The Weekly Wrap #3

04.11.2021

On Friday, I was lucky enough to receive my first COVID vaccine shot. My dose was given at a FEMA mass vaccination site in Maryland. It was a highly efficient operation. Only 20 minutes elapsed from the moment I arrived until the moment I left - that included the 15-minutes "let's make sure you don't have an awful allergic reaction" timeout. The entire tent complex was abuzz with organized activity and you could just sense the joy under people's masks.

What has stuck with my most about the whole systematic operation is the people. During my visit, I interacted with 10 individuals - some for only a few seconds. All of them are strangers to me and all of them will remain strangers to me. But each of these people has had a profound impact on my life. They made it possible for me to receive this vaccine. Without their hard work, I would not be rubbing this sore spot on my arm. 

This vaccination site is a living reminder of the amount of unnamed individuals throughout the world who have gotten us to this point. All the scientists. All the nurses, doctors, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. All the contact tracers. All the people actually putting shots in other people's arms. All the people doing what I can only imagine is a mountain of paperwork and administrative activity (someone has to design, print, and distribute all those COVID vaccination cards).

So... many... people. 

Thank you. Thank you each and every one of you.

I’m still reading Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins. I’m about halfway through the book which is generally the point in a romance novel where I start mentally screaming “Just kiss already!” Also, I’m making mental notes to do some historical research later. Jenkins is dropping factoids that I want to learn more about. People are generally amazed when I tell them that you can learn a lot about history from a romance novel but these authors do their homework.

  • Childcare is too expensive but childcare workers aren't paid nearly enough. [Vox]

  • All the ways we used to sleep. [Clever]

  • How World War II led to the invention of the McNugget. [History]

  • The death of the American dining room table. [Vox]

  • How to store all kinds of food to keep them fresher longer. [Real Simple]

  • How much you should pay your babysitter based on geography. Also, as a former baby sitter, keep a stocked snack pile. [Lifehacker]

  • Is it allergies or COVID? [WaPo]

  • Empty cities and the modern flaneur. [The Guardian]

  • Unable to take to the skies, he creates the meals at home. [CNN]

  • American workers have a lot unused PTO burning a hole in their pocket. [The Atlantic]

  • A very good thread on Taylor Swift and copyright. [Twitter]

  • Why Myanmar's military fights it's own people. [The Daily]

  • From FOMO to FONO. How we can learn to socialize again. [Life Kit]

  • The racist history of the highway system. [Morning Edition]

  • Names are important. [Life Kit]

  • I used two vacation days this week just to get a little break. On one of those days, I decided to super clean our condo. It's amazing how many episodes of Planet Money you can get through when you're scrubbing all the crevices in your kitchen and bathroom.

    • What is the cost of a human live? [PM]

    • The structure of a Planet Money episode. [PM]

    • From rent to mortgage to financiers - what happens when people can't pay. [PM]

    • The economics of vaccines. [PM]

    • Fighting back against bad terms of service. [PM]

    • How vaccines came to be. [PM]

  • I returned to 1997 and watched James Cameron's Titanic. I saw this film four times in theaters when it came out, watched it in the theater during the re-release in 2017, and occasionally catch it on TV. This time, I was suddenly in the mood to watch a long movie and it was available for purchase on Amazon Prime streaming. I can honestly admit that, as I get older, the movie's weaknesses show more. (The writing really is not that great.) Even so, my enjoyment doesn't diminish. I love a chance to talk about all the random things I know about the ship and her influence. Too bad my poor husband has heard it all before. Multiple times.

  • The breathing forest. I watched this short video on Twitter nearly a dozen times. 

  • We have learned that our kiddo is particular about eating protein. Sous videing is a great way to get to the texture that she likes. This week, we opted to sous vide a duck breast (l'orange style) to see if she would eat it. Yes. Yes she did. I'm fairly certain she ate as much of it as I did. Also, this recipe is WAY easier than a full duck a l'orange. The Husband made that one time and it was a prissy recipe. I think the duck needed to be rotated every 15 minutes. Sous videing, on the other hand, is pretty much set it and forget it. Also tasty. Very tasty.

  • In my continuing quest to make our meatless Monday not all pasta, I made this vegetable tamale pie. It was delicious but, despite it being FULL of filling  when I popped it in the oven, the cornbread topping somehow took over.

  • Every time I make meatballs I am surprised by how easy they are. Why do I continue to buy them frozen? This week, I used the spinach and feta turkey meatballs recipes from Budget Bytes. I just used an entire 8 oz. bag of spinach and sautéed it in the pan until it cooked down.

  • Spring in DC is just lovely. Our neighborhood has lots of yards with flowers this time of year. Flowers are one of my favorite simple pleasures in life. I love a good bouquet and I love flowers in the wild even more. Most days, I get out for a lunch time walk to enjoy the weather and the blooms. You can see a few of the beauties on my Instagram.

I love finding little things that bring me lots of joy. One of my favorite daily indulgences is the Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA. Just a single science-y image, usually from a telescope, to enjoy every day. Plus, you can click back through the extensive archives.

We’ve got plans to order from one of our favorite Indian restaurants, Naanwise, later this week. Bring on the lamb saag!