Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Whatever Wednesday - Ray Retires - Onward to 2021

Over 40 years in electronics - Ray Faries says goodbye to the drive  - approximately 728,000 miles driven, way too many hours in a car.  He says farewell to "punching the clock". 
As of 12/31/2020, Ray Faries says adios to selling fans and electronics.  What a career!  What a life - he's met a lot of great people and solved a lot of engineering problems. 
Now - he won't be sitting around. Heck no - he'll be solving home engineering problems (that I probably didn't know we had). He's got plenty of golf to play, plenty of miles to put on his RZR sweet ride, and lots of books to read.  Jigsaw puzzles await, and (hopefully ) new recipes to whip up in the kitchen.  "Dinner better be on the table when I get home from work," I say with a wink. 

Congrats Ray - love you and I know you are excited to explore new adventures. Enjoy this newfound freedom - you earned and deserve it. 

Happy New Year one and all. Stay safe and let's see what happens in 2021.  I'll be back on Monday , January 4th. Until then, cheers!

Monday, December 28, 2020

Monday Moments - Farewell Uncle Rick

Christmas morning, my Uncle Rick passed away. This was my mother's youngest brother. He'd had some surgery awhile ago, complications occurred, things went downhill, and he just wasn't that spirited man ready for a cold drink, laughs, and some hijinks.  This pic was at my brother's quite a few years ago. 
Uncle Rick with my Aunt Connie
Here's an older pic - Aunt Audrey, my late Uncle Lee (mom's oldest brother), my late Aunt Jane (her older sister), Uncle Rick and Aunt Connie, a family friend, and my cousin Heather in front
Here's a really long ago pic of them

 And the siblings from over 30 years ago or so - Uncle Rick, my mom, Uncle Lee, and Aunt Jane

He was a good man, hard working, loved his two girls - Jennifer and Heather, loved his wife, had lots of friends, and was always ready for some fun. 

Uncle Rick will be missed.  Thanks for reading this salute

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas Y'all

 Merry Christmas blast from Christmas pasts

Hope everyone is safe, healthy, and enjoying their 2020 Christmas.

Big virtual hug to blog world. 


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Whatever Wednesday

 Yep - this is filler for Christmas week.  But 2021 is lurking and this meme is very funny and way too true. 

so, what else shall happen?

Yeah - Ray and I want a vaccine.  We hope all those folks who do not will help us get to the front of the line.  There's a lot of crazy out there.  Go ahead - think "it's over", go ahead "run amok" - yeah - we got this......we'll take the vaccine and live to 100. 

Happy Wednesday.  Almost Christmas.  yep   - I'm working today and eating a crap ton of cookies and stuff at work.  Calories don't count if you eat finger foods standing up.  Right?

Monday, December 21, 2020

Monday Moments - Snow!

 Yo - Not Texas.  This is Pennsylvania snow glory. I stole these pics from some Facebook contacts.  Now - this is SNOW. Glorious snow that I did not have to shovel.  So darn pretty.........and as a first snow of the year it is fun.

I admit, I reveled in various emails and posts, but no - I did not have to shove this mess............

And no, I do not have to live with the grungy junk that sticks to cars and piles up. 

So, Merry December snow my friends.  My Northeast soul yearns for it, yet deep down I'm glad to not drive in it.

Reality versus reality versus TX life.  I've grown soft.   Sigh

Happy Monday.  Almost Christmas and that's beyond reality this year.

2020 - it's bizarre............ 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Finally Friday - friends!

Last Saturday 12/12/20 Some social distance good cheer with long time friends Linda, Julie, and Tom (see below)

These pics were taken after a splendid afternoon on Linda's patio - sunny, high 50s, and no wind. Perfect for our annual gathering to celebrate Christmas and friendship.  Tom, the house elf, fetched food from Chili's. 

We were inside only to gather up stuff to leave and snap a few memory photos. 

They are way too happy - both retired this year and now eagerly await the pandemic end so they can hit the road.  Adventures await
Now today, I will be celebrating Joan's birthday (right) with my PA gang via Zoom.   Mary Ellen caught up with her a few weeks ago. 
Nov 2019 seems so long ago. Here's Lisa, Me, Joan, and Helen enjoying book club and an old fashioned indoor afternoon. 

But we've managed to hang out long distance. Friday's are Fun - I plan to have cake in Joan's honor (but I won't eat it in front of her on camera - ha)

Have a good weekend everyone and catch up with a friend for a laugh. 


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Whatever Wednesday

 How's your journey this week?  An uphill climb? Rough terrain? A tad rocky? Hey, it's Wednesday - a week and a half until Christmas.  We always say, " I can't believe it's almost Christmas." This year we say it with a "Holy Cow, it's almost Christmas, but it's a weird year, there is no plan, not going to see family, and do I have a tickle in my throat?"

I woke up the another night in a bit of a sweat. Mild panic, until I realized Ray had put the flannel sheets on the bed and it was not a very cold night. I was just hot. Turn back the covers a bit, and all okay. But strange times!

Today I have two quotes I liked from some reading lately: 

Wall Street Journal 11/29/20  

 Life is a great mystery. Is everybody a different person when they are with somebody else?   great author Louise Fitzhugh in her Harriet the Spy. 

The New Yorker  12/14/20

Ian Frazier in a review - Childhood is a darkened, fantasy filled theater in which, after a long or short while, the houselights are turned on, and the brightness makes you blink, and then you see the candy wrappers under the seats, and the lines for the bathrooms. That moment can happen at any time. 

Food for thought folks.  Carry on and let's cruise to the weekend.  Dashing through the snow, Fa-la-la. 

Monday, December 14, 2020

Book Review - Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

 Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen is another winner in her batch of books - fiction or nonfiction. I can always count on her for good solid writing. 

Rebecca Winter is a photographer but now facing a declining career and a bit of a crisis of faith, plus her bank account is dwindling.  She flees to the country for a new perspective.  (cover blurb) There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer/birder named Jim Bates, that what she see through a camera lens is not all there is to the world. 

p. 6 I like her description of the country.  It was quiet now. There was a smell. So many smells. Mildew, damp linen, trampled plants. The bananas in the glass bowl on the drainboard. A whiff of what might be skunk, or skunk cabbage. In the backyard she'd taken a deep breath. It had smelled as though the entire forest around her was rotting by inches.

p.  213 She has a new agent, a new project The White Cross series, and a new lease on life.  This series of enigmatic tableaux is both mysterious and heartbreaking. Each as it was found: some images reflect the disintegration wrought by wind and weather. 

Rebecca's journey at age 60ish is well written by Quindlen. She captures the questioning, the endurance, and the world of a creative. Flee with Rebecca and restore your soul, too. Enjoy this book. 


Friday, December 11, 2020

Finally Friday - Magic of the Season

This is a good meme. December can be tough for many in a "normal" year. This year, a surge is occurring,  extra stress can overwhelm at any time - take a deep breath, pause,  and step back. Be a Cindy Lou Who (no more than two)
Here's a friend's young boy caught up in the magic
Again - sheer joy, freedom, exuberance, and a rainbow
Another friend's kid with his friend - she called it "and we pause for a  moment of toddler Vogue"
I pause to reflect on family/friends gone this year and in past years.  December brings memories to the fore. 

Friday - another week survived - be proud of yourselves and I hope you have a calm, safe weekend. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Members Only Preview - Queen Nefertari's Egypt at the Kimbell

Took a vacation day last Friday so Ray and I could enjoy the members only Kimbell Art Museum's exhibit - Queen Nefertari's Egypt. 
This is a celebration of women - goddesses, queens, and artisans in the New Kingdom period (c.  1539 - 1075 BCE). Queen Nefertari ("Beautiful companion ") was a celebrated favorite wife of Pharaoh Ramesses II.  The Queen's tomb was found in 1904 in the Valley of the Queens - a significant discovery. The exhibit sheds light on palace life, roles of women in ancient Egypt, the work  of artisans, and insight into the belief system/ritual practices of death and the afterlife. 
Tomb fragments - sarcophagus lid of Queen  Nefertari
Ray is reading about ancient tomb coverings. The colors and preservation is amazing to see
Funerary stelae - decorated stone slab depicting the deceased receiving offerings to sustain them in the afterlife. 
There was so much to see and read - The exhibition covered  1. Pharaohs,  Goddesses, and the Temple. 

2. Women in Ancient Egypt   3. Deir el-Medina - the Worker's Village 4. The Afterlife  5. Queen Nefertari's tomb  6. Egyptian Tombs. 

Statues, jewelry, carvings, elaborate coffins, and scrolls of history. I know I need to read and research a LOT to learn more and appreciate this aspect of history. I have a goal for 2021, and I'll need to try to go back  to the exhibit before it leaves in March.  


Monday, December 7, 2020

Monday Moment - 2020 Christmas Light Challenge

Twas a lovely Friday here in TX. I had a vacation day, and Ray and I went to the Kimbell in the morning (post on that coming up Wed).  Came home, ate a yummy take out lunch from Italianni's (the name says it all), and then proceeded to light up the place.
Pretty day, no jacket required. No wind.  Ray had a backyard vision and as you can see from my not so awesome night photos, we have the Christmas spirit. 
Lots of shiny and bright glow
Our evening lights bring joy as we contemplate December, this whole year, and life in general. 

My elf Ray has thrown down the light gauntlet. I'll look for other posts from you, my blog friends - and that includes lighting the menorah for Hanukkah (Robyn). 

Take care and let's have a good week. 

P.S. Yes, today is December 7th, a Day that will Live in Infamy - President Franklin Roosevelt. 

Pearl Harbor Remembrance

Friday, December 4, 2020

Book Review - Greenlights

 Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey is a good weekend book to peruse. It's not a straightforward memoir. It's more a musings on life. He's been journaling for over thirty years and he's fifty now. And he's still asking questions - how to be a better man? How to have less stress? How to have fun? How to hurt people less? How to have meaning in life? How to be more me? (cover blurb)

He embraces solitude and talks about some trips to the far reaches of the world to explore and dig deeper into his own zen. He reflects on his family, the good and the bad, and the love. 

Matthew McConaughey hopes  you enjoy this book: It's a love letter. To life. 

It's also a guide to catching more greenlights - and to realizing that the yellows and reds eventually turn green, too. By design and on purpose...  (cover blurb)

I really enjoyed this memoir and his voice shines through. He's a man with a great sense of humor - about life and himself.  He also takes living seriously. I do think as you read this, it makes one reflect and contemplate ones own life, and be aware of the red, yellow, and green lights encountered on this crazy journey. 

Happy Friday and weekend. Stay safe

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Wednesday Whatever - Birds

Butters was the star of the last Zoom meeting with my PA friends.  It's a new member of a household. They needed some entertainment during the time of Covid.  Believe me, Butters will be spoiled rotten. 

 I stole this pic from a friend's Facebook post. Just a stunning picture. 

Life is for the birds right now. They have free rein to gather in large groups, gossip on the wires, paddle on the pond with no worries, and head any direction for the winter. 

Free as a bird takes on new meaning: 

raise eyes

watch the hawk soar

drift with the drafts

wind ruffles hair, its feathers

 feel lighter till it flies out of sight

heart plummets back to earth

trapped in our masked cage

our song, a muffled gasp

JF - Dec. 2020

Monday, November 30, 2020

Monday Moment - Book Review: News of the World

 News of the World by Paulette Jiles is a small gem of a book that covers Texas after the Civil War. Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through the outlaw wilds to perform live readings of newspapers. Folks eager to hear about other places pay a dime to hear this dignified seventy one year old war hero give them news and escape for an hour. 

In Wichita Falls, the Captain accepts a fifty dollar gold coin and mission to take a young orphan to her relatives near San Antonio. At age six, Johanna was captured in an Indian raid that killed her folks. Now age ten, this blond haired blue eyed girl, is wild - knowledgeable in Kiowa ways. The Captain has a challenge ahead. 

The four hundred mile odyssey is fascinating - thieves, Indians, anarchy and lawlessness rule Texas. Yet as the miles go by, he and a wary Johanna become quite a team. She's in a dress learning how to use a fork. He's learning to appreciate her survival skills and grows fond of her resourcefulness and spirit. 

Their fate is intertwined and the conclusion is heartwarming. News of the World is sweet, well written, descriptive, and has rich characters in the Captain and Johanna. Pay a bit more than a dime, and enjoy this book escape. 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Frivolous Filler Friday

In a normal year, I would be in line at Kohl's with my coupons for Black Friday shopping.  2020 isn't normal, so I'm off to San Saba with Ray for a quick visit to Aunt Pat's . I'll come home Saturday for some time on my own - to read, chill out, and watch some holiday movies on the big screen. 
People who care nothing for their country's stories...are like people without a past - without a memory - they are half people - Alasdair Gray
As I walk, solitary, unattended

Around me I hear that eclat of the world

    Walt Whitman

Sunsets, snakes, San Saba - plenty of stories will be told on Friday night. I hope you and family are enjoying a quiet holiday weekend - staying safe

 And after the turkey feast on Thursday, there's always a Tex-Mex meal Fri, Sat, or Sunday.  Enchiladas, anyone?

Happy Friday

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Wednesday Whatever - Grateful

2011 - Thanksgiving back East - here's Dad, me, and Lori.   Happy Birthday to my little sis today Wed. 11/25/20.  She's the best!
I'm grateful for my brother David and his wife Cherie up in PA.  They are a hoot and do a lot for my dad. Hard working, good people.  I'm very fortunate to get along with my siblings, even long distance. (Or maybe it's best that I am long distance - ha. Either way it works)
I'll give a grateful shout out to my cammo wearing, RZR riding, golfing, sporty, good cooking, sweet to put up with me husband.  (Sweetheart - have fun hunting over Thanksgiving weekend, but you TRULY do not have to shoot a thing. That would make me extra grateful)
I'm grateful to my PA gang above (RIP Terri on the right). From junior high, high school, and college, we met and stuck together. Now it's laughs and book club, tears and medical issues, and through it all  - solid friendship.  I'm also lucky with long time TX friends - hugs to Linda H,  Julie, Linda T, Trish, and writer friends Becky and Deb,  and more. 

 I'm going to throw in a grateful to Founding Fathers in Philly back in the day who pulled together this wacky country  and wrote down some words that I hope work. If only Americans can still read. 

Have a safe, healthy, distance Thanksgiving with all of the trimmings.