Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Wordless Wednesday - Happy Halloween Edition

Happy Halloween from the past.  Abby, Talon, and a messy Makyla. Eat that chocolate, wrapper and all.

Have a safe and fun spooktacular good time

Monday, October 28, 2019

Monday Moment - Halloween Spooktacular

The Monday moment is courtesy of Saturday's trip to the Fort Worth Symphony. The Halloween Spooktacular brought out creatures of all ages. Kids dressed in costumes - plenty of princesses, super heroes, and witches. The orchestra played tunes from Harry Potter, Star Wars, and the theme from Jurassic Park brought out this dino to roam the aisles. Fun!

The "Witch's Ride" from Hansel and Gretel was a good tune. Many folks in the orchestra also wore costumes. The best was the man in a shark outfit playing the bass.

Support your local symphony and enjoy a safe walk In a Haunted Forest from Suite No. 1, Op  42. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Rainbow Somewhere

Picture courtesy of Ray while in Colorado. He's back now.

Tornadoes cut quite a swath through the Dallas area - ten touched down officially. Devastation everywhere and now a rainy Friday. That doesn't help clean up.

Fires rage in California.

And just reading the news (yes, we get a newspaper, and yes I support the press)...plenty of troubles in this world.

There's got to be a rainbow somewhere.

Take care everyone.  Share a smile today. Help a neighbor. Be kind.

Easy to write. Harder to execute, but be a rainbow and shine.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Book Review - Before You Know Kindness

Cover blurb - On a balmy July night in New Hampshire a shot rings out in a garden, and a man falls to the ground, terribly wounded. The wounded man is Spencer McCullough. The shot that hit him was fired - accidentally? - by his adolescent daughter Charlotte. With this shattering moment of violence, Chris Bohjalian launches the best kind of literate page turner: suspenseful, wryly funny, and humane. 

Before You Know Kindness is an interesting read with a lot of family dynamics, underlying turmoil, and a key question. Was the shooting an accident or not?  What really happened?  Charlotte and her cousin Willow spent summers at their grandmother's home. Privilege, money, spoiled youth. Not everything is as it seems.  Nor is the marriage of Spencer and Catherine what it seems on the outside. True of so many marriages, there's underlying strife and disconnect.

Catherine's brother, John, is a lawyer and not the biggest fan of Spencer. But it's family and it's small town and that's a big deal.

I can't say I was a fan of Spencer or necessarily many of the characters. The plot was interesting and I wanted to find out what happened, but I was able to put the book down. I felt it moved a tad slow. I read the book this summer and it was a good pool read in between dunks. And, as always, a gun laying around - is it loaded for trouble?  Hmmm......

Monday, October 21, 2019

Monday Moments at the Amon Carter

 Two weekends ago, Ray and I enjoyed visiting the newly renovated Amon Carter Museum of Art. It features American art and has a huge photography collection. It's a lovely little museum and the new design opens the galleries a bit. The collections are curated by themes. We spent about an hour wandering and revisiting "old friends" in new places.  I do like this new sculpture that hangs in the atrium.
 This Richard Wright quote is at the beginning of the exhibit for Gordon Parks photography - A New Tide. Mr. Parks did significant work taking pictures in Harlem in the 1940s and 1950s - documenting life there - poverty, etc.  He was also the first black photographer to do cover shots for Vogue magazine. His body of work is impressive and he was a man with a vision and a mission. A true trailblazer in his time.
And finally - Camille Utterback - Art That Moves.  This was SO cool. Her work is projected on the wall with other surrounding projectors. As you walk through a certain area the art moves - you wave your arms and a design appears. She was trained as a painter, but moved into programming.  The mix of digital and art is fluid and captivating.

The Amon Carter has stayed current with its classic collection and its continued interest in new thinking. It's just one of the small gems in the Fort Worth TX Cultural District.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Book Review - The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy

The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy was written in 1972 and it’s a timely read. My book club suggested it and the late Pat Conroy never disappointed. His humor and smooth talking Southern voice drawls from the pages as you turn them. He’s a sharp writer and deft with descriptions and the human narrative. I dare you to read this book and not be touched by his true story.

Cover blurb: The island is nearly deserted, haunting, beautiful. Across a slip of ocean lies South Carolina. But for the handful of families on Yamacraw Island, America is a world away.

Currently, their school has no teacher and looks to the mainland for “volunteers” to give a year of life to live on the island and try to teach these “heathen black kids”. Pat Conroy chooses his calling and climbs aboard the small boat that ferries him to the island. Here’s this white man who’s consciously moved from southern prejudice to teach black kids the ABCs. He’s appalled at what they don’t know. He’s appalled that the members of the school board have given up on these kids. He’s especially appalled at the one black woman who looks down her nose the most at these poor youth.

Oh, it’s a struggle and you will laugh out loud at how he describes some situations. He’s dealing with a lot of traditions, a lot of fears, and he learns quickly who he needs to get on his side (an elder grandmother holds the key). With some acceptance, he can arrange a field trip to the mainland for the kids to experience Halloween. This is a whole new world and requires shoes for some kids.
The poverty is immense. The lack of proper learning is a huge gap. The Water is Wide indeed. But by the end of the book, it looks like Pat Conroy has learned the most, and  gained the respect and touched the lives of kids. Neither party will ever be the same. It’s quite an eye opening education and book to read.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Book Review - A Gentleman's Murder by Christopher Huang

A Gentleman’s Murder by Christopher Huang is an old school mystery set in 1924.  Think wafts of Christie, Chandler, Ellery Queen.  Classy setting in the Britannia Club, but poor Benson’s found dead after a bet. Everyone in the club could be guilty – all are connected fresh from WWI battles and Flanders Field. Many healed at the Sotheby Estate/ war hospital. Some frequented the dens of Limehouse (morphine addiction – not uncommon).

Lieutenant Eric Peterkin (of the Peterkin nobility) has his work cut out for him – his esteemed father and forebears set standards for the club. However, his father did marry a Chinese woman and Eric’s Asian features cannot be disguised. He’s a club member due to history, but his brash youth could be his downfall. He’s an editor of mystery books for a publishing house and can name every plot twist possible. But…there are a lot of unexplained twists and turns to this tale. How is Benson connected to Emily Ang? What of Mrs. Benson – Asian descent? Former nurse at the hospital? Who was last seen with Emily and was it her body found in Bruten Woods? Who took a shot at Eric while he walked home from the club with Mortimer Wolfe? What’s the scoop on the policeman – Patchett?

Huang slowly spools out clues and the nice thing about 1924 – no cell phones, no instant photos. Eric has to do old fashioned foot work, get papers from the library, and actually call on the genteel members at proper visiting hours. There is a certain decorum to these things, after all. A Gentleman’s Murder is a delight to read curled up in a cozy chair with a spot of tea. Hopefully, the fog swirls outside your window, and then finally lifts to reveal the finale. Cheers!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Monday Moments

 Sunday was spectacular at the Dallas Arboretum. Perfect blue October skies, crispness in the air, and pumpkins. Glorious amounts of orange abounded.  Linda considered getting garden advice from Lucy.
 Linda T. and I enjoyed it all
 Plenty of crowds but everyone behaved in the Peanuts pumpkin patch
Lovely sculptures tucked among colors and pumpkins

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Book Review - Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

It's been awhile since I've done a book review. I've got a stack of books, but too lazy to write down my thoughts. Here's one from the summer that proved to be a good poolside read.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton begins with a family picnic on a farm in the English countryside.  Laurel, age sixteen, witnesses a crime of murder and cover up and her mother, Dorothy, is the killer. Now, fifty years later, it's Dorothy's 90th birthday and Laurel and her sisters are gathering to celebrate.

Still curious as to what occurred that awful day in the past, Laurel searches for answers.

Back blurb - Clue by clue, she traces a secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds thrown together in war torn London (circa 1940s) - Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy - whose lives are forever after entwined.  A gripping story of deception and passion, The Secret Keeper will you enthralled until the last page. 

Indeed, this is a jolly good read and Morton keeps you turning pages. The clues were not obvious as the why? and the backdrop of WWII is always a heart breaker. Deep secrets and intriguing mystery - worth checking out.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Wednesday - Birthday Week, The State Fair, and Fall

Birthday Tuesday October 8th. Yep - getting older.  But wiser. I knew I didn't want to go to work. Neither did Ray on J Day.  So we put in for vacation and headed to the Great State Fair of Texas. 

Go big or go home - that's the TX motto and I love this fair. It's truly bigger, bolder, better, badder, than any one on the planet.   We started with the very cool chainsaw carver. The man is amazing with a design in 30 minutes.

Then there are art sculptures, a fake Big Tex (and little me), an exhibit at the Hall of State about Texas Cinema - yes, we had to pose with ol' Hank Hill.

Throw in a bird show, creative arts building, auto show, huge Ferris Wheel, Fletcher's Corny Dogs, Dairy/Ag building, music, stunt bike/skateboard/scooter show, and stunt dogs. Whew!

And for a fried finale - the Fla-Mango - 2019 award winning dessert.  Mango deep fried in a light batter with a side of mango/berry sorbet, and a dollop of whipped cream.

9 hours. Over 10K steps. Calories - hey, it's my birthday - who's counting?  Gosh, I love fall and October.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Monday Moments - Finally Fall

 Sunday - record high of 97. Very warm September, serious drought conditions, and no end in sight.
 Then, last night the wind shifted, we got a trace of rain, and temperatures plummeted.
 I awoke this Monday to 65.  Delightful
 And our project Saturday was kicking October into gear with pumpkin heads.  The pop of orange gives me a fall fabulous feeling.
Just don't walk into the spider web out back.

We have the spirit, and now with fresh cooler air, a kick in the step. Have a good Monday and week.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Movie Review Madness - Judy

I grew up in a very Judy Garland household. My folks loved her - dad had the albums, they had seen her in concert, etc.  Thus, when my father heard Renee Zellweger was playing Judy Garland in a film called Judy, he was askance. Renee, with squinty eyes, playing Judy....outrage!

Reviews and praise have been high for Judy and Renee, so I had to go see it, admittedly with bias. I'm giving it a B-.  The movie portrays Judy Garland on her last legs - a London show run. She needs money, she wants her kids back (Lorna and Joey Luft), she's living on pills and booze.

She's got a handler in London, a young lady who's job it is to prop Judy up and get her on the stage. Renee does a very good job with Judy Garland mannerisms and tics. Renee can sing decently but lacks that extra tremulous tone. And yes, she has squinty eyes. The film has some flashback scenes showing a young Judy Garland stuck in the Louis B. Mayer studio system. She's considered "fat" and they give her pills to curb appetite, then pills to help her sleep. The poor kid was put in a cycle of destruction. But that voice....that voice brought in the bucks.

Judy is well done enough and kudos to Renee for giving it her all. It's a small "artsy" film. I'm glad I saw it and could discuss it with my Dad. Then I played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" in tribute.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Wordless Wednesday (Almost)

 Ray on the final day of baseball at Globe Life Park
 Nice farewell ceremonies

 Sunday game time 2:05 pm and temp of 94 degrees or so.   Damn freakin' hot for us in the upper upper deck (2 rows from shade). Whew!  It's not supposed to be that hot at the end of September
 So while some folks lament the loss of a lovely 25 year old ball park, I'm excited. See that metal work in the distance. Amen and Hallelujah - new Globe Life Field will have a retractable roof and air conditioning.
Oh and we got free T-shirts.  This is me with Esperanza. Her husband had our free tickets.
Very nice!

Free still equals over $50 -   parking, food, one beer, one soda, water, and yes, more water.

Fun day farewell. (and the Texas Rangers beat the dreaded Yankees. But we kinda stink and are not in the playoffs)