Hello, friends and enemies. It’s nearly Halloween and this is the first regular post I’ve made in almost two months. I did, however, post about our trip to Iceland and write a voter guide for the midterm election, which I translated into Spanish.
I am not doing anything for Halloween this year besides putting candy outside for the trick-or-treaters, which is now my preferred method of candy distribution. Although I have been wearing costume elements to dance class because that’s encouraged, which got me thinking about some of the cool costumes I made when I was a kid. I wish I had photos. I always picked the weirdest shit. One year I wanted to be a package of gum, so I cut armholes in a cardboard box and painted it accordingly. Another fun one was a teapot costume—two either poster boards or pieces of cardboard hung over my shoulders, cut in a teapot shape—that my aunt Janet, who is a great artist, helped me paint. Though I do wonder why I so often picked inanimate objects for Halloween costumes. It makes me think it might be an autism thing, finding it easier to imagine oneself as a thing instead of a person or character.
Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.
Books and Other Words
I recently finished You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi. It was good but ultimately not for me. I checked it out from the library knowing almost nothing about it (I saw it on an instagram post asking “Which Akwaeke Emezi book should you read?” According to the flowchart, this one is for the bis. Which … I guess). The writing is nice and the characters were fully realized. It does a lot around the theme of grief, which is highly relevant for us all in these stupid plague times. What I did not like is that the central conflict of the plot is about a relationship between a 20-something-year-old woman and a man old enough to be her dad. Sure, everyone’s an adult, but that’s a little gross for me. Although two of the main characters both describe themselves as bisexual and the main character’s roommate is a lesbian, all the romance in the book is hetero, which is fine but not what was advertised.
Meanwhile, on the internet:
- Here’s a double feature about Millennials getting older and having feelings about it on the internet: Growing Old Online via Wired and Are You Sure You’re Not Guilty of the ‘Millennial Pause’? via The Atlantic. I think the Wired article is the more insightful of the two, but I thought it was interesting that multiple outlets are talking about this right now. Millennial mid-life crisis discourse is imminent!
- Mortgage rates rise about 7 percent as Fed scrambles to slow economy via The Washington Post (the link is a gifted article and should allow you to read it even without a subscription). SEVEN PERCENT is completely bananas. We bought our house originally at four-something and refinanced last year to two-something. When are we going to start the next recession?
- The Instagram capital of the world is a terrible place to be via Vox. This resonated with me probably because I was just traveling and watching people try to get perfect photos in places like the rainbow street in Reykjavík. I obviously enjoy taking photos of my travels but this article makes the sort-of obvious argument that traveling based on seeing pretty pictures online feels empty.
- 11 Moments that Show How ‘Great British Bake Off’ Crumbled via Eater. Although I like the Great British Bake Off, the latest season, in particular, is missing a certain joy. I mean, Mexico week? It was basically a hate crime.
TV and Music
I’ve been rewatching Schitt’s Creek lately because it’s a great show but also because I never watched the last season. Last week though, I’ve been watching too much of it so now I have Moira’s voice in my head narrating things I read.
Last weekend, I took three tote bags full of books to the local used book store to sell, and I got $80 in cash and $80 of store credit, which is a delight. Bringing books to the bookstore just to use the funds to get new books feels like a pyramid scheme somehow but I love it.
In other purchases, I bought some Birkenstocks for my stupid feet. I recently learned I have plantar fasciitis after a friend in the group chat said she had it and described it. Then I was like, oh shit, I have had this for years. My feet hurt all the time. I talked to my doctor about it and he said I shouldn’t walk around barefoot so now I have Birkenstocks to wear in the house. Wearing them feels a little hippy, a little cool, but mostly makes me feel like I’m becoming my mom on some level lol. Anyway, I don’t appreciate having another malady to manage, but it does explain why sometimes during roller derby practice, I had to stop because my feet hurt so bad. I have once again chalked a legitimate issue up to “oh, that’s just being alive” instead of “this is a real problem that can be treated.” Will I ever learn? (no).
Making Things and Doing stuff
There are some things I’ve made and stuff I’ve done.
I translated this year’s voter guide into Spanish, which is the third guide I’ve done now. It was definitely much easier this year than previous years, so I must be learning something (including learning to use spell check in Spanish). I’m still figuring out what I want to “do” with Spanish, which is a chronic, existential problem I will never solve. After I passed the DELE exam, people were asking me what it was for or what I could do with it. I don’t know. It just means I know Spanish. Probably the only change so far has been saying “yes” when people ask if I speak Spanish, instead of hedging in some way like “I’m pretty okay.”
I realized that I have not had a chance to mention on the blog that I finally finished vision therapy. I ended up doing 52 sessions, which is 20 more than what I the original estimate I got (which my vision therapist said was wrong because she definitely meant to schedule 40 to start). I’m so relieved to be done. My vision is way better too. It was a slog but it was worth it. I’m currently doing maintenance activities. I’m still supposed to do my vision exercises three times a week for a month, then twice a week and once a week for the next two months, respectively. I go back for a follow-up in January, so let’s hope I don’t backslide horrendously.
In my Iceland post, I said I was going to try making the geothermally cooked bread in my crock pot. Well, I did it and the results were mixed. Yes, you can cook it in the crock pot, however I irredeemably burned the edges. The recipe called for “cultured milk,” so I used buttermilk. This resulted in an extremely strong tang. It was bad enough that I didn’t want to eat more than my initial sample piece (Kirk stopped after one conservative bite), so I think I’ll have to make some adjustments and bake it in the oven next time.
In successful cooking activities, I made a lentil-stuffed acorn squash recipe from Grist (the recipe is also on Washington Post, where I saw it before buying the cookbook). This was tasty and very filling. I also made some bean and bacon soup, which is among my favorite soup recipes. I recently bought some beans from Primary Beans and I used their alubia beans for the soup. They worked perfectly.
After I came back from Iceland, my friend and almost-neighbor Mandy was out of town so Kirk and I spent a little time hanging out with her dog Patrick every day. Patrick is obsessed with me. He wanted to lie on the couch with me and be touching me at all times. He also has a little goblin face.
As for my cats, Fritz has recently discovered he can snooze in the bottom tier of the cat tree and is not limited to lording around on the top level. Huey has been enjoying lounging on the couch since it’s now blanket weather and I’ve put a big blanket out there. She owns it now. I don’t really get to use it, but I suppose she has her rights.
Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.