I had a January vacation, which I’ve never done before. My adult child, Link, was here for a 10-day visit and we stayed home together. I may have even enjoyed it more than Link’s usual Christmas trips home because we weren’t occupied with all the seasonal expectations. Not being a Christmas extremist, I didn’t keep the tree or decorations up, however, some additional holiday candy may have been purchased 🙂
We had only one snow storm and it didn’t impact travel. The weather wasn’t very cold. It was a clear, sunny winter week – which reminded me that yes, we do have lots of them.
Link arranged to see a bunch of friends, and we had lots of family meals with our relatives. We had a couple of extra meals out, and did a limited amount of shopping. Link had time to work on cosplay sewing for an upcoming anime convention, and we watched Gatchaman Crowds together. We spent an afternoon walking at the beach. We had fun going out to the Clay Café, where you paint ceramics and they fire them for you. I know where to draw the line though: Link is not insured on our car (or any car) right now, and asked to go out driving. I paid for a couple of refresher lessons at the local driving school instead of taking Link out driving myself. Link is very strong-willed and those kinds of things test our relationship, so I know my limits!
We spent quite a bit of time going through family photo albums from the time when I still made photo albums. A lot of transgender folks don’t remember or don’t like to remember their childhoods because of gender conflicts. I didn’t think that would be the case with Link because we had a rather non-binary household environment. But, Link’s dad died when Link was 6, so I wasn’t sure how they would deal with those memories. I was really glad that we worked through it and talked it out from a “new adult” perspective. When Link was otherwise occupied, I got a start on reorganizing my digital photos, so I was pleased about that, too.
Since we spent a long run of days together, I was crushed when Link departed and I went back to work, but we both had things to do and things to look forward to, and that will have to suffice.
In January I made some meals I like, including carrot-cashew burgers, chili pie, and borscht. As mentioned above, I’ve been eating lots of sweets. Rather than cutting back while there was still Christmas candy in the house, I have been trying to add more healthy snacks, in the hopes of squeezing out the desire for sugar. I do find it helps. I calmed down my exercise routine during vacation and that worked, too. Fitness-wise, I have never felt healthier, but my weight is a little low right now (don’t hate me!) I had planned to eat soup for lunch throughout January because it would be too cold to enjoy salads, but I missed them too much, so I am trying to make Power Bowl-type concoctions.
I had a revelation about my yogurt making! When I make yogurt, I gently stir it from side to side and chill it overnight. It always looks perfect. Each time I have some, I stir it with fruit and take a container of it to work. At lunch time, it’s as thin as Yop! (yogurt drink) I just realized this is probably from walking to work carrying it in my backpack, which probably has the same effect as using a Magic Bullet on it 🙂 So I made yogurt this month and as soon as it was done, I poured it over berries in individual serving containers (Mason jars) and let it set. Then I only ate it at home, and of course it was fine. Mystery solved!
In other health news, I bought myself a Waterpik. I go to the dentist for cleanings twice a year, but my teeth are hard to floss and I still get cavities. (Er, might be related to that candy habit…) I am pretty amazed at how well it works and I hope I’ll see a difference at my upcoming dental checkup.
Rom is getting a subscription box now. Have you heard of them? You pay for a monthly “grab bag” of themed items, such as geek toys, dog treats, or beauty product samples. Rom gets Sprezzabox, which is an assortment of men’s fashion accessories like ties, socks and cuff links. He loves it. After hard thought, I decided the only subscription box I’d be interested in would be stationery (notebooks, pens) but I have so many unused cute paper and office products that I know better than to subscribe to a service!
Rom started an online course called Philosophy of the Mind from Oxford which has upped our conversational content!
I’ve read a bunch of memoirs this month. I had them on reserve at the library and they all arrived at the same time. First I read The Right to Be Cold, the story of Sheila Watt-Cloutier, an Inuit woman who has become an international climate change activist. She has a fascinating personal story, and illuminated my understanding of the changes in the Arctic in the last two generations. Most of her work has been as an insider working for employers, institutes, and commissions. It was heartening for me to read about someone who made changes by working consistently and collaboratively. Very inspiring!
Next I read Chrissie Hynde’s book, Reckless: My Life as a Pretender. I’d always thought that Ms. Hynde was a motivated musician from the get-go, working her way from a job as a reviewer with NME into leading her own band. It is not a spoiler to say her younger years were lost to drug abuse and her path was anything but linear. I was impatient at times, waiting for Chrissie to clean up and make better decisions, but her storytelling was vivid. Like Sheila Watt-Cloutier, she wrote very intelligently about the time, place and culture in which she grew up. I was surprised that the book ended after The Pretenders’ first two albums, but I’m sure there is material for a sequel.
Then I read How to Grow Up by Michelle Tea. I didn’t know anything about her except that she was a cool alternative media person. Lo and behold, it was another memoir about drug abuse. Like the above two books, Ms. Tea wrote insightfully about her cultural milieu when growing up, in her case, growing up poor/working class, and her relationship with money. As in Chrissie Hynde’s book, Michelle Tea wrote about her drug abuse years after getting sober, so you knew she came through it OK. Each essay is about an aspect of her life, such as finances, relationships or fashion, and how she learned to balance self-expression and self-care. This book was just glowing with the joy of being alive. It ends with a big unanswered question that I had to resolve by referring to her blog! Highly recommended.
I was sad to hear about Alan Rickman’s death this month. I loved him in Truly, Madly, Deeply and Love Actually, and more recently in CBGB.
I found out about David Bowie’s death at work and had to hide out in my office for a while. For me, he was the embodiment of our century. I love that he created and abandoned characters while being able to have a private life in later years.
I’ll leave you with his Ashes to Ashes, the first music video I ever saw, in 1980. Brilliant!
Would love to hear how January was for you.