Monday, January 21, 2019

Today's List

A microcosm of my life these days . . .

1. Buy and load minutes for my best friend's phone, which she uses when she visits Florida from her home in the U.K. She's trying to get her mom into assisted living, so I'm happy to do anything I can to help her.

2. March in our hometown parade honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We still have a long way to go.

3. About a million things for work, including finishing my work plan for this year -- so I know what I'm doing. The hardest part for me is to stop generating ideas. I want to do everything!

4. Prep for teaching two classes tomorrow. Both classes are small this semester, which adds a little extra pressure to keep things interesting.

5. Stay warm. (I just added that one.) It's 38 degrees this morning -- very cold for us. Especially when it was 80 degrees the day before. Talk about winter weather whiplash!

6. Savor being a speck in the universe. The eclipse last night has me thinking about my To Do list on a celestial scale, which certainly keeps things in perspective.

My friend Mac made a wonderful picture!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Figured It Out

As a follow-up to my Google Assistant adventure the other day, here's another story that demonstrates one of the ways I'm not ready for modern times.

(Normally I'm fairly hip, but technology lately has been leaving me in the dust. So far, to no great disadvantage that I can see. Here's hoping that continues to hold true!)

Some swiping motion I was often making with the phone repeatedly turned on the Google Assistant, so she kept offering to help me at odd times. I tried very hard not to keep activating her, but that didn't work very well. And it was very irritating.

Finally, in frustration, when she asked me how she could help, I said, "Turn yourself off." Sure enough, up popped a nice screen with step-by-step instructions on how to find the setting to deactivate her. Which I quickly did.

I felt a little bad about it.

And yes, I was tempted to check out the setting that offered other possible voices for her helpful but intrusive services -- there could be some fun possibilities there -- but I stayed on task and got it accomplished.

Guess I'm on my own now.    

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

That Makes Two of Us

A vignette from yesterday:

Me: [accidentally activates Google assistant on my cellphone while putting phone away]

Assistant (muffled, from inside my purse): What can I help you with today?

Me (to myself): What the hell was that???

Assistant: I'm not sure.

Monday, January 7, 2019

RNC 2019 Progress & Reviews

Are you reading naturally this year, as part of the Reading Naturally Challenge? (Find out more and sign-up here before March 1, if you want to join in.)

If so, this is the place to keep me posted on your progress, with books read and your reviews and reactions. Remember, when you finish your list, you get a little sur-prize!

You can be the first to join! 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Reading Naturally Challenge 2019

Reading comes naturally, right, so why not read something natural? This challenge encourages reading books about nature from a variety of perspectives. 

The categories are intentionally broad and numerous, and both fiction and non-fiction are eligible. All genres are eligible, too, so everything from a camping how-to book to a Harlequin romance can qualify! 

Even if you're not outdoorsy, you'll find something to suit you. Reading outdoors is highly recommended, but optional.


1. Join anytime before March 1, 2019. The challenge ends at midnight EST on January 15, 2020.

2. Choose your reading level:

     Exposed to Nature: Read 1 to 3 books
     Engaged with Nature: Read 4 to 6 books
     Immersed in Nature: Read 7 or more books

3. Books can be fiction or non-fiction, any genre.

4. Choose your books from some of these categories -- or pick them yourself! 

written by Rachel Carson, Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, 
Gary Snyder, or another giant of science or conservation 

backpack, snowshoes, snorkel and fins, etc.




emphasizing future consequences

sailing around the world, mountain climbing, etc.



emphasizing connection

how to camp, kayak, survive in the woods, etc.

speaking up for nature

Jacques Cousteau, Jane Goodall, Teddy Roosevelt, or another nature advocate

any year, any subject (2016 winners and finalists here
earlier winners and finalists here)

5. Books may come from your TBR pile or list, but they don’t have to.

6. Overlaps with other challenges are allowed and encouraged.

7. Lists must be determined and posted in the comments on this post before the challenge closing date of March 1, 2019. After that date, books may be substituted at any time.

8. Reviews and reactions are encouraged, but you don’t need a blog to participate. Goodreads is just fine.

9. Progress will be tracked at a “Progress & Reviews page” in the sidebar.

10. Please pass the word about this challenge! A sign-up post on your blog would be excellent. Feel free to borrow the button for display, too.


When you meet your reading goal, you'll receive a small, fun, nature-related prize personally selected for you!


Soon after the challenge closes on January 15, 2020, all the readers who've met their reading goals will be entered into a drawing for a new or gently used copy of the Orion Book Award winner or finalist of their choice. Any reader who has already read an Orion Book Award winner or finalist as part of the challenge (see categories suggested above) will receive an extra entry into the drawing. Doesn't that sound nice?

If you're in, sign up below by leaving a message in the comments with your list or a link.