Different Directions

I don't have a job at present. And by job I mean I'm not booked on a movie. But I am working my ass off.

My Menopodcast partner, Sarah, recently mentioned a book called The 12 Week Year. It sounded intriguing to imagine jamming a bunch of goals into 12 weeks instead of 12 months. I was curious (skeptical?) and had a free credit so I got the audio book and started listening. 

And I'm in. 

I bought a hard copy so I could write notes, highlight sections, easily reread bits, and flip around for different sections. My key takeaways are to FOCUS ON ACTIONS, not results. Also to write everything out, build a schedule that works for me every day and STICK TO IT. There is an aspect of this plan that I love: Scoring. You have to score yourself each week-score yourself on tangible tactics and "to-dos" on the plan. 

You also have to stretch and sacrifice and be uncomfortable because that is what change requires. 

Some days it SUCKS. But one of the tips to get you back on track is to review your big vision. What do you want your life to look like in 3 years? I realized today I need to have that vision statement nearby my work desk so I don't forget what I'm working toward.

I'm in week 2 and have achieved a decent amount of my weekly goals set for week 1. I'm doing well so far here in week 2 (and yes, blogging is scheduled as it is part of a bigger goal.) 

I won't review my goals with you now. I would much rather review what I accomplished at the end of 12 weeks. And even if it's not 100% - even if it's only 65%? I will be proud. Proud because I started now and will have accomplished something. 

Stay tuned for the review of my first 12 week year. Coincidentally it ends on December 29.

Give it a shot! 




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Reading Little House To Harper

On our road trip to Santa Cruz a few weeks ago, I prepared with audio books. Last year we drove to Sequoia and listened to music (Hamilton was big then) as well as short stories from a kid's story podcast. We also had that awesome Star Wars recording from the 70's: The Story of Star Wars. Harper loves that, but it's only an hour long. As she is older and as it was going to be a longer trip, I thought why not Little House? 

I downloaded Little House In The Big Woods and Little House On the Prairie. We listened to the first one all the way up and Harper seemed to like it. I asked her what her favorite parts were and she said, "When they were telling the stories" which means when Pa is telling stories about his own childhood and adventures. We started listening to LHOTP on the way home, but only got a few chapters in as we chose music and other stuff on that drive. So, I started reading the rest of the book to Harper at bedtime, two chapters a night.  Little-house-on-the-prairie-book-cover

Last night we got to the end and I was a MESS. 

First I have to remind you that I am a HUGE fan of these books. Been reading them as long as I can remember. In fact, these two books (LH in the Big Woods and LH on the Prairie) are the first books I remember owning and going to the bookstore with my mom to get the next book was SO EXCITING. (Only rivaled by a more recent me opening my front door to receive the latest Harry Potter via Amazon on release day.) I read the LH books to this day, just for fun. I have bought many other books about these books. I love these books. I know useless details, not unlike this woman here, who is my LH twin.


When you read them out loud, to your five year old -- It gets different. I knew there would be issues with the way the Indians are portrayed and the way they are talked about in LHOTP but DAMN. So after a few pages of "the only good Indian is a dead Indian" chit chat, I stopped to tell Harper about how people were wrong about a lot of things a long time ago. And that this book was written a long time ago and how they talk about Native Americans is wrong. And that people know better today. (Well, I didn't tell her the whole truth about racism still existing, as she'll learn that soon enough.) I brought it up again in later chapters about the "Indian War Cry" and she nodded as I reminded her about how wrong they were about the whole notion of who the Osage were. 

As the book ends, the family has to leave as they had accidentally strayed into "Indian Territory" by 3 miles and soldiers would come and move them out. Pa just packs the wagon and they are off. They had built a house and a stable and bought and planted seeds for a corn field, potatoes and other veggies. And they just left it all. Then they say goodbye to their neighbors, one of them being Mr. Edwards, and they roll on west. 

Me being the emotional sort and also enjoying the roller coaster of emotions that is menopause, I was crying as I read the end. Harper seemed unfazed by my crying - clearly she's used to me. It's not the first time I've cried while reading her bedtime stories. There is one written by a jewish woman telling the story about a quilt made and handed down through her family. And the one about the guy who walked the tightrope between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. The book ends with "the towers are gone now..." 


Anyway, I'm a cryer.

Last night as I put the book away and tucked Harper in, I thought ahead to the next books, excited to read them aloud. Farmer Boy is next and I like that one for a change of pace. Then Plum Creek. All good. Then I thought about Silver Lake and almost started crying right then. Silver Lake starts with (spoiler alert) Mary going blind and Jack the trusted dog DYING! I remember SOBBING when I very first read it as a kid. Man, that was brutal. It still makes me cry.

This is all a dream come true, tears or no tears. And I'm not going to force it. I hope hope hope that we keep reading these, that Harper reads them on her own as well and that she'll say "YES!" when I ask if she wants to go to Pepin Wisconsin or DeSmet South Dakota. For now, I'll keep the kleenex handy.


Little Free Library

Okay how cool is this?


It's a couple of blocks away on a smaller side street. It's a whole organized thing -- check it out:

Little Free Library

I realize I've been far away from the series of tubes this last year (does anyone say "series of tubes" any more??) so this might not be news, but I love these little free libraries. Yes, yes, books in all regular libraries are free, I know. But there is something so micro community and sweet about this kind of book sharing, makes me happy down to my actual book, actual page turning core.

Here's what made it even cooler: I've been cleaning out shelves and closets and bedside tables, etc. and yesterday, Harper and I took a few books to leave in the box. I browsed first and found "The Warmth of Other Suns" which is a book I've had in my "save for later" section on Amazon. Awesome! Now I don't have to wait any longer. (Well, there are about a jillion other books on my bedside table, so there will be a bit of a wait...) 

Hooray for books!



Reading Is Fundamental

Harper has many books, lucky girl. And we read to her a lot. We've bought her many books, but have also received many as gifts and hand me downs. We have so many that I am stil occasionally surprised to find new ones. This weekend I gazed over to the shelf and saw both "Nake Mole Rat Gets Dressed" and "Pigeon finds a Hot Dog." How awesome is that?
I also love that our book reading has a big influence on Harper as this weekend she spent a lot of time doing this:


Sweet girl.

Oh and she has my feet. WEIRD!

What I've Been Reading

It's been a spate of non-fiction this last month or two. It started with a book sent to me by my mom called The Power of Habit-Why We Do What We Do In Life And In Business by Charles Duhigg. PowerofHabitIt's a combo of self help and business practices, all with fascinating stories around certain companies, products and society. A good read, but nothing earth shattering to learn for me. There is no magic bullet to changing habits!

SoldierdogsNext I read Soldier Dogs - The Untold Story of America's Canine Heroes by Maria Goodavage. Ms. Goodavage was on The Daily Show promoting her book and it caught my fancy as I had recently finished reading about Rin Tin Tin. I was amazed at the amount of dogs there are in the military and the kind of training they go through. You have to be a very special dog to pass muster in the military. And yet they are still considered "supplies" like guns or vehicles. The stories of various events in Afghanistan and Iraq are amazing and the love the handlers have for their dogs is unsurprisingly touching. The dogs save lives and frequently give up their own as they are the first body in the way of bomb.


Save-that-cat-goes-to-the-movies-blake-snyder_mediumLastly, I read Save The Cat! Goes To The Movies by Blake Snyder. This was also a gift from mom, or rather I should say Harper (with help from mom) on Mother's Day. If you are wanting to write screenplays, Save The Cat is a great book to read. This second book takes what is in the original book, styles of scripts and movies, and divides them into type ("Golden Fleece" or "Dude with a Problem" or "Monster In The House") and then uses a specific movie as an example, breaking it down to its elements. It's a fun read and very educational. I already had some ideas on rewrites for my current script just from reading this. Highly recommend!

I love reading.