Friday, July 10, 2020

Friday Fun Promotion - Grace and Serenity by Annalisa Crawford

sneak peek:  Here’s something I’ve never told anyone—one of those memories you bury deep down and hope you’ll realise it was never a real event but something you once saw on TV.
     I abandoned my daughter in a supermarket.

amazon book blurb:

Living on the streets is terrifying and exhausting. Grace’s only comforts are a steady stream of vodka, and a strange little boy who’s following her around.

At nineteen, Grace has already had a child and endured an abusive marriage. But she’s also had her baby abducted by her vengeful husband and been framed as a neglectful mother. Even her own parents doubted her version of the story. So she did the only thing that made sense to her—run away.

The streets are unforgiving. Winter is drawing in. And Grace isn’t prepared for the harsh realities of survival. At her very bleakest, a Good Samaritan swoops into her life and rescues her. With a roof over her head and food in her stomach, she longs to see her baby again.

But nothing ever comes for free.

I am happy to promote Annalisa Crawford's new book Grace & Serenity. I admit I have not read it yet, but the book blurb and sneak peek whet the appetite. Her previous books and her blog demonstrate her ability to pull you in and keep you turning pages. Thus I trust this is as another winner. 

Congrats to her for continued writing success and check it out on Amazon, et al.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Wednesday Moment - Age 94

 Me with Aunt Janice
 Me, Lori, cousin Rob, Dad and Mom, Uncle Bill and Aunt Janice
 Aunt Janice and Uncle Bill
Dad (little brother) and Aunt Janice (big sis)

July 4th 2020, my Aunt Janice passed peacefully, after having lunch, at age 94

She was a stupendous sweet person. Always upbeat and perky, dressed to the nines. She taught geometry for a zillion years, and former students still came to see her - even in the nursing home.

It was time.  She shall be missed.

Love and Hugs

Monday, July 6, 2020

Monday Moments - Art at the Amon Carter

 Ray and I were lucky to have an adventure back on June 18th. I chose to take a vacation day and, fortunately, the Amon Carter Museum chose to have a members only welcome back opening. I was initially concerned but it was "everyone wear a mask" and obviously "don't touch art or anything". The electronic doors opened up and we walked into to greet old and new friends - i.e. favorite art work, plus new exhibits.  And there was NO ONE there. It was like a private museum tour.

So, we enjoyed Eliot Porter photographs in a special exhibit. He worked for over fifty years and went to great lengths to share a bird"s eye view of the world. Lovely
 The Perilous Adventures of Mark Dion proved interesting. Here he traced multiple Texas trails to gather flora, fauna, and take photos. He basically retraced historic trails and brought to life the worlds artists and scientists, journalists, and explorers introduced us to and were able to educate the masses
 James Spurls - Seven and Seven Flowers - nifty sculpture on display
And an assortment of European artists who fled and worked in America were featured in an exhibit.

All together, Ray and I enjoyed our hour or so of strolling the Amon Carter. It's a delightful museum in the arts district and I hope it can stay open safely.  Wear the mask, stay social distance, and for heaven's sake - Don't Touch!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Flashback 4th - Orange Beach AL

Two years ago - a life time ago. OMG - we had so much fun. I love the beach. The Gulf was lovely. We ate well. Hung out. Swam. Watched fireworks.

No cares in the world.

July 4th 2020 Style.  Ray and I are lucky. We have a beautiful home with a wonderful backyard and pool. We shall rest, relax, grill, float, watch Netflix, be lazy, and watch the Hamilton movie (ME!).

I wish everyone good health during this July 4th weekend.  Stay safe. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

What's in Your Queue?

When I'm not at work, I am reading, swimming, and of course, sitting on my butt with the clicker. I admit to lacking concentration these days, so I do scroll more and can't seem to settle as well on a series.  So, what's in your queue?

I am very very excited for Hamilton the Movie this Friday.  I LOVED the stage production. I love the music.  Ray... dibs on the big screen.

Speaking of Disney Plus, Ray and I are plowing through the Star Wars movies in order. We both had missed some through the years and I didn't "get" a bunch of stuff. Now, it's making sense to me.
Our achievements:
I Phantom Menace
II Attack of the Clones
III Revenge of the Sith
Rogue One
IV  A New Hope
V  Empire Strikes Back
VI Return of the Jedi
VII Force Awakens
VIII Last Jedi
and one to go -   IX Rise of Skywalker
We've also watched Mandalorian and liked that a lot.  Aren't you proud of us?

I've also revisited oldie faves - Lady and the Tramp,  and Tangled

The documentary Athlete A is superb - it's about the gymnastic scandal that affected all of those girls. Quite a tale and truly sad. As we cheered them on, the behind the scenes story was shocking.

Ray and I ripped through Ozark.  Now read that Season 4 will be the grand finale. Man, they are some evil people. I love Ruthie the best.

Will Ferrell's latest is really silly - it tickled my funny bone  Eurovision - Rise of Fire Saga. Iceland, music. He's Lars. Rachel McAdams is Sigrit. Worst singers ever to be in the competition. What could go wrong?

Mrs. America - quite good.  Rose Byrne is great as Gloria Steinem. Cate Blanchett - icy cold as Phyllis Schlafly.

Just started Atlanta - I like Donald Glover.

Started Upload - it's quirky weird. I find Amazon annoying to use - just not as friendly as Netflix.

So, how are you folks using your time?  Any major binge achievements?
I'll take suggestions.

Happy Wednesday. We're soaring to index heat numbers over 100...heck yeah, I'll be watching more television. Stay cool.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Monday Moment

We take turns grocery shopping and yesterday, Ray trudged out with his mask on to forage in the aisles. He did notice some empty shelves again - with Texas numbers rising, are folks hoarding/panicking a bit? Perhaps.  But, in a sweet surprise, he brought me these flowers. Said, "I thought you needed some color at the kitchen table."    And I did - it's the little things that are so huge.

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more hopeful:
they are sunshine, food, and medicine to the soul - Luther Burbank

The flower has no weekday self,
dressed as it always is in Sunday clothes - Malcolm de Chazal

Earth laughs in flowers - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, June 26, 2020

Book Review - The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

A few weeks ago I wrote about the author talk I watched with Sue Monk Kidd. She was so thoughtful in her discussion and had obviously done a lot of research for the Biblical time period of her latest novel - The Book of Longings.  I really, really liked this book. The writing is beautiful and her characters are richly drawn. The story is compelling and from my point of view (not religious) - plausible.

So, what if Jesus had a wife?  Now, now. Don't leave yet. (cover blurb) Sue Monk Kidd takes an audacious approach to history. She imagines a strong young woman named Ana - rebellious, ambitious, and scholarly. She pursues writing scrolls - narratives about neglected and silenced women. She's expected to marry on old widower (horrors), and a chance encounter with eighteen year old Jesus changes everything.

There's abuse, peril, fleeing, danger, and startling revelations. Let's just add that her dark sheep brother is Judas.  cover blurb - Ana determines her fate during a stunning convergence of events considered among the most impactful in human history. 

(cover blurb) The Book of Longings involves a young lady's bold struggle to realize passion and potential in a time when women were silenced...

p. 66 Ana - I tell you, there are times when words are so glad to be set free they laugh out loud and prance across their tablets and inside their scrolls. So it was with the words I wrote. They reveled till dawn. 

Revel with Ana and truly enjoy an excellent book...The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Wednesday - Let's Pretend

I am going to work today. It's only Wednesday.

Let's pretend it's 2017 and we're off to visit the Dallas Arboretum.  No masks. Wandering aimlessly.
No worries.

That was nice.

Now I'm off to work - big sigh.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Day of Love and Memories too

Sunday June 21 2020 is Father's Day and my mother's birthday.  She would have been 88. Hard to believe.

Anyway - these pics are a stroll down memory lane. My parent's wedding day (June 11), me and my dad several years ago, my dad as a dapper young man, dad, and my mom from long ago.

Good families are fortresses with many windows and doors to the outer world - Jane Howard

The family is one of nature's masterpieces - George Santayana

The family - that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor in our inmost hearts, ever wish to - Dodie Smith

I am lucky. I came from a happy family. I shall do a Facetime with my dad on Sunday. Can't fly up and visit in person this year (well, in theory I could...but oh, hell no).  We'll have some laughs. My sister is spending the weekend there doing some yard work and hanging out. Then they'll go to my brother's for a social distance picnic. I'll be there in spirit. And we'll remember my mom too.

Cheers all - hope you've had a safe and happy weekend of love and memories too.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Virtual Author Talk - Esther Safran Foer

5/18/20 - I signed into a virtual author talk sponsored by the Dallas Museum of Art and the Dallas Holocaust Museum. The guest author, Esther Safran Foer, was born in a displaced persons camp. Only her mother and father had survived the Holocaust from her whole family.  Her memoir, I Want You to Know We're Still Here, is about growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust.

Her goal in writing this was the history and  to remember - whether happy or sad - but to have it on paper. She learned her father, in Ukraine, had a previous wife and daughter who were killed. Her mother in Poland, as Nazis arrived, grabbed her winter coat, socks, scissors (she could sew). And Esther writes that as a survivor, her mother always kept a ton of sugar, flour, and cereal in the pantry. The mother always wanted to be prepared for dire circumstances.

p. 100 - Esther realized she was the "hinge" between generations of the family - the link. She herself did not experience the Holocaust, and growing up a bit in the displaced camp was fine for a child - kids to play with,  food, etc.  Once out of the camp, Esther did see the toll the war took.Her mother was strong and survived. Her father committed suicide when Esther was eight.

Quite a story, and in hearing the author speak, she said she knew she had to become a writer and preserve the stories, put the memories down on paper for herself, for her sons, and for posterity.

I miss live events at the museums,  but the power of virtual viewing is better than nothing. I enjoyed hearing Esther Safran Foer speak. Her strength, humor, and family view of history was compelling.
It was worth an on-line ticket ($25.00) and I consider it a donation  to the arts. Helps keep my brain from becoming mush.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Wednesday - more than a moment

Washington DC  - aerial view

Black Lives Matter - more than a mural
 more than a moment
more than a movement
more than my inadequate words could say

Monday, June 15, 2020

Book Review - Persuasion by Jane Austen

Lest you think I'm only reading "junk" and watching Netflix all of the time, I present to you my review of Jane Austen's Persuasion - considered a  literary classic.

Is it heresy to say I found it a tad slow and frustrating to read? I'm a Jane Austen fan - Pride and Prejudice is really good. Based on that, when my PA friends book club had choices I eagerly picked Persuasion.  I do suppose it was a good book to read in this time of being rather home bound. The Elliots and assorted friends and family pretty much kill time through the whole book - walking, reading, sewing, and pining and yearning. Hoping for a proper introduction, an invitation, and such concerns over looks and manners. Arrghhh - I wanted to scream.

Then again, I realize Jane Austen was writing for her time and in bringing her observations on vanity and pretension, she truly paints a picture of fashionable society in Bath and Lyme.

p. 34 "There is hardly any personal defect (freckles)," replied Anne, "which an agreeable manner might not gradually reconcile one to."

p.141 Good company requires only birth, education, and manners.

Anne Elliott, old now at twenty seven, might have missed her chance for marriage. If only Captain Wentworth....
Now near the end of the book, a letter arrives that brings about a change of fate and fortune. Can it be love?  I suppose I softened near the end of the book and was pleased for Anne's sake that her efforts were not in vain. She was not a simpering fool, like so many of the other characters. I was persuaded. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

Book Review - The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Remember the Hunger Games?

Let's go back in time with The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins and see how Coriolanus Snow became the President of Panem and Katniss Evergreen's nemesis. This book is an excellent prequel.

 In the Capitol on the 10th annual Hunger Games opening, Coriolanus Snow is eighteen, prepared to be a mentor, win prizes, and bring glory to the House of Snow which has fallen on hard times.  Alas, he's in charge of Lucy Gray of District 12 - a wisp of a girl who proves cunning. She leads him on a quite a path of glory, cheating, triumph, despair, and the desire to survive.

Snow is a youth with a heart who's still learning about himself. It's interesting to read his journey and see his transformation - knowing what we know from the Hunger Games series - there are aha moments. Collins doesn't slack on The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. This is a very satisfying book and sadly, still a scary possible future world.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Wednesday Moment and Book Review - If It Bleeds

 I liked this meme. 

Reading a lot as we stay home. For Ray's sake, his favorite author  - Stephen King - brought out If It Bleeds, a collection of four novellas. Ray ripped through the book, and I decided to read it too. These are a dark treat - typical twists,turns, and sarcastic humor. The man has a style and it works.

The title story If It Bleeds brings back Holly, a cop from another series of his, and she's still chasing an outsider creature. Too many coincidences in a reporters appearance at some horrible tragedies. She starts putting together clues, finds another man who's tracked this evil too, and together they work to lure this time travelling killer into a trap.

Sometimes evil can manifest in friendship. Craig befriends Mr. Harrigan and there's a sweetness in this.  But what happens after Mr. Harrigan dies and Craig calls his cell phone to chat with him. Maybe wishes do come true in Mr. Harrigan's Phone

The other stories, The Life of Chuck and also Rat, prove to be creepy. As always, King does write well about the writing life and ambition and turns to the dark side too. If you like Stephen King's style, then you will find that If It Bleeds will keep you up turning pages - and yes, you'll have all of the lights on in the house. Check your locks.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Book Review - How to Pronounce Knife

This book was an excellent find from reading book reviews. How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa is a collection of stories with funny, wrenching realities of trying to build a life far from home. (cover blurb)

The author was born in a Lao refugee camp in Thailand. She was raised and educated in Toronto, Canada. Now a prize winning author, this collection rings true, no doubt, from her experiences. The title story - a young girl brings home a book and has her father help her with pronouncing "knife". Alas, it's a tricky word, and back at school, the language exposes her to ridicule.

In other stories, a failed boxer works in his sister's nail salon, a young woman navigates working at a chicken processing plant, and in other stories you've got youth versus parents - all trying to figure out life, work, and keeping your self while assimilating.

I enjoyed How to Pronounce Knife - the stories were interesting, entertaining, well written, and thought provoking.

...and seriously....the silent K....why?

Friday, June 5, 2020

Frivolous Friday - Field of Dreams

 Brand new ballpark in Arlington - Globe Life Field - stands empty awaiting fans, baseball, boys of summer.
Here's one boy - Ray - who joined me on a tour of the new ballpark. The facility just opened to tours and we took one on Monday. Masks, social distance, small groups, didn't touch a thing - it worked out great and was a fun safe outing.
 The place seems huge without the throng of fans. Here is a lovely brick corridor and food stands ready to sell hotdogs, beer, and other decadent junk food treats.
 The glory of it all and the reason for the "new" stadium - a roof!!!  A retractable roof. Oh, this and air-conditioning will help immensely on those 100 degree days. Summer Ranger baseball can bring you to your knees - and they are sweaty.
 I wore my Elvis Andres #3 Ranger shirt. Blending in with a nifty graphic
An upper level view of a pretty field - ready for "Play Ball" to echo forth.

Meanwhile, everyone stay safe and cool this weekend.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Wednesday Seriousness

I truly am not qualified to say a freakin' word about the subject at hand these days.
Crazy times.

I will let Mr. Nelson Mandela speak. I've always respected this man's life, words, and mission.
His time in South Africa - wow.

Somehow,  America must find its way.

I do believe in the general goodness of people - face to face, looking at kids, caring about seniors...We want the best life.  Let's do it together and support each other.

No need to comment.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Friday, May 29, 2020

From Afar - Spring in PA

My brother sent pics from Dad's yard in PA. Once in a blue moon, when the temps and rainfall were just right, his rhododendron go crazy.  This is the year. Otherwise it's a jungle looking mess.

But Dad is a happy man in 2020.

Hope you have a happy safe weekend - still not going crazy in TX. Maybe we already were crazy, we're just not going out and spreading it to any one else. 

P.S. I did get a haircut. All very sanitized. Just so you know, little snips of hair do fly into the mask and make it itchy. Oh no - must scratch nose!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Wednesday Moment

no comments needed

Have a good rest of the week

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day - 2020

 Olden days - Patriotic baseball
 Unless it's raining, we'll have our flag flying out front on this trusty big tree
 Pretty flower pic - just cuz
 This wee one, Dakota, actually turns 3 today. I do not have a current picture. Maybe we'll see her before high school graduation - ha!   Happy Birthday, Dakota.
And this is from the USS Alabama (circa WWII), now a museum, in Mobile Alabama.

On Memorial Day, we remember those who fought and lost their lives for their country.

Monday should be a huge day of reflection - on the past and on our current situation.
Who are we as Americans?   What the heck are we doing as Americans?

Today should be a bit of a turning point for 2020 America - we truly should attempt to be better people, leaders for the world, and re-think who we are, who we want to be, and how we want to be seen. We should dig deep into our souls and think about how we want to be represented as America.

That all sounds so grand as I type it. Meanwhile, I'll float in the pool, eat a hot dog, and be a very lazy American. I need some gumption, some spirit, some mojo....

All the best for Memorial Day. Stay safe my friends.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Finally Friday - Now What?

 Were we as eloquent as angels, yet should we please...much more by listening, than by talking - Charles Caleb Colton
 Great literature cannot grow from a neglected or impoverished soil - P.D. James
 Nature never did betray the heart that loved her - William Wordsworth
A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any one thing - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Texas may be "open for business", but Ray and I are staying home. We can find our own monkey business. Caution is the word.  Plus, a predicted rainy weekend does dampen the crazy. I figure we'll be queuing up our Disney plus and Netflix. Whee!

Hope you enjoy these quotes and these pics from Clark Gardens circa 2007.  Aaah - remember walking around public gardens and parks?  Damn - the good old days were awesome.

Stay safe my friends.