Friday, February 26, 2021

2021 Piles on More

 One week ago - 2/19/21 - at 2:30 am, Ray leaped out of bed after hearing banging.  I sleep like I'm dead - slow to react. 

I hear shouting. Ray runs back in to the bedroom to grab his gun and has his phone.  I am up - hear shouting and then Ray says, "You broke the glass. Get away, get away. I have a gun and I've called the police."  I hear more noise. 

I am up, reach out into the kitchen to get my phone, and retreat to the bedroom closet to call 911. Police are headed our way. They keep me on the line. I can see the reflection of flashing lights.  Meanwhile, Ray had also called and was on the line to tell them they drove by the house (crap - turns out GPS said our house was at the end of the block)

Meanwhile, the dude was bleeding. He was not trying to reach in or open the door. Ray said he kept saying, "This is my house. Let me in."  He did not run when the police flew by or finally walked back to the house.  They took him face down.  Said he was totally intoxicated. 

The police were very professional. They got our story.  I had to excuse myself - I am a crier and a barfer.  I was shaking.  Ray stayed cool.  Once the police left, we swept up glass and Ray secured the busted front door area.  Holy crap, my blog friends.   

In bed at 3:30 - I think I fell asleep. Ray slept fitfully. We were both awake at 7 am and watched Aussie Open (yea - Naomi - good job)

Talk about wired, tired, and feeling on edge.  Our morning was disrupted - I did laundry just to do something.  I talked to my Dad and family, texted friends - lots of support.  Same for Ray. 

We went to our fave Tex-Mex place for lunch and had grande margaritas.  Chilled out and ate well. 

Home at 2 to collapse in front of the TV and we both slept, total decompression - awoke at 5 pm. 

It's now 10 pm  Sat evening as I write this. I think we are okay and under control. 

Well, then after midnight, Ray leaped up on edge again.... false alarm. Whew!

But - I gotta say - I am DONE with 2021 already.  Done with Feb, done with winter, done with it all. 

We are lucky, fortunate, and in the scheme of the world we have it great.  BUT - enough already. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Movie Review Madness - Nomadland

 Showing on Hulu - Nomadland is excellent.  Frances McDormand is a treasure of an actress. Her face is like a Georgia O'Keefe photo.  Strong, intelligent, every emotion passes through her hooded eyes, every wrinkle's been earned.  She's truly fearless, honest, and brave. 

Circa 2011 - Empire Gypsum in Nevada has gone belly up and a whole town/zip code disappears. Fern and husband Beau hung in there as company folk. Beau passes from cancer, and she packs everything into a van and hits the road. She becomes a nomad. 

In different camps, she meets folks/ makes some friends (Linda, Skankie, Dave, and more - very character actors). It's a tough life. Word of mouth tells where jobs are (she does seasonal work at Amazon to make some bigger bucks at Christmas time). Arizona and the desert have a strong RV camp base. Fern stays on the move. Can't commit - she's chasing something.  Visits her sister for a bit, but has to move on. 

This movie captures a life that's certainly for strong individuals. It has moments of sadness, poignancy, hope, and it's filled with American spirit and ingenuity. Frances McDormand gives an Oscar winning performance, in my opinion. 

Wow and whoa. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Book review - Me by Elton John

 Me by Elton John is an awesome memoir.  As you read it, you feel as if you are just sitting around and chatting with Elton. So personable. So chatty. So relatable.  He dishes the dirt, and does not hold back on any subject.  He acknowledges flaws, issues, ridiculous excesses, and is not overly apologetic. He is what he is, he did what he did, and it's all there in black and white. 

And you'll love him and this book.  Fortunately the man lived to tell his tale and even he can say how crazy he was and now how blessed he is now with a husband, kids, his charities, his friends, and his music. 

Rough childhood, nerdy insecurities, ridiculous talent,  and solid friendships. Despite a respite due to his drug problems, he and Bernie Taupin are soul mates and talents extreme and fortunately past the addiction issues. 

Me takes you on an intimate journey with a living legend.  He is still standing, and we are still applauding Sir Elton John. 

Circle of Life, Crocodile Rock, Candle in the Wind, Philadelphia Freedom, Bennie and the Jets, Daniel, Your Song...................and more and more and more.  Don't Go Breaking My Heart, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, name your favorites...........

Friday, February 19, 2021

Friday - so, here's the Texas weather report

Never in our thirty years at our house has the pool frozen.  Well, there's always a first time. 

This has been a record breaking ordeal.  And after the sweetness of Valentine's Day - a little snow,  comfy pants, good meal, and chocolate - the true test of marriage began as Texas Weather, Polar Vortex temps, and Snowmaggedon descended upon the fair land.   (We declared a rule - no cannibalism)

Rolling power outages started after early Monday 2/15 morning - 2am,  3 am, 6:45 am....and that did not roll. It stopped.  NO POWER and outside temp was  3 degrees.   Yikes.  Inside temp dropped rapidly. We had under counter drawers open, dripping faucets, and Ray rigged a space heater to our large propane grill tanks and brought it all into the house.  He then used a shovel to bust up pool ice. 

Electricity outages were spotty.  My work was fine so we drove the 15 minutes to Omega. Roads were dicey but not much traffic. One tech was there -Zach and I did work. Ray hung out.  We did our best and left around noon.  At home, it was futile - the pool froze again, pump was frozen. It was SO COLD.   We hunkered in one room with blankets and the heater. 

Continued outage.  Read by flashlight, went to bed under a mound of blankets. House temp - 55 or so. 

Tuesday dawned pretty - but bitter cold - 2 degrees. Still no power.  We headed to Omega - I worked. Ray hung.  We could microwave a hot lunch.  Afternoon - got to Ray's folks - they had power. We enjoyed a hot shower and a snooze.  Headed home - wanted to be there over night in case of pipe issues. 

Wednesday - awake and still no power.  House temp at 49 or so.  Back to Omega to warm up, charge up, communicate with the outside world. (Some friends had no power, others no water, it was a mess) After work, tried to find more propane for back up. Ha Ha! Too late for that.  We did go to Chili's nearby - open and warm and functioning - a hot meal was yummy. We feasted.  Home to continue our marriage test.  Still talking. Some laughter. We had alternated some meltdowns, but truly did pretty good. 

 Wednesday night - 11:45 pm - ding....power is on!!!!   Wow.  Heater started cranking.  No obvious water disasters appeared. Hot water working.  It took all night, but Thursday we awoke to our normal house temp. Hot shower felt great. Tasty breakfast in our own home - hooray.  Ray drove me to Omega to work, then came home  to do a deeper check of things. Too soon for the pool - lots more thawing must occur.  He picked me back up and now I'm catching up on blog posts, comments, and real world home stuff. 

We are happy and grateful we do have a house, food, light, etc. 

Texas, the state, failed in its infrastructure, response, etc. Reports from ten years ago showed what should have been done or upgraded to "winterize" wind turbines, natural gas flow, etc.  Nope - no doubt politics and money and greed truly caused this epic fail.  And sadly probably cost people their lives. 

Mother Nature.  Weather.  Climate changes.   Some are weatherwise, some are otherwise - Ben Franklin

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Wednesday Moments - Seriously 2021?

Had to share my friends.  So Ray gave me the funniest card. It's perfect
He also included this pack of the old fashioned candy conversation hearts.  I eagerly opened them and was excited to read my first love message:

Blank.    Nothing.    Nada   Zilch

NO printed message on any of the candies. 


2021 strikes again.   No mercy, my friends...


Monday, February 15, 2021

Monday Moment - Year of the Ox 2021

The Year of the Ox is all about hard work.  Everything I read says that it's nose to the grindstone. 

Well, snow could stop productivity in a heartbeat in Texas.  There are no plows.  I do own a shovel.  But ice covered with snow - that's a game changer.  This weekend we've started at 21 and hit 32. 

Predictions take us into the teens.  Stop the presses.  Stop traffic.  Only 15 minutes away and I may not be going to work.  (Bonus binge day!)

Six more weeks of winter indeed.  2021 is just piling on the joy from 2020.  

Happy Monday - and Chinese/Lunar New Year, Valentine's Day, President's Day, Mardi Gras, and Ash Wednesday - dang - February is busy. 

Does it all involve chocolate?   That's all that matters.  Cheers my friends and celebrate the week any way you can.  Just stay warm and mask up!

Friday, February 12, 2021

Valentine's Weekend

True love is friendship on fire - a proverb
Love must be as much light as a flame - Henry David Thoreau

Love is a fire

But whether it is going to warm your hearth

or burn down your house, you can never tell  - Joan Crawford

Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes

There is just too much fraternizing with the enemy - Henry Kissinger

 Love and Valentine's  - 2021 style - mask up?!!!  Add chocolate.... stay warm

and for some amusement check out Robyn's for her annual (hysterical ) anti-Valentine contest

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Whatever Wednesday

 nothing like a good punctuation joke

Now - some random quotes

Everybody else is working to change, persuade, tempt, and control them. The best readers come to fiction to be free of all that noise - Philip Roth

Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures- Jessamyn West

Play is the real work of childhood - Fred Rogers

If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as work - William Shakespeare

The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder - Thomas Carlyle

and now I set sail for another day of work....Have a good Wednesday

Monday, February 8, 2021

Monday Book Review - Swapping Lives by Jane Green

 Swapping Lives by Jane Green is a very fluffy no-brainer of a read. There's no true redeeming value other than escape and entertainment. The book was a fun companion for a weekend and in true Wizard of Oz fashion the message is "There's no place like home."

Vicky lives a glamorous London life as a director for Poise magazine. Fashion, cool clubs, the "in" stuff - she has it all except for a life in the country with an adoring husband and fabulous children. 

Amber Winslow has it all in Connecticut - the suburban life with a huge McMansion, the gorgeous husband who commutes to Wall Street, amazing kids, and her rank on the social committees is high. Hubby is a "Winslow" - maybe the money's sorta gone, but the name has cachet in social circles. 

Both women from across ponds yearn for that elusive something else. Something's missing. Amber answers an ad in Poise and is selected to swap lives with Vicky. Each are excited at first in the newfound glow of a "new" life. But soon they see the underbelly and miss the old familiar. They also recognize what they've been doing wrong in their lives and how they can fix it - fill in or slow down. 

We all have those moments of seeing "grass is greener elsewhere," but true reality shows that the best possibilities are right in our own backyard with the folks who know us best.  Swapping Lives is a quick charming read. 

Friday, February 5, 2021

Finally Friday - Kick Back, Be Quiet, Have a chat with Friends

February Friday and what's ahead for the weekend?   I always have time to kick back - Chucks on, afghan snuggle, and a good book. Or I might be "resting my eyes" a second.   ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
This quiet meme is very true.  Take time to just turn off the noise - no TV, no radio, no phone. 
Take a moment to stop, breathe, listen
Well, due to pandemic, there have not been any in-person birthday parties for kids at shelters.  I have contributed, and the BPP is fortunately still providing birthday in a box for them - treats, gifts, and more. It's not the same. But it's still a celebration to let kids know they matter. 
This Saturday, I am going to an in-person party for an "older" kid - Linda Hoffman (in the green). Garage or patio depending on the weather. We (me on the left, Julie in red) are celebrating quite a number (her real day is Monday 2-8-21) and Linda loves a party.  So pizza, bubbly, and some cake, along with an afternoon of chatter, laughter, and no doubt stories and reminiscing.

I'm glad it's Friday and a weekend.  Go Patrick and Chiefs on Super Bowl Sunday - yes, that's my day to bond with Ray. 

Hope you can kick back, be quiet, and chat with a friend or two. Take care and stay safe.  

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Whatever Serious Wednesday - Caste by Isabel Wilkerson


This is a must read book. Isabel Wilkerson has out done herself as a writer, researcher, and commentator for our times. 

I participated in a book talk of hers and it was so cool. She's smart, well spoken, and is on top of a topic for our times.  As a Pulitzer Prize winning author for her columns, she now commands our attention in her research and books.  I loved The Warmth of Other Suns about the  migration of folks from the south to the north and the impact on so many people. 

In Caste she compares Nazi Germany, India, and America - the research is astounding.  

Cover blurb - she explores how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. 

Anyone with a friend of color has experienced this.  At a restaurant, she and a white friend were ignored.   My husband, Ray, with a black co-worker were pulled over. Once the policeman realized the driver was Ray (white), they were dismissed.  


The insidious flow of caste is experienced every day. So many examples are given. 

Isabel Wilkerson's research is flawless and worthy of attention.  

cover blurb - She points the way forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions toward hope in our common humanity. 

This is an amazing read!  Trust me.  I love her writing and would love to hang out with her for a day. 

Monday, February 1, 2021

Monday Moment Book Review - The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

 The rules are simple:

1. Tell a lie

2. Stick to your story

3. And never, ever get caught....

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware is a solid page turner with lots of twists, turns, questions, gasps, and solid characters playing an old college game that's far more dangerous as grown adults. Isa (our narrator with her baby Freya), Thea, and Fatima all get a text from Kate - I need you

Each drop a thread of normal life and head to the coastal village of Salten, England to The Mill where Kate still lives. They met at boarding school in the town, played their lying game, got kicked out of school, and made their way separately in the world. Yet, when a bone/then body is found at the estuary, they return to confront a drunken crazy night they'd rather forget. Ambrose (an artist and art teacher), Kate's father, overdosed and way too much happened that fateful night. 

Now, they are back to help Kate answer questions - why was the body buried and no one notified? Luc (her "brother") is back from France and angry. What was his part in this story? Lots of issues unfold and the lies keep circling, the rumors and threats (a dead sheep) put everyone on edge. The waters keep rising at The Mill, the possibility of fire flickers, excess alcohol exacerbates suspicions. 

The Lying Game has atmosphere and is fraught with a chilling undertone. Maybe you do have to know when to stop lying...

(I won't lie - this is a really entertaining read. Well written and kept me guessing until the end. Kudos)