Friday, April 20, 2018


R = Rude

I've been just shadowing the A to Z - not doing official posts.  But here's my Friday R contribution.

In this day and age, a certain someone (sadly) has been a HUGE influence on proper decorum. Now I'll admit, maybe I'm just not in step with 2018 morals, accepted behavior, and current code of conduct.  That's fine by me. I do not participate in Twitter, and from what I read in sound bites, I'm judging it as appalling. This is strictly MY opinion. I'm not a hot demographic - I'm not in the "base"  (thank goodness - again, my opinion).  But, I personally cannot see where total rudeness wins. Why be ugly just to be ugly?

Anyway, here are some quotes that I felt applied to the topic of Rudeness:

All words are pegs to hang ideas on - Henry Ward Beecher 1887

A Deluge of Words, and a Drop of Sense - Thomas Fuller 1732

Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become, the the hands of one who knows how to combine them - Nathaniel Hawthorne 1847

All our words from loose using have lost their edge - Ernest Hemingway  1932

You can stroke people with words - F. Scott Fitzgerald  1945

A word out of season may mar a whole life  - saying (Greek)

Have a super good weekend, and ponder what you say, what you read, and how you interpret words.

Take care, my friends

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


P is for Pie.   When you walk out of Waitress, the musical, you will want a slice of pie.  I'm not even a "pie" person, and I wanted some pie. This touring production of a Broadway show was heavenly. Good story (based on the movie starring Keri Russell). Great singing (tunes by Sara Bareilles). Good acting. And just a fun theater experience. I was lucky to see this at a matinee in Dallas.

Jenna is in a rather loveless marriage. She was too young and now feels trapped since she's pregnant. Earl is abusive. But her job at Joe's Pies allows her to create and vent. Her grouchiest customer is Joe himself and thank goodness she treats him right. Her best friends at the diner are Becky and Dawn.

The show is about grit and determination. It's about taking no crap and taking care of yourself. It's about dreams and making those dreams come true.

The soundtrack is fabulous.  Fun,  excellent show.    Sugar, Flour, Butter..........that's the key to making dreams come true.

Monday, April 16, 2018

No Words Monday

NOT competing with A to Z bloggers...........go read their good posts

Friday, April 13, 2018


Leonardo Da Vinci – beyond brilliant man. Artist, sculptor, architect, inventor, imagination extraordinaire. This genius is beyond adjectives and description. Yet, author Walter Isaacson, in his opus – Leonardo Da Vinci– brings the man alive in amazing detail.  This book is heavy – both physically and linguistically. This is a rich book – the publication is beautiful: lovely presentation, rich reproductions of paintings, and dense printing – nice pages. This is not a cheap book and I advise buying the official hardcover. It’s worth the investment.

Cover blurb – Leonardo’s ability to combine art and science, made iconic by his drawing of what may be himself inside a  circle and a square, remains the enduring recipe for innovation. His life should remind us of the importance of instilling, both in ourselves and our children, not just received knowledge but a willingness to question it – to be imaginative and, like talented misfits and rebels in any era, to think different.

That’s the key to this fascinating book – question. Leonardo woke up thinking outside the box. Every day was an experiment – whether art, sculpture, defense weapons, flying, and any scientific properties, he conducted experiments, kept journals, and asked questions.  Optics, math, perspectives in art, autopsies – you name it – he dug in deep to find answers.  Every page of this book is filled with extraordinary research on a man who affects life today. Isaacson’s writing keeps the reader engaged and amazed. Contemplate the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, and more. Just wow…….

L is for Leonardo Da Vinci – the man, the book – explore and learn more………and just say wow.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

JUMP - movie review - A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place is truly a solid, brilliant, subtle horror flick. Directed by John Krasinski,  it stars him and his real life wife, Emily Blunt and they are SO good. She can say so much with her eyes and her face reflects so many feelings.  The first part of this movie is about family – albeit under crazy circumstances. Silence rules. The world appears to have ended. Creatures who attack,  based on sound,  rule. The key is quiet – barefoot, playing monopoly with cloth tokens, using sign language, and no sound.

The first glimpse of horror is with the “baby” boy – age 4-5. On a foray to a store, he wants a toy rocket. The dad says no – too noisy. The sister (brilliant young actress who is deaf – Millicent Simpson) grabs it for him, and he nabs the removed batteries). The family is walking home when suddenly there’s sound – the kid put in the batteries and is playing – oh the joy………..until a creature leaps from nowhere and wipes that kid away. Dang freakin’ scary. This was day 73.

Fast forward to day 473. Oh so much sadness and yet living. Mom is pregnant – now how can they bring a baby into this world?  The middle son is afraid of life. He doesn’t want to go out with Dad to learn how to survive – get fish, etc. His eyes show fear. Whereas his deaf sister wants to go, she’s resilient, but there’s a deeper issue. Do the parents blame her for the death of the youngest boy? Well, no, but she’s beat herself up about it.  This film is about family dynamics, love, and survival. It’s tight and in ninety minutes, it’s relentless. The creatures are fierce and it’s all about sound and frequency.  I will not give away more.

Hold your breath and appreciate A Quiet Place for great story telling and acting. And I dare you to sit, watch, and not JUMP!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Hello, It's Me

 Hey - It's a Monday.  H is the letter.  I'm killing time.   Here I am at the Dallas Arboretum  in March. It was a gorgeous day and everyone looks good flanked by tulips.
 History - yikes - let's go to the way  past.  Here are the siblings surrounding my grandmother. Can't say what year. We are all quite young, but yes I'm am the oldest.  I beat my brother by five years, my sister by ten. Yowza
and another in the family living room. Nothing has changed.... except us. A lot older, maybe wiser, and yep - still Humble.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Fierce - Gretchen Carlson

F is for Fierce.  Oh yeah, baby.

Ray and I saw Gretchen Carlson at the final UTA Maverick, Speaker session for this school year.
She was awesome.  This woman was a former Miss America winner from Minnesota. She's a Stanford graduate. She's a successful journalist from NBC, CBS, and Fox News.  As a registered independent, she prides herself on her lack of bias. She worked hard to get where she was, and unfortunately encountered sexual harassment along the way.

Enough was enough.  Twenty months ago, she was the first very public face to call out her harasser - Roger Ailes from Fox. She brought down this mogul fair and square and opened up a whole new world in regards to the workplace. Women from all walks of life - rich and poor, black and white, old and young said "enough was enough." Time's Up.  Me Too.  You name the tag line - we could all relate. I include myself in regards to some verbal situations. Women should not have to question themselves. They should not have to worry about their jobs if they don't "submit" to something ridiculous.

Ms. Carlson gave an excellent talk and her continuing work to empower women is awesome. She was quite inspirational and her true hope is that her kids and those of the next generation do NOT have to put up with such crap. I truly hope her work is not in vain.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Wordy Wednesday - Debrief

I am having fun shadowing our A - to - Z gang.  I'm following so many - they are listed in my Blog Followings - awesome material all around

Here are just two quotes from the news this past month. Consider this a debrief and commentary.
Interpret as you wish

This can be a very mean-spirited town, but you don't have to choose to participate in that. Each of us gets to choose the person we want to be, and the way  we want to be treated, and the way we will treat others - Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson - farewell speech to the State Department.

(my personal opinion and take - classy dude who could only take so much. He was fired, but left with his head held high)

Y'all can stare at your phones all night, but I pull a book out of my purse and suddenly I'm the anti-social one - North Texas comedian Katy Evans. 

(too funny, and too true!)

Happy Wednesday

Monday, April 2, 2018

Bonus Monday - bonnets and bouquets

 I am not doing A to Z, but I know today is the Letter B.  So I'm going with some leftover Easter pics - a boondoggle of girls ready for the Easter egg hunt
 Makyla in her Easter Bonnet
 Skylar with her Bounty, and Dakota begging for candy
 Arboretum Beauty


Good luck and have fun to all A to Z participants. I'll be making the rounds to enjoy the themes.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Frivolous Flower Friday

 Me, Evelyn, and Linda - our spring trek to the Dallas Arboretum last Sunday. Glorious day amidst a bounty of color
 They plant 500,000 tulips for their spring festival

The grounds are spectacular. This is truly one of my favorite places in the whole North Texas area.

Spring has sprung.  Happy Easter Weekend!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Book Review - The Lost Empress by Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson writes Jefferson Tayte genealogical mysteries. The Lost Empress is his fourth in the series, but does stand alone. A foggy night in 1914, the Empress of Ireland sinks in the St.Lawrence River. It crossed the ocean from England. Cover blurb – When genealogist Jefferson Tayte is shown a locket belonging to one of the Empress’s victims, a British admiral’s daughter named Alice Stillwell, he must travel to England to understand the course of events that lead to her death.

As an expert tracker, Tayte unravels truths about a maritime tragedy, pre-WWI espionage, and Alice’s life. Plus he’s caught up in solving a present day murder too. In The Lost Empress, the author takes us back and forth in time in various chapters.  We meet Alice, a strong-willed young woman, who is entangled in a kidnapping and ransom plot. Being the daughter of an admiral presents her with opportunities that cause her a lot of grief. Alice’s story part of this book is strong and well written. As the story builds toward her boarding the Empress, intrigue grows.

Meanwhile, the Jefferson Tayte part of the book has various  interesting parts, but also aspects that bog down the action. I found him to be a tad preachy and ponderous at times.  I found I zoomed through his chapters to get back to Alice. Ultimately, bits all tie together in a very satisfying ending. I won’t give anything else away. The Lost Empress is a quick breezy read. It was a book club selection but I’m not sure how much there is to discuss. If you are going on a cruise, look out for spies on the upper deck!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Movie Review Madness - Love, Simon

Simon Spier (a charming Nick Robinson) is seventeen and considers himself a “normal” teen who’s fortunate. He’s got great friends (Katherine Langford, Logan Miller, et al), wonderful parents (Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Gardner), a sister he enjoys, teachers he likes, and plans for the future. But. There’s always a but. He’s got a secret and it’s really starting to bother him more and more. He is gay and it’s getting harder to hide it. He’s known since junior high age. He dated girls but the spark wasn’t there. Now what?

Love, Simon is a sweet movie with a nice message about being true to yourself. This does not hammer the issue over your head. It’s not trying to convert anyone. The movie shows a really nice kid who just wants to live his life, not make a big deal out of it, but be able to move on and find true love. Throw stereotypes out the window – he dresses on the preppy side, but just like every other kid shopping at the Gap or wherever. He likes current music, movies, and his best friend is female. He doesn’t want to change the dynamic of his life.  Posted on an anonymous “facebook” like school page, another young man nicknamed “Blue” basically says the same thing – “I’m gay, but it’s a secret and my life is like a ferris wheel full of ups and downs.”  Simon starts emailing Blue and feels a connection.

Slowly, Simon deals with his secret, deals with a cyber bully issue, deals with hurt friends, tells his folks, and goes through a miserable period. So, will he find “Blue”?  Will his friends accept him again? How are his dad and mom? Love, Simon is a bit Hollywood neat – ties up a lot of issues in less than two hours. But it’s a refreshing, funny, and well done movie. Good acting and a good message for anyone. Root for Simon. You do have to be true to yourself before you can move on in any aspect of life.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Show Time - Putting It Together

I'm always preaching to support local theater. Here's a reason why - just a really nice afternoon spent listening to Stephen Sondheim tunes from his various Broadway Shows. Onstage Bedford did a nice,  thoughtful production. This is the last weekend to see it.  Four of the five vocalists were quite decent. One young woman was a tad "pitchy" but that's being nit-picking. She gave it her all, as did the others in the show.

I found that hearing the Sondheim tunes in independent scenes,  rather than in his complete shows, I really heard the words and had some different interpretations. Maybe a tad deeper. His music is "tough" in my opinion. You don't come out humming like a Rogers & Hammerstein musical. Sondheim is darker - explores a lot of the human psyche.

Good show, no seat has a bad view, worthy sound,  and worth my twenty dollars!
Check out local talent in your area. These folks are working hard for your entertainment

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Words for a Wednesday

Someone has a great fire in his soul and nobody ever comes to warm themselves at it, and passers-by see nothing but a little smoke -  Vincent Van Gogh

Do you feel this as a writer/artist?

Sign me
Thinking too much on a Wednesday

Monday, March 19, 2018

Monday Moment

 My Aunt Jane, Nana, Mom, and Uncle Lee
L to R - Mom, Uncle Lee, Aunt Jane
 My father - dapper dude back in the day. No doubt he was driving a car with huge fins
My mom - what can I say - no wonder she hooked my father

So, I've been digging in the the archives - not a lot of history pictures, but this is fun for a Monday moment.    What's funny is my dad has shrunk and lost hair, but his face has not changed. He truly looks sorta the same at 86 and still attempts dapper. Fashion pride - it does kill him to not wear fitted slacks and decent shoes these days.

Let's all start the week with some pride - accessorize in some way...or slap on some decent shoes!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Book Review -Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly

Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly is another winner in his long line of Harry Bosch novels. You just can’t go wrong with this author’s character, plot, and writing. He has just the right twists and turns to lead to a satisfying ending.  Harry has his flaws, but he also cares so much about detective work. He’s retired, but still helping independently part-time. His intensity, thought process, and persistence are what make up a great detective. You want him on your side.

Two pharmacists were murdered in a robbery. Sifting through clues leads Bosch into “the dangerous world of prescription drug abuse.”  Undercover work proves eye opening and dangerous for Harry.
Meanwhile, an old case haunts him – “a killer on death row claims Harry framed him”.

Cover blurb – the Two  cases wind around each other like strands of barbed wire. Along the way, Bosch discovers that there are two kinds of truth: the kind that sets you free and the kind that leaves you buried in darkness.

Two Kinds of Truth is fast paced and true to form. Once again a very satisfying read from Michael Connelly.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Movie Review Madness - A Wrinkle in Time

I had mixed emotions going into A Wrinkle in Time. I’d read the book by Madeleine L’Engle and really liked it (read as a girl and recently with an adult perspective – it is a classic for a reason). I had also read so-so reviews, but the previews, to me, looked promising.  Drum roll results – I give it a B-/ C+.  I believe Ava DuVernay, the director, had grandiose plans and she did okay. But there are a lot of buts – like at times the movie felt slow. I was ready to tesseract (space/time travel) into some new scenes.  I’m not going to discuss story line – read the book to experience a lot of grand ideas about science, and girls, and confidence, and empowerment.

I will say that Storm Reid, our heroine Meg, is quite good. I look forward to seeing her in more projects. She seemed “real”. As for the fairy godmothers of sorts – Reese Witherspoon was annoying, Mindy Kaling did not have much to do, and Oprah played Oprah. Her Mrs. Which is supposed to make pronouncements and help Meg see her strengths, etc. I was very conscious that  it was Oprah on the screen doing her Oprah thing well, and when was Dr. Phil going to show up? That’s a problem.  The younger brilliant brother, Charles Wallace (Derie McCabe) was too winsome and precocious. I kept thinking of the kid who plays Young Sheldon on television and I felt he would have been better in the role.  See, I had time to think about this random stuff while watching the movie.

But then some of the stuff would work, and I was certainly rooting for Meg to find her Dad (Chris Pine), to get confidence in herself, to realize that everyone has issues (even the mean girls in school), and to get out of her rut. I was happy with the final results and a lot of the special effects were cool. For my matinee dollars, I was entertained. However, I think this is a movie many will be happy to snooze through on Netflix on a Saturday night. Your own microwave popcorn is cheaper than the theater. So, I’ve saved you some dollars. Use them to buy the book and read it!! That’s the Wrinkle in Time to explore.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Monday Moment

oldies but goodies.  Last Monday I featured my maternal grandparents.  Now I'm featuring my dad's side of the family. His father died when he was young, so my grandmother (Julia Crowther) raised him (middle picture). His older sister kept track of him too. (she's far right in the bottom picture)
These pics were probably late 1970s, early 80s

Tuesday is my aunt's birthday - 92. She's sharp and clever as ever. Had to move out of her home, but still darn independent at the senior living facility.

 Happy Birthday, Aunt Janice!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Zoo World

 so, I should have written some book reviews, but I haven't.  Work is "killing me". I get home and do not want to type a bunch. Thus, I'm giving you some happy filler Friday from our lives.

For Valentine's I adopted a penguin in Ray's name.  Isn't he cute?  The Fort Worth Zoo has a nifty program - for a very reasonable fee, you adopt a penguin. In return, you get a stuffed penguin doll, a certificate, and a really nice picture. See below
See the family resemblance. Admittedly, our Rockhopper is a tad more dapper than Ray. However, so far he's behaving well and is not messy- yes, he lives at the zoo. However, I'm sure he's being fed regularly, gets a good night's sleep, and enjoys his habitat. We'll go visit him in the spring.

Meanwhile, adoption is the way to go to support your local zoo. Check it out and be a part of your community.  Zoos work hard to help wild life, do research, and save animals on this planet.

Happy Friday and weekend......I swear I'll type those book reviews!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Wordless Wednesday - Oh My Orchids

pictures shared by my sister from Longwood Gardens.  Orchid fest was astounding.
A feast for the eyes.  Spring hope to brighten still dreary winter days.


Monday, March 5, 2018

Monday Moment

 Quick Monday moment.
But first, back up to Friday - glorious day. Worked hard and we all got early dismissal - "just because it's too pretty out there".  I came home and our new diving board had been installed. The pool project is complete. New stone coping, new plaster, new board. Now we need some warmer weather. It was darn pretty out, but I'm not a polar bear swimmer.  Instead I raked gobs of leaves - our live oak is shedding its winter coat and green is popping out all over.
Saturday  - leaf project was done. Now on to my painting project in my pretty room (i.e. reading, no TV). New furniture arrived. I had put primer on my accent wall.  Now what color....our house leans toward muted colors. Time for a Wow! moment.  I went with "Exotic Sea". Sure pops, doesn't it?

So, guess I'm good for another twenty years (rather lazy, not big on tons of changes here)

Clear blue water under the diving board, blue exotic sea on the wall........I"m not feeling blue. I'm spring energized.  Happy start to the week.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Filler Friday

Last time I was in PA, I dug through some old photo albums. I'll share some pics through this year.
Here's one of my long gone Nana and Pop-Pop, my maternal grandparents - Elmer and Clarissa Shutters. Originally poor farmers from Indiana. I believe my grandmother did graduate from high school. He might have made it through eighth grade. Just solid, down home folks who worked hard, moved to PA, made a living, raised four kids - Lee, Jane, Juanita (my mom), and Richard - and were awesome grandparents.

My memory is him holding my hand as I skipped down the sidewalk. He ambled along and wore suspenders. She wore a house dress with an apron. And there was always candy in a bowl, that grubby little fingers could choose (even between meals!)

 I hope you have some hazy good memories of grandparents.

TGIF and enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Wordless Wednesday

photos taken by Kevin Faries in Springtown, Texas last week

                                                     Paralysis by Joanne Faries

                     rain drips
 confused by temperature variations
 it floods, then takes hold,
oozes into every nook and cranny
muscles control of every pore
tightens its freezing grip
 choking branches and limbs until

the once strong limber tree yields in pain

              And crack,
the bones break

Monday, February 26, 2018

Movie Review Madness - Black Panther

Marvel’s Black Panther is a feast for the eyes – the stunning visual effects of the world of Wakanda are lovely. The acting is all stellar. Sharp writing, plenty of action/fights, and a story of power and redemption complete the tale directed by Ryan Coogler.  There have been a lot of articles and essays written about Black Panther – all for a higher purpose than pure cinematic delight. I’m going to stick with just the movie going experience of this critic – a middle-aged woman who wants to be entertained for her five dollar investment. Ka-ching! This movie absolutely works on all levels. If you wish to delve into some issues – by all means. The movie can make you think. Or just sit back with a big tub of popcorn and watch Chadwick Boseman nail it as T’Challa, the new king of Wakanda – a country that hides its riches (the vibranium metal) from the rest of the world.

It is a city filled with technology, powerful women, and an appreciation for its history and rituals.  Here’s the impressive cast of women – Angela Bassett (mother), Letitia Wright (science nerd sister),and Lupita Nyong’o(Nakia – the activist ex).  Close friend W’Kabi is played by Daniel Kaluuya.  Then there’s trouble – brooding Michael B. Jordan, the Killmonger, seeks revenge and more. There’s a whole background buildup to his story. It starts in Oakland, CA and finishes in hand-to-hand combat, victory, and some d words – defeat, defiance, etc.   I won’t say more…. But I will say that Danai Gurira the shorn elite member of the royal squad is fierce. Her attitude is scary and she swings a mean spear.

Black Panther is set in a fantasy world. Like I said, you can extrapolate from there into more meaning, concerns, etc of modern day America.  Or you can enjoy the slick purring moves of a sleek panther. Stick around during and after credits for those Marvel teasers they give us. Keeps us coming back for more. Meow!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Fast Friday

 Ray and I went to the Dallas Auto Show last Saturday.  Love those shiny $$$$ cars
 Here's the Black Panther Lexus.  I bet it purrs......

And my sister has a Kia Soul, so I had to hang with the hamster.

Fun day, plenty of steps around the convention center, and no we did not buy a new car.
Zoom through your Friday and on to a fantastic weekend

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wonderful Wednesday

This Wednesday I bring you a quote from a very intriguing writer. I read this in Time Magazine 2/12/18 issue. 

Food for thought to fill this Wednesday.  It was provocative enough for a discussion with my writer friends at a Sunday gathering.  What do you think?

Zadie Smith, literary author, has a new collection of essays, Feel Free. In one essay she writes,

      When I find myself sitting at dinner next to someone who knows just as much about novels as I do but has somehow also found the mental space to adore and be knowledgeable about opera, have strong opinions about the relative rankings of Renaissance painters, and encyclopedic knowledge of the English Civil War, of French wines - I feel an anxiety that nudges beyond the envious into the existential. How did she find the time?

We all agreed that we've been there. We think we've read quite a bit, we can speak about quite a lot, and then we are flummoxed by that person who seems to know it all.......dang. 

Inferiority complex, heck yeah!

How about you?  Have you felt so smart, and then really dumb on occasion?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Book Promotion - Don't Feed the Elephant by Sherry Ellis

I met Sherry Ellis here on blogspot during an April A to Z challenge. Her garden blog ( proved delightful. Then I fell for her Ten Zany Birds book for kids - the illustrations and counting story were cute.

Now I'm pleased to promote Don't Feed the Elephant by Sherry Ellis with rich illustrations by Md. Anwar.  Once again, Sherry has written a sweet funny tale with some important lessons for kids. Most important - don't feed the elephant. It can lead to all kinds of trouble (including a sick tummy), plus teach kids letters of the alphabet. Animal crackers to zebra cakes are a hoot.

I highly recommend Don't Feed the Elephant for your little ones. You'll have fun reading it over and over and over again. And they will giggle as the elephant cavorts, plays with his food, and enjoys time with friends.  Look for it on Amazon