Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Whatever Wednesday - A Christmas Cuteness Recap

Christmas Eve Day - Santa Ray with Kevin
Me and Ray - cuteness level needs to ramp up

 Cuteness Star - Dakota age 4.  Very pleased with her new tool set courtesy of Pops (i.e. Ray).  Safety first - apparently she's worn the goggles a lot.  Hammer, saw...I'm thinking there might be more destruction than construction ahead. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Monday Moments - Basketball

Got a last minute invite to go see the Dallas Mavericks play basketball last Thursday evening. The Lorios (we have known them a long time and they are our financial folks) have had season tickets for over 15 years. The folks they had invited had to cancel due to Covid. Oops. So, we lucked out.
Awesome seats, good company, and a loss, but exciting play by the "D" team. None of the big names were in the game - injury, Covid, you name it. No matter what it was a very fun evening.  (FREE! - that's always a bonus)

I hope you folks have had a good holiday. Now we aim toward New Year's Eve. So fun filler posts for now. 

Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas

This is one of my favorite Christmas pics of all time - Abby at age two awakening to a castle. 


I wish you all a very Merry Christmas

Peace and love


Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Wednesday Whatever - Christmas and SANTA!!!

Everyone has visions of sugarplums at this point in the year.  I just hope everyone takes time for themselves to just sit and look at the Christmas tree lights, to contemplate whatever meaning he/she has for this season, to enjoy family and/or friends. It can be a tough time for many. 

My heart does go out to the tornado victims/towns/families, etc who are suffering from such terrible destruction. I realize I am posting this under a wine meme, but that is the vast weirdness of the season. I admit when watching the news, I thought of so many eagerly awaiting Christmas with houses decorated, presents bought, and plans for celebration.  And boom - it's all gone and lives are lost. 

That is humbling. 

We have our penguin light
The bar area is decorated
I don't even have this sweatshirt anymore, but it's amusing
I did bake some peanut butter cookies this year.  More to come. The aromas - yum

Peace to all

Monday, December 20, 2021

Monday Moments - Throw Away the Clock

Will I watch more movies?
Will I write more?
I will read more
I shall enjoy the holiday season and bake when I feel like it with the penguin watching over the measurements
I'll dream of beach days ahead

At age fifteen, I began to work. I wanted my OWN money to spend or save as I pleased. At seventeen, I couldn't wait to turn eighteen so I could work as summer help at Greene Tweed (where my father worked and they hired college kids) and earn union wages. Damn! I was raking in the bucks. 

At twenty-one, I moved to Texas fresh out of college, so green, eager to be all corporate. Oh yeah - I had the padded shoulder power suits. Evenings, studied and got my MBA.  Ready for my career!

Pretty soon, I realized I wanted to do a good job and I did. BUT, I did not want to work a zillion hours, kiss butt, or play the game that hard. So I settled into the regular rat race. Changed jobs a few times. Earned decent money. 

Now after fifteen years at Omega Research, I retired as of Friday 12/17/21.

It is Monday December 20th and I can throw away the clock. No 6 am alarm (unless I'm up to catch a plane to an exotic location).  No gulping lunch in fifteen to thirty minutes.  Time is on my side now baby. I am in control. 

I can take a walk, take a nap, sweep the patio, sit on the patio, do nothing, dream of everything. 

Look out world - another young senior is loose. 

Friday, December 17, 2021

Finally Friday - Gift Suggestion - Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

 If you are still shopping for a great gift, here is a super read - Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead. 

I love this man's writing, and now he's written a hilarious novel of heists, shakedowns, and rip-offs set in Harlem in the 1960s.  (cover blurb)

    Great opening line    Ray Carney was only slightly bent even when it came to being crooked...

Ray sells furniture, makes a decent living, loves his family. But few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his facade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it. (cover blurb)

Ray gets pulled into a deal with his ne-er do well cousin Freddie. He senses this is going to blow up, and yet he could use some cash. Ray the striver versus Ray the crook. It's a double life and you are going along for the ride uptown and downtown, as Ray maneuvers between shady cops, local gangsters, two-bit pornographers, and a Harlem backdrop. 

Great writing. Rich characters. Humor. Hubris. Harlem.  Colson Whitehead with Harlem Shuffle has pulled off another winner.   p. 244 One thing I've learned in my job is that life is cheap, and when things start getting expensive, it gets cheaper still. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Wednesday Whatever - The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman

 Can one unlikely bookshop heal two broken souls?   (back blurb)

I love stories that take place with a book backdrop. Throw in Australia as a setting. I am hooked. 

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman is a gorgeously written, gentle spirited, and wise novel that reminds each of us that love, literature, and forgiveness have the power to transform our lives, and - if we dare allow them - to mend our broken hearts.  (back blurb)

1968, rural Australia. Tom Hope was dumped and divorced by what he thought was a true love. Forlorn, he meets Hannah Babel, a Hungarian immigrant who's determined to open a bookshop and get folks to read. Tom builds shelves for her but is wary of her intellect and energy. She's a force of nature with some dark secrets and a past that had her in Auschwitz. Love finds a way with these two opposites. 

You will love how this book unfolds. You'll bask in the glow of happy times. You'll root for these two during dark times. I highly recommend The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted. 

Monday, December 13, 2021

Monday Book Review - Will by Will Smith (with Mark Manson)

 Will by Will Smith by (Mark Manson) is an entertaining, peppy, breezy read. I've liked Will Smith through the years as the Fresh Prince, the blockbuster megastar, as a guest on talk shows. He's a Philly boy from humble roots who had goals, and dreams, and  he executed them. 

cover blurb This memoir is the product of a profound journey of self-knowledge, a reckoning with all that your will can get you and all that it can leave behind. The combination of genuine wisdom of universal value and a life story that is preposterously entertaining, even astonishing, puts Will the book, like its author, in a category by itself. 

I enjoyed reading this book and indeed, Will Smith, is loyal to his family, friends, and his work and goals. The book gets a bit preachy, a bit full of itself, but I could take it with a grain of salt. Will Smith likes Will Smith - hey, he has every right to brag. Even when he's being humble, even when he's at the bottom, he is still Will Smith. It's easy to judge from this chair. I don't know the man and have not lived his life under the microscope of public scrutiny. It can't be easy. 

But his memoir is a glimpse into a megastar's life. He's not lazy and he's a man with plans. We'll see how they turn out. 

Friday, December 10, 2021

Finally Friday

Roller coaster December weather.  Came off a rainy brisk Thanksgiving. Then a gradual warming. Last Saturday, we were hot and humid. We should have worn shorts to hike at the Fort Worth Nature Preserve. I had not been there in the fall and the area had a different vibe.  Still pretty
My selfie for the day
Sat on a bench and looked up.  We enjoyed the peace and quiet.  Watched some guys fishing with a bit of success. No creatures but squirrels and birds.  The bison were not on display.  As a matter of fact, we've never seen the bison there - such prima donnas - always a bad hair day?

 Enter the weekend like my Dad. Cherie sent this pic. He was happy at winning a card game. 

Take care and do take a moment for yourselves during this holiday season - take a walk, sit on a bench, have a break. Enjoy the little things. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Wednesday Whatever - Our Voice

Enjoyed a Saturday morning at the Irving Arts Center for a special exhibit:

Our Voice: Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards

Stunning books with glorious illustrations.  101 award/honor winning titles. The Coretta Scott King Awards celebrate fifty years as a champion of books about the African American Experience.
A lovely illustration of Martin Luther King Jr.   This one struck Ray's eyes.
I too, Am America by Bryan Collier (2012) caught my eye. 

The galleries were filled with watercolors, prints, oils, and photography. So many talented people. I appreciated this touring exhibition. I may have to go to my library to actually take the time to read and peruse these children's books. 

Monday, December 6, 2021

Beautiful World, Where Are You - a book review

 Critics love Sally Rooney, and I've been working on it. She's considered a writer for "this young" generation. Admittedly, I am older than her target audience, but I do appreciate good writing. I found her first two books interesting and yet annoying. Excellent writing, but her characters were not likeable and rather whiny. Strictly my opinion. 

However, third book's a charm. Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney kept me interested and engaged. Alice, a novelist; Felix, a warehouse worker; Eileen, an editor; and Simon, a handsome lawyer; are a mix of new and old friends with complicated histories. These folks have some depth to them.  Back blurb - They are still young - but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they worry about sex and friendship and the world they live in.

p.18 Alice:  I'm feeling a little loose and dissociative. It's April and the leaves aren't drifting. 

p.95 Alice: If novelists wrote honestly about their own lives, no one would read novels.

p.162 Eileen: On writing notes in a daily diary -  There was something delicate about living like that - like I was an instrument, and the world touched me and reverberated inside me. 

The characters felt very real and raw. They were concerned about today's world and yet not sure what to do about it. They were seeking stronger roots, perhaps even starting families. 

Back blurb: Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?

Words to ponder as we read our news, continue our lives, and worry about the future. Solid novel Ms. Rooney. 

Friday, December 3, 2021

Finally Friday - Foo Fighter's Memoir and More

 Dave Grohl, The Storyteller - Tales of Life and Music is a joy to read. I've seen him on some interview shows and he's an entertaining, energetic man. I've always liked him in the Foo Fighters. I wasn't keen on Nirvana. In general, a lot of his music is not in my wheelhouse. BUT - the sheer enthusiasm he has in music and life makes for a wonderful memoir. 

This book reads like he is hanging out on your patio, drinking a beer (or two or many) and just chatting. It goes back and forth from childhood to present day, as he recounts his life in music. Drumming was in his bones - even when he was beating on a pillow. He memorized music and played along to beats in his head. Never great at school, a pivotal life choice was dropping out and joining the band Scream on tour. From there he never looked back, except when he was starving and tired and questioning himself. 

Dave Grohl oozes honesty in this tale of music and his life. He doesn't back down from questionable decisions or reflect on some stuff that could have gone differently. He is a family man now and his heart is on his sleeve when it comes to his mother (he's very close), his wife and girls. He basks in his luck and is in awe of some choices he made, some people he met, and the sheer drama that is life. 

Cool dude, that's all I can say. Great sense of humor. He's a Foo Fighter, a husband, and a man who loves life. I highly recommend his book, Dave Grohl, The Storyteller. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Book Review - The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan

 The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan is the Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II.  This is a work of non-fiction that has been solidly researched. But it's told like a story as Kiernan zeroes in and follows some key women who are representative of the thousands of women brought to Oak Ridge, Tennessee to work on a secret project. Chosen from small towns across America, they performed key tasks, kept quiet, and forged bonds with strangers as they lived in a created muddy city of 75,000 residents. Chemists, secretaries, factory workers - All were key in helping to end WWII

back blurb: Drawing on the voices of the women who lived it- women who are now in their eighties and nineties - The Girls of Atomic City rescues a remarkable, forgotten chapter of American history from obscurity. Kiernan captures the spirit of the times through these women, their pluck, their desire to contribute, and their enduring courage. 

I had no idea what all went into the building of the nuclear bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. This book is fascinating as it truly goes behind the scenes and gives snippets of the action. It also shows how women and men from all walks of life truly worked together for the sake of America. Loose lips could sink ships, as the saying  goes back then. Oak Ridge, TN was an amazing hub for history. Excellent, eye-opening book.