Melissa is back from Italy right in time for the Royal Wedding. We stayed up all night, but at 2am, we went over to my neighbor’s house, because they have a huge TV.

Melissa fell asleep. My neighbor, Kathy, stayed up with me. And it was so cozy to sit on the sofa in the early morning darkness watching the wedding unfold.

I’m fascinated by the royal family. I think it started when my mom woke me up at 3am to watch Diana get married. I woke up for Diana’s funeral, and now, I’m so happy to wake up to watch William marry Kate. I love the story of a commoner becoming royal. But what I’m most fascinated with is the idea of work. Read more

The best thing about going to a rural school is that there are not really vacations. I’m not sure why. Maybe because we had bazillion snow days. Or maybe it’s because no one needs two weeks off to go to Bermuda in March. Or maybe it’s because kids need to get out of school early to help with crops. I am not sure. But what I am sure about is that school vacations are for rich people. They are for people who can take time off from work with financial impunity or, if they are brave enough to admit that vacation is torture for parents then they can afford to do stimulating stuff like a custom tour for your kids of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This is a picture of me deluding myself that I was working last week:

But of course I was not working. I was doing Passover which means dealing with the family’s withdrawal from our bread addiction. This would be a good time to have a photo of some gross, unleavened food that I made for dinner one night during Passover, but I mostly just spent the week stressing having the only Seder in our county (yes, we imported Jews for the Seder) and having three days off for Easter (yes, the school calls it spring break and then passes out Easter eggs to my kids). Read more

It’s hard to confess to you that I’m happy on the farm. The Farmer and I are getting along well, and all that research about how if parents are in a happy marriage the kids are happier — well, that seems to be true for us.

So I spend my days writing career advice and reading about goats and figuring out how to make enough unleavened desserts to keep the Farmer from hating Passover. When I need a break from thinking, I plant my vegetables in perfectly straight rows and hope for no more snow.

The thing is, though, that it is not my nature to be sunny and bright.

Now there’s a study to support my instincts toward stress and anxiety. According to Leslie Martin, author of the new book, The Longevity Project, stress and anxiety that arise from working hard at something that is engaging and exciting to you is actually a more healthy way to live than in a regular state of cheerfulness. Read more

You hear all this talk aobut how you have to march to your own drummer, think out of the box, blah blah. The truth is, you can't change anything until you know all the rules.

Advice admonishing you to break rules is so shallow. How can you break rules without learning them first? People who understand all the rules know intuitively how to break them because they know the rules that really are not working. People who do not know rules are not breaking rules. They are annoying people.

Because for the most part, rules are there to make peoples' lives easier. There are lots of us in society, in the workplace, driving through intersections. If we don't have rules there is chaos. Some rules need changing, but you can't tell that until you know the rules and how they work together.

So instead of giving you advice on how to break the rules, I'm going to give you advice on how to learn them fast.

1. Learn multiple sets of rules at the same time.

The more types of rules you learn, the faster you get at learning them. This is, basically, what a liberal arts education is — learning systems in disparate categories.

I'm fascinated by the yarn bombers. Here's a photo of some of their work:

What makes the yarn bombers so fascinating to me is the practitioners have learned two sets of rules that don't usually go together: How to do yarn work at a high enough level to do it on the street, fast and furtively. And how to create street art in a way that has social impact, defies arrest, and leverages networking tools to pass along knowledge. Read more

Here’s an interview of me in Inc. magazine. John Warrilow did the interview. The topic was how to know if you’re an entrepreneur. I basically said that you know you’re an entrepreneur if you are crazy, in a manic way, and you are willing to risk the health of your family and have no chance of a stable income, ever.

Then John sent his book to me. It’s called Built to Sell. It turns out that John did a startup and he sold it, and his book is, basically, how to be so smart about doing a startup that you are aiming for a reasonable, not-pie-in-the-sky exit from day one.

I spend a lot of time talking about how startup life is completely crazy, and the founders are crazy for choosing it. But in fact, the lower-stakes, lower-risk entrepreneurship, where, instead of having investors, you use your own time and energy to make money on the side while you are doing other things – that’s a great way to structure a life.

Ramit Sethi has great advice on how to do this. Its called Earn $1K On the Side. And now I bet a ton of you are going to sign up for his program, and I should have negotiated beforehand to get a cut of whatever he earns from this post. But I am stuck thinking about insanely risky businesses with high reward and so I forget to do things like earn $300 when it’s just sitting there. Read more

I get my haircuts in Los Angeles because my best friend Sharon cuts my hair for free, which means the cost of the plane ticket to LA is cheaper than paying for cut and color in Chicago.

Sharon is a color specialist. This is Sharon picking color for a client who Sharon is trying to focus on while I disrupt her.

She started out just being a hairdresser. That's how I met her. I had a boyfriend who had a terrible haircut and I walked into a salon that looked expensive because he was paying, and I asked for anyone. We got Sharon because she had just learned to cut hair and we didn't request anyone who had experience.

Now I know better. Now, twenty years later, Sharon is my best friend. At some point, I don't remember when, Sharon started cutting my hair for free. I asked, like a jealous boyfriend, which other friends she cuts for free. She said no one else. That's how I feel okay telling you she's my best friend. Read more

Interview adage: If you can’t get hired being your true self, you don’t want to work there.

Life adage: If you’re not comfortable showing your true self then you probably have a disconnect between who you are and who you want to be. You really need to address that before it derails not only your career but also your relationships.

Here are three ways to make sure you stick to who you are when you interview:

1. Recognize that who you are is a moving target.
I find that showing my true self stems from knowing my true self. I am always learning about who I am, and then I always have to how I convey myself to other people—the two need to match, and I have found that it’s not so easy.

For example, we had guys come to put new roofs on old barn buildings.

The farmer told me that most of the buildings we are re-roofing are buildings people around here would tear down. People build new, shiny metal buildings now. Our yard full of old, wooden sheds, is something between a historic monument and an abandoned farm. Read more

I just got waxed. Everything off. Here’s a picture of Stephanie in action:

getting a brazillian

I love Stephanie because she is fun to talk to if I feel like talking and she leaves me alone if I feel like sending emails on my iPhone while she waxes. Or taking pictures.

I love the feeling of being neat and tidy after waxing. Because I feel like if my body is neat and tidy then my life is neat and tidy. Which is, of course, not true. I’m not sure anyone’s life is neat and tidy. But I like the idea that I can buy the illusion that I have things pulled together.

The problem is that waxing is expensive, and it’s a recurring expense. And I’m working on keeping my expenses very low so that I can start another company. Because a startup is really difficult to keep funded, and if you are supporting a family on a startup salary, it’s very scary.

But I keep feeling I’ve already cut as much as spending as I can. Does everyone feel that way?

But look, I moved from NYC to a farm. There are no stores here so I have to go to eBay at 2am for something to qualify as an impulse buy. There are no avenues for splurging on spoiled children beyond buying an extra dog or donkey. But still I find avenues to extravagances that I hate giving up. Read more