Today’s travel plans are suspended due to sleet and forecasted freezing rain; not sure if they’ll resume this weekend or next. For now sanguinity and I are cozy at home, still with electricity (yay), and with a rare feeling of leisure. We started a jigsaw puzzle last night.
Twelve Days of Christmas, an Experiment
The Twelve Days of Christmas is usually a lie I tell myself as I fail at thinking of presents and posting cards and packages and decorating and baking so that everything is in place no later than the morning of December 25th. As things slip, I go, “Christmas is really twelve days, I can send New Years cards instead,” et cetera, but then actually as of the 26th it’s over and I uncomfortably forget what I haven’t done. I hate feeling behind, and Christmas is pretty much a month of feeling behind, starting in late November.
This year I’m conducting the experiment of treating the twelve days of Christmas like it’s for real. The post office is running late anyway, and I have way more days off work after (the first day of) Christmas than before it. Today is the sixth day of Christmas. Christmas is half over, half yet to go. I’m writing “Merry Christmas!” to people (who celebrate Christmas) without waffling about sorry-it’s-late. I unwrapped my chocolate orange after dinner tonight. (Granted, I have it now because I forgot I had it on the first day of Christmas.) Mostly, I’m trying to operate in that holiday sense of time where you can do pointless fun things and there’s no list, or at least not a fixed and urgent one. We’re still in a pandemic and I think officially supposed to be gentle with ourselves when possible? so it seems like a good time to try it.
This is harder on days I’m working, did you ever notice that jobs really cut into one’s free time? but we’ll see how it goes. I’m also enjoying New Year’s being just a slightly differently flavored couple of days in the middle of Christmas, stripped of all that anxious resolution to start something off right.
Gradually, Then Suddenly
A couple of weeks ago I was proofreading a newsletter for my co-worker, and it felt strange that Black wasn’t capitalized when talking about people. I didn’t correct it, because it was consistent and I follow Chicago Manual of Style instead of APA for that newsletter, but sure enough a few days later the CMS confirmed my spidey-sense and announced the change in their recommendations. The AP, and therefore the website formerly known as my local paper, too. It was definitely less than a year ago but feels like ancient history that seeing Black capitalized meant I was reading something from the 1970s or a social work article.
”Is it reflex or sickness?”
I can’t remember how I got there—probably from Twitter—but I watched this five-minute video about asemic writing by Ananda Naima González, and gave it a try. Mine came out like this:
Looking back at the translation I wrote shortly afterward, it does reflect my state of mind on the day I wrote it. My favorite line: “is it reflex or sickness?”
If I try it again, I might write right to left, since I don’t usually get to do that and as a lefty it might feel good.
Love from A to Z, by S.K. Ali
Just finished the audiobook of this Muslim YA romance and it was so good! In the middle I was getting big Pride and Prejudice feels—they needed to work through their different outlooks on life, for real, but it was never the annoying “just a big misunderstanding” romance trope.
Then I was heading out for a walk and there was 45 minutes left in the book, and Adam and Zayneb were in love and trusting each other and communicating, and I thought, “Is it going to be 45 minutes of how things worked out happily?” and reader, it pretty much was!
I loved Adam’s family in particular and also now want to visit Doha. Islamophobia is a topic in the book, but not in the characters’ families or between Adam and Zayneb, It’s more about thinking through how to be yourself and not lose joy in your life even though haters are lurking.
There is a meant-to-be, Happily Ever After vibe much like the one in When Dimple Met Rishi, but it didn’t feel limiting to me like some YA romance does when it goes that way. Maybe because they weren’t high school boyfriend/girlfriend.
Anyway, it was a balm and just what I like in an audiobook.
Three More Things Wrap Up a Post
- CSA vegetables are a lifestyle. Last night I made a Caesar salad. Tonight is red lentil dal with turnip greens, radish greens, and mustard greens.
- Sanguinity and I are rewatching Farscape, about halfway through the first season. I forgot how trippy it is! like half the episodes are about some weird drug they come across. We remember the first season being something to get through before the show gets good, but at the same time a LOT happens in the first season.
- I’ve walked about six miles today. Since I’ve been following a rule that each week’s running mileage is half the walking mileage of the previous week, I will be running at least (checks log) five miles next week. That’s more than I have been.
Not-Hourly Comic Day, or, Five on the Third
What you would see next if I hadn’t run out of steam:
- Cooking packed lunches for the week! First Lentils Monastery Style from our old favorite
because we happened to have some Swiss cheese. A batch makes two bowls plus two packed lunches. Needed nine packed lunches. So on to pasta puttanesca, one of our workhorse lunch recipes. I keep thinking it’s vegetarian and then remember the anchovies.
- Watching the Downton Abbey movie! It was silly. Sanguinity kept pausing it to say things like, “THAT’s what they do swelling music for? Is that SLO-MO?” and “Oh NO!! A person of the wrong social class has to set up CHAIRS! (beat, beat) In the RAIN!” The slavering approval of the servants for the masters and the system was really a bit much. Still, shiny! I’m going to pass it on to a friend recovering from illness.
- What’s a food or drink whose bottom is better than its top? Bubble tea! Also lentils monastery style from Diet for a Small Planet, because you grate the Swiss cheese into the bottom of your bowl before adding soup.
- What’s at the top of your weekend agenda? I bought basil last weekend and haven’t made it into pesto cubes for the freezer yet, so that’s first priority.
- When did you last wear a non-hat covering for your head? Um…I don’t wear scarves on my head much, and it’s been too warm for hoodies, and everything else is a hat? If my bike helmet counts, I wore it yesterday.
- What tunes did you spin this week? Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” is my current earworm, because someone I follow on Twitter was proposed to (successfully) while it played in the background. And last night Sang and I started watching the fourth season of Shetland and both of us remembered how much we liked the music.
- When were you last on the roof of a building? A few weeks ago when I checked out our rain gutters. Which need… something. Another drainpipe? Adjusting so downhill is toward the existing drainpipes? I’m hoping YouTube can help me figure it out before rainy season.
Questions courtesy of f.riday5.com
snowy day commute outfit
I don’t have snow boots, but these are usually fine in the modest amounts of snow we get in Portland. I never did track down the original shoelaces again after swapping them out to make a pastel-goth ballerina costume.
A day is not wasted if a cake is baked
Sometime in the past year or two Sanguinity saw a large jar of maraschino cherries. Her heart leapt with joy at the thought of having so many, so we bought the jar. Also, we said we could make pineapple upside-down cake at some point. The cherries sat in the top of the cupboard for a long time, but at some point we did also buy a can of pineapple rings to sit there with them.
Sometime in the past week or two Sang made an agar jasmine dessert from a packet– much like the opaque white jello-y dessert that dim sum places have. It was tasty. The picture showed it served with canned fruit cocktail, so we opened the jar of cherries. Once the remaining cherries were in the fridge and vulnerable to snacking, the clock was ticking on the upside-down cake.
Today was cake day! It is so sweet that the cherries are the tart part.
I took a terrible photo with my phone and while I was trying to improve it via LunaPic, which I quite like for my simple photo-editing needs but which does not seem to have a one-button “improve this photo” option, I accidentally saved a filtered-red copy over the original. I did in fact make this cake in an ordinary kitchen and not a photo darkroom.
First of December
At this convergence of the death of 41 and World AIDS Day, Bob Rafsky’s Bury Me Furiously curse is on my mind.
I pulled out the first sentence for each month in this blog for the traditional First Line Meme, but many are unsatisfyingly memes themselves, or the title of a book I already wrote about, and so on. So here are facts, updates, or other riffs on them instead. I was silent in February, April, and November.
- Number of books currently checked out from the library: 97. Currently reading: All You Can Ever Know, by Nicole Chung. Also due back within a week and not renewable– I may or may not get to them: Geek Out: A Collection of Trans and Genderqueer Romance; My Year In the Middle; The Perfection of the Paper Clip: Curious Tales of Invention, Accidental Genius, and Stationery Obsession.
- I just asked Sanguinity if we need our “it’s getting dark” walk now. It is a few minutes after four p.m. I generally need to get out under the sky second thing in the morning (after coffee & internet) for mental health; Sang can go later in the day, but doesn’t like to witness the gloom gathering in the house.
- I maintained once-a-week bike commuting in November. I get off work early on Wednesdays, so I can have a ride home that’s not in the dark. Soon the mornings will require supplemental lighting. When I bought my helmet I was between two sizes and went with the larger one; now I’m glad because the hood of my thin hoodie fits underneath, keeping rain off the back of my neck and warming my ears.
- Logging my mileage on foot at Dailymile has become quite spotty– I don’t like having one more thing to fiddle with online. But I still want to keep track for the Million Mile Ultra, at least until I complete the 10,000-mile fun run (it will be a few years). So maybe….paper? Also, I was poking around the NaNo forums, and Dunx has logged a million words over the years!
- language_escapes alerted me to The Claudia Kishi Club, a documentary in progress now raising funds on Kickstarter.
- Most recent convenience-store purchase: sugar wafers, because they were 99 cents and everything else was $1.29 or more.
- I daydream about painting a lot, but hardly ever do it.
Friday Five: Not Off the Wall
I didn’t have access to Friday Five prompts when I felt like answering them today, so I started my own set: What (if anything) have you had on your walls, as a kid and now? But then I wrote until I had five parts of an answer to this one question, so I’m doing it wrong, oh well!
- My mom likes French Impressionist painting, so my sister and I had Renoir prints on the wall of our room. Mine was Girl With a Hoop and my sister’s was A Girl With a Watering Can.
In my head, Girl With a Hoop’s name was Louisa and she wasn’t that nice– a bit stuck-up when we talked. I never spoke to Girl With a Watering Can.
- I chose light blue when I moved into my own bedroom (formerly my mom’s sewing room) and got to pick the color. Later I wished I’d picked a glossier cream color, to go with the dark brown furniture. But I was five, five-year-olds don’t think about cream as a color or know about semi-gloss paint.
- Kidspirational posters (Hang In There!) that teachers gave away at the end of the year, calendar pictures, maps from National Geographic (Space and The Crusades were my favorites), magazine collages. I think I chose the magazine portraits for size and look as much as subject, which is why Philip Glass’ face is weirdly prominent in my mental landscape. (There was also Cher and… Steve Jobs?!)
- When I first arrived in Portland, my college orientation group rode the bus downtown (look for the brown beaver icon to find your way back!) and went to a cheap-imports store to get stuff for our dorm rooms. I knew I wanted a poster, but what would I not regret or tire of? Thus I spent my college years looking at a big photo of vegetables in a basket.
- Now the art on our walls is mostly pieces by Sanguinity and me and our friends and family. Sang’s yarn sheepdog over the bed (soft in case an earthquake dumps it on our heads), my portrait of her and Louie the dog as Athena and owl, Sang’s college drawings of a downtown church, a painting by her grandmother, a signed Dr. Eldritch comic, 3D pieces by Bookherd and Nicole hanging inside the IKEA bookshelves. I feel very rich in art. The living room also has a world map (but you have to stand on the sofa arm to read it closely) and a laminated periodic table. I think if our house has a decor, it’s “Classroom,” down to the clock.
Five Things Meme
Five things you’ll find in my
- my fleece winter hat that I use as a cushioned pouch for lunch food
- ziploc “possibles bag” (i.e. things I might possibly need), currently has teabags, binder clip, quarter, bandaids, ibuprofen, antihistamine, dental floss
- eyeglass case containing tampons, ibuprofen, and spare pair of contacts in case I break my glasses and still need to drive somewhere
- drawing supplies: blue non-photo pencils, extra-fine sharpie, blank 4×6 index cards in a ziploc bag
- spare deodorant: Old Spice Deodorant for Nocturnal Creatures: Wolfthorn, which oddly smells exactly like lemon-lime soda
Five things you’ll find in my room:
- my alarm clock, a small battery-powered cheapie
- photo of sang and me in our opera duds in 1993, a stand-in for a wedding photo since we don’t have one. She’s in white tie (head shaved), I’m in her former prom dress.
- the small cedar box I made in woodshop in eighth grade, with a rose wood-burned on top: currently holds jewelry, much of it broken
- “rice socks” that are actually nicely sewn bags with slipcovers even, but we still call them that from when we used tube socks. Filled with rice for microwaving, essential for cold bedtimes.
- the Box of All Tapes (scotch tape, masking tape, painter’s tape, packing tape, doublestick tape) that got moved onto the bureau when the windows were being refurbished and never found another home.
Five of my favorite things:
- chocolate milk
- library books
- mac and cheese
Five things I’m currently into:
- learning Japanese kanji and vocab at http://wanikani.com
- Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series. I’ve reread the first four and have now gotten to the one I haven’t read yet!
- berry season
- the front porch
- using https://checkvist.com for weekend and evening to-do lists
Five things on my to-do list:
- clean the gutters, figure out what the deal is with that one, and trim back encroaching tree limbs. Save bay leaves for shellynoir.
- email my parents. (a frequently listed item)
- finish that 1940s children’s book that’s overdue at the university library
- dishes (frequently listed item)
- try that barre workout DVD I checked out from the library