Category Archives: Home

A Reading Challenge for 2015

I found this challenge a little late in the year, but I still did pretty well.

A book with more than 500 pages: Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
2.A classic romance: Daisy, Judith Krantz (1980)
3.A book that became a movie: Insurgent by Veronica Roth (2012)
4.A book published this year: Bon Appetempt: A Coming of Age Story (with Recipes), Amelia Morris (2015)
5.A book with a number in the title: 8 Laws of Change: How to Be an Agent of Personal and Social Transformation, Stephan Schwartz (2015)
6.A book written by someone under 30: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Deb Perelman (2012)
7.A book with nonhuman characters: Dead Men’s Boots, Mike Carey (2009)
8.A funny book: Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City, Elizabeth Helman-Minchilli (2015)
9.A book by a female author: Blood Red by Mercedes Lackey (2014)
10.A mystery or thriller: Make Me, Lee Child (2015)
11.A book with a one-word title: Gut (The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ), Giulia Enders (2015)
12.A book of short stories:  Sun in Glory and Other Tales of Valdemar, Mercedes Lackey (2004)
13.A book set in a different country: A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family, Cheryl Lu-lien Tan (2011)
14.A nonfiction book:  The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating An Extraordinary Workplace, Ron Friedman (2014)
15.A popular author’s first book:  In Conquest Born, C.S. Friedman
16.A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet:  From A High Tower, Mercedes Lackey (2015)
17.A book a friend recommended: Midnight Riot, Ben Aaronovitch (2011)
18.A Pulitzer Prize-winning book:
19.A book based on a true story: Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites, Kate Christensen (2013)
20.A book at the bottom of your to-read list: The Gastronomical Me, M.K. Fisher (1985)
21.A book your mom/family member loves: Harry Potter series
22.A book that scares you: anything by Stephan King (and no, I don’t read books that scare me)
23.A book more than 100 years old: Little Women, Luisa May Alcott (1868)
24.A book based entirely on its cover: 1602, Neil Gaiman
25.A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t:
26.A memoir: This is Who I Am, Roseanne Olson (2008)
27.A book you can finish in a day: Shattered, Kevin Hearne (2014)
28.A book with antonyms in the title:
29.A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit:  Lion of Ireland, Morgan Llywelyn (2002)
30.A book that came out the year you were born: The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1(65)**
31.A book with bad reviews: Witches of America, Alex Mar (2015)
32.A trilogy:  The Morgaine Saga, C.J. Cherryh (2000)
33.A book from your childhood: Foundation, Isaac Asimov
34.A book with a love triangle: Mona Lisa Darkening, Sunny
35.A book set in the future:  Second Foundation, Isaac Asimov
36.A book set in high school: Skulduggery Pleasant*, Derek Landy (2007)
37.A book with a color in the title: Dress Her in Indigo, John MacDonald (1969)
38.A book that made you cry: Shattered, Kevin Hearne
39.A book with magic: On A Pale Horse, Piers Anthony
40.A graphic novel: 1602, Neil Gaiman (2004)
41.A book by an author you’ve never read before: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan (2012)
42.A book you own but have never read: 
43.A book that takes place in your hometown: Hunting Ground, Patricia Briggs (2011)
44.A book that was originally written in a different language:
45.A book set during Christmas:
46.A book written by an author with your same initials:
47.A play:
48.A banned book: the Harry Potter series
49.A book based on or turned into a TV show: The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Ree Drummond (2012)
50.A book you started but never finished: Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer (2014)

* Granted this is stretching it a bit. But the protagonist does go to HS as part of the story.

** within 2 years of my birth, that’ll have to be close enough.

Ok, so I failed to accomplish only 8 of the tasks. Pretty good, if I do say so myself!

The Wonder of Nature, Part 3 (aka the Wonder Quickly Wears Off, But is Still Kinda Neat)

The small garden plot on the right.

The small garden plot on the right.

Let me put it this way: it isn’t going to shock me if not every one of you is waiting on tenterhooks for photos of incremental growth. Lisa and I are still pretty excited, still, if only because we have big plans for how this is going to turn out and so far, so good. At least, for most of it. Most of it? Yeah. Behold the “mostly” plot, on the right. Setting aside the grass that needs pulling for a moment :p, it’s just not coming in very well.The giant plants are survivors of the great purge from last year, so that might be throwing your perspective off, but the growth in there is pretty minimal so far. Seriously, when I weed on Friday and take new pics it’ll look even more desolate in there. Oh well. Read on for happier pics.

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading

The Wonder of Nature, Part 2 (aka the Near-Futile Wait for a Sunbreak)

The next chance I had for decent photos was over the weekend. The good news is I haven’t had to water  one bit, and I probably won’t have to until June or so except for the potted plants under our porch awning. Frankly, even those are growing like mad right now, but best not to take any chances. Also, a word about the grass: we stick to organic fertilizing/weeding solutions because obvious reasons plus we live right next to a small lake and our runoff is extra-likely to cause problems. So, no, we don’t have the most verdant lawn in existence. That’s just how it goes. Anyhoo.  On with the show!

Continue reading

The Wonder of Nature, Part 1 (aka Suburban DINK amazed that plants grow, also water wet)

Lisa and I did some significant alterations to the front yard last fall. It was actually an incredibly tense negotiation at times. I won’t bore you with the long version, which went on for literally months. The short version is I like grass and she likes non-grass plants. So, like any good couple, or England in 1937, I offered up a portion of territory in hopes of compromise…

… we will ignore for now that Lisa becomes Hitler in this analogy. Sometimes I am not good at this…

Anyway, we carved out 4 feet or so. I ripped up the grass (actually another really long story, but in the end I got ‘er done), laid out some ornamental stone, and then planted the shit out of our new gardens. The digression that cannot be skipped, though, is the tremendous, mountainous work that Lisa did to get the garden mapped out. She worked incredibly hard to figure out what plants are good for our region, would look good, will (hopefully) flower throughout the year, look good next to each other, and probably a half-dozen other criteria that I was too callous to ask about. The garden mapped out, the seeds/bulbs/baby plants ordered, I got out the tape measure (you heard me), laid out the plants to Lisa’s specifications, and waited.

And waited.

Well, as you may have heard Seattle experienced a crazy-warm late winter, and the growing season has already begun. To that end, we’re taking pictures as things come in and thought we’d share them. I’d hatch some baby chicks to go along with it but the cats would probably eat them.

Continue reading