life Reading

5 on a Friday

April 23, 2021

1- Live Your Ideal Life Without the Financial Kick in the Pants from Money Meets Medicine. I liked this ep – more focused on life planning than the typical financial podcasts (which all seem to be obsessed with real estate and bitcoin lately — I’m not really into either.)

2- Amazon and Inequality from Deep Background with Noah Feldman

Warning. This one may not make you feel good about the big A. I am contemplating changing my reading list links to something else.

3- I attended a fascinating (free) webinar on “Taming the EHR” with Dr. Marie Brown, internal medicine physician and director of practice redesign at the AMA. Right now it doesn’t look like the recording is up, but hopefully it will be eventually.

(The most mindblowing part? At the end, when she recommended a model of 2 medical assistants for every 1 physician. The current ratio where I work is definitely less than 1. This would absolutely make an enormous difference.)

4- This week’s post earlier about G’s soccer has had such fascinating comments. Thanks to all who have shared (varying!) perspectives. You all have definitely made me think.

I also reflected back a bit on my own experiences. I played piano and violin from a young age and happened to be fairly good. There were some fun things that came out of these activities — orchestra trips, friend groups, a summer away at a state program — and as a byproduct I was able to excel in singing (which I liked more) in a way that I probably wouldn’t have without the strong musical foundation.

BUT, I hated practicing and it was a daily battle to get it done. I also lacked passion for music in general that I saw in some of my peers. My parents did not forbid quitting; I just knew that if I quit all of the good things that came with these activities might go away. And so I persevered through most of high school. To this day, I am not sure a) whether I regret it or not and b) whether I’d be in my current life if I had quit. Excellence in music probably helped me get into the college I attended, which subsequently helped shape a lot of my life after that. (Though maybe if I hadn’t been doing music . . . I would have found something else to be good at?).

Furthermore, I was a competitive cheerleader (which took time, $, energy). I had more passion BUT less talent for this activity and my parents encouraged me to quit that basically daily. So I am harboring some complicated feelings about my own experiences.

Anyway! I am hoping that tomorrow G will enjoy running around on the field for a few minutes, but if she really doesn’t want to, I might just call it a season. On reflection (and some of your anecdotes) it’s probably easier for both of us that way!

(Interesting A enjoyed her second week despite her newbie status. Which just goes to show that toddler rebellion may not correlate well with future choices anyway.)

((I wonder what Angela Duckworth would say!))

5- Yesterday Josh put the kids to bed and I did something I haven’t done for a while — just free-journaled (in old Inkwell Press disc-bound notebook, for those that are curious). I restarted a new 100 dreams list (thank you for the reminder Laura!) and also did some troubleshooting of our mornings, which currently are more stressful than they need to be. It felt really good.

Four Winds going back to the library.
I did not manage my holds list now and am going to have to binge #2 and #3 on that stack to finish before they are due!

I also finished The Four Winds. OMG, how bleak and depressing that book was! I sobbed. I am not sure whether to recommend or not. But I guess it did provide some helpful perspective.


  • Reply Daniela April 23, 2021 at 7:24 am

    I never comment on any posts, but I enjoyed our reflections on G’s soccer practice. I enjoy the rest of your post too and admire your thoughts on combining a challenging career and life. Reading about G’s soccer struggles reminds me of when we enrolled my daughter in a soccer team when she was about three. She attended four times. Then, after her last practice she said: “Mom they didn’t share the ball even if I said please.” After that, I decided that it wasn’t worth it. Alas, it was too late. From that time on, she refused to enroll in any team sports. It wasn’t her thing and she didn’t want to try again. I felt bad for signing her up when she was too young, but she enjoyed plenty of other activities. She was a talented musician (she never had to be encouraged to practice) and I don’t think her life was in any way limited by not playing team sports. My daughter is now 22 and graduating from college this year, so I have the benefit of hindsight. By trying many different things, my daughter found the things she loved to do and stuck with them. You seem a wonderful parent and G seems to be a determined young girl (something we should encourage), if soccer isn’t her thing, she’ll find something else. You have a lot to worry about, but whether a three-year-old sticks with soccer should not be one of them. Who knows, she might be ready next year.

  • Reply gwinne April 23, 2021 at 7:26 am

    Hi. So I did not comment on your post about G’s soccer but did want to chime in! I would not hesitate to quit at all with a *3-year-old* whether quitting means one day or all of them. Just not there developmentally. The only activity my kids did prior to kindergarten was swimming lessons. For older kids, with an older attention span, I’d impress on them that me paying $=commitment=agreement to play. (Yes, big Angela Duckworth fan here!) Tiny Boy has a certain amount of autonomy in these sorts of things: like, he HAS to go to summer camp so I can work. I gave him several choices (for this summer) of camps that I feel comfortable with and asked him to rank order. He didn’t choose what I would have chosen for him….but that’s okay. My general philosophy is for elementary schoolers one activity at a time and that’s worked pretty well. Sometimes the constraints of single parenting can be useful 🙂

  • Reply Stacey April 23, 2021 at 7:54 am or book links for sure.

    • Reply Stacey April 23, 2021 at 7:55 am

      FOR book links.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 23, 2021 at 8:17 am

      Yes! I think this is what I am going to switch to! May project . . .

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns April 23, 2021 at 8:00 am

    I just read the 9 lives book and thought it was EXCELLENT! I burned through it. It’s kind of like the movie Sliding Doors but about whether to have kids or not. It was such a page turner. Addie LaRue is really good, too, but kind of long!!

    • Reply Gillian April 23, 2021 at 8:06 am

      I am bogged down in Addie LaRue. I am not sure the magical realism is my thing.

  • Reply Gillian April 23, 2021 at 8:04 am

    We have about 1.5 MAs per physician in out practice. It increases our overhead significantly (something I suspect hospital-based practices would be reticent to do especially in low revenue practice area like Endocrinology) but we do see many more patients this way (I see about 30 patients in a 10 hour day). For our private endocrinology practice it makes sense, not sure if the hospital accountants would agree. I still have trouble completing my charting during visits and have to close notes later.

    I am definitely going to look at the recording. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Reply Sam April 23, 2021 at 8:24 am

    Thank’s for the podcast rec about Amazon and inequality. We have leaned a lot on Amazon deliveries since having a baby and the pandemic, but we’ve been rethinking this lately. This episode might give a helpful perspective.

  • Reply Omdg April 23, 2021 at 9:48 am

    Lol maybe I’ll try Four Winds, since I seem to like the books you find depressing. 😉

    With Dyl, when she was six we kept her on swim team for far too long because of this fear that allowing her to quit would somehow be bad because she’s learn that quitting is ok (and actually, quitting something you hate IS ok). Now she refuses to participate in any organized sport. I know MANY people who would force their kids anyway – and many of them were on the swim team – but I think it’s important for kids to have some autonomy over what activities they do, so they can learn to choose a path in life they want rather than the one you pick for them. And three is so young. You are literally getting nothing out of it at this age if G or you are not enjoying it. She can quit now and still be on the US soccer team.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 23, 2021 at 9:58 am

      To be clear I have never and would never force any kid to sign up for any activity . . like when Annabel said she was done with ballet, we fully respected that. She hasn’t put on a leotard since 🙂 I would like each big kid to do one active thing and eventually one most artistic thing (has been challenging in pandemic times), but it can be anything they want. It was more about once a kid chose to sign up I want them to understand they chose to sign up and commit to that “series” of lessons (ie in this case, it was 7 sessions).

      That said, upon reflection (and some wise comments here) I think 3 is probably . . . young to really impart that lesson. Yeah, she said she wanted to sign up but she says a lot of things 🙂 Because she’s THREE!

      PS: I finally got Annabel signed up for a week of horse camp (she wanted this). We will see how she likes it and if so figure out how she can go weekly during the school year.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 23, 2021 at 10:02 am

      And I’d be curious if you liked Four Winds. I found it pretty quick to consume (not a super complex writing style) and got quite emotionally involved but in the end maybe a little too bleak? You will have to let me know. I do think you might like the other book I was reading – Greenwood. Some Emily St John Mandel-type vibes.

  • Reply Amy D April 23, 2021 at 11:31 am

    I’ve been reconsidering my use of Amazon as well. It’s so easy that I find I give them too much of my business.

    The turning point for me is that I’m a librarian and recently read an article about how Amazon is purposely not selling e-books and audiobooks to libraries, because they think we steal their profits. Unlike some publishers that make us wait 3 months before selling e-books to libraries, Amazon has opted to not sell to us at all either by making books available only on Kindle or as Audible exclusives. It’s so hard when we have patrons who want to listen to a certain audiobook or read a book only to find that we have no way of giving them access to it. It’s disheartening, to be honest.

    Aside from listening to audiobooks through my library, I have switched from Audible to LibroFM. They are the best! It’s sort of like where your money goes to independent bookstores. Plus they offer librarians, educators, etc. multiple free audiobooks each month (including The Four Winds). I love them so much and would highly recommend their service to anyone who really loves audiobooks.

    Does anyone have a non-Kindle e-reader that they like? I’ll use my Kindle until it dies, but I would like to replace it with something else when that day comes.

    • Reply Danielle April 23, 2021 at 9:16 pm

      Hello! I’m a library associate at a public library and my husband works in tech. I’d recommend checking out They have a number of devices using e-ink. I personally don’t use e-readers aside from being familiar with them to assist patrons, but my husband loves his. He uses it to read e-books, listen to audiobooks, take notes and draw. The internet browser also works really well and this is how he now reads internet articles in the evening so that he isn’t looking at a laptop or phone screen right before bed.

  • Reply Marcia (OrganisingQueen) April 23, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    Just on the Four Winds… I read many Goodreads reviews that said “all the terrible things that could happen to a person happened to this one person” 😮

    Too funny but from that i know it is way too bleak for me too!

    Interestingly, I just finished a Modern Mrs Darcy love which I hated. This has absolutely confirmed for me, if Anne loves a book, I will hate it 🙂

    The Currently Reading Podcast calls this your anti-book twin which I love!

  • Reply Sheryl April 23, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    I read SO MANY books last year (maybe 75?) and Greenwood was one of the most memorable. Maybe even in the Top 3! I hope you get a chance to read it before it has to go back.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 23, 2021 at 5:59 pm

      It’s due 6/1 so I have no doubt I will read it!

  • Reply CNM April 23, 2021 at 3:27 pm

    LOVED LOVED The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. Definitely worth a binge-read!

  • Reply Meghan April 23, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    I’m glad to see your review of The Four Winds. My mom had gotten it as a Book of the Month pick, and typically she passes those on to me when she’s done. As she was reading it, I kept getting texts from her about how it’s misery piled on top of misery and she is not passing it on to me, LOL!

    I’ll chime in with a soccer story too. I let my 7 year old son quit a few years ago. He’s not a competitive kid to begin with, wasn’t having any fun, and the coach was doing absolutely nothing to help him be more comfortable on the team. During one game he got stung on the ear by a yellow jacket, and that was that. He refused to go back and I couldn’t force that stress on him. He was fine with swimming lessons, gymnastics, Ninja class through the county rec department, etc. Just not a team sport kid, which bums me out a little since I had such great experiences playing sports.

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