Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.George Santayana, Reason in Common Sense (Life of Reason, Vol. 1; 1905)
No, I don’t know how it is the last week in April, either.
No, I don’t know what to call this time, either. “Post-pandemic” doesn’t seem quite right. And it’s definitely not post-COVID.
How about we just call it:
Having been away from writing/posting here for six weeks, I’ll start with a little update, followed by the usual monthly round-up of links, notes, and an idea or two.
Two months ago, I started a new job, leading a neuroscience-focused foundation that facilitates clinical research and continuous improvement in clinical practice. Or, as I put it when my daughter asked: I work with a bunch of nerds. Heaven? Indeed.
And to show that I practice what I preach, I’ve been using my own “First 100 Days” approach, starting with an investigation of the past. I’ve read a decade’s worth of board meeting minutes, reports, and related correspondence, looking for patterns that might guide the way forward.
Honor the past; welcome the future; stay in the present.
Reflect. Dream. Do.
Commit, then figure it out.
These are the things I say to myself, daily.
Each time we begin again, start fresh, turn over a new leaf (etc.), we have the opportunity to apply what we’ve learned from past experiences.
And the question I ask myself daily (which I offer in case it might be helpful for you, too) is this one: What do I want to be different this time?
Note: For all who’ve followed along with my journey at Kindred Place, know that I’m now on the board there, and I believe in the value of that work now more than ever. Worth repeating, for emphasis: The quality of our relationships (including the relationship with self) determines the quality of our lives. (Thank you, Esther Perel.)
What I’ve Been Reading: A Sampling
Ireland Asks: What If Artists Could Ditch Their Day Jobs? (NYT)
Gen Z’s Dating Revolution (Business Insider) (hint: it’s old school – like, old, old, old school – and it affirms the Gottman premise that healthy romantic relationships are grounded in strong friendship)
The History of the Pivot Table, the Spreadsheet’s Most Powerful Tool (Quartz, via Pocket – and from 2020, but… yeah, I was focused on other things, too)
Can a Neuroscientist Fight Cancer With Mere Thought? (NYT)
The fascinating and evolving story of bacteria and cancer (Eric Topol, on Substack) (Note: Dr. Topol is the head of the Scripps Research biomedical institute and a Substack writer-in-residence; his newsletter is great, and free)
Concierge Medicine: The Business Diaries, Part 3 (Full Stack Family Medicine, another great — also free, though it requires a subscription — Substack newsletter, this one written by a college friend who works as physician in New York, but who is really a photographer)
Leaked Audio of Tennessee Republican Dingbats Shows They’re Really That Stupid (Esquire) (And yes, there are so many articles I could post about the mayhem in Tennessee, how it’s out of touch with the majority of people who actually live in Tennessee, and why it should concern anyone who believes in the enduring value of a democratic republic, but I’m sharing this only this one because it’s short, funny, scathing, and compelling.)
Tennessee, Where Weed is Illegal, Makes Anthem About Pot Farming Its State Song… on 4/20 (Rolling Stone) (You can’t make this stuff up.) (Also: Truth is wilder than fiction.)
Y/N, by Esther Yi (my book group’s April selection). No, I can’t recommend it. In fact, I recommend against reading it, because that’s time that can’t be reclaimed. This is your fair warning.
I’m No Philosopher, But I Got Thoughts, by Kristin Chenoweth (hilarious, easy to read in small doses, uplifting, and likely enjoyable only for women)
What I’ve Enjoyed Watching: A complete list
Wednesday (yes, I was in my daughter’s bed, with the dogs, and I sent her a photo, because of course I did)
Ted Lasso (Still not on the bandwagon? It’s OK; the time is now.)
What I’m Thinking About:
Work-Life integration, and what that means to me, for me.
What I’m Cooking: (though “Cooking” might be inaccurate…)
Did I really make a birthday cake for the dog? I did. Here’s the recipe.
As for the humans?
Well, what I eat these days, most of the time, is some combination of: salad greens, roasted vegetables, fresh chopped vegetables, nuts or grains or legumes, and cheese. Sometimes I’ll add fruit.
It’s the culinary version of a capsule wardrobe, and I don’t ever get bored with it.
Sometimes, I prepare it as a chopped salad, because I enjoy eating chopped salads, whether or not they’re in one of their ever-reappearing trendy phases.
Which is why I got into a spirited debate with a CIA-trained chef friend when he called a salad “a spring chopped salad.” It was delicious, to be sure (spring peas, tender arugula leaves, pickled red onions, thinly-sliced beef tenderloin). Was there even one thing chopped in that salad? There was not. It was not a chopped salad.
“This is delicious, but it’s not a chopped salad,” I said.
“It’s not the chopped salad you’re used to; it’s the new chopped salad,” he replied.
“Nothing’s chopped; it’s not a chopped salad,” I repeated.
“It’s new, I know; I think you’ll come to like it,” he continued.
“I like it, yes. But it is not a chopped salad.”
At an impasse, we moved on to discuss other things.
Curious to learn about the history of the chopped salad? I got you (as is popular to say these days): Chopped Salad, from Beverly Hills to Springfield (Illinois Times, January 2023)
Can’t do it without a recipe? Here’s a good one, from The Kitchn
What do I most often put in my salads? Chickpeas. I like them boiled, roasted, smushed, marinated, whatever. I cook them in the Instant Pot. If I save enough, and have the patience to dry them, I’ll make a batch of this: Crunchy Za’atar Chickpeas (NYT Cooking)
Last week at the farmers market there were loads and loads of strawberries, and a whole gallon of them ended up in my kitchen. So I had to make Gabrielle Hamilton’s Strawberry Milk (via smitten kitchen). If you read that recipe and think, “EWWWW, buttermilk…” just go on a limb and trust me when I tell you that you won’t even taste it. I promise this is one of the best spring concoctions you’ll ever discover. I promise.
What I’m probably not making, though I am filing the recipe for when I might need it, is Seessel’s lemon butter pie. (Daily Memphian – subscription required to read this article) (Also: Please support journalism by paying for subscriptions, unless you want what’s happening in Tennessee to continue getting worse, everywhere.) I’m including the link in case you didn’t already know that Jennifer Biggs, food writer for The Daily Memphian, is slowly, methodically, bringing forth all of the Seessel’s bakery recipes, but only for DM subscribers.
Homemade mayonnaise using an immersion blender (This is life-changing, if you’re the homemade mayo type.)
One Year Ago: Something About That List from the Working Mother Battlefield
Two Years Ago: A Few Things, April 2021 (recipes and reading links)
Three Years Ago — yes, early in the pandemic: A Few Things, April 2020 (remember when we were sewing masks in our kitchens?)
Five Years Ago: A Few Things, April 2018 (when I was launching Larksome Goods note writing kits)
Ten Years Ago (when I made weekly menu grids, because, working mother of elementary school-aged children…): Weekly Menu, 4.22.13 (Keep Wicked Calm, and Carry The Hell On, Boston)
Keep a full tank of gas and live close to the border, I say.
It’s tour season. Kill me.
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Stay mighty 💪. And keep that passport current.
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