Books and Travel…

 

I just found out about an awesome event happening on April 23, 2012: World Book Night. Volunteers across the country will pick up 2o free copies of a book and give them out to “non or light readers.” It started in the UK last year and was such a success that it has come to the United States this year. You need to apply to be a “giver” by February 1!!

The date of April 23 was chosen because UNESCO named it World Book and Copyright Day. Look at all of these “International Days”!

I wish I had more birthday list news to report. I tried to read William James’s Varieties of Religious Experience, as it is #2 in the Modern Library’s top 100 nonfiction books list. I had to give up after about 50 pages. His ideas were soaring 80 feet over my head. I’ll be watching High Noon (#33 in AFI top 100 list) soon. And I bought a Groupon for airbrush tanning. I have four months left to do 33 things…um, shit?

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Passport to Fitness

 

I am partaking in a great program offered by my town. For $10, I can try out 10 classes at different fitness establishments around town. This is big for me, because I am not an exercising person. I am going to try all kinds of new things, which can go on the birthday list (added bonus). Tai chi, zumba, boabom, yoga (I’ve done yoga at home, but haven’t taken a class).

But first, I need to get in shape to get in shape. Embarrassing, but true! My mom’s cardiologist told her to do some type of exercise 30 minutes every day; that is the secret to a stronger ticker. I’m going to try to work on that…

The First Big Snowfall

With the first big snowfall of the season came my first cold of the season. Whenever I get a cold, I am amazed at how much I take breathing through my nose for granted. God, how I miss breathing through my nose.

It’s times like these when I wish that I could send my cat out to run an errand for me. I’d put a little jacket and boots on Olive and send her up the street to CVS. Somehow she would be able to open the door and then she would wander to the back of the store to the tissue section. I am coveting tissues with aloe right now. She’d knock a box off the shelf and kick it up the aisle toward the checkout. She’d jump up onto the shelf at the self-checkout station, scan the box, and pay with my credit card. That would be easier than having her deal with cash. She’d have to ask an employee to somehow attach the box to her back, so she could scamper back home with the tissues.

I think Olive might be a mind reader…she is giving me her “you crazy” look. Yes, Olive, not being able to breathe through one’s nose makes one feel a little crazy.

Switch

 

I just finished a book called Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but knowing the book was written by Chip and Dan Heath, I figured I’d enjoy it and learn something. I read their first book, Made to Stick, for a marketing class.

Change is hard. Even when we know a change would be good for us. The book is a great resource for people wanting to make changes in an organization…but a lot applies for those wanting to make personal changes, too. One point that I found interesting is that when interested in making a change, we often focus on what is “wrong” and needs to be “fixed.” The Heath brothers point out that it helps to sometimes look at what is working. They call them “bright spots.” What a concept.

They also talked about how many problems are situational, when we want to blame them on people. If we make a minor change to the situation, we can change people’s behavior. They gave an example of two high school kids being late to class and not paying attention. Instead of punishing them, etc. the brilliant teacher tweaked the environment (bought a comfy couch to put in the front of the room) and those same two kids started showing up to class early to get a seat on the comfy couch.

If you’re inspired to make a change in your life or at work, pick up this book. If you join the brothers’ mailing list, you can also download podcasts and other materials for free from their website.

 

Olive, Meet Olive

 

Like I need another reason to love the Brits. Twinings tea, Newcastle, Bass, Prince William, and: the producer of the most adorable stuffed animals ever created.

Adorable really doesn’t even explain it. The company’s website uses adjectives such as sophisticated, hip, and humorous to explain its creations. Who would think that a stuffed animal could be sophisticated and hip?

Trust me on this one. These little guys are works of freakin’ art.

Someone I know, who shall remain nameless, collects Jellycats. They are not easy to find in the United States. I’m always taken by surprise when I come across them in random independent stores. I found a cornucopia of them in a cool store in Portland over the weekend. I stood agog at my good fortune and picked out a pretty, white owl for the nameless person. A tiny owl with wild hair caught my eye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I picked up the owl, mesmerized by its hair. I looked at its tag to find out its name. Olive Owl. (My cat’s name is Olive.) I then said to the owl, “You are coming home with me.”

I just introduced the two Olives. Olive Cat sniffed at Olive Owl and attacked her. Then she promptly turned around and went into napping pose. Olive Owl seemed confused, but I told her that it takes Olive Cat a long time to warm up to others. She’ll come around eventually.

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