Two Weeks in the Life: April 9, 2023

Hello friends and enemies. Happy Easter, if you’re into that sort of thing. I’m not these days, but I was seized by the primal urge to make coffee cake for breakfast today. Was it just because King Arthur keeps emailing me about their coffee cake recipe or some subconscious remnant of my mormon, Easter-observing upbringing? There’s no way to know. In any case, happy Sunday to all and may you eat all the Cadbury eggs your heart desires to celebrate the coming of spring.

I’ve been feeling rather dispirited about my health over the last week or so. I have so many ailments now that require regular management. What bums me out is I just have to do all this stuff forever. I mean, assuming I want to have any level of comfort and ease in this physical existence (which I do!). For example, after my vision therapy check-in in January, I thought, great, I don’t need to do these vision exercises anymore. Incorrect! After a month or two, I started having eye strain and headaches again. It wasn’t anything like how I felt pre-vision therapy, but I know enough know to be able to identify what it feels like when my eyes are struggling. It seems like I need to keep up with my eye exercises at least weekly. My TMJ dysfunction has also been aggravating me a lot lately, with pain radiating from my jaw through my neck and shoulder. I’ve been using a heating pad every day in the last week, eating softer foods, and, yes, doing physical therapy exercises for it, but I’m still in pain. And, to continue complaining, it’s making it so hard to figure out what to eat. I already have a number of foods I don’t like just for personal preference or texture reasons, there are foods that make me sick to my stomach, and now I can’t eat anything very hard or crunchy or chewy. You know what I can always eat? Bread. Noodles. Various other tasty carbohydrates. You know what doctors say when they look at me and see that I’m fat? Don’t eat bread. Yet, no one ever asks me about what makes me feel comfortable. Anyway, I’m feeling some angst about all this. Being alive. What a scam!

However, I will say I had a really positive encounter with my new physical therapist who is helping me with my knees/arthritis situation. She was super respectful and acknowledged that I’m strong and have good body awareness, which is an incredible relief to hear. It sounds like my goals of wanting to be able to be active—taking dance class, lifting a little weight—are totally reasonable. She gave me a few exercises to do at home (yes, even more PT but, like I said, I’m trying to survive comfortably here) that are focusing on the adductor and abductor muscles, which will give my knee some more support. She also suggested that I need to find out from my doctor what is behind this osteopenia diagnosis because it’s unusual for someone my age to have bone problems. Depending on the cause, there are physical therapies or nutrition solutions that could help, so that’s encouraging. I’d like to go as long as possible without my bones turning to dust.

One good thing I found this week is this emotion sensation feeling wheel, developed by a therapist and fellow Linds(e/a)y (she spells her name with an a [the wrong spelling lol]). I saw this and it made so much sense to me. I really struggle to name feelings, but I’ll find I’m feeling weird or bad, want to lie on the floor, or curl up and be left alone. These are body sensations but they are also indicative of feelings. Connecting the physical sensation with an emotion can be really hard for autistic people like me. Although I am good with words, explaining how I feel is tricky and I usually end up saying things that no one understands like “my brain is full of static” or “I need to run around” or “I want to stop existing for just a little while” (this isn’t me saying I want to die! Please don’t panic). Please share this resource with your autistic homies!

Books and Other Words

Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:

  • Outlawed by Anna North. This is a cowboy story, but it’s really about women deciding how they want to live. Outlawed is set in an alternate past where some flu really messed up society and made everyone obsessed with procreation (more than it already was!). Our heroine gets married young, as one does, but fails to have a baby. Naturally, the town thinks she might be a witch. We follow the protagonist joining up with the Hole in the Wall Gang, getting into some hijinks, and learning what she wants for herself. Highly recommended.
  • The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky. This story features a really interesting blend of Inuit and Norse folklore. I liked it, but it did start very slowly for me.
  • The Sellout by Paul Beatty. I can’t even begin to describe this book. It’s an insane satire about race relations. It’s fucking hilarious.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

  • Get off my desktop! Windows needs to stop showing tabloid news via Tom’s Hardware. Why are tabloids built into the Windows experience? I’m so fed up with the modern structure of computing and the internet.
  • Twitter is dying via TechCrunch. Twitter was, yes, a hellsite but it was out hellsite and a really great place for connecting with people from all over and finding out all kinds of stuff. Those days are over thanks to a rich man-baby who can’t get over himself.
  • Elizabeth Warren on weaponized budget models via Pluralistic. The gist: “When the Build Back Better bill was first mooted, it included a promise of universal, federally funded childcare. This was excised from the final language of the bill (renamed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill), because the CBO said it would cost too much: $381.5b over ten years … the price tag for universal childcare did not include the benefits of childcare!” Wow, neat (extreme sarcasm!).
  • You’d be happier living closer to your friends. Why don’t you? via Culture Study. This made me really sad. I wish I could live close to all my good friends and we could just pop in and have dinner together or spend our working-from-home days on the couch kvetching about colleagues. I do get this a little bit in my life but not nearly on the level I’d like.
  • The Erotics of Erotics via Cup of Stars. Carmen Maria Machado writing about how to write about sex! I found this interesting and it included this wisdom for the ages, “Some people—even people you love, or people who have known you for your entire life—simply aren’t capable of picking up what you’re putting down, or understanding your vision or your voice or even, like, who you are. And that’s okay!”

TV and Music

I watched the second season of Los Espookys this week and I’m very sad to learn that the show has been cancelled. It’s so funny. It’s also the only show in Spanish I’ve been motivated to watch lately so I’m deeply offended that it wasn’t renewed for more seasons. It’s like HBO doesn’t want me to learn!

Doing Stuff

a ticket for the Visions 2023 ballet held up in the foreground. Audience members and the stage, its curtain closed, in the background
Visions 2023 at the Sacramento Ballet

My small culture gang attended another performance of the Sacramento Ballet last Saturday. They put on four short pieces and I really liked two of them in particular. One, called Ghost Light, was really glamorous and melancholy with some slap stick mixed in at points. Another piece had features all over the stage and the dancers pushed three large canvases around to change the layout of the stage throughout the performance. It was a fascinating way to use the environment.

Kitchen Witchery

Last week I tried out this asparagus and goat cheese tart to round out a meal of beans and rice. It was good! I think I added way too much sour cream on accident though but no one here complained. This morning, I meant to make this coffee cake recipe but I accidentally ended up on this recipe instead. I feel like they’re not that different, but I’m sharing both so you, dear reader, can make an informed decision about coffee cake. Please enjoy this not-very-good photo of said cake. I always struggle to get that first piece out of the pan and end up with a crumbly mess. Not that it matters for much other than the photo evidence!

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.