A quick note of welcome to subscribers from my various earlier MailChimp lists for SaraLingafelter.com, The Right Sized Life, SaraGraceTakesPictures.com, RockClimberGirl.com and/or any of the various other personal and professional spaces I’ve occupied over the years. I hope you enjoy it here. I’m Sara Lobkovich now, and write this newsletter every other week to share adventures in focusing on fewer, better things.
I’ve spent the last week thoroughly on vacation. It was a hard push to get there, including long days and hand-off documents and two days of working from the passenger seat of the truck while my husband drove us first north then a little east and quite a bit south. And all in all it was an actual little patch of PTO that I thoroughly needed.
After dropping the dog off at my parents (north), we headed south: first, to Bishop, CA. We climbed rocks, we slept in, we laid like lizards in the winter sunshine and caught up on a little vitamin D. I also caught up on a little vitamin Sleep and a little vitamin Unplugged, with a side of vitamin Quality Time with My Sometimes Saint of a Spouse, all of which I really needed.
And then after that leg we turned east toward his parents’ place in far out Utah: the nearest airport is Las Vegas and it’s darn near a day’s drive from there.
We spent our Utah time enjoying family and the sunshine (at first) and then the snow which came in abundance. And when we weren’t outside, we were sitting in front of the fire or prepping family style meals and enjoying them at the cozy counter in the lodge. At present, there are six cats to try to ignore to win over, and two dogs who can’t be ignored, and a wood stove for heat, and always more wood to stock or snow to shovel or chickens to put food scraps aside for and always more books on the shelves so at the lodge there is never a risk of an idle hand without a job. There is blissfully little connectivity: slow wi-fi and cell service strong enough to hold a conversation if you’re dedicated enough to finding a spot in the lodge where the signal holds to make it work out, but weak enough that if it’s not worth the time away from the fire, it’s not going to happen.
So to sit down and write about my work life, right now — it started our perspiration, not inspiration, and it’s ending up just practice.
Yes, according to RescueTime I spent 50-ish fewer hours in front of a screen last week than in a normal work week. (That number stops me in my tracks.)
Yes, I intentionally chose far fewer sources of information by logging out of social media and found that decision quite valuable: my consumption was limited to the Washington Post on occasion, whatever my father-in-law saw on C-Span worthy of discussion, and the stack of books I wound my way through (see below for partial details).
And yes, it was a gift to unplug from my phone and computer and be present in places I love with people I love (including myself and my own thoughts). And that was a luxury and a privilege and I’ll let that be.
So this week there is no moral to the story. There is only gratitude for the perspiration of the work that lead to the perspiration of the travel that lead to the re-entry that is what it is, and here we are.
Randomness that’s worth your time (power’s out in the lodge edition):
As a design thinker, I was surprised how much I still had to learn by reading Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. Their Odyssey Plan exercise has been a breath of fresh air as I contemplate a new year and a new direction in the type of work I’m doing in my consulting practice. I can’t stop doing wild and crazy five year ideations for myself. And no matter how outlandish the starting point of each one, I learn something I know to be true about myself from each one I complete. (An example from the book is below. I drew my own templates and they’re literally unreadable to anyone else or else I’d share them.)
Recreationally, I read two of the three Broken Earth Trilogy books by N.K. Jemisin (I’ll start the third from home, tonight, to ease my re-entry), recommended by a long-time internet friend, Dylan, in response to my plea for feminist-friendly sci-fi and beautiful writing and am thoroughly loving the series.
And these may or may not be worth your time, but after a year spent reading so much business and self-help I’m beginning to think more critically and deeply about the roots of our need for self-help and business books (link via Margot Talbot who I’ve been connected on Facebook with for years) and I desperately needed a break from both for my vacation. Given my in-laws abundant bookshelf about raising and husbandry of farm critters, I made it through Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin. An aside, if anyone needs to know what to do with a whole chicken given the chance please let me know and I can cover that in a future issue. I also devoured Gardening with Guineas, a Step by Step Guide to Raising Guinea Fowl on a Small Scale and am now mentally writing the future letter to send to our immediate neighbors about the odd, colorful small birds that may escape our fence because they are, after all, wild creatures even if helpful in urban homestead settings like ours (I grow food, much of it for the local rabbits, rodents and slugs — all of them, I hope, a future flock of Guinea Fowl suppresses enough that we yield a slightly larger share of our crops than we do today).
It may be the week after Thanksgiving, but I’m still feeling many thanks, including to you for reading this far. If you enjoyed this issue, please invite a friend to join us here in this exploration of doing less, better and share the link to subscribe.
Sara Lobkovich Newsletter
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