Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World

TW loves Disney World. The little kids love Disney World, (SS/RJ in particular is obsessed with Disney World.) I don’t love Disney World. Until last month, I’d only been to WDW twice and the last time was more than 30 years ago, when Jenn was still in diapers. Michelle Belle has never even been to WDW and Chris has only been once, with some friends.

When we moved back to Florida, TW was all about buying an annual pass and I was all about not buying an annual pass. We live 2 1/2 hours away from WDW. We have dogs that do not really want us to be gone for 18 hours every time we go to WDW (or to be boarded unless absolutely necessary.) It is EXPENSIVE, not just the annual passes but everything else about the trip is expensive.

And then we went to Epcot, after BH17, and while I wasn’t converted, I did have a good time. And since we have to go back to Orlando in October for GHC 17 and again later in October to see SS/RJ, it seemed like it might be worth considering an annual pass… so we did. And now we have them.

I’m still not a WDW fanatic and since I know very little about the worlds or the rides or anything else Disney, I decided to just see if there was a WDW book on the shelf at the library. I didn’t expect there to be one — I know those things are constantly checked out. Turns out, Birnbaum’s 2016 WDW was on the shelf. A year old but I figured there was enough in there that was still accurate that I’d get at least more knowledge than I have now. I was right. It was definitely worth picking up.

A week later, we have two separate WDW resorts booked and are planning a few more trips in the months ahead. SO EXPENSIVE, which is what will prevent me from ever really being a WDW fan. (Those magic bands, though. Man, I love those things. That’s wearable tech that makes sense!)

Clean My Space

TW stumbled into Melissa Maker through something at work and decided she needed to read Clean My Space — so she did.

And then she got all obsessive about cleaning, and told me that I wasn’t doing it right and that she was going to take over cleaning the house. Hah.

I shrugged and told her I’d be happy to sit out on the deck with a book while she cleaned the house. So I did and she did.

Oy.

She also tried to make me squeegee the tub/shower. That didn’t go so well. I’m bad with a squeegee. Also, I tend to walk away from the tub before it’s done draining and by the time I come back, the tub is already dry. Whatever.

For the first week or two after she read the book, she was obsessively wiping things and vacuuming things and talking about cleaning products and basically driving me nuts. Thankfully, she’s eased up a bit, (though the house is kind of messy right now, lol), but she did order a Mopnado (eyeroll) on PRIME Day and that will arrive today. I’m looking forward to sitting out on the deck while she mops all the things.

Oh, about the book… I read it too. It was fine. But, I already knew how to clean my space. The S method and the W method and starting at 12:00 etc. Quick clean vs deep clean (or whatever it is she calls them, I can’t remember now.) Probably the only thing that I hadn’t really thought about was focusing on the areas of the house that really bug me (us?) when they’re cluttered or not clean — though upon reflecting on the idea, I decided I’d already been doing that. So. Anyway. The book, I read it. It was fine. TW was obsessed, in the way that TW gets obsessed with things. Ask me a month from now whether she’s still doing the cleaning…

Hiking x2

I impulse picked Hiking Central Florida when we were at the library last week. (Hiking is not a thin you really want to do in Florida in the summer, unless it’s a beach hike or a spring hike and you can swim as you go… but, I picked it up anyway.)

It’s an almost 10 year old book, so it’s somewhat outdated but a hike is a hike and a state park is a state park and I really enjoyed it. Enjoyed it enough that I reserved Hiking North Florida and the Panhandle and now I would like to go hiking please. Except summer, ugh.

Simple Rules

Beth Kanter mentioned the book Simple Rules and it sounded interesting so I checked it out of the library.

It is interesting but it’s a little dense and a little dry. Once I grokked the concept laid out in each chapter and mini-section of the chapter, I found myself skimming to see real life examples of the types of simple rules people (and animals/insects/etc) use. Those pieces were especially interesting.

I have spent a good bit of time thinking about bottlenecks and simple rules for them… I’m pretty sure I’ll be giving the process a try (or two) myself, very soon.

The Happy Healthy Nonprofit

I should disclose a couple of things before I talk about The Happy Healthy Nonprofit so here goes:

1) I’m not really a believer in the whole work/life balance thing. It feels like just another way to tell women they’re doing it wrong or they’ll never be good enough. I have a similar feeling about “burnout.” (Though of course, I do understand the real science behind stress, work and health issues. Those are a thing — absolutely, I’m just not 100% sold on the issues as we talk about them NOW… it’s complicated.) This means that I’m probably bringing that baggage into how I feel about this book.
2) Beth Kanter is an old friend and BlogHer buddy and I love her — which means I’m probably bringing how I feel about Beth into how I feel about her book.

Having said that, I knew I wanted to read Beth’s book even before it was released. Because Beth, clearly. Must read. Also, Aliza Sherman, good grief. Could there be two smarter women? Nope. So after I watched Beth’s KICKASS Happy Healthy Nonprofit presentation at Cause Camp a few weeks ago, I decided it was definitely time to read the entire book. So I did.

Overall, I felt pretty good about the book. What I found myself agreeing to is that you can feel X way at work and at home, as a result of … things. In my experience, it’s not so much about over-work (and not taking down time) as it is about falling out of love with my job, my coworkers, my organization/company. It can also happen when I feel under-appreciated, under-respected, and when I’m not given an opportunity to grow or contribute in a meaningful way.

The tips and ideas in this book can help you with those issues. In fact, it includes many of things I’ve done in the past, when I was really unhappy with my job. Making changes about how I worked, how long I worked, when I worked and what I did when I wasn’t working made me so much happier than if I’d just kept grinding away.

I also believe that we’re all different, an environment where I thrive may be one where you struggle. Recognizing what works for me, is important for me (and for my team.) Recognizing what doesn’t work for others is just as important for me (and for my team.) Reading The Healthy, Happy Nonprofit can give you some framework for thinking about this and help you begin to make changes for yourself and support others.

If you are struggling with work/life balance, if you’re feeling burnt out, if you’re not burnt out but are just plain ole unhappy with your job or work environment — then I absolutely guarantee you that Beth and Aliza’s advice will help you.

Besides tips for the individual, there are tips and ideas that you can bring to your coworkers and your company/organization to help improve workplace culture. I enjoyed reading about what other organizations are doing and reflecting on the stuff my org is doing.

I’m still not completely on the work/life balance, take a real vacation, keep your phone out of your bedroom (impossible for ME!) wagon … but I’m definitely glad I read the book. I circled stuff (in PEN.) I’ll be referring back to it again in the future. (And, I really do need to get more exercise. Really.)

#Readathon Books Five, Six & Seven: All Non-Fiction

First, the cookbook My Two Souths that Sassymonkey told me about. I liked it. TW was not as impressed with it, which is troubling since we thought she’d really like it. I really want the tomato pie/tart. That would be yummy right about now.

Next, Gardens of South Florida was fine. An over-sized book full of fancy gardens. If you like fancy tropical gardens, this is your book.

Last, but not least, The Art Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained. To be honest, I’ve been reading this book for awhile. I just leave it open on the breakfast bar and read a couple of pages while I eat dinner or lunch or whatever. And then I finished off my readathon by reading the rest straight through. It’s a great book and I’m interested in the other books in the series. I’ll probably get some of those in the future. I might even like to own a few.

And that’s a wrap… seven books, mostly non-fiction, 17 hours of reading and a $50 donation to the #readathon charity. No great snacks and I have a messy kitchen and I didn’t take part in a single mini-challenge (except the opening survey), which was weird. I just wasn’t feeling it. BUT, I very much enjoyed my #readathon and am looking forward to the fall event. (I hope it’s not GHC/birthday weekend… gah.)

#Readathon Book Three: Fire!! The Zora Neale Hurston Story

I bought Fire!! when I was in DC in February and saved it specially for #readathon. It was very good but it felt … rushed, maybe? I mean it’s hard to tell someone’s life story in the span of one relatively short graphic novel, I get that. But Hurston’s story is so… interesting. I almost felt let down. Almost. It’s still a great graphic novel and I highly recommend it. I just wanted MORE.

#Readathon Book Two: I Hate Everyone, Except You

I had to read I Hate Everyone, Except You because how could I not, with a title like that. Also, Clinton Kelly (WNTW), right?

And, it totally amused me. The first chapter horrified me and amused me, both at the same time. Many of the chapters horrified and amused me. It was awesome. lol

Also, do you think you can you outrun a raccoon?

#Readathon Book One: The Doodle Revolution

I didn’t plan to read The Doodle Revolution front to back in one sitting but I got involved and ended up not wanting to put it down. It was excellent. I wish she’d talked about color with more depth, that was really the only disappointing part of this book. (And that was really disappointing.)

I didn’t do any of the doodle games or exercises, but I’ll go back and do some of them before this has to go back to the library. (I might update this post after I actually do some exercises. Maybe.)

PS. I’m categorizing this as “art” for the purpose of organizing my blog posts but DOODLING IS NOT ART. Just making sure y’all know that (and everyone knows that I know that.)

Hidden Figures

Oops. I finished Hidden Figures awhile back and thought I already wrote about it. Apparently not.

Anyway.

Totally enjoyed it. Really enjoyed seeing how the movie combined bits and pieces of womens’ stories and tweaked the timeline a little and the ages of characters and the relationships of characters. That was pretty interesting to think about, in terms of book to movie stuff.

I also really enjoyed learning more about the work these women did. And loved how much time was spent on Dorothy Vaughan’s story. She’s my favorite. The only complaint I have is that there wasn’t quite enough about Christine Darden.