Last night, I sat down to my dinner, feeling slightly smug about how well I was eating and how great I was doing with my elimination diet. Oh, sure, I’d tossed a little cheddar cheese on my homemade, refried-bean tacos, but otherwise… homemade! Healthy! Vegetarian! Delicious!

Then I remembered that corn isn’t allowed on the auto-immune protocol diet and my grilled corn was against the rules. Oh, and so were the freshly-made corn tortillas, of course. For that matter, legumes aren’t allowed on AIP, so I wasn’t supposed to be eating refried beans either. Also not allowed, damn it, were the adobo chili peppers that I’d added to the beans to spice them up.

In fact, the one and only part of my dinner that actually complied with the AIP diet was the avocado.


It was still a good dinner, but I stopped feeling smug about my AIP success. Elimination diet fail!

This morning’s breakfast was sautéed kale and white sweet potatoes with a single egg to add some protein, (eggs not allowed) while lunch was salad greens with cucumber, radish, and pea pods, with store-bought Caesar dressing made with soybean oil (legumes not allowed, soy not allowed), so I’m continuing my not-quite-there attempts. At least I’m getting plenty of vegetables.

Apart from writing (er, trying to write) and eating healthy, I’ve also been trying to restart the art learning that I began during the early days of the pandemic. I’m not sure how something that I wanted to do fell so soundly by the wayside, but it did. Fortunately, one can always begin again, so I’ve gone back to the Udemy course I was taking and am starting over with it.

It’s made me think a lot about time travel, because in a funny way, it is time travel. It sends me straight back to June of 2020, which is not actually a place I want to live. Sure, the pandemic, not so great, but also I was still reeling from R’s behavior. I cried every day that month. Actually, I cried every day for so much of 2020. Not because of the pandemic, in which I was largely incredibly lucky — all of my loved ones were fine — but because of the estrangement. It reminds me of January 6, too, which, sure, was a terrible moment in American history, but for me is always going to be about Zelda’s dying. A terrible day for the world, but for me, also such a deep personal grief. I’m assuming, though, that as I practice my digital painting, it will become solidly part of my life in 2022 and the memories will fade. fingers crossed

One random further thought on time travel — somehow I suspect that the timeline where Al Gore won Florida in 2000 would be a vastly preferable place in which to live. Vastly. And with that, I will leave politics and grief and move on to writing about my other big activity, which is organizing books.

I think I mentioned back at the beginning of 2022 that I was trying to read books from my Kindle. I’m still doing that, but back in May, I decided that my solution to the organization problem — a spreadsheet with sheets for authors by letter of the alphabet — was not sufficient and so I downloaded an app, Reading List, and started entering books into it.

I’m still entering books into it.

It is so absolutely what the Kindle app should be. When you click on a book, it opens the book record, and you can see details about the book, including the book description, whether it’s To Read, In Process, or Finished, including dates that you started and finished, and there’s a field for you to leave your own notes about the book. You can also create lists and organize by lists. Why, why, why does the Kindle app not do this exact thing?

I paid $15 to have the app on all my devices and am slowly — very slowly — working through all the books on my Kindle, adding them to Reading List, and adding my notes, both from that spreadsheet I made and from my previous system, which was leaving a comment on the title page of the book. Not infrequently I have to stop so I can read for a while.

Also sometimes I have to stop so I can look at books for a while. Probably my least favorite part of the app is that it uses something other than straightforward Google or better yet, Amazon, to search for books online. Maybe it’s Google Books? So you’re trying to add a book and you search for it. Ex (slightly unfair, because it’s always been in KU, so not available on Google Books): A Gift of Luck, by Sarah Wynde.

You search on A Gift of Luck. You get approximately 20 results with Luck in their names, but not that one. Next you search on Sarah Wynde. The first entry is A Gift of Thought, okay, but the next few are registers of St. Paul’s Cathedral, of Gloucestershire parish. Another 17 titles seem completely random. Every different way of phrasing your search will get you different results and none of them will be as straightforward as a quick google search on the same terms. Also, in the case of Luck, none of them will find the book. You will have to enter it by hand.

But even though that feature is seriously annoying, among those random titles are probably at least a couple that look interesting enough that I want to learn more. It’s like browsing in a bookstore except with an immense pool of books. Very distracting! Eventually, of course, I get back to adding the record I was working on to the app, but sometimes not for a while. In fact, this paragraph took me an hour to write because I had to go wander the depths of Amazon for a while, ha. Fortunately, I managed to escape without adding anything to my TBR pile, but I think I should probably get back to working on Serena’s story before I run out of day.

Serena’s story, my other main occupation, is still going slowly. I’m being too critical, I know. Editing should come after drafting! I’m less than 10,000 words into it, far behind where I was hoping to be by now, and I haven’t even gotten the story off the ground. But the characters are chatting, and it’ll get there. Someday. Someday!

Sophie, resting under a hedge instead of returning with the ball. Good thing she’s so cute!