06 July 2009

Random 411

This being my 411th post, I thought I'd post some handy, if random, 411:
  • upon receiving 2 credit card solicitations from airlines today, and one for Curious Girl from an airline, I discovered that it is possible to call frequent flyer programs and tell them to remove a name from their mailing list for solicitations. It's not possible to opt out on the web (at least not with any easy links), but phone operators can help.
  • butter works much better than olive oil for greasing bread pans (and facebook is a great source of bread-baking tips when problems mount up)
  • garlic scapes are a great addition to white bean puree (3 scapes chopped up, 2 oz olive oil, 1 can white beans, 1T lemon juice, all whirred up in a food processor)
  • summer camps with baby goats are lots of fun
  • life is better when everyone in the house gets enough sleep (and while that might seem obvious, I had to relearn that lesson in the last month)
Some things I'm wondering about:
  • what's on other people's summer reading lists? I got a gift card to a bookstore from CG's kindergarten class and can't decide what to use it for (CG suggested I buy her some books, but I'm holding out for something for me, something that's worth buying as opposed to getting from the library).
  • what sorts of self-improvement books do any of you read? I've been browsing around in various self-improvement/self-transformational books as a tangential part of preparing for a workshop on career development I'm co-running later this month. I've become intrigued with Rosamund and Ben Zander's book The Art of Possibility, which skirts the line between impossibly rosy "just imagine a positive thoughts and positive things will happen" and an interesting challenge to ways of thinking that create more problems rather than solving them. On my summer reading list is Jennifer Neisslein's Practically Perfect in Every Way, the chronicle of two years spent following every self-help book she could find, which sounds like a smart and funny response to the trend. And I've been thinking about Peter Walsh's book on decluttering (It's All Too Much), which did help me re-think a bit of my attitudes about stuff as we got ready to move a year ago. He gave me one or two ideas, and one or two ideas that stick seems like a not-bad result for a self-help book. What sorts of experiences have any of you had with this genre?
And of course, anyone else with a random tip or piece of info is welcome to leave it in the comments.


rachel said...

Butter also works better than olive oil for greasing a gerbil's squeaky exercise wheel. It just lasts longer before breaking down.

susan said...

That is exactly the sort of useful info I was hoping would emerge here!

Ianqui said...

Garlic scapes are also really good in mashed potatoes, I discovered last week.

Magpie said...

Buy a cookbook, like Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, or (better) Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery.

The David is full of history - it's a great read, as well as a good cookbook.

kathy a. said...

oh, self-help books. i've bought them for all kinds of reasons -- mom's an abusive alcoholic; help, i have a baby!; "sensitive" child; grandma has alzheimer's; starting a home business; my teen has spun out; etc. i think you are right, a couple of good ideas is about what one can expect, and some of those ideas work well. the exception is more along the lines of reference guides; "your baby and child" by penelope leach was my bible for years.

along transformational or inspirational lines, one of the most striking books i ever read was "man's search for meaning" by victor frankl. it is the antidote to all the crappy paint-by-numbers advice books.

What Now? said...

Isn't everything better with baby goats?

I hope you'll post your thoughts on these self-help books that you're considering. I found Suzy Welch's _10-10-10_ interesting, although more in a check-out-from-the-library sort of way; it's got one pretty basic but pretty useful central concept, and then the rest of the book is skimmable.

Arwen said...

My favorite "self-help" book was "A Writer's Time" by Kenneth Somebody or Another, which is like psychology for the writing process. And for depression, best resource out there I think is "Feeling Good".

elswhere said...

Well, you know my slavish devotion to Harriet Lerner's Dance of Anger/Connection/Fear/Intimacy/Peevishness books...what else, let's see. I read Free-Range Kids a few weeks ago and liked it okay, found it helpful in reminding me of things I already knew, which is so often the case with self-help books.

For de-cluttering I really liked Organizing from the Inside Out, by Julie Morgenstern. Very very helpful.

captcha is "nessa" as in, nessa-cary?

JMKH said...

I've been reading Forgive For Good, suggested by my therapist, as we discussed how my father's death has reshaped my perception of my mother--at least has helped to. His metaphor is that our minds are houses, and when we carry grudges or hurt feelings, we "rent" space to the feelings and take on a "victim" position. As someone with depression, I tend to read these books as a means of rewiring my reactions to things.

Have you picked a book yet?