Friday, July 29, 2022

Finally Friday - Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

 cover blurb - My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family

Four Winds by Kristin Hannah begins in Texas 1921 and life is good. Elsa Wolcott, unmarried, meets Rafe Martinelli and her life changes. 

1934 and it's the Great Depression. Drought has dried up the land. Crops fail. Wells yield nothing. Dust storms roll across the plains. Cover blurb - Everything on the farm is dying, including a tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep Elsa's children alive. 

Choices - fight or flight. California beckons. 

As always, Hannah has done her research and gives us a sweeping  novel against the backdrop of the 1930s - a desperate time in America. Vivid characters, an attention to detail, and quite a story. Elsa is a strong woman and you'll root for her as you read Four Winds. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Wednesday Whatever - Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

 back blurb - In Peace Like a River by Leif Enger we meet eleven year-old Reuben Land, an asthmatic boy in  the Midwest who has  reason  to believe in miracles. Along with his sister and father, Reuben finds himself on a cross-country search for his outlaw older brother who has been controversially charged with murder. Their journey unfolds like a revelation, and its conclusion shows how family,  love, and faith can stand up to the most terrifying of enemies, the most tragic of fates. 

I bought this book for fifty cents at a library sale. This back blurb intrigued me,  and indeed the characters and story line kept me interested. I am not a religious person and the idea of a "faith" kind of book does not generally fly into my wheelhouse. However,  this book is  not banging  anyone over the head. It's nicely written. I liked Reuben and the outlaw brother,  Davy, is stalwart. I definitely got more than my money's worth from this book, and found it rather  peaceful. 

Monday, July 25, 2022

Manic Monday Flashbacks

I am probably driving back from PA by now.  Let's leave with memories  of really tall  trees.  I am a tree hugger - always look up
By August I'll be back poolside. And the pool will be a spa.  Texas heat , damn!
While I was gone, I bet  Ray made  it  to  San  Saba  to visit Aunt Pat.  No doubt they enjoyed  an adult beverage while watching a splendid sunset. This is from  a past  visit. I can vouch for the splendid skies.  
Coats?  Quebec.  This was my PA gang many years ago on our Canada trip.  So much fun. So many laughs. 

 And little sand toes by me and Ray in Orange Beach,  Alabama.  So nice.  We need another beach vacation soon.  

This has been  your Manic Monday Flashback that  was actually quite relaxing.  Hope it's a good week,  gang 

Friday, July 22, 2022

Friday - Read more - Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

 2 children for sale

1931 and this is a sign of last resort.   Breadlines, bank runs, broken dreams.  

back cover blurb - Struggling reporter Ellis Reed snaps  a photo of the children, not meant for publication. But when it leads to his big break, the consequences are more devastating than he ever imagined. 

Lillian Palmer is haunted by her role in all that happened. As the bonds of motherhood are tested, she and  Ellis must decide how much they are willing to risk to mend a fractured family. 

Inspired by an actual newspaper photograph that stunned the nation, Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris is a powerful  novel  of love, redemption, and the unexpected paths that bring us home. 

Tough read, but knowing it's based on history makes it  very compelling. The author obviously did her research and  she writes a fiction novel  ripped  from 1931 headlines.  Well done. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Wednesday Whatever - July Junk

Crazy from the heat in July. This summer is turning out to be a HOT one. It was about time - the past  few summers have not been "too bad".  It's all relative in TX.   So - here's some flashback summer items.  Chinese Lanterns at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens was an awesome exhibit. 
Here's a way back photo of our backyard - BP - Before Pergola.  We still have the mister system and it turns the temp down about five degrees.  That can mean a lot. 
Oldie flashback  to a New York City trip.   Central Park.  John Lennon.   Cue  "Imagine"  Aaaahhh
And another backyard flashback  to a fantastic crepe myrtle  display.  Ever since ice-m-aggedon in Feb 2020, we've been a bit on the sparse side. But she's coming back yearly. 
Friends.  You gotta have friends.  This is last year  - 2021- with Julie and Linda H. 


Monday, July 18, 2022

Monday Madness - Happy Go Lucky by David Sedaris

 Another book by David Sedaris is always welcome. Happy-Go-Lucky is another  collection of his essays worthy of a chuckle on each page  or an "Oh my he didn't just  write what we are all thinking" comment. 

This book covers time in pandemic  lockdown, dealing with the death of his father, and his observations now  that he's back  on book tours and readings - some commentary about battle-scarred America. 

He chronicles time in  an interesting  manner and his sisters always add another dimension, especially Amy Sedaris. And there's his partner, Hugh, who when David reads him a new piece, says "That's terrible" guarantees David will use it and the audience will laugh. 

I read, laugh out loud, and  also shake my head at David Sedaris' observations. It's not jokes. He gives you the setting, the characters, and then you see how his brain twists and pulls in small details to make a big picture of a life moment.  He's a hoot!

Friday, July 15, 2022

Happy Birthday Dad

dad with his sister, Janice
dapper Dad back in the day
baby boy George
Dad with my sister, Lori.  She's the best!
Dad with my mom on their wedding day


Happy Birthday Dad!   91 now.  Last year was the big 90 celebration.  Now - it's "are you going to get to  100?  slog along".   

He had a bad week with Covid this year, but came out of it okay. No after effects. 

He broke his foot just  before the Covid and managed to heal and make  it through lugging his boot around (complaining a lot). 

He's enjoyed many of his old movies a zillion times - thank goodness  for Turner  Classics. 

And he  got to see the new Downton Abby movie - A New Era.  

Oh, my Dad is a bit nuts, but he's our crazy dad in a good way. Still chugging  along in his house happy for his chicken salad sandwich, good strawberries, and a cookie. 

Happy Birthday, Dad.  Love ya lots!

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Wednesday - The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel is a unique novel set at the glittering intersection of two seemingly disparate events - a massive Ponzi scheme collapse and the mysterious disappearance of a woman from a ship at sea.  (cover blurb)

First the Hotel Caiette - a five start hotel, remote on an island off Vancouver. Vincent, an attractive young female bartender, meets her future husband, Jonathan Alkaitis under disturbing circumstances. Someone just scrawled "Why don't you swallow broken glass?" on the glass bar. 

Switch to Manhattan - retirement accounts, a Saudi  prince's fortune - Alkaitis' financial empire collapses. 

Zoom over to  cargo vessel, the Neptune Cumberland, where Vincent disappears between ports of call. 

This book moves smoothly between time, locations, and growing  troubles. 

cover blurb - Rife with unexpected beauty, The Glass Hotel is a captivating portrait of greed and guilt, love and delusion, ghosts and unintended consequences, and the infinite ways we search for meaning in our lives. 

I liked this book a lot. The writing is riveting,  the author truly pulls it all together,  and I said wow at the end. Plus you ultimately understand  the broken glass reference - so much is fragile in life. 

Monday, July 11, 2022

Monday Book Humor

I am still in PA and I worked these posts up ahead of time.  Here's a bit of laziness, but we need some humor these days. 
Exactly!!  Who else is way too addicted to reading?  When I packed  for my trip to PA, I pick books  before I pack underwear. 

And I liked this one below because as some friends disburse, I could totally do this show - I've got cousins in NV, FL, OR, CA. And I have friends in NC, ME, NJ, and more. 

 Hope this has brought a Monday chuckle. Have a good week ahead. 

Friday, July 8, 2022

Friday Stretch the Brain - Their Eyes Were Watching God

 A classic.  An amazing work of literature.  Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston - how have I missed reading this all these years?  Better late than never. 

1937 classic

cover blurb - Janie Crawford refuses to live in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams. As she endured three marriages and a life marked by trials and  tribulations, she evolves into an unforgettable heroine. 

This is a tough tricky read due to the language/slang of the day. The characters are authentic and I had to get my brain wrapped around the lingo. Once you get into the rhythm of Ms. Hurston, this book is really deep as far as emotions and life. 

p. 71 Janie     The spirit of the marriage left the bedroom and took  to living in the parlor. It was there to shake hands whenever company came to visit, but it never went back to the bedroom again. 

p. 108  In the cool of the afternoon the fiend from hell specially sent to lovers arrived at Janie's ear. Doubt. 

Oh Tea Cake - he's a special man. She doubts but he keeps coming back. He's hot. He's in  love. 

The passion in this book is so authentic. The pages sizzle.  I'm very glad I read this book!

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Wednesday Whatever - Women and Painting

On our art outing in the Fort Worth Cultural District, Ray and I explored the Modern Museum. 

They had an excellent exhibit of Women Painting Women featuring a  variety of women artists and specifically women of color. The goal was to show how our eyes have become so accustomed to male artists, their subjects being white, naked, etc.   Tables turned gentleman.  There are plenty of women working on art featuring  women and various subjects. 

The detail in the above painting was gorgeous  - my favorite.  I apologize for not noting the artist's names.  My bad completely. 

This too had so many rich colors and symbolism. 

 Superb exhibit and stellar presentation.  My favorite title of a painting that I'm not showing  was Swimming, Smoking, and Crying.  It was a Wow

Backyard folks  - The Modern is a 30 minute drive and just offers so much richness. Aaah!

Friday, July 1, 2022

July 4th Weekend

I am writing this in June. Hope America makes it to the 4th 
I am posting pictures of past July 4th celebrations. So innocent.   Yes - I am promoting water guns! Only water guns....

 I am in PA right now, hanging  with Dad. I hope our country can find its way. 

Dare I say,  God Bless America?