Welcome back to your regularly scheduled blog post. Before I get on with it, I must first remind Californians that you have to vote! Please vote no on the recall and don’t get complacent. We don’t want to become Texas. Check out my voter guides in English and Spanish for more information. Second, last week I shared some resources for chaotic times. Take a look if you would like some ideas for how to help people affected by the many ongoing disasters.
This week has been somewhat busy for me. I had two job interviews for technical writing gigs, and I always find job interviews to be totally draining. However, it was worth the trouble because I feel really good about both of them. I know I’ll have additional interviews for either (yet to be scheduled, so I’m nowhere close to an offer, but I’m optimistic), but I think I have a good chance. One of the companies is really cool. It’s called Joby Aviation and they’re making what’s essentially a passenger drone. I think this would be a difficult job because it’s about getting their air taxi FAA approved, which is totally new territory both for me as a writer and for FAA as a regulatory body, but it would be quite interesting. The other job is more similar to what I do now with writing about health and human services for government. The people there seem very nice. I’m hoping I’ll get my next interviews in this week.
Job searching aside, I know you’re all dying for updates on the pain of living in a human body. I wrote previously about visiting the ear doctor to find out why one of my ears doesn’t hear as well as the other. My follow-up visit is coming up in about a week and a half and I’m looking forward to being done with six rounds of nasal sprays every day. However, the recent development is that, since getting my eyes taken care of (thanks, new glasses and vision therapy), I’ve noticed I really do have a lot of pain associated with TMJ. When I last saw the ear doctor, he mentioned I have TMJ and I was like “well, what of it?” and he said don’t worry if it’s not bothering me. Well, it’s now bothering me a lot. I’m having regular pain that feels kind of like I’m being stabbed in and around the ear. I didn’t notice it before because it was only one voice in the chorus of things causing pain. Now that my vision-based headache has quieted, I’m able to identify this individual pain. In short, I’m straight-up not having a good time. I’m glad I’m getting my health issues handled but I’m not enjoying this process of solving one problem only to uncover another. Can a bitch get a break?
Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.
Books and Other Words
This week I read The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo. This is a re-imagining of high-school-English-class favorite The Great Gatsby (thanks, public domain!) from the perspective of Jordan Baker. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this because, while I sort of like The Great Gatsby, I don’t love it, but I do like Nghi Vo and stories retold from a new perspective. I ended up liking it a lot, it’s a little gay, a little spooky and a little magical. I certainly prefer this version of Gatsby to the original.
Meanwhile, on the internet:
- My nemesis, the piano via Vox. Some thoughts on having hobbies as an adult.
- How the delta variant stole Christmas: Empty shelves, long waits—and yes, higher prices via The Washington Post. Is anyone else worried about the slow-motion collapse of the global supply chain or is it just me?
- Slack and Zoom were distracting our teams. Here’s how we regained focus via Fast Company. I wish my workplace would do this. This company noticed that their creative-type employees were being constantly interrupted by manager-type employees with calls and meetings so they set quiet hours when no one is allowed to schedule meetings or demand instant responses via email or a chat. Sounds grand.
- What if people don’t want a career? via Galaxy Brain. From the article, “When you talk to people who reject the modern notion of a career, many of them say the same thing: They crave more balance, less precarity, and better pay. They also, crucially, want to work. But they want to work for places that see them as three-dimensional human beings and that actually invest in them and their futures without expecting workers to sacrifice everything. They want to be a part of organizations that recognize that meaningful and collaborative work can bring dignity and create value but that work is by no means the only way to cultivate satisfaction and self-worth”
TV and Music
I’m still struggling to decide what to watch next now that I’ve finished Golden Girls. I’ve been filling the void by playing a lot of Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze, which has been fun (My new glasses have also made it easier to play video games; they’re the gift that keeps on giving). I’ve been browsing Hulu and HBO, saving long-running, completed shows to my lists, mentally fortifying myself to get invested in a new show, perhaps Fraiser or Absolutely Fabulous.
I am finally the proud owner of an 8×8″ pan. I keep making recipes that call for one and just trying to make it work in my 9×9″, despite the large difference in volume. I’m looking forward to using my new pan to make more snacking cakes, since I have finally acquired the Snacking Cakes cookbook for myself after returning the library copy. I bought a few other books this week too including the Pasta Grannies cookbook and Green & Clean. I spent yesterday afternoon paging through Pasta Grannies and bookmarking all the great pastas I want to make. I’m also quite excited about Green & Clean, which is a book of household tips by Great British Bake-Off alumna Nancy Bristwhistle. It has explanations of how to take care of various household tasks with do-it-yourself mixtures, like using citric acid and boiling water to clean the hard water from a kettle (currently the first on my list of remedies to test). I will report back on how well her tips work, but I’ve seen a lot of them on her isntagram page already, so I’m pretty confident in her methods.
Making Things and Doing stuff
There are some things I’ve made and stuff I’ve done.
I’m scheduled to take the DELE (diploma of Spanish as a foreign language) exam in just about two months. I’m not freaking out but I am like, wow, I should study more. Though I always think I should study more even if there isn’t a test coming up. Things are going well with my teacher though, we’re working on refining some of the things that bedevil me (prepositions, D-:<) and I think I am going to be ready. The other stressor about this is I’m not sure what my travel plans will be. When I booked the test, I thought covid would be mostly over (lol) and Kirk and I would make a little vacation of it. Now I’m not sure and I don’t feel confident enough to make plans. I’ve booked a hotel room in Seattle (that’s where I’m taking the test and it is the closest option for this time of year), but I have no idea beyond that.
I put the Labor Day weekend to good use and made bread. Last weekend, I asked Kirk what bread I should make and he requested a cinnamon loaf. Of course I have to be extra so I made a cinnamon babka, which he really liked. Kirk is not a great fan of bread like I am, so this is newsworthy. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite bake it long enough and the middle collapsed under its own weight as it cooled, but that’s okay because it was still delicious. I also made some whole-wheat oatmeal honey bread, which has become excellent toast and sandwiches.
Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. It’s easy to take a hundred photos of Fritz every week because he’s in my business being unreasonably cute at all times. Huey has been sheltering in corners of the house where Fritz is less likely to harass her. However, she still comes to hang out near my computer. I’ve been making an effort to cuddle with Huey more, but she’s not much of a cuddler at the best of times, so it’s tricky.