Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Wordless Wednesday - Grand Finale

Happy Wednesday - yea...she's done with the lantern pics

No need to comment, just enjoy. 

 Now we are aiming for Memorial Weekend - downhill slide to the unofficial start to summer.  Swimsuit ready, hot dogs and burgers to be bought for grilling, drinks on ice, and an eye on the weather - will we need to break out the sunscreen or umbrellas? 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Book Review - The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – In love we find out who we want to be, in war we find out who we are  (cover blurb).  1939 France – Vianne sees her husband off to war, sure that this scuffle with the Nazis will end quickly. However, the invasion occurs, and soon she has a German captain requisitioning a room in her home.  Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Meanwhile Vianne’s impetuous sister, Isabelle, meets Gaetan and joins the Resistance. Never looking back, she risks her live many times to save others. The circle of war brings the sisters and their estranged father together in a unique circumstance. None trusts the other, but as family fighting for France in their own ways, they unite in a surprising way. Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of World War II and illuminates history in this fictional work. Sisters, ideals, passions, danger, survival, love, and freedom – this book covers the gamut in a novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women.  (cover blurb)

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is an excellent read. Have a tissue handy near the end – sniffle alert, I promise (and that’s okay).

Friday, May 17, 2019

Movie Review Madness: Avengers - Endgame

Based on the box office totals that have racked up to billions, Ray and I might be the last people on the planet to finally see  Avengers:Endgame.  But rainy Saturday morning kept us from yard work. Thank goodness - movie magic time.

Three hours - I thought it went by quickly. Everybody and their uncle from the Marvel universe showed up. Story lines were explored and tied up fairly neatly. Some live,  some die - that's life.
The word quantum is used and you know it's tricky when there's a time travel continuum theory bandied about.

Ironman and Captain America do stand toe to toe and argue. Well, Ironman does have to look up a bit. Chris Evans does have America's butt...hey,  the movie says so.

There are tears, there are battles,  there's humor. It's all there. Marvel knows how to package its product - the film is rich in characters,  dialogue, action,  and drama. I'm giving a review but no spoilers, just in case someone has been under a rock and missed this in the theater.  And do see it on the big,big screen - it is glorious.

P.S. I still love Thor, no matter what.  Chris Hemsworth rocks!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Wordless Wednesday - Still with the Lanterns

 Week by week I'm giving you your own guided tour of the Lanterns in the Park at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens.   Enjoy

Monday, May 13, 2019

Monday Moments

 Hieroglyphics - what is the tree telling us....
Last weekend I sat on my dad's front porch. This humongous oak stands tall,  looming over the house. It would have been great as a kid to use it for hide and seek.  Look at that trunk.  Wow!
Dad says when a limb cuts loose it "really makes a clunk and shakes the house."  Ya think?

Enjoy this Monday moment.  Hug a tree if you can reach around it.

Oh,  the mighty oak!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Flight Friday

Howdy folks
I'm back from a trip to see my father who will be 88 in July.  Big sigh. As Bette Davis famously said, " Growing old ain't for sissies."   He still lives in the house where I grew up (huge thanks to my brother (lawn service and so much more) and sister (housekeeping and grocery shopper and so much more). It's a typical Northeast home in PA with steep steps,etc.  OMG.

The poor man is just slowly disintegrating - very stooped and has leg pain. He's a trouper. We had plenty of laughs. He's got the oars in the water, but he's rowing slower and sometimes in circles.
It is what it is.

So, that's the senior report.

Now - in regards to air travel.   First I will say I appreciate the miracle that is air flight. It is amazing and the logistics to coordinate so many people going to so many places is fantastic.

I totally understand how weather can mess up that fantastic system.  And the whole USA decided to be under storm watch on Wednesday.  What a cluster.

Here's my rant.
People - when you get on the plane - stow your crap and sit the f@$k down.  Pardon the language.
Stop being a Sherpa with your whole life and way more than the one bag and one personal item. Ridiculous.  Pay the freakin' $30 for baggage.

And American Airlines - if you have a plane at the gate for over an not decide you have too much fuel and must siphon it off AFTER we have all boarded the plane and are supposed to push away from the gate.  Seriously.  Did someone NOT do the math and know this way ahead of time???

Yes, there were weather problems that messed up some timing, but this just added to the turmoil.  I was lucky - Ray watched the screen all day and picked me up once I finally landed. But lots of folks missed connections in Dallas due to a controllable problem.

Travel is not for the feint of heart. Patience is warranted.  Many things are out of one's hands.

Thanks for reading this.  I have to wait a bit and gird my loins before I schedule another trip back to see Dad.  I'm aiming for summer.  Let some time simmer.

Have a great weekend and Happy Mother's Day to all.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Wordless Wednesday - More Light the Way

as dusk arrived, the lanterns began to glow

It's Wednesday. Hope your time's been good. I'm flying back from Philly today - hope it's not stormy.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Book Review - Conversations with Friends

I read a review of Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney and it interested me.
i.e.  Written with gem-like precision and marked by a sly sense of humor, this book is wonderfully alive to the pleasures and dangers of youth, and the messy edges of female friendship. 

 Now I'll give my review - Sally Rooney, the author, is young herself and very into the zeitgeist of today's youth.

Our two protagonist friends - Frances - cool, observant, student/writer, and Bobbi - beautiful, rich, and rather self-possessed and confidant. They perform on a poetry night and are approached by a well-known photographer journalist (Melissa) interested in doing a story on the duo. As they are drawn into a flashier art world, Frances embarks on a dangerous flirtation with the actor/husband -handsome Nick. This leads to stress in the friendship, jealousy, and some  lessons in really being a grown-up.

I was interested in the story line and many of the bad decisions made by Frances (and Nick). I found some of the dialogue and situations to be too neat and tidy and contrived, but still intriguing. Rooney offers a fresh perspective on youth today, and I have her next book Normal People sitting on my shelf - in my queue. Meanwhile Conversations with Friends was a good patio read.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Light the Way

Fort Worth Botanic Gardens are featuring a very special night time exhibit of Chinese lanterns.  These beautiful creations light up the gardens and add magic to an already lovely place.

Ray and I had a stroll last Sunday and said, "Wow."   I shall be sharing pictures for a while.
We got there at 7 pm and left around 9 pm - perfect blend of light and dark.

(I'm off to PA to see my dad for a short visit. Hope you folks have a super weekend)

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Wordless Wednesday - Almost

Gorgeous weekend here and Ray and I enjoyed a jaunt to Southlake for their annual Art in the Square.  Just a fun gathering of artists, musicians, and food in a pleasant setting.

We welcomed some new pieces into our home.   A bit of a zen mixed media piece, and two drawing/acrylic paintings.  They brighten up the front rooms.

An art stroll - take advantage of spring and festivals.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Book Review - Run by Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett's writing is so smooth and her characters are interesting.  I picked up Run (copyright 2007) at our local Half-priced book store. I was surprised to learn that I had missed reading one of her books.

A former mayor of Boston, Bernard Doyle, raised his boys Tip and Teddy alone but with dreams of success. He's encouraged them to pursue politics, but the now graduate school students have no thirst for such power.

One lives for fish - specializing in those studies. The other drifts more in philosophy. They attend a lecture with their father on a very snowy evening and get into an argument. Inadvertently, an accident occurs that involves a stranger and her daughter, and all of their lives become entangled.

Race, class, and family are all themes in Run.  Are we running away or running toward each other?
Ann Patchett weaves quite a story and keeps the reader on pace to the conclusion.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Book Review - Inadvertent by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Inadvertent - Why I Write by Karl Ove Knausgaard is from a lecture he gave in 2017. It's been translated from the Norwegian, and gives fascinating insight into a unique artist. I've read two of his books so far -  Autumn and Winter and his writing is deep, edgy, and very personal.

It's one thing to know something, another to write about it

p. 51  in my heart of hearts I knew that I was neither a writer nor an artist, I knew I didn't have what it takes. That I kept on trying anyway at times filled me with burning shame and despair, because it was so obviously a lie I told myself to maintain my sense of self. 

p.60  on reading - all I wanted was to be in that other world, on the other side

p.81  This was writing. To lose sight of yourself, and yet to use yourself, or that part of yourself that was beyond the control of your ego.

This short book is large in the sense of heart and wisdom.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Underwater Wednesday

Over 3 inches last night, more rain headed this way all day. Splish-splash and pretend you're a duck.

Heard on the radio that a parking garage at Love Field Airport had a level submerged in water. Uh-oh for folks arriving back from a flight.

U = Underwater

That's how I'll feel today at work. UPS brought a lot of boxes yesterday that we unpacked. Today I begin sorting reports and typing results for tests.

Ugh if anything fails (including me)

Good luck with underwater Wednesday. Don't forget the umbrella.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Easter Weekend and Peace

To me, Easter is a time of reflection, peace, and a welcoming of spring

Relax and enjoy your weekend - time outdoors, time with family, and yes - time with that chocolate Easter bunny.  Chomp those ears!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Wildflower Wednesday

Last weekend - Ray and I headed to his aunt's in San Saba. On Friday, we had a jaunt to Fredericksburg.  Wildflowers galore - bluebonnets out the wazoo.  Thank you Lady Bird Johnson for your Texas beautification plan - the highways and byways were out of this world.

Monday, April 15, 2019

M = Morisot, Berthe

She was known throughout her life as a "woman artist". Nonetheless, Berthe Morisot ran with the big boys in the world of impressionism, garnered respect, and broke glass ceilings before such a term was used.

This exhibition of her work at the Dallas Museum of Art is very thorough and stunning in its presentation. The seventy two paintings are hung in themes - leisure and plenty, mothers with children, seascapes, and life in general. Her skill  is masterful. As a matter of fact,  her husband Eugene Manet (brother of  artist Eduoard Manet) gave up his artistic career to manage hers.

The colors, brushstrokes, and vision are apparent. I've been to the museum twice and appreciated these paintings. They are lovely.

Alas she died from pneumonia at the age of 54, but her work lives on and is getting greater appreciation by museums with retrospectives of her career.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Movie Review Madness - The Aftermath

The Aftermath is rather perfunctory in its portrayal of a loyal dutiful wife (Keira Knightley), an upright British colonel (Jason Clarke), and a German architect (Alexander Skarsgard). The colonel and his wife take over the architect’s huge home in post WWII Hamburg. The architect and his daughter along with a maid and cook are allowed to stay on and serve.   This is the aftermath of war. There is also sadness. We slowly find out that the couple’s young son died in the war from a house bombing. The architect’s wife died from a bombing. Bitterness reigns in a very tense household.

But there’s also a lustful undercurrent. Even as she resents the Germans, she also plays with fire in her unhappiness. Face it, Skarsgard is hot. Clarke is gone – off to work. Temptation reigns supreme.
Keira Knightley can act with her eyes. She’s soulful. She’s empathetic, sympathetic, and smoldering all in one glance. Oh, there’s trouble in a very cold forbidding atmosphere. Lust bubbles slowly.

All of the acting is good, and Knightley could do period pieces in her sleep, but she doesn’t. She keeps us interested in her character and adds layers as the movie moves along.  The Aftermath could have tightened things up a bit. I admit I checked my watch. Also, my friend I saw this with said there was way more to the story based on the book. The editors definitely slashed and made it a “love” story of sorts.

I liked the movie, BUT must give reservations. It’s slow. It’s got issues. It’s okay to wait and maybe catch it on a slow night when nothing else is on.  That’s just how some films go. But Knightley is a gem and I shall support her income.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

J is for Joanne

this is a self indulgent post.  I turned off comments. They are not necessary.

I also did not include Ray in my salute.  He's my better half. He outshines, out runs, out does me in every way - let's take him for granted in this post.

These are all re-run pics - me as a kid, me with my sister, me with my PA posse - representing junior high, high school, and college. These gals know me.

So - thanks for looking at this post.  J is for Joy, J is for Jabber, J is for Jam.  J = Joanne in all her crazy iterations, permutations, and laughter.  That's what I'd like you to take away - I love a good laugh.