Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Wordless Wednesday Wow

Pictures are courtesy of my sister.  My dad is having a bumper crop of rhododendron.

(I have some movies to review and books. However, I've been floating in the pool a lot. Tough to write when swimming.)

Happy Wednesday. Almost June!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day 2018

Memorial Day.   Remember and honor

War with its million horrors - Percy Bysshe Shelley

There never was a good war or a bad peace - Ben Franklin

Peace hath higher tests of manhood
    Than battle ever knew  -  John Greeleaf Whittier

Friday, May 25, 2018

Friday Filler Fun

Last Saturday we attended the birthday party for Skylar who turned 3 early May, and Dakota's birthday is today - age 1.

Life is good when you are wearing a birthday princess dress.

Happy Birthday!

And now happy start to Memorial Weekend - use your sunscreen, everybody.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Wednesday Wow

While I enjoyed a weekend of art museums and local theater, Ray was tramping the countryside in San Saba.  He enjoyed a visit to his aunts, did not see snakes, and took some artsy pics there.

For a brief period, the cactus are in bloom - wow!  Bursts of color

And after an all day rain on Friday, his Saturday dawned clear. Ray looked up while walking and was struck by the sky, the tree, and the composition. I am dang proud of him.  Thanks, Ray for sharing.

That's our Wednesday wow........

Monday, May 21, 2018

Book Review - Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng is just brilliant writing that sweeps you into a family saga. I was captivated by this story – curious, caring, and interested.

Cover blurb – “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” What an opener of a tale about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But that’s a lot of pressure.  When her body is found in the local lake (not a spoiler), the delicate balance act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.

Hannah, the second daughter, plays second string. But now she has to deal with the shadow of Lydia. What happened? And she’s her own person who misses her sister, cares about her parents, worries about her parents, and tries to make up for the huge missing link that is Lydia.  Nathan, the son, also has to grasp the gravity of Lydia dead. It’s all surreal.

Parents, Marilyn and Lee, both worked hard to overcome a “mixed” marriage.  Dealing with prejudice can take its toll too.  This book has so many layers of issues, but it does not beat you over the head as you read it. You just flat out care – you care about the parents and where they are coming from. You care about the pressures on youth these days. And there’s a sadness too. Celeste Ng captures a family in chaos and pulls the past and present together with her story. Everything I Never Told You will grab your gut and not let go.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Local Theater - Lone Star Love Potion

Support your local theater.  I enjoyed a cheap Saturday night ($22) at Onstage Bedford. The group did Lone Star Love Potion - an adult farce.  It was corny, slapsticky farce and yet had enough twists and turns to keep me interested.  The actors worked hard and gave it their all. The small theater was sold out and I was five minutes from home.  What's not to like?

Who was scheming over whom?  Who was jumping into bed with whom? Property, a potion, a will...oh, there's trouble over land, and you can bet that multiple parties are involved.  The heiress, the butler, the neighbor, and the lawyer....all might have a hand in the game.

This was silly,  amusing fun. And I was out past 10 pm on a Saturday night......big time!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Movie Review - Tully

Tully is part of a trifecta and is not for everyone. I personally love director Jason Reitman, writer Diablo Cody, and actor Charlize Theron.  I loved Juno, Young Adult, and now Tully proved trickier but good. Had to think, not for everyone, seriously – not for everyone, and yet well done. A couple  behind me  - the woman kept saying “ I don’t like dark movies. This is dark. It’s depressing. I don’t like this.”
I wanted to turn and say – Crap, lady – just leave!!!!  But no, I contained myself and she shut up for most of it.  Yes, you had to THINK!!!!

Charlize plays Marlo – pregnant in her 40s with two kids.  One – Jonah – is a challenge – definitely on the autism spectrum and being kicked out of his school as “quirky” in kindergarten. Not good. Husband (the ever patient and solid Ron Livingston) is working hard and giving it his best but is still clueless.  His brother (Mark Duplass) is highly successful and  he and his wife just have it all. Marlo and crew are scraping by.

So we watch her waddle, give birth, and then try to be the perfect mom for all. Can she make the cupcakes?  Can she help Jonah? Is she setting a good example for her daughter? Tough call.  The brother has offered to pay for a night nurse – a woman who will come in, help, and allow Margo to sleep, pull herself together, and be what she needs to be for the family.  Too good to be true?  Mackenzie Davis is Tully – a free spirit young lady with lots of New Age wisdom. We watch Margo relax, seemingly get her crap together, and become the mother she needs to be.

But there’s so much more to this journey.  Motherhood is hard.  Motherhood in the 40s is harder.  This movie has weird twists and turns…….you have to go with it to complete the full creation.   Like I said, it’s odd and yet it works.  Charlize Theron is just beyond fantastic – she can play dumpy and feeling awful, and then be luminescent and real and beautiful. If you see this, you will root for her.
But it’s a tough one!   Enjoy??

Monday, May 14, 2018

Movie Review Madness - Avengers-Infinity War

Who’s not in Avengers: Infinity War?  Ant-Man who has a movie this summer with Wasp (Paul Rudd), the Arrow dude (Jeremy Renner), and maybe someone else I can’t think of as I am not a fanatic.  Otherwise, the whole gang is around to battle Thanos (Josh Brolin) who’s huge and just wants to have all the power and kill half of humanity. No other reason that I could fathom, but what the heck. He was busy gathering Infinity stones from various planets and sacred keepers.  The stones represent Power, Soul, Time, Reality, Mind, and Space.  So it’s up to our favorite super heroes to try to work together, avoid death, and save the planet. Just another day.

This movie is filled with non-stop action, battles, quick quips, power struggles, team work, and off the cuff maneuvers. It’s fun and trippy and keeps the sagas moving along.  Loki (Tom Hiddleston) vs. Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Thor with Star Lord (Chris Pratt), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) and Spider Man (Tom Holland), Black Panther and Captain America and Black Widow and….the story circles between different planets and Wakanda and the USA as different stages occur in the fight. Dr.Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is holding onto the Time Stone – you think he’s in danger?  And Vision with the Mind Stone embedded in his head. The Scarlett Witch does her best to keep him safe.  If you have not watched any of the Marvel movies, then you will be lost. If you are up on the saga, then this movie will blow your mind. And poor Mark Ruffalo keeps trying to summon the Hulk, but the big guy isn’t angry enough. How can that be?

Fun, fast paced kick butt blockbuster – Avengers: Infinity War ramps up the summer movie season.  And yes, stay for that after the credits Marvel teaser….whoa!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Friday Flashback

 some seriously random moments for a Friday

First swan at Clark Gardens in Weatherford PA
 second - shall we jump, dive, or just back away?
 Dad, when he was upright and mobile - with me and Lori. It wasn't that long ago, and yet it seems light years.  He was SO good at 80.  Now approaching 87 and it's a tough hobble.
 Me  - back when I was an author with fresh production. Writing?  Now?  What's that?
Maybe, a muse will hit again
and finish with spring hope...... hope you folks are all well on a Friday

Just carry on!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Book Review - The Gunners

The Gunners by Rebecca Kauffman is a winner.  Finally I can give a thumbs up review.  I was hooked from the beginning.  Mikey Callahan is a very sympathetic character. At thirty years old, he’s the only one of the old gang to stay in the same town. His vision is degenerating and he really has no life – he works, he lives, he has a cat. But he learns a childhood friend, Sally, committed suicide. Dang. This is a blow. Slowly we learn that the strong friendship as kids deteriorated and Sally left the group in high school. No one knew why.  Now, as everyone comes back into town for the funeral, the group gathers and stories come out.  The Gunners was the name given to their private clubhouse group.

Cover blurb – Mikey especially needs to confront dark secrets about his own past and his father. How much of this darkness accounts for the emotional  stupor Mikey is suffering from as he reaches his maturity. And can the Gunners, prompted by Sally’s death, find their way to a new day? The core of this adventure, made by Mikey, Alice, Lynn, Jimmy, and Sam, becomes a search for the core of truth, friendship, and forgiveness.

I liked all of the characters and could feel their pain and concern, and their need to find the truth.  Sally, in death, is also a hovering ghost that you, the reader, will care about.

Kauffman is a solid writer who writes deep characters and a  solid plot that keeps moving and keeps you guessing. The layers of life in The Gunners are deep and worth exploring.  Excellent read. I am delighted to give a solid thumbs up.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Monday Moment - Sheer Energy - future

 Monday Moment fun.  My book reviews last week were far too serious.  Time for some goofy.
How's this - Dakota will turn 1 end of May.  She's exerting personality.  Third girl in the family. Oh, is she learning from those big sisters?  Yikes
Two birthday girls.  Skylar turned 3 on 5/2. She's a stinker.  And then Dakota is right there in the middle of trouble.   Big sis Makyla isn't pictured here.

Lots of energy in that household.  Hope I made you smile on a Monday.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Book review - Atlas Grace

As much as I was enamored by The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, I was a bit beat down by Alias Grace.  I can't fault the writing. Ms.Atwood has a tremendous way with words and a rich style. Perhaps it was the characters. I was interested in Grace and her story, but bogged down by the doctor who was interviewing her. The book seemed to drag on and I found myself skimming. Yet, I did want to know what happened to Grace.

She was convicted for her involvement in vicious murders of her employer. Was she a misguided innocent, caught up by the older co-worker? Or was she a scheming cold blooded killer? She did not seem to remember a thing from the murders. Now Dr. Simon Jordan, an expert in the new field of mental illness, has been hired to explore her mental condition and seek a pardon. In the back and forth of the circumstances leading up to the murders, Atwood builds quite a foundation of hardship for an orphan girl in Gilead.

I also tried to watch the series based on Alias Grace and was not pulled into the show either. So, perhaps this was just not my cup of tea all around.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Book Review - The Rocks

The Rocks by Peter Nichols was annoying.  The premise was good, but the execution was very disjointed and disconcerting.

From the cover blurb -  What mysterious catastrophic event drove honeymooners Gerald and Lulu apart so suddenly and absolutely in 1948 that they never spoke again despite living on the same island?

Let’s just say, she is really annoying.  Gerald – I liked.  His kid is good and his intentions are fine. Lulu and her son, Luc……….really annoying. I kept reading, waiting for a redeeming moment……..and it never came. The back story – eh.  The front story – eh.  I bought this book on a half-price sale table and can’t say it was worthwhile.  I hate to give up on a book……….

No, don’t get this from the library or buy it half price

Just stupid