Friday, February 28, 2020

Book Review - Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton is a find the roots of identity story set amidst revolution and change. I enjoyed it due to the setting - Havana, Cuba, and the book made me curious about that period of history. I need to do more research and learn more about our island neighbor/foe.

Havana 1958 - Elisa Perez, daughter of a sugar baron, is sheltered from the country's political unrest until she falls in love with a revolutionary. Yes, it's a bit soap opera, but well written and Elisa is not a simpering fool. She has character and stands out from her sisters.

Miami 2017 - Marisol Ferrera loved hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who had to flee her beloved land. Now Marisol, a freelance reporter,  is returning to Cuba to spread her grandmother's ashes and uncover secrets about the family. And, thank goodness, she meets her own revolutionary.

So much to learn, so little time, and the backdrop appears beautiful and sad at the same time. Rich, poor, and a restless undertone to life mingled with a rising heat. 

cover blurb - Marisol will need the lessons of her grandmother's past to help her understand the true meaning of courage - and what it means to be Cuban.

This is my PA groups' book club pick and we'll have plenty to discuss - character, history, choices, regrets. Always good themes. Sip a drink with an umbrella in it and enjoy a breezy read.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom and Wacky

One should always be a little improbable - Oscar Wilde

You alone are enough...You have nothing to prove to anybody - Maya Angelou

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself - Anna Quindlen

So  - Happy Wednesday and just march to your own beat.  Smile mysteriously and keep everyone guessing.

Yep - here's the wacky. Our Dallas Stars Hockey came to the suburbs for a practice. Here I am with Victor the mascot.  Yes, I pushed children out of the way for this pic. And unlike them, I did not kick him/her in the shins.  Fun to watch practice - those guys had to hustle after a bad loss on Fri eve - Coach made them work!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Book Review - The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

I found The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates incredibly inspiring. Yes, she’s married to Bill Gates. Yes, she’s beyond incredibly rich. Yet – she’s down to earth and quite self-aware of her privileges and life.

Cover blurb – For the last twenty years, Melinda Gates has been on a mission to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live. Throughout this journey, one thing has been incredibly clear to her: if you want to lift up a society, you need to stop keeping women down.

The data on child marriage,  gender equality in the workplace, access to contraceptives, etc is compelling – the key is women and their power to change the world.  Gates writes with emotion and candor  to show there’s opportunity to change the world. She’s done her research.  When we lift others up, they lift us up too.

Her examples and statistics are stunning. I could quote page after page in this book.  Read it and explore and think. So much can be done if we give women the keys. It’s stunning and empowering.

Melinda Gates should not be dismissed as just some rich woman with a hobby. She’s sincere and her money is being applied to very useful causes. It’s making a difference. Read and learn and think.

This can change the world!  Wow and amen

Friday, February 21, 2020

Wellness and Vision for 2020

 Last Saturday, I had a day with Oprah (and 17,000 others - mostly women).  It was better than I even expected - very motivational, very uplifting, very positive. You get the idea - very, very. So much is common sense, and yet from the mouth of Oprah, it sounds like true message.
 Well, I did not get to hug the real deal, but here Oprah and I bonded in the arena.  I bought the ticket back in November and was extremely psyched. The woman commands a room. She'd speak for an hour, have us to some workbook exercises, then tell some stories about her life. All very conversational, like she was just talking to me, and with me.
 Special guests included Julianne Hough who got us on our feet to dance in our space. Just move and be uplifted. Who cares what you look like? Have fun.  She's a teensy sprite and really pretty.
 My goal for 2020 is to try new stuff, exercise more, try to be more positive, and just exert a tad more potential. Eat better too. I do sleep fine - scored well on that category.  Another guest Oprah had was Tracee Ellis Ross (actress currently on blackish tv show). She's also the daughter of Diana Ross. So that was interesting. She talked about her mom, talked about career,  talked about life choices, fears, etc. Funny and personable - Ms.Ross definitely held her own with Oprah.
Yep - fabulous here.  I came away from the day very upbeat. The crowd was predominately women - all ages, all sizes, all colors. It truly was a mix of black, white, latino, asian. Very representational of America. People stayed in their seats, were quiet when they needed to be, kept phones off during serious portions of the day. It was refreshing and showed the power of Oprah. She put on an impressive DAY and gave us a 2020 Vision of possibility, wellness, and focus.

(No, we did not each get a car)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom

 If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.   Eckhart Tolle

The sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being     Carl Jung

Find that little light in your day and spread it far and wide.

Good luck with a Wednesday.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Book Review - Call Me By Your Name

As I read Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman, I pictured the very pretty Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer who are the leads in the movie version. This helped me get through the book. Somehow I think I was not the target audience. There were parts I found a tad uncomfortable sexually.

But, much of the writing was quite good and some of the descriptions were gorgeous. I kept reading, but I can't recommend this book to you. It was a bit too graphic for me (and I keep an open mind on plenty).

Back blurb - this is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents' cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of passion, obsession, fascination, and desire intensify and test the charged ground between them. 

Whoa, nelly. This book was a tad much, even for me. And now, there's a sequel. Holy cow - at least the two leads are now men, and not a youth and a man.

That's my review.  Whew!

Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to everybody.  Hope it's a good day and a good weekend.

Love means surviving a makeover. Ray and I, hopefully, have new floors when you read this. I can't promise I'll have our computer back on to comment on everyone's posts.

We've done a rather thorough purge of stuff in closets that have not seen the light of day for years....and years....and years.

I've shredded plenty of ancient history.  Decisions have been made, we are trying to think outside the box - how shall we use our space in the next 5, 10,15, 20 years? 

These are the times that try men's (and women's) souls.  We aren't moving. Hence the construction chaos.  But we are hanging tough, cooperating, and collaborating. All  for a common purpose - our lives together under the same roof.

Wish us luck. I see the light on the other side. Meanwhile....chocolate...thank goodness for Valentine's Day chocolate.

Cheers everyone.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom and Nature

 Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.   Frank Lloyd Wright
 Nature is not a temple, but a workshop, and man's the workman in it.   Ivan Turgenev

To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.   Mohandas K. Gandhi

Happy Wednesday.  Often we are stuck indoors in February. Today's wisdom reminds us that we'll see stuff blooming again. Or we enjoy the blanket of snow.  Breathe deep and be patient. Seasons will turn.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Book Review - Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

I like Trevor Noah. He's funny. He's smart. He's quick. And he's had quite a life. Born a Crime chronicles his life as a boy in South Africa under apartheid. A white mother. A black father. Trevor and his light skin mix is not allowed. It's an amazing story and a salute/ love letter to his remarkable mother.

I laughed out loud at his description of his grandmother saying, "I can't whip that boy. He turns all sorts of colors - bruises are purple, yellow, green."  His mother was saying, "If Trevor is bad with all of the other cousins, he should get the same punishment." His South African family didn't know what to do with this fair skinned black child. It's funny and yet interesting too, and sad considering the time period.

Trevor Noah's youth bordered on crime. He was smart but not aiming for his true potential. Fortunately, his mother recognized his skills,  his fast talking wit, and more. 

p.  243 You forget the reason I ride you so hard. Everything I have ever done I've done from a place of love. If I don't punish you, the world will punish you even worse. When I beat you, I'm trying to save you. When they (police) beat you, they're trying to kill you. 

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah is an amazing coming of age tale from a world many of us know nothing about. He truly beat the odds, and his book demonstrates that he appreciates and can reflect on his success now. It's a quick funny read, but also poignant, and eye-opening too. Worthy stuff.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Book Review - The Day the World Came to Town

The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede is a joy to read, and just what I needed to reassure myself about humanity. I've got tickets for the touring musical production of Come From Away, and my sister recommended this book for preparation.

September 11, 2001 - U.S. airspace is closed due to the terrorist strikes. Thirty-eight jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland. This city and surrounding communities came together to give their visitors three days to remember.

back blurb:  Their response to this challenge was truly extraordinary.  Oz Fudge, the town constable, searched all over Gander for a flight crew member so that he could give her a hug as a favor to her sister, who reached him by phone. This story and more are beautifully rendered - a true account of a community that exemplifies love, kindness, and generosity.

Folks stripped beds, cleaned out closets and pantries, and opened their homes to perfect strangers. Yes, come take a shower. Yes, come use our phone. Yes, come for dinner. The answers in Gander were yes, and hesitant travelers soon opened their hearts to this wonderful community. It was a party, and while eager to get home, they hated to leave. Life long friendships were made.

Jim Defede brings a remarkable time and town to life in The Day the World Came to Town.

I want to visit Gander, Newfoundland.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Wednesday Wacko Wisdom

 Oh yeah, still milking the idiocracy
 Carry On My Wayward Son.....only age appropriate get this one
 oh my....just so appropriate these days
me and Ray -year 31

First say to yourself what you would be; then do what you have to do - Epictetus

I am turning off comments.  You may read this and interpret as you wish.  These are times to try men's souls as Thomas Paine would say.  I'm just shaking my head and saying WTF. aiming for the weekend.  I promise a book review for Friday and trying to return to regularly scheduled programming. I admit to doing a lot of filler lately. Just's February. Maybe I'm not getting enough Vitamin D from the sun.

How are YOU?

Hang in. 

Monday, February 3, 2020

Monday Mishmash

 Let's just dance into this week with a mishmash of stuff.

 We were busy this week - still redoing a power room and getting ready for some new flooring. It's a bigger project than one initially thinks - dang a lot of stuff comes out of our closets. Start spring cleaning now folks.

And I'll include a throwback pic of my friend Terri. Apparently her service was really nice with an excellent turnout. Tough to be 1500 miles away but I was there in spirit.

Super Bowl chat - Congrats to the Kansas City Chiefs. Quite a season. QB Patrick Mahomes is an exciting, enthusiastic player with a lot of positive energy. He made the game fun. Demi Lovato nailed our Star Spangled Banner.  And half time - J-Lo and Shakira - Wow. As my sister pointed out - that's 93 combined years of hip shaking.

Have a good week.  Children - study your geography.

P.S. Dear President Trump - the Kansas City Chiefs are from Missouri.  Time for a Twitter correction.

Big Sigh