Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Wednesday Whatever

 Super Moon at Pensacola Beach.   Cool pic, Ray.

Glorious night.  Gulf Breeze, soft sand, look up in awe

Jane poses quite the question. 

Monday, August 28, 2023

Monday Moments - The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese

 1900 to 1977, this is a huge novel covering three generations of a family. They suffer from "The Condition" - drowning.  In Kerala, India, water is everywhere.  We follow a twelve year old girl who meets and marries her forty year old husband. She, Big Ammachi, will witness unthinkable changes over the span of her extraordinary life, full of joy and triumph as well as hardship and loss, her faith and love, the only constants.  (cover blurb)

This book is a WOW.  Progress in medicine. Human understanding. Faith and a bit of mystical beliefs. Water, Water, Water.  Leprosy. Artistic depression.  So many characters to love and care for, to shed a tear upon death, to root for in life. 

The Covenant  of Water  by Abraham Verghese is a master class in writing, character and plot development, and a work of sheer humanity.  I now give you some of my marked sentences:

p. 396  The message in her (Baby Moll) gyrations is one that each observer makes for themself, but its themes are hard work, suffering, reward, and gratitude. 

p. 429  Joy and  sorrow, triumph and tragedy are the weeds and flowers of their Eden, and it will outlast the mortal blooms of this world. 

p. 430  But a stranger stares back at him, a soul already departed from this world but granted a backward glance at her former life.  (Elsie - oh my)

p. 517  Such precious, precious water, Lord, water from our well; this water that is our covenant with You, with this soil, with the life You granted us. 

p. 546  The ocean seems to be covered in glittering diamonds as the bus hugs the shore. 

p. 620  Every family has secrets, but not all secrets are meant to deceive. What defines a family is not blood, molay, but the secrets they share. 

Masterful writing. This book will stick with me for awhile.  It's long and looks daunting, but has a LOT of short chapters. You start reading and get hooked immediately.  Trust me!!

Friday, August 25, 2023

Finally Friday - Pensacola Beach I DO

Gorgeous setting on Monday 7/31/23.   The brides parents were married  on this date. She honored them with this choice
Krystal's much older brother walked  her down the lovely beach aisle. 
Prior - Chris's brother, Kevin, was the flower girl.  And yes - he kinda stole the show. He did a dance in a tutu with his hair like Guy Fieri.  Truly wacky.  And he handed out jello shots.   Seriously  - did she really want to marry into this crazy?
Our groom,  Chris,  with proud Papa - Ray
And the brothers  - Kevin  and  Chris

 Cake cutting at a very casual reception.  OMG - red velvet  cake with a very light yummy icing. I deem this marriage  a success on cake alone. 

But seriously - tears and a few sniffles  - the vows were heart felt and just about killed me. 

A wedding makes one look back and  forward too.  This couple was meant to be.  Cheers and Love

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Whatever Wednesday - Pensacola

Ten hour drive that turned into twelve freakin' hours. Sigh.  But we did make it to Pensacola Beach FL. The view from our room was worth it even though we were berserk. 
Lazy river pool. No, we never did it. I am actually a tad suspicious of public pools with a ton  of kids in  it. Slightly grossed out. Just saying
Aah - you can't see my lavender toes - but glorious white sugar sand and gorgeous water. Perfect cool  enough temps.  Ray - "Oh, oh, oh  until he got his belly wet.  "  Ha!!!
Welcome indeed
And rehearsal discussion with the love birds.  This was Sunday before the wedding.  3 pm on that sand - just about passed  out. Holy crap it was a bit steamy.   Fortunately wedding would be at 6:30 pm  Monday. Whew!   This is elder son Chris with our fave  - Krystal.  He truly connected with her at the right time in  his life and made his best life  decision  to marry. Truly fate!!!

Monday, August 21, 2023

Monday Moments - Food

Mile High Key Lime Pie at the Carolina Inn.  The presentation was a five star. The actual flavor - adequate.  Ray and I ate a much better key lime pie in Orange Beach AL
Our gang enjoyed a yummy dinner courtesy of our hosts - Dave is a chef and he presented a wonderful chicken dish on a banana leaf.  We also had veggies, corn on the cob, and more.
No we did not eat any mushrooms from the Sandhills Center. This is silly,  but Cody represents a friend of ours,  Terri,  who passed. We  let  Cody have all kinds  of adventures - ha!

Here's the gang awaiting our chef meal. 

We ate well throughout our week.  Yummy pizza,  Italian at a restaurant,  Pub food at an Irish pub - I enjoyed the fish and chips.  We also prepared breakfasts to start our day - delicious pancakes that had apple and blueberries.  

Plus the camaraderie made the food taste better. 

Friday, August 18, 2023

Finally Friday - More HOF Rock

 Bask in  the Glory...   Nuff said. 

Cleveland..    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.    Heaven  for any music lover.    Wow

worth the trek

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Whatever Wednesday - Rock ON!!!!

 Cleveland!  OMG    Loved the city.   Loved the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

Spend over four hours there.  Could have spent more just watching videos and enjoying music. 

These are just a few picture highlights..    More to come.  This was heaven. 

We were there a day before Tina Turner died.  Just so much music history to appreciate. 

Proud Mary. 

What's Love Got to Do With It. 

Beatles exhibit -  Just a total wow  -  Hard Day's Night, Eight Day's a Week, All You Need is Love




Monday, August 14, 2023

Monday Moments - Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

 Can Love Make a Broken Person Whole?  (inside blurb)

Hello Beautiful is a gloriously written book by Ann Napolitano.  I had so many markers I can't list them all. Her writing and characters are brilliant. 

William Waters was stifled as a child. He always felt he should not have lived - his sister who died as a toddler should have carried on. And sadly, his parents conveyed that message.  He shrunk and ultimately was disowned. He got a farewell check of $10K. That was it. 

He fell for Julia Padavano in college. He  got her and three sisters ( twins Emeline and Cecelia, and just glorious golden Sylvie)  and was overwhelmed by the love and commitment.  Julia was ambitious and kept moving forward.  It was too much.  He gave up his wife and daughter (Alice)  since he felt he was too damaged. 

This story moves back and forward with the whole family.  Key blurb - Will the loyalty that once rooted them be strong enough to draw them back together when it matters most?  

OMG.  It all pulls together.  Have tissues ready for the grand  finale.  This blog is not  big enough to quote wonderful words. I loved the writing, the characters, and this book.   Please join me in enjoying a work of word art.  

Friday, August 11, 2023

Finally Friday - NC Finale - Mount Ayr

You have hung in for quite a lot of the NC adventure week.   I shall finish in Hillsborough  NC with Ayr Mount.  This lovely home was the largest at the time in 1815.  William Kirkland was a Scottish lad who came to America as an apprentice merchant. Obviously smart and ambitious, he soon ran a store and bought a lot of land in the area. He and his wife had fourteen children (holy crap), twenty some enslaved workers, and enjoyed the prosperity of the time. 

 The home was ultimately bought by Richard Jenrette, a wealthy man interested in preserving  history. We are fortunate he formed a trust and included this home as a property to be seen and appreciated. It's truly lovely with a  lot of the original furniture. There is a cemetery on the grounds  for the Kirkland family.  There's also a lush walking area (The Poet's Walk) that has paths to the Eno River. 

I enjoyed the tour and history for this region in suburban Raleigh.  Well Done. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Whatever Wednesday - Northern Spy by Flynn Berry

 It wasn't all just fun and games and eating while in NC.  We actually had quiet time each afternoon. It was a bit too hot and steamy to be outside.  So some ladies snoozed, others did choose to sit  on the outdoor swing in the shade. I pretty much slouched on the couch and zoomed through Northern Spy by Flynn Berry. 

This fiction book covers the "troubles" in Belfast and I found it fascinating. There's a lot  that  happened I was not aware of at all.  Tessa is a new mother. She's trying to keep up with her baby, Finn,  and also her reporting job. It's a shock when a news flash  shows her big sister, Marian, bombing a place. 

Tessa's  head is reeling. No  way would Marian be a part of the IRA.  Slowly, Tessa is pulled into a world of double cross. Is Marian really working as an  informant?  Should Tessa help too? 

There are a lot of twists and turns. I don't want  to give anymore away.  I really enjoyed this book and the authors style. I highly recommend Northern Spy

Monday, August 7, 2023

Monday Moments - Barbie

 I watched previews of the Barbie movie and was not convinced. It looked silly. I think the ads were designed to lure more kids.  But to me this is NOT a kid movie. Greta Gerwig (a genius director) has created a movie that is very FUN, ENTERTAINING, WELL DONE, CLEVER, and hits so many social issues with the right amount of oomph. Genius writing and humor. 

Huge thumbs up from me. I laughed out loud several times. And I shook my head a lot because she nailed women issues without hitting one over the head. 

per Barbie herself who's perfectly cast, Margot Robbie, "  This is not a Barbie puff piece." 

Ryan Gosling as Ken is stupendous - he obviously has a sense of humor and brings it to  the roll. He's the perfect foil.  Frankly the whole cast  of Barbies and Kens are so damn good.  Plus Skipper,  Alan (oh, yeah Alan. He was discontinued. Thanks Michael Cena  for such great humor) and so much more. 

And shout  out to Kate McKinnon as Weird Barbie (trust me, it's a thing. I was the kid who cut my dolls hair.  Not  great ). She brings a lot of impromptu wacky at just the right moments. I love her and she absolutely cracked me up. 

I could go see this film again and pick up on so many great lines. Kudos to Greta and  Noah for a fabulous script.  Her  directing  and  vision was spot on.  This  is (in my humble opinion)  a film for the ages. 

Friday, August 4, 2023

Finally Friday - Oh Yeah - Back to Regularly Scheduled Programming

 I am currently in Pensacola (yeah, I know - it's a bit obnoxious but I've made up for a lot of lost time this year with plenty of travel.  ). 

But let's continue with the North Carolina ladies trip.  Here are lovely pics from the Sandhills Horticulture Center. Truly a wonderful two hour stroll.  I did behave and was not in jail. This is just a cute adobe open air space with a variety of succulents.  Nifty presentation. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Another Year - Happy Birthday Ray

 Happy Birthday Ray!  August 1st.   Scrappy dude with a smile  on his face. He's game for any fun, and always exploring.  We are currently in Pensacola and tomorrow he gets to do some deep sea fishing. Have fun, hubby!  Enjoy your birthday treat. 

As he says, "Older than dirt."  But golfs, does workouts at the YMCA, plays pickleball, takes care of his folks, keeps track of his aunt and the deer lease, ...the list goes on and on.  What can't he do?

He's sweet, funny, kind, and he laughs at my jokes.   'Nuff said. 

Enjoy another year around the sun, dear Ray.  Love ya Lots.