Monday, June 20, 2016

The Life-Changing Magic of Buying a Bestseller (while on vacation)

Recently, I took a trip to Portland, Oregon. Part of the planning process was was the decision to treat myself to "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondoh at Powell's Books.

I enjoyed the book very much. One, I love reading about organizing, planning, and straightening up and usually become inspired to actually do some organizing and straightening up. The book delivered on that account.

Written in first person, the book has a conversational tone. Marie Kondoh is like a friend giving you "the straight dope." She really lays it on the line. And some of her advice is a bit surprising. Here's an example:

"My basic principle for sorting papers is to throw them all away." 

Truly, without exaggeration, I can say that's one of the best things I have read EVER in a book. Any kind of book - non-fiction, fiction, self-help, reference, and so on.

She follows the above principle with this: "My clients are stunned when I say this, but there is nothing more annoying than papers. After all, they will never inspire joy, mo matter how carefully you keep them. For this reason, I recommend you dispose of anything that does not fall into one of three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time, or must be kept indefinitely. (The bolding is hers.)

Ms. Kondoh's guiding philosophy is if something gives you joy, keep it. Otherwise get rid of it. A pragmatic approach to say the least.

I could share her approach to clothing and books, but then I would be robbing some of the pleasure gained from reading "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." I encourage you to buy your own copy. I also encourage you to buy it from an independent bookseller.

If you haven't been to Powell's Books, I highly suggest it. I think it's worth a trip to Portland. Next time I visit, maybe I'll pick up "Spark Joy," the newest book by Marie Kondoh.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Animal Writes - #Train4Rewards Blog Party

I'm participating in the #Train4Rewards Blog Party! And you're invited. Click the button and you will be whiskered away to a gathering of animal lovers reinforcing rewards-based training.

Nella after acclimating a bit to life with humans. 
Here's the story I'd like to share:

Meet Nella, she's the muted calico pictured above. Muted refers to her coloring, not her personality. Nella came to live with us via Catalyst for Cats, a nonprofit dedicated to helping stray and feral cats in Santa Barbara County. I'm on the board of Catalyst for Cats and help with publicity.

When 3-year-old Nella came to live at our house, only one word was used to describe her: MEAN! I think family, friends, visitors, and neighbors wanted to use other descriptors but were too polite.

After a few months, we could actually pet Nella without getting bitten or scratched. A few more months and we could pick her up. Later on, she'd sit next to us on the couch to be pet, and then eventually strike us. Slowly and surely, she became more lovable and friendly.

Each day was a journey. Lots and lots of treats were involved. Always soothing voices. Well, that's not true. Honestly, more than once my temper broke and I yelled at her.

Nella lived with us for 14 years. She had become quite matey in her last few years. Though, with all her purring and snuggling, there was always the chance of a swipe, scratch, or bite. She never seemed to put her feral past behind her.

All the rewards and treats paid off, however, and Nella became a loving, involved member of our family.

I'd like to thank my colleague, Joan Hunter Mayer, of the Inquisitive Canine, for sharing the word on the #Train4Rewards Blog Party. Thanks!