issue #135 - the obsessive one
Ice Planet Barbarians got me through the holiday season and the Omicron surge in January.
I still have so much love for my warmongering faeries and sexy blue aliens (and implore you to read them, if you haven’t yet). But they’ve taken a back seat to Formula 1 right now.
I don’t know how I got here, but I will talk your ear off about how much more Steiner deserves at Haas, that Mr. Ginger Spice is kind of a douche canoe, and how I only want good things for Alex Albon and Williams. And I’m annoyed that I like Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes as much as I do (it’s like liking the Patriots during the Brady-Belichik era).
Basically, I can’t-stop-won’t-stop talking about F1. And the Netflix docuseries is all I want to watch right now.
“Randomly obsessed” is my personality type. I’ve fallen into rabbit holes of the 2008 Great Recession and the anti-vaccination movement. My obsession with space, Taco Bell, and the Philadelphia Eagles have been going strong for over 30 years. Romance as a genre has a chokehold on my heart, and I just keep adding new authors to my list.
In the chaos and uncertainty of the world and life, I find comfort in learning as much as I can about the random things that capture my interest - both the serious and the frivolous. F1 is a bit of both.
I wish I had begun watching this show when it first aired, as it provides a fascinating insight in how Europeans negotiate (and how tactics are different based on which European country you’re from and work in). It neatly explains the age-old question of “why are men?” I have no issues objectifying the very handsome men who fill the 20 spots on the grid.
And the obsession seems to be passing down to the next generation, as Rho brought me two F1 style cars he built from Legos (Ferrari and Williams, specifically).
When so much is out of our control (and frankly feels dire and terrible and all bad), there is something comforting about filling your mind with things that bring you joy or spark your curiosity. It’s a practice in controlling what you will allow in your headspace and to affect your mood, versus letting yourself be bombarded by headlines and news stories designed to grab your attention and elicit a response that keeps you on their website, reading and clicking and generating the outlet even more money.
When I find myself feeling despondent or hopeless, I’ll sit on the couch and watch part of an episode of Drive To Survive, or read a back issue of my friend Lily’s F1 newsletter (check out the previous issues here).
And then I get back into the fight and back to work.
It’s not “constantly read and inform and take action,” nor is it “tap out and only consume what brings you joy and happiness.” It’s both/and, and being cognizant of “how much” and “how often” you consume on a daily basis.
For me, it means reading my news (not watching it), and reading from outlets like The 19th*, The Juggernaut (I’m an investor), The Atlantic, and The Dispatch - independently-run media companies that focus on long-form pieces that aim to contextualize as much as they inform.
And, you know, watching Drive To Survive (finally on season 3!).
How To Be The “Fun” Grown-Up (sponsored by KiwiCo)
I want to be a fun parent - the one that’s not afraid to get messy or silly, who puts together fun activities. I want to be a present parent, with my phone far out of reach and my full focus on my children.
I’m not the kind of parent who’s skilled at brainstorming these activities, or having the foresight to scribble down or print directions.
But that’s why I love KiwiCo.
KiwiCo inspires kids to be makers with their crates, filled with fun projects that also expose them to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math). Koala Crates (ages 2-4) have simple projects that Rhaki absolutely loves, and Atlas Crate (ages 6-11) transports Rho and I to different parts of the world with engaging activities and conversations that last long after we finish a project.
Every weekend, I have 1:1 time with each kid to start or complete one of the activities from the box. Rho and I have built a foosball table and stitched a sloth while exploring Brazil. Rhaki and I transformed a backpack into a bear and built a fort over a mini-campfire to explore camping (very much on my terms).
KiwiCo has helped me be the mom I want to be, with spending quality time with my kids doing projects we both want to do and making it a joy. It’s why I always have a few extra KiwiCo boxes on hand, for rainy days and their friends’ birthday parties alike.
What I Read This Week
Sapphire Flame by Ilona Andrews- I’m still deciding whether I designate this a DNF (did not finish). I was taken with the sexy The Conspiracy Of Us premise (but with some serious magic), but I haven’t been able to get into it as much as other books. Catalina is the young head of a new House, and is immediately tested when an accident brings an old friend back into her life (and her old crush joining her side to help solve the mystery and unravel a conspiracy). I’m more than halfway through and will give it one last go this weekend. So far, there’s not enough steam and the story is still confusing…but I am invested enough in Catalina and Alessandro and Runa to give it the weekend.
Only in linking to the book here did I realize I jumped into the middle of the series, skipping the first 3 books. Jury’s out on whether I pause this one and go read the first three, or keep reading this book.
Atomic Habits by James Clear - I mentioned here that my friend Neha’s reflections on this book (which also came recommended by Paulina and Bertha) got me to pick it up again. And while it does have its repetitive moments, I think I was finally in the right headspace to read this right now. Clear focuses more on systems to create habits - and really the life you want. To borrow Neha’s analysis, you can go deeper and use his tips to study the stories we tell ourselves about us, and the stories we want to be told about us, and what to start/stop doing to make that happen. The focus on stories is something I’ve been adopting this week. I am strong, so I make it a point to exercise every day. I am focused, and will complete my tasks early in the day so I can enjoy some downtime before shifting into mom mode (this doesn’t always happen, but it has helped me log off by dinnertime every night and enjoy my evenings with my family). I think this book is best listened to (if you are able), and I recommend keeping a running note on the stories you observe about yourself and the new ones you want to right as you listen to this book.
Be A Triangle by Lilly Singh - I confess that I triple-bought this book - the physical copy, the Kindle version, and the audiobook - because I loved it that much. Lilly Singh is a personal hero of mine and I loved this brief, wisdom-packed book so much (and the audiobook is so engaging and will leave you laughing out loud). I think it’s the perfect book to follow Atomic Habits, to help you go deeper in the stories we tell ourselves and how to write new ones by being a triangle, resting solidly on the ground.
Top #5SmartReads of the Week
The Limits of Privilege (The Cut)
Leah Jeffries is Annabeth Chase (Rick Riordan)
The rest of the week’s reads (and conversations!) are below:
Your Questions, Answered
Could you share your latest book recs? I forgot to screenshot! Thank you!
Both the books I’m reading right now (or just finished) or have recommended are shared in the weekly #5SmartReads newsletter! Linking to last week’s here.
Pregs and have COVID. Why is it so hard to know what’s ok for pregnancy without asking Dr?
I’m so sorry and I hope you have a full and quick recovery!
The longer answer is that pregnancy is such a vulnerable (and litigious) time that we don’t enroll many pregnant people in clinical trials for medications and err caution on other lifestyles choices.
That said, @dr.martaperez is one of my favorite people on this platform and does regular AMAs so you can ask for her general thoughts on some questions (NOT formal medial advice)
Where should I vacation for husbands 40th? Six adults, three toddlers.
Palmaïa - The House of AïA. Brooke traveled there last year with her family and it has an incredible children’s club and onsite babysitting and looks luxe and stunning! It’s high on our list for a family trip.
What are you looking forward to?
The Mexican Pizzas are returning!!
Vaccines for our young kids and variant-specific boosters
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills AND Dubai (it’s the only show that an turn my brain off)
spending as many weekends as possible in Pennsylvania this summer and doing the little things - fruit picking, riding bikes, making my kids run laps around my parents house when they get crazy, lots of @tacobell visits
reading Throne Of Glass this summer
finally using my grill this summer?
I feel like I need a career coach, but govt not biz oriented- suggestions?
Both Leah Wiseman Fink and Komal Minhas have public sector experience before they transitioned into coaching, so I think you could be in excellent hands with either of them!
Fun Q- who do you want to see play Rhys in ACOTAR?
Regé-Jean Page. Or the next RJP.
How to handle car seats in taxis/Ubers when visiting NYC?
You can request an UBER Family that has a convertible car seat available in every car! For infants, we had a @doonausa and it was perfect for navigating the city with a baby either by walking, subway, bus, or cabs and ride share.
You may want to see if you can rent a Doona via Babyquip when you’re in the city!
And if you need excellent airport drives with car seats, hit reply and I’ll hook you up with Andree (who runs a driver agency with car seats safely installed)
Best rapid COVID test for traveling to get back into the country? Traveling to Canada
I just went to the airport early for a COVID test, but that’s because I forgot to restock my Cue Health tests! They’re approved for entry back in the USA form Canada.
Do I take interesting job opp if it means learning curve and less flex? Tired mom of 2 under 4s.
Can you negotiate for flexibility in the role? If you’ve been offered it, it means you are more than qualified and it’s a good way to gauge how life-friendly the role and team are.
The learning curve, I’m not worried about for you. It’s the flexibility and if they can’t accommodate the very real needs of parents in these times, then you may be dodging a bullet.
I think it’s incredibly courageous to prioritize your family and yourself right now, since the private sector and public sector won’t.
Traveling for work again, any recs for an affordable and functional work bag?
Here are my favorites!
May you find your own random obsession, and to savor every second you spend in it.