Friday, December 29, 2023

Finally Friday - Let's Be a Tad Naughty

 New Year's weekend ahead. Oh, let's be a tad bawdy, naughty, and romantic?  Verity by Colleen Hoover is quite different from my general genre of reading. My friend lent me the book saying, " It's a tad 'dirty'". Blush. 

Clever book with twists I did not expect. Kudos to the author. 

Lowen Ashleigh gets the job of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford has hired her  to complete the remaining books in  a successful series. His wife, Verity, is injured and unable to finish her books. Hmmm

Lowen plows through the chaotic office.  She uncovers an unfinished autobiography. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions.  Hmmm. 

Lowen and Jeremy - oh, there's chemistry.  Verity, the wife, is bedridden.  Hmmmm

Hmm.  Sex.  Hot  sex and then the writing, the job, the loyalty, the horrifying truth. 

Very clever read. I kept turning the pages. Surprises galore.   Enjoy.  


Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Whatever Wednesday - Rules of Civility

 Flat out - classy writer.  Every word is pristine. Every character is rich.  Amor Towles writes a great book, seemingly effortlessly.  And yet, when you read it, you realize how deep the book is - that the story has  so many layers. When one finishes, one could almost start again and dig deeper.  Rules of Civility is excellent. 

It's 1937. A jazz bar. (back blurb) Katey Kontent knew how to sneak into a cinema and steal silk stockings  from Bendel's; how to type eighty words a minute, five thousand an hour, nine million a year; and that if you can still lose yourself in a Dickens novel then everything is going to be fine. 

By the end of the year she'd learned: how to  live like a redhead and insist upon the very best, that riches can turn to rags in  the trip of a heartbeat, chance encounters can be fated, and the word "yes" can be a poison.  Oh NYC - so dangerous. 

I could pick out paragraphs from every page to use as examples of brilliant writing. Katey is so smart as our narrator.  Tinker will break your heart. Evelyn, oh you wish her well. And Wallace - dear stuttering sweetheart of a man.  The rules come from George Washington - how to be civil in any age. Easy to read. Tough to accomplish. 

Thanks Amor Towles for an excellent  book. 

Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas Monday

Merry Christmas one  and all.    Favorite Christmas books
Love the Grinch
College days - visited Santa in  Philly
Kevin made the toilet  paper  rolls toy soldier many years ago

 Abby excited for  a dollhouse on Christmas morning.  Now she's  nineteen with her  own baby boy - Levi.  He'll be into things next year.  

Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards men

Blessings to all. 

Friday, December 22, 2023

Finally Friday Assortment

Winter solstice Friday. Let's reflect on  friends, family, and tidings of comfort and joy

In November, I caught up with my PA gang - Helen, Trish, Joan, and  Mary Ellen.  Lisa lives in NC and was not in town.  I am SO lucky to have these gals in my life since junior high,  high school,  and college. Dang!

Newest Faries - Levi.  He was born on  November 6th. Didn't seem too excited  about Thanksgiving turkey. My guess is he'll snooze  through  Christmas too. Enjoy the winter naps baby boy. 
Here's what I do  when up in PA  in the fall. My sister suggested we try to attack the leaves and crap under the rhododendron. I am still able to wield a rake efficiently. 
Let's  remember dear ones.   My Aunt Janice and Uncle Bill,  Uncle  Rick, my  mother, grandparents, Ray's grandparents.   My friend, Kearny, passed away back  in the spring  from pancreatic  cancer. 

It's a tough time of year for many. 

Still  kicking at 92, here's  my dad with  his Christmas haul.  Goodies from his lunch  ladies - former  work friends. They  spoil  him and know  he has a sweet tooth.  I am very fortunate that  he's around and  I try to go  visit several times a year. He's like a tiny elf now. 

Enjoy this Christmas  weekend.   Cheers and memories galore. 


Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Wednesday Whatever - Countdown to Christmas

Carols are playing. My elf, Ray, out did himself this year on our lighting. I can take no credit. 
I love our backyard and the reflection  on the pool. 
So  festive. We hosted a party two weeks ago. The weather was perfect for sitting on the patio and admiring  Ray's effort. 
Ho Ho Ho

Hope your countdown  to Christmas is going well.  We are actually  low key. Not much shopping. We agreed with family to just treat kids. We've enjoyed more social events and everyone contributes. Plenty of snacks and goodies, plus adult beverages. Take time for yourself and sit with a cup  of cocoa. 

Cheers my friends

Monday, December 18, 2023

Monday Moments - Six the Musical

 Divorced, beheaded, died...Divorced, beheaded, survived.

Six, the Musical is a lesson in her-story, remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into eighty minutes of 21st century  girl power. (program blurb)

I enjoyed this Broadway touring production on  December 2nd at Bass Hall. The Queens sing their version of what really happened. The theme joins into female empowerment and friendship. While there are certain  things  that  are beyond  our control, our past refines  us, not defines  us. (program blurb)

Excellent voices, production, and very clever lyrics.  

RIP Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Catherine Parr

Friday, December 15, 2023

Finally Friday - No Business Like Show Business

Saturday November 19, only a day in New York City.  Alas, no time for a show.  Oh the lights. Oh the bustle. Oh the energy of Times Square.  I want to see all the musicals. 

I actually did see Lion King many years ago on Broadway. So innovative

Josh Groban stars in a new Sweeney Todd.  I bet his voice sounds awesome booming from the stage
I did see a touring production of Hamilton. I'd like to see it again. Clever show
My sister saw the original Wicked twenty years ago.  I did see it a few years later on Broadway.  Defy gravity!

 Times Square is magical

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Whatever Wednesday - NYC Adventure

Saturday November 19th, I enjoyed a bus trip to New York City with my sister and friends.  Here we are in Union Square.  Lori, Jenn, Me, and Colleen.   We wandered a farmer's market and Christmas bazaar. Plenty of tasty food booths, lots of folks, and a nifty energy on a crisp clear day. 
Rockefeller Center area
A quick stroll into St. Patrick's Cathedral.  I feel some religion here. 
Oh my - that's a big plate of meatballs.  Ten of us met for a family feast at Carmine's  So yummy!
No, Lori and I are not tall enough to be Rockettes. 

Monday, December 11, 2023

Monday Moments - Mum Mountain

I returned from PA in time for Thanksgiving. All settled in now  and prepping for Christmas.  Meanwhile, I enjoyed a blast from my past and visited Ott's Nursery in  Schwenksville PA. My mother loved going here in the fall, and I loved to run up the Mum Mountain.  Isn't it glorious?
This nursery is over one hundred years old
Such a pretty day and the colors popped.
 I enjoyed reliving a fun memory and seeing other families bring their kids or grandkids to explore. 

The nursery itself is huge with a whole conservatory and exotic plant section. Nifty family business. 

Friday, December 8, 2023

Finally Friday - Horse by Geraldine Brooks

 Having been to Kentucky this spring and enjoying horse country, Horse by Geraldine Brooks struck a chord for me. 

cover blurb:  A discarded painting in a junk pile, a skeleton in an attic, and the greatest racehorse in American history - from different time periods (Kentucky 1850, New York City 1954, and Washington DC 2019),  Brooks weaves a sweeping story of spirit, obsession, and injustice. 

Her writing is so smooth, her characters are memorable, and I am in awe of her obvious research to create an excellent novel. 

Kentucky 1850 An enslaved groom and a bay foal have a bond. The horse proves victorious, but alas has some issues. Follow this story and treatment of an educated black lad grown to adulthood with a magic touch for horses. 

Meanwhile NYC 1954 - follow the tale of a nineteenth century equestrian oil painting of mysterious origins. 

DC 2019 A Smithsonian scientist and a Nigerian American art historian are connected by a horse. Bones offer clues to the winner's speed and health issues. Art uncovers a story of unsung Black horsemen.

cover blurb: Inspired by the true story of thoroughbred Lexington, Horse is a novel of art and science, love and obsession, and our unfinished reckoning with racism. 

I highly recommend this novel. I loved the characters and became very vested in the outcomes as each tale intertwined. Huge thumbs up.   And go visit Kentucky for an even greater appreciation of the book's backdrop. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Whatever Wednesday - Calm

Nabbed another photo from an Aussie friend who's traveling in Japan.  This is an ancient floating gate. 

Glorious view. 

Another one  for the bucket list

Monday, December 4, 2023

Monday Moments - Exit Interview by Kristi Coulter

 Exit Interview - The Life and Death of My Ambitious Career by Kristi Coulter - is a fascinating  memoir. 

cover blurb - What would you sacrifice for your career?  All your free time? Your sense of self worth? Your sanity?

In 2006, the author Kristi Coulter left her cozy dull Midwest job to go west to Seattle and Amazon. Fast growing, new exciting  company. Turned out soul crushing. 

In a culture of fear,  she survived the chase, the visibility, the goal to try to gain a level 8 manager, and yet the goal posts kept moving. The money, the stock options kept her going until she couldn't recognize herself anymore. 

This book is well written, funny as hell, surprising, and very truthful. Kristi Coulter is obviously smart, driven, and very aware of the ridiculousness at times of female ambition in the reality of the working  world. She also gives quite a look at the Amazonian mammoth enterprise that is Amazon. I'm still gob-smacked. 

And I admit - I would never ever have been able to endure the path  she traveled. My personal credo - really doesn't play well with others, doesn't want to do meetings, just leave me alone and I'll get the work  done.  Whew!  Glad now  I'm retired. 

Friday, December 1, 2023

Finally Friday - The Painted Drum by Louise Erdrich

 I bought this 2005 book at a library sale for one dollar. Oh my - Louise Erdrich's writing is worth so much more. The Painted Drum is rich in  characters, story line, description,  and life.  I have become a fan and I'm trying to read more of  her works. 

This  book stars Faye Travers and a rare moose skin and cedar drum created by an Ojibwe artisan. She finds it at an old New Hampshire  estate descended from a North Dakota Indian agent. 

cover blurb - And so begins an illuminating journey both backward and forward in time, following  the strange passage of a powerful and yet delicate instrument, and revealing the extraordinary lives it has touched and defined. 

Erdrich explores mother/ daughter relationships, the strength of family, and grief. 

I enjoyed this book and  took my time to appreciate the writing and her respect of Native American  culture. She embodies the lyrical story telling skills of ancestors, and  also shows some current conditions of the community. Open your heart and it will  soar when reading Louise Erdrich's work.