Cross-Posted to my Substack, my new weekly Newsletter.

Buds. This week saw several pup-walks with our friend Sawyer the Corgi, and our friend Sylvie the Frenchie.

👀 This week I started my End of the year Retrospective Process. It’s something I really enjoy doing in downtime over the last few weeks of the year. I’ve written about this before in some detail here.

Usually, I’ll go through my calendar, my photos – 12k this year so far, my emails, my writing, journals and notebooks, and anything else that can help me to get a better picture of my life in the past year.

It’s quite a fun process – I get great satisfaction in looking back and re-living things!

I also make yearly lists while I’m at it: here’s a peek at last year’s 2022 Eating: A Non-Exhaustive ListList of Lists (which is due for an update). My 2023 Kitchen Resolutions. My 2023 Reading List.

And then over the next few weeks I’ll update some of my regular life-binder lists: my movies/shows to watch, creative adventures, purchases I’d like to make, creative inputs (podcasts, etc.), Goodreads, etc. I’ll review my financial plans and finish up my taxes early.

At the end of the month, I’ll update my intentions for the new year, and pick a new word of the year, so I can set off with fresh ideas and inspiration.

I’ve been loving the light hitting the tops of the trees this week on our late afternoon walks before it gets dark.

This Week in Good Things:

  • Food Memories: I boiled a chicken. And then when it was almost done cooking, I some farfalle noodles to the stock, and served myself a soup with chicken, pasta, and a lot of lemon, just like my dad would when I wasn’t feeling good.
  • Sometimes Self Care is.. doing nothing? I had my quarterly-ish facial with Lily. Upon observing my skin, she mentioned that whatever I was doing with my skincare I should do more of. I didn’t tell her that actually, I went down a rabbit hole of finding the best products over several months, acquiring them, and then never using them. My skin just likes being ignored, almost criminally.
  • Change of Scenery. My neighbors are re-siding their house, which is noisy. So I picked up and went to work at the coffee shop a few times this week during the mid-day. It reminded me that I still haven’t gotten my pre-pandemic coffee shop routine back, and might want to figure out how to do that again.
  • First Snow (that wasn’t.) Well, it was supposed to snow, but ended up being a bit of a dud. That said, I decided to celebrate with chocolate mousse. I pulled in my dahlias (the tubers need to be split and saved this week.) The following several days we had un-seasonally warm-ish weather.
  • World Adventures: Our Battle Ducks team made it to region 11 of CRAW, the circumpolar race around the world. We’ve been going for several years now! This region is from the top of Alaska down through Canada to the Border of Montana. Early days I used to write a weekly re-cap of where we are in the world – I think I’d like to bring that back!
  • Good Snacks: Light Rye Wasa Crackers, Trader Joe’s Pavé Cheese, Kalles, and Topaz Apples.
  • I acquired one of the most unique cookbooks in my entire collection from one of our neighborhood little libraries: Sharing the Table With Your Bird: Recipes for people and parrots!
  • I had a great time watching The Marvels. Is it the best Marvel? No, but it has one of the most purely enjoyable Marvel fight scenes that I’ve seen period. The magic systems are interesting. And the new world locations that we visit are delightful. Also, I got myself popcorn, which I never do. (I also learned that Majestic has brought back $7 Tuesdays, and you can still reserve your seat on Atom. So I think I’ll be doing that again.)

Good Things Elsewhere and on the Internet:

I’ve been trying not to go down too many rabbit holes this week. (Although Sam Altman being outsted from AI has definitely been one of them.)

  • Age is a number. Statistics-wise, Lebron James is having the best season of his career. This is his 21st year in the league, and he’s about to turn 39. He’s also the oldest player right now in the NBA.
  • Birds are fascinating. Man plays a flute while his raven sings along. I also loved this one of a parrot reacting to their human leaving the house. Dancing along to the Tiki Room. Budgies Singing Sean Paul.
  • Taylor has her Disney Prince (with a good voice, too!) Swifties then proceeded to help him get to number one on the charts.
  • Are the 90s a lie? I’ve not been able to look away from the TikTok’s of Enrique Iglesias singing poorly at live shows. (Sadly, I feel like there’s something that has happened to his voice. Also, in contrast, Nepo babies crushing it: check out Emily Estefan on Instagram.
  • Local History: For those of you who know anything about Massachusetts Geography, I live right around the corner from the Star Market over the Mass Pike. Enjoyed this article about it’s history.
  • Nature. I made the mistake on chiming in on a Neighborhood Facebook Group post about Coyotes. (Do not recommend). Also, this video of a bull elkThis Dog TikTok Content.
  • Creative baking TikTok. “Cherry Pie”.
  • I stumbled upon my own blog as a citation in the Wikipedia page for Chez Panisse.
  • Maybe you need some Squid Facts. The nice thing about this is that it asks you to prompt it any time you’d like a fact, and doesn’t send them aggressively.

The Weekly Meal Plan:

This week I’ve been going through my meals in 2023. Every year I make a big recap list, and it’s always fascinating to see what kinds of foods I’ll eat for weeks at a time, and then… forget entirely.

  • Sunday: Meatloaf, mashed potato, steamed broccoli with blue cheese and balsamic
  • Monday: Chipotle Pulled Pork Chili, leftover mashed potato, green salad
  • Tuesday: Jaju Pierogi, grilled onions, roasted cauliflower
  • Wednesday: French Onion soup with… tofu.
  • Thursday: Thanksgiving! (We’re having Orenell’s.)
  • Friday: Leftovers and a very large salad
  • Saturday: Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

xo, Sam