Sunday, December 23, 2018

I'm looking at two different reading challenges for 2019: The BookCrossing Decade Challenge and the PopSugar Challenges. (In the PopSugar Challenges, you can use a single book to satisfy multiple prompts, so if your South American author writes a book with a two-word title, you've filled two prompts.) I may not complete either challenge; I hate it when needing to read a challenge book interferes with wanting to read something else. I also have a bunch of unread targets from the Great American Read I hope to work into these challenges.

BookCrossing 2019 decade challenge
Regular Challenge: Read one book first published (not a reprint) in each decade.
1920 - 1929 - Doña Bárbara (1929) Rómulo Gallegos (of Venezuela)
1930 - 1939 - The Grapes of Wrath (1939)  John Steinbeck
1940 - 1949 -  For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) Ernest Hemingway
1950 - 1959 - The Catcher in the Rye (1951) J.D. Salinger
1960 - 1969 - The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966) Robert Heinlein
1970 - 1979 - The Killer Angels (1974) Michael Shaara
1980 - 1989 - Downbelow Station (1982) C.J. Cherryh
1990 - 1999 - A Great Day for the Deadly (1992) Jane Haddam
2000 - 2009 - The Friday Night Knitting Club (2006) Kate Jacobs
2010 - 2019 - Dead Letters (2018) Jane Haddam

BONUS decades:
1900-1909 - Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1904) M.R. James
1910-1919 - Julia Ward Howe, 1819-1910, published 1915 (Pulitzer 1917); written by Howe's daughters Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards, and Maud Howe Elliott. (Actually written by three female authors, including Howe’s third daughter, Florence Hall.) OR  Zuleika Dobson, or, an Oxford love story (1911) Max Beerbohm OR The Secret Garden (1911) Frances Hodgson Burnett

POPSUGAR Challenge
  1. A book becoming a movie in 2019 Little Women Louisa May Alcott (film version)
  2. A book that makes you nostalgic  Little Women Louisa May Alcott
  3. A book written by a musician (fiction or nonfiction)
  4. A book you think should be turned into a movie Hamilton Ron Chernow [Go ahead and make it a musical, Hollywood! It’s in development.]
  5. A book with at least one million ratings on Goodreads The Catcher in the Rye (1951) J.D. Salinger
  6. A book with a plant in the title or on the cover Dead Letters (2018) Jane Haddam
  7. A reread of a favorite book Downbelow Station (1982) C.J. Cherryh First read about 1983; last read 2018
  8. A book about a hobby The Friday Night Knitting Club  (2006) Kate Jacobs
  9. A book you meant to read in 2018  Hamilton Ron Chernow [Go ahead and make it a musical, Hollywood! It’s in development.]
  10. A book with “pop,” “sugar,” or “challenge” in the title PopCo (2005) Scarlett Thomas
  11. A book with an item of clothing or accessory on the cover The Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in Holocaust's Shadow Krystyna Chiger, Daniel Paisner [I have the pattern for the sweater, and I hope to knit it soon.]
  12. A book inspired by mythology, legend, or folklore Circe (2018) Madeline Miller Or The Lightning Thief  Rick Riordan
  13. A book published posthumously Our Souls at Night (26 May 2015) Kent Haruf (died 30 Nov 2014)
  14. A book set in space The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress  (1966) Robert Heinlein
  15. A book by two female authors The Temple and the Stone (Knights Templar #1) (1998) Katherine Kurtz, Deborah Turner Harris or Julia Ward Howe, 1819-1910 published 1915 (Pulitzer 1917); written by Howe's daughters Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards, and Maud Howe Elliott. (Written by three female authors, including the third Howe sister, Florence Hall.) OR Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer
  16. A book with a title that contains “Salty,” “Sweet,” “Bitter,” or “Spicy” Sweet, Savage Death (1984) by Jane Haddam
  17. A book set in Scandinavia Roseanna (1965) Maj Sjöwahl and Per Wahlöö [The first in an excellent mystery series set in Sweden. Also, see Wallender series by Henning Mankell.]
  18. A book that takes place in a single day
  19. A debut novel  The Friday Night Knitting Club  (2006) Kate Jacobs
  20. A book that’s published in 2019
  21. A book featuring an extinct or imaginary creature The Dragonriders of Pern: Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon Anne McCaffrey
  22. A book recommended by a celebrity you admire Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy. Recommended by Jennifer Lawrence OR anything by N.K. Jemisin, recommended by her cousin W. Kamau Bell
  23. A book with “love” in the title Zuleika Dobson, or, an Oxford love story (1911) Max Beerbohm OR Love and Friendship Jane Austen
  24. A book featuring an amateur detective  The Friday Night Knitting Club  (2006) Kate Jacobs
  25. A book about a family   Little Women Louisa May Alcott
  26. A book written by an author from Asia, Africa, or South America Doña Bárbara (1929) Rómulo Gallegos (of Venezuela)
  27. A book with a zodiac sign or astrology term in the title
  28. A book you see someone reading on TV or in a movie
  29. A retelling of a classic Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast (1978) Robin McKinley OR Hiddensee Gregory Maguire
  30. A book with a question in the title How'd I Get Here? And Why Am I stealing M&M's from Air Force One? Dan Beckmann
  31. A book set on a college or university campus  Zuleika Dobson, or, an Oxford love story (1911) Max Beerbohm OR The Daughters of Cain Colin Dexter
  32. A book about someone with a superpower The Lightning Thief  Rick Riordan
  33. A book told from multiple character POVs Downbelow Station C.J. Cherryh
  34. A book that includes a wedding  Little Women Louisa May Alcott Or Great Expectations Charles Dickens
  35. A book by an author whose first and last names start with the same letter  The Lightning Thief  Rick Riordan OR  Downbelow Station C.J. Cherryh
  36. A ghost story Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1904) M.R. James
  37. A book with a two-word title  Little Women Louisa May Alcott Or Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy. Recommended by Jennifer Lawrence Or Doña Bárbara Rómulo Gallegos (of Venezuela) Or Downbelow Station C.J. Cherryh
  38. A novel based on a true story The Killer Angels (1974) Michael Shaara Or Anna and the King of Siam (1943) Margaret Landon
  39. A book revolving around a puzzle or game  The Baseball Whisperer: A Small-Town Coach Who Shaped Big League Dreams (2016) Michael Tackett Or Ready Player One Ernest Cline OR The Roger Angell Baseball Collection: The Summer Game, Five Seasons, and Season Ticket by Roger Angell
  40. Your favorite prompt from a past POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

  1. A “cli-fi” (climate fiction) book The Dry Jane Harper OR Drought: A Californian Environmental Disaster Thriller Graham Masterton
  2. A “choose-your-own-adventure” book
  3. An “own voices” book
  4. Read a book during the season it is set in The Roger Angell Baseball Collection: The Summer Game, Five Seasons, and Season Ticket by Roger Angell
  5. A LitRPG book Ready Player One Ernest Cline
  6. A book with no chapters, unusual chapter headings, or unconventionally numbered chapters
  7. Two books that share the same title (1) The Invisible Man  H.G. Wells
  8. Two books that share the same title (2) Invisible Man Ralph Ellison
  9. A book that has inspired a common phrase or idiom (e.g., Big Brother from 1984) Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for "Mad as a hatter" an "Curious and curiouser"
  10. A book set in an abbey, cloister, monastery, vicarage, or convent A Great Day for the Deadly (1992) Jane Haddam

Great American Reads
To be read:
  1. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Mark Twain
  2. Alex Cross Mysteries James Patterson
  3. Americanah Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  4. Atlas Shrugged (1957) Ayn Rand
  5. Bless Me, Ultima (1972) Rudolfo Anaya
  6. The Call Of The Wild (1903) Jack London
  7. The Catcher in the Rye (1951) J.D. Salinger
  8. Coldest Winter Ever Sister Souljah
  9. The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas
  10. Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  11. Doña Bárbara (1929) Rómulo Gallegos
  12. Game of Thrones George R. R. Martin
  13. Ghost Jason Reynolds
  14. Gilead Marilynne Robinson
  15. The Giver Lois Lowry
  16. Gone Girl Gillian Flynn
  17. Hatchet Gary Paulsen
  18. Heart Of Darkness Joseph Conrad
  19. The Help Kathryn Stockett
  20. The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins
  21. The Hunt For Red October Tom Clancy
  22. Invisible Man Ralph Ellison
  23. The Joy Luck Club Amy Tan
  24. Lonesome Dove Larry McMurtry
  25. The Martian Andy Weir
  26. Moby-Dick Herman Melville
  27. The Notebook Nicholas Sparks
  28. Outlander Diana Gabaldon
  29. The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde
  30. The Pilgrim's Progress John Bunyan
  31. Ready Player One Ernest Cline
  32. Siddhartha Hermann Hesse
  33. The Sirens Of Titan Kurt Vonnegut
  34. The Stand Stephen King
  35. The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway
  36. Swan Song Robert R. McCammon
  37. Tales of The City Armistead Maupin
  38. Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston
  39. Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe
  40. The Twilight Saga (series) Stephenie Meyer
  41. War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
  42. The Wheel of Time (series) Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Already read (before 2019):
  1. 1984 George Orwell
  2. A Prayer For Owen Meany John Irving
  3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Betty Smith
  4. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll
  5. And Then There Were None Agatha Christie
  6. Anne of Green Gables Lucy Maud Montgomery
  7. Beloved Toni Morrison
  8. The Book Thief Markus Zusak
  9. Catch-22 Joseph Heller
  10. Charlotte's Web E. B. White
  11. The Chronicles of Narnia (series) C.S. Lewis
  12. Clan of the Cave Bear< Jean M. Auel
  13. The Color Purple Alice Walker
  14. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Mark Haddon
  15. Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes
  16. Dune (1965) Frank Herbert
  17. Foundation (1951) (series) Isaac Asimov
  18. Frankenstein Mary Shelley
  19. The Godfather Mario Puzo
  20. Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell
  21. The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck
  22. Great Expectations Charles Dickens
  23. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
  24. Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift
  25. The Handmaid's Tale Margaret Atwood
  26. Harry Potter (series) J.K. Rowling
  27. The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy Douglas Adams
  28. Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë
  29. The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  30. Little Women Louisa May Alcott
  31. The Lord of the Rings (series) J.R.R. Tolkien
  32. Memoirs of a Geisha< Arthur Golden
  33. One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel García Márquez
  34. The Pillars of The Earth Ken Follett
  35. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
  36. Rebecca Daphne du Maurier<
  37. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
  38. Where the Red Fern Grows Wilson Rawls
  39. Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë

Probably won't read:
  1. A Confederacy of Dunces John Kennedy Toole
  2. A Separate Peace John Knowles
  3. The Alchemist Paulo Coelho
  4. Another Country James Baldwin
  5. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Junot Díaz
  6. The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown
  7. Fifty Shades Of Grey (series) E. L. James
  8. Flowers In The Attic V.C. Andrews
  9. The Intuitionist Colson Whitehead
  10. Jurassic Park Michael Crichton
  11. Left Behind (series) Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
  12. Looking for Alaska John Green
  13. The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold
  14. Mind Invaders Dave Hunt
  15. The Outsiders S. E. Hinton
  16. The Shack William P. Young
  17. This Present Darkness Frank. E. Peretti
  18. Watchers Dean Koontz
  19. White Teeth Zadie Smith

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


I've worked 12.25 hours today. At the end, I'd finished the first Training Plan (63 courses and four tests) in a total of 32.5 hours. So much for 34 courses a day to meet the deadline.

Since I'm behind schedule, I have 22 training plans to go--402 courses to go in the next 8.5 days. That's 47+ courses per day.

The 2nd training plan is 61 courses, with 3 tests. And since tomorrow isn't a holiday, there'll be other work coming in.

It's after 1am, and I have Alexa set to wake me at 7:30.

Friday, May 25, 2018


So...the work project. 23 role-based training plans. I added up the number of topics: 465. Plus tests. If we work weekends and the holiday (that's 13.5 days--this is due by noon on the 6th), we'll need to do 34 topics a day to be finished on June 6. After yesterday's work (a little of this around my other work) and today's 6 hours, I've finished 12 topics in about 9 hours. One topic took 2 hours and 41 minutes; it's got several videos in it, and one video ran 49 minutes.

The likelihood that we'll be done by June 6 is very tiny, but I'll work all the hours I can stand. And I'll work lots of hours on Monday. I think that's automatically time-and-a-half for the holiday. (Or they'll pay me straight time for the hours I work and another 8 hours for the holiday itself.) Something financially useful will happen. (And if I work more than 16 hours between Saturday and Sunday, there'll be overtime this week.)

Of course, the next clue in the MKAL arrived today. But some people finished the clue in one day, so I think it won't take too long to do--even if I am doing it twice.

Greyhound meet and greet tomorrow morning with Jane and Q. 80% chance of rain, and maybe thunderstorms. (There's a tropical wannabe-storm in the Gulf. We've got flash flood warnings.) Then home, settle the dogs, pick up Zaxby's again, and go to Mother. Get her pills set for next week, pick out her clothes for church on Sunday, then home and start working. Then take her to church Sunday morning. (I can take my tablet; I think the wifi there is good enough for me to work.) Bob and Iris's plane is due in about 12:30 Sunday, so Sunday morning finishes the Mother-sitting.

Q is looking the way I feel, these days.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


I've been over to check on Mother every day, while Iris and Bob are on vacation. Mother remembers her pills most days, but she's a bit iffy on breakfast, so far. (Supposedly, she eats a waffle every morning, and should be leaving a plate sticky with syrup. No plate = no breakfast. But there's a fork every day, so she's eating lunch: a Michelina frozen meal--the box is in the trash.) When I don't find a breakfast plate, I give Mother a nutrition bar instead.

Work has been very slow, and someone has come up with a way we can get extra hours, but the instructions haven't been good. We have implemented a new online training session for employees, and the suggestion is that three of us who do a lot of proofing and organizing and editing of the files should take "23 role-based training plans" (including the tests) and let them know how long each plan takes. And they want it done by noon on June 6. Fine.

But what 23 role-based training plans? There's no list of 23 anything: one menu of plans shows 4, another menu shows 6, one shows 15 (but several of those are way out of our pay grade), and one shows more than 100 "courses." If I search "role-based training plans", I get 50 hits before I get tired of counting. I had a slow day today, and I'd love to have gotten some of that stuff out of the way. (I want to knit this holiday weekend--not work on a bunch of files.)

The original request came in late Monday. During the day Tuesday, I poked around in various menus and found I don't have precisely 23 of anything, so late Tuesday I wrote to the woman who sent the initial email and asked for a link or a list or something. Presumably, there's a specific set of plans, since they want to know how long it takes (so they'll know how long to expect employees to take). I haven't heard anything back from her, and today has been really dead. I've emailed her again, and I sent an email to the other two women who are supposed to be doing this to see if they know what 23 plans we're supposed to do. June 6 is 9 working days from today--14 days if you count weekends and the holiday, which I don't want to do.

Is it too much to expect adequate instructions? We'll see if I get instructions tomorrow and find out if my coworkers are as confused as I am.

Meanwhile, I signed up for a mystery knit-along, and I bought yarn to do the pattern twice. (It's a mosaic lace shawl.) The pattern called for Lucero, which is expensive ($36/skein), but is lovely and has a tiny stellina strand to make it sparkle. I ordered one skein of each color I liked--Temperance and Teal--but I wasn't sure they'd get here in time. Thus, I ordered some Knitpicks Gloss in Cranberry and Jade--much less expensive than the Lucero.  We've had the set-up instructions for a few weeks, but the first real clue is due this Friday.

ETA: A coworker responded with a spreadsheet. 23 collections of topics, some of which have 30+ files in the topic. This will be fun.

Sunday, May 20, 2018


Long day. Up at 4, dozing and watching wedding to-do. Vertical and truly awake about 7am. Took both dogs to the M&G. Happily, no thunderstorms; Jane got in a couple of naps. We had a big crowd.

Took the dogs home, settled them, picked up food, and went to check on Mother. She took last night's pills and this morning's, but she seems to have skipped breakfast, and possibly skipped dinner last night. But she got chicken fingers, Buffalo wings, celery sticks, and fries today at lunch. Picked out her clothes for church tomorrow, and we got her pills organized for next week. Then I came home and napped. (That's one way to put it: I blacked out completely for about 5 hours. Good dogs let me sleep.)

I woke up in time to see the end of the Braves game. I've done some reading, and I'm about to go back to bed. Alexa is set to wake me at 8am; it also has a reminder for me at 8:20 to call Mother to make sure she's awake. The game plan is to be at the house about 9am, leave for the church about 9:20. Have to remember to grab a paper on the way to the house so she can have the TV listings; then snap a picture of Mother so I have something to show church security what she's wearing if she wanders off.