Hello friends! How is everyone holding up? I skipped the resource issue last week so this week’s newsletter is going to include a number of resources, most of which I haven’t seen mentioned frequently or at all in the many, many lists about physical distancing going around.
First, I want to be up front about something I learned after last week’s newsletter went out. Alas, there are no wayward dolphins in the canals of Venice. The swans are in Venice, but in Burano, where they always are. Oh well, a girl can dream! I think many of us are trying to grasp at little bits of light wherever we can and I’ve clearly been guilty of not doing my due diligence this time.
Before I get much deeper into resources, I want to share something that has been bringing me an absurd amount of joy:
If you click through, someone responded with the original video the sound bite is from.
The Database of Localized Resources During COVID 19 Outbreak, in the form of a Google Sheet, is full of crowd-sourced info. Sections include:
Local Mutual Aid
National Mutual Aid Support
Organizing for Specific Demands
Healthcare Providers Support
How to/Best Practices
Mental Health/Physical Health
From Funders, For Funders
There is also a link for you to recommend resources to be added.
“To address our unprecedented global and immediate need for access to reading and research materials, as of today, March 24, 2020, the Internet Archive will suspend waitlists for the 1.4 million (and growing) books in our lending library by creating a National Emergency Library to serve the nation’s displaced learners. This suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later.”
My friend Violet posted this mildly horrifying and incredibly fascinating article about how the way people are eating has changed due to the forced working from home, specifically people who work at tech companies that usually supply meals. It made me think that I should offer a couple of my favorite cooking resources.
First up is the book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat. I was very fortunate to grow up in a home with a garden and people who cooked. I learned a lot growing up and I continue to cook today; however, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat helped me level-up my cooking in ways I never imagined. The author has now created a podcast to help with quarantine cooking and how to use your pantry items. The show is called Home Cooking.
Second, within the last couple of years I introduced my wife to America’s Test Kitchen. They have some free stuff as well as paid stuff on their site and a YouTube channel as well. After 20 seasons of shows, the amount of knowledge can be overwhelming. We swear by their bread book, Bread Illustrated. We mostly use their site/YouTube videos when we are looking for something specific, like how to defrost meat quickly and safely. What America’s Test Kitchen does is try dozens and dozens of ways to prepare something and then figure out THE BEST way to prepare the thing. They also do reviews of food products e.g., which brand has the best coconut milk or what’s the best affordable chef’s knife?
My new year’s cornbread from their recipe came out textbook perfectly:
A lot of us are working from home right now in less than desirable ergonomic conditions. There’s a lot of advice out there telling us to get up and stretch! Which, you know, cool, but many people don’t necessarily know the best ways to stretch. I’ve figured out that the stretches I used to do for archery are great for working my upper body and especially my arms and wrists which get fatigued from being on a laptop all day at our dining table.
I found a video that replicates the archery stretches I typically do and, I’m sorry, it’s boring as fuck. But it’s really useful:
For those of you who have money and want to throw money at your problems, I bought this exercise bike* last summer after reading Burnout (more on that below). It’s compact and can fold vertically and be stored away. Yes, you have to put it together yourself, which I found fun because I like shit like that. It’s been an absolute lifesaver during the shelter in place here in California. I’ve been basically in our 1-bedroom apartment for over 2 weeks by the time you’re reading this newsletter. The bike has helped both my wife and I maintain our sanity.
I debated including this book in this issue. I wanted to put it in its own special issue of this newsletter, where I could really take time to highlight it and pour praise all over it. But, like I mentioned before: shit is different right now. So, plans change. And some people are taking the physical distancing time to read a book or many books and I wanted to throw this one onto the top of your TBR (To Be Read) pile.
You can actually listen to me talk about this book on this episode of All the Backlist! The whole episode is about 9 minutes long and I talk about this book for what, 4 minutes? I don’t know. What I’m saying is, you have time to give it a listen if you are interested.
It’s a book about stress, obviously. It talks about how, even if you get rid of the stressor you haven’t actually dealt with the stress itself. This book tells you HOW to complete the stress cycle so that your body isn’t in this constant state of, well, burnout.
And that’s only the first chapter!
This book focuses on women as the audience. That being said, there is helpful stuff in here for everyone. It has changed my life. I am hyper-skeptical about self-help books but this one I stand behind 100%. It’s brilliant. It’s helpful. Everyone I’ve given a copy to that has read it agrees that it’s a phenomenal book and I’ve given it to half a dozen people already. It only came out last year and I’ve already read it twice. It will be an annual read for me.
It gives me tools to get through everyday stress, but it’s also been invaluable in helping me with all this stress RIGHT NOW.
If you take away anything from this newsletter, I hope that it’s reading this book.
Unrelated to anything: If you don’t know, museums post some amazing content on Twitter so I’ll leave you with this:
That’s it for this week! If you enjoy this newsletter, feel free to give me a tip!