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This year, I’ve committed to writing more, and it’s been working.

Aside from this blog post, this week I wrote about leadership goals, running project management at Ompractice as we grow – with Agile methodologies, agile sprint planning, and the sprint retro. Personally, I wrote about documenting and codifying my Ideal Week.

While the bulk of my writing remains unpublished, I’m thinking of this writing a little bit more like book writing than blogging.

The end goal is to build a bigger body of work on topics that I’m interested in, both for myself, and to share with others. While I love blogging, I want my thinking to be better organized, more structured, and edited to reflect developing insight over time.

I know this to be true about myself: writing is the best way for me to clarify and organize my ideas. It’s a process. Whenever I start a new project, I sit and brainstorm on paper. Then I take to the road for a long walk, or the shower, with a structure to ruminate upon. Back to my desk, I make more notes, and edit accordingly. Sleep on it, and edit again. Rinse and repeat.

But like many things that are obvious – knowing something that is true, and consistently committing to put it in practice are two separate things. This year I wanted to make sure that my desire to write actually turned into work written.

Fortunately, writing begets writing, so here we are. Like my run streak (it’s been over a year), one of the keys to success for me was to build daily doable habits. So this is what I’ve been doing loosely: writing about work during the work week, writing about life on the weekend, posting on this here blog, and then adding good things to my notebooks in between.

The two biggest shifts that has positively impacted my writing habit: scheduling the time for it, and reducing my actual time spent on my phone consuming social media.

{Assorted Good Eats:}

You’ll have to imagine them, because most of the week my phone was away from me on the charger, and I only took a handful of blurry unlit snaps of my meals. (That gorgeous spread above is what I was eating a year ago in Istanbul!)

  • Chicken marinated in Trader Joe’s Amba (fermented mango sauce). You can find it in the fresh case by the pesto and hummus, and it’s a phenomenal marinade or all purpose sauce for any meat or fish. I can’t recommend it enough.
  • Whole Foods Matzah Crack. If you go by your local Whole Foods this week, I recommend picking up this seasonal treat: matzah coated in a sweet and just slightly salty caramel/toffee, and dipped in dark chocolate. Smitten Kitchen has a good recipe if you feel like making your own.
  • Trader Joes’ Braised Beef with mashed potatoes and cruciferous crunch salad. This beef (with demi glaze) is one of the best things at Trader Joe’s.

Lot’s of good meals on tap for this week. This is what my lightweight meal planning looks like most often. I also keep a spreadsheet when I’m inspired to do things digitally.

{Good Things}

I cleaned and re-foiled the grill to get ready for grilling season. All that’s left is to hook up the new gas tank, give the grates a bit of seasoning, and I’m ready to go.

I cut the cord! After far too long overspending, and time wasted with the television just on in the background, I finally got rid of cable tv, and switched from Comcast to wildly faster fiber internet with FIOS. I’ll still have Netflix, Hulu, and the occasional live TV access when desperate, but I’m decently sure that I’ll be using it far less than I have been. And while I do enjoy watching live sports, I *love* listening to sports on the radio. The only thing I anticipate missing is the clicker to my Xfinity box.

A pup walk with my friend Teri. Teri was in town for the Boston marathon (which she CRUSHED with solid training, and a 10 minute PR), and I was delighted to get the excuse to head into town with Bertram for an active recovery walk with her on Wednesday evening. Normally I don’t bother reaching out to people who are visiting for the marathon – they usually have enough on their minds! But I was SO delighted to get to see her, and the weather was beautiful.

Great reading this week: Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism (I opted appropriately, for the hardcopy), my friend Anna’s forthcoming book Shadow Magic, Ben Horowitz’s Hard Thing about Hard Things (Audible), Karen Wickre’s Taking the Work out of Networking, some Essential Jim Rohn, the last in the Discovery of Witches series (Audible), and got started on a galley of Sarah Gailey’s upcoming Magic for Liars.

Passover Dinner: this year we had a smaller dinner at my Uncle Allan and Aunt Roz’s house than normal, with many family members spread across the country and unable to come home for the meal.

This didn’t keep us from some of our favorite traditions: reading from several different Passover Story Haggadahs (Haggadot?), singing songs, opening the door for Elijah, Miriam’s cup, and some sephardic traditions including the Moroccan Bi Pilu (going around the table and blessing each participant with the seder plate over their heads.) Our youngest participant was just shy of 27, so the four questions were a collaborative effort.

In addition to our regular updated Silverman Haggadah – which I’ve always enjoyed for it’s Retro late 50’s artistic style, we read from the Gateways Haggadah, a pictorial version of the Passover story, which is written to support families with children of all abilities and disabilities, and is meaningful to our family. And this year, some new readings from the HIAS Haggadah, connecting the Passover story to today’s global refugee crisis. Ex: the section about the modern ten plagues of the refugee crisis: violence, dangerous journeys, poverty, food insecurity, lack of access to education, xenophobia, anti-refugee legislation, language barriers, workforce discrimination, and loss of family.

For dinner, we ate traditional seder plate fixins, two types of charoset from my mother – “New England Style” with a lot of apple, and “Turkish Style” with spices and dates, hard boiled eggs, a terrine like gefilte fish with plenty of horseradish, matzah ball soup, Moroccan mini meatballs and peas (we do kitniyot), my aunt’s Tsimmes, green beans. And for dessert: fruit, macaroons and a berry crisp my mom made.

Looking forward to:

My birthday gift from my mom: a generous MFA museum membership with reciprocal privileges at top institutions!

Spring planting in my potted garden! Fresh herbs, flowers, and vegetables, I’ve missed you.

Have a great week!

xo, Sam

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