Cover Your Bases 20

1/10/2021 Stuck in the middle of ...What the Hell?

This week: A reflection on something personal and reflective.  Hey, 2021. We had a violent coup attempt in Washington, DC, COVID-19 is raging, I have no idea when vaccines might roll out, and I am trying to manage my anger about it all.  Oh yeah, and we all went back to work-- those of us who are fortunate to still be working-- after a holiday break like no other, which in itself might or might not lead to future weeks of new COVID-19 surges.  

How about those resolutions? One week in?

FOOD AND DRINK: Well, I’ve held on to a big percentage of my resolution to have a dry January (didn’t drink while watching the disastrous news on January 6th),  have not had wheat for a week (except for the brioche bun on which I slapped my vegan chipotle black bean burger yesterday for lunch), and I’ve held back on having both sugar and red meat. On the other hand, I stress-ate tortilla chips with guacamole and salsa on the night of the 6th but resisted the last dregs of the Patron Silver I wished I could have swilled alongside. I did have a glass of 4% Lemorton French Pear cider with my take-out sushi last night, but hey, I hiked 4 miles. 

EXERCISE:  I  went back to Pilates after a holiday break.  It feels good to be in class.  I’ve been doing Pilates with Teresa since October 2017 and it’s not only kept me sane during the pandemic, it’s helped make me strong and healthy. Having an exercise practice is so good right now.  I’m hoping I will keep doing my holiday #mentalhealthhikes at least once or twice a week this winter as well, and maybe more outside exercise things, too. 

PEOPLE: I’ve been nicer to be around since I started doing more hiking (stress-reliever), but I’d say I still need to do a lot more to succeed as a better friend. I called some friends during the Jan. 6 debacle and made a couple of New Years’ Day calls, but truly, I suck at calling people I care about during a pandemic outside of a very small crew (like less than the fingers of one hand). 

Quick takes: Reading, watching, making

Mass autopsies of rats were crucial to ending San Francisco’s bubonic-plague epidemic. Credit: The National Library of Medicine/Centers for Disease Control (Source: Nature)

Black Death at The Golden Gate, by David K Randall. I am only 60 pages into this book, but can’t stop reading this history of the bubonic plague coming to California in the early 1900s.  The parallels with today are intense. San Francisco was back then a booming city ruled by greed (Gold Rush and shipping), and scores of business executives wrote a petition to the Governor stating there was no bubonic plague in the city (though there was)--including denim magnate Levi Strauss (Yep, they called it a “fake plague.) This book exactingly chronicles the racism and xenophobia around Chinese workers and the virus, and I am glad to be learning this awful history. (BTW, I also learned that it took 4 years to eradicate the bubonic plague from San Francisco).

There is also a  KQED talk with Randall about this book.

Netflix, Better Call Saul, Season 1: I was a total fan of Breaking Bad, but never got into Better Call Saul when it launched. But now, looking for good things to watch, and hearing it was amazing, I tuned in and I am so hooked. Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Michael McKean, Michael Nando, and Rhea Seahorn are amazing, and the dark humor is just right for me. What have you seen in this vein I might also like?

Substack, Emily Nunn, Department of Salad, OMG, I am madly in love with every word written by Emily Nunn in her newsletter and want to read her book and everything else she has written. 

As some of you know, I love salad.  Salad might be my favorite form of food. Pre-pandemic, I spent a lot of money at The Berkeley Bowl buying perfect, expensive Little Gem lettuces because they moved me more than even maguro tuna sashimi.  So imagine what it feels like to discover a writer who shares my passion for salad, is a terrific writer, and who seems like the best person to have written about the joys of making a salad, and making salad dressing, ever. I am entranced.

If you want to make salads, diving in with this Running List of Salad Recipes so far is a way to go. But if you want the sheer, subliminal joy of reading Emily writing about salads and salad making, just start with this latest post about winter citrus salads.

The Root, Michael Harriott, For Black People, Wednesday Was Just Another Day in AmericaTruth. Jan 6, 2021. Please read.

“Black people, however, watched this with the same eyes we used to watch Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley announced that Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey would not be charged for shooting Jacob Blake in the back, seven times, at point-blank range. We swallowed it with the same mouths that whistled while Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona, and Michigan specifically counted and recounted the votes from where we live, insinuating: “Ain’t no way they voted in the exact same percentage as white people. How’d they know how to fill out the absentee ballots? Those niggers must be up to something.”

You made it this far, so here is one last thing:

Photo by Oliver Parrin,  used under Creative Commons License

Eater, Life Was Not a Peach, by Hannah Selinger Toxic behavior in the food world yet again: this account, David Chang. #MeToo moments of accountability keep coming as people feel safer telling their stories.  This review of David Chang’s memoir, (which I started to read and then got too irritated to continue (he exceptionalized himself in a way that was exhausting for me), is extremely detailed and very compelling. It’s also led to more reflection and commentary from others, like this NY Times piece, this The Counter post, and this account.

Hey, I’d enjoy hearing from you--just send me an email.  Also, if you enjoyed #20, please share with someone who might like it, or share it online.  And if you got this from a friend and would like to subscribe yourself, please do so here

#21 will happen next Sunday, thanks for reading!

Best, Susan