100 Book Project: Book #81 - So Squeaky Clean that Bubbles Float Out of the Book When You Turn the Pages

The Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams 
by Derek Jeter with Jack Curry.

I didn't mean to read this book JUST as Derek Jeter was playing his last series, it just worked out this way, and I'm so thankful that it did!

Derek Jeter didn't actually write this book, Jack Curry wrote it with him, and together they did a great job using talents to write a book that lays out a plan for success.

Thankfully, my son has the natural wisdom to be a "born" Yankees fan (growing up Cuban in South Florida, I knew there was Spring training, but I also knew only the what the YANKEES did actually mattered) and I will definitely pass this book on to him.

What's great about this book? Well, first, it isn't the BEST book for a 40something tenured author who is living the life she imagined(ish) (#no-one-has-it-ALL) but it was good enough that even though I've read stacks of leadership, inspiration and self help books (PLEASE READ HECTOR"S SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS, you're welcome), this book stands out for it's clarity and character.

Character, because that's what Derek Jeter has. He was raised by two mature, intentional and supportive parents who kept themselves very present and engaged and their work and love show through in Derek's life and career.

Clarity. This book talks about a lot and could have lost me in a blur of skimming but it didn't because it was well written and  tightly edited/ Despite being a mini-biography, this book stuck to a tight outline.

 Here are his 10 "Life Lessons" in case you don't read this book --

  1. Set your goals high. Let yourself imagine what you REALLY want, not what people tell you that you should have. Low goals lead to nowhere.
  2. Deal with growing pains. The world is changing, you are changing, let things change and keep growing every change you have. Don't give up/
  3. Find role models. Find ones that inspire and encourage you. Expect them to demand a lot from you so that you can learn to demand a lot from yourself.
  4. The world is not always fair. Deal with it.
  5. Don't be afraid to fail. I loved this chapter.
  6. Have a strong supporting cast. Surround yourself with people who also hold themselves to high standards. Challenge each other.
  7. Be serious, but have fun. People see your smile, they feel your frown. Do your job with all your heart and focus, but don't forget to love it.
  8. Be a leader, follow the leader. Learn from others, then take your chances.  
  9. Think before you act. Some things can't be taken back.
  10. Life is a daily challenge. Don't expect rainbows and sunshine everyday just because you met your "goal." 
I was genuinely surprised a student would give me a book by a baseball player, and now I'm more surprised how much I liked this book. I would definitely give it to you or your kid for graduation or a birthday, and I bet they'd read every word and treasure it.

Chapter 25 Quiz Q#3: Darwin's Enemy (not)

This is Einstein. You knew that. Right?

  • One of the smartest men known as Assten.
  • Darwin's Enemy
  • Thomas Edison
  • A genius and host for NBC news.

Chapter 25 Quiz Q#2: Two women sitting down, a man and a boy.

Charlie Chaplin in the movie THE KID.
 This is NOT Hitler.
 There is NO Hitler in Chapter 25 of the textbook.

  • Two women sitting down, a man and a boy.
  • Movies were popular back then.
  • Represents alcohol becoming a problem.
  • The motion picture.
  • The Jews were being mistreated.
  • Freud, who introduced ideas of sex into young minds.
  • Families lived on the streets. They were poor and German and had to pay corporations.
  • Represents the trail of the happy during the railroad era. 
  • Two sad boys. One is more likely than not Hitler.
  • Hitler wannabe.
  • Symbolizes Hitler and other countries. 

Chapter 25 Quiz Q #1: Mr Gravy, Ambassador of Hat

Chapter 25 Quiz 

Here are some bloopers.... 
  • Roosevelt
  • Prince who was assassinated, starting WW1
  • I believe his name was Zar.
  • A lucky guy. He lived.
  • Believed in whites and blacks
  • Prince of a country in Africa. Visiting America in a peaceful way.
  • Low ranking soldier.
  • Buffalo soldier.
  • General from Spanish-American War. Strict.
  • A powerful orientation leader.
  • Reputation for being first.
  • Ambassador of Hat
  • Leader over nation.

AMH 1041 Exam #1 Study Guide

Oh My for Dummies

The South is a particularly polite place, especially the part where I live.

There is a double-speak here that could baffle an outsider.

 I once (once.) had an almost fight (the closest I've ever been) which involved me throwing a peace sign over my shoulder as I walked away. 

Peace. Right. Everyone knew what my hand was trying to convey.

I can't tell you why everyone is so friendly, so warm and yet icy and reserved in exactly the right balance, but it is true. It is tangible. Sharp-tongued politeness is a ninja skill that takes years to master, but I will give you this quick crash course (Oh My for Dummies).

Imagine you are in polite company and your cat (or any cat, or dog, or house pig or small child) drops a dead bird at your feet (or a dead lizard, or a live hamster, or a dirty diaper etc)  you cannot freak out.

We don't say "OH MY GAWWWD WHAT THE F**CKITY F***!!!"

Instead, we say, "Oh my." 
Much horror condensed into two words that gleam like a sharp shiny sword.

Ever wonder what to do with someone who drones on and on about themselves or their grandchildren or their ideas or themselves in general and you want to bang your head because every cue you are giving them seems to give them the green light to keep talking and they are already KILLING you?

At the next pause in their ramble, say, "Good for you." (Then grab your keys, purse, dog leash or whatever and run for freedom). I bet you it works.

Those three words together do NOT mean good for you.

 They mean, "I could care less, now let me go."

A polite person who hears something juicy would not dream of giving advice.

For example,  a naive soul confides to a neighbor that that they are pregnant with triplets but their husband has been gone for 11 months. 

The polite (warmly icy) neighbor would say "Bless your heart."

 It sounds nice, right?

 It's also quite dismissive and implies "ohhhh you are soooo f****d, and you're going to need divine intervention. See ya....." 

Poetic, really.  

100 Book Project: Book #80 - Way Worse than Being a Dentist....

Way Worse than Being a Dentist: The Lawyer's Quest for Meaning
by Will Meyerhofer. J.D., M.S.W.

I picked this book up to fill the restless empty feeling from having finished Kitchen Confidential, not expecting much. Seriously.  A book about lawyers? Whatever.

This book had me hooked from the beginning, and I read it for three hours until I fell asleep holding it, then woke up two hours early to finish it.

 No other non-fiction book has held me so captivated.

 I knew the point of the book in the first twenty pages, and never tired of the author repeating his thesis over and over and over and over using different points, different analogies but with the same conclusion.


Law school isn't for everyone.

It isn't for most people.

There are too  many lawyers, many of them are unhappy, and it's very hard to get a job doing anything after you've been lawyering around, so don't go to law school unless you love law and you can pay for the school without loans.

 This man knows, because he was an excellent student who went to a top tier law school and got a great job with a top firm.

 He soon quit and became a practicing therapist who specializes in helping attorneys and blogging (The People's Therapist. Look him up). The universe gifted this man with great insight,  buckets of compassion, tremendous honesty and a advanced storytelling skills.

The author points out that in the past two decades a situation has emerged where  there are so many law schools (some second and third tier, whose graduates shouldn't even imagine quickly getting a job making what they'd need to make to pay off their loans)  and so much financing that law students are recruited to programs that barely prepare them for the trivia test (The Bar).

 Perfectly smart, wonderful people (who probably don't know what else to do with themselves and have no idea how they will pay off these loans but they magically expect to) go to law school and graduate with $170,000 and more in loans and have to take (and keep) soul destroying jobs to pay the loans that got them the education that landed them these jobs in hell.

One of my favorite parts is the discussion of this career on partnerships where one person works 12-15 hour days at a job they hate (but which is prestigious!!) so they can be the provider to a partner they never see.

 In one passage that is scarier than all the Stephen King books put together Meyerhofer explains:
"At some point, your dreams bifurcated. She still wants all the stuff you used to want together. But now she wants more of it... A bigger house. Private schools. A vacation with the family in the Bahamas. A Mercedes. Summer camp for the kids. You want to sleep -- and to quit this god-awful job. But you know you can't. Ever." (115)
I want you to read this book, and I hope you'll pass it on to everyone you know who is unclear about where they are going and what they want in life.

The author does a great job of distilling great wisdom into advice.
"Creating happiness on your own terms is not like signing up for law school.  That was easy. Taking charge of your life doesn't require just hard work - it takes imagination. This s not a path for the risk-averse.  The good news is you have no choice.  This is not a dress-rehearsal. This is your actual life - the only chance you're going to get to be happy.  If you aren't happy now, you'd better get on the problem, pronto."(179)
Will Meyerhofer's words and insight are worth your attention.

 I'm binge reading his blog now, and savoring every bit of what he has to tell me. 

100 Book Project: Book #79 Don't Tell Gordon Ramsay

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

This book came to me this semester (Fall 2014) from the new wave of students, the ones who I warned I'd already read amazing books so do  NOT give me a book unless it could rival The Fault in Our Stars and anything by Tina Fey or Stephen King.

I can remember the second the student handed this book to me.

I winced.  What?

She nodded. It's really good. It REALLY is.

I hugged it.

I can't tell you for sure if I blurted this out or not (my students can attest to the fact that I absolutely can't repeat what I just said because I wasn't listening...) but I didn't want it because it felt like I was cheating on Gordon Ramsey.

Yes, I know Gordon Ramsay doesn't know me, doesn't love me.

 Whatever. I don't care.

It is a universal truth - like gravity - that we are all connected and we all love each other, just some of us haven't figured that out yet.  He has made me laugh. One day I will make him laugh. It all works out like that.

But for now, it's more one sided.

 I love how he sees through things and isn't afraid to bring light where it needs to shine, and I want to be like him. But curvier and Cuban.

And a writer. Not a cook. OMFG not a cook.

 Anyway, I digress.

This book HAD me from the beginning.

 To be honest (#tbh on instagram, if you need a translator for what your teen is writing on Instagram) I didn't want to like it.

 I don't watch Anthony Bourdain guy on TV because he goes weird places and eats crazy things and well I just don't get him because the idea of "Moldova" or whatever is so vague to me I can't follow him there.

  I understand when Gordon Ramsay is yelling at someone about bad food.

 I don't understand (yet) why anyone would eat the things Anthony Bourdain eats.

But then I read this book.

Every word.

And I loved it, unabashedly.

When the universe imagined Anthony Bourdain, she gave him many talents.

He is a gifted storyteller, a wisdom gatherer, an entrepreneur and teacher. I would not have known these things about him -- or cared -- if they hadn't have shined through this book like rainbows through a prism.

If I never eat a single thing Anthony Bourdain cooks (or describes eating) I will be ok because his stories are so vividly satisfying. Each one makes sense, and chained together they tell a wisdom tale about how he sobered up, learned to behave, followed his talents and found his character.

Anyone who eats at restaurants, anyone who likes good stories, anyone who just want a new invisible friend named Tony would love this book.

This book is so good I haven't even watched this week's Hell's Kitchen. Don't tell Gordon.

The Puppy Whisperer

I step outside into the predawn Fall coolness on my first morning out of a cast.

 I have a lot of big and small things on my mind but this morning is so delightful that all my cares fly away into this perfect precious non-Florida-ish weather.

Which is why I forgot to put the leash on my dog.

Mia took one step out out the door, realized she was unleashed  then looked at me over her shoulder as she ran away  screaming FREEEEEEDOM (silently).

Great. I can't run after her.  I'm half tempted to go home, close the door, go back to bed and deny deny deny but I don't.

Mia stands on the street just on the other side of the mailbox, maybe hoping I will chase her.

 Its a beautiful morning to run, and I'd run to her and with her if I could, but no, the doctor said no jumping twisting or running yet. I'm 1/3 healed and on probation.

I need to stand still and bring the puppy back.

She takes three more steps towards freedom and turns to look at me again.

I sit down on the porch and call out quietly (in case my neighbors are regarding the show) "Help me Mia! Mommy has no puppy on her leash! Helppppppp"

She stands frozen in the street, takes another sniff of freedom and picks me instead, galloping towards me and knocking me backwards while I attach her leash and start the morning again.