Books! A list to be well-read

This list comes from bookriot.com.

Some I’ve read, some I disagree with. Vehemently. Like Fifty Shades of Grey, are you serious? So perhaps this list is more about being familiar with the story enough to understand when it’s a topic of conversation, and not a literal to-be-read list. Because I will never read 50 Shades. (I have however read some delightful snarky reviews and am familiar with the storyline from them).

I would add or replace some on the list with these:

  1. I, Claudius by Robert Graves. Excellent historical fiction
  2. The Once and Future King by White. So many references still to Merlin, Arthur… and Wart’s childhood learning about the futility of war should be a must-read for everyone
  3. Good Omens by Pratchett and Gaiman. Pratchett is one of my most favorite authors. Armageddon can be so funny!

 

So here’s the list, in alphabetical order:

  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  2. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  4. All Quiet on the Western Front by Eric Maria Remarque
  5. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay  by Michael Chabon I have never heard of this book
  6. American Pastoral by Philip Roth I have never heard of this book
  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  8. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  9. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  10. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  11. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  12. Beowulf Check! Read this one in college Nordic and Celtic mythology
  13. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  14. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  15. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz on my to-read list
  16. Call of the Wild  by Jack London
  17. Candide by Voltaire
  18. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer pretty sure we covered some of this in high school. I’m good.
  19. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming the movies aren’t enough? I say nay to this book
  20. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  21. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger Does it count if I don’t remember it? No? oh well, then.
  22. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White checked this one off in elementary school
  23. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  24. The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
  25. The Complete Stories of Edgar Allan Poe I’ve read a few
  26. The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor 
  27. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  28. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky I think I’ve read this and The Idiot. I remember being impressed with how the characters conversed on the train
  29. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown oh yes. very good
  30. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  31. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  32. Dream of Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin Never heard of it
  33. Dune by Frank Herbert
  34. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer I read extremely loud and incredibly close but I wouldn’t have thought that book could ever be a movie (which I did not see)
  35. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  36. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  37. Faust by Goethe
  38. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley check!
  39. A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
  40. The Golden Bowl by Henry James
  41. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
  42. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  43. The Gospels as in the bible? i went to church as a kid, that’s enough.
  44. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  45. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens check!
  46. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald check!
  47. Hamlet by William Shakespeare oh no. I’ve seen it enough times, though.
  48. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  49. Harry Potter & The Sorceror’s Stone by J.K. Rowling check! superb series
  50. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  51. The Help by Kathryn Stockett check. I liked it until I saw it was all about the author. Ugh babe, you are not a hero.
  52. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams check! seems to change each time I read it
  53. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien check! there’s no love story. no way this merited 3 movies. obviously.
  54. House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday
  55. Howl by Allen Ginsberg
  56. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins check! excellent series. like most, the books are better than the movies
  57. if on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino
  58. The Iliad by Homer check! greek mythology, you make me feel so knowledgeable
  59. Inferno by Dante check! True story: I read this to prepare for a road rally I organized to Hell, Michigan. Yes it was nerdy.
  60. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  61. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  62. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman check for some of it. my mom was into poetry so if I got really bored I’d read some
  63. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  64. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis check. weird series, really
  65. The Little Prince by Antoine  de Saint-Exepury check. I think.
  66. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  67. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  68. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  69. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  70. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  71. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  72. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie check. I enjoy some of her books, but she really did hide important characters frequently
  73. The Odyssey by Homer woo-hoo, greek mythology class strikes again
  74. Oedipus the King by Sophocles woo-hoo, greek mythology class strikes again
  75. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  76. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster dang it, I read the house book by him
  77. The Pentateuch
  78. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen check! also pride and prejudice and zombies, because I’m well-rounded like that.
  79. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
  80. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  81. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare gah, i think so but so much easier to comprehend with actors, as intended
  82. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne yep. damn pastor
  83. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut maybe. i don’t care for Vonnegut. I read Galapagos and finished it out of a sense of duty. life is too short for that anymore
  84. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  85. The Stand by Stephen King many times. I love this book
  86. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  87. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
  88. Their Eyes Were Watching by Zora Neale Hurston
  89. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  90. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  91. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  92. Ulysses by James Joyce
  93. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  94. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  95. Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee
  96. Watchmen by Alan Moore
  97. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  98. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  99. 1984 by George Orwell yes. super scary and all too easy to imagine
  100. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James NO NO NO NO

 

The most valid argument for daylight savings time

This table from the US Navy Astronomical Applications Department is fascinating. It shows the time for sunrise and sunset in my general area, without counting daylight savings time.

             o  ,    o  ,                                  PONTIAC, MICHIGAN                           Astronomical Applications Dept.
Location: W083 17, N42 39                          Rise and Set for the Sun for 2013                   U. S. Naval Observatory        
                                                                                                       Washington, DC  20392-5420     
                                                         Eastern Standard Time                                                        

       Jan.       Feb.       Mar.       Apr.       May        June       July       Aug.       Sept.      Oct.       Nov.       Dec.  
Day Rise  Set  Rise  Set  Rise  Set  Rise  Set  Rise  Set  Rise  Set  Rise  Set  Rise  Set  Rise  Set  Rise  Set  Rise  Set  Rise  Set
     h m  h m   h m  h m   h m  h m   h m  h m   h m  h m   h m  h m   h m  h m   h m  h m   h m  h m   h m  h m   h m  h m   h m  h m
01  0803 1711  0747 1747  0708 1823  0615 1859  0527 1934  0458 2005  0459 2015  0525 1953  0558 1907  0631 1814  0707 1726  0744 1701
02  0803 1712  0746 1748  0707 1824  0613 1901  0526 1935  0457 2005  0500 2015  0526 1952  0559 1905  0632 1812  0709 1724  0745 1700
03  0803 1712  0745 1750  0705 1826  0612 1902  0525 1936  0457 2006  0500 2014  0527 1951  0600 1904  0633 1811  0710 1723  0746 1700
04  0803 1713  0744 1751  0703 1827  0610 1903  0523 1937  0457 2007  0501 2014  0528 1949  0601 1902  0634 1809  0711 1722  0747 1700
05  0803 1714  0743 1752  0702 1828  0608 1904  0522 1938  0456 2007  0502 2014  0529 1948  0603 1900  0635 1807  0712 1721  0748 1700
06  0803 1715  0741 1754  0700 1829  0606 1905  0521 1939  0456 2008  0502 2013  0530 1947  0604 1858  0636 1805  0714 1719  0749 1700
07  0803 1716  0740 1755  0658 1830  0605 1906  0520 1940  0456 2009  0503 2013  0531 1946  0605 1857  0637 1804  0715 1718  0750 1700
08  0803 1717  0739 1756  0657 1832  0603 1907  0518 1941  0455 2009  0504 2013  0533 1944  0606 1855  0639 1802  0716 1717  0751 1700
09  0803 1719  0738 1758  0655 1833  0601 1909  0517 1943  0455 2010  0504 2012  0534 1943  0607 1853  0640 1800  0717 1716  0752 1700
10  0802 1720  0736 1759  0653 1834  0600 1910  0516 1944  0455 2011  0505 2012  0535 1942  0608 1851  0641 1759  0719 1715  0753 1700
11  0802 1721  0735 1800  0652 1835  0558 1911  0515 1945  0455 2011  0506 2011  0536 1940  0609 1850  0642 1757  0720 1714  0753 1700
12  0802 1722  0734 1801  0650 1836  0556 1912  0514 1946  0455 2012  0507 2011  0537 1939  0610 1848  0643 1755  0721 1713  0754 1700
13  0801 1723  0732 1803  0648 1838  0555 1913  0513 1947  0455 2012  0507 2010  0538 1937  0611 1846  0644 1754  0722 1712  0755 1700
14  0801 1724  0731 1804  0646 1839  0553 1914  0512 1948  0455 2012  0508 2009  0539 1936  0612 1844  0645 1752  0724 1711  0756 1700
15  0800 1725  0730 1805  0645 1840  0551 1915  0511 1949  0455 2013  0509 2009  0540 1934  0613 1842  0647 1750  0725 1710  0756 1700
16  0800 1727  0728 1807  0643 1841  0550 1917  0510 1950  0455 2013  0510 2008  0541 1933  0614 1841  0648 1749  0726 1709  0757 1701
17  0759 1728  0727 1808  0641 1842  0548 1918  0509 1951  0455 2014  0511 2007  0542 1931  0615 1839  0649 1747  0727 1709  0758 1701
18  0759 1729  0725 1809  0640 1843  0547 1919  0508 1952  0455 2014  0512 2007  0543 1930  0616 1837  0650 1746  0729 1708  0758 1701
19  0758 1730  0724 1811  0638 1845  0545 1920  0507 1953  0455 2014  0513 2006  0544 1928  0617 1835  0651 1744  0730 1707  0759 1702
20  0758 1731  0722 1812  0636 1846  0544 1921  0506 1954  0455 2014  0513 2005  0545 1927  0619 1834  0653 1743  0731 1706  0800 1702
21  0757 1733  0721 1813  0634 1847  0542 1922  0505 1955  0455 2015  0514 2004  0546 1925  0620 1832  0654 1741  0732 1705  0800 1703
22  0756 1734  0719 1814  0633 1848  0540 1923  0504 1956  0456 2015  0515 2003  0548 1924  0621 1830  0655 1740  0734 1705  0801 1703
23  0755 1735  0718 1816  0631 1849  0539 1925  0504 1957  0456 2015  0516 2002  0549 1922  0622 1828  0656 1738  0735 1704  0801 1704
24  0755 1737  0716 1817  0629 1850  0537 1926  0503 1958  0456 2015  0517 2002  0550 1920  0623 1826  0657 1737  0736 1704  0801 1704
25  0754 1738  0715 1818  0627 1852  0536 1927  0502 1959  0457 2015  0518 2001  0551 1919  0624 1825  0659 1735  0737 1703  0802 1705
26  0753 1739  0713 1819  0626 1853  0535 1928  0501 2000  0457 2015  0519 2000  0552 1917  0625 1823  0700 1734  0738 1703  0802 1706
27  0752 1740  0712 1821  0624 1854  0533 1929  0501 2000  0457 2015  0520 1959  0553 1915  0626 1821  0701 1732  0739 1702  0802 1706
28  0751 1742  0710 1822  0622 1855  0532 1930  0500 2001  0458 2015  0521 1958  0554 1914  0627 1819  0702 1731  0741 1702  0803 1707
29  0750 1743             0620 1856  0530 1931  0459 2002  0458 2015  0522 1956  0555 1912  0628 1818  0704 1730  0742 1701  0803 1708
30  0749 1744             0619 1857  0529 1933  0459 2003  0459 2015  0523 1955  0556 1910  0629 1816  0705 1728  0743 1701  0803 1709
31  0748 1746             0617 1858             0458 2004             0524 1954  0557 1909             0706 1727             0803 1710

                                             Add one hour for daylight time, if and when in use.

You can check out your area by visiting the Navy site here.

I heard about from this website, where the writer argues that sunrise between 4:15 and 4:30 am in Chicago is terrible, especially with pre-dawn light earlier than that. I really have to agree that changing clocks is better than never being able to see a drive-in movie at a semi-reasonable hour. (Above, sunset at 8:15pm means it’s dark enough for a movie maybe at 9:30pm).

more crockpot fun

Last week we tried three more crock pot recipes

Balsamic glazed chicken thighs on Who Needs a Cape

Chicken tater tot casserole found on pinterest

Salisbury steak from All Recipes

Glazed Chicken: served with noodles. The sauce could be thickened, but it was a little greasy from the dark meat. Very tasty and will make again.

Tater tot casserole: I used cubed hash browns because that’s what we had. Hubby liked the taste but I thought it was very bland. Will try again but more like our cheesy potatoes. This recipe is close

Salisbury Steak: served with homemade mashed potatoes. Very yummy, enjoyed it for lunch today and looking forward to lunch tomorrow!

We took the crockpot on a ski trip. Made mac and cheese one day with sandwiches for lunch, and made chicken and dumplings for dinner another day. The combination of two cans of soup with store-bought cooked chicken made it too salty, so I’ll tweak that recipe a bit. Probably use homemade stock instead of the soup. I did use powdered milk, which worked well.

On goals, lists, and buckets

Well, my first goal of 2013 was to organize the iphoto library. This is definitely begun, with almost all photos now organized by month/year. i’m getting more comfortable with how iphoto organizes things organically, and how I can sort quickly for different needs. I did create a Texas album for various vacations, and have begun the process of editing more family treasure scans for another photo album. I have not worked on it 20 minutes a day in quite some time. So this goal is in progress but in danger of getting sidelined if it doesn’t make it back onto the schedule.

Exercising is on my list. But a foot tendon injury has sidelined kickboxing and treadmill walk/runs. I’m trying to use my bag for punches and focus on squats/abs/arms, but it’s a hard cycle to get into. Recently found one that seems to make me sufficiently sore to want to do it again the next day. Since I only watch the Biggest Loser when I’m on the treadmill I’m terribly behind on that show. Something to look forward to!

Been doing a lot of ADD reading and am trying out ideas for workflow/organization. So far, so good. Changing email boxes to @waiting, @working, and @read is going great — @read tends to pile up but I”m OK with that. It’s much easier to make sure I’m not letting something fall through the cracks by checking the @waiting box at least every other day. Also, sitting the night before and making my to-do list for the next day, and limiting the number of must-dos is really helpful. Feeling more creative about some projects.

Am grappling with menu planning, and feeling good about week two. I’ve found some resources for making crock pot meals in advance (see this post) and it’s going really well — and tasty, too. I’m hoping this will become an easier habit by the time crock pot season is over.

One big thing I like to think about is a bucket list, which usually is fulfilled by doing things I didn’t know were on my bucket list. Like downhill skiing last year or high ropes course. I recently agreed to give a brief talk/demo on a service I use, to people in my industry. I have taught and given speeches before, so getting up is within my comfort zone, but these are professionals and I don’t know any of them, so my shy side is coming out a bit. I’m really looking forward to it and plan on being as overly prepared as I can be. Will be able to check off “speak at industry event” that was just added to the bucket list.

 

fun collection of gifs

I often see my favorite web personalities tweeting funny gifs as a status. Today, jackpot! @colly tweeted his collection. These are fun pick-me-up

https://gimmebar.com/collection/4e4194f82f0aaafe6d00009f/animals-gifs-daft-stuff

kick-ass cooking day

I have a hard time with dinner. Sometimes I can’t make up my mind, or an ingredient is missing, or nothing sounds good. It’s tiring to have all this mental energy wasted so frequently. And meal planning should help, but it only works if the list is kept and ingredients bought.

In about 3 hours, including breaks for a bit of work and chatting with the hubby, I prepped 6 — make that 7 — meals today. Wednesday, I sat in the dining room for a ridiculous amount of time, reading blogs and getting ideas for crock pot meals. I did the responsible thing and check that all the staples like rice were actually in the pantry. Hubby took the shopping list and when he got home Friday morning, the prepping party began!

There are a lot of blogs on making food one day a week, freezing it, then throwing the stuff in a crock pot in the morning — dinner, DONE. No thinking, just pull out a bag. Maybe make some rice or veggies, or some fabulous crusty bread the night before — I’m hoping to be a superhero this week!

The menus:

Beef tips and gravy. I’ll serve with potatoes and green beens

Cranberry chicken. Serve with rice and broccoli

Mongolian Beef. Serve with rice.

Chicken and Dumplings

Teriyaki Chicken. serve with rice not tasty

Sausage and Beans. Serve with cheese and tortilla chips (OOPS! I forgot to add tomatoes.)

and finished up with my favorite dish, Cottage Pie.

First, cooking up sausage for Sausage and Beans, so the sausage cools before packing time. Then all the other ingredients, including spices, gathered and sorted by recipe. I had to work each recipe separate so I could keep it all straight. I labeled the bag, put in the appropriate meat, added veggies, poured on sauce, sealed, and stacked. Since the ground beef was browned and dark meat chicken shredded last week, this was super easy.

Since I was in the cooking groove, whipping up cottage pie for dinner was easy.

I’ll post reviews as we make the dinners.

Update Feb 3: Teriyaki chicken. Nope, won’t make again. Part of the problem was crushed pineapple instead of chunks, but that wouldn’t have fixed it. Not enough flavor overall. It was hot, and the rice was great. Too bad.

Update Feb 6: Cranberry chicken was a hit, as always. Took the next night off, because it turns out working in the same room as slow-cooked chicken isn’t as fabulous as it sounds. Tonight: chicken and dumplings (short cook time) which was WONDERFUL. I added 2 cups milk, 1 cup chicken broth, and bunch of torn biscuits in a can.

Feb 7: Beef Tips = good. I added a bit of flour and took the lid off one hour before to thicken up the gravy. Served with balsamic reduction glazed green beans with bacon (yummy!) and garlic mashed potatoes (not so yummy). Too salty with those potatoes, will try again with regular and maybe cut down on some salt when making.

Link to pdf with some more ideas at this lady’s house

 

first goal for 2013

I don’t see the point in making a resolution because a goal is much more practical. If a goal isn’t met, the focus or the deadline can change and it will still be a success. If a resolution is broken, it’s done, over, failure. Why would I want to set myself up for failure?

So, 2013 will be about goals. I will probably re-read “the Happiness Project” for a few ideas, but the first one is easy, because I’ve already started: organize iPhoto library. This computer was new in 2008, and it’s super easy to import photos: just connect a camera. But I never got the hang of organizing what came in, just slapping on a title to an event. When I wanted a specific topic, it was hunt and peck through the whole darn library, which included plenty of images from before 2008 from scans and camera cards. And I had to hunt a lot this year for the most random types of images. I made it worse by scanning in a TON of family treasures, but editing some on this computer, some on the laptop, editing some from iphoto, some from folders, uploading certain copies for photo album printing but keeping duplicates — what a MESS. Plus I did a Photo of the Day 365 project in 2010 and all those pictures including the ones not used are in there.

I’m going to dedicate about 4 hours a week to getting this library into shape, in 1/2 – 1 hour increments. First, 2012 is separated into monthly events, then the bad photos will get deleted. I’ll create albums for things like marching band and vacations to make those images easier to find. As I go, I’ll be adding as many tags as I can think of so searching will be easier. After 2012 is done, I’ll work my way back.

The family treasures library I’ll curate, fix photos that haven’t yet been edited, then burn on dvds for additional backup. I have more family album to make for my sister and me, and it has the most pictures to choose from. the previous albums are our childhood and history of our dad’s side of the family, and they are lovely, treasured books. So much nicer for us than boxes of old fading images or bulky albums.

I’ll snapshots to this post later because when I fire up iphoto it wants to update photo stream images, and I really don’t want thousands of vintage family pics up there so I turn off internet when working. That also means I won’t get mail which means limited distractions!

Here’s to a productive, organized, and happy new year!

 

youcanttakeitwithyou

You Can’t Take It With You playbill cover

I drew up a cover for a high school performance of You Can’t Take It With You. Unfortunately, the director didn’t share her thoughts of using someone else until after the meeting. So, if you would like to use this cover for your own production, feel free! The art was created in adobe Illustrator, and is vector, but you can pop the pdf into another program if you like. You could also use this for tshirts or posters. I can’t make any changes or customizations, sorry. This art is presented as-is for school performance use (not for professional productions, but they probably use official art anyway).

Here you are, “You Can’t Take it With You”! The first is a .jpg image (right click and choose “save image”).

Download a pdf version!