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.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Brinkley Landscape Adventure

We have always been DIYers. Always. ALWAYS. However, due to the heat, time constraints and loss of upper body strength AW and I have decided to have some "work" done on the back yard. We live in a garden home but our lawn area is bigger than in our old house -- not much of a "garden". When we moved here it was fine because the area beyond our fence was a vacant field with much over growth. Well, the powers that be came and cut down the over growth and erected a "sales office" for the eventually-to-be-built condo for those over 62. In the process, we lost the feeling of being in a cozy, wooded area and immediately felt like we were thrust into a commercial, industrial sort of area with the promise of the condo's dumpster being placed at our back fence. This did not bode well with AW. So, we decided to do some "work" -- plastic surgery so to speak.

This is a photo of our little yard before the massacre -- uh, work, commenced this morning. I will post more photos as it progresses. I guess it is a little late for second thoughts but....

Week 337

sister: brother
talks: listens
electric: company
corner: store
turnstile: line
young: old
horrific: scary
block: stop
wind: blow

I didn't participate this week because I am still reading The Shroud of the Thwacker -- I would already be done if it wasn't for Animal Crossing -- I can see the problem with video games and kids -- really.

July 15th

Starting a little late this week -- blame it on the landscapers!

Outside my window -- still dark, work up way too early and will require nap

I am thinking -- how much I get done early in the morning but would rather be sleeping

I am thankful for -- today, good health for my family, my grandkids, my church, the fact that the landscapers are actually going to do something visible today.

From the kitchen -- I am thankful for Bethenny Frankel -- she makes sense -- well, except for all the wine

I am wearing --- you really don't want to know -- after all, it is just 6 a.m.

I am reading -- what I have been reading for MONTHS -- The Shroud of the Thwacker

I am hoping -- to get more done today but will probably spend the day looking out into the backyard

I am creating --- absolutely nothing at the moment!

I am praying -- incessantly but right now for the health and safety of my family, for David, Diane, Gerald and Dorothy to have a fun safe vacation, for Margaret, for Mundee and her uncle.

Around the house -- what can I say -- landscaping

One of my favorite things -- sleeping late -- do you see a pattern here?

A few plans for the rest of the week -- try to work a haircut in somewhere down the line

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you

Monday, July 13, 2009

I have just posted a new album to my facebook page. It contains photos of my junior high school in San Antonio. The school was built in approximately 1923 and had additions as WPA projects later. My grandmother's cousin, Rose, went to school here the year my mother was born, my mother went here as did my aunts and uncle and my cousin JLSHall. Of all of my educational experience I was happiest here. I loved the atmosphere and I hate what they have done to it -- they rebuilt it and only retained part of the facade, the part that faces San Pedro Avenue. They replaced the gym -- ok, it flooded underneath but still -- and they torn down the locker room which was a WPA project as well as the IA shops.

Spurred on by a graduate school paper of my daughter's, I have tried to find information about Twain online and in newspaper articles but can't find much, especially photos so, if anybody has any old photos or information about the school, I would really like to hear stories or see pictures.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Gran Torino

AW and I watched "Gran Torino" last night. We both like Clint Eastwood and AW used to own a gold Gran Torino Sport so we settled down for what we thought would be a good movie. It wasn't a good movie -- it was a great movie. The language was awful -- the racial slurs were awful but all of that was pretty realistic, I would imagine in certain areas of our population. There were many comedic asides -- didn't know Eastwood could be such a funny, old guy. The story line was great -- but sad. For anybody thinking of watching it, if there is anybody out there that hasn't already -- be prepared for the language and the subject matter but get ready for some laughs, some anger and ultimately, some tears. This movie will definitely go into my personal DVD library.

Molly Sugden 1922-2009

Anyone who is a fan of British comedy is familiar with Molly Sugden who played Betty Slocombe for many years on the hit Britcom "Are You Being Served". Ms. Sugden was born in northern England in July, 1922 and was educated at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. During this time she met her husband, William Moore whom she married in 1958. Mr. Moore passed away in 2000. Ms. Sugden leaves two sons, Robin and Simon Moore.

While Ms. Sugden was active in other roles, she is best known for her role as Betty Slocombe. She played the character from 1973 to 1985. While she may have passed on, she will remain with us as these shows air regularly on many PBS channels.

So, farewell, Molly -- you served us well!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Unconscious Mutterings #336

independence: day
meltdown: what happens when my email gets jammed
vulture: big scary bird, roadkill
hope: faith, charity
float: root beer
hole: in one, plant, sink
trespass: property, illegal
moving: day
extinct: dinosaur
alligator: Razoo's
Do you read celebrity memoirs? Which ones have your read or do you want to read? What nonexistant memoirs would you like to see?

I don't read celebrity memoirs. Even though, in my youth, I read my share of "movie magazines" and had Elvis scrapbooks and whatnot, I am not particularly interested in celebrities. I guess the closest I have come to reading one is the book on Katherine Hepburn and maybe the one on Audrey Hepburn. However, in both cases, I have just not gotten around to it. Since I don't have a huge interest in this genre, I would have to say that there isn't anybody I would like to see write a book about themselves.

Friday, July 03, 2009


Found this cute, kitschy little magazine at Target last night. Didn't look at it until this morning but was very pleasantly surprised at what it contained. It has great recipes that use real food, nothing too exotic. Check it out! Really nice.

A couple of weeks ago I received "W." from Netflix. We procrastinated and put off watching it and I finally decided we either needed to watch it or send it back. Last night we watched it.

Horrible movie.

In the first place it was incredibly boring. Incredibly.

In the second place, it was incredibly disrespectful. Regardless of party preference, this movie was hateful and mean-spirited.

I can't wait for "Gran Torino" to arrive.