Weekly Good Things: Week 10

This morning I woke from daylight savings with the feeling one has when you wake up one day and decide to chop your long hair off immediately. Thankfully, I didn’t do that, but instead channeled my strong desire for change into a switch up of format. Today’s 10 Things format comes from 

Austin Kleon, who writes a great weekly newsletter.

Grey Skies in San Fransokyo at Disneyland

10 Things of Interest This Week

  1. Maps In Your Head: In honor of SXSW this week, I’ve been thinking about 2012, when I went to Austin for the first time, and had one of the wildest travel experiences of my life (and not just the 30 individual meals I had in 10 days of visiting! At the time, I’d been working for a food startup called Tasted Menu, which was a cross between Yelp and Foodspotting, where you’d review individual dishes at a restaurant. I oversaw data entry for our Austin launch, which had us cataloguing the restaurant data, locations, and full menus of restaurants in the Austin area. When we landed in Austin, I had one of the oddest sensations I’ve ever experienced. As we drove around the city, everything was intimately familiar, and I had a deep sense of directional understanding – without having ever stepped foot in the place before. On that note, if you want restaurant recommendations for SXSW this week, I have a near photographic memory of all of these places circa 2012. Lots of good stuff is still there and thriving!
  2. Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris. Every year or so, I find myself immersing in the full body of work of a new-to-me author I’ve been holding off on, and usually they are so prolific that I have enough to immerse myself for quite some time. Notably, my Discworld adventure (about 40 or so Terry Pratchett books), everything by Tamora Pierce, and then last year’s Sarah J. Maas quest (I started with Throne of Glass). 2024, is my year of Sanderson, and immersing myself in the Cosmere – his linked worlds. I’ve finished the first and second Mistborn series, and was absolutely delighted to dive into Elantris, a standalone book in the Cosmere, loosely about a poisoned and broken magic system and stepping into your power when you think you have none. This was an absolute gem of a book, and would make a great introduction to his work. For those of you passionate about reading order, I’m loosely following this path.
  3. Curiosity and the Way of the Dragon. Every few months, I try to take a class, workshop, or program that helps me see the world in a new way, shoves me out of my current world view, and stokes my curiosity. Right now I’m enjoying my Wellesley classmate Simone’s new 5-week course The Way of the Dragon. A good question from the course to ponder: “Imagine you aren’t trying to escape anything, nor are you trying to chase something. How does that feel inside your body?” (A good one to tap in and journal on. For me, there’s a sense of grounding – static, a little heavy, but not devoid of tension – my body is in a state of light buzzing.)
  4. Disneyland, a reward. I’ve leaned into my Disney adult era. Last week, I was in California for a work conference, and treated myself to an extra day and a half at Disney to adventure and re-charge. Doing Disney alone on a very low traffic weekday with strategy means that I ended up doing from open to parks close and getting in 29 rides/experiences between the two parks on day one, and room for lunch and snacks. (Birria toasted cheese at Jolly Holiday, Dole Whip Float at the Tiki Room, and Birria Ramen in San Fransokyo were my favorites!) Day 2 was only a half day, and I took advantage of my early rising to be the first one alone on Tom Sawyer Island, as well as enjoying the River Boat, and a full loop of the train.
  5. Thoughts on Drugs. My mind has been on pharmaceuticals this week. Bertram is healing a cornea scratch, and had a minor debridement procedure and a contact lens put in. Hopefully the Oculenis (hyaluronic acid!) ocular repair will continue to help him heal. // If you have an aging dog, I want to put a shout out to Librela, a monoclonal antibody biologic treatment which has been a game-changer for arthritis and pain in older dogs. // My heart sank seeing the news about the ALS drug Relyvrio failure this week. Over the past few years, I’ve been following Brooke Eby who is a woman in tech living with ALS and making an incredible impact in the world educating folks about the disease and driving both awareness and change. I first learned about Relyvrio from her videos of how god-awful it tasted. Go follow Brooke because she’s awesome and we need more brilliant eyes on curing ALS.
  6. Sol Food Chicken (recipe). Seeing Shutterbean make this chicken nearly weekly, I finally made a batch and it’s *delicious*. I cooked up some potatoes with it, and added a bunch of lemon to the final product. It’s pure chicken and an aggressive amount of garlic, how I like it. (A secondary chicken shout out to I think Aleka who turned me on to Just Bare chicken cutlets in the freezer aisle?)
  7. A scandal I can’t look away from. This wild story this week where a vendor selling Dunkin’ donuts to a store in New York and (truly dangerously) passing them off as her own vegan and gluten free donuts. Here’s the original instagram post where the market owner posted a horrified apology.
  8. TV: I’m watching the new series Shogun on FX. It’s beautifully shot, with strong visual storytelling. While there are some comparisons to Game of Thrones (and it’s definitely violent), I find the pacing to be slow blooming, and it took me a whole episode and a half to really get locked in. That said, now I’m in.
  9. Finding joy in the workplace. Hat tip to Sondy who alerted me to this delightful paper title: A.C.I.D – An Improved LSD Technique for Accurate Line Profile RetrievalI always enjoy it when people make puns and have a chuckle in their professional lives.
  10. Good Eats: I’ve been enjoying Blondie in China’s videos and was made hungry by her recent eats in Xi’an. A good excuse to try out a Pork Stew Rougamo (Rou Jia Mo 肉夹馍), and order some Liangpi (凉皮) cold skin noodles, and some pickled cucumber with woodear mushroom. Hit the spot.

That’s all for now! Hope you have a great week!

xo, Sam

Weekly Good Things 2024 – Week 8

Hello! Hello! Welcome to another weekly episode of Good Things where I give you a peek into my everyday life during the week, and roundup my good links, ideas, books, and more.

Sam tackeff standing in a darkened room filled with thousands of pinpoints of light and mirrored walls by the artist yayoi kusama

Another change of scenery! Today I flew to LA where I’m sharing what we do at Ompractice at #VIVE digital health conference (thank you, AARP Innovation!)

While the week will be lots of work, making connections, and being on my feet, I’m squeezing in as much curiosity time as I can get while I’m in LA.

I managed to get to the Broad tonight for an hour before closing. And in highly exciting news, I was snuck into the Kusama exhibit at the Broad tonight without a ticket because of a very kind museum staff person! Thank you, Jen!

a landscape photo of los angeles with large sky, buildings, and a road down the center leading to mountains in the background

TOPICS on my mind this week:

  • Emojis: I had a few interesting conversations about emoji this week, including learning about a law professor who specializes in emoji(s?) and the law. (I did just learn that ‘emojis’ is the preferred plural by AP Stylebook. One reason I love them is how they help people better express their emotion. I’m also a fan of the memes where people ask you to “describe your day in emoji”. ❄️🏃🏻‍♀️☕️✈️👩🏻‍💻🐻👯‍♂️🍣🖼️🍜.
  • Spoon Theory: I had to have a challenging conversation with a friend about my energy levels and capacity to do things. If you haven’t heard the term “Spoon Theory”, this is a good link. Generally speaking, it’s a way to describe a decrease in energy capacity throughout the day for those living with chronic health conditions. In my case, I have boundless amounts of physical energy, but my executive function drastically decreases regularly (and usually at inopportune times). It makes it challenging to do certain things: scheduling, pro-active outreach, or spending time with friends 1-1. (Even when I really want to!)
  • Fair Play: I’m fascinated by “Fair Play” cards, designed to better balance the emotional labor and household management between partners (or even roommates) and this was a great (if not depressing) essay on the topic.
  • Women’s Hobbies: on that note, I also read this phenomenal piece by Anne Helen Peterson, about gender-coded hobbies, and who gets quality leisure time. Spoiler alert, it’s not the women. (But it’s much more fascinating an essay than the surface level thesis!)
  • Bluey. What’s not to love? Seriously, if you’ve not watched yourself some Bluey (maybe you don’t have a small child to watch it with – truly, watch it yourself and heal your inner child.
large Californian trees at night lit up by spotlights from the ground

More Good Reading

Typically I work on planes (some of my favorite places to write!) but the internet was cranky today on my 6+ hours cross country. I did manage to get about 13 articles written on a project to re-organize and update the Ompractice support knowledgeable, but aside from that, I tried to spend time catching up on some reading.

I really enjoyed this interview David Epstein (author of one of my favorite validating books ‘Range’) with Pablo Torre. There’s not much I love more than wildly curious people interviewing wildly curious people. I love the far ranging topics.

A dog in a blow up cone on a grassy field

A Few More Moments from the Museum

a large square orange canvas of art with stylized lines drawn by the artist Keith Haring
Some Keith Haring at the Broad
paper cut paper silhouettes by the artist kara walker (NSFW)
Kara Walker
Barbara Kruger

Other Good Things

  • 📖 Reading: I’ve been reading Mistborn (Wax and Wayne) – I’m on the last book in this series. Fortunately there are several series in the same general universe. I’ve picked up Charles Duhigg’s Supercommunicators after listening to an episode of LifeKit with him featured that I quite enjoyed!
  • 📺 Watching: Next Goal Wins on Disney+, a feel good movie by Taika Waititi about the true story of the American Samoa national soccer team.
  • 🛍 Good Acquisitions: my Rancho Gordo Bean Club Shipment and my Burlap and Barrel Spice Club shipment arrived in the same week.
  • 🤣 Memes and randomness of the week: this absolutely insane story about the Strava Chipotle Burrito Challenge // you can still buy Brain Quest and Cricket Magazine
two pieces of orange uni sea urchin sushi on a plate
Santa Barbara Uni at Sugarfish today!

The Weekly Meal Plan:

On hiatus this week! I’ll be eating good things in LA (both at the conference, and when I manage to sneak out. If you’d like some food inspiration though, please look at this INCREDIBLE web page highlighting the food (where/when/what) at this conference this week. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something so beautiful!

Today’s Lunch: Sugarfish Trust Me

Tuna Sashimi 
– ponzu and chives
Albacore Sushi 
– ponzu and chives, 2-pc
Salmon Sushi 
– toasted sesame, 2-pc
Toro Hand Roll
Japanese Yellowtail* Sushi 
– lemon, 1-pc
Hirame* Sushi 
– yuzu ponzu, 1-pc
Blue & Dungeness Crab Hand Roll

(Plus ankimo and uni!)

several bowls on a small table of food including soup, and chicken and noodles, kimchi, and a bottle of san pellegrino
**Unbelievably good chicken soup** from Hangari Kalguksu

Today’s dinner: an absolutely insane Chicken Kalguksu soup from Hangari Kalguksu. Hand pulled noodles, anchovy and chicken broth with dates, squash, zucchini. Pickled vegetables. Kimchi. I’m rarely shocked by a meal but this was beyond.

🥑 Good Eats from this past week: scallops and pasta with eggplant sauce. Wasa crackers with boursin, kalles, and maple butter. Pork tenderloin, french fries, and paprikash mustard from my Burlap + Barrel spice subscription. Chicken soup dumplings, cabbage, and chicken cutlet. Salmon with sherry vinegar and tahini beets. La Fermière desserts (chocolate, creme vanille, and creme caramel). Sukhi’s Chicken Tikka from the fridge case, cauliflower, with coriander chutney.

That’s all for now! Hope you have a great week!

xo, Sam

Weekly Good Things 2024 – Week 7

Hello! Hello! Welcome to another weekly episode of Good Things where I give you a peek into my everyday life during the week, and roundup my good links, ideas, books, and more.

A brindle french bulldog with a pink tongue wearing a blue blow up cone that looks like a travel pillow

This week’s Photo of the Week brought to you by a very cute Bertram in a cone (we scratched our eye again.) When we walk outside, people either are immediately sympathetic – or think that I’m mildly insane for walking my dog around in a travel pillow.

Last week’s highlight was a long awaited cheese class led by the ever entertaining Adam Centamore at Formaggio Kitchen with our Boston Area Wellesley Club, which included a tour of the cheese cave.

Even with above-average food and cheese knowledge, I’m always interested in learning new things, and classes at Formaggio never disappoint! (I think my favorite fun fact was that goat cheese is white because goats process beta carotene much better than cows, and thus don’t have any in their milk.)

Wheels of cheese stacked on shelves in the Forgmaggio Kitchen basement

Topics of Interest:

Usually when I sit down to write, I start out with a list of topics that I’m interested or I’ve been thinking about. Here are some of the things on my mind this week:

  • Cheese cave horror story: at a cheese class this week at Formaggio, Adam recalled the horror story of someone going into the cheese cave (years and years ago) and leaving a half eaten sandwich on a shelf – which ended up completely destroying the flora of the entire cave.
  • The Roman Empire: if you haven’t seen the memes – this is a trend of people asking their (usually male) partners how often they think of the Roman Empire. (The answer? A lot more than you’d expect.)
  • Social Battery Bedtime: your bedtime, and then your social battery bedtime.
  • Beyoncé put out a country song. Here are some gentleman dancing to it.
  • De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis: I’ve managed to do this to myself, likely from overusing my phone. Do not recommend.
  • Blast from the past: Growing up in New England and listening to the radio (Jamn 94.5 and the Jam Scam.)
  • Wow. OpenAI rolling out Sora and generating wild videos like two golden retrievers podcasting on a mountain
  • Ryan and Lucy’s Pet of the Week: Ryan and Lucy have Meg the Frenchie, and five cats, and each week they choose a pet of the week. (Logged in an apple note.)

This Week in Good Things:

💪 Let’s MOVE! I lifted 500 pounds. If you have not tried barbell hip thrusts… I whole heartedly recommend.

🥣 Family Dinner: my mom and brother live an hour away in New Hampshire, and we’ve started doing a family dinner at a restaurant once a month. This month was da LaPosta: winter chicories salad, fried calamari, bagna cauda pizza, and chicken parm. With some mini cheesecake from Crystal Bakery next door to go.

🐾 Pup Walks with Friends: I needed to be lured out of the house this afternoon, to get some steps in the cold weather, so Bertram and I ended up on a walk with Somchay and Penny.

🗝✨ Keys to the Kingdom: one of my favorite Wellesley alums, Darcy, gave us a mini zoom tour – an abbreviated version of the five hour Keys to the Kingdom tour at Magic Kingdom she used to give as a Disney cast member.

A Smattering of Other Good Things

  • 📖 Reading: This week I finally dove into Sarah J. Maas’ newest Crescent City Book. I’ve also been listening to the Butcher & Blackbird on Audible, seduced by BookTok’s recommendation of the double narrator duo.
  • 📺 Watching: I finished The Brothers Sun (dark action comedy). It was entertaining, violent, very silly, and just what I needed.
  • 🛍 Good Acquisitions: working out at home is $ when you get stronger. I got myself another heavier dumbbell this week.
  • 🚽 Tackling a nagging task: this week’s nagging task was replacing a toilet seat that had broken. If you ever need to go to Home Depot with zero crowds, highly recommend going during the Superbowl.
  • 🤣 Memes and randomness of the week: the Dune marketing team popcorn swag choice (I’d say it’s NSFW… but they rolled these out at the theaters!) // I’m (still) obsessed with this woman’s father who goes to the bar every week with a list of topics for his friends to discuss. // This relatable image:
a picture of a plate filled with assorted cheese, berries, grapes, toast, jam, walnuts from Formaggio Kitchen on a butcher block

The Weekly Meal Plan:

Still working through my long list of foods I’d like to eat in January. I’ve been eating my meals with some of the fruits of my labor (a Pondicheri cooking class where I made minced garlic, ginger, a green masala, and a coconut masala). Having pre-caramelized onions on hand in a good sized quantity is SO handy.

  • Sunday: Cauliflower and Crispy Chicken with cocktail sauce
  • Monday: Shrimp bowl with rice, cabbage salad, pineapple salsa, guacamole
  • Tuesday: Steak, broccoli, blue cheese and balsamic
  • Wednesday: Salmon, rice, tomato, avocado, cucumber, seaweed, pickled onions
  • Thursday: Chicken thighs with zucchini and fries
  • Friday: Beef taco pasta with peppers and onions
  • Saturday: Pork tenderloin with fennel salad

Lunches: Leftovers, Yuba (tofu skin) peanut noodles

Snacks: Yogurt and berries (I’m on a berry kick, even though they aren’t in season), soft boiled eggs, cottage cheese, cheese sticks.

Treat options: TJ’s Tarte Tatin. TJ’s Pretzel Bread Pudding. TJ’s Iced Gingerbread in the freezer. Peppermint Hold the Cones. Fried bananas. TJ’s Chocolate Cheesecake Freezer Bites.

🥑 Good Eats from this past week: Bulgogi, rice, napa cabbage. This recipe of greek baked fish, made significantly easier with pre-cooked caramelized onions in the fridge. Nachos, and nacho bowls. Baked salmon, french fries, and cocktail sauce.

What are you eating this week?

Previous Years:

Something I really enjoy doing is flipping back in my journal or my blog to the week of the year over the past several years. When I write it out in a list like this, it feels like a nice accomplishment!

That’s all for now! Hope you have a great week!

xo, Sam