aging gracefully

I don’t know why I thought I’d be able to age gracefully – I haven’t done a single graceful thing in my entire life. Tuesday’s child, full of grace my ASS.

I’ve been trying, though. Over the pandemic, I grew comfortable leaving the house looking less than Full Kimli. I go outside all the time without makeup. Yesterday, I left the house wearing PANTS and a T-SHIRT and what the fuck is up with that? Anyway, I’m trying. I even stopped colouring my hair to rediscover my natural hair colour, because “unmitigated disaster” is too much to fit on a driver’s license. My brother and sister have both been rocking dad’s bright white hair, but my mother’s genes are too strong – I didn’t get the graceful plume of Gandalf hair that gleams from afar and flutters lazily in the breeze. No, I’ve got some sort of passive Medusa ombré vortex of black and white and .. orange? Great. I’m a fucking Halloween decoration, and I don’t even get to turn people to stone.

Ed says he really likes my grey hair, so I’ve been keeping it for him and not at all because I’m too lazy to figure out what I want to do with it. The grey has been growing on me (no pun intended), but I don’t love it – especially not in the current state of hopeless fuckery that it’s in. Luckily, summer is almost over, and I’ll inevitably be in a sequinned beanie from now until next June. That’s plenty of time to decide what I’m doing with my head, right?

During this latest bout of unemployment, I’ve been trying to streamline my life to make things a little less chaotic. I’ve finally had to admit to myself that keeping my passwords organized in my head is probably not the best way to go about it, so I spent most of my Saturday setting up a password utility to remember things for me. I suppose I’m really late to the game on this one, but I’ve always prided myself on having a good memory and lately I’ve just been .. forgetting things. Passwords, dates, why I went into a particular room. I’ve forgotten what I was doing while doing it. This is all new, and I don’t know if it’s simply a symptom of age or other, leafier reasons. I don’t want to make myself sick worrying about my memory, so I’m going to try using lists and tools to keep shit organized. Progress. Small steps. Prune juice.

I feel drab.

kitcheny witchery

A life of leisure is surprisingly boring, so I’ve been passing the time with science.

Making tinctures is great fun and I love sharing the fruits of my labour, but the anxious weasel in my head had a lot of angst over math and philosophy (my calculations of potency were derived using some reeeeally sketchy math, the kind after school PSAs warned us about). To give the anxious weasel a rest, I splurged and spent my stock payout (lol) on a tCheck, a small device that connects to your phone via Bluetooth, runs some tests on the sample you provide, and spits out the potency. It is super neat.

Armed with science, I started two more batches of tincture. ANA-001 is 250ml of Everclear infused with 14g of Ancient Freezer Weed, provided by the divine MizAnna. She wasn’t sure if the weed was any good, so I didn’t really know what (if anything) to expect – and while I stripped out all the literal sticks, there were a lot of leaves and stems and it looked far different than the stuff I usually worked with.

dried cannabis leaves
#bulkfoodbingo, ditch weed edition

The final yield of the plant matter was around 45g. I only used 250ml of Everclear in this batch, so after weighing out 14g, I soaked it all in the dark. I tested every two days to see how the longer soak time affected the potency.

Verdict: Most of the action happens within the first day of infusing, but a longer soak does increase the potency (albeit by very small amounts).

The very first test I did was after two days of undisturbed soaking. It tested at a girthy 10.7mg/ml right out of the gate, meaning I should have started testing a LOT earlier. Still, not bad.

Here, have some data:

  • 48 hours: 10.7mg/ml
  • 72h: 10.9mg/ml
  • 96h: 10.9
  • 120: 11.3
  • 144h (harvest): 11.9mg/ml

The final yield after straining the tincture twice through a coffee filter was 170ml of ANA-001, which is 11.9mg/ml. It’s a dark, evil green and it is entirely awesome. I think. I haven’t actually tried it yet – I don’t really consume my science, the fun is in the testing. If I ever get a job, I’m thinking about saving up for an entire Science Laboratory so I can make potions of an exact nature all day long. I’ll need a lab coat.

The second experiment was far more humbling, and I did an additional learn. Batch SCP-001 started out as 17.44g of Cherry Pie, a hybrid I bought on sale. Then I got lazy: I find hand-grinding the flower to take a really long time and it makes me uncomfortably sticky, so I found a small coffee grinder to try and speed the process up. This may have been my undoing, because the coffee grinder is insanely powerful and it essentially turned the dried flower into dust. I think this destroyed most of the trichomes, because 12g of weed dust has been soaking in 500ml of Everclear for 4 days now, and it’s clocking in at 3.9mg/ml – and that’s only after I gave up on the original method (Ikea teapot), dumped it all into a mason jar, and added the remaining 5.44g of pulverized Cherry Pie.

a tea pot with a built-in tea infuser. the pot is two-thirds full with an olive green liquid (Everclear and cannabis)
this was supposed to be such an awesome infusion method. gotta try it again with not-destroyed weed.

Lesson learned. I’ll let this batch soak for another day, and then strain out the mulch. I didn’t bother reducing the alcohol content of ANA-001 because there was so little of it to begin with, but I’ll strain and reduce SPC-001 before I report a final potency. I’m not expecting any miracles, so I’ll reserve this batch for anyone who wants to dip their toes (not literally please) into THC tinctures – it’ll be super mild and mostly guaranteed (not a legal statement) not to destroy your weekend.

Beyond the science: I’m still unemployed, I officially turned down a position with a company based out of Texas for at least 3 reasons, and I’m 5 interviews deep with another company that I’m really hopeful about. I still miss my former team terribly, and I’m glad-but-sad that I finally got to meet them – the Vancouver work trip we had been planning when we got laid off actually happened, and I had dinner with the crew. So many faces were missing, but I hugged the hell out of the faces I got to meet and then sniffled all the way home.

some of the most awesome people i’ve ever worked with 💖💔😢

On the whole, things are good. I’m trying to be calm and patient and understanding, but I usually end up on anxious and pacing and kinda lost. I also miss working, and not only because Everclear is really expensive but a) I need to be occupied at all times or I get into trouble doing SCIENCE and b) all this sitting around being useless is starting to affect my mental state.

SCIENCE

.. okay bye.

so that happened

I’m a drain on society!

I was laid off from Shopify on Tuesday. It was unexpected, although the writing had been on the wall for a while. Management kept saying layoffs weren’t happening, but the stock didn’t bounce back after the split and the questions were starting to get pointed. I’m not gonna lie – I was very upset when it happened and I cried for hours. Losing your job sucks. Our team went from around 24 people to 8, so most of us got cut and I feel terrible for everyone – those who lost their jobs, and those who have to pick up the slack of 16 people. I don’t think this is over, as we were drowning with work before they cut the team by two thirds. Fewer people does not equate to fewer work.

However, now that I’ve slept on it and did some math, I’m much better. I’ve been given a paid summer off! I will enjoy it for as long as my brain will allow (I get very very antsy when I don’t have income coming in), and I’ve got some interesting leads to follow. I’m sort of stalling on the resume update because it is probably my very least favourite thing to do in the whole universe and is impossibly hindered by my inability to sell myself seriously, but that’s my goal for today. Yesterday I mailed out tincture, returned something I panic-bought, and bought mushrooms for tonight’s dinner. Today, I will do laundry, make cannasugar, and update my stupid resume. One day at a time. How do you be a Lady of Leisure? I feel like this might require some fluffy mules.

I’m not all that torn up about leaving Shopify. They’re no longer the tech darling in Canada, and the mission was starting to get messy. I definitely miss my former co-workers, as I worked with some truly amazing people that I never got to meet in person (something I’m going to be sore about for a long time). The whole team was supposed to come out to Vancouver at the end of August for our long-overdue in person meeting, and I was really looking forward to it (albeit terrified at the whole “meeting new people” part) – if they still come out with the tiny team, I’m gonna crash the meeting to say hi. It won’t be the same, but it’s as close as I can get. I’ll have to stalk the others online.

I am sad, but not broken.

I will eat the cannasugar until I am less sad (and way more broken).

Anyone need a technical writer? I know where you can get 16 or so. I’m the shiny!

first you get the sugar, then you add the weed, then nothing else matters

blowing my viral load

Yesterday evening I had my first hug in 13 days.

My COVID became less detectable with every test I took, and last night’s test was totally clear. Ed’s tests have remained negative throughout my COVID, and so with our matching double negative (the only acceptable kind of double negative) results, we threw caution to the wind and hugged. We hugged hard, guys.

Real hard.

I won’t lie: when I first tested positive, I was terrified. I’m clinically extremely vulnerable, according to our local health organization. My comorbidities have comorbidities. I ended up having COVID for a total of ten days, and it was hard. I was tired, headachy, and once I coughed up a gross wad of grey stuff.

.. and that was fucking it.

Thanks to my three doses of the Pfizer vaccine, when I finally caught COVID, it felt like a cold. An extremely minor cold. In the grand scheme of Diseases I have Experienced, COVID ranks somewhere between “bad week for allergies” and “pulled a neck muscle sleeping”. It was nothing.

I didn’t come out of it unscathed, though: I still have a (tiny) cough, and my appetite and subsequent blood sugar levels are fluctuating wildly. And .. that’s it. Two years ago, this would have killed me. Thanks to the vaccines, all I went through was a week or so of mild headaches, and no hugs for 13 days.

I don’t think I’m doing a very good job of explain just how much of a nothing my covid experience was, because I’m frankly amazed. I’ve had paper cuts that were worse. Science is incredible. Thank you, modern medicine, for developing a vaccine that kept me alive through a global pandemic that has killed millions. We don’t deserve you, but you’re basically our only hope.

The end of May is around the corner, and for the first time in over two years, I’m excited about what lies ahead.

dramatic self-realization of the week, part 4

I never understood the appeal of colouring books. The perfectionist in me was horrified that I’d be responsible for, let’s face it, ruining how the image looks with my clumsy colouring skills, and my hands cramped in protest: I can’t physically write or draw or colour for long without my weird elf hands just seizing. I loved the aesthetic of beautifully coloured images, but hated the pain I’d have to go through to not even come close at making anything pretty. Nice idea, but not for me.

I also fucking love building pretty Lego sets.

There’s something deeply, intensely relaxing about letting go and following instructions for the sake of beauty and joy. If I do it right, my reward is this odd, colourful little piece of art that fits right in with my entire aesthetic and I can’t kill it. I am in control of the speed at which the project is completed and the preciseness of instructions followed, but not the beauty of the outcome.

Assembling Lego is my colouring book. It makes my world a little bit quieter and a little bit brighter at the same time. It keeps my hands occupied. I can listen to music. I don’t have to think or listen or focus or create, I can just tune out and accomplish something for fun. The end result affects, and is for, no one but me – and there is no pressure about it. It is, or it isn’t. That’s it.

Is that what true relaxing is?

Anyway, if this is the same reason people love colouring books, I totally get it. This is niiiiice. My brain is napping.

The irony of finding following instructions the most relaxing thing is like 3 extra layers of fucked up that I am not yet ready to face thank you.

That was a lot of fucking words to say “I like Lego” Sorry.

we’ll carry on

Welcome to the Black Parade Pity Party!

First is first: my COVID is progressing mildly. I’ve had some instances of Feeling Gross, but for the most part it’s a chest rattle and some l33t light hacking. I’m still infected (extremely and immediately, according to the last two rapid tests), but otherwise fine.

That doesn’t mean I’m not not ENTIRELY MISERABLE, though. My entire week has been a towering inferno of disappointment and salad dressing, the details of which I will now describe in agonizingly inane detail.

So, this COVID thing. I can’t leave the house even more than I usually don’t leave the house, and it’s giving me significant cabin fever. Amongst my COVID angst:

  • Ed’s been home since Wednesday, and we haven’t been able to hug or kiss or make an mockery of procreation. I need hugs! Although tbh I really like the separate bed thing as it turns out I enjoy getting enough sleep.
  • I had plans for tomorrow that included three things I was looking forward to:
    • Hanging out with Shan (Shanging)
    • Breakfast at Deacon’s Corner which is my favourite and it’s been so long and I’ve been ever so good
    • Running around downtown Vancouver on a spectacular spring day, just existing

Side note – missing out on any one of the three items above would have been keenly felt, but all three of them together is just a dick move, universe.

On Monday, I’m missing lunch in Vancouver again (!!) with friends I haven’t seen (in SIXTY YEARS no lie at) my other favourite, Anton’s, to celebrate Shan’s belated birthday. I’m extremely sad to miss this for basically the same reasons as above, except with pasta for daaaaaaays. I’m actually double missing this one: even if I didn’t have COVID, I’m doing an online conference all day Monday. The COVID just makes it extra layer of fun, because Ed probably shouldn’t go either even if he’s negative, just in case.

That’s all bad, right? WELL THERE’S MORE!

  • An interesting development I was courting fell through and it made me sadder than I had anticipated
  • A pair of shoes I ordered are too big and an item was missing from the order (sold out and oops)
  • I’m insanely busy at work and this is the worst possible time I could have picked to get sick, so I’m stressing out about my work not getting done
  • .. and the same time, I’m still working except now I have guilt that I’m not working at my best or quickly enough which Jesus Christ woman pick a neurosis and stay in one fucking lane
  • .. and that whole “stressing and working myself into Scary COVID” thing hovering back there somewhere
  • *ahem* all that to say I was supposed to go to a work retreat thingie the week after next and I was nervous but really kinda excited about it – but because of my covidity AND my workload, I decided it be best if I didn’t go

I think that’s it. All the big ones, anyway. I could probably go on for an hour, but that sounds exhausting.

Basically, I am a very sad duck and I am allowed to be so. Feeling sad is a natural reaction to disappointment, and no one is judging me for my sadness.

*cough*

Anyway, join me next time when I explain how my special flavour of damaged is a paradox and that’s so on brand I could just fucking spit !

the saviour of the broken, the beaten, and the damned

(hi k! i am flirting with you in reference form!)

it was a good run

Last night I tested positive for COVID. Twice! Well, maybe 1.5 times.

I had a really bad headache last night, and my throat felt a little weird. Both of these things could be easily explained away: I went outside in the bright sun and forgot my sunglasses, I had blood drawn earlier in the day and didn’t eat enough after fasting for 12+ hours, there’s some weird weather rolling in and I’m susceptible to pressure changes, and I had A Day at work. As for my throat, I smoke a lot of weed. Sometimes it irritates my throat, especially when I go from an ice bong to a not-ice-bong and forget that fire is hot. It’s a whole thing, and not all that unusual. Still, I worried. Worrying is like my #1 hobby.

The BC government finally started handing out home COVID tests earlier this year. It was two years into the pandemic at this point, but we can finally test ourselves!! .. except they’re not collecting test data anymore, so it’s mostly FYI. Thumbs up. Great planning. Anyway, because I actually have some tests on hand, I decided it would be prudent to give myself a nasal swab and see if anything unusual was going on. The first test I opened up expired in March of this year (did I mention the great planning?), but I used it anyway because I honestly expected it to be negative.

It wasn’t.

I then thought maybe the expired test was wonky, so I took a fresh test immediately after the first one, and .. positive.

I lasted two years, two months, and 9 days into the apocalypse before catching anything. Is that good? Is this sort of thing rated? Will I get a passing grade, or be thrown into remedial apocalypse until I fix myself?

I’m trying really very hard not to lose my shit entirely. There is some freaking out happening. I may have measured myself to see if I would fit into a garbage bin. There’s a chance that I am utterly, entirely doomed.

DOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!

Tiny shreds of common sense are all I have holding me together: I’m triple vaxxed, I have a huge list of safe words for all scenarios, I don’t go indoors without a mask on (outside of #halfwack of course). I don’t go to concerts or parties or anywhere that people gather. Norovirus aside, I haven’t been sick at all throughout the pandemic. I’ve done literally everything I could have possibly done to keep myself safe. It clearly didn’t work, but I did it.

And actually, I feel .. fine?

My throat is still a little weird and my insides are growling, but that’s because I haven’t eaten. My headache is mostly gone, my thoughts are as coherent as they ever are, and I’m actually getting a lot of work done (which is good because holy shit I am fucking drowning at work). Right now, the biggest problem I have is that I can’t join my friends for a belated birthday lunch at Anton’s on Monday (and that is a really big fucking problem, I love Anton’s and I am hungry). If this is as bad as it’ll get, I can live with it.

That’s probably not going to happen though, so I’m just in a holding pattern as I wait for my body to shut down. But maybe it won’t? I’m a medical anomaly. Maybe COVID will give me super powers. Maybe it’ll kill me dead. Maybe I’ll have minor symptoms. I hate not knowing things, like how bad this’ll be or how long I’ll be out of commission. I have a ton of upcoming plans I was really looking forward to, but now that I’m a walking pathogen, I’m back at square one and I am not happy about it.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be wallowing on my balcony.

not shown: me, wallowing

this post made me cry

You are never going to believe this, but I have things to say about Turning Red.

The framework in which I make it all about me (part 1 of 2 – I have so many words): I don’t watch sad things. A whole lot of Pixar’s catalog is off-limits to me, but I made an exception so I could watch Turning Red. I actually timed how far I could make it into the movie before I started crying: 27:09:11.

Man I love data.

As a Chinese-Canadian woman, I am exercising my right – nay, my DUTY – to provide my unsolicited opinion on Turning Red:

Honestly, I did love it. It was spectacular to see myself represented as not only the main character in an animated film, but one set in Canada! My icy heart melted, and please excuse my Divine Ya-Ya squirting here but I’m so happy for all the women and girls that’ll experience the sheer delight of representation. It’s such an important thing. You can tell, because of all the white men losing their absolute shit at the movie. It mentions periods! The movie isn’t even ABOUT periods – it’s an analogy – but periods are MENTIONED and there are PADS and THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

Obviously everyone’s first period story is different, but I honestly don’t understand any of the outcry. It’s a biological function that affects 50% of the population – that’s over 3.5 billion people – yet it’s “too personal” a subject to discuss. Yeah, get the fuck out of here with that bullshit. We were taught about periods in grade 5/age 10. Mine came in at age 11. Still waiting to turn into a panda, though.

I also watched Encanto recently, and while that movie made me cry sooner than 27 minutes in, I *sobbed* throughout Turning Red. Full on ugly cries. I wiped my tears away with a hot dog bun. I don’t recommend it.

It’s not just the main story that made me cry, though – so much of the film is so well done (minor spoilers ahead):

  • The friendship between Meilin, Miriam, Priya, and Abby: I wish I had friends like that when I was 13. Hell, I wish I had friends like that now. Note: if anyone is looking to start a friend group, I will gladly be your Abby: I’m short, round, weird, and enthusiastic, and I probably already own pink overalls.
  • The relationship between Meilin and her mother made me sob because I also had a Skydome-destroying fight with my mother, but we didn’t get our happy ending. And it was in Victoria. Ever wonder why they replaced Memorial Arena with the Save-On-Foods Arena? Yo.
  • Elder relatives! I don’t know any of mine. More crying.
  • Being “different” yet beloved? How does that even work? I cried because I want to light up rooms I’m in.
  • Absolutely no big deal being made about Tyler being an annoying shit bully who is secretly probably gay and becomes the 5th member of the friend group by the end. I cried because it was cute.
  • I skipped the boy band craze of multiple generations, so I cried because I was confused. This may have been where the hot dog bun came in, but my memories of the evening are soggy.

If you haven’t yet watched Turning Red, I recommend it. I love that Pixar is finally starting to tell stories from BIPOC POVs and from women – Domee Shi previously won an Oscar for the Pixar short Bao. I’m going to reuse a trick that went around at the height of Black Lives Matter campaigns – even if you aren’t watching the video, stream it in the background so it registers the view. More viewers = more chances for people to tell their stories. Hollywood is finally starting to realize that brilliant things can come from people who aren’t cis white hetero men, so let’s help that along any way we can.

TL;DR: Movie good. Feelings bad. Therapy coming.