Wednesday, August 31, 2022


Treated myself to a Sunday matinee musical at Bass Hall.  The Jubilee Theater presented Dreamgirls, and it was fabulous. 

 I had great seats in the orchestra parterre level. 

Dreamgirls was a hit on Broadway and in the movies (starred Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx, etc).  It's a tale of music dreams, girl groups, greedy managers, friendship, love, lust, and power. Good songs, dancing,  and amazing voices made this a wonderful  afternoon. 

The signature song, "I'm Not Going, "  sung by Effie (Contessah Irene Davis) is a show-stopper. The woman can SING and this one hit deep in the soul. 

I was glad that Bass Hall was filled to the brim. Folks could witness the talented Jubilee ensemble in a larger lovely setting. The final curtain drew everyone to  their feet.  Fabulous afternoon. 

Monday, August 29, 2022

The Sixth Man by David Baldacci

 You can always count on David Baldacci to keep the pages turning. Sure enough, The Sixth Man, does not disappoint. 

cover blurb - Sean King and Michelle Maxwell return in their most shocking case: a high stakes struggle where the relentless needs of national security run up against the absolute limits of the human mind. 

Edgar Roy is held as a serial killer in a Federal Supermax facility. His mind  is  no match for machines - perfect memory and  the ability to pull all data into his brain and process it for solutions. He's the answer to high stakes security issues. But is there a higher force at work to derail him?  What about his mysterious sister who did work for deep pockets of government surveillance?  

Hang in for a crazy ride as Sean and Michelle dig deeper to solve and  save the government. Whoa!

and on the topic in the news with Texas libraries all in a tizzy...I like this meme.  Freedom to read. 

Now I do  think it's up to parents to monitor their OWN kids and know what they are choosing  and reading. Age appropriate is a consideration.  Frankly the choices could give a lot  of insight into their child and what that  child is seeking. However,  do not blindly start banning books you have not  read, but have a predisposed idea on the subject matter. 

Big sigh on so many levels of this issue.   Freedom to read. Freedom to not...but don't ruin it for the rest of  us.  Same with movies,  television, theater. If you don't like it, don't participate. But don't keep me from delving deeper. 

Friday, August 26, 2022

Backyard Find - Top O Hill Terrace Tour

Last week Ray, Tom and Linda, Julie, and I visited our own backyard (Arlington TX) for the Top O' Hill  Terrace Tour - touted as Vegas Before Vegas.  What a hoot.  The brochure says Sermons and Hymns now ring across the terraced hills which once hummed with  the playing of slot machines and roulette wheels. 
On the grounds of the current Arlington Baptist College, glamorous celebrities enjoyed gambling, music, liquor, and more (think ladies of the night) in the 1930s and 40s.  The tea room founded in the 1920s on a terraced hill in Arlington, was bought by Fred Browning and turned into "the place  to be". Underground tunnels were dug for escape, guards at the front gate could sound an  alarm system, and rich folks could romp in splendor. 
Alas, a fiery Baptist preacher, Dr. J. Frank Norris decided to ruin the fun and made it a mission to have police  raids,  etc to rid Tarrant County of this palace of sin. Sinners vs. saints.  The Baptists ended up winning. 

 Much was destroyed and removed. Fortunately under current leadership and with a  lot of research that continues today, the history is being acknowledged and the story told by Mrs. Vicky Branch. An impressive woman, she is telling  the tale with a nifty power point show and tour of grounds. Folks keep adding  to  her information too. One  man was a kid who helped his bootlegging father bring the booze onto the grounds. A lot of nifty tidbits plus the names - Sally Rand, Clark Gable, HL Hunt, Gloria Swanson, John Wayne, Gene Autry, et al - are presented with humor. 

We enjoyed our two hour tour and  were amazed at what  occurred in our own  backyard.  Now, go have a Saturday adventure of your own.!

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Wednesday Whoa Movie - Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

 What a wonderful gem of a movie.  Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is delightful  from start to finish and Lesley Manville is spot  on. 

It's 1957 and Mrs. Harris lives a simple life as a London  cleaning  lady. She's stuck  in  a rut, misses her Eddie from the war, and struggles to make ends meet. At one of her jobs, she falls in love with a Christian Dior gown hanging in a closet. She now has a goal and saves every penny possible to go to Paris for such a magnificent dress. But she keeps getting  knocked back until it seems her Eddie from above helps make  it happen. 

Once in Paris, Mrs. Harris encounters the snooty manager at Dior played by Isabelle Huppert. But a rich Count, the regular workers, et al are charmed by this common cleaning  lady with a goal. It's a bit magical, but Mrs. Harris's heart helps the house of Dior. The fates seem to move in mysterious ways and there's some twists in the tale of the gown. I won't tell more. 

Go to Paris with Mrs. Harris and enjoy a lovely movie. 

Monday, August 22, 2022

Monday Mania - More Flower Power

More flower power at the Longwood  Gardens. This was the property of Pierre DuPont.  Oh yeah, money honey

and as dusk fell, Bruce Munro's installations came to life...outdoors
and in the conservatory

 Then the grand fountain/music show outside. This picture does not  do justice to the  fountain/flame combo.   It was  fabulous.  Philly Soul Rocks!

Friday, August 19, 2022

Fabulous Friday - Longwood Gardens

While in PA, my sister took me to Longwood  Gardens. It had been awhile since I've been there. Still fabulous. And they had special light installations by Bruce Munro. Plus the fountain show to music - we saw/heard the Philly Love special - tunes by Patti LaBelle, Bruce Springsteen, Hall & Oates, and more. 
Luscious grounds
Cool conservatory with a special installation. The night lighting was amazing (I couldn't capture it right on photos)

 The orchid room is spectacular

Tune in Monday for More Flower Power

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Wacky Wednesday - Stoogeum

When I was in PA, I visited The Stoogeum in Ambler. It was a ten minute drive from my dad's house. What a hoot!  Established in 2004, this is the first and largest museum of Three Stooges memorabilia. Over 100,000 pieces are displayed in this 3-story, 10,000 square foot building. There is a theater that shows non-stop Stooges short  films. 

The array and scope of Stooges mania is mind-blowing. Personal items, movie props, rare photos, movie posters, artwork, vintage novelties and artifacts from the  early 1900s onward are included. 

I was there for over an hour just chuckling.  Oh Moe, Larry, and my fave Curly.


Monday, August 15, 2022

Monday Moments

Caught up with some ladies that I went to high school with during my visit  to PA. Had a lovely brunch in Skippack. 
Also got  to help at Encore Cafe in Harleysville. Cindie is the chef and oversees meals  for seniors. I helped a bit with lunch prep and got  to see her in action. It was impressive and the crab cakes were yummy.  She feeds at least fifty seniors M-F and did take-out meals during Covid 2020 and into 2021. 
The old homestead. Gotta love big old oak trees

 Yep - lucky in PA and in TX. I have a good life. 

Friday, August 12, 2022

Friday Fun - James Patterson memoir

 He's everywhere on bookshelves. He's written with a lot of people.  The Stories of my Life: James Patterson by James Patterson is a very quick, humorous read, and quite interesting. 

I did not know that he was big time in the advertising world during the "Mad Men" era. He wrote the tag line, "I'm a Toys R Us kid."

from the cover blurb - He worked at a mental hospital, where he met the singer  James Taylor and the poet  Robert Lowell. 

He once watched James Baldwin and Norman Mailer square off  to  fight at a party. 

Dolly Parton sang Happy Birthday to him over the phone

The man has a  lot of stories  to tell. Just the  author  talks with President Clinton make for good fodder. This memoir has lots of one to two page anecdotes covering a bit of childhood, a lot on advertising, plenty of name dropping incidents, and writing, writing, writing. He writes of his  two loves - his first wife, Jane, who died and his second wife Sue who "puts up with him". 

At least on paper, James Patterson appreciates his life and has a sense of humor about his writing life. He writes as if he is talking to you, and I was glad I got this book from our local  library. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Wednesday Whatever - Thor: Love and Thunder

 Ray chose Thor: Love and Thunder to see on his birthday. It was zany, silly, slapstick movie fun. We expected nothing less.  I won't discuss plot. Doesn't matter. 

Chris Hemsworth as Thor is in on the joke and plays him to perfection. He's just a fine specimen of a man. 'Nuff said. 

Natalie Portman as Jane/Female Thor is always a good actress.  Christian Bale as Gorr, the villain, was suitably creepy (though yes, Ralph Fienes as Voldemort was even creepier. Their looks are similar),  Tessa Thompson as King Valkyrie gets her due. And Russell Crowe as Zeus - hilarious casting and stole the show. 

It's summer in Texas. We are crazy from the heat and do not need deep plot right now. Do we want  to laugh? Yes. Be entertained? Yes.  Did we enjoy Thor: Love and Thunder? Absolutely.  Pure movie joy with no useful purpose in life. Easy to forget...sure. Does that matter? NO.  It's summer, folks!

Monday, August 8, 2022

Monday Movie Review - Where the Crawdads Sing

 We read the book. We looked forward  to the movie. We were happy with the movie - Linda, Julie, and I. 

I know there have been yucky ratings, etc. However, we felt fine with how the movie followed the book. We were good with the casting - Daisy Edgar-Jones as Kya (exotic enough as the Marsh girl), Taylor John Smith as Tate (such a good sweet man), Harris Dickinson as Chase (boo hiss, good looking creep jerk), and David Strathairn as the lawyer Tom (always perfect folksy likeable). 

A man is found dead in the marshlands of North Carolina. Who else could be the killer but that crazy girl who's lived  out there? And the movie rolls from there. We go to her past and troubled family. We watch her raise herself, become an accomplished naturalist/artist. We watch her grow from a lovely little girl to an exotic young woman. We  see the men sniff around looking for some trouble. She's a bit of an innocent lacking some guidance. But she knows the marshes and she's smart. 

The book is better, I think, due to the writing. I thought the descriptions were extraordinary and I hated to see the book end.  The movie was faithful, the plot moved along, the acting was fine, and the conclusion still had a punch.  

Summer success for a movie with the ladies. Plus lunch afterwards.  Sweet!

Friday, August 5, 2022

Friday Fun - Elvis

 Catching up on movies. Ray opted out of Elvis.  I was not in the mood for our 90 degree pool last Sunday afternoon, so I headed to the movies. Baz Luhrmann is always an interesting, showy director. Who better  to tell a story we already know? 

Too long!!!!!  That's my big problem with this film.  Edit, edit, edit. 

Yet, I still give it  a summer crazy from the heat rating  of B-/C+         The kid playing  Elvis, Austin  Butler, did  a credible job. Tough to  do  someone SO famous and unique. He  pulled  it off okay. 

Tom Hanks was suitably  creepy as Colonel Tom Parker. 

Elvis was Elvis was Elvis - the glittery jumpsuits, the pills, the  bigger than  life persona.  It's a sad story with a great soundtrack. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Wednesday Whatever: Minions - Rise of Gru

 I have been back to Texas for a week or so now. As promised I've been whining  about the heat. So, how best to escape? Pay to sit in air-conditioned big screen splendor. Ray and I are catching up on our movie list. 

Minions: Rise of Gru is silly, stupid fun. That's really all the description needed. Steve Carell voices Gru and his pitch, intonation, etc adds to the ridiculousness of this character. Gru is eleven in this movie and wants to join the Supervillain  6. His favorite villain has been kicked  out, Gru has stolen the magic power  stone, and now everyone is battling for the top spot. 

There are chases, evil plots, and of course silly minions trying to help  their boss, Gru.  Oh Kevin,  Otto, et  al - with their weird yellow bodies and crazy language skills.  Ray and I couldn't help but laugh. 

We were amused, and got our money's worth of movie and cool  air. Aaahh - Summer matinee!

Monday, August 1, 2022

Magic Monday Birthday Greetings for Ray

 Happy Birthday Day, Ray!

Here's to a fresh year of adventures and good health. You have a new knee - let's get going.

Keep smiling, laughing, and having fun. 

Love ya!