Sunday, May 26, 2019

Making up for Missing Game of Thrones...and other TV Trivia

Note that the TV pictured above has a blank screen.  So like my life!  I don't have Netflix (sad) and so I have never watched Game of Thrones.  To make up for this travesty, I ordered the set of books for my Kindle.  The note at the bottom of the page says, "110 hours left to finish books."  How many months/years/decades will it take me to get to the end?  Then I'll have to read the prequels.  Plus I have book club readings and "guilty pleasure" readings, too.  I'll do monthly postings.

Since I don't have Netflix, I spend most of my TV time watching sports.
    1. The Rockets didn't make the Western finals....again.
    2. The Warriors did, of course.
    3, My prediction that the Milwaukee Bucks would win the Eastern finals was wrong.  Toronto won.
    4. The Astros have beaten the Red Sox 4 of 6 times in the past 10 days,

I watch The Voice on Monday and Tuesday, but they are off for the summer.  I watch
Flea Market Flip on Sundays, and lately I have been watching Turner Classic Movies.  Yesterday I saw Inherit the Wind. 

And I watch Jeopardy.  I love James Holhauzer (not sure of the spelling).  I heard an interview with a person who almost beat him.  This guy says James has an advantage because he has played so long and is able to buzz in faster.  He also said to win on Jeopardy, you have to practice answering questions standing up--it's harder than when you're sitting down.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Another Year, Another Birthday

Thursday is my xxxx birthday.  This has been a year of change for me.  First and foremost, retirement.  After many years as a speech-language pathologist, a career I loved, I finally decided it was time to leave speech therapy behind.  It was a bittersweet ending, but the beginning of new things to do and more time to do them.  I've given away most of my therapy supplies; now I have an almost empty closet.  I've started volunteering at Shriner's Burn Hospital for Children in Galveston.  As a burn survivor myself, this is close to my heart.  I've enrolled in a senior memoir class, which has been great fun, and where I've met a delightful group of people.  I'm facilitating a writing group at Angela's House for women who are transitioning from prison.  And last but not least, I had learned to play Mah Jongg, something I thought I would never do.  Tuesday is Mah Jongg day, and I look forward to playing and chatting with the women who used to belong to a grief group...but as we've navigated our new normal, we've changed our title to support group, and we do support one another.  All in all, it's been a great year and I'm looking forward to the next.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Future

Never let the future disturb you.
You will meet it, if you have to, with the same
weapons of reason which today arm you
against the present.
              Marcus Aurelius

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Tales from Our Table

We have a new food service here in our high rise.  The company, which shall remain nameless, began providing meals last November.  In their presentation at one of our dining forums earlier in the fall, they touted their service as being "like the Ritz Carlton" and informed us that they "make everything from scratch."  Needless to say, we were impressed and early awaited their debut meals.  We were not so impressed after a few dinners.

They are big on strange salad combinations:  beet and onion salad (Yuck!), broccoli and raisin salad, and the outstanding pea and radish salad.  Peas seem to be their go-to vegetable.  They serve them a lot.  They have some weird main dish combinations, too:  fried shrimp in a burgundy sauce,  halibut with lemon basil sauce (They must have been out of halibut because they substituted another fish) And HERESY! they stopped using BlueBell ice cream--that is a crime in Texas.  BlueBell is practically our state ice cream.  After many complaints they brought it back.

One of their tastier dishes is shrimp putanesca which is made with tomatoes, anchovies, capers and olives.  It's pretty good, but since I'd never heard of that sauce, I googled it.  Turns out the recipe originated in WWII Italy.  It became quite popular with Italian prostitutes who, as you might imagine, were quite busy during the war, with so many soldiers around vying for their services.  The sauce is quick and easy to make, so they could cook and eat between clients.  The Italian word for prostitute is putta, so that's how the sauce got its name.

Anyway, there were many complaints about the food and so they've tried to improve.  They did away with turkey breast and bought whole turkeys, hired a new pastry chef, eliminated some dishes that no one would eat, so now we think they're somewhat better, but, alas, we are still not eating like the Ritz Carlton.

Monday, April 22, 2019

"The Shoes of the Fisherman"

I have become a fan of Turner Classic Movies.  Since yesterday was Easter, they showed a ton of faith-oriented movies and one was The Shoes of the Fisherman with Anthony Quinn and Lawrence Olivier.  My late husband and I saw that movie on our first date so it had a special meaning for me.  Not because of the story.  I had forgotten it, except that it was about a Pope.  Turns out he was a fictional Pope.  Anthony Quinn plays a Russian priest who has been imprisoned in Siberia for 20 years.  Then he's released and sent to the Vatican because Russia wants someone there to support them and he's immediately made a cardinal..  He's a very humble, self-effacing person.  Soon after his arrival the current Pope dies and after many unsuccessful ballots, suddenly this newcomer that no one knows except that in prison he stole some bread for a starving friend and got into a fight with a guard  is elected the new Pope.  He looks pretty stunned but he becomes Pope and we see what a noble guy he is.  He agrees to meet with the Russian and Chinese premiers to help stave off a war between them and is scolded by the Chinese leader, who says all his people are starving and the only way to prevent the war is to give them food.  So, of course, the new Pope pledges all the wealth of the church to feed the Chinese and everyone cheers.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Books of March

Hold Still is a memoir by acclaimed photographer Sally Mann whose work is currently on exhibit at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.  It was a fascinating look into her childhood, her family, the South (She's from Virginia) and, of course her photographs.  

Less is about a gay author turning fifty who is traveling around the world to avoid attending the wedding of his former partner.  This book won the Pulitzrt Prize a few years ago.  It's funny and poignant but I'm not sure it was worth the accolade it received.  Still, I enjoyed it.

Then She Was Gone.  A teenage girl disappears.  Years later her mother meets a little girl who looks uncannily like her missing daughter.  It was an okay read but I figured out the end about half way through.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Quote for the Week

Memory's truth is to scientific, objective truth is as a pearl is to a grain of sand.
   From Hold Still by Sally Mann

Monday, March 11, 2019

Books of February

There There.  The book was named one of the best of the year so I wanted to read it though the title confused me.  I learned that the setting is Oakland, about which Oakland native Gertrude Stein once remarked, "There's no there there."  The many characters are urban Native Americans who are all planning to go to a big pow wow in Oakland.  They all have their reasons.  The last part of the book takes place at the pow wow and we learn whether each achieved their goals.

Dying Well.  Mortality has always interested me and in this book Dr. Byock gives heartfelt advice on how to interact with dying patients and how loved ones or the patient him/herself can make dying a growth experience.  A good book to keep in mind when you need it.

The 71/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.  Billed as "Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day," it lives up to the name, but don't bother with it.  By chapter 2, I was totally confused.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

The Rustic Brush

Every February my financial advisor at Houston Asset Management has a luncheon for his clients who are widows.  At several of these I've passed out my "Eleven Commandments for Widows."

This year, instead of a luncheon, we were invited to a craft event at The Rustic Brush, a place where you can decorate items like trays, lazy Susans, door hangers, signs, even doormats.  I was a little nervous.  I am not a crafty person.  The only thing I do well with my hands is type.  But why not join the fun?  I chose an easy item to make--a tray with the words "Enjoy the little things" 

When we arrived, we found our chosen items laid out on tables.  We donned aprons and selected the color stain we wanted for our wooden trays.  I picked dark walnut. We sanded the trays and brushed on the color.  That was easy.  

After the stain dried, we selected colors for our decorations.  I picked a bright aqua I thought would contrast nicely with the stain.  Some people used several colors, but that was too fancy for me to even consider. We were given stencils--thank goodness we didn't have to draw the patterns ourselves.  We pressed the stencils on the wood, and painted them with our chosen colors.  We then removed the stencils and, voila, there was the pattern on the tray.  

Handles were attached to the trays, we had a light lunch and then we were ready to take our creations home.  One problem--the tray is too large to fit in any of my cabinets so it is currently residing in my newly emptied speech therapy closet.  I plan to use it the next time I host a Mah Jongg afternoon.

I'm pretty pleased with myself.  This was my first successful craft.
Good thing because, at my age, I may not have many chances left.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Quote for the Week

The journey in between what you once were and who you are becoming is where the dance of life really takes place.
           Dr. Barbara DeAngel

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Two Old Goats

I have a pinched nerve near the back of my neck.  When I first noticed it, I felt like a hot poker was digging into my back.  I especially noticed it when I was typing on my computer.  Nothing seemed to help....and then....  One day I was reading the newspaper and I glanced through one of those weekly inserts, either the Examiner, a neighborhood weekly, or Senior Living.  I don't remember which.  But I came upon an advice health column.  A woman had sent in a question about the severe pain in her knee, and the columnist said, "You should get a jar of Two Old Goats cream.  You'll feel better right away."

Sounded pretty silly to me.  On a whim, I looked it up on Amazon because I figure if Amazon doesn't have it, it doesn't exist.  There it was, with 5 star reviews all down the page.  For $12, how could I go wrong?  I ordered a jar.  When I opened it, I smelled eucalyptus.  I looked at the list of ingredients and noticed that one was goats' milk.  Ah ha!  The source of the name, probably milk from two very old goats.  I tried the cream and it actually helped.  Didn't cure the pain but it soothed it for several hours. 

Look it up.  You never know when it might come in handy and it's certainly easier than keeping several ancient goats around.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Quotes for Presidents; Day by Presidents

The harder the conflict, the greater the triumph.
                  George Washington

I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty.
                  Woodrow Wilson

Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.     
                  Thomas Jefferson

The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.
                  James Madison

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
                Abraham Lincoln

Posterity--you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom.  I hope you will make good use of it.
                John Quincy Adams

The American, by nature, is optimistic.  He is experimental, an inventor and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly.
                John F. Kennedy

You can do what you have to do, and somehow you can do it even better than you think you can.
                 Jimmy Carter

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
                    Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Books of January

The Reckoning.  I don't read all of John Grisham's books, but this one sounded intriguing.  A decorated war veteran murders the beloved pastor of his church.  I was disappointed.  The hero refuses to give any clue to the police or even to the reader.  No foreshadowing.  The second half of the book covered his service in World War II (I think that's the right war.  See how much I liked the book--I've already forgotten.)  Finally, a few pages before the end we get the big reveal.  If you absolutely love John Grisham, maybe this book is for you, but maybe not.

Six Wakes.  I read this for my book club and even the person who suggested it didn't like it.  It's about a bunch of clones in outer space somewhere who have all died and awakened in their new bodies and are trying to find out who killed them.  I only fiinished it so I could trash it at the book club meeting.

Disappointing reading month!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Happy Super Bowl Day!

 It's the biggest sports day of the year!  Are you excited?  Me--not so much.  I was hoping the Saints would be there.  (Maybe I should join the lawsuit alleging pain and suffering after that missed call.) 

Anyway, there's #12 still passing for touchdowns in his 40's.  Is this his last game?  And if so, what will he do after football?  Become a coach?  A TV analist?  Star in commercials for Nationwide along with Peyton Manning?

I don't know much about the Rams so I am staying neutral this year,  (Last year I cheered for the Philliies because Nick Foles is a cousin of a family friend.)  We are getting together in our event center to watch the game.  I hope it will be a close one or I might just go back upstairs and watch my favorite Sunday show, Flea Market Flip.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Books of December

On Desperate Ground:  This is the true story, told in startling detail of, of a Marine division trapped in the winter snow and surrounded by Chinese soldiers during the Korean War.  I'm not a reader of war chronicles, but it was listed as one of the best books of 2018 so I downloaded it on my Kindle, and it was riveting and inspiring.

The Liar's Wife:  It was listed on Amazon as a taut psychological thriller, but it was a poorly written book that tries to trick the reader until the Great Reveal at the end.  Not sure why I finished it.  Don't waste your time.

The Stranger in the Woods:  Another non-fiction book.  Can you imagine a man living in the Maine woods for 27 years with no human contact at all except one brief moment when he encountered some hikers and managed a brief "hello."  How he was found and what happened next are fascinating.  Did the author exploit him?  Read and see what you think.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Quote for the New Year

"How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.
Annie Dillard


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