Friday miscellany: Trees, heat, call for Qs

The (big) kids finished school last week, and I immediately took off with my eldest for NYC, so this week has felt like the first “real” week of summer break. There are no typical weeks, but it’s been interesting to see how the rhythms of life change around here.

One change: Not needing to get up so early. My 17-year-old is volunteering at church camp this week where the 9-year-old and 4-year-old are attending. He has to check in at 8:15 so I’ve just checked that he’s up at 7:40 (he drives himself; an adult drives the little kids later for their 9 a.m. start). Given that I was getting up at 6:30 a.m. during the school year, this is a significant difference.

It has also been 90+ degrees during the day, making afternoon runs a little less appealing. So, on Wednesday and Thursday this week I got up at 6:30 a.m. and ran my 3.1 mile route. I do like this option, so maybe I will continue to try to do that two mornings or so per week.

We had a massive tree removal operation going here yesterday — full on cranes and everything. There was a very-close-to-dead gigantic tree right next to the house/cars/swing set and we made the decision that it was better for the tree to come down on our timeline, and in the direction of our choosing, rather than the tree’s timeline (likely during a storm). I knew it was big but looking at the wood that came down — wow. Since the crane was here they also took down another huge dead limb elsewhere. We still have two more dead trees near structures that need to come down but those are a little smaller.

I’m looking forward to my podcast co-host SHU visiting Philadelphia in a few weeks. We will be recording a mailbag Best of Both Worlds episode while she is here, so please send us questions! Laura at Lauravanderkam dot com works (or feel free to post here). We’ll also be doing an “Ask me anything” private video for the Patreon crew in lieu of a July meet-up (kind of hard to schedule such things in the summer, it turns out…).

This week’s content: Over at Before Breakfast, I had a few episodes based on tips from Scott H. Young’s book Get Better at Anything. One was to “Ask for stories, not advice.” Often, experts can’t really articulate how to do something, but they can tell you what they did. I also talked about how you can boost creativity when you “Introduce new constraints.” When I was working on my novel-in-progress (The Norwegian Secret to Enjoying Winter), one way I made sure that the main character was not boringly autobiographical was to make the main character male.

Have you subscribed to Vanderhacks yet? This is my (somewhat) new every-weekday-morning newsletter with a tip that will help you make your day better. I suggested people “Embrace temporary habits” — just because I won’t be running in the AM in January doesn’t mean I can’t get in the habit now! Everything is temporary, in this world at least, so we don’t need to get hung up on whether we can do things forever. I suggested people “Don’t grocery shop on weekends” — which is more about rethinking the idea that weekends are a good time to get caught up on have-to-dos. The paywalled post shared “14 work hacks for staying on track.

I write a weekly newsletter called Week’s Worth and a monthly newsletter called Just a Minute that you can subscribe to here. (Be sure to check the week’s worth box.)

And if you haven’t checked out this week’s Best of Both Worlds episode on Summer Struggles, please do! I thought it was a fun one 🙂

2 thoughts on “Friday miscellany: Trees, heat, call for Qs

  1. “Ask for stories, not advice.” is my #1 tip when people are prepping their podcast guests! I always tell hosts (in my line of work, I talk to a lot of podcast hosts :)) to tell their guests to come prepared with three stories: about a time this happened, or this, or that. Stories are SO much more helpful and interesting to the audience than (usually canned, often recycled) advice! Love that tip. And I want to read Get Better at Everything!

    1. @Molly – I think you’d probably like the book 🙂 And yep, stories tend to make for better listening in general.

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