cultivating & crashing

an organic collection of notes, observations, and thoughts

עלייה ראשונה

My first aliyah, Bereshit 1:6-8, part of Simchat Torah.

aliyah simchat torah

“Consumer” health info

Because we are primarily consumers nowadays. So that we may consume legitimate health information:

Ik zit met een ei

I sit with an egg

You have to sit with the egg, which is uncomfortable, and commit to doing that in order for the egg to turn into a chicken, which is what you want. Otherwise, nothing will come of it.

Stolen from a DeviantArt page that no longer exists:

In Belgium we have an expression: “Ik zit met een ei.” Which literally means: “I’m sitting with an egg on my mind”.
The egg actually symbolizes an unborn idea or a problem you’re stuck with.
When the egg will hatch, remains the question.

epi epi epi

Yesterday I went to an amazing seminar by Madhu Pai on open access publishing. Everyone doing research should consider open access publishing, including asking non-open access journals to publish your article under an open access license.


  • In Pai’s experience, most editors say yes when ask if the paper can be open access. So no matter what the journal, just ask, providing some rationale.
  • Space for negative findings, and access to original data!
  • Leaders: Welcome Trust, Gates Foundation require their work to be published with OA license.
  • OA has forced traditional publishing to evolve: many now have OA branches.
  • Last 5 years has seen explosion of fraudulent OA journals. BEWARE OF THESE. Beall’s list is a good black list, but when will there be a white list?

Today I learned about factor analysis, and it strikes me that 1. statisticians are just humans like the rest of us (including being not so smart sometimes), and 2. math and statistics are still the best things ever and I should do a Master’s in stats one day.

From Anique and Aaron’s Rosh Hashanah event

How to bring in more so I can give more?

There is no difference btwn how we treat ourselves and how we treat others.

Expansion of self/ceasing to differentiate btwn self + others.

Victoria Hanna

This week I’m obsessing about this song. I can’t get enough of it. I would like to know how to find more stuff like it, but for now I’ll just have this on repeat.

Lemony quinoa and kale

Usually I don’t make this sort of thing because it seems too vegan-righteous, but I had kale that I needed to use up, so decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did! The quinoa is light and fluffy and fresh tasting, which some exciting goat cheese and pine nuts in it.

2 cups salted water
1 cup quinoa
1 bunch lacinato kale, washed and chopped into 1″ lengths
1 meyer lemon, zested and juiced
2 scallions, minced
1 tablespoon toasted walnut oil
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
salt and pepper

• Bring the water to a boil in a covered pot. Add the quinoa, cover, and lower the heat until it is just enough to maintain a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then top with the kale and re-cover. Simmer another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to steam for 5 more minutes.
• While the quinoa is cooking, take a large serving bowl and combine half of the lemon juice (reserving the other half), all of the lemon zest, scallions, walnut oil (you can substitute olive oil if you desire), pine nuts, and goat cheese.
• Check the quinoa and kale when the cooking time has completed — the water should have absorbed, and the quinoa will be tender but firm, and the kale tender and bright green. If the quinoa still has a hard white center, you can steam a bit longer (adding more water if needed). When the quinoa and kale are done, fluff the pilaf, and tip it into the waiting bowl with the remaining ingredients. As the hot quinoa hits the scallions and lemon it should smell lovely. Toss to combine, seasoning with salt and pepper, and the remaining lemon juice if needed.

From Food52


Some weeks ago I did something sacrilegious: I went through my bookshelf and eliminated two-thirds of the books I had, about 150 to 200 books. It had suddenly felt as if I were drowning in things that I held on to simply because I was too scared to let go of them, and then felt the urge to get rid of the mess before I became used to and complacent at the sight of it still sitting there.

Today it happened with clothes. I took every piece of clothing that I own on my bed and triaged until I had under 40 items of clothing for this round, gave away a ton, and put the rest in boxes. So comes into being my first capsule wardrobe. It’s strange how exciting and fresh and peaceful it feels to look into the closet and see only a few things there. Once again, a small bit of discipline turns into a considerable amount of satisfaction.

Next up is the kitchen, as soon as the paint dries. Then everyone get ready for endless dinner parties at which I always wear the same party dress!


Today is an important day because it’s the day I first came across my dream job: field epidemiologist. And it’s the day that I found out that I can work for MSF without becoming a doctor.

I’m happy; I can go to sleep now. Or maybe start learning Arabic.

Music to fill mindlessness

I’ve just begun the very tedious and mindless part of a systematic review: the first screening, in which I determine which of the 3632 references I’ve collected have anything to do with the topic I’m looking at (diabetes, depression, and cognitive decline). So music returns to my life.

Things I’m listening to when I want to forget what I’m doing:
Lila Downs
TYP – Meshuga
Calle 13
Major Lazer (which even my little siblings know now!)
Old tango
A Tribe Called Red (especially “Sisters”)
Chet Faker


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