Monday, December 31, 2018

New Year Ahead

Let's slide into 2019 like this wee one (Dakota on Christmas morning). Smile on our faces, twinkle in the eye, not a care in the world.

(It's a nice idea and a good thought. Just don't look at that stock portfolio or open those Christmas bills or read the news or......)

What the heck....let's slide down head first...I dare you!

Happy New Year, my friends. We shall share the adventure together.  Cheers!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Friday Filler

 Yes, I'm killing time during Christmas week.  I'm actually working quite hard. Omega is a test lab and folks who didn't get their testing done this year ship everything and need it done fast.  C'mon folks - it's called "planning".  Sigh. Nothing has changed in over ten years. Nothing ever will.

Meanwhile - for those seeking amusement....
 Ray was ready for his company luncheon.....not an ugly sweater winner, but still.....
such an elf!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Clean Up on Aisle Bedford

It's filler week  for Christmas season.  Hope everyone enjoyed their Tuesday with family, friends, and good cheer. I'm back to work - no rest for Omega Research.

Ray and I cleaned up our act on December 15th and went to his company Christmas party. It takes a lot for me to put on pantyhose and big girl shoes - no crazy heels, but "dressy".

Not too shabby.
We had a very nice time in Dallas and stayed overnight at the Renaissance Hotel.  Quite a treat.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Peace on Earth

 All is calm. 
All is bright

Our backyard is the place to be for Christmas lights and spirit.  (Thanks, Ray. He's been my elf this year)

Christmas  - I wish everyone  health, laughter, and good cheer.

Peace on Earth   (we have to keep hoping)

Friday, December 21, 2018

Friday Filler - McPhee

Read a blurb that struck me and I'll share in a Friday Filler

 John McPhee, an accomplished writer in his 80s just published his 30th book. Time Magazine did an interview article with him (issue December 17, 2018) that I found quite interesting and amusing. He's modest and not one for public relation pushes.

"A writer grows on the volume of what the writer writes. People standing around, over drinks, talking about writing, isn't writing. Writing is where you go off on your own, close the door, and fight it out with the blank screen or paper. That's the number 1 teacher."

When he teaches, he requires students to submit an outline on everything.  "Sooner or later, you have to have a sense of structure, or all you've got is a bowl of spaghetti."

Food for thought, all my writer friends.

Cheers and TGIF!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Movie Review Madness - Green Book

Green Book is inspired by the true story of Dr. Don Shirley, a virtuoso pianist.  In 1962, he lived above Carnegie Hall and was applauded in the Northeast and worldwide. He chooses with his record label to tour the south – a tough gig for a black man at that time.  Dr. Shirley (played by the classy consummate actor Mahershala Ali) hires a driver/bouncer to help him on his tour. Tony Lip (the absolutely incomparable Viggo Mortensen) comes highly recommended. He’s an Italian-American born and raised in the Bronx. He’s not classy, but he knows people and situations. However,  this tour proves to be an eye-opener and challenge…for both men.

This movie doesn’t preach, but oh it shows that black, white, educated, street smart, Italian, married, bi-sexual, artistic, tough – etc…are words. At the core, man is human and these two men from very opposite upbringings find a common ground and appreciation for each other. The dialogue is sharp, the directing is tight, and the acting  is Oscar worthy.  This was a really excellent movie. Both Ray and I laughed out loud at scenes. Ultimately, it just pulled together nicely for Christmas dinner.

I highly recommend Green Book and could easily see it again.  And I shall mention Linda Cardellini as Viggo’s wife. She’s always been a solid actress and this role, while in the background, is important as a grounding point for an  electric duo.  So many good scenes and moments.  Treat yourself at Christmas to a really nice cinema experience.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Let There Be Cake

My mother-in-law, Joyce Faries, turns 80 on December 21st this year.  Well, she's always stuck with the combo Christmas/Birthday celebration.  So this special year, we decided to throw her a party that's all about her - lunch on Saturday at Miguelitos (Tex-Mex food). 

Nacho  appetizers, enchilada combo plate, and then we cut into this cake. You could have a margarita if you wish.

Hopefully as I write this on Friday, thirty people show up tomorrow for the festivities. We've been sweating out various senior health issues - turning 80 ain't for sissies, as Bette Davis said.

Here's to all you December kids who's birthday gets smushed with Christmas - you deserve a cake that's not red and green decorations.


Friday, December 14, 2018

Sometimes the person you admire most recognizes something unusual in you and draws it out, opening a door to a bigger, electrifying world. (cover blurb)

Meg Wolitzer’s The Female Persuasion is a decent read with interesting characters.  Greer is a college freshman who meets Faith Frank – an inspirational speaker involved in the women’s movement. Greer’s trying to find herself and seeks a purpose of some sort. With a job opportunity offered, questions of power arise, friendships change, and a childhood love story evolves. Doors open and close, ambition rules, and ego and loyalty come into question.

Life changes so much during college age and post college years. People guide and people follow. Some folks make a huge impact on one’s life. The Female Persuasion acknowledges the flame we all want to believe is flickering inside of us, waiting to be seen and fanned by the right person at the right time. (cover blurb)

At times Greer can be a tad whiny, but the book offers up a lot of good dialogue and insight into girls and women.  P. 373 You don’t always have to feel the compulsion to keep striving toward something for the sake of striving. There are no grades anymore, Greer. Sometimes I think you forget that. You just have to do what you want to do. Forget about how it looks. Think about what it is.
That line struck me. I still keep anticipating a grade and too often I’m not willing to commit to something that IS something.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Wednesday Whimsy

countdown to Christmas with some Wednesday whimsy.

 I hit the L.D. Bell High School craft fair last weekend. Some folks are so clever - plenty of Christmas-palooza wreaths, ornaments, snowmen, Santas, and reindeer. I wandered the halls, and then this little fellow called out to me. Hand sewn and so cute. He's normally hanging out in my kitchen now, but I decided a poolside pic was in order.

Hope you are taking breaks in December for some silly fun. Happy Wednesday!

Monday, December 10, 2018

A Parashot on a Monday

No Hidden Meaning (Just Snow)

Eastern Pennsylvania morphs from crimson and golds to stark
Bare branches scrape gray skies 
Wreaths in ribbon red adorn front doors
Rooms decked in evergreen crackle with lit fireplaces and children’s laughter
Plenty of merry, merry greetings and mistletoe kisses signal the season
Careful cookies and milk preparation, then footie-pajama kids tucked into bed
Awakened by the glistening reflective gleam, eye squinting, purest white Christmas

(a writer friend introduced our group to "parashots" - not a poem, not a paragraph, more of a short screenshot of a scene.  Many of the examples she gave were autobiographical.  I was thinking about  waking up as a kid (especially on Christmas morning) and KNOWING it snowed. Before you hopped out of bed, the light shining through curtains was blindingly the gleam of a million halos or something otherworldly)

Friday, December 7, 2018

Book Review - Transcription by Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson is one of my favorite authors. I voted Life After Life a winner a few years ago.  Now with Transcription she’s created a work of rare depth and texture, a bravura modern novel of extraordinary power, wit, and empathy. (cover blurb)

Back and forth between 1940 and 1950, we follow Juliet Armstrong – eighteen years old and recruited into espionage by a department of MI5. She’s typing transcriptions (secretly) in a house where folks with Nazi and fascist leanings come to report and plan for an overthrow. Her work is tedious and terrifying.  Flash forward to 1950 and Julia is a radio producer for the BBC. However, her time spent with MI5 is coming back to haunt her. She’s under threat, running into past “spies”, and questioning her past.

P.271  A small shift in the air. The faintest rustle – a bird settling in a nest. Breathing. A sigh. She could just make out the silhouette of someone sitting at the table.
Stealthily, Juliet retrieved the Mauser from her bag and advanced cautiously. It seemed impossible. And yet.
The person who had the greatest claim on her soul. A sudden terror made her heart spasm.

Twists and turns. Tight writing. Rich characters. Kate Atkinson draws you in, turns you around, and has you looking over your shoulder. Transcription is a jolly good read!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Wednesday Whimsy

Flashback pics for amusement.

  It's December. Are you starting to have Christmas countdown panic?

Just chill like my friend the flamingo

Monday, December 3, 2018

Book Review - Unsheltered

Barbara Kingsolver is a genius writer. Her latest Unsheltered covers two eras and her transitional story line is clean and sublime. Willa Knox and her husband can barely stay above water. He teaches a college course way below his level. She is a writer who can’t seem to get employment. Their house is crumbling. They are trying to keep his elderly father alive. Their son’s wife died and now they are raising a newborn grandson. It all sounds crazy, but that is life for so many these days. All under one roof – folks are just trying to survive, let alone think about retirement, savings, and a future. It’s strictly try to breathe – keep all balls in the air and survive…that’s the goal.

Meanwhile, Willa researches the home and hopes for a grant – maybe someone famous lived in this home. Turns out a neighbor, Mary Treat, was a scientist. Darn she did not live in this house. BUT, Thatcher Greenwood, a teacher who supported Darwin’s theories did. And he was key in an important trial. Maybe the family can get a grant exemption and help pay for repairs before the house falls down.

Kingsolver moves easily between both story lines – the past and the present and how they intersect. The characters are interesting. Her writing is lovely, and she makes one think about life…past and present. How do folks survive with multiple generations under one roof? Unsheltered is a searing commentary on life today by an author who knows her stuff and writes with authority. Kudos.