do I need to say “spoilers” for a movie from 1972? I hope not). I was put off a bit by this movie at first because Liza Minelli’s character, Sally Bowles, is such a brat. It becomes clear through the movie that she’s insecure and probably feeling as beat down by creeping authoritarianism, as we all are, but it was still difficult. I enjoyed Michael York’s character Brian a lot more. He’s a bisexual man in 1930s Germany—the nerve! Do you, Brian! This is a man who will straight-up start a fist fight with a Nazi and agree to raise your kid even if it’s only (at most) a 50-50 chance that it belongs to him. The cabaret scenes themselves were pretty nuts, they definitely give me “musical theater when the world is crumbling around us” surreal vibes, which I’m sure is the point. The important thing is that at least now I know who Bob Fosse is.

Rampant Consumerism

I spent $1,500 on two pairs of glasses this week and, frankly, never want to spend money again.

Making Things and Doing stuff

Yesterday, we went axe throwing and then bowling (there’s a place in Elk Grove that has both in the same building!) with my friend Abby. It was fun but a bit of a bummer because the venue has very loud music everywhere. I had been hoping to throw axes and bowl, while holding some conversation in between, but that was basically impossible. The bowling alley had music videos playing on the wall behind the pins, which, I found, made it quite difficult to bowl. It was nice to do something and see people, but I wonder why so many public spaces are designed around never being alone with your thoughts.


Things are feeling good on the language-learning front despite the summer doldrums. Spanish is going along and I’m feeling more and more ready for the DELE this fall. I’ve been having fun with my writing assignments. For some reason, that seems to be where I channel a lot of my creativity. My teacher has been telling me I need to start publishing, which is a lovely compliment. Icelandic is going well too. I’ve been studying vocabulary most days using the Drops app. I had my first real lesson with my new teacher yesterday and it went well. We’re working through a grammar-heavy textbook as a review, but I’m learning a lot of new stuff too because he is filling in more details about some of the basics, so that’s great.

Kitchen Witchery

a skillet of braised potatoes and chickpeas, topped with bits of green onion and parsley
potatoes and chickpeas

I took another light week in the kitchen because, again, I do not enjoy summer. I did try this skilled-braised spiced potatoes and chickpeas dish, which came out better than I thought. Sometimes I make food and I know, on paper, it should taste good but then I see it and I’m like ehhhhh, but this one was really good. I also made a batch of sour cream rye muffins (but forgot to take a photo). I liked them but Kirk didn’t. Do with that information what you will.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.