Archive for the 'books' Category

And now, quotes from a German theologian

I’ve jumped from a tutorial on landscaping for misers to gardening to triathlon training to ranting and raving about questionable meat products. To keep you on your toes, this post will include comments about the weather and thoughts on a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Weather: It snowed yesterday! It’s been 60-80 and sunny every day for like the past three weeks, and then on Monday I rode my bike home in the rain and yesterday I scraped 2.5″ of snow off of my car!

Quote:

Only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes.

It is quite unbiblical to hold the first proposition without the second. We think we understand when we hear that obedience is possible only where there is faith. Does not obedience follow faith as good fruit grows on a good tree? First, faith, then obedience, all well and good, for that is the essential and unexceptionable presupposition of all that follows. If, however, we make a chronological distinction between faith and obedience, and make obedience subsequent to faith, we are divorcing the one from the other – and then we get the practical question, when must obedience begin? Obedience remains separated from faith. From the point of view of justification it is necessary thus to separate them, but we must never lose sight of their essential unity. For faith is only real when there is obedience, never without it, and faith only becomes faith in the act of obedience. The Cost of Discipleship

I don’t know that I actually have any deep comments about the quote, I just liked it. It’s right along the lines of what we’ve been studying in church.

Lest you think I’m the virtuous sort who voraciously reads only serious books such as this, I read this book right before I go to bed because if I read the fiction I’m currently reading the next thing I know it’ll be 12:30 AM and the entire rest of the week will be ruined by lack of sleep. Bonhoeffer is interesting enough for me to read half a chapter without falling asleep, but not interesting enough to tempt me to stay up too late.

So now that I’ve covered the realms of how-to, gardening, photography, sports/training, highly opinionated, and religious blogs in the space of one week, I only have to take pictures as I make a recipe for a cooking blog, show you pictures of my cute kids and complain about how they pooped all over me for a mommy blog, and come up with some juicy celebrity gossip to cover all possible blogging genres. As I have no kids, am too lazy to take pictures while I cook, know nothing about celebrities, and have activities planned for the next three evenings, I am afraid I shall have to disappoint my loyal audience.

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Weekend re-cap

I had a very productive weekend. That is what I like in a weekend: productivity.

We:
Made (mostly Ken here, but I helped) and cleaned up from a BBQ for the whole department
Cleaned out (and vacuumed!) the car
Topped off various vehicle fluids
Re-insulated the car’s exhaust hangers
Swept the garage
Stuffed the cats into their carrier for acclimation twice.
Did all the normal weekly stuff: cat boxes, laundry, bathroom, kitchen floors
Returned a non-functioning item to Walmart (on bicycles, so that counts as exercise!)
Fixed my laptop cord by soldering two broken ones together (all by myself!)
Played music for church with friends
Made food – BBQ on Friday, steak and eggs for breakfast Saturday, biscuits and gravy for Easter breakfast at church, angel food cake, mushroom risotto, candied yams, asparagus, fruit salad, ham, and some teensy lamb chops for Easter dinner.
Went for a walk (sorely needed after all that food)
Watched the rest of 30 Rock Season 2 which needed to be returned to the library.
Listened to the tail end of Anne of the Island while looking at pictures taken by sewer/subway explorers. Weird combination of activities, I know.
Talked to Mom on the phone about their trip to come visit (Which is in only 2 weeks!!!!)

Not bad.

Up this week:
Preparing bikes for a bike-camping trip (I got ridiculous new bar-tape for my bike, and I can’t wait to see how silly it looks with it.)
Maybe packing a few boxes?
Dinner with our roommate
Cutting Ken’s hair? It is getting a bit ridiculous…
Orchestra on Thursday (if I get tickets).
Heading to Pittsburgh to go bike-camping!!! Hope it stops raining.

This post is about the weather

We got our one day of nice weather as requested! Yesterday was glorious, and I even managed to enjoy beyond my usual 2 mile ride to and from school. I put on shorts (!) and biking shoes (I’m getting to be SUCH a cyclist) and rode up to the the far away (ok, so it’s like 2 miles) grocery store to buy all the essentials (mushrooms, cool whip, a loaf of bread, and ice cream). Traffic was kind and nobody ran me over or even came close to doing so and it was a very enjoyable trip.

Unfortunately, as soon as I got home I discovered that instead of having a gallon and quarter of milk as I had thought, we only had a quarter. Guess I get to go to another grocery store tonight.

I’m cooking materials lunch this week (for the last time. Sniff…), so I got a head start last night by stewing some chicken and making strawberry fluff. Yum. Strawberry fluff is one of my favorites. Once we move I can make it in my brand new mixer and I won’t have to either stand around holding the hand mixer for 20 minutes or precariously balance it on things while it mixes without me. Guess which one I did? I have contemplated building an apparatus to make my garage sale hand mixer into a stand mixer, but so far refrained from doing so. I’m pretty sure we have enough junked bike parts I could do it without too much difficulty.

I also got close enough to conquering our finances (everything’s balanced all the way up to March and have installed the program I’m going to use) that I decided I could celebrate by allowing myself to do some reading. So I finished the His Dark Materials trilogy (again). I forgot how sad the ending is. Surely they could have at least used one of the loadstone resonators to communicate? Lame.

Sony Reader Review

So remember how I was thinking about getting a Sony Reader?

Then how I ordered a Sony Reader?

Life was so busy in August I never got to write about how excited and delighted I was when it finally showed up. Let me tell you, I was excited!

I got the version with a red case for two reasons: It’s pretty, and I’m always putting stuff down and forgetting where I left it, so the red stands out. It’s been very helpful in that regard! One thing I love about it is how it feels. It feels like a nice, solid piece of equipment – like when I sat in the Volvo at the Detroit Auto show a few years back as compared with the Chevy.

I love the touch screen. I can just jab my finger at it and it’ll do what I want. Depending on how I’m sitting (or more likely laying) while reading it may be easier to simply swipe my finger across the screen to turn pages or push the buttons at the bottom of the screen, and they both work equally well. The screen is really easy to read and once I get immersed in what I’m reading I don’t notice I’m reading off of a strange device instead of a book, so I guess that’s good!

Borrowing books from the library was a little tricky at first because you have to sync Adobe Reader and Sony’s Reader Library software with their online sites, but once I got that set up it’s been great. I also discovered Project Gutenberg, which has books whose copyrights are expired or are otherwise not under copyright, so you can download them for free. I also got a free $25 gift card to the Sony Reader store where you can buy books, but I haven’t checked it out yet. Knowing me, I’ll spend several days agonizing over what books to buy with it. You can also search Google Books for free books, but I haven’t tried that yet either.

The geek that is me (I was going to write the “geek in me” but that would seem to imply that there is part of me that isn’t geeky, and that may not be accurate) loves that you can simply double tap on a word and it’ll pull the word up in a dictionary, although so far I haven’t come upon any words that I don’t know. You can also make notes, which I believe you can save and see in Adobe Reader. I don’t tend to take notes while reading for pleasure, but I could see it being useful. There’s also an Mp3 player, which is a kinda cool bonus, although I don’t usually listen to music while I read.

The only thing I don’t like about the Reader is the interface software. It’s pretty clunky, although I think you can use Adobe Reader software instead if you want

I had a crazy week and my cat is seriously ill

I’m back!

I got the Sony reader and I absolutely love it, although I have barely had a chance to use it.

I ended up not going to VBS on the last night because I had a work meeting at 5:00. Sadly, that was pretty much the best thing that’s ever happened to me, because I DID NOT WANT to go to VBS and miss out on most of the camping trip with friends I had planned.

I didn’t race in the triathlon, which was really sad, but I did have fun camping and riding road and mountain bikes with friends.

I picked up a little bit of poison ivy while mountain biking – not surprising as the entire state park is pretty much carpeted in the stuff. Ken, however, picked up some poison ivy then proceeded to scratch mosquito bites and random places on his body, so he’s covered in big nasty rashes. I feel a little bit bad for him, but maybe next time he’ll listen when I tell him not to scratch so much…

The Eiseman Materials Camp was ridiculously intense – much more work than had been advertised to us – but also ridiculously fun. I haven’t been that exhausted while having that much fun since I was in high school. On some days we were at school from 8:30AM to 9:00 PM with a meeting at the hotel from 10:30 to 12:00. Besides meeting and becoming friends with the mentors and kids, my favorite part was a tour of the Conn-Selmer factory where they make all the brass instruments. Turns out that all the major brands of brass instruments in the world that aren’t Yamaha (Conn, Selmer, Holton, King, Benge, and more.) are made there. I didn’t pipe up and say that I have a Yamaha horn… Those instruments are definitely hand crafted. There’s a good reason they cost so much.

We stayed at the hotel with all the kids and mentors, so I wasn’t home all week. I shared my king-sized bed in blissful air conditioned comfort with another girl (what a sacrifice). However, poor Cosmo went on a hunger strike and when I finally payed attention to him on Saturday, he was not doing well. I bought new food and he’s been eating it in small quantities, although he has thrown up a few times. He also seems more lively than he was, so I’m hoping his appetite continues to pick up and I don’t have to take him to the vet.

A list of newsworthy and not so newsworthy things

My knee is smaller and the bruises are fading, but it’s still painful. A triathlon this Saturday seems unlikely. It would probably heal faster I hadn’t spent the entire weekend on my feet preparing for VBS.

There are five children at VBS. There are seven adults running the thing. I have spent countless hours preparing for it. I’m going to spend at least four hours a day on it for the next week. Somehow I’m not sure it’s worth it. What parents wouldn’t want three hours of free babysitting every night for a week? My guess is that the advertising was not properly executed. I am somewhat disgruntled.

I ordered a Sony Reader. It might ship today. I am very excited.

I haven’t written much about our former roommate and how we asked him to leave and why we asked him to leave and how nice and clean the place is without him because it’s possible he could read this. There was some angst and drama. However, he’s gone now and our new roommate moved in this weekend and so far it has been a delightful experience. I feel like a butthead because I’ve been gone constantly and will continue to be gone for the next two weeks so I can’t help her fit her stuff into the kitchen and bathroom. Oh well, I’m sure we’ll manage.

Work proceeds slowly. Data processing is not my favorite thing in the world. It’s not my least favorite either though, so that’s good.

It turns out that there are things worse than moldy cat poop. Cat poop that’s full of maggots is MUCH more disgusting. Shudder.

Cleveland finally gave us a break from the terrible summer weather last week. There were several days when the temperature didn’t get much above 83, the humidity was actually a reasonable level, and the temperature actually dropped at night! I hope we’ve seen the last of to 90+ and humid. Ken says that this summer is good for me because if I get a job offer in the area next year I will remember it and turn down the offer in a nanosecond.

I listened to Are you there God? It’s me Margret on Friday while doing some data processing and I hated it. Ugh. I got a nice graph of my 64 data sets out of it though.

Before I fell off my bike and all my dreams of winning triathlons were ripped to shreds, I had a revelation about why I don’t do enough biking. I love riding my bike, but the whole time I am subconsciously afraid I’m going to get run down. Every 2nd time I drive somewhere in the CAR I almost get run into by somebody who isn’t paying attention. If they can’t see a BMW, how are they going to be able to see a cyclist?

My potential splurge

I think I’ve decided that I want a Sony Reader Touch.

Photobucket

Ever since the first Kindle came out I’ve wanted one or something like it, but the price was just too ridiculous and I always have trouble justifying spending money on something completely frivolous (except travel). I also knew that if I waited long enough the price would come down to something reasonable. Well. The price HAS come down a little bit and I found out that I can use my credit card reward points to get a Sony gift card, which means… Sony reader for FREE!

I want the Sony model because it is made specifically to work with libraries. I don’t tend to buy books that I read, so the Kindle or B&N Nook wouldn’t make much sense for me. Also, I have no need for wireless or 3G. Finally, the Sony Reader is rumored to do a really nice job with PDFs. I read a LOT of PDF’s for work and if I could read them on my Reader that would be super convenient.

I decided I’m going to wait until I’ve finished all the books that I’m either in the middle of or have from the library before I go ahead and buy one, just to make sure it’s what I really want to spend those reward points on (and to finish reading my books.)

I just realized that if I do decide to follow that schedule, my new gadget will arrive just in time for me to be living out of a hotel for a week with the Materials Camp. Perfect opportunity to try it out!


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