A Week (or Whatever) in the Life: January 2, 2022

Christmas and New Year’s Eve have come and gone and I haven’t written a regular post in a few weeks, but I’m here now!

A big thing on my mind lately is that work is about to suck again. My fellow editor returned from maternity leave and work leveled out, but she announced last week that she’s leaving for a better job. Then my boss announced the same day that he’s also leaving for a new gig. I’m not sure where this leaves me, but I’m annoyed by it. I left my last job due to new management being horrible and turnover chaos, but here I am again.

Consuming

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

Books and Other Words

cover of the book The Phoenix Empress shown in greyscale on kobo ereader. Features an armored person with their sword drawn, riding a horse
The Phoenix Empress

Yesterday, I finished the second book in the Their Bright Ascendancy trilogy by K. Arsenault Rivera, The Phoenix Empress. I bought the “omnibus” ebook of the series, and I’m on the third book, but I’m barely through half of the combined ebook. The third book seems very long. I am going to reserve my opinions about this book until I finish the series. It was good, but middle books are always preoccupied with setting up for the last book.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

TV and Music

You may hardly be able to believe it, but I watched two entire movies this week: Ten Things I Hate about You and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. Both were entertaining. I had actually never seen Ten Things I Hate about You, despite probably being its target audience when it originally premiered. Overall, I liked it, but it did have some weird vestiges of nineties-ness. I decided to watch To Wong Foo to expand my gay pop culture knowledge because that’s how I roll. I’m proud to now know where the phrase “more legs than a bucket of chicken” originated.

Rampant Consumerism

We can’t talk about Christmas without talking consumerism. Kirk got me a lovely robe (that I requested) and a really nice jewelry box (that I did not request, but was happy for). I used to have all my earrings and things in a little set of plastic cubbies and it was really annoying to dig out a matching pair. Now I can see everything and it is glorious!

I also went to the bookstore on one of my days off this week to get a few books I wanted with the Christmas money I had in my pocket (thanks, Grandma). I made an outing of it and got pastry too.

Making Things and Doing stuff

a 20 by 28 inch puzzle, glued together and set in a black frame. The puzzle features a pond with a giant swan, a lion with a suspicious look on his face, and lots of other whimsy
a framed puzzle

My mom came to visit the week before Christmas. We hadn’t seen each other since the pandemic started, so it was good to finally see her again. We mostly hung out and watched Christmas-themed TV, but we also did this cool puzzle, which we have now framed. We spend most of a day on it, which included a significant amount of time trying to keep Fritz from absconding with stray pieces.

I, of course, did a lot of Christmas baking, culminating in these big-ass cookie plates. I tried a few new recipes this year including these almond horn cookies and orange and poppy seed pretzels. I also wanted to share a photo of the dulce de leche fudge I made, because the swirl on top looks very pretty.

For Christmas eve, I wanted to make a kransekake, and I did, in fact, attempt it. I didn’t come together the way I wanted, but everyone agreed that it tasted good. I found the dough was too crumbly to shape into rings to make the characteristic tree structure, but I piled up the cookies into an abstract tree, which is still kind of festive.

For New Year’s, I tried my hand at a lucky batch of beans. I know black-eyed peas on new year’s are supposedly lucky. I had yellow-eye peas, which I hope are lucky enough. I made a really good recipe from the Jubilee cookbook with them, but did not post a photo because it just looked like a big glob.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. I have to note that I thought for sure Fritz would wreak havoc on the Christmas tree. He seems like exactly the type of cat to nest inside, but he was actually afraid of it. He didn’t even want to be in the same room as the tree at first. He resolutely refused to go near it for the whole season. The reason remains a mystery to the humans of the house.

2021: The 14th Annual Year in Books

This year started out so strong for reading. I read 44 books in the first half of the year and I really thought I was going to make it to 100. Alas, it was, once again, not meant to be. I read 62 books in total this year. Between vision therapy, changing jobs, getting a kitten, and preparing for my Spanish exam, reading got cut for time and energy in the latter half of the year. Still, I can’t be upset. I read many good books and, thanks to vision therapy, reading is getting physically easier (who knew that was even an option?!).

  • Page count: 21,266 pages, which is rather less than last year’s 33,000 but not far off from 2019’s count of 23,500.
  • Library use: I read 17 books from the library (though I am sure I checked out more than I read) and 45 books that I owned.
  • Female/male authors: I’m keeping my pro-woman-author bias strong. I read 54 books by women and just 6 by men.
  • Digital and analog: It was a fairly even split between ebooks and paper books with 25 ebooks, 33 paper books.
  • Fiction and non-fiction: 48 fiction, 14 non-fiction
  • Books in other languages: I ready just two books in Spanish this year. Studying for a test, unfortunately, doesn’t always mean reading books.
  • Favorites:

If you want to see what I read in previous years, you can click the books of the year tag to see all my past annual book posts.

If you would like to be book friends all year, you can join me on StoryGraph! My username is linzomatic.

And now: the list of books I read in 2021.

Date FinishedTitleAuthor
1/2Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made WorldLeslie Kern
1/5Nophek GlossEssa Hansen
1/11Composting: Bob’s BasicsBob Flowerdew
1/11AfterlandLauren Beukes
1/18When Tiger Came Down the MountainNghi Vo
1/19Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White SupremacyTalie Lavin
1/21Composting for a New Generation: Latest Tcniques for the Bin and BeyondMichelle Balz, Anna Stockton
1/28Big Dirty Money: The Shocking Injustice and Unseen Cost of White Collar CrimeJennifer Taub
1/29How the Multiverse Got Its RevengeK. Eason
2/1Psychology of Time TravelKate Mascarenhas
2/6The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry GirlsAnissa Gray
2/10Mexican GothicSilvia Moreno-Garcia
2/14Nickel BoysColson Whitehead
2/19Winter’s OrbitEvarina Maxwell
2/20Work Won’t Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and AloneSarah Jaffe
2/23The Color of AirGail Tsukiyama
2/25WitchmarkC. L. Polk
2/27StormsongC. L. Polk
3/2SoulstarC. L. Polk
3/12Caste: The Origins of Our DiscontentsIsabel Wilkerson
3/19The Poppy WarR. F. Kuang
3/25Hollow KingdomKira Jane Buxton
3/30Mediocre: The dangerous legacy of white male AmericaIjeoma Oluo
4/2The FlamethowersRachel Kushner
4/6VagabundosHao Jingfang
4/10We Ride Upon SticksQuan Barry
4/16How to Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of ConflictNina Jankowicz
4/19My Year AbroadChang-Rae Lee
4/24Gonzlez and Daughter Trucking Co.: A Road Novel with Literary LicenseMaría Amparo Escandón
4/30The Bright and Breaking SeaChloe Neill
5/3Fugitive TelemetryMartha Wells
5/8Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital AgeDonna Zuckerberg
5/13The Invisible Life of Addie LaRueV. E. Schwab
5/16Leave the World BehindRumaan Alam
5/19The Galaxy, and the Ground WithinBecky Chambers
5/26A Discovery of WitchesDeborah Harkness
5/31Shadow of NightDeborah Harkness
6/4The Book of LifeDeborah Harkness
6/10Minor Feelings: An Asian American ReckoningCathy Park Hong
6/10Los desesperadosJoselo Rangel
6/12The Disaster TouristYun Ko-Eun
6/14DeathlessCatherynne Valente
6/21The UnbrokenC. L. Clark
6/29With Teeth: A NovelKristen Arnett
7/16Master of DjinnP. Djèlí Clark
7/23The Actual StarMonica Byrne
7/24FinnaNino Cipri
8/16The OutsideAda Hoffman
8/21Crying in H Mart: A MemoirMichelle Zauner
8/30The World Gives WayMarissa Levien
9/8The Chosen and the BeautifulNghi Vo
9/12The Season: A Social History of the DebutanteKristen Richardson
9/20Belabored: A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant WomenLyz Lenz
9/22The FallenAda Hoffman
10/4Arcana, ciudad escaleraTamara Romero
10/6A Psalm for the Wild BuiltBecky Chambers
10/9A Spindle SplinteredAlix E. Harrow
10/27The Jasmine ThroneTasha Suri
11/9Practical MagicAlice Hoffman
11/23Certain Dark ThingsSilvia Moreno-Garcia
12/1Black SunRebecca Roanhorse
12/22The Tiger’s DaughterK Arsenault Rivera

Goodbye, 2021. Hello, 2022.

a collage of images representing my mood for the year, there are relaxed capybaras and capybaras doing revolution, a cat in a hammock, a comic about killing jeff bezos, and an opossum drinking ice water, among others

I almost decided not to write a year in review post because that always feels a little boring, a little like a performance review. However, I looked back at my 2020 year in the life post and thought, wow, I did some things and that inspired me to write a few words about 2021. Scroll down for my thoughts on what I want from 2022.

2021 Thoughts

This year was wild for all the reasons that everyone had a wild year. We started with covid uncertainty, got the experience the manic excitement of vaccination, and here we are closing out the year with omicron. It was also wild dealing with non-life-threatening health issues like binocular vision dysfunction and TMJ. Getting new glasses and doing vision therapy is notably improving my life, but the therapy is also tiring and takes time from other things.

I also had the chaos of spending months preparing for the DELE (a Spanish certification test), and then not being able to take it. In my 2020 post, I wrote that I really thought I was going to take the test that year. Well, I for sure thought I was going to take it this year too! I traveled to Seattle to do it but got screwed by a poorly communicated change to the exam time. Maybe 2021 is the year.

However, the DELE drama is nothing compared to Viola dying. It was certainly the worst thing that happened in 2021 for me. It’s been nearly a year, but I still tear up when I think about it. It’s honestly the most grief I’ve ever felt. I had a little health scare with Huey this week (turns out she’s totally healthy) and I freaked out to think that I might lose her so soon after Viola. I’m just happy she’s okay.

Here are some other notable (and not sad) happenings from the past year:

  • Adopting Fritz! Although losing Viola was terrible, we love Fritz and it’s lovely to have a kitten (Huey is still here too, but that’s not news).
  • Dance class: I’m now up to three classes each week and I’ve been in two virtual recitals. I’m basically a professional now and I’m having a lot of fun.
  • I cooked many foods. I learned how to make bagels and croissants (apparently that was this year!), and pasta. I made a lot of bundt cakes and snacking cakes, and I’ve gotten pretty decent at making Indian food.
  • I traveled for the first time since the pandemic and also flew first class for the first time (it’s worth it).
  • I got a new job because my old job was a chaotic trash fire.
  • I found a new Icelandic tutor and I studied Spanish a LOT.
  • I wrote many blog posts including a voter guide for the gubernatorial recall election (remember how fun that was?) and translated it into Spanish.
  • I moved a semi-truck using only the force of my body!

2022

a collage of images representing my mood for the year, there are relaxed capybaras and capybaras doing revolution, a cat in a hammock, a comic about killing jeff bezos, and an opossum drinking ice water, among others
2022 mood board

I’m continuing my annual mood board tradition. As much as I am a word-person, a collage communicates a lot about my feelings and values. This year, I made a folder and collected things that resonated with me throughout the year. There’s a lot here about rest and luxuriating, but there’s also a lot of “I will burn this shit to the ground,” and I guess that’s just what I’m feeling here in these chaotic times.

I saw a great tweet that said instead of the “new year, new me” junk, we should embrace “new year, more me,” which I think is great. When I think about what I want to do in the coming year, as I have for the last several years, I feel like I’m on the right track. I want to keep becoming more powerful and awesome in what I’m already doing.

Here’s what is on my radar for 2022.

I learned that there’s a community fridge and pantry organization in Sacramento and I want to start contributing food to that. I’m realizing more and more that participating in community and making sure as many people as possible have something as basic as food is really important to me. I’m hoping to contribute regularly (but not overwhelm myself) and maybe organize some friends to get involved too.

Looking to another form of community, I am still thinking a lot about how to stop using social media as the main intermediary between me and my friends. Using signal for most of my chats has been great and writing my blog is a piece of the puzzle too, but I also want to get in the habit of sending physical mail to my friends. You know, slow mail. Pen pals. I just started an address book on Postable after seeing one of my internet friends mention it (If you want to get occasional mail from me, you can add your address here: www.postable.com/lindseyhalsell). This is also part of trying to take life slowly and deliberately (refer to the relaxed capybara in my mood board), instead of getting stuck in the anxiety-void infinite-scroll of the internet.

A big theme in 2021 ended up being taking care of myself. I’ve learned that I need to stop assuming that if something feels bad or uncomfortable, that’s just how it feels to be alive. I am planning to keep that in mind for 2022. I want to finish my vision therapy and keep taking care of my eyes and managing the TMJ issues. I am working on forming a habit of spending a little time on the stationary bike after work most days to help clear my mind and separate the workday from the rest of the day. I also want to make sure I’m taking time to relax and not trying to do everything.

I’m looking forward to more cooking and baking in the new year, of course. I got a big book of patisserie for Christmas so I’m hoping to learn some new techniques and broaden my baking knowledge. I’m also trying to get a better sense of what I actually cook for dinner and keep track of what I want to make again. I recently saw a genius idea for making a spreadsheet of what I cook regularly and including information about how hard the recipe actually was and how long it took to make. Naturally I made my own. It seems like a good way to maintain the meta-knowledge of what recipes I have among all the cookbooks and internet bits.

I’m not going to be so cocky this year as to set a reading goal though I hope to reach the elusive 100 books in a year goal at some point. My plan is to read as much as I can. However many books that turns out to be. I want to keep enjoying the library (and my library bike rides) and independent bookstores. Last year, I started tracking my reading on StoryGraph (though I still use LibraryThing to maintain my library). If you join, we can follow each other and see what we read. It’s fun! My profile is linzomatic.

I’m going to attempt, once again, to take the DELE C1 exam this year. If it doesn’t happen this time, I’m giving myself a personal seal of approval in Spanish and moving on with my life.

I didn’t knit a lot this year thanks to changing jobs, eye therapy, and a new kitten, but I want to knit more this year. I have many cool yarns to use and things I want to make. It’s also highly satisfying to wear things I made myself! This ties in with my goal of relaxing more too because, when I knit, I chill on the couch and watch TV or a movie. I would also like to do a little more sewing but that is more of a stretch goal.

Finally, I’m excited because we’re planning a trip to Iceland this fall! We’ve started planning the trip and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m happy to have something to look forward to outside of the routine.

I’m hoping 2022 will be an okay year for us all! I’d love to hear what you have planned for the new year too.

A Week in the Life: December 12, 2021

This week has felt a little weird. I’ve had a hard time getting myself to focus on things. All I want to do is look at instagram and play scrabble go. Actually, scratch that. I don’t particularly want to do either of those things but I’m having a lot of inertia when it comes to getting away from my dumb phone. So I haven’t done much in the way of reading this week and I didn’t really think to take any food photos either (there are cat photos though, don’t fret). However, I’ve done a lot of dance and I even left the house for a cultural event, so I’m not fulling living on my phone.

One good thing from this week is I’m no longer the lone technical writer at work. One of my colleagues has returned from maternity leave, which has cut my workload in half. Amazing! When the other coworker comes back, this job is going to feel luxurious.

Consuming

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

Books and Other Words

I didn’t do a lot of book reading this week, but I did read a lot of interesting stuff online (note that the Washington Post articles are “gift” links and you should be able to read them even without an account):

Rampant Consumerism

a tote bag with hand-written style letters that says "trust your cookbooks. blog recipes are usually bad and riddled with ads and trite anecdotes about the person's life"
new tote bag

I bought a delightful tote bag from Club Waaa, which is, unfortunately, going out of business. Get your weird art while you can.

Making Things and Doing stuff

Last night we went to the Sacramento Ballet’s performance of the Nutcracker and it was fun! I’d actually never seen the Nutcracker before, but this year I decided to be bougie and get season tickets for the ballet. What’s cool about buying a season ticket is you get a really good seat in the theater—we were just five rows from the stage! The set design and costumes were both amazing. I was impressed by the “snow” that fell onto the stage during the snowflake number and by the hot air balloon that whisked away Clara and the Nutcracker at the end of act one. It was a lot more interesting to watch this after taking ballet classes for the last year and a half. I could see what some of techniques were and it made me want to keep learning more.

Languages

I have officially decided to try the DELE exam for Spanish again in May. I submitted my registration form but haven’t heard back from the organizers yet (of course). At least that’s in motion. I sort of don’t want to do it but I also want to have my revenge on this exam.

I’ve been looking for some new ways to approach my Spanish studies and classes so I have started working on reading up on random topics then presenting that information to my teacher. I’m thinking I want to alternate weeks with giving short presentations and maybe tackling some writing prompts to get me thinking about different subjects and exploring new vocabulary. Last week, I talked about synesthesia after listening to a Radio Ambulante episode about it. It was neat to read up on and discuss something like that in Spanish.

Moving It

me at the dance studio. I'm wearing a mask and have fake flowers clipped into my hair. There are barres in the background
ready to record for ballet

This week all three of my dance classes recorded performances for our virtual recital (showing on YouTube December 26, 2021 at 4 pm and January 8, 2022). It was a lot of fun. It’s funny to see how different people react to performing. Some people got more stressed about remembering steps and counts but I decided to take a “no count, only vibes” approach and I think that worked well. After our last recital, I thought that how I felt in my head didn’t translate to what I saw on camera so I think a vibes-based approach will help with that.

For my tap class, we performed to a song from the musical The Boyfriend. We had been working on it for the last two months and I hadn’t thought about it much, but this week I went to look for some clips online to get the feeling of it a little more. This tugged at my memory and I realized I knew this musical because we did it in high school, but I’d completely blocked it out (as I have with many high school memories, I would guess). I was cast in the chorus but dropped out for reasons I don’t exactly remember, but I do remember being mad that the director had intentionally cast it so all the shortest girls and tallest boys had the main roles for, apparently, comedic value. The height of comedy, I’m sure. In any case, watching some clips inspired me to try to be as extra as possible in the performance, so I’m interested to see how it will look.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. Fritz has been living a life of luxury (as is normal in this house). Huey has re-taken the bed, which I’m proud of. She was letting Fritz drive her away but, now that it’s cold, she’s holding firm to claiming her rightful place.

A Week in the Life: December 5, 2021

I’ve been thinking a lot about anxiety lately. I recently had a moment where I was getting pretty freaked out and started thinking, oh, anxiety’s at it again. Then I realized what I would normally name anxiety was actually some feelings I now recognize as eye strain and TMJ pain striking intensely and simultaneously. It made me wonder if I truly have anxiety disorder or if physical pain is putting me so on edge that I feel stressed and unable to cope.

I was first diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder in my early 20s, at the same time I got diagnosed with autism. The doctor explained that it’s normal for autistic people to have anxiety because part of autism is struggling to predict what might happen or people will do, then facing a mismatch between reality and one’s expectations. Given this context, I hesitate to think that my anxiety in particular is purely physical (and I’m also not suggesting that anxiety isn’t a real, chemical problem), but it is interesting to consider how much of my anxiety is informed by being in pain and not having been able to identify it or deal with it. I’ve spent years thinking that having a headache or being “just tired” was the normal state of being alive so it’s interesting to me to work on unraveling all these troubles. Part of me wants to believe that my anxiety will go away once I’m finished with vision therapy and if I keep managing the TMJ, but another part of me knows that’s not realistic. Plus, even if I do deal with these issues, the state of the world is anxiety-inducing enough to replace whatever I might have healed.

Consuming

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

Books and Other Words

I read Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse and it was great. I can’t wait for the sequel. This is a fantasy set in pre-Columbian America, which I don’t think I’ve seen before. I loved the world and thought it was a rich, interesting story. Highly recommended!

Meanwhile, on the internet:

  • Climate change fuels a water rights conflict built on over a century of broken promises via The Washington Post (This should be free to read even if you don’t subscribe to WaPo. I am a subscriber and got a link to “gift” this article.). This is an interesting deep dive into the tension between Native people in the Klamath River Basin and the farmers who grow things there. Something that stayed with me from this article is that is the farmers are mad because they’re saying this is their life, their grandparents owned the farm, and they don’t know anything else. However, the grandparents often got the farms after the government repossessed the land from Japanese people during World War II. Meanwhile, the Native people have been on the land for thousands of years. It’s wild seeing farmers being mad about not being able to farm after just three generations of it being their “identity,” as one put it, but then there’s not much consideration for the identity of the tribes who have been taking care of the land for much longer.
  • Utah makes welfare so hard to get, some feel they must join the LDS church to get aid via ProPublica. This kind of shit is exactly why I hate Mormonism. Church and state are supposed to be separate to avoid exactly this type of problem People deserve help whether or not they’re living the way Mormons think they should.
  • The deadly myth that human error causes most car crashes via The Atlantic. As usual, we’re quick to blame individual failings rather than systemic problems.
  • The escalating costs of being single in America via Vox. Recommended reading!
  • Stores can’t write off customer donations made at checkout via AP News. I have assumed for a while that stores ask for customers to make donation so they can get the tax write off and so they can publicly trumpet their charity. It turns out that I was half wrong. AP says stores don’t get to write off the donations that individual customers make at check out.

TV and Music

Kirk and I have started watching Doctor Who again. I used to love it, but I got mad at it sometime during season seven or eight because Clara annoyed the hell out of me. We are enduring her presence for a couple more seasons, but otherwise enjoying Peter Capaldi’s take on the Doctor. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the newer seasons where the Doctor is a woman (#feminism lol).

Rampant Consumerism

I haven’t bought anything exciting lately but I did join the Sacramento Buy Nothing group on facebook, which is really the opposite of consumerism. I realized my bookcase was becoming overstuffed, so I decided to give away some books that I know I won’t read again/I’d given up on reading at all. There’s an Elk Grove buy nothing group that I tried to join first and they denied my request. I’m still puzzled by this.

Making Things and Doing stuff

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

Moving It

Good news for dance recital fans: my studio will be airing the recital on youtube again this season. The dates are December 26 and January 8. I will share a link once it gets closer. I’ve been having fun preparing for our performances. I’m in three classes now (ballet, jazz, and tap) so I get three times the dance recital.

Kitchen Witchery

I made a few good things this week, including a pot pie from leftover turkey, using my favorite recipe from the Harvest Baker cookbook. I tried this gnocchi with brussels sprouts and brown butter recipe, which was not hard to make but satisfying, especially when served with a little chicken to round out the meal. As for my baking, I made the sugar cookies from the 100 Cookies cookbook and rolled them in Christmas-colored sprinkles. I have a surprisingly large quantity of sprinkles in my pantry so I’m making an effort to use them. I also wanted to make a bundt cake and use some of the buttermilk in my fridge, so I made this marble cake, which was delicious. I realized I’d never made a marble cake before now, despite loving it and always asking for it on my birthday as a kid. Now I know I can make it anytime!

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. I want it to be known that Fritz, who is now about eight months old, is getting very large. He’s also a complete nut.

A Week in the Life: November 28, 2021

This week went by fast. Work took up a lot of my mental energy because I was the only one from my small department present this week. I had a lot to do and not enough time to do it. When I wasn’t working, I was getting ahead on my Thanksgiving preparations since I’ve learned that the only way to run Thanksgiving is to make as much as you can before Thanksgiving itself. The work did pay off—all the food came out tasty and we had minimal chaos in the kitchen before the meal.

Consuming

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

Books and Other Words

book cover for Certain Dark Things in greyscale on kobo ereader.
Certain Dark Things

This week I read Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This is an urban fantasy vampire story set in Mexico City. It was an enjoyable read. What I liked most about it was the concept that there are different sub-species of vampire. The protagonist, Atl, belongs to a group that is native to Mexico and served as priests to the Aztecs.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

Rampant Consumerism

As is my tradition, for Thanksgiving, I made a point of sending money to some Native organizations and causes. It only feels fair to me that, if I’m going to observe Thanksgiving, I send some cash to the people harmed by the events we’re supposedly celebrating.

Finally, it’s a great time to donate to your local food bank. Last year, I set up a monthly donation (it doesn’t have to be big!) to the Elk Grove Food Bank.

Making Things and Doing stuff

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

Knitting and Crafts

I want to note that I didn’t knit for maybe the last two months, but finally started up again this weekend. My brain had been too full of other thoughts and I felt too tired to focus on it. Now I’m back at it and I’m happy about that.

Kitchen Witchery

This year I tried out a couple of new recipes for Thanksgiving including the mac and cheese stuffed sweet potatoes from The Kitchenista and a braided onion bread from 101 Cookbooks. The sweet potatoes were really good and, I thought, fun. Putting a big-ass sweet potato topped with a pile of macaroni is the essence of Thanksgiving excess. As for the onion bread, I was a little disappointed at first because my loaf didn’t hold together as intended, however the bread was very good and the loaf still looks striking, so I can’t be mad.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. Fritz has been going hard on being an asshole teenager lately. He peed on the new bath mat we bought (which we bought because he was systematically tearing apart and eating the old one). He wants to scratch everything. He keeps trying to scratch a certain part of the couch, so I put one of his scratching posts there. He went around it and kept scratching the couch. Why, my dude? He has also decided that he is king of the house. He took over the top level of the cat tree, which has traditionally been a Huey spot. Huey remains non-plussed by his presence.

A Few Weeks in the Life: November 21, 2021

Last weekend I traveled to Seattle to finally take my Spanish test (the DELE C1 level). Unfortunately, I didn’t get to take the damn test. I showed up on Saturday, the day I’ve had in my calendar for almost a year, and the proctor there said they had waited for me on Friday. Apparently, the speaking portion of the test was rescheduled to Friday. They said they had emailed me about it a week before the test date with updated test information. I guess it wasn’t worth getting confirmation by email or calling me when I didn’t show up. The email they sent had the new time buried in an attachment; the body of the email had a campus map and information about covid protocols. You can’t pass the test without taking all of the sections, so I ended up not taking the test at all. I had the option to do the written portion on Saturday, but I wanted to cry and throw up so I declined and left. Something mildly reassuring is I wasn’t the only person who missed the Friday session. Not a lot of people take this test, so that means at least 25 percent of us missed it. The testing organization really fucked up here and I’m mad about it. I also feel stupid. Even though I strongly feel it’s not my fault, it feels really foolish to study for ages, travel to another state for a test and then … miss the test.

You may be wondering when I can take the DELE again. After a few days of hating the idea and telling myself that I know in my heart I would have passed, I have decided I will try again. They only offer this test every six months and the closest location is in Seattle so, I guess I’m making a repeat journey in May.

Despite this drama, I did make the best of the trip. I had planned to stay in Seattle for a few days to visit my friend Kira (and her cute dog, Poppy Marie) and go to some of the city’s excellent book shops like Book Larder and Elliot Bay Book Company.

Outside of Spanish studying and trips to Seattle, I have been working a lot. Not like overtime hours a lot but my workdays have been quite full with the new job thanks to both of the other women on my team going on maternity leave. I’ve been working on learning the new gig and finding my rhythm while also covering for two other people, so that’s not a great time. Despite that, I do like the job. It’s much less stressful than working in proposals like I was before (now I’m doing documentation). My boss is nice and he’s also a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race so we have plenty to chat about.

Consuming

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

Books and Other Words

cover of "Practical Magic" shown on kobo ereader, on top of a colorful blue blanket
Practical Magic

I recently read Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman and I sort of liked it but sort of didn’t. It kind of exists in this vein of pop culture where women are always in competition with each other, which I do not like to read. However, (spoilers for a 25-year-old book?), the protagonists—sisters—do finally learn to collaborate by the book’s end. I was also hoping for more magic if I’m being honest. This is more of a magical realism book, it skirts the boundaries of a witchy story without giving us much full-blown witchcraft, which isn’t as fun to me.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

TV and Music

We finished watching the latest season of Star Trek: Discovery which was good, if a little silly at times (which, frankly, is Star Trek for you). Now we have started watching Doctor Who again, which we stopped watching a while ago because I got so annoyed about the storyline with Clara that I had to stop watching. But, after a long break from it, I’m able to appreciate it for the campy science-fantasy show that it is.

I’ve also been watching a lot of the Great British Baking Show, both the current season and the older seasons. It’s the perfect show for lying around and being cozy. Although every episode I find myself saying “oh, I should try making that,” as if I live in a bakery or something (maybe I do though?). After the disappointment of my Spanish test last weekend, I went back to my hotel room, laid in bed, and watched GBBS for several hours to ease the pain.

Making Things and Doing stuff

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

Moving It

We are coming up on dance recital season so all my dance classes have been practicing routines. I think it’s a lot of fun to learn the routines, plus it pushes me to improve my dancing. I’m up to three dance classes now—ballet, jazz, and tap—and am planning to perform in all three. The recital will be digital again and I’ll share the time, date, and link once I have it.

Kitchen Witchery

This is several-week-old news now, but I finally made pan de muerto this year for día de los muertos. I liked it and I have it on good authority from the local Mexican community (aka my friend Mandy) that it’s a tasty pan de muerto. I’m looking forward to trying again next year with some inspiration from this article with festive, colorful sugar and pictures of how to shape the “bones.”

This weekend, since I’m now have energy to make things again, I made a pistachio mousse tart. It’s got a chocolate shortbread crust and it is delicious. The only thing I would have liked to improve is getting the crust more even up the sides, and I might add some extra seasonings if I make it again.

Cat Therapy

Fritz has gone back to his bed-peeing ways after a few months of abstinence. He peed on the bed while I was away in Seattle, then the day I came back after I left for dance class in the evening. It seems like a pretty clear signal that I’m not allowed to leave the house.

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.

A Week in the Life: October 31, 2021

Happy Halloween, blessed Samhain, and feliz día de los muertos! Although I’ve been enjoying fall, I haven’t been that excited about Halloween this year. I’m planning to put candy out in the birdbath for trick-or-treaters like we did last year and maybe bake something good for tonight, but that’s the extent of my enthusiasm. Although I am excited about baking pan de muerto. I’ve been meaning to do it for the last few years, but I always forget. Not this year!

I finished my second week of the new job and it’s mostly going well, but thanks to two coworkers going on maternity leave and another coworker getting pulled back to a different project, I am now the only technical writer left. So, that’s not a good time. Management has been pretty understanding and they said they don’t expect me to do all the work, which is good (and realistic), but it’s a little stressful when I’m so new and was hoping to just keep easing into it. The good news is that the job can only get easier. Eventually people will come back and I’ll have less work.

Would it even be a blog post if I didn’t write about health issues? This week I talked to a physical therapist about my TMJ. I now have a set of therapy exercises to do (yes, in addition to all my vision therapy stuff @_@). It’s good because it is helping with the pain. Between this and being easier on my jaw by not eating anything too chewy, etc., I’m feeling better. I haven’t had any of the pain that feels like a sharp needle stabbing my ear drum, which is a relief. The other good thing that came from meeting with a PT is she told me that TMJ pain usually comes in episodes. So I don’t have to do therapy exercises and eat super carefully all the time, I need to pay attention to my body and do those things if I feel like the discomfort is ramping up. I’m super relieved to know this isn’t a constant problem that I’ll have to manage.

Consuming

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

Books and Other Words

hardback book: The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri. Cover features a woman wearing a Sari crouched against a wall and looking out suspiciously
The Jasmine Throne

This week I finished The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri and I liked it a lot. It’s a fantasy set in an Indian-ish empire. There’s magic, political intrigue, creepy religions, and lesbians, so basically a perfect read. There seems to be an emerging sub-genre of fantasy/speculative fiction of women rebelling against the colonial establishment and also having a relationship with their hot oppressor, which I think is great. See also: The Unbroken by C. L. Clark. The Jasmine Throne is the first in the series and I am looking forward to the next book coming out.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

TV and Music

Kirk and I caught up on season three of What We Do in the Shadows this week. It’s a perfect show and I won’t hear anything to the contrary. It’s so well written and I loved seeing how the characters developed this season. We also finished watching Star Trek: Lower Decks, which is not so much as show as an extended treat for Star Trek fans. It’s so funny and it makes me want to re-watch every other Star Trek so I can enjoy all the jokes.

Rampant Consumerism

This week I finally reckoned with the fact that I had to buy some clothes. I’m going to Seattle in two weeks for my Spanish test and I don’t have any outside/cold-weather clothes that fit right anymore. I generally do not like buying clothes because it’s hard to find stuff I like, stuff that fits, and stuff that feels good. I’ve gained weight since the pandemic started and have been reluctant to buy bigger clothes because it feels like a failure, not only for the weight gain but for the “wasted” money of the nice clothes I already had. It’s hard to maintain an intrinsic sense of self-worth when you’re fat. Getting fatter means seeing a little bit more of your worth as a person stripped away in the eyes of society and buying the clothes to accommodate a fatter body means that you can’t deny it anymore. So, I’ve been feeling some emotions around that but I’m trying to remind myself that I deserve to have clothes that fit. I don’t need to punish myself with ill-fitting clothes like I was punished as a teenager (I remember one time, for example, my step-mom commented on my pants being way too tight then declined to do anything to remediate that problem. thanks.). I’m allowed to look and feel good even though I’m fat.

Making Things and Doing stuff

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

Languages

I’ve been working hard on Spanish since my exam is in two weeks! I’m a little stressed out. I think I’m ready but it’s hard not to feel like I need to do more, especially since there’s not a point in language learning where you can really say “welp, I’m done.” I manage my anxiety by being as prepared as possible for things I do, so it’s hard to curb that instinct with something that is important to me like this. However, I’ve been meeting with my teacher twice a week and we’ve been working to fix some of the things I often get wrong, so that is encouraging.

I’m nominally still working on Icelandic. I’ve been meeting with my tutor but doing little else. I didn’t want to stop taking lessons so shortly after restarting. I’m looking forward to digging into Icelandic more after I take my Spanish test. Gotta prepare for next year’s trip to Iceland!

Kitchen Witchery

I’m still having fun trying out different pasta recipes from the Pasta Grannies cookbook. Last Sunday I made taglioli and bean soup, which was really good. This was an easy pasta to make—I didn’t even use the pasta roller, just a rolling pin. I also made a gruyère-stuffed loaf, which was very tasty.

Cat Therapy

Fritz is flourishing as a little bandit. He has recently discovered that he can jump onto our bathroom counter and that we keep q-tips there. Although the q-tips are closed in a little box, he has opened the box at least once to liberate q-tips to play with and gnaw. He has also, at various times, nabbed both of our wedding rings from our nightstands recently. We had to run a house-wide search for mine, but we finally discovered it under the bathroom scale along with a trove of hair ties and q-tips. He’s a criminal but he’s cute.

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.

Three Weeks in the Life: October 24, 2021

The big news since my last post is that I quit my old job and started my new job. It felt a little hectic so I couldn’t find the energy to write over the last few weeks. I gave my two weeks’ notice at my old, proposal editing job and then took a week off between that job and the new job. The new job is something I like better: I’m working as a technical writer for a company that’s contracted to work on a project for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. I’m very happy to have escaped the grind of proposal writing and my weirdly antagonistic boss. The first week has gone well. I was a little worried about my coworkers loudly declaring that they like to have “FUN!!! ☺” but it seems like that mostly means sharing a lot of gifs in the group chat, which is fine. I hesitate to say I like the new job—who knows how a job is until we’ve seen it on a bad day—but so far it’s going well. The work seems alright and the people seem nice.

I ended up not relaxing as intended during my week off between jobs because another company, which interviewed me several months ago and then declined to hire me for lack of medical experience, emailed me to say they have another opening and ask if I’m still interested. It sounded like an interesting job (writing about recent medical research) and a good company so I said yes. I interviewed with them during my week off, but told them I’d like to make a decision soon because I would be starting a new job the next week. They said they understood but it’s been over a week and I still have not heard from them. I got super wound up about this all week because I wasn’t sure which job I would choose. I started my new job feeling stressed that I might quit immediately if I got a better offer. Both jobs seemed good for different reasons. However, since I’ve gone a whole week in the new job already and haven’t heard back from this other option, I think I’m going to settle in and roll with it, unless I get some kind of crazy-good offer.

Consuming

Dune

a worn paperback copy of Dune showing a large rock outcropping and silhouettes of people walking in the desert
my original copy of Dune

I’m collapsing some of my normal blog categories today to talk about Dune, both the book and the movie. Spoilers ahead, obviously.

I first read Dune when I was 12 years old because my dad got me the book for my birthday. I didn’t totally understand it on my first read, but when I revisited it a few years later, I was super into it. I’ve been re-reading it (for the fifth or sixth time, probably) this week because I wanted to fully appreciate the movie and see it in my own way one more time before Denis Villeneuve’s version takes over my mental image. I always find something new to think about or appreciate when I read it. This time, I’ve been reflecting a lot on why it holds so much appeal for me. Most nerdy teens get obsessed with Tolkien or Star Wars or maybe Ayn Rand if they’re unlucky, so I was wondering what drew me to this. One of my favorite aspects of Dune has always been the idea that humans could train their minds to have the analytical processing power of a computer (like a mentat) or that you could read people so well that you could control them with just your voice (like the Bene Gesserit). That’s something that left a big impression on me and I think still forms how I approach the world today. I can’t really become a mentat (one of my great disappointments), but if I was observant and informed, maybe I, too, could see what’s coming next. I’m not going to have an opportunity to influence galactic politics, but maybe I could sense the underlying desires of people around me and push them in the direction that I want them to go. I think for an awkward (as I perceived myself, anyway), bookish youth, this was a really powerful idea. A lot of the advice from Paul Atreides’ teachers stayed with me too. I’m not a warrior but I can at least have the sense not to sit with my back to a door (thank you, Gurney Halleck). In a later book, Jessica is trying to teach an adult the Bene Gesserit way. She starts by instructing her student that he has to learn total control of his body. One of the exercises is to move his little toe without moving anything else in his body. I immediately set on teaching myself to wiggle individual toes.

That said, I have obviously been extremely excited about the Dune movie, but also wary of disappointment (looking at you, 1984 Dune movie). The new movie is amazing. I felt like I practically couldn’t breathe it was so good. It really felt otherworldly, which I was not expecting. The costumes, the sets, everything looked fucking cool and like it belonged in the far future. I was curious how they would translate the book to the screen because there is not a ton of dialogue, a lot of what happens in the novel is just the characters’ thoughts. The movie doesn’t get into the inner machinations of everyone, which, frankly, it can’t without being 10 hours long, but I think it was effective at establishing the characters and the world despite that. It used a lot of the book’s dialogue word-for-word and it hit all the important plot points without doing anything weird. It did collapse some of the drama of arriving to Arrakis, but again, unless you want a 10-hour movie, this is how things work.

Now for some more Dune thoughts in no particular narrative order:

  • I was shocked that this movie only took on the first half of the book. I had been disappointed that I didn’t finish my re-read but I actually read exactly the right amount for the movie. The movie announces itself as “part 1” in the title cards and ends right as Paul and Jessica encounter the Fremen. I thought this was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime cinematic treat but there are tentative plans for a second Dune movie (pending Warner Bros.’ approval). Not only that, but HBO is making a series about the Bene Gesserit! There’s so much to live for!
  • There’s an amount weird racism and gaycism in the novel that I didn’t notice when I originally read it (obviously because I was 12) but that I pick up on a little more every time. Baron Harkonnen is evil and we know it because he’s super fat and always eating and being gross. He also has a predilection for young boys. His mentat, Piter de Vries is described as effeminate. Nothing says “evil” like homosexuality! Yueh, the doctor who betrays the Atreides, is mostly described as a Chinese stereotype, so that’s uncomfortable. The book was written in the 1960s, which doesn’t excuse all this but does contextualize it.
  • Duncan Idaho was always one of my favorite characters and Jason Momoa is not how I pictured him. However, I was completely satisfied with his portrayal of Idaho. I hope we get movies all the way through the series so we can see Jason Momoa endure philosophical lectures from God Emperor Leto II.
  • Something else I was considering on this read-through was how much it’s a military story. I had never previously pictured or been able to picture the size of military force both the Harkonnens and Atreides would be using to take over a whole planet (not me googling “how big is a battalion” in response to “there must be at least two battalions of Sardukar”). I think because the story is so focused on the main characters, and isn’t out here describing big armies, it’s easy to overlook. Something the movie did well was showing the military force behind the Atreides, even if their uniforms are giving me “are we the baddies?” vibes.
  • I thought it was really cool that the movie had distinct languages for the Harkonnens and the Sardukar. I also appreciated that they didn’t leave out the Atreides battle sign language, which is something I always found extremely cool. So many codes! So much intrigue!
  • I am definitely going to watch the movie again to luxuriate in a book I love so much coming to life.

Meanwhile, on the internet

  • True crime is rotting our brains via Gawker. I’m a little biased when it comes to this article because I don’t like crime podcasts, but even so the author brings up some really good points about trauma, hyper-vigilance and the obsession with true crime media.
  • Whitewashing Organics via Atmos. This article makes the case for organic produce based on the benefit to fieldworkers, which is a perspective that I’m ashamed to say has never occurred to me before.
  • Worker surveillance is making employees miserable via Protocol. This one is exactly what it sounds like.
  • The key to a kinder, gentler internet? Capybaras. via Experience Magazine. Chronicling the trend of capybaras being so hot right now.

Rampant Consumerism

I bought this fancy pencil case in preparation for my Spanish test next month. I probably don’t need it, but I feel like if I show up for the test feeling prepared and having my shit in order, it will help me feel calm and collected. So here I am.

Making Things and Doing stuff

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

Languages

My DELE exam is coming up in just a few weeks! I’m trying not to get too wound up about it. I feel mostly ready but I’m still working on some practice tests, especially the writing and speaking parts.

Kitchen Witchery

a plat of matar paneer (peas and cheese in tomato sauce), rice, and paratha (layered flatbread), plus a small bowl of lentils
matar paneer and other indian food

I have been doing a bad job documenting my cooking lately, but I can present to you some Indian food I made last weekend: matar paneer (peas and cheese), paratha (layered flat bread), dal (lentils) and some rice. Two weeks ago, I spatchocked and roasted a chicken, which came out good. Though I never know if shit is done and I kept taking it out and having to put it back in, which was annoying. I’ve also been making brownies and other snacks to get me through the stress of existence, but it seems repetitive to post a photo every time I make brownies, you know?

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.

A Week in the Life: October 4, 2021

Did you know it’s Fat Bear Week? Alaska’s Katmai National Park puts together a bracket of fat bears every year for people to vote on. It’s a lot of fun to get excited about some incredibly fat bears. They’re living the dream. We’re at the end of the bracket now, but it’s not too late to vote.

In other exciting news, we are finally planning a trip to Iceland! I’ve been learning Icelandic for a few years, but wasn’t really ready to plan a vacation. However, I’ve been keeping my eye on these Icelandic knitting tours and we finally got one booked. We’re going on the autumn knitting retreat, which has some nature sightseeing and cool textile stuff. Kirk doesn’t knit, but he’s happy to go along for the ride. We’re going to do some more traditional sightseeing either before or after the knitting stuff (Kirk’s only requirement is that we see a glacier, so that seems doable). Let me know if you have any Iceland recommendations!

I’ve spent this week trying to take my doctor’s advice about TMJ and that’s kind of been a drag. However, it is hurting less so I guess this is my life now. I’ve been avoiding hard or crunchy foods, which means I’ve converted most of my snacks to things like a tortilla with hummus or more snacking cakes (“snack” is in the name of the book!). I am annoyed that salad is kind of hard to eat or at least more limited now, but Kirk suggested using the peeler shred carrots into not-very-crunchy strips, so I have that going for me. I’ve also been doing some face massage (thanks, people posting youtube videos) and bit of the old alternating ice pack/heating pad. I’m hoping I can get to a manageable pain level then start introducing some more excitement back into my diet but, for now, pain avoidance is king.

Consuming

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

Books and Other Words

My reading habits lately have been pretty erratic. Some days I’m tired from vision therapy exercises and don’t want to read. Others, the kitten is bouncing off the walls and it’s distracting. So I didn’t read any books this week, but I did try to read what turned out to be a really horrible book.

Content warning for the next paragraph: eating disorders.

I recently found out that there’s an eating disorder called binge eating disorder. A podcast I was listening to made an off-hand mention of it and I was like wait a minute, I do/have done those things. So I checked out a library book about it called The Binge Eating and Compulsive Overeating Workbook. It was pretty fucking bad and I tweeted some examples. Maybe a book about eating disorders shouldn’t start by suggesting you calculate your BMI and telling you that being fat is bad? It says that nutrition is confusing and that’s why people are fat. BUT you need to trust yourself. Telling people with eating disorders to trust themselves is crazy bad advice. It’s hard enough grappling with suddenly being like “oh, maybe I do have an eating disorder” and then to have a book be like “you’re confused and stupid, which is why you’re fat,” is not great. I have a lot of thoughts about this, like “why didn’t my doctor ask any follow-up questions when I gained weight instead of suggesting I ‘let myself go’ after getting married?” However, I think I will return to this topic in a future post. For now, just know that this book was trash.

Meanwhile, on the internet:

  • The Death of a Spectacle via Gay Mag. On being fat and exercising in public.
  • How am I supposed to work? via The Riveter. On the difficulty of being a single parent and trying to get kids to all the activities middle class kids are supposed to do. This spoke to me because one of the reasons I don’t want kids is it seems like you have to devote 10 years’ worth of afternoons to just driving your kids to shit. No thanks.
  • The ‘Great British Bake Off’ Hall of Fame via The Ringer. It’s time for another season of Bake Off! This article honors many of the contestants who have made the show a delight.
  • Zoolander at 20: How a post-9/11 flop became the comedy everyone’s still quoting via Esquire. First, I am still quoting Zoolander because it’s supremely quotable. Who among us hasn’t felt that they, too, were taking crazy pills? Second, I was unaware that this movie was a flop. I saw this movie in the theater when I was 17 and it felt like the funniest thing I’d ever seen.

TV and Music

We haven’t watched a lot of TV this week because our “smart” TV is being stupid. It doesn’t want to stay connected to the internet. We get about 10 minutes before a connection error happens. We’re pretty confident the internet isn’t the problem because we’re not having the same problem at our computers. I’ve tried a few fixes, but nothing has stuck yet.

That said, we did start watch the first episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks and it seems really funny. We also started Stargate: Atlantis (because 10 seasons of SG-1 wasn’t enough). Let’s hope we can figure out the connection problems soon so we can relax and watch things again.

Rampant Consumerism

a new desk chair, which Fritz the cat is inspecting
fancy new chair

I have been wanting to get a new desk chair and decided to go all in and get the best one out there. I am now the proud owner of a Herman Miller Aeron Chair, which, yes, does cost over $1,000. It doesn’t look that exciting but it’s surprisingly comfortable. At first I wasn’t totally sure about it, but I’m liking it more and more. My old chair was getting so beat up that it was uncomfortable to sit down and work, so this is a much-needed upgrade, especially ahead of starting the new job. It was delivered fully assembled. Apparently this is how it feels to be rich—you don’t have to assemble your own furniture!

Making Things and Doing stuff

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

Languages

I have been getting into a productive groove with my language studies. which is important since I’m taking the DELE exam in five weeks! I’ve been doing more practice tests, and it’s going pretty well. Yesterday, I did one of the reading tests and I got all the questions right for two (of the five) reading passages. This sounds minor, but it’s exciting for me. Icelandic is going pretty well too. I like working with my new tutor, and we’ve been covering a lot of grammar, which is helping me review and fill in more detail. We’ve also done some fun reading exercises.

Kitchen Witchery

We are still enjoying all the Snacking Cakes in this house. I tried the chocolate yogurt cake last week, which was great. I tried another vanilla cake variation this weekend, which called for adding malted milk powered, and that was really good too. Kirk has even said he likes these cakes a lot, and he is not a cake super fan like I am, so this is nice to hear. Last weekend I also made potato gnocchi from the Pasta Grannies cookbook. This was really good but the recipe was huge. I felt like I was rolling out gnocchi forever. The good news though is I have a bit of gnocchi in the freezer for later, so it all works out.

Cat Therapy

Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves.