Category: Educational Topics (Page 1 of 4)

My Current Reading List

I have a tendency to read several books at the same time, usually a mix of fiction and non-fiction.  My current list is no exception, although I have to say, I’m reading a much larger number of books than usual, even for me.

Actively Reading- Non-Fiction:

She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity by Carl Zimmer – the title says it all.  It’s a massive book; 574 pages of text, plus the Glossary, Notes, Bibliography, Acknowledgments, and Index, coming to a grand total of 657 pages.  I am finding it quite fascinating.

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Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dryer.  This book was a birthday gift – someone knew how much I enjoy copyediting.  Not only is this informative, but it’s extremely witty. 

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Building the American Republic, Volume 2:  A Narrative History from 1877 by Jane Dailey.  I began reading this two volume set upon the recommendation of my nephew-in-law, who was a Colonial History major in college at the time.  It’s a bit dry, but I learned a lot from the first volume and, since I’m a history nerd, dry isn’t a reason to skip a history book.  Besides, given our current political situation here in the United States, having a better understanding of how we got here isn’t a bad idea, is it?

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Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear.  This is a recent bestseller and was recommended to me by several friends.  There’s a lot to digest in this small book, so I am reading small bits at a time, highlighting a lot, and then mulling over what I’ve read.  It’s a book to be read more than once, I believe, to get the full benefit from all the great information.

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Actively Reading – Fiction:

The Isaac Question: Templars and the Secret of the Old Testament (Templars in America #5) by David S. Brody.  I am reading this on my Kindle and it was a free book offered through BookBub, which explains why I’m reading #5 in the series rather than starting with #1.  The author assures the reader, though, that this book works as a stand-alone, which I’ve decided is pretty much the case.  The author also shamelessly promotes his previous books within this book, which is rather different.  The main character, Cameron (Cam) Thorne, seems to be loosely based upon the Brody himself. Cam is an historian and author who writes novels that coincidentally have the same titles and subjects as Brody.  That said, the topic is fascinating, completely rewriting the Old Testament story of Abraham, Moses, Isaac, and Joseph and the span of the Egyptian enslavement and exodus.  I can’t put it down at night, which has led to a few nights short on sleep!

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Not Actively Reading:

Even though I’m not actively reading these, I am not ready to give up on them yet!  I do intend to finish each and every one.

The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future by Ryder Carroll (non-fiction).  This book has been life-changing for me.  I devoured the first hundred pages or so back in October 2018, and I then immediately began putting his method into action with my own Bullet Journal, which I now use daily.  Like Atomic Habits, this is a book to hang on to, read and read again, as there is so much useful information to implement that you can’t possibly do it all at once.

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Jeff Gordon:  His Dream, Drive, and Destiny by Joe Garner (non-fiction).  I’ve been working on this book for over a year now.  If you are a Jeff Gordon fan, it’s a must read.  It is an over-sized book, though, and unwieldy to hold, which isn’t really a good reason for not having finished reading it.  I need to pull it back off the shelf!

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Fast Food Genocide: How Processed Food is Killing Us and What We Can Do About It by Joel Fuhrman.  I own almost all of Dr. Fuhrman’s books and follow (mostly) Eat To Live (ETL), his dietary plan.  Lately I’ve been slip sliding away, so I should pull this one back out and refresh what I already know.  I need to be eating to live, not living to eat.

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8 books, and only 1 fiction.  Wow.  I think that’s a record for me!

What are you reading?

3 Quick Thoughts on Sunday, April 2, 2017



Dwight D Eisenhower Birthplace in Denison, Texas

Bill and I took another Saturday day trek to northeast Texas, the Sherman/Denison area.  We visited the Dwight D. Eisenhower Birthplace in Denison and then Eisenhower State Park on the edge of Lake Texoma, where we hiked a wee bit.  The trails were very uneven and we hadn’t really come prepared to hike, so we didn’t hike very far.  We bought a Texas State Parks Pass, so we are now good to go for any and all State Parks.

Lake Texoma, Eisenhower State Park, Texas

Today (Sunday) is Day 7 of no-added sugar (anything that has added processed sugars – items can be sweetened with dried fruit).  I’m not sure what is different this time around, but I’m doing much better sticking to 100% ETL.  Foods containing sugar & oils are always been my weakness (especially sugar), but other than ordering a veggie pizza (with no cheese) Friday night, which I’m sure had both plus more salt than I’m used to, I’ve been just about 100% compliant all week.  The goal is to continue this for the whole month of April – and then beyond!

The swimming area of Lake Texoma at Eisenhower State Park, Texas

We found a shingle in one of the front flower beds Wednesday night, after a massive hail storm Sunday night and another major wind event early Wednesday morning.  I’m waiting for the insurance inspector to call me and set up an appointment to check the roof.  With a $1000 deductible, I’m so happy we’ve been working at paying down debt and building up savings.  I have other plans for that money, but a new roof isn’t a bad thing and Bill’s been looking at ways to increase the R-value of any potential new roof, which would be helpful to the budget in the long run.

Dwight D Eisenhower statue, Denison, Texas

Cowboys and Tomatoes

What do cowboys and tomatoes have in common? Nothing that I can think of! I just needed a name for this post.

Soose commented on my Empire Ranch Roundup post, asking for more details on the calf roping demonstration. We came upon the demonstration towards the end of it and only watched about five or six minutes. There were three cowboys on horses with ropes and their job was to cut out (separate) one calf from the three or four in the pen. The goal is to do it as quietly, peacefully, as possible. If you’ve ever been to a rodeo, or watched one on television, you know that is not the goal at the rodeo. A rodeo is a competition, so speed and accuracy in roping the calf are what counts. In real life, keeping the calves as calm as possible is the goal, as it is when you are working with any animals. Calm animals are easier to work with and decrease the danger possibility. Calm animals also keep the other animals calm, which will make the job just that much easier.

So, the three cowboys selected the calf they wanted to rope. They maneuvered their horses around until they had the one calf separated from the others. Each of them had a lariat and one at a time, one would throw the lariat and attempt to put it over the head/neck of the calf. Eventually one succeeded and then another cowboy roped the legs. I wasn’t really able to see how this was done, with the crowd in front of me, but the end result was that two cowboys had ropes on the calf and the calf was on the ground, stretch out so that it was pretty much immobile. These were pretty tamed calves, being used for demonstrations, so it didn’t protest much, but even if it had wanted to, the calf would not have been able to move much.

The third cowboy jumped off his horse, went over to the calf, and, if it had been in a working herd, the calf would have been branded or perhaps medicated for an injury or whatever needed doing to it. The two cowboys responsible for keeping the calf immobile kept their ropes taut, but not so taut as to cause injury or harm to the calf. They waited until the third cowboy was back upon his horse before they loosened their ropes, thus freeing that calf, who quickly was on his feet and back over to the “safety” of the herd, or, in this case, the other calves.
While this was all going on, each of the three cowboys were miked and they explained to the audience what they were doing and there was also a fourth cowboy giving a narrative, so there was a lot of explanation to the crowd. Most of what was told to the audience was familiar to us, as former dairy farmers and having years of experience working around animals. The one thing that was new to me was the fact that the two cowboys waited for the third to get back on to his horse, as a courtesy and safety measure. If they released the calf before the cowboy was seated, it could have charged the cowboy and his horse, possibly injuring one or both.

And that is about the sum of what we learned at the Empire Ranch Roundup. Bill thought we would have enjoyed it more if we had gone with another couple who was more into “doing” events like that, or who were more interested in the topic in the first place. Me? I had absolutely the most fun on our hour long wilderness drive in the solitude. We had four vehicles and one four-wheeler pass us on the road during that hour. Bill always pulls off and lets vehicles pass him when we are on excursions like that. He knows at any moment I’m going to want to hop out of the car and take pictures! He’s so sweet.

Believe it or not, I am still picking tomatoes!

fall tomatoes

They are small, and not extremely flavorful, but we are eating them to the tune of about two a day in salads. It has gotten close to freezing a few nights recently, so they are ripening much more slowly. And these are supposed to be “beefsteak” tomatoes!! Cool weather, less sunshine, and plants dying back equals small tomatoes.

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