Quick tip: If you hang your toilet paper the “wrong” way around so that the newest sheet hangs down the back rather than the front, it’s a lot harder for a kid or pet to idly spin the roll and unravel the whole thing. Guests will think you’re unhinged, but it’s a small price to pay.
I read somewhere that poor balance is heavily tied to memory loss later in life. Wish I could remember where…
Now I stand on one foot while brushing my teeth. The right foot and right side of my mouth for the first minute timed by my electric toothbrush, and the left foot / side of mouth for the second minute. It’s more challenging than you might think! Who knows if it would help long term, at least it makes B laugh.
BTG “got looped in on a project that’s trying to understand how microgravity impacts bone healing by comparing earth and space station mice”. (My friends are much cooler than me.) She said that most of the mice that go to space are female since the male mice usually kill each other.
I had never heard of that before, but it kind of makes sense along these lines.
That got me searching online and I came across this UCSF article from 2018, Female Mice are Immune to Cognitive Damage from Space Radiation. Which seems even more unexpected and interesting.
HP had two critical followup questions:
- If we’re sending mainly female mice in to space, does this mean that we could end up with a preponderance of female-specific scientific data since male mice don’t tolerate space well? Sort of the opposite of the current problem, that most of our earthbound research is heavily male-oriented?
- Do mice wear little space diapers? Probably not, but how do they control / contain mice excrement since it’s so tiny? You don’t want little droplets and pellets floating around in microgravity.
Answers unclear, input welcome.
(Every time someone in the group chat said “mice in space”, my brain said it like “MICE. IN. SPAAAAAACCCCCCCCEEEEEEEEE.” Where is that opening credits cliché from? I can’t figure it out.)
Edit 25/01/23: Multiple lovely people have been in touch via Mastodon and email suggesting that it’s the Muppets’ Pigs In Space that I’m thinking of. It’s definitely spot on!
We all caught norovirus. About 24 hrs of it was probably the worst time we’ve had since B was born, and the rest of the time wasn’t much better.
I won’t go in to the gory details, but here’s a few tips for future me who will inevitably catch it again (because daycare). Apparently noro rips through you so fast that your body doesn’t even have time to build any meaningful immunity. Fun.
- Have the necessary meds on hand at all times. Once you are sick, there is zero chance you will want to or be able to go get supplies. Even if you could, you should avoid it for the sake of not spreading it any further. A friend or family member could pick stuff up for you, but this is so contagious that I’d be nervous to ask someone. We found that the most useful stuff was Pedialyte for rehydration and acetaminophen (paracetamol) for when the fever and aches kick in. Ibuprofen is way too hard on the stomach when you’re already feeling delicate. If you’re in a tough spot and don’t have the supplies, there are a lot of homemade rehydration fluid recipes online. Here are a few from the UVA Health System, and one from the NHS. Note that nausea suppressants are to be avoided apparently, the whole point is to get whatever is in there out or you’ll keep feeling bad.
- This thing hits fast. We were first exposed to B’s symptoms in the morning, and we started our bouts in a spectacular fashion almost exactly one and a half days later. It can hit sooner or later, I would imagine that depends on the exact strain, but it’s usually 1-2 days. If you suspect that one of you has norovirus and you don’t have it yet, maybe avoid being far from home. I was at dinner with a friend 45 minutes away. I made it home just barely, but I went from feeling 100% fine and ready for some poke to “oh… OH no…” in about a split second. (Side note: I thought B had just eaten something weird. Would never have gone out if I had any inkling otherwise, both for my and my friend’s sake! Thankfully she seems to be fine, so I’m assuming (hoping) I wasn’t just blindly spreading noro that evening.)
- Norovirus moves fast. The “active” stage (ew) was basically over after 12 hours. We both felt really bad, like bedridden-bad, for 2 days in total and then had a bit of weakness and rough appetites for maybe two days after that. It doesn’t make the worst of it any better, but at least it doesn’t last that long. They don’t really know concretely how long you can be contagious for, but the advice I’ve seen on the CDC and NHS sites seems to be that you should self-quarantine until you have been symptom-free for 2 days.
- Totally anecdotal, but it seemed a lot worse for us than it was for B… Which I’m thankful for, but it’s not what I would expect. I asked friends about it and they had similar experiences. Make of that what you will.
Reading recs from Gem:
- 📕 The “living autobiography” series by Deborah Levy
- 📖 Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
- 📖 Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson (though she did say I might find this tough, I have a hair-trigger emotional core since B was born)
- 📖 The Overstory by Richard Powers (“wasn’t amazing the whole time, but there were a lot of beautiful moments”, “sort of about trees”)
- 📕 Having and Being Had by Eula Biss (yet another Biss book on my list, I really need to get going)
Going to keep track of my reading this year à la Lucy Bellwood, emojis and all. Need to get rid of this WordPress emoji conversion script though, yuck.
Yesterday was… eventful.
Anyways, I now have a decent technique for thoroughly cleaning Jellycat stuffed animals! Note that the Jellycat cleaning tag specifically says to spot clean only. But that doesn’t cut it if, for example, one happens to get covered in vomit.
I’d probably use this approach for any small-to-medium sized Jellycat-like stuffed animal (no posable arms, no large plastic bits or outfits, relatively straight and short “fur”, very squishy, etc.). If you try it, do so with caution. YMMV.
- Prepare: Place stuffed animal in appropriately-sized zippered mesh laundry bag. Before that though, if there are any “chunks” of debris (that is a horrible description, but here we are), brush and rinse them off as reasonably as you can in your sink. If you don’t do this, they will get stuck in your laundry bag and/or the fur of the stuffed animal. 🤢
- Wash: Wash on “normal” in cold water. You want to use a setting with a good spin cycle. I would use fragrance-free detergent since scents can be off-putting or actually dangerous for some kids.
- Dry: Let the Jellycat air dry, do not use a dryer. Before you let it air dry, go through its “fur” with a wide-toothed comb, and then follow with a fine-toothed comb to break up any mats. This will keep it fluffier for much longer. Don’t be so rough with it that you pull the fur out, just a gentle, thorough once-over will do. If you have a hair dryer, use that on a medium setting while you brush through the fur for more fluffiness.
I used to skip that last brushing step since I just hadn’t thought of it, and one of B’s favorite toys got pretty matted. Happily, brushing it out even now after it has gone through maybe 4-5 washes already has helped revive it a bit. I think it would have been even better if I had done this from the start, though.
Two small changes on this site.
Just added RSS links to many of my categories. They’ve always existed, I just figured it would be nice to include them in the category description. See my RSS page for more info about RSS in general and category-specific RSS.
And I added an “attribution” policy. View all policies. But basically, by default, I usually use initials since people may or may not want their full name on here. I will link to a person’s personal website if they have one that they share publicly. But, if I’ve attributed something to you on this site and you don’t like what you’re called, just let me know. I’m happy to use your full name, just your first name, “that lady with the purple hair”, etc. Whatever works.
Check out WAI’s
alt Decision Tree. Really useful for considering how alt text should work against any image.
And more broadly, their tutorials seem great, super practical and succinct. Don’t know how I’d missed them before. The whole WAI website is an unbelievable resource, we’re so lucky to have it.
R hasn’t been reloading my VSCode window. But the “Reload window” command in the palette (
P to open palette) shows that it should work. Charles told me how to fix it!
To sort it out, click the cog icon next to the “Reload window” command in the palette to open the Keyboard Shortcuts settings for that command. Then under the “When” column, right-click
isDevelopment and select “Change when expression”. Delete the contents, then press enter. There should now be a dash under “When” to indicate that it’s empty. Close the Keyboard Shortcuts file, then try reloading a window by typing
R and it should work.
Leaned hard in to sherry and rum this holiday season. These are a few cocktails I enjoyed the most.
Three are sherry-and-rum based: the Flor de Jerez, Shaken Egg Nog, and the Kingston Sheroni. I use the same Amontillado sherry and dark rum for all of them. Our “bar” area is not large, so economy is the name of the game.
I also included one other cocktail: the Unequal Negroni. Not rum or sherry-based, but we made it a bunch over the holidays so I wanted to write it down here for posterity.
The Flor de Jerez and Shaken Egg Nog are particularly useful holiday cocktails because they aren’t as strong as many others. Nice towards the end of a perhaps heavy-on-the-drink day when you’d like to still partake but not get in over your head.
Both of the above cocktails call for “rich sugar syrup”. To make this, combine 2 parts sugar with 1 part water. Heat until dissolved, then store in the fridge.
For the alcohols, don’t go for the cheapest you can find… it just isn’t as nice, I promise. You’ll try it and think, “This is ok but not great, what’s the point?” You don’t need to get top-shelf stuff, just maybe go for something other than Bacardi Black, you know?
If you aren’t sure which rum to go for, feel free to use your favorite search engine. OR, much better yet, peruse therumhowlerblog.com. Talk about dedication, you love to see it. FWIW, I’m currently using Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva since that was called for in the original Egg Nog recipe I tried. It’s perhaps a bit sweeter than many other rums, so maybe keep that in mind.
In terms of glassware, I’d love to have a bunch of fancy coupes and stuff, but don’t have the space. We use the the 20cl (6¾ oz) Duralex Picardie glasses for pretty much all cocktails. And water, and wine, and so on. So although I mention a coupe glass for the Flor de Jerez since that’s what is called for, know that I actually sling it in a more standard little cup and it still tastes great.
Flor de Jerez
Makes one 3½ oz drink.
- 1½ oz Amontillado sherry
- ¾ oz lemon juice
- ½ oz dark rum
- ½ oz rich sugar syrup
- ¼ oz apricot liquor*
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- Lemon twist garnish
Combine all in a shaker with ice, and shake until very cold (about 15 seconds). Strain in to a chilled coupe and garnish with a lemon twist.
* I use Cointreau instead… I just always have it in for margaritas and have never got round to buying the apricot stuff! Though I’m sure it’s nice.
Shaken Egg Nog
This isn’t the real deal! But I prefer it, it isn’t as gloopy and it’s not a faff. Note: Do not make this unless you have whole nutmeg. It really isn’t the same with the pre-powdered stuff.
This is *heavily* inspired by Anders Erickson’s Egg Nog, just slightly different ratios. His recipe makes one 7 oz drink, which is just slightly more than I personally want for an Egg Nog serving and is a bit too big for our glasses. It’s also a bit eggier, which is not necessarily a bad thing but is not always what I want. I highly recommend trying his Egg Nog, and you should watch his YouTube channel if you’re interested in cocktails in general.
You don’t have to, but I *highly* recommend the extra step of double-straining this thing. You don’t want an errant snotty egg streak sneaking its way in to the glass…
Makes two 6 oz drinks.
- 3 oz cream or non-dairy creamer*
- 2½ oz dark rum
- 1½ oz rich sugar syrup
- ¾ oz Amontillado sherry
- 1 large egg **
- Whole nutmeg, grated garnish
Combine all of the wet ingredients in a shaker, and shake for about 20 seconds until very frothy. Add ice, then shake until cold for about 10 seconds. Double-strain into a chilled glass, then grate a whole nutmeg over the top.
* I quite like Oatly Barista for this.
** You could probably use aquafaba (chickpea water) instead. I haven’t tried it! But I imagine it would work alright. Just make sure it’s not salted. One large egg = roughly 2 fluid oz. Maybe try 1½ oz aquafaba and see if that works.
So the Kingston Negroni is a thing (equal parts overproof Jamaican rum, Campari, and sweet vermouth). And the Sheroni seems to be a thing (equal parts gin, Aperol, Amontillado sherry, and sweet vermouth). This is kind of a combination of the two? IDK, I tried it and like it.
Amontillado sherry is a bit less sweet than sweet vermouth generally. And likewise, dark rum is more sweet than overproof rum. Combining the two and omitting the sweet vermouth seems to balance things out a bit IMO.
Used a lemon twist instead of orange because this drink is slightly sweeter than a normal Negroni, and I like the more piercing scent of the lemon peel against that sweetness.
Makes one 3 oz drink.
- 1 oz dark Jamaican rum
- 1 oz Campari
- 1 oz Amontillado sherry
- Lemon twist garnish
Combine all in a tumbler with ice and stir until very cold, about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled glass with fresh ice, and garnish with a lemon twist.
I *know* that Negronis are supposed to be equal parts. But it always seems too syrupy to me. Hey, to each their own.
Makes one 3¼ oz drink.
- 1½ oz gin
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- ¾ oz Campari
- Orange twist garnish
Combine all in a tumbler with ice and stir until very cold, about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled glass with fresh ice, and garnish with an orange twist.