Friday miscellany

I really meant to blog more often this week. But if you subscribe to my monthly newsletter and my weekly newsletter (and listen to the podcast), that ups the content total a bit!

Anyway, I spent Wednesday and Thursday in Atlanta, where I was speaking at the inaugural Leadercast Women conference. I did a different speech than I had given before, both because they asked for one and because the allotted time (25 minutes) was a different length than I am normally asked to give. So I practiced a lot, including three times while I was in Atlanta before giving it! But I think it went well, and the audience laughed at many of the new lines I tried. Like one questioning the idea of saving time by writing “K” instead of “OK” in emails. I know I have always felt monstrously inefficient while typing the letter O.

I signed lots of books. I always love doing this. If one grows up wanting to be a writer, it truly does not get old. A fun bonus: I met someone backstage who is actually my neighbor. Like, her son goes to my kids’ school.

I stayed at the Embassy Suites across the street from the conference venue. I do love the “manager’s reception” concept: drinks included in the price of your room. The reception ran from 5:30-7:30 p.m., and I’ll admit I made a trip downstairs at 7:25 solely to get a drink that I planned to have later in the evening. I also like the idea of included breakfast. Alas, the small fly in the ointment was the fitness room, which had only two treadmills, one of which was out of order. The second (which I scored after waiting for another guest to finish) was very loud. It is possible to continue my running streak while on the road, but it is often not easy if I’m relying on a hotel gym. (My morning was starting too early to run outside — it was still dark when I would have needed to finish).

I need to figure out ways to eat more healthfully while traveling. Airports become an excuse to eat junk. Although we should be clear that this is not entirely the airports’ fault. There is often healthful food in airports. The problem is more that I want to eat the junk.

My daughter turned 6 this week! My husband went to her class to read a story since I was out of town. They also went to the kindergarten social, which was conveniently scheduled for the night of her birthday, so she got to celebrate with her friends.

I have been reading a lot (Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury, Field Notes from a Catastrophe by Elizabeth Kolbert, which I found at the library, and Hillary Clinton’s What Happened?) I’m not really into the other library books I have, so I’m trying to figure out what I should read next. War and Peace is sitting on my desk. Has anyone made it through it? How long did it take you? I am somewhat intrigued by the idea of crossing all the long books off my reading bucket list this year, but life is long. I am only 38. I could read it next year. Or when I’m 68.

My review of Eli Finkel’s The All-or-Nothing Marriage ran in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday with the eye-catching headline “Your spouse is not a jerk.”

I did not make it to the Pennsylvania Conference for Women, which was held in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Since I wasn’t speaking at it (I did last year), by the time I realized it was going on, it was sold out. However, I did hear from some friends (KJ, Jess) that they were in town for it. I got that email on Monday in the early evening, when I was at karate (at 6:00!) and I managed to make it downtown for dinner with them. This was a function of amazing and flexible childcare (my husband was out of town), and realizing that it doesn’t take as long as I sometimes think to do stuff like this. I called Uber at 7:25. I was at the restaurant a few minutes before 8. We ate Malaysian food (satisficer that I am, I just had the waitress order for me), and I made it home by 9:40. That’s only 2.25 hours total, but it was awesome. It made me feel like I was the kind of person who could go out on Monday nights.

Also, I learned that Jess worked on the Stinky and Dirty show, which my 2-year-old is obsessed with. And I met Julie Lythcott-Haims, whose book Real American is out this week, so that was cool too.


12 thoughts on “Friday miscellany

  1. I always thought I was a satisficer until I started reading your blog! It’s so impressive. I wish I could let go enough to let the waitress order for me.

  2. I made it all the way through “War and Peace” when I was 15 or 16 and had more time in my life despite school and exams. That is almost 40 years ago now when life was less rushed and full for everyone, whatever age, I think. Absolutely loved it and couldn’t stop reading it. Can’t remember a word of it now though!

  3. I read War and Peace while nursing your “little” brother 30 plus years ago–mostly during the night. The chapters were short and it was workable. I tried picking it up again recently–but gave up this time. Your recommendation of Team of Rivals will be my one long book for this season!

  4. I think I was probably either listening to your podcast or theirs about the time you were all having dinner!!!
    Next year PA Conference – October 12, 2018!!!

  5. Three cheers for being a satisficer! Letting the waitress pick your meal can be a great way to try something new and not waste effort hemming and hawing. As my husband and I always say to each other, what’s the worst that can happen? You have one less-than-stellar meal.

    On some fun activities taking less time than you think: such a great attitude and so true. It’s especially true if you cut the “fat” (i.e., between-activity transition time) from the day. That can be hard if little kids are involved in the process, but training them not to waste time in transition is starting to pay dividends for us. Last Sunday, we were able to go to church (a 20 mile round trip), make a seriously good lunch at home, do a 5 mile walk around a lake, play video games (laundry folding for mom), and watch a movie all before 6 PM, mostly because the kids are learning that 15 minutes of complaining or searching for shoes between each activity just isn’t fun.

    1. @Kathleen – exactly – this is not my last supper! Plus, with a group at an Asian place people wind up sharing dishes anyway.

      I am a big fan of trying not to lose time in transition. Yes, you don’t want to pack a day too full of time-bound activities (since no one likes to be late and rushing) but if you decide to do something, the time between decision and action can often be pretty small.

    2. I used to think it just wasn’t possible to have a fast time on getting out of the house with 2 little kids (recently turned 5 and 8) but there have been a couple of occasions where we have overslept in the morning and had 15 min or less to get out of the house and make it to wherever we were supposed to be, and every single time, the girls are able to get it together. So I try to remember that 😉 and not give them TOO much extra time to mess around. I definitely don’t want to rush or be late, but sometimes I was making the problem worse by giving them way too much time to “get ready”.

  6. I read War and Peace last year while on maternity leave during around-the-clock feedings – it seems I’m in good company with your mom! In the end, I didn’t think it was that good. Badly needed an editor! In contrast, I loved Ana Karenina. It seems long essays on 1800s farming techniques are more interesting to me than long essays on battle strategies and historical/political philosophy.

    1. @Tory – having just read through The Cotton Kingdom and the memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, it seems I can stomach discussions of farming techniques AND battle strategies. I think I might try to peck away at the book and see how I do.

  7. I love W&P! (But I am currently finishing the sixth Barsetshire Chronicle, which should tell you something about my affection for long 19th-century novels.)

  8. It took me a few months to get through War and Peace, but I was reading other things in between. You seem to read at a much quicker pace than I can, so you’ll probably get through in a couple weeks. And it’s absolutely worth reading, it was so good! I want to re-read it someday, it was that good (better than Anna Karenina, in my opinion).

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