Bonus: What Kept me Sane in 2021
It’s Christmas week, and even if you do not celebrate, you probably have some time off. And if you do celebrate, maybe you need last-minute gifts (for others or yourself). And if you read this newsletter, you may have some interests that overlap with mine. Hence, a bonus list of recommendations based on the only three leisure activities I engage in: running, reading, and cooking. If you are looking for parenting or kid items, you won’t find them here, because this one’s about me!
I like to run in the dark at 5:30 in the morning. It’s my meditation time. Part of what I like about running (relative to, say, basketball) is that there isn’t a lot of setup or gear. But a few things that make it better…
Tracksmith. (Full disclosure, these guys wrote a piece on me recently. But they found me because I liked their stuff, not the other way around.) These are the best clothes I have found for running in the cold outside. I am obsessed with this top, which seems like it would not keep you warm at all but which I will wear without a jacket down to about 30 degrees. Below 30, I add a jacket and these tights. I will not lie, these are expensive. But not having to use the treadmill when it’s 25 degrees outside: priceless.
Gloves plus mittens. Here is my pro tip for other people who have a problem with circulation. You should wear gloves and put mittens over them. Game changer!
BSeen armbands. Because I do not want to be run over by a truck.
Garmin watch. I have a Forerunner, which I need to upgrade. But broadly, I like it.
Oh, and if you want to be able to get up really early to run and not wake up your partner, allow me to recommend the Shake-n-Wake wrist alarm, which has been contributing to the happiness of my marriage for many years.
I read a lot of books for work (including a lot on parenting, some of which I’ve covered in this newsletter over the past year). But I was curious to look back to see what I’d read just for pleasure. It was a bit challenging to sort through my book orders, nearly all of which are elements of the Captain Underpants series, but here are some non-underpants-oriented books I thought were great, in the order of my reading them.
The Startup Wife, by Tahmima Anam. Diverting. Will be enjoyable if you think tech startups are funny (who doesn’t?).
Between Two Kingdoms, by Suleika Jaouad. Extraordinary. I had to stay up too late to finish it.
The Writing of the Gods, by Edward Dolnick. Rosetta Stone decoding. Pretty interesting stuff about how writing works.
The Third Pole: Mystery, Obsession, and Death on Mount Everest, by Mark Synnott. What can I say? I like books about people being cold.
The Other Black Girl, by Zakiya Dalila Harris. Especially good if you know something about publishing houses.
All the Bridgerton series, by Julia Quinn, if you haven’t already gotten through them. It’s vacation, after all.
Cooking takes time, and I do not end up doing as much of it as I would like. (Thank you and shout-out to our babysitter, Clare, who does most of it and is also a better cook.) But I do have a lot of feelings about cooking. And the upside of my limited time is that most of this advice is made for people who also have limited time.
Smitten Kitchen Every Day, by Deb Perelman. Broccoli melts. Brussels sprout pasta bake. Any of the cakes. Blueberry muffins. Pizza beans. I have the original book too, but I come back to this one more since it’s more straightforward.
Paprika. A menu-planning app that keeps recipes and groceries. It costs money but is worth it.
That’s it! Hopefully there is something fun in here for you. Have a wonderful holiday week! I’ll be back Thursday with something on sibling conflict and whether you can fix it.