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.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Seventeen days left in 2016...

Bob Dylan won the Pulitzer Prize for literature. I am so affected by this. His lyrics, his body of work were the back ground sound of my youth.
I am reading Judd Apatow's book Sick in the Head. It goes to show you reading out of my comfort zone is enlightening. His comedy is so not my style, 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, but his motivation for his life's work is fascinating. He has been interviewing comedians since he was a teen.
This is pop culture come alive. Very good.

I am preparing for my ten grands and their half dozen parents to arrive for Christmas week. I am excited to see them all. I am just hoping my hostess skills are honed. Ha!

I am watching Poldark on BBC. Being Human. What do you get when a werewolf, a ghost and a vampire live together? Sherlock Season 4 starts 1/1/2017. I watched the Irish movie Sing Street on Netflix. I liked it.
The Clique dinner party was lovely. My gift was a mercury glass coffee cup and the electric tea kettle that Sherlock uses.
 I attended the Learning Center Christmas program today. Amazing as usual. I love every one of those people.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Pictures from FL and TX...

                                "Sister" as her flag football team calls her on the field and off

                                      Double- nickle, my 13 year old 7th grade football boy
                        "42" on the field and with Papa, Freshman football, "Just doing his job"

                                                            Beach girls, sisters

                                          Pepper palm, leaves are razor sharp, skate boarder
 Bamboo is so exotic

Will I ever stop calling her the "Baby"

Finishing my two book challenges, at least I am working on them. I was not going to save all the hardest books for last but I have...again. I am trying to slog through The Origin of Species by Darwin for my non-fiction science. The Danish Girl for a book about a person who identifies as transgender. I have read The Catcher in Rye for a book published the year I was born, if I don't finish Farenheit 451 can do double duty. Book by a Southeast Asian author. I can do this Read Harder. Also working on Pop Sugar challenge. A self- improvement book. What's to improve? Not my genre! Teacher Man by Frank McCourt for a book about a person in my profession. A book by a comedian?? I am almost there.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Seven days out...

Should be back on my porch in seven days. I will be happy to be home in da U.P.
Texas and Florida family visits have been so good for my lonely heart. Football games including Flag football with Kendall being one of only two girls in the league. Her coach and team mates call her Sister!  Fall festival in Florida at Haven's beachy school. Soccer and a dance on Thursday. The very most special moments for me are the times I sit with individual grands and they tell me about friends, school and current music they love.
On October 28 a phone call plunged us,  like a Lake Superior jump, into mortality and all its ramifications. Ivan's dear friend, Pat, died while driving to his grandson's football game. No warning, no goodbye. At least 60 years of constant friendship. They spoke on the phone every day. Pat sat with Ivan the entire night Len, his brother died of ALS. He was Ivan's rock during the most difficult times of his life. They went to hundreds of high school basketball and Football games. Godfather to our youngest daughter along with his wife. Truly friend family. RIP, Pat.
We flew home for a week to be with his friends and family.

Reading with the tweens. Animal Farm, The Outsiders, they are all so passionate about this book.
Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming, A Visit From the Goon Squad. Very good! I bought Gatsby, The Things They Carried, Vinegar Girl and a few more books at The Melbourne Beach Library fundraiser.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Preparing to leave this old porch for a while...

Listening  to  Barksins is so over-viewing history. Very interesting but not intimate as in Shipping News.
Reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The writing is educating me into a different view of black in America. I am gobsmacked by the idea that peaceful passivity is another form of slavery.
I saw the movie The Fundamentals of Caring. I do not cry much over fictional characters. This movie made me cry so hard and ugly. Paul Rudd, Selena Gomez and Craig Roberts.
Miss my family. Heart actually hurts, here.

Quote I came across by Agatha Christie whom I have never been interested in reading but might just try. 
I like living. I have been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.
I think this quite sums up how I feel about life!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Peninsula Point Lighthouse...

I saw Herman's Hermits at the U.P. State Fair last night. Lost in the 60's. Peter Noone at 68 has not changed a bit! I knew every word to his songs.I do not know any words to current songs played on the radio, though.That must mean something, huh?
Finished Moby Dick or The Whale by Herman Melville all 1946 pages. I enjoyed it so much. Whaling is quite gory and the life of the sailors so difficult. Melville's language is so mesmerizing. I appreciate it much more as I have aged.  I started Barkskins by Annie Proulx. I feel like I am reading the lives of Ivan's (hubby) ancestors. U.P. loggers.

I went to a gig at the library where eighteen area authors showcased their books. I bought the play Willpower. Iris played the lead part the first time the play was presented in Marquette.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Just finished Whiskey Tango Foxtrot with Tina Fey and Martin Freeman. It was disturbing, seeing how difficult survival can be in a war torn country. I felt afraid but Fey brought humor to this war reporters adrenaline junkie adventure. I am a fan of Fey anyway. She is fearless and funny. So I give WTF, yeah, I got that, 4 stars.

Alone again, naturally, on the porch...

Today was my husband's sixty-eighth birthday. I gave him a wooden painted sign that said You are my Bucket List. I saw it in a store and remember thinking, I wish someone would want to buy it for me. Then a light bulb went on above my head! He is my bucket list. Really. We are such a good pair. We traveled for years in a hurry because of the restrictions of our jobs. I would say I want to go there someday when we have time as we sped by, for example, The Fish House, a floating restaurant on the White River. Last trip he remembered every place I had mentioned and we stopped at each place.

My niece in Grand Ledge hosted the Aman family camp out this year at her beautiful home. Water balloon fights, campfires, good food, golf cart rides, Scottish cows and family. We also camped at Wabasis Lake in Greenville in our campers. It was so much fun to spend time with my siblings and their kids and grandkids! I so enjoyed the twenty somethings who kept us all up around the campfire til two a.m. My hubby's Kalamazoo family arrived at our camp in Isabella just hours after we got back to da U.P. More fun and we met the new baby, Lucia. ZZZZZZ

I am listening to Billy Lynn's Long Half Time Walk by Ben Fountain. Very well written but it is a difficult read. The war in Iraq from the point of view of the soldier on the ground home on PR mission.
Reading Barbarian Days A Surfing Life by William Finnegan. The author's Dad grew up on my street in my small town! Fascinating life this man is living.
 I read Little Moon Dog to my great niece Emma. It is a  book I read to any child who  stays in the camper.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Up the Fourth of July creek without a paddle...

Half of the grands made it up from Florida and Texas this summer. One family is moving to a new home so could not make the trip.  I had to say good bye again today.
We spent a few hours every day at the beach. There were parades and backyard barbecues. Paddle boarding and the card game of Golf! Fireworks and friends. The grands are growing up so quickly. The 12 going on 13 year olds have changed so much. They are tall and tan and losing the baby look. One of them is in Nepal for the month. 

I started listening to Moby-Dick. It is part of The Big Read grant program. Tilda Swinton read the first chapter. Each of the following chapters are read by different people. I am finding it to be an amazing book. I recommend it highly!
Still working on Mosquitoland. Very good. Watched the last Outlander of the season. Roger and Brianna were introduced. Roger is exactly as I pictured him. Brianna is difficult. I would have thought Claire would do better raising her girl...they could not be close. She, of all people, should know you cannot get back the time you don't cherish with your child. That said, I liked this episode the best of the entire season. Make love, not war...

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Fourth of July Eve...

On our way to Isabella, camp with the grands. Rocked the dock yesterday in Esky with friends, family and neighbors. Talked to so many people from work I hadn't seen some of them for years. Watching the kids bungee jump and log roll was so crazy! Beach time. Shopko. Music. Kitchi-Ti-Kipi. Sand Point Light House. More beach time. Football.
I am reading Mosquitoland. Lila by Maryanne Robinson I will get back with you on this book. I saw Finding Dory with the kids. I want to see Tarzan. Last Outlander of the season on the ninth of July. I love beaching and porching and back yarding with my daughters. The tweens are pure entertainment. Four of the grands will be thirteen by the end of November.
Fun in the cool summer sun...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

That face...

Her face!! I miss it so much! Her smile!

Today is my 47th wedding anniversary. How did the years go by? It is like wind blowing away the memories of my crazy life. I have pics to post but my I pad and phone do not cooperate. So later. 
Ivan gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. We went to MQT for dinner at Red Lobster. Very yummy. We both can hardly get our minds around the years. I posted two wedding pics on Facebook. Some of the comments just amaze me! 
We were so young. 21 and 18. I did not feel young though. My mother had been gone since I was 16. Her death took away any vestiges of childhood left to me after dealing with her illness. 
Looking back our married life wasn't perfect. It is hard work living with and making a life with another person. But I must say we both are such positive people. My hubby is such a loving, funny, teasing, giving man. He is so sentimental. We both love our children and grandchildren so much. Our 47 years have been full of joy. We have fun. He is a good friend. I want many more years...

Sunday, June 5, 2016

All's well on the porch...

Inspired by O magazine's contributors questions. I love these creative minds.

I feel my best when...I walk the Atlantic Ocean beaches with Izzy the dog and various grands. I walked for thirty days in a row during February this year. I have the sea shells to prove it. I know, I know, two days were in January!

The strangest thing I've done in the name of wellness...Wii FitMarching Band. It is so hard! Marching and arm movements to Jon Philip Sousa, oh my. (I love it)

My favorite healthy snack...Gala apple slices and unsalted peanuts taste like a caramel apples. I also love homemade kale chips and...

The one unhealthy indulgence I can't give up is...really good ice cream with rhubarb sauce.

I am listening to Brit-Marie Was Here. Very quirky but I love Fredrik B. Reading The Queen of the Night by Chee. Having a little trouble getting into it. Strange story. I finished Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleve. So much better than other WWII books I've read. Cleve is brilliant as usual.
Sherlock fanfic is just entertaining...who knew??
Outlander was so good. Jamie is quite a violent man but very sweet in comforting Claire. Lord Gray makes a youthful appearance. Also watching The Girlfriend Experience with Elvis's granddaughter.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 208, Louise Erdrich

Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 208, Louise Erdrich

Wonderful interview with author of The Round House. This book literally knocked my socks off! The writing is so human. Of course my heart now aches. I want to read all of her work.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I will survive...

                                                     Picture 13, Giraffe, Melbourne Zoo

My friends and family came through for me. Roses and orchids, candy and THE camera. Cards, calls and a facial. My sister-in-law was nice enough to turn 65 two days after I did. So, it begins, year 65.

Peace Out, from Oprah magazine February 2016-
The last time I asked for help the grocery store. I needed the last organic Sweet Creamer on the top shelf. I saw a woman ask a tall man to get her something off a top shelf. He saw me trying to reach my item. I said, "Help." He smiled and reached.

I could really use a break from...decluttering my house. I am not good at this. It causes me much anxiety. I keep packing stuff up to give away then returning it to the pile.

When I think of a calming place, I picture...Isabella. Our family camp, the hayfield behind the house there, the hammock, the birds...

My form of therapy is...reading a good book. I am transported. I have learned from the authors words to cherish the people in my life, to slow down and appreciate the present.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Today is my birthday...

                                                        Picture 12, two versions of 65
So this is 65. I have not been looking forward to this landmark birthday but I had quite a day. My hubby made breakfast and decorated my breakfast nook with roses and streamers. And yes, I live in a house that is so old that it has a nook. My gift from him was the Canon 7d Markii. Very cool. I love it! My girls sent flowers and chocolate and Face Time. Medicare is in force. Tonight we went for a Friday night Fish Fry with Joanie, Joyce, Belinda, Jack, Pat and Dani Ivan and I. Perch and sweet potato fries.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

I can't keep calm and carry on, it is my birthday week...

Picture 11-Flamingo, Melbourne Zoo

Once again, I will post my 11th photo, should be my 27th photo, as soon as I can. I am so far behind on my 30 pics in 30 days. My age, maybe.

I finished watching the third season of Sherlock tonight. Season four won't be out until January 2017.
Really great show.  I listened to The Lake House for many hours today while I did some perfunctory house cleaning. The only kind of H.W. I do any more. So English. The narrator is so good. I am neglecting The Nightingale. If it expires (library) I won't be able to check it out again for a while.

This week is going by way to fast. Friday is the dark day. A great cupcake could redeem the day. Maybe. I am missing my kids and their kids so much.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Reflections of the way life used to be...

Picture #10 The envelope, please!

I have to use another device to actually post a picture (added pics on laptop this a.m.). I just can't get it to happen with my new iPhone. That is another whole post. An iPhone is not the same as a Droid. Siri is not as nice as the Google girl. A little snippy if you ask me. My photos transferred in a disorganized fashion. I am working on changing my paradigm. More challenges ahead. My 65th birthday present is a Canon 7d Mark II, I am so excited! I have made no secret of the fact that I love camera equipment. All my current lenses are compatible but I also want another lens. A 17-55 or an 18-135 or a 40mm...I want all of them. My goal for year 65 is to master this new camera. I hope my 7d operates a little like my rebel t2i. OK, a lot like my old camera. I am not as quick a study as I once was.

I just started listening to The Lake House by Kate Morton. I have not read any of her books so I am hoping it is a good read. I also just today started a Kristen Hannah book, The Nightingale. I don't read her because I don't read so called "chic lit" but this book has such good reviews. I really try not to be a book snob. Read what you like, I say. But I do not read authors that can punch out a book a month or formulaic writers whose every book is the same except for a name change. I like Pulitzer Prize lists and am partial to Man Booker long and shortlisted books, National Book Awards and Kirkus Stars. I  I like audio books but am very particular about my narrators. A poor reader can ruin a good book. On the other hand I have listened to a bad book just because of the charm of the narrator. I research every book I choose to read very carefully. So many books, so little time. Is this an age thing, I wonder? There, all my bookish secrets are out.

Outlander was good last night. Not my favorite episode, though. Jamie was a little self centered. But I know that from the books. He is a product of his time. Murtaugh's dalliance with the maid was more graphic on TV than it was on the page.

OMG!!! 65 is crowding me. It is really giving me pause. There are places I have not traveled...will I ever go? There are words I have not written. There are photos not taken. Time not spent with my favorite people...they are south and I am north.

         My great niece, Miss Teen Upper Peninsula 2015 saying goodbye to her year with a tiara!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Do I detect Spring on the porch...

Picture Day 9 I found this moth, Luna, I think, on the dew wet grass Easter Sunday morning. Sunrise service. I felt so bad that the wings were so wet the moth could not fly. I looked this beautiful creature up in a book. This moth's entire lifespan is only 24 hours from chrysalis to death...

M Train is so moving. Patti Smith is just a little older than I am. She devoted her life to her art. Music, poetry and photography. She sang with Bob Dylan. I am adding her to my list of people I would like to have lunch with...

Monday, April 18, 2016

Poor, Lonesome Me-e...

Picture Day 8 This is one of my favorite pics of the year. We waited for the kids to get off the bus after school in Florida. Papa would be outside working on his truck. Azalea sat on the tailgate to share anything she had left in her lunch bucket with Papa. When he asked her if she wanted to go inside she said, "Why don't we just sit here and enjoy the weather."

This is also why I am so lonesome on my porch. Looking back over all my pictures from the last couple of months has really made me miss being with the girls and their families.

I am on a reading drought. Not finishing M Train. It is going to expire on the library app...
I have been watching Sherlock on Netflix. So good. I don't like the narrator of The Beast so it is ruining the book for me. He is so monotone. I have only read J.R. Ward and had fun with these "guilty pleasure" reads so very disappointed with the audio book. Some readers are so amazing and then there are the readers who don't have the voice of the story.

Oh, God!!! This month is flying by. I will turn 65 soon. It feels like sliding down the park hill. No stopping on this slippery slope.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

TBT on the porch...

Picture Day 8 The Baby. She turned six years old on March 10. We all still call her the baby but she is starting to look like a big girl. She loves us all so much. She calls me Granny Bo Danny. Being a
Grandmother is the best job I've ever had.

Listening to The Beast a BDB book by J.R.Ward. I don't love the narrator's voice but it is so BDB!
M Train is like being in Patti Smith's life, one moment at a time.