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.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Wednesday Moments

Mother's Day  - pandemic style - at my friend Linda's lovely patio. It's a mini-arboretum property and May flowers are blooming everywhere. They've worked hard and never stop in their quest for garden beauty.

I enjoyed take-out on their patio, social distance seating and chat. I SO needed this visit. Ray went to his mother's and did a driveway chat.

My mother  (gone 28 years) would have truly enjoyed the jaunt and time spent at Linda's. She loved flowers - no green thumb, but appreciated others' efforts.

And that's your Wednesday moments.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Book Review - The Good German

The Good German by Joseph Kanon is an excellent thriller that makes one think. WWII has ended and Jake Geismar, a former CBS correspondent has landed a plumb spot in Berlin and Potsdam to cover the conference that divides up the world. Personally, he seeks Lena, his German mistress.

Jake stumbles on a murder - an American soldier washes up at Potsdam, along with a lot of money. So, what's going on?  cover blurb - What Jake finds is a story of corruption and intrigue reaching deep into the heart of the occupation.  Berlin in July 1945 is like nowhere else - a tragedy, and a feverish party after the end of the world. 

The American military government is already fighting a new enemy in the east, busily identifying the "good German" who can help win the next war. 

This book is a murder mystery, a love story, and holds a lot of research that resonates from history.  The Russians and Americans were in a race to claim the German scientists (ex. Von Braun). A lot of money changed hands. It's riveting, scary, and interesting when you look at what happened since 1945. The Good German holds lots of nuances while being a page turner. This is a good escape read. Thumbs up.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Virtual Arts and Letters Live - Sue Monk Kidd

Arts in the new Era - a Virtual ticketed event to hear Sue Monk Kidd give an author talk.

Totally worth the price of admission. Thanks to the Dallas Museum of Art and their Arts and Letters Live program, I was able to enjoy an hour long outdoor fireside chat with Sue Monk Kidd. Her new book is called Book of Longing.  I have not read it yet - a copy is being sent to me as part of the ticket price. Nonetheless, it sounds intriguing and I enjoyed hearing the author's comments on her process, concerns, and efforts to bring this book alive.

"You put yourself out there, " she said.  She decided to write a book about Anna, her creation - the wife of Jesus.  As her husband said, "What could go wrong?"  She approached it with trepidation, but felt there was a story there. It's fiction, but she believes writing is " a fight of courage."

She did a year of research and then took over four years to write the book. She wants the novel to "inspire our longings, our largeness." It was a feminist quest, a concern for freedoms, and to give a voice to a strong woman.

Sue Monk Kidd said, "My writing is a prayer."  She's seventy years old now, began writing at age thirty - a tad late to the game.

She was classy, well spoken, sincere, had a super sense of humor.  This program was a delight to watch. It would have been more fun live, but this could be the new norm and I am happy to pay for a ticket.

Sue Monk Kidd - author and neat lady.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Book Review - Before We Were Yours

Based on reality, Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate weaves quite a tale from a sad time in history.  This was a very compelling read, well researched, and rich in details.

Memphis 1938 - twelve year old Rill Foss and four younger siblings live aboard the family Mississippi River shanty boat. Yes, they are river rats, but well loved and cared for in their own way. But on a stormy night, when her mother is having twins, the unthinkable happens. The Tennessee Children's Home Society swoops in, takes Rill and kids, and adopts them out to rich families. How could this happen? Turns out, the evil director, Georgia Tann, had payoffs everywhere and politicians in her pockets. Blonde haired kids were a golden ticket to money.

Present day, Aiken South Carolina - Avery Stafford has it all: a successful career, a handsome fiance. But her political father is ill and Avery is being groomed. And her grandmother (sadly with some dementia) has secrets.
cover blurb - A chance encounter leaves Avery with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family's long hidden history on a path that will lead to devastation or redemption. 

This is a solid good read all around and the author weaves quite a tale between past and present.
At the end, there are some "Whoa" moments. And to know this is based on true tales - wow.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Book Review - The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Well, this was a test of my reading skills and I failed.

I bought The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton at Half Price Books, back when we could actually touch and buy books in public.  Hey - Man Booker Prize, A NY Times Notable book, accolades from everywhere.  What could go wrong?


It must be me - I just must not be literate enough to recognize genius. This book was a snore.
I managed to make it through (I admit a lot of skimming). BUT holy crap, nothing really happened.

There were a lot of well written details. It did seem like an old fashioned Victorian tale. However, I did not give a crap about any characters. Not a whit. 

I've been to New Zealand - that gave me an interest. Oops. Did not care.

Oh well.  Let me save you time and money.  I'm shallow. I'm dense. I give this a ............don't waste your time and energy.

You are welcome.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Friday - and despite openings in TX, nah - it's quarantine

Here's my sister-in-law Cherie with her sign for my Aunt Janice (age 93).  She and my brother David were kind enough to visit at the long term care facility for her. They hung outside her window, waved, and blew kisses.

Aunt Janice is not doing great. As the doctor said, "She's tuckered out."   And that's okay...not shocking. But it's very sad during this quarantine time period.

I held a pity party for myself last Friday. I've not been to PA to see my father. He's doing fine. But I did not get to see Aunt J in March when I was supposed to go.

I realize, folks have lost their jobs. They are sick. They have no insurance. There's so much wrong in this world, and I'm okay.  But, I was mad and sad and just being pissy.

Poor Ray

So, thank  you Cherie for shining a light in this world.   That is positive energy and I am grateful.

Carry on

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Wednesday Moment

I might be getting a tad punchy, but this cartoon cracked me up during our quarantine phase of life. This is a test of marriage and "I'll try" seems appropriate right now.

My niece was supposed to be married in Charleston on Sunday. It was going to be a grand party weekend with the wedding on a harbor cruise boat. Sounded fun, right?  Then Ray and I were headed on Monday to Folly Beach for a little R&R.  Oh well. No beach, no seagulls, no waves lapping to shore. I'm off to work daily. Then, I'm lucky I can sit on our patio at home and look at our pool. I took a brief plunge this past Friday afternoon - brrr, a bit bracing at 72 F.

Stay sane everyone. Each day, let's just try...

Monday, May 4, 2020

Book Review - A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

He can't leave. You won't want to.   That's on the cover blurb and it is so true.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles is a rich well written lovely book. This book casts a spell as it relates the Count's endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose. (cover blurb)

1922, thirty year old Count Rostov is an unrepentant aristocrat and sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. The Count is moved to an attic room and must make do with a new life. However, in is reduced circumstances he forges new friendships. Fate suddenly puts a young girl in in his hands, he must draw on all his ingenuity to protect the future she so deserves.  (cover blurb)

This summary is far too simplistic. The writing is rich, the cast and characters in the hotel are well developed. The writing is divine. So many simple moments that give one pause.

p. 12
 "A king fortifies himself with a castle, " observed the Count, " a gentleman with a desk."

Early on, he mourns possessions and his loss of the glorious life of freedom he once had.  As he ages, he truly learns about people, priorities, politics, and his capacity to love and fight.

A Gentleman in Moscow is a book to read, savor, and probably read again.