Thursday, November 22, 2018

2018 Goals: Reading - Update

I have about a month left to accomplish my goal of reading (or listening to) three books per month. I figured I'd post an update since I just finished a book (which I started reading because I realized, while reading the summary presented at the beginning of And Another Thing..., that it had been skipped in the order of books; this oversight has been remedied and I can now return to my previously scheduled reading).

I think I'm on track to accomplish my goal. The highlighted entries are the newly-ish added completions to the reading list (since the last post back in June). Any book without an entry in the "month finished" column is in progress. I don't think I'll finish reading the Covey book by the end of the year...



TitleAuthorMonth finished
The Slow Regard of Silent ThingsPatrick RothfussJanuary
Good Leaders Ask Great QuestionsJohn C MaxwellFebruary
As You WishCary ElwesFebruary
Train Your Dog PositivelyVictoria StillwellMarch
Thanks for the FeedbackDouglas StoneMarch
CoralineNeil GaimanFebruary
StardustNeil GaimanFebruary
DuneFrank HerbertApril
Spark JoyMarie KondoMarch
The MartianAndy WeirApril
QBQ! The Question Behind the QuestionJohn G. MillerApril
Postcards from the EdgeCarrie FisherApril
The Mysterious Affair at StylesAgatha ChristieApril
Let's Pretend This Never HappenedJenny LawsonMay
The Ghost BrigadesJohn ScalziJune
7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleCovey
The Last ColonyJohn ScalziJune
Brave New WorldAldous HuxleyJuly
Storm FrontJim ButcherJuly
Fool MoonJim ButcherAugust
Yes PleaseAmy PoehlerAugust
Dead Trees Give No ShelterWil WheatonAugust
The Subversive CopyeditorCarol Fisher SallerOctober
The HistorianElizabeth KostovaAugust
We Have Always Lived in the CastleShirley JacksonSeptember
Grave PerilJim ButcherSeptember
Summer KnightJim ButcherOctober
Wizard of EarthseaUrsula K. Le GuinOctober
Death MasksJim ButcherOctober
Guards! Guards!Terry PratchetNovember
NeverwhereNeil GaimanNovember
On WritingStephen King
Always Look on the Bright Side of LIfeEric Idle
And Another Thing...Eoin Colfer
Mostly HarmlessDouglas AdamsNovember

If you didn't notice, I discovered the Dresden Files. The audiobooks are amazing and I highly recommend the series. 

If you were interested in a summary that doesn't involve you counting entries, there are 35 books listed, 4 books in progress, and 10 12 nonfiction books. If I don't finish the one mentioned above, I'll need to add 1 nonfiction and 1 other book to the list to meet both the goal and the subgoal. 

Good luck, me.


Friday, June 22, 2018

2018 Goals: Reading

Back in January, I created a list of 13 goals that I wanted to accomplish during the year. I've accomplished two of these goals so far: buy a house and stop taking iron supplements. Four of the goals for the year are ongoing and can't be considered "accomplished" until the end of the year. One of these four ongoing goals is to read (or listen to) three books per month. A sub-goal is that one of these three books per month should be a nonfiction book. I seem to be on track with this goal; I've read 15 books and I have three in progress.

Here's the list so far.

TitleAuthorMonth Finished
The Slow Regard of Silent ThingsPatrick RothfussJanuary
Good Leaders Ask Great QuestionsJohn C MaxwellFebruary
As You WishCary ElwesFebruary
Train Your Dog PositivelyVictoria StillwellMarch
Thanks for the FeedbackDouglas StoneMarch
CoralineNeil GaimanFebruary
StardustNeil GaimanFebruary
DuneFrank HerbertApril
Spark JoyMarie KondoMarch
The MartianAndy WeirApril
QBQ! The Question Behind the QuestionJohn G. MillerApril
Postcards from the EdgeCarrie FisherApril
The Mysterious Affair at StylesAgatha ChristieApril
Let's Pretend This Never HappenedJenny LawsonMay
The Happiness ProjectGretchen Rubin
The Ghost BrigadesJohn ScalziJune
7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleCovey
The Last ColonyJohn Scalzi

As you can see, the nonfiction books tend to fall into the self-help category. So I've unintentionally turned this into a year of reading self-help books. It's actually more enjoyable and useful than I ever would have thought.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Food in Jars: Banana Pudding


Pudding mixture*
Bananas
Nilla Wafers
Pudding mixture
Bananas
Nilla Wafers

*Pudding mixture can either be plain vanilla pudding; vanilla pudding with Cool Whip folded in; or vanilla pudding made with less milk, a can of sweetened condensed milk, and Cool Whip folded in. You could also not be lazy and make the proper cooked pudding for this.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Growing In

While we still haven't managed to put mulch down, the flower bed that was cleared out a few weeks ago is doing well. Some of the unknown plants have become lovely bushes.


The grassy looking plant next to the rose bush is still kind of sad. I need to figure out what type of plant is and how to make it happier. The center of that plant may have died due to the thick layer of leaves it was holding.

Our smallest rose bush is doing well despite the slight rose slug infestation. It has a healthy new branch that has the prettiest rose on the bush.


I haven't found any rose slugs on the rose bushes since applying the horticultural soap. The rose bushes in the front of the house, however, are not looking good. I took a few days off of watering the rose bushes and they didn't seem to agree with that.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Food in Jars: Oreo Pudding Pie


Cool Whip
Chocolate pudding mixed with Cool Whip
Chocolate pudding
Crushed Oreo cookies with a little melted butter

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Shape of Roses

All of our rose bushes had a lot of dead branches that needed to be cut back once we started doing yard work here. Even our current largest and healthiest rose bush lost at least one third of its size.


While not very uniform, from this view the rose bush still seems to have a decent shape and a nice fullness. However, if you walk a few feet to the right, the view changes.


There's a very obvious gap on this side of the rose bush. The other two rose bushes have strong new branches growing in, so I'm hoping this one will also grow some new branches to fill in the gap. Otherwise, I'll need to prune it back at the end of next winter so it has a nicer shape next year.

First, however, we need to tackle the rose slug problem. Spraying it full strength with the hose every morning helped some, but new rose slugs keep appearing. I ordered a horticultural soap, something I recently learned existed, and that should arrive this week. The soaps are supposed to kill the unwanted pests and still be safe for bees and other pollinators. I hope it works.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Food in Jars: Strawberry Parfait


Cool whip
Yellow cake
Vanilla pudding
Sliced & sugared strawberries
Vanilla pudding
Yellow cake

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Editing Issues

One of more annoying side effects of editing a long piece of writing on a specific topic is that words stop seeming like words. You have to ask someone if the word is really a word. You have to consult the dictionary. You don't always believe it when you are told that yes, that is a word. Eventually you just need to take a break and pretend that the word doesn't exist.

This seems to happen to me fairly often with a few words. Here's a few of those words, in no order. Although it happens most often with the first word in the list.


  • integer
  • eighths
  • algebraically 
  • logarithm
It might be obvious that I edit math-related things.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Clearing Away Some Weeds

Every single flower bed is filled with a wide variety of weeds. There are some proper plants in the flower beds, but these weeds have made our yard their home. The before picture of this flower bed doesn't look too overrun with weeds because it's not the actual before photo. This picture was taken after removing a few saplings that were invading the personal space of the rose bush and raking out a lot of leaves.


It took several hours to clear out all of the weeds. My supervisor became restless and decided a good dirt bath was needed to pass the time. (He happily took a real bath later in the day.)


Eventually, almost all of the weeds were removed. I planned to add mulch the next day, but it rained and yard work was cancelled. It's been a few days since the weeding and there are some weeds already growing back that will need to be removed before we do add mulch. 



Sunday, June 3, 2018

Roses, Oh Roses

We have three rose bushes that we know of. All three are in recovery mode. All three are also under invasion by sawfly larvae, also known as rose slugs. We're currently spraying the rose bushes every morning to knock off the larvae. It seems to be helping so far. We may eventually need to take stronger action, but I'd like to avoid any harm to pollinators such as bees.

Besides the rose slugs, our smallest and weakest rose bush was being crowded by two saplings of unknown origin. Our happiest and healthiest rose bush was recently invaded by a sampling of its own.


The invader was easy to remove and I did some pruning to remove dead or overly eaten branches. I need to be more careful when pruning because I accidentally clipped off three roses. One of the roses has 3 buds with it. At least the bush has plenty to spare.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Learning Some Names

While posting about the trees yesterday, I noticed the bush between the two trees does have a tag. It's fairly easy to spot in the second photo.


The tag calls the bush a red twig dogwood ivory halo. It goes well with the two trees and will need a better trim in the fall when things go to sleep for the year. Until then, I'll just water it, keep the area clean, and keep it happy.

If it stays happy and healthy, we'll see in the fall whether it's one of the lucky ones that turn red.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Pruning Some Trees

We have two hakuro nishiki willow trees in the side yard that needed trimmed. They were a bit chaotic and weren't sure what shape their should be. Luckily, the trees still had their name tags along with care instructions on them. The tag said they should look like lollipops. (The tag didn't specifically say this, but it had a picture of a tree shaped like a lollipop on it.)

With my trusty gardening shears, I set to work over the course of a weekend. Partway through trimming the first tree, I realized I should have taken a before picture. So here is the mostly-before picture along with a shot of my supervisor.



A few evenings later (possibly the next evening, I'm not entirely sure anymore), the trees looks like lopsided lollipops. They seem to be indifferent about their new haircut.


My goal is to eventually be good enough at pruning these trees so they look like properly made lollipops and not the defective ones.

The bush in between the trees is possibly a hakuro nishiki bush. It does not have a name tag and similar looking bushes appeared in my search results when I Googled "hakuro nishiki willow". The internet doesn't seem too sure that hakuro nishiki willow trees exist. But anyhow, that bush was full of leaves and was very unhappy about life. I cleaned it up, removed some bad branches, and its attitude has much improved.
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