Happy New Year! Now Get Down to Zihuatanejo

I hope everyone had as nice and relaxing holiday as I did. Besides getting lots of badly needed downtime, we managed to see old friends, family and haunts, and accumulated new memories to add to the ol’ mental scrapbook.

Over the last few days, as I was dreading the end of my vacation and return to the real world, I pondered resolutions for 2013– both the realistic ones and the “not-a-snowball’s-chance-in-hell-but-I-should-probably-make-them-anyway” ones. Typically, these goals are exercises in futility. This time, though, it occurred to me that it isn’t so much what you resolve to do as much as how you plan to make it happen. As I’m sure many of you are, I’m a big fan of The Shawshank Redemption. That whole “get busy living, or get busy dying” rant impressed me like, “yeah… that’s it. That’s how it is.” In the movie, Andy Dufresne determined his “get busy living” was finding a way out of Shawshank and escaping to a little Mexican village called Zihuatanejo. It’s the perfect metaphor for anything we truly want.

So you need to first ask yourself, what more than anything would you like to do. It could be turning the garage into a man cave or craft studio, fixing all the broken things around the house, restoring your dad’s dead Olds 442 or finally overhauling the backyard. But, before getting lost in your fantasy and dreaming of neat that would be…

…immediately follow up with, okay… how do I make it happen? In other words, you can’t just think about what you need to start doing– do it. Do it now. Even if you just devote 10 minutes a day, moving boxes or trimming hedges or removing engine parts, the very act of doing something motivates you to get moving, add more time and effort. and get it done. This year for me, it’s not just about losing weight (yeah, I’m original), it’s about walking, power-walking, doing stairs or hiking every day. NOT jumping into a gym membership– that’s just setting myself up for disaster (not to mention thwarting my budgetary resolutions). Also, choosing the types of food I eat by imagining what kind of hell my body goes through processing what I feed it (reality check: sweet potato fries is NOT a healthy alternative to regular potato fries). Again, not what you do, but how you do it.

On a sort-of related note, but not really, I have a brother-in-law who’s a total Tim Taylor (Home Improvement), grunts and all, and whose name I had for Christmas. I gave him a Harbor Freight gift card (of course), but, for me, just giving a gift card’s a cop out; it has to at least be accompanied by something that requires personal thought and consideration. So, I gave him a copy of Sequoia Publishing’s Pocket Ref.

Super handy info for tool hounds, craftsmen, landscapers, mechanics, technicians, cooks, stagehands, maintenance workers, carpenters, installers, fabricators, testers, designers, rodeo clowns– anyone who works with tools or does general troubleshooting– this comprehensive, pocket-sized reference book is for anyone who does anything. It’s perfect for when you use a math formula infrequently enough to forget it– and it’s better than the Internet ’cause it goes places where you get no bars! The little book is 768 pages of charts, tables, conversions, constants, facts and figures on everything you’d want to know. Covers air and gasses, automotive, carpentry and construction, chemistry and physics, computers, general science, geology, electrical circuits, electronics, drilling, cutting, adhesives, bolts, fasteners, pipes, ropes, tools, weather, welding, time zones, bunches of tables. and tons more– AND it fits in a pocket, glove box or tool box! Excluding Taco Bell, I can’t think of a better way to spend $9.99.

My brother-in-law flipped after he scanned through it for the first time. “Hell,” he said, “I can see myself just sitting and reading this for fun.” I recommended the bathroom.

Not for nothing, but an interesting aside,  Jamie and Adam on MythBusters whip this book out from time to time and use formulas from it. Well… I was impressed.