A Week in the Life: November 15, 2022

Hello, friends and enemies. We have survived another election and may live to vote in another midterm if we’re lucky. I’m glad that Democrats are maintaining control of the Senate (or, at least, parity) and most of the stuff I cared about on my local ballot went the way I thought it should. You can see the election results on the Secretary of State website. There’s also a Sacramento County website with election results and a handy graph showing voter turnout. Only 24 percent of registered voters in Sacramento County voted! That’s crazy to me. You get a ballot in the mail! Voting has never been easier. Why wouldn’t you vote!

Regarding state ballot measures:

  • I’m relieved that California approved proposition 1 to guarantee the right to reproductive freedom.
  • I’m also glad to see that we’re funding art and music education (proposition 28). However I don’t understand how 37% of voters were against that. There’s not even a tax increase, it’s just allocating existing funds to education.
  • Unfortunately, we have once again voted not to have medical practitioners and additional regulation for dialysis clinics (proposition 29) because diabetes is basically a crime in this stupid country.
  • Something I did not know before the election was that proposition 30 was actually quite contentious. I just read it as, sure tax the millionaires a little more. Apparently, Lyft was a big donor to the “yes” campaign because it wanted the state to help subsidize their switch to electric cars. Everything is complicated.


Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.

Books and Other Words

I read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, starting it without knowing much about it other than it was really popular for a while. I did not like it that much. The writing is nice but kind of nothing happens? It sort of reminds me of a Salinger Glass family with its precocious children story but with more opioids and, like … a lot of opioids. So, this book is over 700 pages long in the service of the question “What if good things can happen as a result of a bad thing?” Really? All that? It’s so much angst for so little reward.

I read and enjoyed The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna. This book was a lot of fun, plus I love anything about witches. This is another book in the genre of what I’m calling “cozy fiction,” which consists of books trying to make us feel safe and warm with our found families despite the madness of the modern world. It’s a cute story, there’s magic, a little romance, and people trying to change the world for the better.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

  • Dead Letters via Cory Doctorow. A discussion of mailing lists and email in the age of social media. It’s interesting seeing someone discuss how hard it is to maintain an internet presence outside of all kinds of corporate junk, even for a veteran. I also learned that certain email providers block domains, so if, like me, you send emails from your own domain and not gmail or yahoo, your email might be marked as spam or not get through at all.
  • Welcome to Hell, Elon via The Verge. I loved this take on the current twitter fiasco. Running twitter is not going to be a good tine for Musk. However, I’m having a great time watching the carnage.

TV and Music

Kirk and I are currently watching BBC’s Ghosts, a show about a young woman who inherits an old house full of ghosts. After a near-death experience, she can see and interact with the ghosts and hijinks ensue. It’s very funny and worth watching.

Making Things and Doing stuff

Last week, my good friend Lito came to visit. It was great! We chat all the time but haven’t seen each other in a few years. I am not even sure what we did all week to be honest but we got to talk a lot, watch some good TV, and eat delicious food. We also made an afternoon trip to Lake Tahoe, which was beautiful.

foreground: Abby and I looking at the camera. Background: A mannequin wearing a pink thong harness (or some kind of small, strappy clothing), and a giant feathered headdress
Abby and I in front of a ridiculous costumed mannequin

On Friday, Kirk and I took another trip into the Sierras to go to Reno. Our friend Abby was in Risk!, which is a show/podcast featuring people telling their stories. I hadn’t heard of it before Abby was in it (because Abby is a trendsetter), but the show was fun and it was a good excuse to get out of the house. I didn’t get any pictures of the performance but we did take a photo in front of this very silly outfit they had on display in the theater.

Kitchen Witchery

It’s baking season! I made a batch of pan de muerto again for Día de Muerto this year and received rave reviews from my very small audience. I think using vanilla sugar on top made it extra tasty, if not exactly traditional. I recently tried out a pumpkin bread recipe from Smitten Kitchen that was, of course, a success.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. The cats are focused on being as warm and cozy as possible in this chilly weather.

A Week in the Life: October 30, 2022

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

cover of the book You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty shown in greyscale on kobo ereader
You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty

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:

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.

Rampant Consumerism

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.”

Moving It

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.

Kitchen Witchery

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.

Cat Therapy

Patrick the dog, lying on his back next to me and exposing his belly, one paw touching my legmy
special guest: Patrick the dog

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.

Guía para votantes: 8 de noviembre 2022, votación a mitad de legislatura de California

Hola, ¡es otra guía para votantes! Nuestra próxima elección general es el 8 de noviembre de 2022, pero es una votación a mitad de legislatura, lo cual significa que es probable que el número de votantes sea más bajo que en un año de elección presidencial. Es aún más importante que participes en una votación a mitad de legislatura. La votación para asuntos locales afecta nuestras vidas mucho más que la votación para el presidente.

Looking for the English version? It’s right here.

Recordatorios y recursos para los votantes californianos

Descargo de responsabilidad: No soy experta en la política ni el gobierno. Soy solo una persona quien tiene habilidades de leer y buscar información. Si confías en mí, puedes votar como yo. También puedes usar esta guía como un punto de partida para decidir cómo quieres votar.

Consulta rápida

Este cuadro resume mis votos para la elección estatal. Sigue leyendo para ver mis explicaciones y ver mis votos para las elecciones locales en el condado de Sacramento y la ciudad de Elk Grove.

Oficina o propuestaMi voto
Todos los cargos nominados por los votantesCandidatos Demócratas
Senador de los Estados Unidos (mandato completo y mandato parcial)Alex Padilla
Distrito 7 del CongresoDoris Matsui
Distrito 8 del Senado EstatalDave Jones
Distrito 10 de la AsambleaEric Guerra
Jueces de la Corte Suprema de California
Jueces de la Corte de Apelación Tercer Distrito
Superintendente de Instrucción PúblicaTony Thurmund
Propuesta 1
Propuesta 26
Propuesta 27No
Propuesta 28
Propuesta 29
Propuesta 30
Propuesta 31

Cargos nominados por los votantes

Para todos estos cargos, tenemos la opción entre un candidato Demócrata y un candidato Republicano porque es como el sistema funciona aquí en California. En mi caso, me rehúso a votar por ningún candidato Republicano. Su plataforma contiene muy poco con lo que coincido. Además su plataforma es una versión reciclada de su plataforma de 2016. En 2020, el partido publicó una resolución diciendo que no escribiría una nueva plataforma y Trump sería el caudillo del partido. Voy a ser breve en esta sección porque voto solo por los Demócratas.

  • Gobernador: Gavin Newsom
  • Vicegobernadora: Eleni Kounalakis
  • Secretaria de estado: Shirley Weber
  • Controladora: Malia Cohen
  • Tesorera: Fiona Ma
  • Procurador general: Rob Bonta
  • Comisario de seguros: Ricardo Lara
  • Miembro de la Directiva de Impuestos sobre Ventas, Uso y Otros – Distrito 1: Jose S. Altamirano

Senador y Representante de los Estados Unidos

Es un poco confuso porque hay dos votos a senador aquí pero, de hecho, los dos refieren al mismo escaño, solo en momentos diferentes (nuestra otra senadora es Dianne Feinsten quien no va para la reelección hasta 2024). El “mandato parcial” es un voto para hacer cumplir el periodo de Kamala Harris, que terminaría en enero de 2023. El “mandato completo” es el periodo normal de seis años que empieza después de que Harris concluyera su tiempo como senadora.

Aunque no voto por los Republicanos, vi el sitio web del candidato Republicano, Mark Meuser. Quiere que el gobierno federal corte sus gastos y aumente la producción doméstica de petróleo y gas. Se queja de “políticas progresivas woke.” Todo es una bandera roja para mí.

Con respecto al contendiente de la Representante Doris Matsui, el Republicano Max Semeneko, su sitio web anota que uno de sus asuntos más importantes es que “se defienda la Segunda Enmienda.” No creo que la Segunda Enmienda necesite aún más ayuda. Me gusta Doris Matsui y creo que hace un buen trabajo.

  • Senador de los Estados Unidos mandato completo: Alex Padilla
  • Senador de los Estados Unidos mandato parcial/no terminado: Alex Padilla
  • Representante de los Estados Unidos, distrito 7: Doris Matsui

Senador Estatal – Distrito 8

Mi voto: Dave Jones

Es el primer voto en mi boleta que tiene dos candidatos Demócratas. Mirando a sus sitios web respectivos, los dos Jones y Ashby presentan algo que parece un currículum, mostrando sus cargos pasados, en vez de sus planes de que harían como senadores. Parecen candidatos muy similares diciendo las cosas correctas. Lo que me hizo decidir fue quien da dinero a estos candidatos. Entre los donantes más grandes de Ashby son los comités de acción política (conocidos como PACs, o political action committees, en inglés) de California Association of Highway Patrolmen (Asociación de Agentes de Patrulla de Caminos de California), de Los Angeles Police Protective (Protección de la Policía de Los Ángeles), y de California Real Estate (Inmueble Californiano). En contraste, los donantes más grandes de Jones son PACs de maestros, enfermeros, empleados de escuelas, y otros grupos laborales. Prefiero votar por alguien que los maestros y enfermeros apoyan en vez de alguien que la policía apoya.

Miembro de la Asamblea del Estado – Distrito 10

Mi voto: Eric Guerra

No me siento fantástica de ningún candidato, para ser honesta. Eric Guerra recibió un montón de dinero de un PAC de escuelas charter, lo que me aflige (por lo general, las escuelas charter intentan socavar la educación pública). Sin embargo, sus políticas me suenan bien. Stephanie Nguyen parece una aficionada de la policía (está entre sus donantes más grandes). Dice también que ella “sabe que el crimen crece.” ¿Cómo sabe eso? La tasa de crimen ha estado bajando por décadas. ¿Qué ella sabe algo que el FBI no? Prefiero alguien que toma dinero de las escuelas charter a alguien pro-policía de una forma exuberante.

Cargos no partidistas

Corte Suprema de California

Aunque el público no elige a los jueces de la Corte Suprema de California, tenemos la oportunidad de ratificar a los jueces. Se consideran estos cargos “no partidistas” porque los jueces no se presentan para el cargo como un miembro de un partido político. No obstante, tienen, como individuales, posturas políticas e historias que podemos buscar y usar para decidir si los queremos en nuestra corte. Me refiero a la guía de CalMatters.org y no vi nada que me preocupe de estos jueces.

  • Patricia Guerrero para Jueza Presidenta de la Corte Suprema de California: Sí
  • Goodwin Liu para Juez Asociado de la Corte Suprema de California: Sí
  • Martin J. Jenkins para Juez Asociado de la Corte Suprema de California: Sí
  • Joshua P. Groban para Juez Asociado de la Corte Suprema de California: Sí

Corte de Apelación Tercer Distrito

La Corte de Apelación Tercer Distrito es una de las seis cortes de apelación en California, las cuales tienen un nivel inferior al de la Corte Suprema estatal. La corte de apelación desafía las resoluciones judiciales que fueron decididas en las cortes inferiores.

  • Stacy Boulware Eurie para Jueza Asociada del Corte de Apelación Tercer Distrito: Sí
  • Laurie M. Earl para Jueza Asociada del Corte de Apelación Tercer Distrito: Sí
  • Harry Hull para Juez Asociado del Corte de Apelación Tercer Distrito: Sí
  • Peter Krause para Juez Asociado del Corte de Apelación Tercer Distrito: Sí


Superintendente de Instrucción Pública

Mi voto: Tony Thurmund

Parece que Thurmund de veras lo capta. Sus planes se fijan en ayudar a los estudiantes a recuperarse del trauma de la pandemia. Quiere proveer más oportunidades de aprender otro idioma, preprimaria gratis universal, y comida para todos los estudiantes. En contraste, Christensen quiere que los padres de los estudiantes se involucren más en determinar el currículo estatal. He trabajado como maestra y sé que nadie necesita que los padres se involucren en el currículo. Estoy segura que este plan es solo una puerta para dejar entrar el cristianismo extremo, el racismo, y otra basura que no necesitamos en las escuelas públicas.

Condado, Ciudad, y Distrito Municipal

Miembro, Junta de Supervisores – Distrito 5

Mi voto: Jacyln Moreno

Me gusta la postura de Moreno en los asuntos. Parece que tiene un sentido claro de cómo el condado puede ayudar a las personas sin hogares (en cambio de penalizarlas). Quiere más profesionales de la salud mental sin uniformes que puedan responder a las llamadas de 911, y apoyar la vivienda asequible. Son todas cosas buenas en mi opinión.

Alcalde de la Ciudad de Elk Grove

Mi voto: Bobbie Singh-Allen

Singh-Allen es nuestra alcaldesa actual. No me encantan todas sus posturas (¿Realmente necesitamos más policía? ¿Ayudan las prohibiciones para camping a las personas sin hogar?), pero por lo general creo que hace un buen trabajo.

Me molesta la inclusión aparente de una teoría de conspiración sobre el 5G en el sitio web del candidato Brian Pastor. Parece que cree que 5G es dañino. No hay evidencia para esta creencia.

Director del Distrito de Servicios Comunitarios Cosumnes, División 2

Mi voto: Ali Moua

Parece que a Ali Moua le importan mucho los parques y servicios de Elk Grove. Su oponente, Peter Spyros Sakarais, no hizo el esfuerzo para crear un sitio web para su campaña, entonces no sabemos lo que cree o le importa.

Director del Distrito Municipal de Servicios Públicos Sacramento, Distrito Electoral 4

Mi voto: Rosanna Herber

Los dos sitios web de Herber y Cressman son escasos. Para mí, Cressman me da mala onda.

Medidas presentadas a los votantes


1 Derecho constitucional a la libertad reproductiva

Enmienda la Constitución de California para incluir de manera expresa el derecho fundamental de una persona a la libertad reproductiva, el cual incluye el derecho fundamental a elegir realizarse un aborto y el derecho fundamental a elegir o negarse a usar anticonceptivos. Esta enmienda no restringe ni limita los derechos existentes a la privacidad y a la igualdad de protección de conformidad con la Constitución de
California. Impacto fiscal: No hay ningún efecto fiscal directo, porque los derechos reproductivos ya se encuentran protegidos por la ley estatal.

Mi voto: Sí

Ya tenemos derechos reproductivos fuertes aquí en California, pero la Proposición 1 fortalecería estos derechos y ampliaría nuestro derecho a la privacidad. Esta proposición es una respuesta directa a la Corte Suprema anulando el caso de Roe v. Wade en meses anteriores este año.

26 Permite las apuestas en persona con ruleta, juegos de dados, apuestas deportivas en tierras tribales

También permite: las apuestas deportivas en algunos hipódromos; juicios privados para hacer cumplir ciertas leyes de juego. Destina los ingresos al Fondo General, programas de problemas de juego, aplicación. Impacto fiscal: Aumento de los ingresos estatales, alcanzando posiblemente decenas de millones de dólares al año. Algunos de estos ingresos respaldarían el aumento de los costos estatales reglamentarios y de aplicación que podrían alcanzar algunas decenas de millones de dólares anuales.

Mi voto: Sí

Esta y la Proposición 27 van juntas. Algunas tribus formaron un PAC que se llama Sí a 26, No a 27 – Coalición para Juegos Seguros y Responsables (Yes on 26, No on 27 – Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming). Un montón de las tribus nativas de California apoyan esta iniciativa, que tiene sentido porque van a beneficiarse de esta ley. Los partidarios de esta proposición también incluyen al Partido Paz y Libertad y al NAACP, lo que acepto como un signo positivo. La gran oposición de esta proposición viene de corporaciones de juegos y casinos, lo que me sugiere que están enojados de que alguien más ganaría dinero por los juegos. No estoy segura que me importe de una manera u otra de los juegos pero no veo ninguna razón por la que las tribus nativas no lo deben aprovechar. Prefiero que las tribus ganen dinero que las corporaciones aleatorias.

Esta proposición también contribuirá a los ingresos públicos. Habrá un impuesto de 10% en todos los juegos, lo que se va a distribuir al Departamento de Salud de California, la Agencia de Control de los Juegos, y el Fondo General. 

27 Permite las apuestas deportivas en línea y vía dispositivos móviles fuera de las tierras tribales

Permite que las tribus indígenas y las empresas afiliadas operen apuestas deportivas en línea y vía dispositivos móviles fuera de las tierras tribales. Destina los ingresos a los costos reglamentarios, programas para la falta de vivienda, a las tribus no participantes. Impacto fiscal: Aumento de los ingresos estatales, posiblemente en cientos de millones de dólares, pero no es probable que supere los $500 millones anuales. Algunos ingresos respaldarían los costos estatales reglamentarios, alcanzando posiblemente media decena de millones de dólares anualmente.

Mi voto: No

Lo revelador para mi es que el Partido Democrática de California, el Partido Republicano de California y el Partido Paz y Libertad todos están opuestos a esta proposición. Ha unido literalmente a todos. El argumento principal para la Proposición 27 es que iría a ayudar a las personas sin hogar. La guía para votantes del estado dice que la Proposición 27 impondría un impuesto de 10% en los juegos, que pagarían los costos regulatorios. Del dinero que quedara después de los costos regulatorios, 85% iría a “programas para la falta de vivienda” no especificados. El análisis de la legislación dice que no sabemos exactamente cuántos ingresos la legislación generaría, pero sabemos que va a generar más trabajo para regular los juegos en línea. No creo que sea la ayuda para las personas sin hogar que los adeptos de la proposición se imaginan. 

28 Otorga fondos adicionales para educación artística y musical en las escuelas públicas

Otorga fondos adicionales del Fondo General estatal para la educación artística y musical en todas las escuelas públicas desde preescolar hasta 12.º grado (K-12) (incluidas las escuelas subvencionadas). Impacto fiscal: Aumento de los costos estatales de alrededor de $1 mil millones anuales, a partir del próximo año, para la educación artística en las escuelas públicas.

Mi voto: Sí

Es obvio que apoyo que el gobierno financie la educación, en particular para algo que recibe crónicamente menos fondos de los que merece. El arte es lo que vale la pena de vivir. Los niños deben tener la oportunidad de participar en el arte. Los fondos para respaldar a esta proposición vendrían del Fondo General estatal (alrededor de una mitad de un porcentaje de su presupuesto) y mayoritariamente pagaría nuevos empleados para las artes en escuelas.

29 Exige un profesional médico con licencia en las clínicas de diálisis renal y establece otros requisitos estatales

Exige que un médico, enfermero practicante o asistente médico esté presente en el sitio durante el tratamiento. Exige a las clínicas que: divulguen la participación de propiedad de los médicos; informen sobre los datos de infecciones. Impacto fiscal: Aumento de los costos del gobierno estatal y local probablemente de decenas de millones de dólares anuales.

Mi voto: Sí

No es la primera vez que hemos votado sobre este asunto. En 2020, los Californianos rechazaron la Proposición 23, que hubiera requerido que las clínicas de diálisis renal tuvieran un médico en el local. Parece que el Californians for Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection PAC (el PAC de Californianos para proteger a los pacientes de diálisis renal) ha modificado sus objetivos esta temporada. Ahora demanda un enfermero practicante, asistente médico, o un médico en las clínicas. Tal vez esperen que haya más apoyo en esta forma. Creo que es una buena idea que las clínicas tengan un médico a mano para la diálisis renal. De veras, no entiendo porque es controvertida. 

Como normal, creo que el dinero cuenta una historia. DaVita, Inc. y Fresenius Medical Care—dos empresas grandes que ofrecen la diálisis renal—han donado $52.7 millones y $27.3 millones, respectivamente, a la oposición de esta proposición. En contraste, el único grupo apoyante a la Proposición 29, Californians for Kidney Dialysis and Patient Protection, ha contribuido con un poco menos de $8 millones. Si estas compañías pueden gastar tanto dinero en la política, pueden contratar unos médicos y enfermeros.

30 Otorga fondos a programas para reducir la contaminación del aire y evitar incendios forestales mediante el aumento de impuestos en ingresos personales de más de $2 millones

Asigna ingresos de impuestos a incentivos para la compra de vehículos de cero emisiones, estaciones de carga de vehículos y prevención de incendios forestales. Impacto fiscal: Aumento de los ingresos de impuestos estatales que van desde $3.5 mil millones a $5 mil millones anuales, usando los nuevos fondos para apoyar los programas de vehículos de cero emisiones y actividades de respuesta y prevención de incendios forestales.

Mi voto: Sí

Siempre apoyo a exigir el pago de impuestos a los ricos. La Proposición 30 aumentaría “el impuesto sobre la renta personal superior a $2 millones en un 1.75%.” El dinero financiaría actividades de respuesta y prevención de incendios forestales (20%) y estaciones de carga de vehículos/algún tipo de financiamiento para comparar vehículos eléctricos. No estoy segura de que enfocarse en carros eléctricos sea la mejor forma de prevenir los incendios forestales—es una conexión no muy clara—pero bien, no lastima a nadie.

31 Referéndum sobre la ley de 2020 que prohibiría la venta minorista de ciertos productos de tabaco saborizados

Un voto “Sí” aprueba, y un voto “No” rechaza, una ley de 2020 que prohíbe la venta minorista de ciertos productos de tabaco saborizados. Impacto fiscal: Reducción de los ingresos por impuestos estatales al tabaco que oscilan entre decenas de millones de dólares anuales y alrededor de $100 millones anuales.

Mi voto: Sí

En 2020, California prohibió vender productos de tabaco saborizados, es decir que el estado quiere evitar que los niños compren vapes (cigarrillos electrónicos) que tienen sabor a dulces. Los únicos grupos que apoyan la campaña de “no” son verdaderas compañías de tabaco y el Partido Republicano. Las compañías de cigarros y tabaco no necesitan beneficiarse a costa de los niños fumando cigarrillos electrónicos.


Medida A

A fin de arreglar los baches y reparar las calles dañadas; proporcionar rutas seguras a las escuelas; ampliar los servicios de tránsito asequibles para personas de la tercera edad y personas con discapacidades; eliminar los cuellos de botella y mejorar los tiempos de respuesta ante emergencias; reducir el congestionamiento vehicular; y mejorar la calidad del aire; ¿se debe aprobar la medida que aprueba la Ley para la Reducción del Congestionamiento Vehicular, el Mantenimiento y la Seguridad del Transporte del Condado de Sacramento de 2022 – Iniciativa de Impuesto sobre las Transacciones y el Uso Minoristas, que incluye un impuesto sobre las ventas del 0.5% durante 40 años que recaudaría aproximadamente $212,512,500 anuales para proyectos de transporte y tránsito?

Mi voto: No

Antes de buscar más información de esta medida, mis primeros pensamientos fueron que vivimos en una sociedad y una parte de eso es pagar nuestra porción para los caminos, el tránsito, y servicios esenciales. Esta medida financiaría líneas de trenes ligeros entre el aeropuerto y Elk Grove, lo que me interesa mucho. No obstante, el Sierra Club, Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (Defensores de ir en bicicleta en la región de Sacramento), el Partido Republicano del Condado de Sacramento, varios clubes del Partido Democrática de Sacramento (Young Democrats, Environmental Democrats, etc.), y el Sunrise Movement se oponen a esta medida. Leí un artículo del Sacramento Bee (del que no puedo compartir el enlace porque lo leí a través del sitio web de la biblioteca) del 12 de Octubre de 2022 titulado Move forward or backward? Measure A would raise $8.5 billion to reshape regional transportation (¿Haciendo progreso o dando pasos atrás? La Medida A aumentaría para remodelar el transporte). El artículo provee más contexto y hace acordar que los ciudadanos en el Condado de Sacramento ya financian proyectos de transporte. Esta medida nos pediría pagar aún más. El Sacramento Bee también publicó un editorial el 10 de Octubre se llama Sacramento County voters must reject Measure A (Los votantes del Condado de Sacramento tienen que rechazar a la Medida A), argumentando que la Medida A solo es una oportunidad para que los constructores se beneficien de nosotros. El editorial remarca que añadir otro 0.5% de impuestos sobre las ventas alcanzaría el límite legal, lo que significa que el condado no podría imponer más impuestos sobre las ventas para alguna otra cosa (sino que eliminaría otro impuesto sobre las ventas).

Medida B

¿Debe adoptarse la medida para financiar servicios mejorados para las personas sin hogar del Condado, incluyendo aquellos que benefician a American River Parkway, mediante el establecimiento de un impuesto especial sobre los ingresos brutos de los negocios de cannabis y cáñamo en el Condado de Sacramento no incorporado, que no supere el 6% para la ventana al por menor, 4% para la fabricación, 3% para la distribución, 2% para las pruebas y 3% para el cultivo o $10 por pie cuadrado de dosel ajustable por inflación, que generará un estimado de $5,100,000 a $7,700,000 anuales y se recaudará hasta que los votantes lo deroguen?

Mi voto: Sí

Fue difícil encontrar información sobre esta medida. La guía para votantes del condado contiene solo un argumento a favor del impuesto, que me sugiere que no hay otra organización suficientemente opuesta para entregar un contraargumento. Esta medida empezó con el Concejo Municipal de Sacramento, pero la ciudad decidió enviar el asunto a los votantes. Es una medida poco extraña porque solo afecta a las áreas no incorporadas del condado. Además no veo la conexión entre los servicios para las personas sin hogar y la venta del cannabis, pero supongo que no hay una razón para no beneficiar a las personas sin hogar.

Medida D

¿Se debe autorizar al Condado de Sacramento no incorporado y las ciudades incorporadas forman parte del mismo, incluidas Sacramento, Elk Grove, Citrus Heights, Folsom, Galt, Rancho Cordova, e Isleton, a desarrollar, adquirir o construir anualmente viviendas para personas y familias de bajos ingresos, incluidas personas de la tercera edad o personas con discapacitadas, equivalente al 1% de las unidades de vivienda actuales en el Condado? Cualquier unidad de vivienda sin construir en cada año será transferida anualmente.

Mi voto: Sí

¡Sí, inmediatamente! Necesitamos un montón más de viviendas a buenos precios. Los costos son excesivos y la gente no puede encontrar lugares en que pueden vivir. Esta medida ni siquiera aumentaría los impuestos, usaría dinero del Fondo General.


Medida E: Medida de Seguridad/Calidad de Vida de Elk Grove

Para apoyar los servicios esenciales como la reducción del crimen; la respuesta rápida al 9-1-1, bomberos, policía, emergencias médicas/desastres; mantener las áreas públicas seguras/limpias; abordar la falta de vivienda; reparación de baches/mantenimiento de calles/parques; programas de prevención de delincuencia juvenil/pandillas; y otros fines generales de la comunidad; ¿debe adoptarse la medida que establezca un impuesto sobre las ventas de 1 centavo que proporcionará aproximadamente $21,300,000 anuales hasta que los votantes le pongan fin; requiriendo auditorías, supervisión ciudadana, divulgación del gasto público y todos los fondos controlados localmente?

Mi voto: Sí

El Concejo Municipal de Elk Grove presentó esta medida para obtener más fondos para Elk Grove en particular. Y este punto es dónde digo en serio, vivimos en una sociedad y una parte de eso es pagar nuestra porción para los caminos, el tránsito, y los servicios esenciales. 

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Voter Guide: November 8, 2022 California Midterm Elections

Hello, it’s another voter guide! Our next general election is on November 8, 2022, but This is a mid-term election, which means voter turnout will probably be lower than in a presidential election year. It’s extra important to vote in a midterm election. Voting on local issues has a much bigger direct impact on our lives than voting in presidential elections.

¿Buscas la versión en español? Está aquí.

Reminders and Resources for California Voters

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on politics or government. I’m just a person who’s good at reading and looking things up. If you trust my judgment, you can vote how I vote. You can also use my guide as a starting point for your own research.

Quick Reference

This table summarizes my votes for the statewide items on the ballot. Keep reading to see my explanations and to see my votes for local elections in Sacramento County and Elk Grove.

Candidate or PropositionMy Vote
All voter-nominated officesDemocratic candidates
U.S. Senator (full and partial terms)Alex Padilla
U.S. Congressional Representative District 7Doris Matsui
State Senate District 8Dave Jones
State Assembly District 10Eric Guerra
Supreme Court JudgesYes
Appellate Court JudgesYes
Superintendent of Public InstructionTony Thurmund
Proposition 1Yes
Proposition 26Yes
Proposition 27No
Proposition 28Yes
Proposition 29Yes
Proposition 30Yes
Proposition 31Yes

Voter-nominated offices

For all of these positions, we have the option between a Democrat and a Republican because that’s how California’s system works. I refuse to vote for any Republicans. Their platform contains very little I agree with. Additionally, their current platform is just their recycled platform from 2016. In 2020, their released a resolution stating they’re not making a new platform and Trump is the leader of the party. I’ll keep this section short because I’m voting all Democrats.

  • Governor: Gavin Newsom
  • Lieutenant Governor: Eleni Kounalakis
  • Secretary of State: Shirley Weber
  • Controller: Malia Cohen
  • Treasurer: Fiona Ma
  • Attorney General: Rob Bonta
  • Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara
  • Board of Equalization Member – District 1: Jose S. Altamirano

United States Senator and Representative

This is a little confusing because there are two votes for senator here, but they are actually for the same seat, just at different times (our other senator is Dianne Feinsten, who will not be up for reelection until 2024). The partial-term vote is for a senator to finish Kamala Harris’s term, which ends in January 2023. The full term is the regular, six-year senate term that begins after Harris’s would have ended.

Although I am not voting for Republicans, I did look at the Republican candidate’s, Mark Meuser, website. He wants the federal government to cut spending and “increase domestic oil and gas production.” He complains about “woke progressive policies.” These are all red flags for me.

As for Representative Doris Matsui’s challenger, Republican Max Semenenko, his website lists one of his top issues as “defend the second amendment.” I don’t think the second amendment needs any more help. I like Doris Matsui and think she’s doing a good job.

  • United States Senator Full Term: Alex Padilla
  • United States Senator Partial Term: Alex Padilla
  • Representative – District 7: Doris Matsui

State Senator – District 8

My vote: Dave Jones

This is the first race on my ballot that has two Democratic candidates. Looking at their respective websites, both Jones and Ashby present something more like a resume, showcasing past work, rather than listing plans for what they would do as senators. They look like very similar candidates who are both saying the right things. The deciding factor for me is who is giving these candidates money. Among Ashby’s top donors are the California Association of Highway Patrolmen Political Action Committee (PAC), the Los Angeles Police Protective PAC, and the California Real Estate PAC. In contrast, Jones’s top donors are PACs for teachers, nurses, school employees, and other labor groups. I would rather vote for someone who teachers and nurses support than who the police support.

Member of the State Assembly – District 10

My vote: Eric Guerra

I don’t feel great about either of these candidates, to be honest. Eric Guerra received a bunch of money from a charter school PAC, which I find troubling (charter schools are, generally speaking, working to ruin public education). However, his policies sound good. Stephanie Nguyen seems like a big fan of the police (they are among her top donors). She also says “she knows that crime is on the rise.” How does she know that? Crime rates have been falling for decades. What does she know that the FBI doesn’t? I prefer someone taking money from charter schools to someone who’s exuberantly pro-cop.

Nonpartisan Offices

California Supreme Court

Although the public doesn’t get to select who serves on the California Supreme Court, we do get to ratify the judges. These are considered “nonpartisan” offices because the judges don’t run as part of a political party. However, they still, as individuals, have political stances and histories that we can look up to decide if we want these people on our court. I referred to the CalMatters.org guide on the justices and I didn’t see anything that made me worry about these judges.

  • Patricia Guerrero for Chief Justice of California: Yes
  • Goodwin Liu for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court: Yes
  • Martin J. Jenkins for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court: Yes
  • Joshua P. Groban for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court: Yes

Third District Court of Appeal

The Third District Court of Appeal is one of California’s six appellate courts, which is a level below the state Supreme Court. The appellate court hears challenges to cases that lower courts decided.

  • Stacy Boulware Eurie for Associate Justice Court of Appeal Third District: Yes
  • Laurie M. Earl for Associate Justice Court of Appeal Third District: Yes
  • Harry Hull Associate Justice Court of Appeal Third District: Yes
  • Peter Krause for Associate Justice Court of Appeal Third District: Yes


Superintendent of Public Instruction

My vote: Tony Thurmund

Thurmund seems like he really gets it. His plans are focused on helping students recover from the trauma of the pandemic. He wants to give more opportunities for learning another language, free universal preschool, and meals for all students. In contrast, Christensen wants parents more involved in determining the state’s curriculum. I’ve been a teacher and I know that parents meddling in curriculum is not what anyone needs. I’m sure this is just a gateway to let in extreme Christianity, racism, and other garbage we don’t need in public schools.

County, City, and Municipal

Member, Board of Supervisors, District 5

My vote: Jacyln Moreno

I like Moreno’s stance on issues. She seems to have a clear sense of how the county can actually help homeless people (instead of criminalizing them and shuffling them around). She wants more non-uniformed mental health professionals who can respond to 911 calls, and she supports affordable housing. All good things in my opinion.

Mayor of Elk Grove

My vote: Bobbie Singh-Allen

Singh-Allen is our current mayor. I don’t love all of her positions (do we really need more police? are camping bans actually helping homeless people?), but I think she’s generally doing a good job. I am troubled by the apparent inclusion of 5G conspiracy talk on candidate Brian Pastor’s website. He seems to think 5G is unhealthy for us. It’s not.

Consumnes Community Services District Director, Division 2

My vote: Ali Moua

Ali Moua seems like he really cares about our parks and services here in Elk Grove. His opponent, Peter Spyros Sakrais, couldn’t even be bothered to create a campaign website, so we don’t know what he thinks or cares about.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Director, Ward 4

My vote: Rosanna Herber

Both Herber’s and Cressman’s websites are pretty sparse. For me, Cressman’s vibes are off.

Measures Submitted to the Voters


1 Constitutional Right to Reproductive Freedom

Amends California Constitution to expressly include an individual’s fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which includes the fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and the fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives. This amendment does not narrow or limit the existing rights to privacy and equal protection under the California Constitution. Fiscal Impact: No direct fiscal effect because reproductive rights already are protected by state law.

My vote: Yes

We already have fairly strong reproductive rights here in California, but Proposition 1 would strengthen these rights and broaden our right to privacy. This proposition is a direct response to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade earlier this year.

26 Allows In-Person Roulette, Dice Games, Sports Wagering on Tribal Lands

Also allows: sports wagering at certain horseracing tracks; private lawsuits to enforce certain gambling laws. Directs revenues to General Fund, problem-gambling programs, enforcement. Fiscal Impact: Increased state revenues, possibly reaching tens of millions of dollars annually. Some of these revenues would support increased state regulatory and enforcement costs that could reach the low tens of millions of dollars annually.

My vote: Yes

This and Prop 27 go together. Some tribes formed a PAC called the Yes on 26, No on 27 – Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming. A whole bunch of California’s native tribes support this initiative, which makes sense because they stand to profit from it. Also in support are the Peace and Freedom Party and the NAACP, which I take as a good sign. The big opposition to this proposition is coming from gaming and casino corporations, which suggests to me that they’re just mad that someone else would make money off gambling. I’m not sure I much care one way or the other about gambling but I see no reason that native tribes shouldn’t benefit from it. I’d rather they profit than random corporations.

This proposition will also contribute to state revenues. There will be a 10% tax on all the gambling, which will be distributed to the California Department of Health, the Bureau of Gambling Control, and the state’s General Fund.

27 Allows Online and Mobile Sports Wagering Outside Tribal Lands

Allows Indian tribes and affiliated businesses to operate online/mobile sports wagering outside tribal lands. Directs revenues to regulatory costs, homelessness programs, nonparticipating tribes. Fiscal Impact: Increased state revenues, possibly in the hundreds of millions of dollars but not likely to exceed $500 million annually. Some revenues would support state regulatory costs, possibly reaching the mid-tens of millions of dollars annually.

My vote: No

What’s telling to me is that the California Democratic Party, the California Republican Party, and the Peace and Freedom party ALL oppose this proposition. This has united literally everyone. The main argument for Proposition 27 seems to be that it’s going to help homeless people. The state’s voter guide says Proposition 27 would impose a 10% tax on gambling, which would pay for regulatory costs. Of whatever money is left after the regulatory costs, 85% would go to unspecified “homelessness programs.” The analysis of the bill says we don’t really know how much revenue this would generate, but we do know that it would create work to regulate online sports betting. I don’t think this is the big boost to homeless people that its proponents are pretending it is.

28 Provides Additional Funding for Arts and Music Education in Public Schools

Provides additional funding from state General Fund for arts and music education in all K–12 public schools (including charter schools). Fiscal Impact: Increased state costs of about $1 billion annually, beginning next year, for arts education in public schools.

My vote: Yes

I’m obviously going to support funding education, especially for something so chronically underfunded like the arts. Art is what makes life worth living. Kids should get an opportunity to participate in it. The spending to support this would come from the state’s general fund (about one-half of a percent of its budget) and mostly go to pay for new arts staff at schools.

29 Requires On-Site Licensed Medical Professional at Kidney Dialysis Clinics and Establishes Other State Requirements

Requires physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant on site during treatment. Requires clinics to: disclose physicians’ ownership interests; report infection data. Fiscal Impact: Increased state and local government costs likely in the tens of millions of dollars annually.

My vote: Yes

This is not the first time we have voted on this issue. In 2020, Californians rejected proposition 23, which would have required dialysis clinics to have an on-site physician. It seems like the Californians for Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection PAC has adjusted its goals this season to require a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or a physician on site at a dialysis clinic, perhaps in hopes of getting more people to go along with it. It does sound to me like a good idea to have a medical professional on hand for kidney dialysis. I’m not sure why it’s controversial actually.

Once again, I think the finances tell the story here. DaVita, Inc. and Fresenius Medical Care—two big companies that offer kidney dialysis—have donated $52.7 million and $27.3 million, respectively, into opposing this proposition. In contrast, the only committee supporting Proposition 29, Californians for Kidney Dialysis and Patient Protection, has contributed just under $8 million. If these companies can spend that much on politics, they can afford to staff a few doctors and nurses.

30 Provides Funding for Programs to Reduce Air Pollution and Prevent Wildfires by Increasing Tax on Personal Income over $2 Million

Allocates tax revenues to zero-emission vehicle purchase incentives, vehicle charging stations, and wildfire prevention. Fiscal Impact: Increased state tax revenue ranging from $3.5 billion to $5 billion annually, with the new funding used to support zero-emission vehicle programs and wildfire response and prevention activities.

My vote: Yes

I’m always going to support taxing the rich. Proposition 30 would require “taxpayers with incomes above $2 million each year (annually) to pay an additional tax of 1.75 percent on the share of their income above $2 million.” The money would go to wildfire response and prevention (20%) and to charging stations/some kind of funding to help people buy electric vehicles. I’m not sure if I agree that focusing on electric cars is the best way to prevent wildfires—it’s a stretch—but okay. It can’t hurt.

31 Referendum on 2020 Law that Would Prohibit the Retail Sale of Certain Flavored Tobacco Products

A “Yes” vote approves, and a “No” vote rejects, a 2020 law prohibiting retail sale of certain flavored tobacco products. Fiscal Impact: Decreased state tobacco tax revenues ranging from tens of millions of dollars annually to around $100 million annually.

My vote: Yes

In 2020, California banned the sale of flavored tobacco products, which is to say the state is trying to keep kids from buying candy-flavored vapes. The only groups supporting the “no” campaign are literal tobacco companies and the Republican party. Smoking and tobacco companies don’t need to profit off of kids smoking e-cigarettes.


Measure A

To fix potholes and repair damaged streets; provide safe routes to school, expand affordable senior and disabled transit services; eliminate bottlenecks and improve emergency response times; reduce traffic congestion; and improve air quality. Shall the measure approving the Sacramento County Transportation, Maintenance, Safety and Congestion Relief Act of 2022 – Retail Transactions and Use Tax Initiative, including a 40-year 0.5% sales tax raising an estimated $212,512,500 annually for transportation and transit projects, be adopted?

My vote: No

Before I started reading up on this, my initial thoughts were that we live in a society and part of that is paying our share for roads, transit, and emergency services. This would fund light rail lines between the airport and Elk Grove, which is of personal interest to me. However, the Sierra Club, Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, the Sacramento County Republican Party, various Sacramento County Democratic clubs (Young Democrats, Environmental Democrats, etc.), and the Sunrise movement all oppose this measure. I read a Sacramento Bee article (which I cannot really link to because I read it through the library website) from October 12, 2022 called Move forward or backward? Measure A would raise $8.5 billion to reshape regional transportation. The article provides more context and reminds that citizens in Sacramento County are already funding transit projects. This would ask us to pay even more. The Sacramento Bee also issued an editorial on October 10 called Sacramento County voters must reject Measure A, arguing that Measure A is just an opportunity for developers to profit off of us. The editorial points out that adding another 0.5% of sales tax would put us at our legal limit, meaning the county couldn’t levy sales tax for anything else (unless it gets rid of another sales tax).

Measure B

Shall the measure to find enhanced County homeless services, including those benefiting the American River Parkway, by establishing a special tax on the gross receipts from cannabis and hemp business in unincorporated Sacramento County, not exceeding 6% for retail, 4% for manufacturing, 3% for distribution, 2% for resting, and 3% for cultivation or $10 per canopy square foot inflation adjustable, generating an estimated $5,100,000 to $7,700,000 annually, and levied until repealed by the voters, be adopted?

My vote: Yes

It was difficult to find information on this measure. The county voter guide only contains an argument in favor of the tax, suggesting that no organization opposed it enough to submit a counter argument. This measure started out in the Sacramento City Council, but the Council decided to send the issue to the voters instead. It’s kind of a weird measure because it would only affect the county’s unincorporated areas. I also don’t really see the connection between homeless services and cannabis sales, but I guess there’s no reason not to use the tax to benefit homeless people.

Measure D

Shall the unincorporated County of Sacramento and incorporated cities within, including Sacramento, Elk Grove, Citrus Heights, Folsom, Galt, Rancho Cordova, and Isleton be authorized to annually develop, acquire, or construct housing for low-income persons and families, including elderly or disabled persons, equivalent with 1% of the existing housing units in the county? Any unconstructed housing units in each year will be carried over annually.

My vote: Yes

Immediate yes! We need way more affordable housing. Prices are unreasonable and more and more people are not able to find a place to live. This measure won’t even raise taxes, it would use money from the state’s General Fund.


Measure E: Elk Grove Safety/Quality of Life Measure

To support essential services such as crime reduction, rapid 9-1-1, fire, police, medical emergency/disaster response; keeping public areas safe/clean; addressing homelessness; pothole repair/street/park maintenance; youth crime/gang prevention programs; and other general community purposes; shall the measure establishing a 1-cent sales tax providing approximately $21,300,000 annually until ended by the voters; requiring audits, citizen oversight, public spending disclosures, and all funds locally controlled, be adopted?

My vote: Yes

This measure was submitted by the Elk Grove City Council as a way to get more funds for Elk Grove specifically. And this is where I will say for real, we live in a society and part of that is paying our share for roads, transit, and emergency services.

Share This Post!

If you made it all the way to the end, wow, you’re a trouper! I invite you to share this post if you found it useful. Please leave a comment if you think I missed something important. Thanks for voting!

A Week in the Life: Iceland Trip Edition

Hello, my friends (and hello to any enemies who may be joining us), we are back from our trip to Iceland! Overall, I loved it. However, it did have some ups and downs. Kirk got covid partway through the trip so he spent almost a week laid up in a hotel room having a bad time (he tested negative the day we got home). Maybe the next vacation we take will be the one without any serious health issues. Somehow, I did not get covid (or at least never tested positive or had significant symptoms), so I still had a good time. Our trip started off kind of rough with certainly the most uncomfortable plane ride I’ve ever had. We were extremely hot the whole time and the people in the row across from us were essentially hosting a party, which resulted in a lot of commotion and unwanted butts bumping into me. When we got to our hotel room that first morning, we immediately fell asleep and the whole day passed us by. Whoops.


We spent the first part of the trip in Reykjavík, seeing the city and using that as our home base for taking a couple of tours. I really enjoyed The Settlement Exhibition, which is a museum built over an archeological find of a 10th century long house. The exhibition shows how people lived at several points throughout Iceland’s history. We also went to Safnahúsið (the House of Collections), which houses various artwork and exhibits from Icelandic artists. One of the coolest parts of the museum was a room with several paintings depicting people working on fishing boats. There was a projector to create the illusion that you’re surrounded by rippling waves and an audio recording of water playing. You can sit in a little boat and row along.

We did a fair bit of just walking around the city and looking at things. We walked around Tjörnin—Reykjavík’s lake—on a particularly beautiful morning. I was really hoping to meet Baktus the cat in our travels. We found his home at a small thrift store (where I bought some cool earrings) but, unfortunately, did not locate the cat. However, I did see many cats downtown, though I didn’t get any pictures and rarely was I able to pet them. The only cat that wanted our attention was trying to get inside the guesthouse with us and possibly eat our pizza.

South Coast

On our first full day in Iceland we took a tour along the south coast of Iceland to see a glacier. This was very cool but also an incredibly long day—the tour lasted around 16 hours, which is unreasonable. The sights were lovely but we were so exhausted by the end of the day that it almost didn’t feel worth it.

The first tour stop was Skógafoss, which is a lovely waterfall.

Then we drove way out to the east to see Vatnajökull, which is Iceland’s largest glacier. I loved seeing the glacier and the lake around it. It was stunning and fascinating. The ice from the glacier breaks off into this lake (there is a helpful sign telling you not to go swimming there) and flows toward the ocean. There’s a beach nearby where the black sand and glacial ice create a striking juxtaposition.

The last stop on the tour on the way back to Reykjavík was another waterfall. I have no idea what it’s name is. We were so dead by this time in the tour that I was stomping around like “Great another stop to see something breathtaking. I want to go home.” It’s pretty though, I can’t deny this.

A waterfall seen at night. There are bright lights illuminating the waterfall and dimmer lights marking the walking path to it
waterfall whose name I don’t remember

Golden Circle

We took a day to rest after the south coast tour and I almost didn’t go on the Golden Circle tour because the other tour was just too much, but I’m really glad we didn’t skip this one. It was an amazing day. We had a much smaller tour group of only about seven people. We drove first to Þingvellir, which is the site of Iceland’s first parliament and home to a rift valley between two tectonic plates, which creates a beautiful landscape. We were there on a partly cloudy day and it looked cool as hell.

Next we went to see Geysir. Like, the Geysir. The English word “geyser” comes to us from Icelandic. The original Geysir is now dormant, but we did get to see its neighbor Strokkur give us a show. There was a sign next to these pools asking people not to throw coins in like it’s a wishing well. This seems like it should go without saying but clearly it can’t.

Next we went to Gullfoss, which is a really cool waterfall that runs into a canyon.

For my favorite part of the day, we went to the Fontana geothermal baths in Laugarvatn. I picked this tour specifically for this stop. At this spa, they make bread using a traditional Icelandic technique—putting the bread in the hot ground to bake. So, we got to sample delicious, ground-baked rye bread. You all know how I appreciate making and eating bread so this was a delight. We then spent a couple hours at the baths here and I got to lounge in the water and stare out at the lake. I’m looking forward to trying this bread recipe now that I’m home. I have a recipe for it in the Nordic Baking Book that recommends leaving the bread in a low oven all day (but it seems a hot car can also get the job done). However, I’m thinking I want to try making it in the crock pot. I will report back.

Knitting Tour

On the day we were supposed to leave for the knitting tour, Kirk tested positive for covid so was not allowed to come along. I, fortunately, did not get covid and the group ruled I could come as long as I wore a mask. I spent the first day worrying about Kirk since we didn’t really establish a covid contingency plan and I was not in range of a wifi network for most of the day. I also didn’t realize until after the tour left that I had packed all my toiletries and medication in Kirk’s bag. We were out in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday, but the group stopped at a gas station so I could get a toothbrush and other hygienic accoutrements. Unfortunately, you can’t by sertraline at the gas station so I was just living with raw, unfiltered anxiety brain for the week. Whew.

The day’s activities actually made it really hard to worry too much because everything was so amazing and beautiful. Our guide, Hélène, took us to see various people who make cool knitting-related things and we saw some nature. We spent the first day in the Borgarnes area where we visited the Hraunsfossar, which is maybe the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, a waterfall created by lava cooling over a river. We also stopped at a farm where an old couple makes things like buttons and jewelry out of rams’ horns and reindeer antlers. We went to a yarn store housed in Landbúnaðarsafn íslands, which is an old agricultural college. I had to laugh there because they had a sign advertising a frisbee golf course but it was incredibly windy. Good luck to anyone trying to frisbee in these conditions.

I was so delighted and excited to visit the Háafell goat farm. I’d read about it a while ago and have long thought it was really cool. This farm has saved the Icelandic goat breed from extinction. I got to pet some goats! And I saw a baby goat! We sampled goat cheese and sausage and I bought some soaps they make. Apparently they can also make something approximating cashmere from the goats, but it’s insanely time consuming to comb the undercoat off the goats and it’s also challenging to find a mill that can process the yarn. We got to touch a sample of their cashmere but it was all a tease since there wasn’t any to buy.

We also visited Grábrókargígar, which is a volcanic crater you can hike to the top of, before heading to our hotel in Hraunsnef where we stayed for two nights.

The second day was all about knitting. We had a workshop with Hélène in which we started knitting doll-sized Icelandic lopi sweaters. I learned so much. I learned all about the Icelandic yarn, how it’s made, and the different types. I learned some new cast ons and I even learned how to knit in magic loop (then got mad that I had never looked up magic loop before because it’s so easy). After working on my little sweater, I got to spend a little time reading in the hot tub, which was really great. I would like to do that every day.

After two days in Hruansnef, we went north and visited the turf house museum in Glaumbær. This is a preserved turf house, which is what Icelanders used to live in, with all the beds and tools and everything that people used to live. I personally had fun taking photos of the descriptions in every room because there was a full page text of Icelandic and English next to each other with bold key words. Free vocabulary! 😈

We spent the next two nights in the town of Blönduós, where I apparently forgot to take many photos. The guest house was right next to the ocean and it was windy and rainy for most of our stay, so I wasn’t out there taking a bunch of pictures. I was kind of hoping it would snow since the forecast said it might, but the snow didn’t quite make it to us. We did, however, see the snow creeping down the mountains. At Blönduós, we had a second day of knitting workshop where we finished our sweaters. Mine came out imperfect but I’m not upset at about it because it was such a good learning experience. I’m thinking I’ll put mine up on the wall as a little decoration. This part of the workshop involved learning how to steek, but at this point I was super saturated with information, overstimulated, and had a case of brain fuzzies developing thanks to no meds, so I just watched others steek and filed away the information for later.

One of the reasons we stayed in Blönduós is because it is home to the Icelandic Textile Museum. It’s really cool that something like this exists because textiles are not typically something that survive on their own, they get worn out or otherwise ruined so their art and crafts(wo)manship isn’t preserved. A woman named Halldóra Bjarnadóttir started the collection and she has a room dedicated to her in the museum. Hallodóra also seems to be Hélène’s patron saint; she has named a shawl pattern after her and it’s clear that Hélène has spent a lot of time here studying the designs to revive them in her patterns.

On our last day, we stopped at the shop of a yarn dyer in Hofsvík who creates plany-based dyes for her yarns. Then, we made another stop at a grocery store to buy yarn. Yes, they sell yarn in the grocery store in Iceland. It’s in the housewares section and they have quite a lot of it for a good price. It’s funny to think that knitting is so essential that you simply have to have a full selection of yarn and knitting tools available at any old grocery store.

Our last stop was at the Istex mill, where they process nearly all of the Icelandic wool, for a tour of the yarn-making operation. It felt a little bit like being dropped into an episode of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, except much noisier. I foolishly didn’t take any photos but a member of our group got this goofball photo of me being a yarn vampire emerging from the giant sheep fluff dryer.

The Usual Blog Topics

Books and Other Words

I read two books during my travels, both Iceland-themed because that’s how I roll.

First was Woman at 1,000 Degrees by Hallgrímur Helgason, which was translated from the Icelandic. This is a historical novel based on a real person’s life. The main character is the granddaughter of Iceland’s first president and the daughter of an Icelander who joined the Nazis in World War II. She tells the story of her life while living in a garage, on the verge of death after years of lung cancer. The narrator’s voice is sharp and emotional. I think this is a great read.

Next, I read The Museum of Whales You Will Never See: And Other Excursions to Iceland’s Most Unusual Museums by A. Kendra Greene on the flight home. Although I was a little sad for all those museums I didn’t see, it was a perfect way for me to decompress from the trip. We can’t see it all, and that’s okay. But maybe next time I will get to visit the witchcraft museum.


So people have been asking me if I actually spoke to anyone in Icelandic during my trip. The answer: I tried. I didn’t have a ton of successful exchanges in Icelandic but I feel like I learned a lot and that’s what’s important. I was heartened that I understood a lot of what I saw in terms of signs and directions. All the museums have signage in English and Icelandic, so that was a great learning opportunity to see a lot of parallel text and piece things together. In the few successful interactions I did have (including topics like “what is the dog’s name?” and “what are you cooking this evening?”), I got some really nice comments on my accent and I also got a compliment on my vocabulary, so that was lovely. I’m feeling quite reinvigorated about studying Icelandic after this trip.

My knitting tour group included a woman from France and another woman from Spain who were both fluent in French and Spanish. It seems like they preferred French because that’s what they were speaking to each other, but they found out I spoke Spanish so I probably spoke more Spanish during this trip than Icelandic (go figure). I also know some French so I sometimes responded to them in French, but mostly just hearing it reminded me that I can understand a reasonable amount of it. Thus, I passed my week in a state of linguistic euphoria that absolutely gave me a case of the brain scramblies but I have no regrets.

Rampant Consumerism

Naturally I bought a whole bunch of yarn on this trip. The knitting tour is basically set up to make you spend money on yarn. Not that I’m complaining. I bought several plötulopi (the round plates of yarn) to make a lopi sweater at some point. I also bought some of the beautiful plant-dyed yarns from dyers we met, a kit to make the Halldóra shawl, and a handful of other yarns from the supermarket. And, of course, I bought some books in Icelandic, including a cookbook written by the people who operate the guest house and restaurant we stayed at in Blönduós. At the textile museum, I bought a woven bowtie. From one of Hélène’s many friends, I bought a pair of earrings made from reindeer antlers! I now need to reorganize my yarn shelf because it’s a huge mess, but I’ll have enough knitting to keep me busy for a while.

Cat Therapy

Finally here are some cat photos for your nerves. We missed them a lot and it seems that they missed us too. Our pet sitter took good care of them and sent us photos throughout the trip, which was really nice. Fritz seemed mad as hell that we could just leave like that, but Huey was more like “first time?” We have no desire to go anywhere for a while though so they will probably be pleased.

A Week in the Life: September 11, 2022

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.

Rampant Consumerism

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.

Moving It

a view of our garage gym showing a squat rack that only stands about a foot from the wall and has a pull-up bar. There's a bench standing up and tucked in the rack. There are weight plates off to one side.
garage gym!

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.

Kitchen Witchery

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.

Cat Therapy

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.

A Week in the Life: August 20, 2022

I’ve been writing this post on and off all day as I do other things and at this point I’m not sure I have much coherent to say. This evening I’ve been packing for another trip to Redlands to help my mom a little bit. She had her mastectomy on Monday, but is doing pretty well already. I’m tagging out my sister to keep my mom company while she recuperates.


Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.

Books and Other Words

  • Bodies on the Line: At the Front Lines of the Fight to Protect Abortion in America by Lauren Rankin. This is a very interesting account of the early days of clinic escorts through the present state of abortion rights and the role escorts play now. I did not realize how vehement the anti-abortion protests were in the early days of abortion, to the point that clinic defenders would show up before dawn and create human chains to safeguard the clinic entrance.
  • The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This is a re-imagining of the Island of Doctor Moreau told from the perspective of his daughter. I enjoy Moreno-Garcia’s books a lot and this was no exception. I like how she situates the story in 19th century Mexico to give it a new perspective.
  • A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow. This is a sequel to A Spindle Splintered and, for both books, I thought they were just okay. I like her other work more (like The Once and Future Witches), but these books are fun reads.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

  • California could transform how fast food workers are treated via Vox. There’s a bill in the California legislature that would improve working standards for fast food workers. Given how many fast food jobs there are, this could be a big step for labor rights in the state.
  • Twitter is becoming a lost city via The Hypothesis. The social media landscape is changing. As much as I love to hate twitter, I also just love twitter, so this is a bummer. I hope we get better social media in the next go-round.
  • How Gen Z teens accidentally blew up the myth of the lazy millennial via The Washington Post. This article is good although this subject makes me completely insane. The youth of today observed that it’s very easy to find a job right now and companies are more willing to hire inexperienced teens to do jobs. This is in contrast to when I was a teenager, and no one wanted to bother hiring young people because there was a glut of employees. Truly shocking news!!

TV and Music

I’ve been watching a lot of TV lately while I work on my knitting. I started re-watching Steven Universe with my mom. Other than that, my friend Lito suggested I might enjoy the new season of So You Think You Can Dance and, in fact, I did. Though I do find it funny to hear so many young 20-somethings talking about how being on the show is a “lifelong dream.” Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but being on a reality competition show is kind of a bummer as dreams go.

Rampant Consumerism

I bought a fancy new laptop! I wasn’t really planning on it, but since I was traveling to help my mom a couple weeks ago and will be traveling more, I wanted to have a computer I could use for all my computering activities while out and about. I also realized I could set it up in my office while doing my Spanish and Icelandic classes, which is much nicer for me because my PC and Kirk’s are so close to each other.

I also spent a ton of money on new glasses again! Why even have insurance? I started wearing neurolens glasses last year to take the edge of my binocular vision dysfunction. Insurance doesn’t cover the lenses at all and they cost $600. This is to say nothing of the frames.

Making Things and Doing stuff

Program for a play called Proclivity for Kiting held up so you can see the set in the background
Proclivity for Kiting

I saw a hilarious play called Proclivity for Kiting with my friend Abby. It’s been really fun to go to some plays and ballet performances with friends in the last year. I was into drama and performing arts in high school, although I wasn’t too serious about it, I did like going to shows. I have enjoyed participating in culture again (instead of all my free weekends on roller derby business) (not that there’s anything wrong with roller derby, but variety is nice).


I finally got the scores from the Spanish exam (the Diploma of Spanish as a foreign language, aka DELE, at the C1 level) I took in May. I passed! I’m relieved! I am not sure what I would have done if I didn’t pass because I don’t know if I’d have the strength to take the test again. I am very glad I passed but a little disappointed that I didn’t score all that well. I did great on reading, respectably in listening, and kind of limped along in the writing and speaking. Those are definitely the harder skills but I think my writing is normally better than what this score shows. However, it doesn’t really matter because I passed the test and it never expires. I won’t have to think about this again unless I want to go super hard mode and take the C2 test, the top-level exam, at some point.

a rubric showing the results of the DELE exam broken down by category and the overall score of "APTO" (passed)
DELE scores

Knitting and Crafts

a pair of handknit socks with a varigated purple yarn as the main color and a creamy color on the cuff and toe. There's a small cable pattern running along the side of the sock.
Hazelnut socks

I finished these socks a few weeks ago and realized I hadn’t shared them on the blog yet (thanks to my intermittent blogging schedule lately). This pattern is called hazelnut socks and I think they look really cool!

I’ve also been knitting furiously to finish a big, chunky sweater I want to be able to wear when we go to Iceland next month. I feel like summer is a good time to work on my knitting though because outside is disgusting.

Kitchen Witchery

a bowl of corn soup, red-orange oil diffusing across the surface
corn soup with chili oil

I haven’t been cooking a whole lot partly because it’s hot and partly just for low energy. I did, however, try a new recipe from the cookbook Ruffage (sister to another cookbook I enjoy, Grist). I made a corn soup with chili oil that came out quite good. I’m looking forward to trying more of the recipes from the book.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.

a photo taken through shutter slats showing a small tabby cat relaxing on a paving stone in our front yard, tucked away behind a bush
neighborhood visitor

We have had a neighborhood cat visiting our house lately. She’s (I think it’s a she) been lurking in our front yard and hanging out by the door. She approached Kirk last week and I ran into her while checking the mail a few days ago. She was eager for some affection. After I pet her, she settled down in the front yard to observe us from the window. She has a collar, so I know she belongs to someone, but it seems like she might be adopting us all the same.

Meanwhile Huey has discovered the joy of sitting on the Fluent Pet buttons. She was sitting on the “pets” button, which kept activating it. Maybe this will help someone learn how to use them on purpose, but it seems unlikely.

A Unit of Time in the Life: August 7, 2022

It’s been a month since I’ve been moved to write anything here. I feel like nothing is happening, though that’s kind of always true. I also feel torn between the many things I like and want to do, but wanting to rest and relax. In theory, we should all rest more (see: The Nap Ministry). In practice, there are many interesting things on this earth and I want to do them. Blogging was cut for time over the last month.

I’m currently in my hometown of Redlands, where I’ve been for the last week. My mom was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I’ve been out here for moral support and to attend some of these initial appointments. It’s stressful and I still don’t know what to think about it all. The doctors have said she will need a mastectomy and chemotherapy, so that’s a lot. It’s hot here and I miss my cats (and Kirk).

Here are some other thoughts in no particular order:

  • I still have not heard the results of my Spanish exam. I thought it might come last week, but no. Some of you have asked about it, but I don’t have answers yet.
  • I watched Hannah Gadsby’s show Douglas on Netflix yesterday. I’m never going to get into comedy because she already did all my material about autism. Also she is great and you should watch it.
  • I also saw Nope in the theater with my mom this week. It’s a horror/alien invasion in a western setting. I liked it and appreciated that the alien was truly alien.
  • Here’s an article from Gizmodo about GeoCities and the way the old internet was organized. Long story short: geocities organized people around interests rather than the self.
  • This week I learned that you’re not allowed to sit in the plane’s emergency exit row if you are using a seatbelt extender and this seems unfair to me.
  • Although I’ve been reading books and taking photos of cats, you’ll have to wait for a future post to see them (or check my instagram for book photos) because I can’t be bothered to organize photos on my laptop right now.

Until next time, internet friends.

A Week in the Life: July 4, 2022

It’s Independence Day here in the U.S. and I can’t say I’m feeling very animated about it. I’m far from the first to criticize the hypocrisy of this country for celebrating a day of “freedom” when we’re intent on stripping rights away. And we’ve already had a mass shooting at a parade today (one of many this year so far), so there’s that.

It feels particularly sick this year to celebrate. But then, I’ve never been a big Fourth of July fan. When I was 17, I started the first day of my first real job on July 4. I was working as a caterer for events and was glad for the excuse to not have to pass a sweltering evening at a family gathering and sitting in the local university stadium all afternoon being bored and waiting for fireworks. While I do enjoy a good fireworks show as much as the next person, I am presently fed up with people spending at least a week before and a week after the holiday blowing shit up in the streets.

Huey the cat lounging on a towel next to a large, portable air conditioning unit in our bedroom
Huey enjoying some cool air

It’s been a few weeks since I wrote about my actual life. Two weeks ago, we got a new HVAC system installed—a brand-new air conditioning and a heat pump. We’d been planning to do it since the beginning of the year but, given the state of the supply chain, we unfortunately had it done on a week when the heat hit 107 degrees. The contractor set up a portable air conditioning unit in our bedroom, which Huey enjoyed but Fritz was terrified of, and which kept us from dying of heat exhaustion. It was really hot in our house but the good news is the new AC is much more efficient and our house is cooling more evenly thanks to new vents.


Here are some things I’ve recently read, watched, or bought.

Books and Other Words

Recently I read:

  • No One Is Talking about This by Patricia Lockwood. It was good but I didn’t love it. It does offer an accurate portrayal of what it feels like when you spend a lot of time on twitter, so I thought that was interesting as a very on-twitter person.
  • I Hate Men by Pauline Harmange. This is an essay by a straight French woman describing the logical case for hating men. Note that if you post this book on your social media, it might prompt your dad to ask if you’re gay (ask me how I know!) (hi dad!).
  • Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right by Anne Nelson. I don’t recommend this book unless you’re a member of the existential dread book club like I am. It’s a bleak one. It describes how a wealthy, extreme right-wing group has been gradually funding and gaming the electoral map to enact policies that no one really wants. People like the Koch and Devos families realized years ago that no one would ever vote for the policies they want, so they turned to propaganda and finding ways to manipulate the system. Fun!

Meanwhile, on the internet:

Rampant Consumerism

a blue, foam hexagon with a button in it that says "pets"
Fluent Pet button

I’ve been fascinated with FluentPet for months after seeing Mary Robinette Kowal share her cat’s interactions with it on instagram. It’s a tool you can use to help your pet communicate. You record a word that can be activated by pressing the button so your pet can press it to tell you something. Fritz is actually quite smart (contrary to All Orange Cats Share 1 Brain Cell). I had been thinking about getting these buttons for a while but what decided me was Kirk started saying “bye-bye Fritz” when he left the house and it only took a few times before Fritz started running around and freaking out when he heard the “b-word.” It will probably be a while before Fritz realizes he can press the buttons, but so far we have a button for “pets” and a button for “play.” He knows what both words mean and responds when I say them. He did recently set off the “pets” button by biting it, but I don’t think that’s representative of having learned something. If you’re wondering about Huey and whether she will use the buttons to chat with us, I can guarantee you that she does not care.

Making Things and Doing stuff

There are some things I’ve made and stuff I’ve done.


I took the last month off of Spanish in the wake of the DELE exam and it felt really nice to take a long rest. I had my first class again today and we started working on understanding other accents and dialect in other Spanish-speaking countries. I think we’re also going to work on translation, which should be fun. We had been working on test prep for so long that I almost forgot we could do anything else.

Icelandic is going well too. I’ve been working on my flashcards a lot this month and am starting to remember a lot of the things I learned before, so I’m feeling optimistic. We spent some time working on prepositions in the last couple of weeks and, I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I might actually be getting it.

Kitchen Witchery

I haven’t been too wild in the kitchen lately, but I have made a few things. I tried another recipe in my tart pan with this tahini salted caramel tart. It was really good but it stuck fiercely to the bottom of the pan, so all the pieces came out as a big crumble. Still, I’m not mad at it. Last weekend, my dad visited so I had to flex a little in the kitchen. I made Indian food including homemade beef samosas (recipe from Classic Indian Cooking), which came out delicious. I’m happy I made them even though I always get annoyed when I choose a finicky food that I have to stand there and shape a bunch of, and frying always makes me nervous. Yesterday I made some perfect hamburger buns in anticipation of grilling a little today. They are definitely the best-looking buns I’ve ever made and that deserves to be celebrated (unlike the fourth of July).

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.

A Week in the Hellscape: Roe v. Wade Is Overturned Edition

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday and it’s basically all I can think about. So, instead of my usual blog, I’m sharing some thoughts and resources, for whatever it’s worth.

I think some of you will think I’m overreacting. To this I say: I would love to be wrong. However, experts in law, privacy, and reproductive justice are sounding the alarm in stark terms. This is a time to prepare for the worst even if it might not happen.

I will also make my usual caveat that I’m not an expert on any of these things in particular. I’m good at reading and gathering information. Putting a post together like this helps my anxiety. If it helps anyone else, that’s a wonderful treat.

Historical Context

I want to highlight that corporations using data to know too much about you is not new. Ten years ago, we learned that Target might know if you’re pregnant before you or your family does. Furthermore, women have already gone to jail over miscarriages. We also know that the Trump administration was tracking detailed information about periods and pregnancies of the migrant women and girls they were holding in custody. I’m sharing these links to show that it’s not far-fetched to think that corporations might know you’re pregnant or that the government might take you to court over a miscarriage or stillbirth. It’s not just that it will happen with Roe overturned, it’s that this already has happened. This is why we have to be careful. The infrastructure of surveillance already exists.

Internet Privacy

Because we do most of our work and communicating online, locking down your internet presence as much as possible is extremely important.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has a Surveillance Self-Defense toolkit that walks you through what you can do to secure your online presence. This isn’t specific to abortion, but there is a lot of helpful information to securing your personal data in our high-surveillance tech environment. One of the EFF’s recommendations is to use a virtual private network (VPN), which is a way to obscure your physical location to people snooping on your online activity and to secure your data from your internet service provider. I am personally thinking about getting the Mozilla VPN for a little extra internet security.

The Digital Defense Fund has published a guide to Keeping Your Abortion Private & Secure, which offers internet security advice specific to getting an abortion.

Social media companies like facebook/instagram, twitter, and whatsapp will not hesitate to share your private messages with law enforcement. I highly recommend getting Signal for messages. Signal messages are encrypted and no outside parties can access them, including law enforcement.

Another way to help keep your searches private is to use a search engine like DuckDuckGo, which doesn’t collect data like Google does. Here’s a guide on how to change your default search engine in Firefox.

Existing Networks and Resources

Handbook for a Post-Roe America

As more of us get involved in reproductive justice, we need to support the many organizations that already exist. I know we are all feeling desperate to help and just do something but telling strangers you’re happy to have them visit you for “camping” is not the answer. Existing abortion networks have pointed out that they’ve been doing this work for decades and have the infrastructure in place to keep people save. It’s one thing to invite a friend to stay with you, but strangers can’t trust that we aren’t going to snitch. Abortion networks vet people who drive or offer places to stay in advance. The best thing to do is get in touch with your local abortion network to volunteer or to send money. Hell, you don’t even have to send money to a local network. Send money to one in any state.

The National Network of Abortion Funds has a directory or abortion providers to reference if you need an abortion or if you’re looking for a fund to support. I recently set up a monthly donation to northern California’s Women’s Health Specialists, which has offices in Redding, Grass Valley, and Sacramento.

I highly recommend Robin Marty’s book The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America: The Complete Guide to Abortion Legality, Access, and Practical Support. I read the original guide a few years ago and found it very informative. This book is a great practice resource and gives some background on the ongoing work in the field.

California Thoughts

I live in California where we are lucky to still have legal abortion and not have any shitty trigger laws like many states. In fact, California is going in the opposite direction. The governor signed a law that “seeks to protect those in California from civil liability for providing, aiding, or receiving abortion care in the state,” which is great. I hope California remains a safe haven for women’s health. However, I still think we need to be cautious and prepared for the worst. I’ve seen experts say that authoritarianism moves fast. Once you hit a tipping point, the madness speeds up. So, while I hope we remain safe here in California, I don’t want to count on it.

Do Something

It feels like we’re all screaming into the void right now (no shade to screaming into the void). I think most of us who aren’t already involved in this work need to get in touch with existing organizations, get offline, and do the work. Here are some of my ideas for what to do:

  • Get informed. Pick some reliable sources (not infinite doom scrolling!) and follow them. Pick a publication, an expert with a blog or twitter feed, or a book like Crow After Roe and make sure you know what you’re doing.
  • Take an EMT or Basic Life Support course. If you’re interested in health care, this is a way you can provide tangible support in your community.
  • Send money. I know I already said find your local abortion fund and send money, but I’m saying it twice because what most people really need is money to go where the abortions are and pay for health care.
  • Start volunteering for an existing organization, learn what they need, then figure out how your skills can help.
  • Shut up online. Stop talking about your plans publicly on the internet. Take it to a secure messaging or email. Again, I would love to find out that I’m being over-cautious but I don’t think that’s true. Get your online security in order now before things get worse.
  • Build community: Local community is what’s going to get us through this. Connect with people near you (not just about abortion rights) and be ready to support each other when things are hard.

If you have an idea that I missed, let me know in the comments and I will add it to the list!

Funny Pictures

Like many of you, I have been coping with this by looking at and sharing internet memes. Perhaps these will cheer you a little as they have me. I know this is all very serious, but if I don’t laugh, I will cry.

Cat Therapy

This isn’t a regular blog post but I still think you might want some cat photos for your nerves.