Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Whittling Away March Wednesday

 Let's just kill time until April 1st. and the blog challenge.  Here I am with my Aunt Janice on Easter Sunday.  She's the one that turned 90.  Darn spiffy and still shrinking. She's a hoot, trust me
 Oh, Dad - a bit of a mess, but he's still kicking (albeit slowly).  Here he is with my sister Lori. In the background are my brother David and his wife Cherie.   They gave us an Easter feast. I'm surprised the airline did not charge me extra for weight gain - yowza!!!
And tough to beat PA in spring with flowering trees. I took this pic as I walked our block. Still early for regular trees, but these were gorgeous.

I can report that my sister is doing a great job cleaning my Dad's house. He is not living in squalor. We had plenty of laughs as we sat at the kitchen table. I enjoyed my visit to PA. Wish my Dad was more mobile and had less pains, but he's still quite the character. Adventures with the senior - I'll be back again soon

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Easter Break to Philly

Flying to Philly Thursday evening for a quick Easter weekend. Hippity-hop 
Time to check on my Dad and also do a white glove test - my sister swears she's been cleaning weekly. Hmmm. I'll let you know if she's telling the truth. I look forward to Easter lunch at my brother's. Should be calm and a good visit. 

Now Ray's invite to son Kevin's said, "What says Easter more than an egg hunt, 4-wheelers and a shoot-out (clay)? 
I'd be a tad nervous on the egg hunt - I bet snakes are waking up from hibernation and on the move. 

Best that I head to Philly and Ray head to the country. All parties are happy. 

I wish everyone an enjoyable Easter weekend. Reflect on spring - a time of renewal. 

Let's pray for peace for Belgium and the world

Monday, March 21, 2016

A to Z Blog Reveal

as I contemplate the alphabet
string together words
silly beats seek a sly smile
from A to Z, we shall wonder

as we wander 

Please join me in a wacky Word Splash in April 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Movie Review Madness - Zootopia

I was the only adult in the theater for Zootopia without a kid in tow, and I think I laughed the loudest.  This is a clever animated film with plenty of plot, fully developed characters, and a message too. Like the concept of utopia, the Zootopia metropolis attempts to have every animal get along.

In regards to Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin with enthusiasm) she achieves her goal as first bunny on the police force. But alas, she’s shoved into a meter maid role by the chief. However, she’s determined to be the best at writing tickets and enforcing the law. She meets Nick Wilde (sly snarky Jason Bateman) a conniving fox who seems to work hardest at beating the system. Nonetheless, the pair are drawn into a mystery.

Why are some animals reported missing? Why are some predators going “berserk” after so many years of “no attacks”?  Judy and Nick slowly work together, despite his reluctance, and uncover corruption in Zootopia. Per stereotype, a bunny and fox should not be a team, but in Zootopia diversity is applauded and the message in this story shows we should all get past assumptions.  It’s a good message in this day and age and the film is very clever at pointing fingers and making fun too. The scene with the sloths at the DMV is hysterical.

Zootopia is high energy and a blast. It’s fast paced and brims with activity – lots of animals to enjoy and characters to remember. Stay to the end and dance through the credits with the star gazelle (Shakira). Maybe someday we can achieve a zootopia utopia. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wordless Wednesday (Almost)

 After Super Super Super Tuesday (I've lost track), the sun is still coming up, albeit slowly. Yawn - time change is silly in the morning, but really nice at night with extra time (to rake leaves and do other yard chores - rah)
Ray chose these cacti for a splash of backyard color.  We shall see if they can survive.  We just had a week of rain - oops.

Happy Wednesday.  Happy March Madness. Happy St. Patrick's Day tomorrow.

Time Marches On

Monday, March 14, 2016

Book Review - Unspeakable

Meghan Daum faces life and Unspeakable subjects head on in this excellent book of ten very personal essays. She discusses her mother’s death, her lack of interest in having (i.e. creating) children (and subsequent exploration of advocate for foster children), her view of life pleasures as chores, and that life’s “ultimate lesson may be that we learn nothing”. From the cover blurb – Daum pushes back against the false sentimentality and shrink-wrapped platitudes that surround so much of contemporary American experience and considers the unspeakable thoughts that many of us harbor.

She is funny, bold, and brave in her declarations. I found myself nodding my head in agreement to so many of her observations.

p. 75 On the subject of growing up, or feeling that you have succeeded in doing so, I’m pretty sure the consensus is that it’s an illusion

p. 79 the vagaries of the digital revolution mean that I have more in common with people twenty years my senior than I do with people seven years my junior. i.e.  reading actual books and not necessarily wanting to watch a movie on a three and a half inch screen.

p.88  I guess that is why wisdom is supposed to be the consolation prize of aging. It’s supposed to give us better things to do than stand around and watch in disbelief as the past casts long shadows over the future.

p.192 Just about everything I started off doing badly I’ve remained bad at because I never really bothered to work hard at it

p. 197 Past a certain age, it becomes tiresome to blame one’s deficits on one’s parents

Trust me, Unspeakable strikes a lot of nerves. Meghan Daum is a smooth writer, with well thought out chapters. I wondered if she somehow has seen me in life. I also wondered if she would be my friend. This is an interesting and humorous read – a touch of sociology, psychology, and humanity.

Friday, March 11, 2016

A Special Birthday

Here's my father with his older sister - this is a few years ago, but pretty representative. She always looks like a million bucks

Ninety Balloons and Good Wishes

seems like we just had a celebration
candles on cake galore
sing out Janice praises
for many wonderful years more

George couldn’t show up (in the air)
(not your brother, he doesn’t miss a meal)
Clooney’s wife said “no way, I can’t compete”
“your heart, the birthday gal would steal”

sunny smile, witty talk
oh you make our day
popular for a reason
we are happy to say hooray

good health and joy
we wish for you all year
big hugs and much love
at ninety, grin from ear to ear

Happy Birthday

this is a special salute to my Aunt Janice (my father's sister) who's celebrating her 90th birthday on Sunday March 13th. 
(and yes, she likes George Clooney). But the true love of her life, my Uncle Bill, passed several years ago.

 She was a math teacher for a zillion years, and helped me with geometry homework way back in the day. I can't enthuse enough over her. Just a grand person with a twinkle in the eye and a smile for all. She's darn perky with a social schedule that puts us all to shame. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Book Review - Library of Souls

Library of Souls is the thrilling conclusion to the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children trilogy.  Ransom Riggs is a creative writer with an innovative approach to storytelling. His mixture of misfit photos and unusual worlds offers a unique tale about a boy with extraordinary powers, and army of deadly monsters, and an epic battle for the future of peculiardom. (from cover blurb)

Sixteen year old Jacob has an uncanny ability to lead peculiar companions and control evil creatures as he tries to rescue Miss Peregrine and other captured children from a fortress. Time travel between modern London back into Victorian days and into the wretched Devil’s Acre offers a jolly good pager turner. His girlfriend, Emma, with fire at her fingertips, and Addison, a talking dog, offer valuable help on this treacherous journey. It’s difficult to figure out who’s evil and how the players fit into the puzzle. Thus Jacob and friends must trust each other and use their instincts to survive.

Library of Souls is an outstanding book and truly a worthy end to the trilogy. It captivated my imagination and interest, and can be enjoyed by both YA or adult audiences. Plunge into a peculiar world. It’s worth the read.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Art at the Amon Carter - Thomas Hart Benton

Last Sunday, Ray and I zoomed over to Fort Worth to the Amon Carter Art Museum. A current special exhibit is  American Epic:Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood

Missouri native, Benton (1889 - 1975) is famous for his large murals, his flair for drama, and big screen imagery. His thinking "If epic themes such as cultural identity, westward expansion, race relations, and the American dream could play out on the silver screen, why not on canvas." (brochure blurb).

Time spent in Hollywood behind the scenes allowed Benton to capture the cameramen, set designers, etc. His work is shown alongside various movie clips. Over 100 works - painting, drawings, and illustrated books - demonstrate the verve and energy Thomas Hart Benton brought to American art.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Book Review - The Lost Landscape

The Lost Landscape: A Writer’s Coming of Age by Joyce Carol Oates is whipped cream topping on top of a stellar writing career. This woman is a prolific genius – her writing is sublime. There’s no other term for it. This memoir of her childhood and adolescence “evokes the romance of childhood and the way it colors everything after.” (cover blurb).  This is an “arresting account of the ways in which Oates’s life (and her life as a writer) was shaped by early childhood and influenced by her hardscrabble rural upbringing.”

She’s candid and reflective. She looked at life as a series of endless adventures and was perceptive in meeting people and interpreting life scenes. “With searing detail and an acutely perceptive eye, Oates renders her memories and emotions with exquisite precision to truly transport the reader to a bygone place and time, to the lost landscape of the writer’s past but also to the lost landscapes of our own earliest, and most essential lives. “ (cover blurb)

I dog eared page after  page. She touched me in so many ways from her life as a student and later as a newlywed, happy in Detroit. Her joy with life, her humbleness, and her open heart shines through each page. This book is an important work, in bring to life one of America’s premier writers and her impression of growing up in America - her view of the “dream” and achievement. And the woman is still writing and adding to the lexicon of America. Wow. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Soul Stirring

 Let's recover from Tuesday and enjoy Wednesday with some more arboretum pictures.

 Perhaps appropriate to have Abe Lincoln reflect.
And George Washington looks prepared to spring into action

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Soul Sucking Super Tuesday

I did early vote and I'm posting my sticker upside down as a sign of voter distress. Texas is part of the Super Tuesday hoopla - big delegate counts, etc.

I'm afraid for the results. Has America lost its mind?   For my blog friends living abroad - yes, there is reason for concern. I can't begin to explain what is going on. It boggles the mind

Somehow the "system" should work. Everyday life keeps churning and among my friends, there is a sense of disbelief as to what all of these other Americans are doing or thinking.

I try to stay away from politics on my blog, or I speak in generalities. I am not good at debate.

I will say I would like to see courtesy and compromise and common sense

The flag flies, the electricity is on, water runs from the spigot, another "like" is clicked on Facebook.

We the People...........