Thursday, August 24, 2017

Wine party at camp...






I photographed my beautiful niece for her senior pictures. Lots of fun for me with the added plus of getting to visit exclusively with Phyllis and Hannah.

Every year I go to a cookie exchange with several women from the Nahma area. Wine, delicious food and cookies, of course. I invited the whole bunch to my camp in Isabella for a wine party. Introduced them to several local Michigan wines. The favorite was SEX from the Lawrence Winery of Traverse City. Just think of the conversation starters!

I finished Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Five stars. So sad to finish. I loved Eleanor and Raymond. Redemption of our humanity...Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell. Light and fluffy fan fic. I started A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby for my  reading challenge-read a book about a holiday other than Christmas. I am so shallow. I enjoy anything written by Mr. Hornby. So snarky. Listening to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon. It has taken some criticism but good so far. I do think a person actually diagnosed with Asberger's would have a better POV.  I watched The Incredible Jessica James on Netflix. I liked it. No one died or made bad jokes. Playwright deals very nicely with  romance, youth, friendship and success.





                                                      Things got a little cheesy!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday memories on the porch...



A rare day with out a set agenda. These pics are from Ivan's birthday 2012. He had just turned 64. These children have moved to Florida. Deve will be 14 in a few days. Papa was 69 on the 26th of July. By November four of our grands will be 14. Our oldest grand will be 16 and driving.

Just returned from a 10 day camping trip with my brothers and sisters and the Aman family summer get together. Marci and Al hoste us in their beautiful yard. More about this when I can figure out how to download recent pics...

I started Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Audible. The reader has a Scottish accent. I have to listen carefully but I am enjoying this book.
I finished The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I had to take breaks while reading. So emotional. So current. It is classified as YA but it is so raw, so difficult I cannot imagine my kids reading this without adult input. Is this the fear our kids deal with everyday?
In July I also read The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler. Rock on Wisconsin. What else can I say?
The Inexplicable Logic of my Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz "Dejate Querer." Let yourself be loved."
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. Ok, now I really never want to go on a cruise!
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. Once again Ms.Robinson makes me think there must be a God. Reverend Ames loves his wife and son so ardently. This reads like the best sermon you could ever hear. Aaand I read some fluff. Big fluff. Crazy Rich Asians #1, China Rich Girlfriend #2, Rich People problems #3. Roughly 1200 pages of camp. So much fun.Bonus I learned some interesting facts about Singapore.

Watched Varsity Blues and American Pie with my Hubby. He chose. Nuff said.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Porch is cleaned and painted...

I must be getting old. I cleaned and painted my old front porch this week. I can barely move. I am getting ready for all ten grands and my three daughters summer visit. I have been missing them so much.  My heart hurts. None of us are great communicators. Only a few texts, random phone calls, maybe one card. Ugh! I planned on writing letters this year. 0. Poor communication skills.
Besides cleaning house, painting kitchen cupboards and Pinteresting the heck out of same kitchen I have been reading.
I am taking part in two challenges. Pop Sugar and Read Harder. I have read some amazing books but I am struggling with a few categories. A book about tech. An espionage thriller. I don't really want to read...







I read Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple. I felt like I was reading about myself. This girl could not get it together. Ever. Me. Good read. I finished Jonathan Tropper's One Last Thing Before I Go. I liked This is How You Leave Me. This book seems like he was trying to achieve another hit but missed by a smidge. OK read.
Shotgun Lovesongs, The Nest, LaRose, these were the amazing reads.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Bookish goodness on the freezing cold porch...

Twenty-nine degrees this a.m. Still a little cold to get my porch together. Ugh!

I just finished listening to Shotgun Love Songs by Nickolas Butler. I read the book in May of 2014. I needed a reread for one of my book challenges. Good choice. I loved it again. Rural Wisconsin. Friends for life. Poignant. We are at the age where we are losing lifelong friends.
Starting the Art of Fielding. I like it already. Also for a challenge. We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, finished. Very good. The Nest by Cynthia d'Aprix Sweeney. So good. Good choices in books this past week. I get very anxious about choosing a book. No time to waste on a bad read. I mean, I'm 66! It is interesting to me when I get so excited and do book  recs to friends and they are all, "You liked that book?"

Feeling blue this week. Missing the girls and families so much. These two are thirteen and seven now!

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