5 on a Saturday: Media + A Game

December 16, 2023

1- Book rec: I’m not even finished with it, but I am really enjoying Pooja Lakshmin’s Real Self Care. I did not expect the author’s personal journey to include time spent in a cult! Her perspective as someone who got personally swept up in faux wellness AND as a mental health professional (she is a practicing psychiatrist) is really valuable.

2- Podcast rec #1: Peter Attia x Arthur Brooks: Cultivating happiness, emotional self-management, and more. Yes, it’s two extremely privileged white guys talking. AND it’s a great conversation. I feel like Arthur went a level deeper in this conversation than he has on other shows (maybe because it’s on the longer side).

3- Podcast rec #2: Planet Money –> Why 90s Ads are Unforgettable. Among other things, I learned how soap operas got their name!

Planet Money is a podcast I always find far more entertaining than one would think given the topics. They do such a great job making economics-related topics understandable to non-experts!

4- Podcast rec #3: Marathon Training Academy: Book Talk — Our Favorite Reads from 2023. Angie, one of the hosts of this show, is another reader who goes through >200 books/year (I am AMAZED at those of you who do this, I am a ~50 books/year person!). I got so many TBR-list ideas from this episode.

5- Connetions: My parents turned me onto this game and now I have added it to my morning puzzle ritual after Wordle!

I’ve only done 3 so far and find it pretty easy (no mistakes yet though I’m sure I’ll start making them!) — yet very satisfying. I am not into games . . . other than not-terribly-hard word games apparently. They are my jam!

Well, it’s Saturday!!! We have a weekend that’s pretty packed, but generally with fun things. The weather sucks and I am debating running in the rain vs doing the Peloton (or the treadmill, but that is noisy and would wake people up so can’t do that for a bit). Opportunities to run in the rain are not actually that plentiful here because rain usually comes with lightning and obviously I’m not going to run in that.

However this seems to be lightning-free rain. I’m leaning towards heading outside BUT will wait until there’s some daylight because dark AND rainy (AND windy) seems a bit questionable.

This weekend is a bit of a winter break preview, but the kids have school Monday + Tuesday (side note: I feel like most people are off starting Christmas; our winter break seems early! They go back 1/3). Our nanny is now off until the new year and I have just one more day of clinical work. Despite all that, it sort of feels like break has started already.


  • Gymnastics
  • Pick up bday cake (DQ Oreo Cake – that’s what she asked for)
  • Nutcracker!


  • Reply Gillian December 16, 2023 at 7:25 am

    My kids don’t get out until Friday, but they don’t go back until 1/8!!! I mostly feel bad for our au pair because my husband and I are back at work on 1/2.

    • Reply Chelsea December 16, 2023 at 8:45 am

      Us, too! I feel like this is the opposite of what everyone would prefer, which is more days off before Christmas (which would also be more likely to line up with Hanukah) and then go back right after the new year. Though we are definitely using the days before they go back to school for their physicals, so I’m guessing you may be busy :).

      We started August 10, and Aug 10 – Dec 23 seems like a long fall semester, but maybe they baked in extra hurricane days after having to scramble to make up time last year.

  • Reply Amy December 16, 2023 at 7:41 am

    The schools around here all start their break today, which seems excessive to me. We go back January 4. Not to sound all curmudgeonly, but when I was in school winter break started with a half day on December 23 and we were back in school January 2! These long winter breaks feel weird to me, but also kind of nice. But maybe almost 3 weeks is a bit long.

    And I love the connections game too, except for when the categories seem completely arbitrary! Sometimes I have no idea how they expect people to figure it out!

  • Reply December 16, 2023 at 8:05 am

    TB and I have essentially the same break…which is less than ideal. I’m working today to steal a day this week when they are in school for my own purposes. LG turned me on to connections, which I find either really easy or Completely arbitrary. I do spelling bee religiously though

  • Reply Chelsea December 16, 2023 at 8:39 am

    I love doing Wordle and Connections in the mornings. It’s just enough to make my brain feel like it’s awake! I do think they’ve made Connections a little bit easier in the last couple weeks after a few where – as Amy said – it seemed like a big stretch. I typically only run into problems if it’s a category I know nothing about (MLB mascots, etc.), and there was one day it relied on pronouncing a set of words in the same way (I can’t remember the word right now) but there are regional differences in how you say the word, so I was like, “What?!? I don’t say “X” like “Y”! Who says that?” I’m on day 114 of my Wordle streak, which would be higher execpt I forgot to do it on my birthday :(. Clearly I have a lot of opinions on NYT puzzle games, lol.

    Hope you guys stay dry and have a great birthday party. It’s not raining here yet, but I wish it would so it would wrap up before I run the Mt. Dora 1/2 tomorrow. I don’t mind running the the rain, but I really don’t want to have to stand around in – and then run in – the pouring rain.

  • Reply Lisa’s Yarns December 16, 2023 at 10:01 am

    Yesterday was Paul’s last day of school for the year. He goes back on 1/3. It feels like such a long break! Luckily the after school program provides child care all of next week and 2 days the following week. So we only have to cover 2 days. Our daycare is only closed on Christmas Day. So we are kind of lucking out. Paul will have way more fun at the school program than he would at home and my husband and I don’t have time off work. I tested positive for Covid yesterday so am just hoping I don’t give it to anyone else so we can keep our Christmas Eve plans and they can stay in school/daycare. Fingers cross. So far both boys are testing negative.

    • Reply Coree December 17, 2023 at 3:47 am

      Oh no, Lisa! Very 2020 vibes. I had a very direct exposure (person I sat right next to at drinks/long dinner) last Monday and am testing. We had it this time last year, and it was touch and go whether we’d be able to get on a plane, so hoping to avoid a repeat. Keep getting funny “symptoms” but I think it’s mostly paranoia/lupus flare from being quite run down.

  • Reply coco December 16, 2023 at 4:43 pm

    it’s 3 weeks break for us, starting next Monday until 1/8. we will be out most of 2 weeks and then few days for them to relax/recharge/get bored, before starting school.
    I’ll listen to Angie’s podcast, it has been a while I listen to them. I love the couple.

  • Reply Coree December 17, 2023 at 3:45 am

    T’s school finishes on Friday which feels very late, and he goes back on the 8th. I don’t know why they didn’t do Wednesday to Wednesday. We have to leave on Thursday anyways, due to flights. But we fly home on the 31st, and my in laws are coming on the 3rd. My husband is working the 3rd and 4th, I’m off the 3rd. Need to find an open library though to work at, my office is also the guest bedroom, and last time they had a drum concert outside my door…

    We are hosting a little party this am, cinnamon rolls, hot chocolate, and mimosas for the adults. Hoping it’ll be fun, I’ve invited a bit of a hodgepodge of people but it’s just for 2 hours. A bit of fun, before I go to London for the day tomorrow, 6:15 train, 8 hours of travel for a 90 minute meeting… but I can finish off my grading on the train, I’ve given myself time and will treat myself to a nice lunch and a trip to Foyle’s bookshop.

  • Reply Liz December 17, 2023 at 5:23 am

    I’m in NYC and my kids (in NYC public schools) are only off between Xmas and New Years, which is nice for my husband and I, as we both work full time and do not want to have to save our PTO to take two weeks off. That said, they have every Jewish high holiday off, as well as Eid (Muslim Holiday), so there are a lot of days off scattered throughout the year, but they are much more manageable than large chunks of time off.

  • Reply Irene December 17, 2023 at 9:42 am

    Oh wow surprised by these long breaks. We are off 23rd to 2nd and that’s the norm here. I can’t decide if I’d like a longer break- much longer and we’d need camp or something so maybe not? I do wish we had more long weekends and things scattered throughout the year to visit family.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 17, 2023 at 1:00 pm

      I’d prefer a shorter break! But both public and private down here do 2 full weeks

  • Reply Miranda December 17, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    Love Connections! Some days, especially the past few, have felt very easy. There are days where I get none of the categories! I play Connections first, and then use a five letter word with no duplicates from Connections as my starting Wordle word. Adds to the whimsy! So far, it appears there is absolutely no association. 🙂

  • Reply Katherine B December 17, 2023 at 2:20 pm

    Hope you enjoyed The Nutcracker. We’ve just returned from watching a live stream in our local cinema from The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden which was amazing. I love this ballet so much, music, costumes, sets, story and the astonishing dancing. So beautiful.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 17, 2023 at 2:23 pm

      We loved it!!! Went yesterday!!

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