Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Book Review - Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

My PA book gang just read this rather sad, candid coming-of-age story by Michelle Zauner (musically known as Japanese Breakfast) - Crying in H Mart. I'll be honest since I chose this book that it was quite difficult to take at times due to the heartfelt material. It was a lot deeper than I expected, but in a good way. 

At mid-twenties, Michelle was a waitress and trying to launch a musical career in Philly. She stopped everything and  flew to Oregon to be with her mother who was battling final stages of cancer. Whew!

Her book reveals how she grew apart from and then back to her Korean identity.  cover blurb With humor and heart, she tells of growing up Asian American, straining to meet her mother's expectations, moving across the country, and returning home  to reckon with grief. As an adult she learns to cook Korean dishes that revive her memories. She savors the unexpected solace of weekly trips to her favorite Asian grocery store. 

This book definitely digs into a mother/daughter relationship. I had to keep reminding myself as I read this about her youth. 

p.53 Music rushed in to fill the void. It cracked a fissure, splintered a vein, through the already precarious and widening rift between my mother and me; it would become a chasm that threatened to swallow us whole.  

p.225  The lessons she imparted, the proof of her life lived on in me, in my every mood and deed

As someone who has no knowledge of Korean food, this book offered interesting descriptions to me. Food was a connection to Michelle and her mother and heritage. I want to wander the aisles of H Mart, but not cry. 

I did however cry for Michelle and her mother, for a too young death, and a young motherless adult. 

Crying in H Mart is an interesting memoir, well-written, and it gives insight into Michelle Zauner's (Japanese Breakfast) music. 

Monday, March 28, 2022

Monday Moments - Right Around the Corner

A few Thursdays ago, I drove Ray right around the corner (well, it was a few more streets than that but still super close and tucked in a very fancy neighborhood) to the Colleyville Nature Center. 

I figured he could use some new scenery and at least walk to a bench. He's making super good progress from the knee surgery.  Well, he did walk  a bit on a path and then back to the car.  He rested and I zoomed off for a better look. 

Nifty little paths, some right behind these monster homes. I did not take pics of people's backyards. Trying to respect some privacy. But trust me - Wow!   Instead I peered over the sides of a bridge over a creek. Lovely reflections. 

 Nice little park and so close to us. Once spring emerges, this will be a lovely haven for more walks.

I did get Ray home and he elevated and iced the leg.

(P.S. Now it's two weeks later and he is released to drive!  Not a major road trip, but at least to his rehab.  Hooray)

Friday, March 25, 2022

Pop-Up Blog for CassaDark by Alex J. Cavanaugh

 Consider this a little Pop-Up tent as a side bar to his book tour. I am happy to support Alex J. Cavanaugh, a blog leader extraordinaire, fantastic writer, and all  around good guy.

Here's his blurb


By Alex J. Cavanaugh


“Cavanaugh returns to the world of his Cassa Series…for a fourth inventive space opera.” – Publisher’s Weekly


His world is unraveling…


Bassan’s father is stepping down from command. His best friend almost dies when Bassan freezes. Now, he’s being sent across the galaxy to speak at an important conference. Despite saving the eleven races years ago, he’s paralyzed by doubt. Could things get any worse?


Once there, new acquaintance Zendar convinces Bassan to visit his planet for a humanitarian mission. Bassan’s special connection to ancient technology is the key to saving Zendar’s people. One problem though—it’s a prisoner planet.


On Ugar, he discovers things aren’t so straightforward. As each truth reveals itself, the situation grows more desperate. If he can’t find the right answers, he might die along with Zendar’s people. Can Bassan summon the courage to be a hero again?


Print - 9781939844842

EBook – 9781939844859

Science Fiction – Adventure/Space Opera/Space Exploration



iTunes –

Amazon –

Barnes & Noble –

Kobo –

Scribed –

Goodreads –

Good luck, Alex and happy reading for all of your fans

Have a good weekend everyone

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Wednesday What?

 Blythe Grossberg's nonfiction book I Left My Homework in the Hamptons (What I Learned Teaching the Children of the One Percent) is a very interesting quick read. Dr. Grossberg is a tutor and learning  specialist. Her experiences inside the high-end apartments of Fifth Avenue are beyond what ninety nine percent of us could fathom. 

She writes this book using  composites of the teens she tutored in writing. Kids are kids and often she's the one adult these kids actually have time to talk with in a day. Otherwise they are being driven  to squash practices, then to private school. They are being fed by cooks or ordering room service if they live in  luxury hotel  (!!), and maids do their laundry. Many of these kids do not see their executive parents who are traveling. 

There is SO much competition, status anxiety, and absolutely NO unstructured time for these youths. The key is the Ivy League - whatever the cost, hundreds of thousands of dollars, are spent to prepare these kids for a slot.  cover blurb  Grossberg shows us the privileged world of America's wealthiest families and the systems in place that help them stay on top. The stories are funny and shocking. 

I enjoyed reading this book and just shaking my head. Beyond imagination. 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Monday Moment - Sing Like an Angel

 Renee Elise Goldsberry in concert was the grand finale event for my previous Sunday. This was after my DMA and Nasher art strolls. At 3 pm at the Myerson Symphony Hall, she appeared with a small band (piano, drums, guitar, bass, and backup singers) to sing. Oh my, this Tony Award winner gave quite a performance. Just lovely. 

She opened with "On a Clear Day" and that transitioned to "I Can See Clearly Now (The Rain is Gone)". From there, she spoke briefly about the past two years - pandemic, protests, war - and declared "Let's enjoy music and  have some joy in this  world."  She is doing her part!

From soul to pop to Broadway, her voice covers the gamut. She did appear as Nala on Broadway in The Lion King, as Mimi in Rent, and  best of all as the original Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton. Her numbers from that show brought down the house. 

Renee Elise Goldsberry shared her voice and energy with us for two hours. Joyous!

Friday, March 18, 2022

Finally Friday - More Treats

Finally Friday. Push away the worries of the week
Lean into the weekend

Rest your weary bones

After our DMA stroll (see Wednesday post), now we check out the Nasher Sculpture Center. It's right next door in the Dallas Arts District.  I enjoyed their outdoor area.  Indoors was an exhibition of Harry Bertoia's work - astounding metal pieces including a whole grouping that "play like instruments". The thrum of the art was quite a vibe. 

What's your vibe this weekend?   Enjoy as spring slowly evolves

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Whatever Wednesday - Walk with Me

Walk with me in the Dallas Museum of Art sculpture garden.  I enjoyed a lovely Sunday stroll, and now I share it with you today
Dappled sunlight streamed over very cool sculptures

Sphere in sunlight

 Geometric delight. 

It's so nice  to emerge back  into the world.  Go see some art - indoors or outdoors. There is always something to delight the eye.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Book Review - Jeneration X by Jen Lancaster

 Jen Lancaster has cracked me up through the years with her humorous essays on her life. I thought I read all her books, but came across Jeneration X at the library book sale. For one  dollar, I laughed out loud multiple times.

cover blurb - Here the author gives herself and her generation a kick in the X, by facing her greatest challenge to date: acting her age. 

She's embracing investment making, mortgage carrying, life insurance having adult she's become. With each rite of passage she completes, she'll uncover a valuable - and probably humiliating- life lesson that will ease her path to full-fledged, if reluctant, adulthood. 

 Her long suffering husband, Fletch, is a hoot as he  often guides or tries to keep her on the right path. She'll admit she's selfish. She'll admit she's vindictive. And often the funniest bits are her footnotes at the bottom of the page - she can let loose the snark. 

p 212   Chapter 18 title  The One About the Monkey      (trust me, funny as hell)

and  the Reluctant Adult Lesson Learned in this chapter - You are not too cool for the Fair, but you are  too old not to practice moderation. 

I am way older than Gen X, but absolutely enjoyed Jen's Jen X journey. 

Friday, March 11, 2022

Book Review - The Matrix - it's a book , not the movie

cover blurb:  she rides out of the forest alone, seventeen years old, in the cold march drizzle, marie who comes from France

1158 - a bedraggled Marie, banished from Queen Eleanor's court, is now in England at a much maligned abbey.  Poor, starving nuns. No resources. 

Matrix by Lauren Groff is a weird little book with a very old flavor to it. Spare and yet rich - this book is a "defiant and timely exploration of the raw power of female creativity in a corrupted world." (cover blurb)

Marie is an ungainly giantess of her day, no beauty, yet cunning, smart, resourceful. She is strong-willed and soon learns to manipulate what she can to get food, secure the abbey, conquer diseases, and use her faith and visions to instill strength. This book is not long and Groff leaps through the years -covering plagues, blight, and salvation. 

p. 117 Without the first matrix (Eve, House of Death), there could be no salvatrix (Mary, House of Life), the greatest matrix of all. 

p.177 There is a fine polish of near morning upon the abbey....

p.226 Collapse is the constant state of humanity...civilization after civilization foundering to dust, until the final death of the children of Eve with the apocalypse, the seven seals, the seven trumpets, the seven angels, the seven bowls. 

I liked Marie, the various nuns - some cranky, some wily, some mad, and the style of Matrix. I almost felt I should be reading it on dusty old parchment while drinking from a chalice. Kudos to Lauren Groff. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Book Review - Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

 Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead is a monster of a book with two story arcs. I really liked and admired this book, the characters, the storylines, the writing, and the ambition of this author. 

1914 -  Twin babies, Marian and Jamie Graves are rescued from a sinking ocean liner. These infants are sent  to Missoula, MT and raised by an uncle. Teenager Marian begins a lifelong love of flight when she meets some barnstormers. Alas, she gets a wealthy bootlegger patron who provides a plane, lessons, and then life choices that haunt her forever. Prohibition, Alaska wilds, wartime London - Marian flies the globe and her ultimate destiny - circumnavigating the globe by flying over the North and South Pole.  (cover blurb)

Meanwhile, 2014, Hadley Baxter is cast to play Marian in a film that centers on Marian's disappearance in Antarctica. Her immersion in the character unfolds alongside Marion's own story, as the two women's destinies - and their hunger for self-determination in vastly different places and times - intersect in astonishing ways. 

Plus the side stories of Jamie Graves, the artist, the sensitive twin intertwines with Marian at various points. There's always a deep connection and understanding. 

Plus, there's Caleb, a childhood friend/lover/constant in Marian's life. 

Great Circle is a tour de force.   I could pick any page and give you a sample of lovely prose. The circling of lives, the exhilaration of early flight, and then the fears, yearnings, need for alone time. The expanse of Montana, the skies, the great ice and waters of the earth, clouds, engine hum. You will soar while reading this book. 

Monday, March 7, 2022

Moody Monday Book Review - Cathedral (short stories) by Raymond Carver

 For a mere fifty cents at the library book sale, I bought Cathedral by Raymond Carver. It's a collection of short stories from the early 1980s and considered some of his best work. 

jealousy, insecurity, isolation, detachment and connection

Old Raymond is a bummer to read. Then again, he captures a lot of quiet desperation against stark backdrops. 

Yes, the writing is good but it was a bit jarring here in 2022. The man was an alcoholic and every story, every character practically starts their day with a drink and continues from there. Plenty of smoking too. It seemed a bit dated, like watching some old black and white films. 

I try to revisit classics, but this was a tough one. 

Friday, March 4, 2022

Finally Friday Phoebe

 Comedian, writer, producer, and actress - Phoebe Robinson does it all and her latest book, Please Don't Sit On My Bed in Your Outside Clothes, is timely, funny, serious, and perfect social commentary. 


cover blurb - Turns out me looking like a bootleg Diana Ross on this book's cover is not enough to entice folks to read it. 

We've all been through a trying time, which is why I wrote something to make you laugh until you pee a little, feel until you want  to rage a little, and think until you want  to go back to laughing a little. 

Yep. That sums it up. She's got a wide variety - quarantining with her white British boyfriend, Black Lives Matter, a decision to not have kids, her time with Michelle Obama, black hair, and running multiple companies. I laughed out loud a lot. I also gleaned truths and learned a bit about another perspective. 

p. 104 On how she hates unnecessary Zoom meetings and believes in email:  So in the future, when you want to set a Zoom, ask yourself, Could this be an email? If the answer is "yes", then b*#ch, clickety-clack, click click on your keyboard like a Delta Airlines employee trying to rebook you on a flight and keep it moving.  

 Just that little example gives you an idea of the tone and teensy observations that are SO true. I got this book from the library and enjoyed it immensely. I'll look for her stand-up specials. Phoebe Robinson is cool, hot, gifted, and hysterical. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Whatever Wednesday - Love

Old tale. New take. Director Joe Wright presents a lush  (light) musical (!) adaptation of Edmond Rostand's classic play Cyrano de Bergerac. This Cyrano stars lovelorn wit Peter Dinklage. It's not the nose, it's his height that keeps him yearning quietly for his dearest friend, the lovely Roxanne (Haley Bennett). She is captivated by handsome soldier Christian (Kelvin Harrison Jr). 

Christian is tongue-tied and basic but his love for Roxanne is sincere. Cyrano uses his words through letters for Christian/Roxanne to pour out his heart. Roxanne is trying to evade the disgusting suitor De Guiche (deliciously evil Ben Mendelsohn), but he has the power to send the soldiers to the front. 

The rock band the National's music is wistful, aching, and modern, and adds to the mood and nuances of this tale. Wright has directed a beautiful production. Dinklage has the most expressive face and eyes - so much emotion. Bennett's Roxanne sings, shows her smarts and beauty. Harrison's Christian has innocent youth shining through. Quite the trio of players in a love triangle. 

Swordplay, Wordplay. Love.                               Go see Cyrano!