Two Weeks in the Life: April 14, 2024

Hello, friends and enemies. My sister Mia and I have been talking about how my extended family isn’t very close. You, dear reader, maybe surprised to learn that I have quite a few cousins on my dad’s side (“You have cousins?” one close friend recently asked me). When I was a little kid, we lived near my dad’s two sisters. My aunts were actually next-door neighbors. We’d visit them and the five cousins between the two houses, along with my sister and I, would troop around causing mayhem. I honestly don’t even remember what we did with our time because I was pretty young (my dad is the youngest of five and all my cousins are older than me) but I do remember enjoying their company. I told Mia I had been thinking about starting a cousins group chat and she encouraged me to go for it. We’ve only got three of those five cousins chatting so far but it’s cool to connect and chat a little. It’s nice to remember that I do actually have biological family and not just the family I have chosen out here in the world.

Books and Other Words

I spent maybe the first half of Isle McElroy’s People Collide thinking that every character was totally insufferable and the second half sympathizing with them for being insufferable. The story begins when our protagonist, Eli, wakes up and finds himself in the body of his wife, Elizabeth—the mind is intact but he is inhabiting her physical being. Elizabeth-in-Eli’s-body has left and is nowhere to be found and everyone assumes that Elizabeth husband is an asshole who left her without saying a word. I think this book was supposed to be a mediation on gender, and it is definitely that, but to me it was really about how our parents and our environment shape us. With Elizabeth missing, Eli starts fielding calls from both sets of their parents and we see the way they interact with the person they think is Elizabeth and what they have to say about Eli’s apparent disappearance. Those interactions made the characters much more sympathetic to me. I thought it was an interesting story overall.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

Rampant Consumerism

Oversized tee shirt in bright colors. There's a pink unicorn in the middle with the text "SUFFERING" above it
Suffering but make it cute

I finally decided to treat myself to the Beautiful Genius “suffering” shirt. Nothing conveys my existential pain like a pink unicorn on an oversized bright-colored shirt. I did, however, have two people tell me they read it as “surfing” and one person ask me if I was wearing it to ballet class because class is suffering. If something is making me suffer, I’m not gonna do it (with the notable exception if being alive, hence the shirt). People just don’t understand my vision.


I translated some Icelandic Wikipedia articles to English over the last couple of weeks and went over them with my teacher. The first one I chose ended up being fairly difficult. I tried to pick something easy so I chose a short biographical article. However, the vocabulary was a little tricky because it was about an abbess at a Benedictine convent in Iceland in the 1500s and there seemed to be quite a record of interpersonal drama. This week I translated an article about an Icelandic artist who works with natural materials, so that was fairly interesting. What I’m realizing is a real problem with translating from Icelandic to English Wikipedia is that the English site is very strict about citations. When you post a new article, someone Wikipedian with greater authority reviews it and they delete anything without a citation. Unfortunately, Icelandic Wikipedia is not very invested in citations, so if I want to be able to publish anything, I have to track down references. This is annoying as a Wikipedia activity but ultimately good as a language learning activity because I’m skimming a lot of websites and archives in Icelandic to rustle up the information.

Corporeal Form

I wrote back in January that I got a fibroscan (a special scan of the liver) as part of a study and received the handsome sum of $25 for my time. Well, the same study group called me back to invite me to do a clinical trial for a drug called HU6 that is supposed to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver. It involves six months of taking the drug (or a placebo, depending on what group you get assigned to; and it’s a double-blind study so I wouldn’t know) and a whole bunch of monitoring, like getting an MRI and an EKG. I am learning toward doing it (I love getting free health care + I’ll get $750 if I do the whole study) because it sounds like the drug is reducing liver fat, which is good. However, I’m a little wary because it ultimately sounds like this is a weight loss drug and I’m old enough to remember drugs like fen phen. So … yeah.

Kitchen Witchery

I’m still taking it fairly easy in the kitchen. I’ve been making a lot of recipes I’ve made before or making easy stuff out of what’s available, like combining roasted carrots with a package of tortellini and some goat cheese, which I ate for lunch most of last week. I tried one new recipe, thai curry risotto with squash and green beans, to serve with a roasted chicken. I gotta say, we did not really like it. I don’t know if it was a bad recipe or if I just expect risotto to be mild and creamy. Also, typical of an NYT recipe, the veggies weren’t seasoned that well. I thought it would be fine because the idea is to eat them with the curry rice but it didn’t work for me. I am also sharing a photo of a pizza I made last weekend. I looks like almost every other photo of pizza I’ve shared but that’s okay. It’s my site and I can upload as many pizza photos as I want.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. Unfortunately for Huey fans, I didn’t get a lot of Huey photos this week (please look at past photos of her chilling on the couch if you want to know how she has looked recently. That’s all she wants to do). I am sharing the duality of Fritz. Here he is climbing the walls (technically the bathroom mirror, in this case) and then him being a cute and sleepy baby.