Friday, December 30, 2016

Enjoy Your New Year's Weekend

2016 was a weird year.  Guess that sums it up.  Torn between Dad in PA and life in TX. Had my foot surgery - that ate up time.  Had another surgery this summer, so missed pool season. Watched tons of Netflix - "Stranger Things" and "The Crown" were highlights.

Political stuff - the gift that keeps on giving.....for comedy. I look forward to SNL's opening sketches for 2017.

Highlight of the year was my trip to Alaska with Ray.  That can renew anyone's spirit. Beautiful, breathtaking, vast, and impressive. Put it on the bucket list if you haven't already.

I finished work Friday for the year, came home and put away Christmas, and now shall relax. Ray's off at his aunt's place - the deer lease. And oh boy, he did shoot some deer. (yes, my tone includes an eye roll). He's happy, guess that's what counts.

I'm seeing "La La Land" in the theater tomorrow. Then Sunday, shall catch up with friends at a pizza party. Laughter is the best medicine and a good way to kickoff 2017 (plus Cowboys play the Eagles).

Happy New Year Weekend!. I wish everyone health and laughter, enjoy friends and family, and enjoy some time on your own too - put down the phone or iPad, read a book, watch it snow, or take a walk.
I've turned off comments....go...relax....


Monday, December 26, 2016

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!!!

I am not in Venice, but wouldn't this be fun...............

cheers everyone and Peace on Earth

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas One and All

 Picture blast from the past.  What's funny is the decorations don't really change so our fireplace looks the same for Christmas 2016 as it did in 2006
 This wee one is now a teenager, but looking at this picture from quite a few years ago gave me a smile
 Lots of special ornaments are hung on the tree with care
 My mother sent me Mr. and Mrs. Claus over twenty-five years ago. I think of her when I put them on display
Sit around a fire and read a Christmas tale - lots of good stories for the season

We are hosting Ray's family today - Christmas Eve Day. Can you hear the laughter?  Can you smell the aroma of good food baking - the theme is brunch.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate.
Let's just wish for Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward mankind.


Friday, December 23, 2016

Movie Review Madness - Moonlight

Moonlight is one of those films you will never watch but be aware. It could show up at Oscar time. I saw it because I like to support my local theater when they run that one artsy weird flick. I want them to keep ‘em coming.  Mahershala Ali as Juan is so darn good. You’ve seen him in films (he’s in Netflix’s Luke Cage - Cottonmoth) and he’s a great understated actor. He just shines in this film as the drug dealer who befriends a kid in the hood who needs guidance. 
The kid is the adult Chiron (Ashton Sanders), but before that he’s Little ( Alex Hibbert) – a wide-eyed little boy who just seeks escape. When he hides out in a room, Juan finds him and takes him home. His wife, Teresa (Janelle Monae – yes, she can sing and act) feeds the kid and doesn’t ask too many questions.  Little aka Chiron ultimately always seeks Juan and Teresa out as his rock. He can count on them to feed him, shelter him, and not question.

His mother, Paula, played by a heartbreaking Naomie Harris, is a druggie. Oh, she cares for her son but the drugs and that life suck her in. Meanwhile, Chiron is a sensitive kid who’s gay but just won’t acknowledge it. There’s an underlying need for love but he shoves that aside with a tough guy attitude.

Moonlight operates on many levels and it’s really well acted and touching. It might not have themes that everyone cares about, but ultimately it is about love and family and friendship and who you can count on………..that means a lot in this day and age.  I truly hope it sees some Oscar nominations.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Why I Work

My boss sent this picture - this was the view from his room as he ate breakfast with his new wife.
He said he was the happiest he's ever been

Hey, I'm glad for the man

Guess this is why I work

Happy Wednesday, everyone

Monday, December 19, 2016

Movie Review Madness - Edge of Seventeen

Edge of Seventeen is such a reminder of the old 1980s John Hughes movies – edgy teens with “real” scenarios and great soundtracks. Now it’s updated for 2016. For me, a bit too much of the “F” word, but otherwise, this movie is on target and so true and totally made me laugh (and cry on the inside) at the same time.   I felt for Nadine (a brilliant Hailee Steinfeld) – she’s an insecure high schooler who’s pretty but doesn’t know it. She’s not comfortable in her skin and lets her motor mouth run her façade.  She’s smart, well read, and nerdy (and that’s okay but she doesn’t know it).  She resents her mother (Kyra Sedgewick – who can play attractive but trying too hard and acting too young). She “hates” her brother Darian ( a very solid Blake Jenner) who’s the star football god at high school. She counts on her bestie, Krista ( Haley Lu Richardson) who cheats on her with her brother – yep, Krista is moving on.  And then there’s the smitten young man (Hayden Szeto) that Nadine takes for granted and oh, he’s so right for her.

Seventeen??  Yep, tough age.  And this movie captures all of the horror, the good, the anxiety, and more.

Gotta love Woody Harrelson who’s the English teacher that Nadine counts on. She’s always barging in on his lunch break and assumes he really has no life.  Ultimately when the chips are down and she counts on this teacher, he goes the extra mile. He has a wife and a baby and Nadine witnesses that her teacher is a real person.  Oh, she has so much to learn.

Edge of Seventeen is excellent.  It truly captures that age of uncertainty and potential.  I am fifty-eight and could feel seventeen again – that inner heartache and worry.  You’ll laugh and inner swoon. Huge thumbs up to a superb little film with a big heart.   Go see it

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Silly Sunday

Ray has a Maker's Mark membership. It's all in good fun and they send him a holiday treat each year. I've featured some of the silliness before - a scarf, earmuffs, and a sweater - all adorn the bottles.
Well this year they get their own mistletoe.

It's a week until Christmas. Go be merry and bright....and chuckle!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Movie Review Madness - Arrival

Arrival is sorta science fiction but in a good way (in my opinion). It’s more about human emotions and is a thinking type movie. Let’s just say I came out saying, “Wow, hmm.”.  My husband came out saying, “Hmm, what just happened? Oh, okay, I get it now.” He was a tad confused but then okay with the movie. I liked it more than him, that’s for sure. I won’t give away the punchline, but there is a timing question to the movie, a certain sequence and order.  Keep that in mind and you’ll enjoy it more.

Twelve alien objects arrive – they hover close to the ground and do not appear to be threatening. BUT…what do they want?  Linguist Louise Banks (played by the superb Amy Adams) is called upon to try to “talk” to these aliens. Do they have a language?  What are they seeking? Jeremy Renner plays her partner, a physicist, and Forest Whitaker is the military colonel in charge of the operation. Each approach the “problem” with a different viewpoint, and that’s what makes the movie interesting and very viable to today.

Approach in peace?  Or assume the worst and prepare for war?  That’s the dilemma for today’s world.  Naturally Amy’s character has the right touch. She gets out of her space suit and communicates hands on with the beings – inkblot looking creatures.  Are they advanced or primitive?  I won’t give away more but this movie is excellent on so many levels. In this day of instant reaction and eagerness to battle, Arrival asks for patience –a  worthy trait to consider.

Communication is key…..don’t be hasty.  Oh, if only the world would listen and appreciate this story.  Go see it and ponder life, time, and what would you do “if”……

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Book Review - The Trespasser by Tana French

Tana French knows how to engage her reader. She just writes like blokes in Dublin would talk at a police station. You feel you are in on the interrogations and confessions. And you are hearing the internal dialogue of Antoinette Conway. She’s a detective on Murder Squad, her dream job. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is awesome and they are a team. BUT. The rest of the working crew are giving her the “shite” jobs and harassing her. Oh, it’s subtle, but it’s wearing her psyche and maybe she’s ready to break.

The Trespasser is the latest book in a series of excellent crime fiction. I discovered French with In the Woods and have followed her ever since.  So, the new case looks like a lover’s quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her pretty living room. There’s nothing unusual about her – except that Antoinette has seen her somewhere before. (cover blurb)
Looks easy, but this case turns messy with a lot of twists and turns. Other detectives are pushing for a quick solve, but why? And of course, there’s more to the victim than what is seen on the surface.

Conway is feeling paranoid, fights with her partner, and is ready to quit.  But you will root for her to see this through. You want her to get resolution with Stephen – he’s a good guy. And poor Aislinn deserves to be buried with dignity. We need to know who killed her and why.  Tana French will throw you some red herrings and clues. Stick with her to the end and you’ll say – whoa! I knew it wasn’t easy but Conway pulled it together. (that’s the only bone I’ll throw you)  Check it out and solve this crime.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Movie Madness - Allied

Allied is a very old fashioned movie and that’s a good thing.  It’s a war movie/ love story/ mystery/ thriller. The characters are beautiful – hot, smoldering with simmering emotions. The times are fraught with danger. The backdrop is slinky hot and classy. Everything builds slowly and you have to watch and invest your time and emotions.

It’s 1942 North Africa. Who emerges in the desert but Brad Pitt as Max Vatan.  He’s driven into Casablanca with a new identity and a shiny wedding band. Shades of the movie Casablanca, he walks into a bar dressed to the nines and meets his new “wife” Marianne Beausejour (played by the stunning Marion Cottillard) . They are matched for a mission and oh the sparks slowly fly. This is  a movie with repartee, slow burning glances, and hot steamy nights.  They do manage to blow up some Nazis (no I’m not giving away the movie), and then high tail it back to London.

Are they in love?  Do they marry?  Is she a German spy?
Oops – well, are two out of three okay?

This movie kept me guessing until the end and I won’t give it away.   I enjoyed the buildup and anticipation a lot. Despite being a war movie, this is not a big bang ‘em up showy mess. Instead it’s a slow burn and Brad and Marion are a worthy pair.  Give yourself some time in a day and enjoy Allied

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Where's Ray?

 Where's Ray?  Well, he's in San Saba at his deer lease.  And he's happy with his early $20 Christmas present.  Oh, the man is easy.  He asked for camo sheets..... not to sleep on. He wanted cheap ones to hang in his deer blind for backdrop
It works. Guess the deer can't see him. I must admit, he blends in pretty well.  If he's having fun, more power to my hubby.  Love you dear as you avoid the deer.............

I'm glad I'm home watching Netflix.........who's with me??

Friday, December 9, 2016

Book Review - Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins

Poet Laureate Billy Collins writes accessible poetry. It's subtle and real and human. I love his writing and his work seems so easy and off the cuff. I know it's not and I'm sure he agonized over every line. However, his words flow and just tell a story of normal life. Or his everyday observations could have been mine, except way better.

(back cover blurb) Possessed of a unique voice that is at once plain and melodic, Billy Collins has managed to enrich American poetry. 

Here's one stanza from "Madmen"
They say you can jinx a poem
if you talk about it before it is done
If you let it out too early, they warn, 
your poem will fly away
and this time they are absolutely right

Or from "Snow Day"
Today we woke up to a revolution of snow,
its white flag waving over everything
the landscape vanished
not a single mouse to punctuate the blankness,
and beyond these windows

He epitomizes the word sublime.....

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Monet: The Early Years

Monet : The Early Years is a splendid new exhibit at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. It runs through January 29, 2017 and is worth a trip. I shall probably go see it again, as there’s much to see and enjoy.  Over sixty paintings cover Claude Monet from his debut in 1858 until his move to Argenteuil on the River Seine in 1872. He showed genius from the beginning and his early career (all in his 20s) assured him of a place in the art world. He transformed influences and challenged his fellow painters – Manet, Pissarro, Renoir, and Sisley – along the way.

The above picture On the Bank of the Seine illustrates his skills. Water, sky, clouds – he became a master impressionist.  You will be astounded at his skills at such an early age. And he stayed a student of art through his whole life. He studied light – one picture with reflections in water just glistens. Gossamer clouds in the sky. Fleeting pinks and purples enhance a delicate palette.  He often returned to places over seasons and captured the different aspects of nature. His time in Holland proved enlightening and you can see the difference in the colors and how he interpreted life there.

I highly recommend a trip to the Kimbell.   Monet: The Early Years is a feast for the eyes and the soul.  (and then I recommend lunch at the museum café – tres bien!)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Movie Review Madness - Fantastic Beasts

Well, I found ‘em.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is in theaters now and it’s worth seeing on the big screen. J.K. Rowling is back with a prequel, so to speak, to Harry Potter world. Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander shows up in 1926 New York City from London with a rather magical bag. He’s a magizoologist and thus the adventure begins. The wizard world vs the Muggles in the UK or the No-maji (as known in the US) is in flux and more trouble is not needed. But his encounters with a “normal” guy played by a funny Dan Fogler involves switched bags, an escaped creature or two, a hatching egg, some lovely sisters, and more.

Eddie, with his mop of hair, dusting of freckles, and wistful smile, is perfect as the shy magizoologist who’s trying to save creatures and keep the magic alive. He wants no trouble. But Colin Farrell and his gang are seeking “troublemakers” and a host of explosions and destruction in NYC is causing an uprising. The theme of who’s “different” and how to get along is subtle. Fogler falls for one of the sisters and Katherine Waterston works with Newt to corral his creatures, erase Dan’s mind, and make peace.  I won’t give away the surprise at the end as far as the serious trouble and evil spirit. It’s all cleverly done.

This is a big movie with lots of special effects and a worthy lead up to Potter World backstory. I would have edited the movie a bit – it ran a tad long. However I was entranced and intrigued by the premise. Rowling knows how to fill in characters and create a world. I liked Eddie a lot. So if you are looking to escape with a big tub of popcorn, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is worth seeking at your nearest Cineplex.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Frosty Friday

Finally a frosty Friday in Texas.   I like that sheen across the fields as I drive to work.

Been a super busy week at Omega. I know I promised reviews, but I have not sat down to write them. I come home from work at night and watch Netflix.  What can I say?

But I have been trying to keep the glow of Thanksgiving alive (being grateful, giving thanks, and appreciating all).  So as the Christmas season heats up, let's continue some of the courtesies we need.

Smile more, talk less (love that line from Hamilton)

Use patience in lines as new clerks try to use the register.

Caution on the roads and in parking lots.  Yes, that person is nuts - just let them get out of your way.

And deep breaths - no it can't all get done in a day. Scale back expectations. Stop for a hot cocoa
and be of good cheer!  

Happy Friday and weekend. Hope you like my Christmas tablescape.