Sunday, January 23, 2011

No Time on my Hands

Well, actually I have quite a bit of time on my hands, and so I spend a lot of time reading. No Time on my Hands is a book I read in December, a book loaned to me by my daughter-in-law, Jill. The book is by Grace Snyder, as told to Nellie Snyder Yost. I really enjoyed this book about an amazing woman, Grace Snyder. She was born in Missouri, and moved with her family to homestead on the high plains of Nebraska in 1885 when she was a small child. One review I read described the book as "Little House on the Prairie" for grown-ups, and that is probably pretty accurate.

When she was 80 years old Grace Snyder told the story of her life to her daughter, who (thankfully for us!) wrote it all down. It was a fascinating tale of the hard life of those who settled here in Nebraska. The family faced droughts, prairie fires, and hard times, as well as the fun and satisfaction of working together as a family. Grace told Nellie she was blessed by having "no time on my hands." As a seven-year old she had three dreams for her life: that she would marry a cowboy, look down on the clouds, and make the most beautiful quilts in the world. All three dreams came true for Grace.

Grace went on to live another 20 years and the edition I read included an epilogue of her final years. Her quilts have been in shows all over the US. Mollie Newman interviewed Grace in 1982 as part of her preparation to write the musical Quilters.

Another book I read in December was 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. The reason I picked up this book at the library was because of the sub-title: Escape nine to five, live anywhere and join the new rich. It was "live anywhere" phrase that caught my eye. I am not currently employed, nor do I wish to be, so the 4 hour work week doesn't apply to me, but it was really interesting to read about. the author explains how he did this, and actually got more work done. It does involve outsourcing, never attending meetings, and cutting way back on phone calls and unnecessary emails. Tim's philosophy is that you should not work all your life saving for retirement and then do something fun and/or interesting. It is about lifestyle design. Figure out what you want to do during a mini-retirement and then go for it. There are lots of strategies for generating income to finance your mini-retirement, lots of stories from people who have done this and are living this lifestyle. Also, you do not really need to be rich to go live some place exotic for 3 to 6 months, you just have to know how to plan for it and find the bargains. You can live like the rich without being rich.

One reason this is appealing to me right now is because we are in Nebraska in the winter, yet again. I want to be some place where it is warm. Dave and I are also feeling tied down because we feel like it is wrong to leave for any length of time (two weeks is our maximum right now) because his Mom might need us. That makes any kind of trip sound like a great adventure. We started helping my mom in 1998 when she had heart surgery and then a stroke, then added Eleanor in 2004 one month after my mom died. My aunt Marge was here for the last 2 years of her life. It is a lot of taking care of little old ladies, and it is taking its toll.

No time on my Hands and 4 Hour Work Week are almost complete opposites, but I found both very interesting to read. By the way you can read most of the 4 Hour Work Week on the Blog. You will have to get past the 4 Hour Body (his current best seller), but most of it is there--for free.

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