Happy Lunar New Year! I just know things are gonna be good, because I’m a bunneh (although this is the year of the water rabbit and I think I’m a fire rabbit – look, the point is that this is my year). After the shitstorm that was the 2022 holiday season, I’m wary of saying things are good, but so far things are good. They’re so good that this LNY marked my first crack at homemade dumpling wrappers, which admittedly came out looking mostly like the Millennium Falcon, but, hey, a handful of them were sort of round and you can’t actually tell when they’re folded anyway. Also this is the second batch we had to cook because the first batch got inhaled by a bunch of hungry hungry hippos when I wasn’t looking, and they were gone by the time I remembered that I always take pictures of my food.

The filling and the wrapper dough most definitely did not come out evenly, so I tried again today, and now I have no filling and a chunk of unused dough. On the bright side, now I can try making scallion pancakes with the leftover dough, and at least today’s dumplings looked better than they did a couple of weeks ago. I’ve also learned that, while pan-fried dumplings are absolutely my ride-or-dies, I am very fond of boiled dumplings. I never boil dumplings (because, you know, I have a perfectly good dumpling-frying pan), but the recipe recommended boiling and I’m really glad I tried it.

Other reasons I’m feeling good: I got a new bag, and I finally hooked up my Switch to my TV. The new bag was my second Christmas-gift-to-me after the new TV. I have absolutely nothing to say for myself.

And, almost a full year after I moved into this apartment, I finally did something about the doom boxes that have been living in my bedroom and behind my couch, and over which I have been tripping for the last several months. I am a card-carrying procrastinator and doom box-haver, and this might actually be the first time in my life that I have fully unpacked my shit in any of my places of residence. That being said, I do still have a few piles to address during tomorrow’s scheduled cleaning spree, but I know what to do with them and don’t have to helplessly keep shifting them to different areas of the apartment.

I don’t know what brought about this miraculous change, except that I got sick of my own bullshit and happened to have some spare energy on my hands. It might also help that I renewed my apartment lease for another year, which is major because I have moved at the end of every previous lease, and I am so happy that I don’t have to move in a month. With the housing market being what it is, I was genuinely worried that my rent might get hiked beyond my means (and was ready to pitch an all-mighty fit at the leasing office if it became more expensive than a two-bedroom in the same community), but it didn’t and all is well. With any luck I’ll be able to hang onto this place for at least another couple of years, because I really love it here.

I can finally see the side of my couch. 2023’s going DOWN.

January Reading Stats

Books Finished:

  1. Galatea: A Short Story – Madeline Miller
  2. Alexandra Petri’s US History: Important American Documents (I Made Up) – Alexandra Petri
  3. Elektra – Jennifer Saint
  4. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

Total Pages Read: 1,392

You know what? I’ll take it. It took me longer than I would’ve liked to finish those four books, but 2022 was such a fail of a (reading) year that I’m really just relieved that I managed to do any reading at all this month. Even better, my motivation seems to have come back from an unauthorized extended vacation, and I have spent the last month remembering how much I love to read.

With all that being said, Elektra was a disappointment but not a surprise, given that my Ariadne review was more of a roast. Galatea was good, if not my favorite of Madeline Miller’s works, and Little Women was a bumpy surprise. The MVP ended up being US History, which – in addition to being free – kindly explained how we got stuck with gerrymandering and why it was impractical for the March sisters to be 60 feet tall, among other things. As ever, I will probably try to force my friends to read it when it gets officially published in April.

Currently Reading

The Snow Hare
Paula Lichtarowicz
Current rating: hovering around 3 stars. idk, the book is fine so far. I’m not very far along, but right now I’m finding it a little hard to follow. The writing style is a little odd, which doesn’t help. And I was surprised that Ala is supposed to be the older sister, because she really comes across like a younger sister when she’s first introduced.

Maggie O’Farrell
Trying again with this one. I don’t have anything to add to what I said in October, except that I don’t expect to get derailed again.

Blogkeeping Notes

One of my unwritten resolutions was to make my photo copyright stamps smaller and less obnoxious, which I have now done, bless my OCD little heart. The OCD little heart is now upset that this was not done sooner and that all of the photos posted this year will not match, but she can fucking eat it. After a quick rummage through Adobe Stock, I also made a new hero image for my tag posts, which I originally intended to do once a year but have obviously forgotten. Now I just need a good tag so I can show it off.

Organizing 2023

I have recently become obsessed with Notion, an app whose chief attraction lies in its ability to pander to all my worst OCD impulses. Thus, I have now built databases for my reading, my blogging, and my writing, and if I had any other significant activities in my life they would have been databased by now too. I’m still figuring out how I want to use Notion to help me organize my writing projects, but it’s been a very straightforward process for the reading and the blogging. I mean, just look how pretty it is.

If Notion continues to suit my purposes, I intend to start phasing out the 50 million Google Sheets I’ve been using to track my reading and blogging activities. The only thing is that I wish Notion had Google Sheets’s number-crunching abilities, because as of this writing it doesn’t look as if I can get it to do any math more complex than totting up the contents of a single column. However, it’s been useful so far and fairly easy to use, so at the very least I will be able to cut out most of my other tracking software, though I will most likely keep a Google Sheet to track daily page counts.

I have also started using Notion to make weekly to-do lists in the hopes that it will keep me on-track in my current goal of not wasting food. If there’s one thing I can’t resist, it’s a good list, and so far the to-do list – which in my case includes reading goals, meal plans, and instructions to finish the damn leftovers – has been effective. I wasn’t really expecting it to work given my complete inability to keep to a TBR, but I am cautiously hopeful. I feel reasonably confident saying that Notion is the only reason I finished Little Women this week instead of letting it molder on my coffee table, and it is also the only reason I’ve been keeping ahead of my publication schedule. This is particularly important because the Shadowsong review was the last of the reviews I wrote last year, and next week will mark the beginning of reviews written this year. I’ve had quite a break from having to churn out new reviews, and Notion has been helping me stay organized as I ease back into the blogging mindset. Of course, the real test will be to see if I actually stick to the extensive cleaning/cooking/shopping lists I’ve made for this weekend.

Introducing Hato

Every year I make a calendar starring Zuri, but this year she had to share the spotlight with Hato, my brother’s cat. Zuri doesn’t really understand who or what she is and has made several attempts to catch her, but she sucks at it. So if you see a furry little black-and-white face with an off-center mustache on this blog, possibly with a little dog running after her and trying to sniff her, it means Hato came to visit.