Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The It Girl by Ruth Ware

 April is that girl -  that creature who seems to shine, who seems to have her act together, and who gathers a group of friends. Hannah Jones is April's roommate at Oxford and soon a best friend. First term and a whole group - Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily - enter April's orbit. Life is exhilarating for Hannah. 

By the end of the year, April is dead. 

Ruth Ware's The It Girl is another superb spine tingling  murder mystery. Chapters are written in Before and After. The before explores Oxford school life for the whole group - the loves, the parties, the energy of school. The After has Hannah and Will expecting their first child. The person convicted of killing  April has died in prison. However, a reporter appears with some new revelations and chats with Hannah to review her story since she was the last person to see April. 

In the before, you read with your eyes ready to say, "A-ha, so that's what happened and how."

In the after, you learn along with Hannah about some deeper motives, some things that are easier to understand in hindsight. 

Ruth Ware writes quite a page turner and you'll be drawn into The It Girl. 

Monday, March 27, 2023

Monday Moments - Memes and Sharks

Amen to this!
I truly can't imagine not having access to books. The first thing I pack when going on a trip is a book. 

 Here's an interesting book I bought for fifty cents at my local library sale.  Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn is one of the most celebrated debut novels in recent memory, an epic of exile and salvation. Old myths clash with new realities, love is in a ride-or die with grief, faith rubs hard against magic, and comic flips with tragic.  (cover blurb)

It's 1995 and seven year old Nainoa Flores falls overboard into the Pacific Ocean. Shiver of sharks appear in the water and one brings Noa back to his own mother. A legend is born. Noa's intelligence and a new sense of healing ability, a divine favor becomes a force in the household. Unfortunately the attention given to Noa means less is given to Dean, a talented athlete and basketball star, and sister, Kaui, a rebel in her own  right. As the kids grow up, the family splinters. Then a particular incident occurs that throws a shocking curveball to the family. 

Each person tells their tales in chapters and the book grows as you, the reader, pieces together how the family navigates the tough waters of life. I liked the voices and the overall Hawaii vibe. There was a lot of symbolism and allusions to ancient Hawaii lore. This was a different read/genre for me and I enjoyed it. 

Friday, March 24, 2023

Frivolous Friday - More Flower Power

Finally Friday.  Are you sick of flowers yet?  Nah...this is good for the soul
New items in their trial gardens. Need some hardy souls for Texas weather
Even the gift shop displays are cute
I had never noticed the tile art before. Had to look down from above and it caught the eye
Slowly some trees are primping. 

Have a great weekend, everyone

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Book Review - Do You Feel Like I Do? Peter Frampton

Do You Feel Like I Do? by Peter Frampton is an excellent memoir of a pretty boy guitarist/musician/writer whose meteoric rise from The Herd to Humble Pie and then solo to the Frampton Comes Alive album, which sold eight million copies, three top-twenty singles, and an unbelievable tour (Yes, I was at a Philly stadium to see him) shows a deep commitment to the craft.  

But this memoir shows he was much more than that, and had a very deep career with his musical skills. 

He was asked by David Bowie to join him on the Glass Spider Tour (hello, saw that in Dallas). He writes of collaborations with Stevie Wonder, B.B. King, Ringo Star (a Beatle!!), and more. 

He never wanted to be the cover boy. Sadly he did abuse substances. But proud of his continued recovery. He's still played guitar despite a muscle disease which caused his retirement from the road at age seventy. 

Multiple marriages, a lot of moving around the USA, several children, and more - Peter Frampton still gives credit to his parents for instilling a good base. He remains close to his younger brother Clive. 

cover blub - He thought he lost his favorite guitar (the Phenix) in a fiery plane  crash in 1980 in Caracas. But in 2011, it mysteriously showed up again - saved from the wreckage. Frampton tells of that unlikely reunion here in full for the first time, and why the miraculous reappearance is emblematic of his life and career as a quintessential artist. 

Show Me the Way

Baby I Love Your Way

Do You Feel Like  I Do?

His work is a soundtrack  to my college years.  Sheer fun and good memories.  Thanks Peter!

Monday, March 20, 2023

Monday Moments - Sculptures in the Garden

The Dallas Arboretum is hosting  its spring festival through April. A  featured sculpture, Gary Lee  Price, has his works placed  throughout the grounds.   Amelia Earhart is sunning herself with White Rock Lake in the distance. 
Joan of Arc - always so dramatic
Mother Theresa lounges in the fern dell
Harriet Tubman seeks freedom
And for my trip to PA, I got some advice from old Ben Franklin

The statues add a fun tweak to the garden stroll.  Get out and enjoy!

Friday, March 17, 2023

Fabulous Friday Flowers

Spring is popping at the Dallas Arboretum
Even after some wicked windstorms, the flowers prevailed
My friend, Linda, and I enjoyed this Sunday stroll on March 5th. 
Just warms the soul

 Hope your Friday and weekend are fabulous.   (and Happy St. Patrick's Day today!)

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Wild Wednesday

 Enjoyed another family series program with the Fort Worth Symphony.  

Dan Brown created a book and musical score with an animal theme - Wild Symphony. It was incredibly clever and entertaining. A narrator read each page and Maestro Mouse introduced us to his friends. Then the symphony played the theme music.  

The Ray glided smoothly through the water. The kangaroo had a bounce to the tune. The swans eased gracefully and the music was calming. A beetles tune had a lot of percussion as they scurried. And a fave was The Whale complete with that hollow whale call. 

It was a wonderful hour and I appreciate the hard work of our local orchestra. 

Support the arts y'all!

Monday, March 13, 2023

Monday Moments at the Museum

A few Sundays ago, I caught up with a friend to enjoy A Knight's Tale at the Arlington Museum of Art. A close up  look at the decorative detail on helmets, swords, weaponry, and more were displayed. 
 This exhibit was from the Museo Stibbert in  Florence, Italy. Armor, mounted equestrian, etc  - 130  pieces from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and up to the 1800s.  It was all quite interesting and we spent an hour perusing. 

 I keep saying - check out the nooks and crannies in  your neighborhood - small museums are a delight. 

Friday, March 10, 2023

Finally Friday is Marvelous - latest Ant Man

 Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania  proved entertaining on an incredibly dreary Saturday.  Ray and I had a "cheap" early in the day date. The movie is sheer fun,  ridiculous, and CGI wow. We like Paul Rudd and he's just an every man kind of guy who can be silly, an Avenger, Big, Small, and can save his family. 

I won't begin to explain plot - the whole crew (Paul, Evangeline Lilly (Wasp), Michael Douglas (Dad), Michelle Pfeiffer (Mom), and the daughter get sucked into the Quantum universe.  From there we learn about the whole Multiverse going on with the Jonathan Majors character who, of course, wants  to rule the whole worlds...plural.  Many worlds have been ruined.  There are a lot - I mean a lot of battles. It's crazy. The ants tend  to rule and Paul Rudd/  Ant Man looks like a hero. 


Stay for final credits and then the final, final final credits  for teasers.  That's how Marvel movies roll. 

We had fun and then grabbed lunch at Sonic to take home.  Cheap date - $30     Dang - olden days that would have been $20. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Wednesday Movie Silly Fun - 80 For Brady

 Oh so silly and ridiculous.  80 for Brady is totally entertaining and fun. I finally succumbed to seeing it and I laughed all the way through it. How can you not love the cast - Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sally Field, Rita Morena.  All fabulous women and maybe they are peaking now.  They all have amazing  resumes. Now, they are having the times  of their lives. 

The key to this movie is the power of female friendship.  Through thick and thin, no matter what - just  go for  it. 

Gotta love it. 

and yes, Tom Brady is a damn pretty man - he could have a film career ahead if he didn't already sign a zillion dollar contract to be a sport commentator. Who Cares?  I will  not  discuss plot. Who Cares?

It's all about these ladies - they are awesome.   Don't judge. (especially if you are younger than 60ish)  Sheer stupid fun!!!!!

Monday, March 6, 2023

Monday Review - Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

First - shout out to  my friend,  Becky,  for gifting me this  book. Demon Copperhead is a gem. I soaked up every page in awe of Barbara Kingsolver's writing. This is a modern day David  Copperfield by Charles Dickens. Poor  Damon (nicknamed Demon) is born to a young addict  mom and a dad that's already dead in the  mountains  of southern Appalachia. And there's  a new script out  there - oxycontin - that spells trouble.

Foster care, child labor, derelict  schools - Demon tells  his tale in an unforgettable  voice. This lost  soul has artistic  skills, good looks, copper colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent  for survival. (cover blurb). 

Here are some writing samples - p.77  We had the moon in the window to smile on us for  a minute and tell us the world was ours. Because all the adults had gone off somewhere and left everything in our hands.

p. 221 But the weirdness wasn't in what I didn't know. It's what I did know. How to watch your  back at all times. What a caseworker means by, "We're working on it." 

p. 325  "Oh my goodness, Demon. You don't have  any idea do you?"

              "You're the one all the girls will be writing to in prison."

Intrigued?  You will LOVE this  character, admire him, feel sorry for him, and laugh along with him on his crazy ride through  life. You'll shake your head at a life you don't know and can't even imagine.  Kingsolver  tackles the underbelly of life with great writing.  Trust me - Demon Copperhead is a must  read! 

Friday, March 3, 2023

Finally Friday - The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer

 cover blurb What happens when smart, educated women temporarily leave the work force for motherhood - and somehow don't  find their way back? 

In The Ten Year Nap, Meg Wolitzer turns her delicious wit and keenly observant eye on the domestic  culture of today (actually came out  2008), in a feverishly smart and entertaining new novel. 

Amy, Jill, Roberta, and Karen thought they could have it all. Great colleges, great careers (lawyer,  film producer, banker,  artist), marriage, babies - but, now what? Age forty, kids are older and more independent, and now these ladies feel timed out of their professions.  

However Amy meets a woman who is married, has kids, and still has a profession and seems to navigate all of the choppy waters. She's also having an affair which Amy finds fascinating. She's slowly drawn in to the drama and does like Ian for her friend.  But then, on a very bizarre trip with Penny and the husband, Greg, something happens that changes Amy's perspective.  

This book does a good job  of  showing women's friendships, fancy school/PTA drama, the intrigue of others lives, and the juggling  of life. Admittedly a bit is dated - there is now  the option these days of work from home situations and also more internet business opportunities. But The Ten Year  Nap by Meg  Wolitzer is still entertaining and thought  provoking with some good twists and turns. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Whatever Wednesday - March awaits

A mishmash  on a Wednesday. Flashback  to a late Valentines for my dad. David and Cherie delivered his favorites. This will last him forever. 
A pic from the  internet of a cool alley in Philly.  You can picture old Ben Franklin walking around the area.
Yep  - still sad for  the Eagles Super Bowl finish, but I am happy for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. That young man is a star.  
And spring  lurks. These are oldies from the arboretum. I need to get out there for  the tulip fix.

 Ready for some spring color pop!

March roars in like a lion here. It's windy all the time  and  now it's  blustery. Hang on to your hat!

Monday, February 27, 2023

Monday Moments from a Thurs/Fri in San Saba

Enjoyed two days in San Saba Texas visiting Aunt Pat (yes - hello - you are famous!)
This is a color photo on an exceptionally bleak day ( Friday)
Creepy tree
okay - so, if we enter....what happens?
Happy sign of spring - cardinals were everywhere.  She is very generous with the bird seed.  Gotta love the spring  hope of color pop

Pat laughed that I was taking this photo.  I mean...truly - this is awesome.  Aging.  Weathering.  Pop art.   c'mon - tell me this isn't awesome. 

Have a  good week everyone!

Friday, February 24, 2023

Finally Friday - It's an Enigma

 shh - It's top secret.  The Rose Code by Kate Quinn is a jolly good read. 

1940 - Three women, Osla, Mab, and Beth end up at Bletchley Park in England. The best minds are working to break German military codes. Osla, debutante dating  Prince Phillip, knows German and works to translate decoded enemy secrets. Mab, poor East Ender, works the codebreaking machines.  Shy local girl, Beth, can solve puzzles like nobody's business. She's a brilliant  cryptanalyst. 

cover blurb - War, loss, and the impossible pressure of secrecy will tear the  three apart.

1947 - Royal wedding time. (No, not Osla). The three friends turned enemies are reunited by an encrypted letter. They must meet and crack one last code together to unveil an old traitor from their past. Each petal they remove  from the Rose Code brings danger...

Kate Quinn did  her research and her characters are based on real life women. She keeps the pages  turning  and history alive. The whole story of the Enigma machines and what was done at Bletchley is always compelling. The Rose Code is a worthy piece of fiction for that World War II era. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Whatever Wednesday - Sick of Frost Whimsy ?

Hey, it's February.  When else can I feature some frosty photos?
A little icy artistic moment. 

Hope your winter is a mere snowy dusting. Hot chocolate. Hearty soup. A dashing sleigh ride, perhaps. 

It's always lovely in the movies. Never those dirty ice clumps hanging on fenders. Never frostbitten fingers attempting to clear a windshield. Never the boredom of gray skies. 

Now sing, "Let It Go". 

Monday, February 20, 2023

Monday Moments - Surrender by Bono

Cue 40 songs by U2 starring the singer Bono

I  Will Follow

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Where the Streets Have No Name

With or Without You


Pride (In the Name of Love)

Beautiful Day

and so many more........beautiful tunes, fabulous lyrics, amazing guitar work, and showmanship

Surrender by Bono is a hefty book filled with a lot of hubris,  a lot of words, a LOT...just a LOT

The key is love. Love of four Irish lads - Paul Hewson (aka Bono), Adam Clayton, Larry Mullin , and The Edge who formed U2.  Love of his wife Ali and his children.  If nothing else, Bono has been loyal to his religion, to being Irish, to his lads, and to his family. Oh, he's filled with a lot of ego and it shines in this book.  And yet he's got the humor and the awareness to make it work. I think he knows he can be an arse, and he'll admit it and then keep on persevering as a singer, an activist, and an Irish lad. 

Roots - that counts for a lot, even when you are on the world stage.  

His mother died when he was fourteen. That affected a lot. He found family in U2 and has stuck with it for forty some years. That's quite amazing for a group. He's got a huge heart and does care about many causes - AIDS in particular and fighting for Africa. He's used his voice for a lot of dollars. He drops names in this book and that's okay. He can also step back and be in awe of what he can do and with whom. And then there's the songs, the music, the tunes, the tours that affect millions in the world. 

I liked Surrender by Bono. Quite a story and he keeps on fighting. Oh, he pretends to be humble. He's not. But I think he's sincere in his LOVE for family, U2, the fans, and the world.  He's freakin' Bono. 

Play the soundtrack.  


Friday, February 17, 2023

Finally Friday Book Review - The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama

 It's Friday and I would like to hang out with Michelle Obama. Merely my opinion - she'd be fun, chatty, down to earth, smart, and not fancy. I think she was raised right with some common sense. 

From the memoir, Becoming, and now The Light We Carry, Michelle Obama still counts on her elderly mother as a solid presence. She also enjoys her big brother, Craig, and she can reflect fondly about her dear departed hard working father, who struggled with MS, but never let the disease be an excuse for anything. Her respect and love for her husband, Barack Obama is obvious. And her role as a mother for Sasha and Malia will not stop as they are young adults now striving to be independent. 

This book, The Light We Carry, offers practical wisdom and powerful strategies for staying hopeful and balanced in today's highly uncertain world. (cover blurb.)  Michelle Obama offers her worries, her fears through examples and then how she tries to take a deep breath and work toward positivity. She has overcome obstacles and truly practices "starting kind", "going high", and embracing a "kitchen  table" of friends. 

This back blurb paragraph sums up a nice message. It takes work to be a light. But every bit can help in this world of uncertainty. I  enjoyed this book and had a lot of colorful page markers for excellent thoughts, humor, and common sense. I was happy to get this rainbow of words from my local library. I can only hope to embrace some good takeaways and be a light of some sort. 

Hey Michelle - call me sometime and let's hang out!

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Whatever Wednesday - Heroes Soar

My friend Candice and I enjoy the kids program provided on a few Saturdays by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. The show  is forty five minutes of  stirring classical  music according to a theme. Two Saturdays ago we celebrated heroes.  Can't go wrong with the March from Superman, some Star Wars tunes, and finishing with the William Tell  Overture - go Lone Ranger.  So fun!

 Afterward we strolled to Sundance Square. This big cowboy hat sculpture is temporary - last day of the  Stock Show.  We did enjoy lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. Shared an appetizer and then had our own  slices of cheesecake.  White chocolate raspberry truffle for me, Mango key lime for  her. 

Splendid Saturday. We soared home on a sugar high. 

Monday, February 13, 2023

Monday Moments at the Museum

A few Sundays ago, I caught up with a friend to enjoy A Knight's Tale at the Arlington Museum of Art. A close up  look at the decorative detail on helmets, swords, weaponry, and more were displayed. 

 This exhibit was from the Museo Stibbert in  Florence, Italy. Armor, mounted equestrian, etc  - 130  pieces from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and up to the 1800s.  It was all quite interesting and we spent an hour perusing. 

 I keep saying - check out the nooks and crannies in  your neighborhood - small museums are a delight. 

Happy Valentine's Week

Happy Valentine's Week
Hearts aflutter
I always post dear Ray with his heart cactus. Too cute

 He's always had my heart even back when we were young and really clueless. 

Love ya Ray. You make me laugh - that's the key.