Thursday, December 31, 2009

My apologies --

In re-reading my post of earlier, there is a typo that I can't seem to correct because google won't let me! Trust me that I do know the difference between there and their and they're -- I just don't type so well anymore. So, lest I offend anyone (dear daughter comes to mind) I will rectify the error as soon as Google lets me. I hope I don't have to go back to Wordpress.
Ushering out the Old and Ringing in the New!

I have read on several blogs, FB comments and heard in queues that people are glad to see 2009 go -- don't let the door hit you in the rear as you exit! I don't feel that way about 2009. Of course, it could be that I didn't have a bad year. I didn't have a monumental year, either. I just had a year. It was quiet -- thank God -- and uneventful -- again, thank God. As I age I recognize the value and blessing of "uneventful" or "boring". There is nothing quite as comforting as "boring".

Of course, there are things I wish I had accomplished like losing weight, exercising more, reading more books, being a nicer person but there are no huge regrets. I was blessed by becoming better acquainted with my DOK sisters and actually seeing the power of prayer through the diligence and faith of these women. I was blessed by my increased involvement in DAR which has strengthened by belief that we do, in fact, live in the greatest country in the world and that we should not take it for granted but be staunch in our values and standards for which our flag flies and our troops defend.

It goes without saying that watching the g-kiddos grow is a blessing and a privilege for which there are no words. Learning, during the latter part of the year, that there is to be a new addition to the family in 2010 has brought joy, excitement and blessing to this family and we can hardly wait to see Bean Wilcox in the summer. What greater purpose can their be for the new year than to gather around these children and watch them grow and flourish.

As New Year's Eve approaches AW and I are settling in for a home cooked meal as the rain falls. There are no parties or get-togethers planned -- we abandoned all that years ago. It is a joy for us to kick off the shoes and watch a movie or listen to music.

I am sure by midnight we will be past the point of no return.I am sure that Rollie, being the teenage cat that he is, has other plans, however.
I sincerely hope, however, that he lays off trying to eat ribbon. It doesn't work well for him and isn't a pretty sight.

So, as the end of 2009 approaches I just want to say to everyone
whatever that means to you. As for me, I am hoping for another "boring" year

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New background!

I just changed my blog background from the Christmas theme it had been sporting for the last couple of weeks. I have done all the regular backgrounds, vintage backgrounds, holiday backgrounds so this time I wanted to go with something upbeat, quirky, and a bit springy so here it is! I hope I can live with it for a while. Maybe not. Hmmm.....we will see.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Current Read

This is the book that I am currently reading. I borrowed it from my daughter and I need to return it. It is not a long book and has caught my interest keenly so I doubt I will take long to finish it up.

I must remember to add it to my Good Reads list.


To Cook or Not to Cook

Tonight I watched "Julie and Julia" for the second time -- this time with hubby in tow. I loved this movie the first time I saw it and the second was no different and each time I was inspired. I can't cook. I don't like to go to the grocery store. Visiting Williams-Sonoma is an entirely different matter, however. I can't imagine what it would be like to shop in a French kitchen shop with one of those old, fold-up baskets like we used to use at the five and dime and just casually throw in whisks, copper pots, and big, beautiful rolling pins. I should cook, shouldn't I, especially since I have a weakness for all things kitchen.

The first time I saw the movie, I looked at the cookbook at Borders. I discovered then that I would never be a Julia Child or even a Julie Powell, even though she can cook and write, both goals and desires of mine. There is no way that I will ever "save" chicken livers -- in fact, I don't even buy chickens WITH livers -- and I am sure than in the remainder of my life, I will never, ever bone a duck. But still, the draw to such gorgeous cuisine is almost irrestible.

I do cook a bit, however, but I need a cookbook -- no natural talent here -- and I am very messy but still, I do have my moments. For instance, I do make fruitcakes almost every Christmas and this year I did make Cousin Jean's Welsh Cakes which were very good. I have no photos of those but I do have some photos of a meal I made back in the summer -- flatbread with Asparagus Milanese. So, welcome to my messy kitchen and my lovely dinner.

Saturday, December 26, 2009



Project completed

A while back my daughter in law asked for some old fashioned embroideried cup towels. Since I like to do that sort of thing, I began making a set for her. I didn't want to post photos here since they were for a gift but, since the gift has been given I am now posting photos of the finished project. I enjoyed doing them and am thinking of doing some for myself.
Christmas Eve 2009

I guess all of us have some idea of what the perfect holiday is. It is probably made up of memories from childhood, not always accurate, probably department store fantasy, probably some preconceived notion of what it is SUPPOSED to be. At any rate, for many of us, the perfect holiday is probably not achievable -- too much perfection involved.

This Christmas was no different for me. I harken back to the Christmas's of my childhood -- great recollections of going to relatives houses, egg nog and black olives (thanks for the memory, Penny), lots of gifts, real trees, big, colorful lights and food. Teenage years brought Christmas parties at home with all the neighborhood kids -- dancing school Christmas parties, new Bobbie Brooks skirts and sweaters, the boyfriend coming home from A&M for the holidays -- blue northers blowing through south Texas that would chill you to the bone only to be gone the next day! Of course, my memory likes to obliterate the thoughts of cedar allergies (yes, even back then), calendar towels, relatives arguing and messing up the whole thing for others. But, hey, it is my perfect vision -- I have the right to obliterate those things.

Then I think back to my children's Christmas's. We were always at the grandparents houses, lots of toys and food and happiness all around. Of course, my selective memory is leaving out the little boy so desperately allergic to the winter that he was sick every year with horrible earaches but he wouldn't give up and give in -- had to go on. I am also choosing to forget how sick the little girl got sitting on bales of hay while portraying a lovely little lamb in the church Christmas pagent. I still have the cotton ball covered hat. No, my dream holiday doesn't include sick children.

I sort of thought I was going to have the perfect holiday this year. We were going to go to daughter's house on Christmas Eve and, in anticipation of the "wintery weather" we were planning on spending the night -- a first for us. I was looking very forward to this since Christmas Eve is, in my "perfect holiday", the epitome of Christmas. Well.....this happened.



The wind was blowing like a hurricane and the event was aptly dubbed "a BLIZZARD". It must have been because we had snow drifts in the yard.

And ice in the birdbath.

In the spirit of the sick little boy of the years past, we wouldn't let this get us down. We were determined to get to daughters house for an evening of holiday food, movies and perfection so we forged ahead. Heading down the highway to pick up Grandmother we saw an accident. Not a tragic accident but more an inconvenient accident for those involved. At Grandmother's house it was harrowing to see the elderly bundling up against the bitter cold wind trying to maneuver walkers through slush, blowing snow and patches of thin ice. However, with Grandmother bundled into the back seat and gifts and food safely ensconsed in the trunk off we go -- retracing our travel, back on the highway, there is another accident. No driver in sight, one car sideways in the road -- no damage -- not sure what happened but everybody was slamming on brakes, sliding dangerously close to one another. That is when I got THE LOOK from the hubby. You know, the one that lets you know that this just isn't going to happen. Well, it didn't -- circling around, back on the highway for the third time back to Grandmother's we went to drop her off at her apartment and venture home. The streets were freezing much quicker than we anticipated and visibility was scary to say the least. Obviously my dream holiday vision was evaporating fast. I was angry and disappointed not to mention just a little more than frightened at the prospect of winding up in a 20+ car pile up less than a mile from my house.

The Perfect Christmas Eve was not to happen this year so I threw myself a huge pity party instead and spent the evening doing laundry which my husband was very thankful for - so glad I could oblige him.

However, Christmas Day dawned bright and sunny and even though the streets were bad and we didn't venture out to church, the afternoon turned out to be very enjoyable. The daughter and hubby came over and spent the afternoon, we had a little food and exchanged some gifts and had a good time -- well as good as I could under the influence of Benadryl and feeling like a wrung out dishrag -- oh, yes, I forgot to mention that the cedar fever is hanging on way, way too long now.
And, we did have a lot of fun with the family cat. Our Rollie had found his gifts a few days before and we had to hide them from him. When I finally remembered where I had put them, I wrapped them up for him and let him go to town unwrapping his loot! He really likes to get "into" the spirit of things!




And, mission accomplished! Of course, he only went after the catnip laced items and left the jingley balls in the bag. He is such a catnip snob!




The evening was spent at our son's house with him, our daughter in law and grandchildren. Grandmother got her day out, we didn't do any slipping and sliding and a good time was had by all. I would post photos if I had taken any but the Benadryl has robbed me of my mind and I forgot to take the camera out of my purse! Oh well, maybe next year. However, one tradition refused to be daunted -- the little-boy-turned-grown-man (the sick little guy from Christmas's past) was sick again this Christmas Eve. One look at the red nose and droopy eyes and it was 1980 again and I realized that it wasn't Christmas Eve that wasn't perfect but rather my vision of the event that was flawed. So, in adjusting my vision I know that all that was important was our safety, our health, being here and being together and that desiring such perfection was, in reality, selfishness. So, I am going into the new year with a new vision -- and that is no preconceived notion at all -- just enjoying what comes, accepting glitches in the system and being happy for the good things we have.

And so, to everyone reading this -- Happy Boxing Day! That might be my next Perfect Holiday.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Blog-All-Dressed-Up

In an attempt to get in the spirit of the season, I decided to dress up my blog which explains the new blog background. I am not sure I like it yet so it may change -- who knows. Guess you will just have to come back and check it out.

I am doing a lot of different things this year -- changing things around to spice up the season. I love tradition but this year, due to severe lack of energy, cedar fever and a good helping of Bah-humbugginess -- I decided to refrain from putting up my Christmas village. Well, all those reasons plus we need to figure out how to build some risers for it to make all the cords easier to conceal. Anyway, here is a photo from years past.


I added something new this year in the form of what is probably the cheesiest thing ever -- EVER. I bought THIS--

I really rather like him and, for some reason, he reminds me of my Aunt Velma who loved things of this sort. I even went to the website --- which is very clever, I might add -- and I registered him and named him. His name is Tuppy.

I can't forget about Tinklepaw. I haven't talked much about Tinklepaw or put up many of his photos even though he has quite a few -- he has traveled with us and enjoyed past holidays. So, I decided I would put up a photo now and here he is -- Jingle Bell Tinklepaw!




And last but not least, we bought a new tree. Usually our little tree goes in the middle of the village but this year, without the village, we opted for a taller tree. It is tall but very slender so I didn't have to rearrange the house to put it up. And, conveniently, it fits right next to a plug. You will notice that I have a little helper in this photo. Well, ok, little isn't an operative word here and, actually, neither is helper but nonetheless, here is Rollie taking in the tree trimming festivities.


Even though he is the incredible hulk of tabby cats, I think he is a very handsome guy, don't you?

So, that is where I am in the Christmas process. I have watched several Christmas movies -- "Going My Way", "Elf", "Remember the Night" and "New in Town" which isn't really a Christmas movie, I don't suppose, but there is lots of snow so it works for me!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

It's Been Awhile...

Yes, indeed, it has been awhile since I have blogged but not because I haven't wanted to but more because I haven't had much to talk about. I have been doing a little quilting, a little genealogy, a little embroidery but it has been so little that a blog it doesn't make. However, I have been doing a little reading as well and now I can comment on my two latest finishes.

The first would be "Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl". This was the most hysterical book I have read in a while --- the real life account of Susan Mc Corkindale's journey from big city life complete with high power magazine job to a farm that she, her husband and two children are tending for a relative. It is funny, frustrating, enlightening and let's you know just how fortunate you are to be a block or two away from a Starbucks. It is light reading, goes quickly and is good for more than a chuckle or two.


The second book I read recently was Glenn Beck's "Common Sense". I would recommend this book for any American regardless of political party preference, religious preference or race. It is food for thought -- pick one up, read it and pass it on to a friend.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Kathryn's First Birthday

My granddaughter's first birthday was celebrated last week and here is a photo of her birthday cake! It is a parent-made cake -- even the butterflies!! Such creative kids I have.

Friday, October 09, 2009

As I said on September 13 -- it is never going to quit raining. And now...it is cold and raining. Blah, bleech, ugh, carry on.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It is never going to quit raining. My allergies are raging. My head hurts and all this damp is making all my joints hurt. Blah blah blah!!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009


The Madonnas of Leningrad

I just finished reading "The Madonnas of Leningrad" by Debra Dean, 2006, Harper. It is the story -- or stories -- of Marina Buriakov. The primary story is of her life in Leningrad during World War II where she worked as a tour guide at the Hermitage Museum. It portrays her life as the German's approach signals the beginning of the war and all that transpires thereafter. The subplot involves Marina as a grandmother attending her granddaughters wedding. Marina has alzheimers that is waging another sort of war in her life. Both stories are depicted in great, painful detail. The book is well written but, as I said, painful. You ache for the youth who is doing her best to survive in impossible times. You weep for the elderly lady who, after going through all she went through before, has to keep fighting. It is almost a relief when the book ends. It isn't a long book and it is a fairly easy read given that it goes back and forth between the past and present with each chapter. It is a sad book. I would recommend it because it is well written but be forewarned that it produced much emotion.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Mona Lisa Smile


After I went to the grocery store, did a couple of loads of laundry, did a load of dishes and dusted the house I decided to reward myself by watching a movie. I had already missed the President's message to students because I was running errands so I thought I would sit down and just enjoy something.

I chose to watch a movie that my daughter had loaned me -- one of her favorites -- probably because one of her goals is to teach college. So, I began "Mona Lisa Smile" with Julia Roberts. I remember wanting to see this when it came out but somehow missed it -- probably because it was something that AW wouldn't particularly enjoy although I don't know why. At any rate, it is the story of Kathryn Watson, an art history professor who, in 1954, relocates to Wellesley from California and finds her progressive self smack in the middle of mid-century tradition and mores. Her students challenge her from the beginning, shake her resolve and, by the end of the movie love her dearly. There are a couple of subplots -- Watson's own failed romantic life, and the lives of a couple of her students outside of school. Maggie Gyllenhall is the loose living girl, sleeping her way through her degree, Julia Stiles is the young woman who longs for Harvard Law School and Kirsten Dunst is the angry young woman who learns all too early what being a "good wife" means. It all ends well, very predictably, but it was a good movie. The scenery was gorgeous.

I found it to be a somewhat depressing movie, however. Being a child of the 50's I remember it as a more innocent time. It was, in my memory, quite idyllic. I do remember my mother saying that "in her day" all women could do, for the most part, was be nurses, teachers, or telephone operators, if they worked at all, each job having it's own "tag" so to speak. The desired position was, above all, housewife. It sounded different coming from her than it seemed in this movie. The constraints of the era were boldly displayed in this film and it made me feel sorry for the women who came before me.

Monday, August 31, 2009


Our Daughter's Birthday

Once upon a time AW and I had two little babies. The first was a little boy --- a red haired, blue eyed bundle of energy, affection and temper. Then, three and three quarters years later we had our second child -- a little girl with big eyes, curly blond hair and precocious nature. It was every parents dream -- they were gorgeous, intelligent children with creative minds and robust personalities. I couldn't have been more pleased.

When they were small they did pretty well at keeping the Monster Sibling Rivalry at bay. They had their moments like one Christmas when the Star Wars boxes were larger than the Cricket boxes and the fussing ensued and the tears flowed -- if not kept in check, Christmas can really result in major meltdowns. For the most part, however, he played the big brother role quite well in saving her life and keeping her from getting lost and making sure that she got something new when he went shopping with his grandmother.

When they became school aged kids there was more competition -- mostly centered around school. However, this usually leveled out with both acquiring their share of ribbons and awards. This was the time, however, when the sibling rivalry was the most prevalent. He was almost a teenager -- she was a little sister -- she was annoying and he had a temper. There were times with much flailing of arms and legs and shrieks and banishing to separate rooms. We bought a van with captains seats so they didn't have to sit next to each other. That was a smart move. Mom's hair was getting much greyer by this point.

Fast forward to young adulthood -- a metamorphosis of sorts. She had evolved from a gangley girl to a lovely young woman, dancing her way through high school, excelling in her studies and becoming a serious thinker. His temper was waning and he learned patience and independence as only one can by living on his own and learning about life through experience. They talked. She ran to him in times of distress. He included her in some of his activities -- like going to the coffee house on Cooper. She spent the night in his apartment. They were becoming friends. Mom and Dad gave sighs of relief -- their children were becoming friends.

Fast forward to yesterday. My daughter will turn thirty next week -- a big day for her being met with a bit of trepidation -- so, in order to ease the moment for her, her husband, AW and I are hosting a party for her. Unfortunately, her brother and his family have a scheduling conflict which won't allow them to attend. This saddened my daughter because, even though they still have their moments of picking at each other, her brother is very important to her. However, her brother and sister-in-law rose to the occasion and tackled the issue head on -- they threw her a party! It was a lovely party with a gorgeous, dark chocolate cake made by SIL, party hats and a banner made by sister-in-law and nephew -- the artist in residence. Brother chose a well thought out gift which was a rousing success. It was a wonderful party and I got the joy of sitting back and watching my adult children be what I always hoped they would be -- close to each other -- doing something for each other and caring about each other. I guess at the end of the day that is what all parents want above all. It seems to me that she wasn't the only one to get a gift.
The Neglected Blog

It has been noted on Facebook the last several days how some of the more serious bloggers have succumbed to the allure of Facebook --- you know, short snippits of conversation feeding the instant gratification frenzy. It is wonderful, I have to admit, but it seems to have resulted in gross neglect of our blogs. Now, I love reading blogs. I don't know what is so enticing about them but they are some of my favorite reading around. However, with the advent of Facebook it seems much more schedule friendly to pop in, say a quick hello or update your status, letting people know you are still alive but there is little in the way of substance, photos or creative writing. Although I am not a serious blogger, I have let my blog go in deference to FB, as well. I am, therefore, going to take a step back and examine my priorities and put my blogging/blog reading first. After all, it just takes a couple of minutes to post your status, right?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Weekend Movies

AW and I watched two movies over the weekend -- one on tv and one a Netflix offering. Both movies were very good although very different. It seems that we managed to reach a happy medium in our cinema viewing this week.

The first, from Netflix, was "Ghost Town". A really cute movie with Ricky Gervais is sort of a "Ghost" in comedic form. I love Gervais in "The Office" and was thrilled to see him do such a good job in this movie. It was basically a love story and a ghost story, poignant and funny. It was entertaining and I recommend.

The second movie, "A Time to Kill" was older, circa 1992 or so, with Samuel L. Jackson, Matthew McConaghy, Kevin Spacey, Donald Sutherland and Sandra Bullock. It was centered around a murder case -- Jackson's character murdered two white men for the rape of his daughter--and the subsequent trial and unrest that it evoked in a small southern town. It was a really good movie with a great cast. I would definitely recommend this one -- let's just say the younger cast is easy on the eyes.

I have no clue what is next on my Netflix list but, after several weeks of movies that I wasn't thrilled with, I was glad that "Ghost Town" turned out to be so good!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Fairy Door

The Fairy Door has arrived! Now, I know I sound like an eccentric old bird, but I have always liked subtle, offbeat additions to my environment. So, when we put in the flower bed in the back, I immediately started thinking about what kind of "yard art" I could fill it with. Well, AW isn't a huge fan of "yard art" and he looks at my gnome with much disdain so I decided I better keep it to a minimum. After much internet searching, I discovered a site called Enchanted Gardens (www.miniature-gardens.com). They have a lovely assortment of miniature garden doors, buildings, windows, etc. I chose, after much deliberating with AW, the Pixie door. It came yesterday and I am very pleased with it. It is darker than the photo shows which is ok because it blends in very well and isn't so "in your face". I am sure any self-respecting fairy would prefer to be tasteful. Now, I am sure I will never create an entire miniature village, although the idea is definitely enticing, but I might have to add a wee creature to the area -- if one doesn't come on it's own! Heh, heh --- my English/Welsh/Irish roots are showing.

Anyway, here are the photos! I have to say though that while I was out looking for meteors last night I didn't see any evidence of any fairies moving into my tree. Oh well, maybe the word isn't out yet that I have the coolest door!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Julie and Julia

I saw a movie. In a theater! It was "Julie and Julia". It was really good -- not a chick flicky as I thought it would be. The scenery was gorgeous. Just see it -- I think even husbands would like it. Really.
Netflix movie -- "Mongols"

Ok, I don't know what comes over me when I add movies to my Netflix queue. I am always trying to find something that AW will like, mixed in with all the chick flicks and historical fiction that I like. So, while perusing the vast options one day, I added "Mongols" to it figuring that it was something that the hubby would like. It has been a while ago, though, so I had sort of forgotten I had it on the list. It arrived a couple of days ago and we watched it last night.

Well, what can I say. There was dialogue but it was in whatever language the Mongols speak -- Chinese? It didn't sound Chinese. There were subtitles. The entire movie was subtitled. I am not a fan of subtitles but we went with it. It was a brutal movie. It was sad. It was long but it was pretty good. I didn't fall asleep in it which was good but it did have it's draggy moments. At the end, when all the text was scrolling, it did explain that it was the story of Ghengis Khan which, truthfully, we didn't know. I guess I need to read the synopsis a little more closely. Anyway, would I recommend? Yes, with reservation. Like I said, it is brutal.

Saturday, August 08, 2009





The Garden

Here is our completed landscaping project. Our thanks to Jathan of Glennscape for hauling large trees, dealing with rain and constant changes from us.
Fairy Doors --

This is coming to my house soon! I can't wait. I have a perfect place in the new flower bed for it and it is going to be very cute!



It is from www.miniature-gardens.com. I have been doing some looking at fairy gardens on the internet and, while I don't think I am up for creating an entire village, I have always wanted a door (introduced to me by my Aunt Velma). So, this one has been ordered and will be here eventually -- hopefully in time for fall because we don't want the pixies to get cold!
Was it Me or my Grandmother?

I am aging. I know this from the obvious signs -- greying hair, wrinkles, an approaching milestone birthday, suddenly sort of liking the color purple which I always, ALWAYS assigned to "old ladies". I did not, however, think I had an old attitude. If I don't look in the mirror, I feel 19. I still remember the words to the songs of my youth, I have a get up and go approach to life and I keep up with the here and now. So, I was shocked last evening when I saw what I saw and when I thought what I thought and suddenly my age closed in on me and I felt old.

AW and I were feasting on soup at one of our usual haunts and, being seated close to the door, we got a good look at all the patrons as they entered the eatery. As I was sipping my soup I glanced to the side and saw some black flats with rather wide grosgrain ribbon attached at the back and lacing around the wearers ankle to be tied in a large black bow. This wasn't a child's foot so I had to look up to see what was north of these outrageous bows. What I saw was a 40-something woman dressed in -- her slip! It was a pink number that was either faded or tie dyed -- not sure which. Under this little number she wore black undergarments and tied around her waist was a floral, floaty apron-like affair that tied in the back (with a large bow, I might add) and came to an assymetrical point to one side of the front. It only covered the front of this get-up, not covering her entire body so from the back she was dressed -- in her slip.

I was shocked. Of course, I had read about women wearing lingerie as outerwear, mostly in the evening and mostly black or white. I never thought I would see someone parading around at the usual dinner time in a family restaurant dressed in this manner. I was disgusted. This woman looked intelligent, carried a status bag and had a trendy hairstyle. I am certain she had something in her closet to wear that would have been more appropriate.

Then I thought about my reaction --- it was certainly not one of hippness, trendiness, or acceptance. It was an old woman's response -- I could see Grandmother Madge sitting there passing judgment on this woman and I realize then that my age was showing and I was equally appalled by THAT.

So, in the world of fashion I would have to say "to each his own" but I would be remiss if I didn't say it was the most laughable thing I had seen in a long time and an enlightening moment to myself -- fight the aging a little harder because it is creeping up faster that I realize.

Friday, August 07, 2009


Friday Fill0Ins #139

1. Iced tea is my favorite summertime beverage. It is my favorite wintertime beverage too -- hey, I am from the south!

2. My favorite John Huges movie is yet to be discovered.

3. Fabric is something I love to touch.

4. The full moon reminds me of autumn.

5. I am getting hungry right now.

6. When daylight fades the soft dusky glow illuminates the spidery branches of the trees in the wood beyond the cabin.

7. And as for this weekend, tonight I am looking forward to another movie, tomorrow my plans include house cleaning and Sunday I want to do my usual Sunday thing.
Netflix Update

Slow to blog, here, but we just viewed two Netflix offers in the last week. The first was "The Women" with Meg Ryan. It is a remake of the 1939 classic -- I would like to see the original again. It was good, typical Meg, but entertaining and I would recommend it.

The second movie was "Valkyrie". Definite recommend and it has nothing to do with Tom Cruise being in it. It was a great movie -- enough action to keep it going and not so much gore to make it disgusting -- a rarity these days, it seems. I have always liked "war" movies (The Longest Day -- thanks JLSHall!) and this one did not disappoint. I would recommend and I might add it to my personal DVD library.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Today is my father's birthday. If he were still with us he would be 86. My dad was sort of a renaissance man, or a rebel, a free thinker or maybe just plain stubborn but whatever adjective you use to describe him, boring would not be one of them.

My dad was born in San Antonio in 1923 but lived in several different parts of Texas during his life. He lived in Austin, Corpus Christi, Quemada, the hill country but his heart was always in San Antonio.

He started working at a very young age as a radio actor. At sixteen he decided to pursue a career in radio which he did until Uncle Sam decided differently. He served with the US Army Communication Corp in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Upon his return stateside he was fascinated by television and got into that as quickly as he could. He was an announcer, a weatherman, an anchorman, an artist. He built sets for such programs as "Shock" and "Captain Gus". He had the privilege of interviewing many celebrities such as Raymond Burr and John Glenn.

Being the creative sort, he was drawn to movies and took a stab at making a few himself. One of his movies has been released after many years on DVD and one stands as a tribute in the garden of Frank Thompson. Realizing that San Antonio was not the "new" Hollywood, Daddy returned to television only to leave again a few years later to enter the comic book world which was an enduring career that lasted until his death.

He was all these things, actor, movie maker, tv personality, politician, and artist but to me he was just "daddy". We were too much alike to always get along but I knew, and appreciated, that my homelife was a bit unusual. I grew up with my dad on tv or my dad splicing movies in the back room or, instead of reading me a story, we talked Egyptology. I wouldn't have had it any other way although I didn't realize that until much later in my life.

To my kids he started out as "Pop Pop" but quickly turned into "Banker" and not for the obviously assumed reason. He used to play superhero with my son -- my son being Aquaman and he would slosh into the "bank" and my father was "the Banker", hence the name Banker or Bank. Nope, no Grandpa, PaPa or PopPop for him -- Banker fit him to a tee. He nicknamed my daughter "Breezy Wheezy Motor Mouth" which stuck with her much longer than I am sure she cared for it to. He absolutely adored my kids and was always there with a typewriter to take apart or to help build a Micky Mouse replica for school. My kids were blessed in having an unconventional grandfather with a brilliant, artistic mind.

I choose to believe that he knows how great the kids grew up to be, how fantastic and wonderful Nathan and Kathryn are and how I am growing to resemble him more every day. And I choose to believe that he knows that we wish him a very happy birthday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nurse Jackie

I am not a very organized tv watcher. I rarely watch new things, I forget to watch things, I forget to DVR things so most of my viewing is either DVD's or random, hit and miss channel surfing. That is why I love Video on Demand -- when it works, of course.

Yesterday, as an option to pacing the floors watching the landscapers, I decided to channel surf and hit on "Nurse Jackie". Of course, I got in on the tail end but it held my interest for a little while so I went to my video on demand service and watched the first episode. I enjoyed it even though it is based on a drug-addicted, adulterous emergency room nurse that reminds me of Ellen. I never thought of Edie Falco as an Ellen-esque person -- maybe it is the haircut. I digress -- In any event, I am looking forward to watching the rest of the episodes as it is a pretty compelling program -- drug abuse and adultery aside

Monday, July 20, 2009

Okie Dokie -- 32 Questions It Is

I got this meme off JLSHall's blog. She is a much more serious reader than I so her answers are going to sound much more intellectual than mine but I am going to give it a go.

1. What author do you own the most books by? I probably have owned more V.C. Andrews books in the past but they have gone on to other owners now. So, presently I have more Barbara Taylor Bradford or Maeve Binchy.

2. What book(s) do you own the most copies of? The Holy Bible.

3. Did it bother you that both those questions ended in a preposition. Uh huh -- just not grammar feng shui.

4. What fictional character are you secretly in love with? Blackie from "A Woman of Substance" although it isn't much of a secret because Blackie equals Liam Neeson and I read the book after I saw the movie.

5. What books have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children i.e. "Good Moon" does not count. Well, if "The Bumper Book" doesn't count then I would have to say "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" by Shirley Jackson.

6. What was your favorite book when you were ten years old? I think probably "The Good Master" by Kate Seredy.

7. What was the worst book you have read in the past year? I haven't read any bad books because I make sure I like them before I start them.

8. What is the best book you have read in the last year? Again, they have all been good but, if I have to pick one, it would be "The Lace Reader".

9 If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be? I don't force people to do anything but I would suggest "The Lace Reader", "The Memory Keepers Daughter" and "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society".

10. Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature? Don't have a clue.

11. What book would you most like to see made into a movie. Well, for the most part I think movies made from books are pretty deplorable. If it could be done right, I would say that "The Lace Reader" has the most potential for being a good movie but, with that said, I think it could be really, really messed up.

12. What book would you least like to see made into a movie? No doubt -- "The Shroud of the Thwacker".

13. Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book or literary character. Uh, I don't dream of those things but I have had a couple of odd dreams about "Animal Crossing".

14. What was the most lowbrow book you have read recently? None.

15. What is the most difficult book you have ever read? Well, if we eliminate the World Literature textbook in college, I would have to say "London". It is not really difficult, just long and involved.

16. What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've ever seen? I don't think I have ever seen an obscure Shakesperian play. Most everything I have seen has been movies or televised stage plays but they have been the most well known plays.

17. Do you prefer the French or the Russians? I really don't like talking politics. If talking literature, I would have to say that I haven't read much of either.

18. Roth or Updike? Haven't read either.

19. David Sedaris or Dave Eggers. Who?

20. Shakespeare, Milton or Chaucer. Shakespeare.

21. Austen or Eliot? Since I don't know which Eliot you are talking about I would have to say Austen.

22. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading? I am not embarrassed by my reading but I would have to say that I wish I had read more American classics. By that I mean authors like Hemingway -- not just McMurtry although I enjoy McMurtry a great deal.

23. What is your favorite novel? Too many to choose from.

24. Play? Again.

25. Poem? I like "There is a Polar Bear in my Frigidaire" by Shel Silverstein and I am not being disrespectful or trying to be flip -- I really like it and used to get such a kick out of it when reading it to my kids.

26. Essay? I haven't read an essay since college. See what I mean about lack of intellectual reading?

27. Short Story? I have many favorites.

28. Work of nonfiction. Aside from the Bible, I have read a book on the rosary and now I am reading one on the saints.

29. Who is your favorite writer? This is difficult to answer because I have many. Jan Karon comes to mind first, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Maeve Binchy, Shirley Jackson and Grace Metalious.

30. Who is the most overrated writer alive today? The Harry Potter chick.

31. Who is your desert island book? It would have to be something by Jan Karon.

32. And, what are you reading right now? Aside from the saint book, I am reading "The Shroud of the Thwacker" (banging head against wall).
The Landscape Saga Continues

It is Monday, plants were supposed to be in but -- it rained which put everything back a day or two. So, here are the patio pics. It looks nice and is beginning to feel like it has always been there. It is sunny and clear now so maybe, just maybe, tomorrows photos will be a little more interesting.





Friday, July 17, 2009

The Brinkley Landscape Adventure Continued

As the adventure continues I realize I am sort of missing the thick grass that was in the yard -- I don't think we have ever had a lawn that lush. But, now it is just a memory. But, I look forward to good stuff arriving for planting next week.
The tell-tale markings of the landscaper

The French drain

All dug out ready for rebar and concrete! I know, it looks odd but it will look much more logical when the flower bed is put it.