Thursday, January 26, 2017

Checking In

How is everyone doing?

I had plans to write a post about the FDA and drug discovery this week, in answer to a question. But I forgot that this week was lying brain and headaches week, so between that and the overabundance of news this week, it just didn't happen. I think I'll be able to do it next week, though.

There's a post by Mirah Curzer, called How To #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind, that has been circulating this week. It is worth a read if you're struggling with not being overwhelmed right now. I'm doing pretty well, but thinking I need to change my habits about Twitter use during the work day. I used to view it as a good short break, but that was when my timeline wasn't full of a mix of legitimately horrible things, people freaking out about said things, people freaking out about terrible things that haven't happened but might happen, people freaking out about things that are fairly normal transition things but that we don't normally notice, people yelling about what Democrats (or Republicans) MUST do now (as if anyone knows), and calls to action about all of the above. There is the occasional cute animal picture (thank God for @rabbit_isle_bot), happy personal news, or lighthearted thing, but mostly it feels like all panic, all the time.

And I don't really fault people for that, but it makes Twitter a bad way to take a break right now. So I'll need to change my habits.

So anyway, despite all of this, life is continuing. I was congratulating myself on making it through two colds in close succession around Christmas time without ending up at urgent care getting a breathing treatment, but my asthma has been really bad the last couple of weeks, so I guess I shouldn't congratulate myself yet.

Despite the asthma, I was able to go out for a run yesterday, on our first really nice sunny day in... I don't know... a week and a half? I know, we're spoiled. But it felt like a really long time. Tomorrow, I should get my regular rollerblade in, and I'm looking forward to it.

I wrote a piece about balancing household chores, inspired by the great missing rice meltdown I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. I rather like it, but the editor I work with at Chronicle Vitae doesn't think it is a fit for them (I can see her point), so I'm trying to decide whether to go searching for another place to publish it for money and/or more exposure, or whether just to post it here. Opinions welcome in the comments.

I hosted my book club last night. We read Telegraph Avenue, by Michael Chabon, which I didn't love, but ended up liking a lot better than I did early in the book. The characters kept making bad decisions (or at least what seemed like bad decisions to me), but as someone in my book club pointed out, that's a fairly accurate portrayal of life sometimes. Even when I was annoyed with the characters, Chabon's writing pulled me in, propelling me through each chapter. I definitely enjoyed the book, but it is not the first Chabon book I'd think to recommend if someone asked. That would probably be Gentlemen of the Road, although I suspect most people would go with The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

Next month, we're reading Stephen King's On Writing, which I'm excited about because Xykademiqz raves about it in an essay in Academaze, and I've been wanting to read it ever since I read that essay. And then in March, we're reading March, John Lewis' graphic novel, which I'm also quite excited about.

We all bring a dish to share to book club. I usually wimp out and do something lame like cheese and crackers. That is mostly because cooking isn't that fun for me right now. But this week, I decided that I may not really like to cook, but I like to bake, so I made a simple butter bundt cake. We had some of the leftovers tonight, and now I'm wondering why I don't make it more often. And if I did start making it (or cookies or pies) more often, would we all gain weight, or would we eat less other sweet stuff?

Speaking of baking, a couple of weekends ago, I finally relented to my kids' pleas to be allowed to have a lemonade stand. Except, it wasn't really lemonade weather, so we did a cookies and juice stand instead. The kids and I made chocolate chip cookies and I bought them some juice to sell. The cookies were a surprisingly big hit with our neighbors. We rarely see our neighbors out, but the stand did well, and Mr. Snarky, who was supervising while doing some gardening, met a bunch of new people, whose names he promptly forgot. Luckily, Pumpkin was there, too, and her memory is quite good. The kids want to do a stand again. I am not sure if (1) I want to make that many cookies, and (2) the stand will remain popular if it appears too often. So I've convinced the kids to wait awhile before we do it again.

And that's the news from here. It is time to start our bedtime routine, and then we'll see what tomorrow brings and how successfully I can ignore it so I can get some work done!


  1. I got my copy of March as well, and hope to find time to read it. Time is the resource I lack the most.

  2. I'd buy a cookie. But, for the sake of your neighbors' waistlines, make it a very occasional treat.

  3. DC1 read the first two books in March on the way to the women's March last weekend.

    On writing is good, but pretty short. I love his attitude towards writing and reading too.

  4. Anonymous10:34 AM

    A version of monthly lying brain (incredibly angry brain, in my case) hit me after I had my kids. I'm not one for supplementation normally, but I have found that *small* amounts of vitamin B6 seem to help (there is a scientific basis too as B6 is involved in serotonin production). It could also just be that my body has gradually readjusted with time after having the kids. Anyhow, I am *not* looking forward to perimenopause... and you have my utmost sympathy. It is terrible to feel like you are going out of your mind, even if just for a few days each month.

  5. EarthSciProf3:53 PM

    Partly due to a busy work week, but mostly for similar reasons to you, I retreated from / avoided social media and to some extent news this week. Partly good for my mental health. But re-engaging is hard. I'd missed the news about yesterday's executive order on refugees and bans on non-citizens from selected countries and ended up losing most of the afternoon today to that.

    I look forward to reading the #StayOutraged post.


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