Wednesday, May 24, 2006

University of Life curriculum

If I had lots and lots of money, I would buy multiple copies of 4 books, and give them to everyone.

In no particular order, they are:
  1. The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to quit school and get a real life and education by Grace Llewellyn. More than a polemic on/defence of home schooling, it celebrates an attitude about education that I wish I'd been exposed to when I was in school.
  2. The Tyranny of Niceness: Unmasking the Need for Approval by Evelyn Sommers. A new classic that should be read by anyone who has ever doubted her/his need to express a true opinion or desire. That it is written by a Canadian is just too apt.
  3. Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (often referred to as the guy-with-the-unpronounceable-name), a psychologist who studies creativity and 'Optimal Experience'. This book is more the 'how to' version of his more academic tome, Flow. In it, he breaks down that state one gets into when working/playing at peak efficiency...breaks it down, describes it, and challenges each one of us to try to attain that high level of experience more often.
  4. Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton. "Keeping up with the Joneses" described, explained, and...forgiven. But the message is clear that your life will be better if you can rise above it, and de Botton's easy philosophical prose inspires you to re-evaluate your beliefs and values. Paradigm shifting, if you'll excuse the cliche...

Here's the challenge: What books would you add to the curriculum at the University of Life? What book has inspired you? Changed you?


Friday, May 19, 2006

Oh! Our house pictures are offline...

'Cause it's listed as "sold"!

So, I thought I'd post a couple of pictures.

The house.

And part of the back yard with the deck.

And the back of the garage (which Metro is super-excited about) with the play gym. (Okay, yes. The play gym is hopelessly pre-mature, but we're hoping our friends with kids will come out and take advantage of it!)

This is the 'up the road' view of the street...and up the road about a kilometre, it ends in a Par 3 golf course. Notice the bus stop across the street...only 5 routes in town (and one of those is the night time bus, one the weekend, lake-to-lake shuttle), and one stops outside our door. It's only 2 km to downtown, shorter if you take the shortcut along the creek, which can be found at the end of the little cul-de-sac to the left there.

Here's the creek:

And the view heading back into the centre of town, looking across the valley:

So, come and visit. We've already got three bookings for the summer (including the person I'm bribing to come help me unpack!), but if you bring a tent, there will be room for all!


Friday, May 05, 2006

You know you've done the right thing when...

Yes, it's all happened fast. Metro and I have married, honeymooned, packed, sold, moved, bought -- essentially begun anew...all in the space of two months.

How do you know you've done the right thing? Yeah, it may seem like it has all come together rather swimmingly, but...

Then Metro's boss sends him a link to an apt article. 'Apt' because he's having a hard time reconciling himself to my acres of books (where are they going to go in the new house?),and this is an article about owning, and moving, books:
"At the end of the day, and despite my own self-recriminations (all this money, all this effort, and to what end?), perhaps a personal library needs no justification. What's the alternative, after all? Outside these book lined walls, there's nothing but confusion. The culture at large has set itself directly against the slow, contemplative rigors and pleasures of reading."

But what is really remarkable is that my husband is now in a profession where people read, write, and discuss ideas.

THAT has been worth all of the stress.