Over the last two weeks, I’ve gotten really into the New York Times crossword. This is not something I thought I’d be interested in, despite being someone who likes words and puzzles. I thought you just had to know a bunch of random information to do the crossword, but I’ve realized it’s something you can learn, especially since there’s an option to check if your answers are right when you do the puzzle online. Plus, it’s taking me to strange places on wikipedia, which I find entertaining. The NYT has a huge archive of puzzles available, so I’ve been making my way through a ton of Monday puzzles (the easiest puzzle of the week) to learn their strange code. There’s still a lot that’s tricky to figure out except now I know, once I get it, it’s going to be something so annoyingly stupid, and it always is. I’m not sure how long this crossword phase will last but I’m certainly in deep for the moment.
Yesterday, Kirk and I went to get the new covid vaccine booster, which was updated to protect against the omicron variant. We went to Walgreens for the shots because it was easy to schedule and close to our house. Get the updated shot before the holiday season if you can! I’m sure covid will start running amok again once people are traveling for the holidays and having big gatherings. I’ve heard that this dose of the vaccine is hitting people harder than the others. I’m not feeling too terrible from the shot, just kind of sore all over. Kirk, however, is feeling like trash. He’s nauseous and tired. Plan your vaccination accordingly.
I want to let you know that you can subscribe to the blog so you get an email anytime I post (and you know I don’t post often enough for that to be annoying). Some of you have mentioned that facebook is not showing you my updates when I post about the blog, so here’s a solution for any super fans (lol).
A little update about my mom: Her mastectomy went well and she’s mostly recovered from it. Before the surgery, the doctors said she had a two-centimeter tumor. The pathology report afterwords revealed it was actually six centimeters, which is objectively fucking bananas. Mom is now getting ready to start chemo, so think a good thought for her or send your best tips for staying entertained in the oncology office when there’s no wifi (no wifi! In 2022! Come on!).
Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.
Books and Other Words
- The Travelers by Regina Porter. I’m not sure how to summarize this book, but I will say that I liked it a lot and it’s compellingly written. It’s a familial epic that shows vignettes of members of a family split between the north and south over several generations. That doesn’t really do it justice so you’ll just have to trust me that it’s worth reading.
- The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H. G. Perry. This novel is actually a work of literary criticism, like when people make weird desserts that have secretly have broccoli in them. However, it’s really good (unlike weird, broccoli-filled desserts). It’s definitely a love letter to the works of Charles Dickens. And it’s effectively done, to the point that I’m actually thinking about reading David Copperfield, though I’ve never been particularly interested in Dickens—I read A Tale of Two Cities in high school and that was enough; truly the worst of times.
TV and Music
This week I watched The Chair on Netflix, which stars Sandra Oh as the new chair of her university’s English department. I liked it. It made me glad I didn’t end up in academia.
I bought a big, fancy suitcase to see me through our upcoming Icelandic trip. I realized I needed something large since it’s an almost two-week trip and packing cold-weather clothes is going to take a lot of space. On the topic of our trip, I double checked our flight information recently because I was trying to make sure I had the right time while buying bus tickets to and from the airport (the airport is about 45 minutes from Reykjavík, so you have to plan transit). This lead to the discovery that one of the flight times had changed, such that on our return trip, our connecting flight in Seattle left before our flight from Iceland landed. Confirming the flight arrival times also made me realize that I had made a hotel reservation a day early since I’d forgotten that our flight arrived the morning after we departed (time zones. whew). I’m very glad I was able to figure this out in advance to avoid the sort of tomfoolery we experienced a few years ago when we went to Peru. Airlines just love to fuck around. I guess my new process before a big trip is to double check the flight details a few weeks in advance.
Making Things and Doing stuff
There are some things I’ve made and stuff I’ve done.
I’m currently having a lot of fun in my Icelandic classes with reading a book about knitting in Icelandic. My teacher, Robert, doesn’t know much about knitting (but is obviously an Icelandic expert), so we’ve worked through a few pages of the book, trying to negotiate what some of the technical terms could translate to. It’s nice to have a learning activity to get excited about.
Knitting and Crafts
I knit this delightful little hat for my mom. The pattern is Snapdragon Tam by Ysolda Teague. This was fun but a little tricky to knit, mostly for requiring a lot of attention. I finally used some more of the yarn I dyed myself at a yarn-dyeing workshop I did pre-covid. I’m very happy with how it came out.
We (Kirk) finished setting up the garage gym. He made it look very nice and I’m excited to work out more. I got in exactly one workout before the weather got absolutely shitty. I am already loving not having to worry about whether the gym is busy and when will these bros get off the equipment. I can do my thing in peace.
I’m almost done with vision therapy. I have just two more weeks to go (barring catastrophe). I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for a year, but I also must admit that my ability to see has drastically improved. The process was worth it but I am extremely ready to be done.
I haven’t been cooking much because the high temperature didn’t get below 105 all week last week (kill me). However, I did make these albóndigas (Mexican meatballs) two weeks ago from my new favorite cookbook Mi Cocina. They were good and Kirk approved so I’ll be making these again.
Fritz has been a fucking demon lately. He’s discovered some kind of perverse joy in biting and ripping the shit out of anything soft and foamy like the arm rests on my chair or the seat of our stationary bike. As you might imagine, this is not going over well with us. Kirk bought some kind of spray that is supposed to taste bad to cats to deter him, but it was no match for the siren song of sinking his stupid little teeth into foam. I will say it again: Fritz is lucky he’s cute.
For my Huey fans, I will add that Huey is being her normal self. She’s hydrated, unbothered, in her lane, and flourishing. Which is to say, she spends most of her day napping on the futon or couch, and I put ice cubes in her water whenever she wants.
Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.