Friday, December 30, 2022

Finally Friday - A Minute to Midnight

 Book Two of the Atlee  Pine  Series, A Minute to Midnight by David Baldacci, is another thriller. 

FBI Agent, Atlee Pine decides to go home to Georgia to look into her twin sister's abduction back when they were little girls. Why did she get to live? Is Mercy still alive? What  really happened?

Be careful what you look for. More questions open up about her late parents - were they who they said they were?

Meanwhile, of course there's a fresh serial  killer  on the loose in her hometown. Is it coincidence that Atlee is there? So many hometown  secrets.  

Baldacci keeps Atlee busy and she's a smart kick-ass gal.  I enjoyed this second in a series of four. I'll be starting  my 2023 cracking open book three. 

What will you be reading?

Happy New Year  weekend, my friends.  Cheers  to all. Be well. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Wednesday Wanderings Part 2

More from the 12/9 adventure in Inks State Park
Whew - best to look and not climb
Quite the thicket

 Stump hollow.  Trees are still growing out of the lake

If you haven't already, make a vow in 2023 to visit local state parks or venture further afield too.  Texas has a very well established state park system. I am impressed with every place we've visited.  More to come in the new year. 

Monday, December 26, 2022

Monday Moments - Christmas Week

 But Santa, I swear I was a good girl this year. 

Happy Monday after Christmas.  Hope it was a good weekend and that now you have some down time to just enjoy the season. Peruse a new book. Play that new video game. Maybe take a walk in some snow. 

I need to work on some New Year resolutions...for Ray. Ha!

Friday, December 23, 2022

Finally Friday - Merry Christmas Weekend

Very proud of eldest son, Chris, now enjoying Christmas with his fiancee in their home. Actually space for a tree after years of spare apartment living. He was very excited
stole this pic off a FB  friend's post.  Great shot
The Grinch lurks
And a friend's grandchild - not so keen on the jolly old man. 

Hope you are not screaming into Christmas.  

Enjoy the season and however you celebrate - take the time  to relax, chill out, and know that I wish you good health.   All the best from out house to yours!


Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Wednesday Wanderings

Friday 12/9 we hit Inks State Park down in the Hill Country of Texas.  Lovely day and nice hiking trails. 
Dramatic scenery
A man holding up a mountain
I made it up a small climb

 cool vistas

80 degree day.  We lucked out.   You never know in Texas. The weekend was a washout. 

Monday, December 19, 2022

Monday Moments - Trip the Lights Fantastic

It's time to unveil the Faries extravaganza.  While I was in PA at Thanksgiving, Ray planned the Christmas light show. We are not National Lampoon crazy (I don't allow him on ladders).  But he did well.   No, he did not go for a ten foot minion.  He opted for the six foot Grinch - totally acceptable and fun. He has a naughty list - my name is not on it.  Whew!
Here's a full view of the front that neighbors can enjoy.  Squirrels keep knocking about the candy canes. Evil creatures.  
The glory is our backyard. That's what we enjoy the most as we move about the house in the evening. 
New flashing icicle lights.  New trim on the posts.  So fun.  And the reflections  on the pool are glorious. 
Inside, we downsized to a baby tree. It's still overloaded with our ornaments. I love hanging them - so many memories from trips.  And that's what Christmas is all  about - past, present, and future. 

Good job Ray and here's to the season.  I hope you are enjoying the small moments. Be sure to stop, breathe, and  just embrace the littlest stuff. Don't over do.  We learned a lot from 2020 - We shed a lot of crap  and we learned what and who is important to us. Keep that  close! 

I value my blog friends - we have history...just know that. I'm giving a shout out to Yvonne!

Friday, December 16, 2022

Finally Friday - Soul Train to Christmas

 Sunday December 4th, Ray, Linda and Tom Hoffman, and I enjoyed an afternoon matinee at the Jubilee Theater in Fort Worth - Take the Soul Train to Christmas.  This was a very fun show featuring a trip  through African American Christmas history. It featured songs from This Christmas to Jingle Bells to Thank you Lord - plenty of soul, gospel,  and glorious tunes. 

The show featured a talented cast and an original story. I love this theater and the creativity. 

A very special moment - Ray was seated next to Miss Opal Lee.  Look her  up. She's 96 and an inspiration. An educator and activist - she worked hard to get Juneteenth recognized as a holiday. A gracious woman and an inspiration for all. She and Ray had a good chat and we wished blessings upon her as we left the show. 

What a fun afternoon to kick off our Christmas season. I feel the glory and spirit. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Wednesday Book Review - Sooley by John Grisham

 Sooley by John Grisham is not his normal lawyer thriller. This is about a young man from Sudan, who by the grace of his height and basketball skills is able to come to America and play ball. Meanwhile, his family is under siege in the ongoing tribal wars in  Sudan. 

John Grisham writes this novel as if it is non-fiction. Your heart is torn at every turn of "Sooley's" life. Alternate chapters follow his mother from refugee camp to refugee camp after the family is victimized in a vicious attack from the guerillas marauding the countryside. 

From real life headlines  to the fiction pages,  Grisham has the reader turning pages. Will Sooley succeed as a college player and will the team make playoffs? Is he worthy of  turning pro?  Can he get his mother and siblings  out of the Sudanese horror and to America for immigrant status?

This book makes you think and there's quite a twist near the end. Oh my heart!

You don't have to love basketball to love the characters in this book. Well done and a  compelling read. 

Monday, December 12, 2022

Monday Moments - Bishop Estates

Gorgeous Saturday after Thanksgiving, we visited Bishop Estates Winery - a one hundred year old converted barn property
Joan, Jim, and Helen sipped wine around the fire pit. Live music played. Food trucks had long lines. Very festive atmosphere and tasty wine
Fun decorations
Dramatic silo picture

 You get the idea. I had a grand time - an afternoon of laughs, chat,  and camaraderie with old friends. 

Friday, December 9, 2022

Frivolous Friday - December Fun

Spent two weeks at end of November surrounding Thanksgiving time to visit Dad. He's slowed a bit since July. However, here's  a perky moment - joy after kicking my butt  in rummy.  Oh, he gloated. Now keep  in mind,  he can't see well and I have to tell him  some cards - sixes, nines. Nonetheless, I congratulate his victory. 
Lori's our turkey. Her birthday was Friday. Here she is (upper right) with friends in  New York City. All enjoyed the Christmas lights and Times Square fun
Fall in Philly. The leaves were almost down, but a few colorful stragglers clung to branches. 
Lori's turkey was golden. She  brought our feast - turkey, stuffing, rolls,  green beans. The timing  was perfect and the meal was tasty. Dad even had  some seconds. 

 Lori brought us treats from NYC - mmmm. Fresh cannolis.  They were SO yummy

Famous line from The Godfather - Leave the gun,  take the  cannoli

And that's our December fun Friday

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Wednesday Whodunit - Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

 Tessa Cartwright, age sixteen, was found in a field of Black-eyed Susans amid bones of murder victims. Barely alive, she doesn't remember much. However her testimony helped put a man on death row. 

Now decades later, a fresh batch of flowers appears below her bedroom window. Is the real killer still at large? Lawyers, forensic investigators, and psychologists work to unlock the past and perhaps save a man on his last appeal. 

cover blurb - As the clock ticks toward the execution, Tessa fears for her sanity, but even more for the safety of her teenaged daughter. She has no choice but to confront old ghosts and lingering nightmares to finally discover what really happened that night. 

Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin turns up the suspense quotient with  lots of twists and turns. Our strong hero, Tessa, is presented as an adult and alternating chapters as a teen with trauma. Great writing, strong characters, a Texas backdrop - all add up to a page turner. Kept me guessing for sure. 

Monday, December 5, 2022

Monday Moments - A Cool Read

 cover blurb - I see my story as a suite of songs that  have  a magical  connection

Lenny Kravitz (with David Ritz) is one  cool dude as demonstrated in his memoir  Let Love Rule

This book covers his childhood from the Upper East Side to Brooklyn,  from Los Angeles Baldwin  Hills  to Beverly Hills.  He considers himself a child  of opposites - Black and white, Jewish and Christian, Jackson  Five and Led Zeppelin. I accepted my Gemini soul. I owned it. Yins and yang mingled in various parts of my heart and mind, giving me balance and fueling  my curiosity and comfort.  (cover blurb)

I enjoyed this rather light  read. He dabbled in all  manner of arts and was obviously bright and creative, constantly searching  for the  right sound, the  right timing. He  talks of struggle, but, to me, he was  able to gloss through his youth without much of a scratch. Very spiritual, very zen and Lenny Kravitz (through his parents) had a  lot  of connections. 

It's fun to  read his journey to his muse,  Lisa Bonet and to his signature song Let Love  Rule. I assume there will be another  memoir at some point to cover his life past this high point. Meanwhile, put on his greatest hits and cruise with Lenny - groovy. 

Friday, December 2, 2022

Finally Friday - Tracy Flick Can't Win by Tom Perrotta

 Remember the movie  Election with Reese Witherspoon? Well, Tom Perrotta's creation is back in Tracy Flick Can't Win.  I laughed the entire time I read this book - all  chapters from various viewpoints  (the principal, the former quarterback, the School Board member, and Tracy herself). 

Jack, the principal,  is retiring and  now  Tracy has her turn. She's been the Assistant Principal who handled the time when Jack had a heart attack. She's earned this, damn it.  Time  for a break. At forty something, she's been spinning  her wheels in  this small town and it's time to  shine. 

But...slowly she can sense the tide is turning  against her. Some school board folks are meeting in  the local restaurant. Her interview with the Superintendent  takes a turn. She's always hated football. 

Tom  Perrotta  has  a wicked  sense  of  humor and can skewer the culture of small town  politics. He's nailed  it in Tracy Flick Can't Win, and frankly I hope we see Reese back in the title role of a movie  version.