Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween

re-run pics, but the wish is new
Happy Halloween 2016


enjoy your Monday - I hope you get the candy you like - it's guaranteed if you buy it and don't give it out!!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Movie Review Madness - The Accountant

The Accountant is not a sequel to anything. This is awesome news. It’s a fresh independent movie starring Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, John Lithgow, and J.K. Simmons. All of these actors are spot on in their roles.

Affleck plays Christian Wolff, a math savant who’s a small town accountant. But behind the scenes, he’s fully armed and dangerous. Video shows him meeting with “bad guys” – he’s the accountant to terrorist stars and J.K. Simmons, a Treasury Department agent about to retire is ready for his last big hurrah. He’s going to catch this guy, get his list, and take them all down. Meanwhile Christian is called into a robotics company run by John Lithgow (always good at being earnest sleazy) . Anna Kendrick was the little whistle blower – saying something wasn’t quite right with the books.  (and she’s very relatable as a “real” employee who’s a bit of a nerd herself)

Lots of math is discussed. Christian, in record time, locates a problem. Anna wonders “Who is this guy?” when she discovers all of his guns and his art work (he has a Jackson Pollock on a ceiling). The cat and mouse game is amusing to watch – Affleck, Simmons, and Lithgow. 

You have to suspend some belief and just go with the flow in this film. I’m not going to explain more, and indeed the film can be a tad talkie. But the premise is intriguing and Affleck pulls off a unique character. He’s managed to learn to work in the real world, and yet he has to keep his own boundaries to make that work.

The Accountant has action, intrigue, and math.  Somehow they all add up to a worthy flick for adults.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tough Being the New Kid

The New Kid
by Joanne Faries

At ninety, she's the new kid on the block
Moved from her home into "the home"
also known as a "personal care facility"
visitors sign in and out
rules are not meant to be broken
set meal times are restrictive

she won a prize at bingo
declined uno
arthritic hands unable to complete craft's bead bracelet

she would rather read
watch George Clooney movies
stare out her old kitchen window

but that's the past

the walker rolls
down the hall

chin up, 
the new kid smiles

dedicated to my Aunt - she's a trooper

Monday, October 24, 2016

Book Review - The Black Widow by Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva’s The Black Widow is one of the best, I think, in his Gabriel Allon series. From start to finish it will keep you turning pages and also marveling at the author’s skill in capturing our dangerous world today. It’s almost ripped from the headlines authentic or will be soon. Silva definitely does his research and must talk to folks in high places. Very impressive.

Gabriel Allon is an art restorer by trade, but also a legendary spy for “The Office”, Israel’s premier group. As Allon is about to become the new chief, he’s back into the field for an operation. ISIS detonated a bomb in Paris, and one man’s name keeps appearing – Saladin. How to find him? How to get into the network? Gabriel taps an extraordinary woman – a doctor, a Jew, and a woman willing to take the risk to don the clothes and persona of a “black widow” – females willing to work for the caliphate, willing to die for ISIS.

As the mission crosses borders into dangerous territory, Natalie must maintain her poise and conviction to fool Saladin and lead Allon and crew to a fateful night. This is tick-tock watch the clock on your bomb vest nerves on edge writing. Forget your nightly news. Delve into The Black Widow as an alternative. The world is scary. We have to root and support the good guys. Enjoy a gutsy read.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Landlubber poem


The ship rolled one way
my head and stomach another
breathe deep, refreshing sea air
reflect on mariner history
wooden ships and canvas sails
morphed into metal magnificence
tons  displacing water as engines roar
crew members press pulley buttons
to raise anchor
haunted by sea chanteys and rum casks
tourists graze buffet tables and neon-lit bars

I survey the waves
seek out land ahoy


go find dramamine

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - almost

volunteer for something

I have been remiss in helping the MS Society but Saturday reminded me why I should.

I have a male friend from college who has MS - he's now in a wheelchair, living with his folks, and not doing awesome in PA

Saturday was a symposium at UT Southwestern Dallas - impressive facility. The Neurotherapeutic folks were out in force - gathering literature and information. I chatted with doctors, nurses, physical assistants, therapists, etc. - all folks interested in helping others.

The energy level was high and I felt that these folks would read the literature I handed them and use the information to help those affected with this disease. There is not a cure YET, but research and medicine keep gaining ground.


that's a positive step

Monday, October 17, 2016

No Fall on My Watch

Picture is courtesy of my sister-in-law.  Story courtesy of me

So, Thursday a week ago I found myself with my father (age 85) on his walker and his older sister (age 90) on a walker as they toodle down the sidewalk of her 100 year old home.  She is moving into a "home - yes assisted living", but has not cut the ties completely. I have the list in hand of items she desires (i.e. - afghan, black skirt, sweaters, scarfs,etc)

We manage to negotiate her impossibly steep steps and plop my dad on a kitchen chair. "Stay there."
She's slowly gathering things and then we actually go upstairs. OMG. I'm making a pile, advising her on items, and ultimately commandeering the seniors.  We do get out alive and back to the senior "home" without anyone falling.

Success on my watch

Meanwhile, Friday - Ray heads to work in the rain, manages to crack his head on a roll-up door, and is (in my opinion) concussed.  Can I not leave without an incident?


I'm back in TX to worry afar for my senior father and aunt. Meanwhile, I'm keeping an eye on Ray

Don't fall on my watch............

Friday, October 14, 2016

Frisky Friday

I still plan on doing a regular travelogue on the Alaska cruise trip.  Meanwhile, do I even need to write anything?

I didn't think so.

Enjoy and Happy Weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Magic Gardens

who knew such a cool place existed?  I did not.  I was up in PA visiting my Dad this past weekend.
Coincidentally, a friend from Texas was up in Philly also for some sightseeing. She found stuff I never heard of and so I'm mooching off of her with these pictures.

Sculpture, mosaics, modern art - a feast for the eyes. Just don't touch.

enjoy this almost Wordless Wednesday post

Monday, October 10, 2016

Fall Tablescape

I love October. It's my birthday month (official date October 8), it's generally cooler in Texas, and there's just a crispness to the air and my attitude.  I will have spent this past weekend in PA visiting my Dad and family, and catching up with old friends. (Yes, I've known them since junior high and we are getting old(er) )

Last weekend I visited our local nursery and bought these pumpkins for my fall tablescape. Bright and cheery oranges and yellow pop - a treat for the eye.

So, happy October and Monday. Back to work for me.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Movie Review Madness - Sully

He did his job. That’s how Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger explained his actions when he landed US Airways 1594 in the Hudson on a  January 15th. Tom Hanks is the perfect actor to play Sully – just a straight arrow hard working man with a superb reputation after forty years of flying planes. Sully, the movie, brings his story to the big screen and while you think you know what happened, you’ll still hold on tight as he says “This is your captain. Prepare for impact.”

It was a clear cold day in New York. Snow on the ground, but blue skies for a routine flight to Charlotte. Sully and his second in command (played by the stalwart Aaron Eckhart) board the plane, do the usual checklist, and take off. Then “Birds!” – a whole flock appear and strike the engines. Suddenly it’s not a routine day. Engines are out, power is out and the two experienced pilots remain calm and go into save mode. The flight attendants reassure passengers as they too wonder what’s happening. Keep your seat belts fastened and ultimately brace for impact. Sully turns on auxiliary power. He contacts the tower with a Mayday and considers his options – return to La Guardia? Aim for Newark? Go to Teetleboro NJ?  Swift decisions and calculations make those impossible. Sully is headed to the Hudson for a water landing. And he lands and New York water taxis, police responders, etc all converge to rescue 155 souls. No one dies, no one is lost. They are cold, wet, scared, and grateful for a coolheaded captain.  Wow

The movie goes back and forth between what occurred and the investigation into the landing. Simulations show he should have gone to the airports. But….what about the human calculation? All the engineers and algorithms in the world cannot account for the human factor. Sully, in his 208 seconds, made the right decision. He did his job. And Clint Eastwood does his job as a director to bring this amazing story to life. The acting is superb, the film is tight, and you’ll want to applaud at the end. Sully – a captain to salute.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Book Review - Orphan Train

Who knew?  From 1854 to 1929 trains ran from the East Coast to the Midwest with orphan kids. They were sent out to be adopted by farming families. In theory it was the “Christian” thing to do. But stories vary  - some kids were chosen by kind folks and others were adopted to be “slaves”.  The author, Christina Baker Kline, of Orphan Train did research and created her story from her discoveries.  This is an excellent read. Well written and thought provoking, I was very interested in her characters and tale.

In current times, a high school student in  trouble, Molly, needs a community service project. She is paired with an elderly widow, Vivian, to help clean out her attic.  In sorting out keepsakes, a story comes to life. Vivian, as she’s known now, was an Irish immigrant to New York City and was ultimately sent on the orphan train to a new home. Her red hair and age made her undesirable and she survived several horrible transitions before finally being adopted by a nice storekeeper. Now she lives in Maine in a lovely home, seemingly from money.

Molly is a Penobscot Indian who’s been in and out of foster homes. She assumes Vivian was born to wealth. There are a lot of assumptions and the truth in this small Maine town is discovered by both Vivian and Molly.  I liked the give and take in this book.  Each chapter opens more doors into Vivian’s story and Molly’s realization.  The lesson to be learned is the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover”.  Molly and Vivian gain strength from each other and you root for them both for a satisfying ending.

Orphan Train is truly a decent  read passed on from a friend.  Big thumbs up

Monday, October 3, 2016

TV review - The Good Place

The Good Place is hilarious television. It’s now on Thursday nights on NBC – thirty minutes of clever dialogue, excellent acting, and super premise. Get caught up and watch it NOW!!!

So, Eleanor (Kristen Bell) finds herself in a new neighborhood in heaven that’s run by Michael (Ted Danson). Supposedly she was an awesome person on earth. But alas, same name, different story. She knows she was “bad” and does not deserve to be there. Totally funny!!!!!

And now her actions seem to be affecting this little piece of heaven.  Her “soul mate”, and ethics professor (played perfectly by William Jackson Harper) has a goal to get her up to snuff, keep the secret, and attempt to not be appalled by her actions.

This is an awesome premise with hysterical writing, great acting, and an all-around good vibe.  I love the flashbacks that show Eleanor being rude and crude. Now in heaven, she does reflect on these scenes and we can see her try to re-write her story. The Good Place  is just a fun sitcom with plenty of material to work with. Please watch. Pray for your souls, and laugh!!!