Sunday, April 23, 2017

Birthday on the porch...

April has gotten away from me. My 66th birthday is happening in five days and I have not raved about days gone by or how time flies yet this month.

I painted all my kitchen cupboards this week and glazed them. Removed 25 year old wallpaper. Thrown out a gallon of paint. Too blue. Bought another gallon of forty dollar paint...Scrubbed woodwork and floors. Still have to paper one wall. Paint the dinette. I guess it was time. Twenty years of cherries is enough.

I am listening to Louise Erdrich read her book LaRose. Her writing is extraordinary. She conveys her characters feelings (pain, regret, love,) with  heart wrenching accuracy. She makes me want to be a better person. Make sure I feel all the feels. Love the people you are close to. Pay attention to your people. Hold them close...

I watched Those Fabulous Baker Boys with the Bridges brothers and Michelle Pfieffer. It was good. William Finnegan's dad produced it. Grew up on S. 9th Street...Tootsie with a very young Dustin Hoffman. Very good.  Rickie and the Flash with Meryl Streep and Rick Springfield. Second time I saw this movie I still loved it. Half of a Yellow Sun. So tragic. Not as good as the book by  Adiche.
Adventureland on Netflix with Kristen Stuart. Just so-so. Beauty and the Beast with Dani and Joanie for the second time. Wonderful.

Oh, and yes, I will be 66 in 5 days. OMG. WTF. THIW. (made that on up myself). I do look better than S.E. Hinton but she wrote The Outsiders.

                                                                 Me. Sixty-Six...

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Home again, home again, jiggety, jig...

Back in the Upper Peninsula. Brought a huge geranium back from Texas. Ivan cared for it in the back of the truck for 1500 miles. Left it on the porch last night...29 degrees. It is a little chilly here. Weather in Florida and Texas was 75-90 degrees the whole trip. Sunny, too. That is all I have to say about that.

Phyllis and Hannah, did you watch Clarkston H.S play in the state finals? Did you know they were playing? A U.P. team won state class D. We live streamed it all and used up most of our data for the next month.

I learned a lot over the last two months. I need to make a list:

1. I am a pacifist. I read a genre I had never heard of for my book challenge, space opera/fantasy. Yes, this is a genre. Violence, accompanied by an inter-species love story. Horns vs. wings. Lots of limb loss. Blood. Saga by Brian K. Vaughn illustrated by Fiona Staples. 1-42. I watched one episode of GOT and read the first George R.R. Martin book. I am still having nightmares.

2. Phyllis, this is for you. A personal journal. You are the only person who actually comments. Thank you!

3. Hard to believe but I loved living in my 21 foot camper for two months. I know, right? The upkeep is so minimal. I can clean the whole space in about an hour. More time to read. My own kitchen for travel. My dog terrorizes no one. My beautiful geranium, well, it WAS beautiful. All the hot water, good closet space, lots of books.

4. I just called my accountant. Apparently I still have to do 2016 taxes even though I have been camping. Hum?

5. A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Life and Other Near Death Experiences by Camille Pagan, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, All I Love and Know by Judith Frank *, Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce*, Simon vs. the Homo-Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler, State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard, My Sunshine Away bu M.O. Walsh, Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan*, Brooklyn by Colm Toibin (I want to see the movie), Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, Saga by Brian K. Vaughn Illustrated by Fiona Staples (comic), All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.

6. There is more to write but the tax man awaits...

Saturday, January 21, 2017

An Adventure off the Porch...

I am packing up my one room new camper to head into the wilds of the populated world. Living on a remote northern peninsula sure insulates one  from traffic, too many people and all that jazz. Really it is easy to become way too comfortable up here despite the snow and ice and the cold. I 'll go ahead and say it, "In God's country." I always wear wool slippers, heavy sweaters and flannel pajamas. It is a good look for me. I'm off to spend time with my daughters and their families. That is what is missing here in the north. I love spending time with our grand kids. They fascinate me. 

I just finished This is Where I Leave You by Jonathon Tropper. Good read. Much darker than the movie. I did not appreciate Judd's observations on the aging human body, ugh! Young=smooth skin, aging=sagging skin. 

I read Love May Fail by Matthew Quick. A few of his coincidences were a little too coincidental for me but I have yet to be disappointed in any thing I have read of Quick's. I become emotionally invested in every character. Chuck and Tommy Bass. Portia, Mr. Vernon...please be okay. This book made me check out Motley Crue on YouTube. How's that for broadening my horizons?

I went to the theatre and saw Hidden Figures. Five Stars. Take your daughters! Infinitely Polar Bear based on the life of Cameron Forbes. Bi polar dad of two girls. Mental illness bites. Anywhere but Here with Natalie Portman and Susan Sarandon. Family dysfunction at it's best. Still bites to be the child. Ride with Helen Hunt. How do you go on after losing a son without totally traumatizing your surviving son. This Mom does not. I finished watching Sherlock season 4 on BBC. Too Dr. Whoish or maybe Bond. Not even comparable to the stellar previous three seasons. I am letting myself forget that season four ever happened.

I started listening to Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. I am reading Let's Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell. 
           Here we are again. The family from The Christmas Story. Yes, we did eat our dinner at a Chinese restauraunt! I love these people!

Monday, January 9, 2017

My top 10 lists of 2016...

Top 10 books I read in 2016
1. The Round House by Louise Erdrich-I was so touched by the love between Geraldine and Bazil Coutts. It was enduring.
2. The Shipping News by Annie Proulx-I carry Proulx's ordinary people with me still.
3. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz-I felt like I walked in the shoes of Diaz characters.
4. Lila by Marilynne Robinson-Maybe there is a God. Reverend Ames was an inspiration.
5. Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson-I miss Frank...
6. Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J Ryan Stradal-I emailed the author and he emailed me right back.
7. Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan-I still smell the ocean.
8. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury-I read this with my 15 year old grandson.
9. Moby Dick by Hermann Melville-I feel accomplished.
10. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates-Hurt my heart.

I read 59 books in 2016. I choose my reading material very carefully and somehow I found wonderful books. 

I rarely see a movie but in 2016 I discovered Netflix so I do have a movie list

1. A Single Man with Colin Firth and Julianne Moore 
2. Beginners with Ewan McGregor, Melanie Laurent and Christopher Plummer
3. This is Where I Leave You 
4. Sing Street an Irish film with Ferdia Walsh-Peelo
5. Breakfast at Tiffany's with Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard
6. Fences with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis
7. The Way He Looks Brazilian with subtitles Blind teen coming of age
8. Fundamentals of Caring with Selina Gomez, Paul Rudd and Craig Roberts (favorite)
9. Foreign Student 1994 with Robin Givens
10. Bad Moms with my daughters

This is every movie I saw this year

I watched the first three seasons of Sherlock on Netflix. I am hooked!
I-Tunes first season of Poldark !!!!!!!

Music in 2016
 Disturbed's version of The Sounds of Silence
Violin covers of old songs
Amici's Italian Senza Cantene aka Unchained Melody
Pentatonix any song by them

Happy New Year from my porch...

I spent New Year's Eve with my brothers and sisters, brother-in-laws and sister-in-laws, nieces and nephews at Marci's home in Midland. We played phase 10, full contact, and Golf. I wish we lived close enough so that we could play crazy games together every week. So much fun. We toasted 2017 with a lovely pink sparkling wine. Poor hubby went to bed early with a bad cold that he still has not shaken weeks later. I have a slight germophobe problem so I really don't like breathing the same air as a sick person. Like I said, poor him.

I am watching Sherlock on BBC Masterpiece. I like it though the previous three seasons were more to my taste. The first two mysteries have been dark. Trying to watch Being Human on Netflix. A vampire, a ghost and a werewolf try to pass as human. Not going that well for them. Getting gory.
I have watched a few carefully chosen movies. The Way He Looks, a sensitive  Brazilian coming of age movie with subtitles. Foreign Student, 1994 movie set in a late 40's Virginia college starring Robin Givens. I went to the show Fences starring Denzel Washington with Dani, Sandy and Sharon.
Gut wrenching.

I am reading Love May Fail by Matthew Quick and at the  half way point in the book it looks like love  just might fail.
My upstairs hard copy is Lessons Before Dying.
                                                      THE THREE AMIGOES

Monday, December 19, 2016

Pop Sugar 2016, read on the porch...

I planned on reading 80 books in 2016. I only read 59. I was a little optimistic. I did read several books over 500 pages, though, including Moby Dick. These are the two grands I left out of my post the other day...
Pop Sugar 2016 Challenge

1. A book based on a fairy tale~Cinder by Marissa Meyer
2. A National Book Award winner~The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
3. A YA bestseller~ Mosquitoland by David Arnold
4. A book you haven't read since high school~Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Cade had to read it     for his freshman English class)
5. A book set in your home state~Barkskins by Annie Proulx (part of the story took place in  Michigan Territory)
6. A book translated to English~Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki 
7. A romance set in the future~Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
8. A book set in Europe~The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz
9. A book that is under 150 pages~Animal Farm by George Orwell
10. A New York Times bestseller~Go set a Watchman by Harper Lee
11. A book that is becoming a movie this year~Billy Lynn's Long Half-Time Walk by Ben Fountain
12. A book recommended by someone you just met~The Round House by Louise Erdrich (online rec)
13. a self improvement book~Wait, what?
14. A book you can finish in a day~Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
15. A book written by a celebrity~M Train by Patti Smith
16. A political memoir~Between the World and Me by Te-Nehisi Coates
17. A book at least 100 years older than you are~Moby Dick by Herman Melville
18. A book of more than 600 pages~A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihira
19. A book from Oprah's book club~Wild by Cheryl Strayed
20. A science fiction novel~The Beast by JR Ward
21. A book recommended by a family member~The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (Lila and Ivy)
22. A graphic novel~Check, Please! by Ngozi Uzaku
23. A book published in 2016~My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
24. A book with a protagonist who has your occupation~Teacher Man by Frank McCourt TBR
25. A book that takes place during the summer~Fates and Furies by Lauren Goff
26. A book and it's prequel~Cinder and Glitches by Marissa Meyers
27. A murder mystery~The Lake House by Kate Morton
28. A book written by a comedian~Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow
29. A dystopian novel~Lady Midnight by Cassandra Claire
30. A book with a blue cover~This is Your Life Harriet Chance by Jonathan Evison
31. A book of poetry~Sonnets 1-50 by William Shakespeare
32. The first book you see in a bookstore~Miller's Landing by Anna Quinlan
33. A classic from the 20th century~ Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
34. A book from the library~Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
35. An autobiography~Not My Father's Son byAlan Cumming
36. A book about a road trip~Barbarian Days by William Finnegan
37. A book about a culture you are unfamiliar with~The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot  Diaz
38. A satirical book~Animal Farm by George Orwell
39. A book that takes place on an island~Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (Porto Vergongna)
40. A book that is guaranteed to bring you joy~Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

2016 Book Challenges are in the books...

I am posting my 2016 challenges today. Still some reading to do but my ten grands and their various parents will begin arriving tomorrow. I have no illusions about my ability to post anything of significance after the onslaught! I must say that these lists forced me out of my reading comfort zone. So here I go:

Read Harder 2016

*A horror book~The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame Smith (delicious and horror-able)
*A non-fiction book about science~An Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (kicking and screaming,   probably will not finish)
*Read a collection of essays~Drown by Junot Diaz (highly recommended)
*Read a book out loud to someone else~Little Moon Dog to Emma
*Read a middle grade novel~The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (Ivy and Lila, eleven and twelve year old     grands, recommended this raw coming of age story to me)
*Read a biography or autobiography~Not my Father's Son by Alan Cumming
*Read a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel~Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (read along with my  15 year old grandson for his freshman English class)
*Read a book originally published in the decade you were born~Fahrenheit 451 does double duty  here, I still want to reread Catcher in the Rye
*Listen to an audio book that has won an Audie Award~The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah (I did  not vote for this book, tho)
*Read a book over 500 pages long~Barkskins by Annie Proulx (700+page saga. My husband is  French Canadian. A character in the book, Jacques Nadeau, has the name of my hubby's great  grandfather!)
*Read a book under 100 pages~Animal Farm by George Orwell (Humans nor pigs will ever get it  right)
*A book by or about a person that identifies as transgender~The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff
*Read a book that is set in the Middle East~The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (eye-  opening)
*A book by an author from Southeast Asia~Malinky Robot Collection: Preview by Sonny Liew (It  was easy to find Asian authors, not easy to narrow the field to actual Southeast Asian)
*Read a book of historical fiction set before 1900~Virgins (Outlander) Diana Gabaldon
*Read the first book in a series by a person of color~The Round House by Louise Erdrich (I don't  think this is the first in a series, maybe the second in interconnected novels. Best book I read this  year)
*Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years~Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu (I  am too old for this)
*Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie~The Shawshank Redemption by  Stephan King (How is this King?)
*Read a non-fiction book about feminism or dealing with a feminist theme~We Should All be  Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche (Tip:  read everything she writes)
*Read a book about religion, fiction or non-fiction~Lila by Marianne Robinson (Maybe there is a  God)
*Read a book about politics, fiction or non~The Orphan Master's Son (quit 1/2 way through-so  awful)
*Read a food memoir~Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J Ryan Stradal (Author e-mailed me back!)
*Read a play~The Cursed Child by J K Rowling (I finally know why Harry loved Ginny)
*Read a book with a main character that has a mental illness~The Girl in the Spider's Web by David  Lagercrantz (Recently~Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson)

I will have to do another post. Pop Sugar challenge next! I chose, to my enjoyment, very good books in 2016.