Fan/Not A Fan


“Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – Super book. I highly recommend it. I will warn you that you might be quite annoyed with the protagonist, Eleanor Oliphant, in the first few pages but please, soldier on. I almost slapped this book shut (metaphorically speaking since it was an ebook I borrowed from the library) after 3 pages but something made me stick with it and by the end of the first chapter I was in it for the long haul. Click the link above if you want an overview of the book but most definitely give this book a read. You will love it. You will also grow to like, if not love and care about, Eleanor Oliphant. Just stick with it – so worth it.

The “in Death series by J.D. Robb. Who is also Nora Roberts. There are now 48 books in this series and I have probably read most of them. My husband bought the ebook version of the latest and after I finished that I checked to see what my library had and ‘picked up’ one of the older ones – I think it’s the 35th in the series – which I hadn’t recalled reading.

Nora Roberts is well known for writing romance novels and I admit to reading a trilogy of hers, The Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy Now I don’t normally read romance novels but I do read paranormal stories, stories about ‘witchcraft’, stories about ancient Ireland and Scotland etc. As I recall I liked this trilogy a lot.

Nora Robert/J.D. Robb has written 225 books at last count and I do wonder if she has a stable of ghostwriters ala James Patterson or whether she writes them all herself. There are debates about it.

At any rate, I do love the In Death series – and, interestingly enough, it could almost be called science fiction because it takes place in the future, of course given the current date of 2020, 2060 doesn’t seem that far into the future. Still – I really like these books, this series, and I look forward to the news ones. They never seem to disappoint. I don’t think there is one unlikable character, the crimes and their solution are interesting, hell. I just like everything about this series.

And speaking of science fiction –

Not A Fan

Netflix just put up a new series Another Life, which I suppose qualifies as science fiction since it takes place in the future, involves an alien artifact and space travel. I don’t know what other bases it covers since, after 2 episodes I took it off my watch list.

Now, as I said, I am not a science fiction fan but I do like stories about alien contact – such as “Close Encounters of  the Third Kind” or “Contact” – any movies like those I have probably seen. And liked. This crap that Netflix is peddling – OMG!

It is a pastiche of every other alien contact movie ever produced.  It is just friggin’ insulting, is what it is. You sit and watch and just start ticking off all the other movies it has incorporated into it’s so-called plot. It just pisses me off. Plus, you know, bad writing, bad acting – just flippin’ bad.

So – whatever you like to read, most definitely give ‘Eleanor Oliphant’ a chance. If you like crime series, definitely give J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series a go and if you like science fiction movies/tv shows, skip “Another Life” on Netflix.

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Some people shouldn't be allowed near photo editors…

There is a photo blog I follow – guy is just your everyday person with a phone (and occasionally a real camera) who lives somewhere in California on some kind of small farm. He often posts 2 or 3 photos a day, mostly around the farm and he uses Snapseed as an editor. Okay, I have Snapseed, I don’t use it much any more because I have better editing programs (iPiccy).  This guy edits his photos the same way all the time – intensifies the colors, sharpens, crops – to the point where all his photos look the same and there is no point to them, they don’t say anything other than “Oh, look I have a photo editing app (and I’m not afraid to use it)”

Now of course I cannot comment on his blog about this because – hey, it’s how he likes his photos to look. But oh I am so tempted because there have been photos that would have been better served by less editing; views that kinda grabbed me except for all the over-editing.

I take photos because I like the way something looks. I have no agenda, there is no point to my photos, artistically or otherwise. I’m not saying anything except “This caught my eye”. But ¡Damn, do I love editing¡ I can play for hours with the most mundane of photos. Sometimes for my amusement I post them, most of the times I don’t even save the edited photos because, I’m just playing and learning actually.

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What do critics know?

The other night we watched the movie “Life Itself”. I won’t put a link to the movie, or a synopsis because that would spoil it. I will tell you that Rolling Stone Magazine dubbed it the ‘worst movie of 2018’. Rotten Tomatoes gave it one star. IMDB rates it 6.6 out of 10 but that is based on actual, real people ratings. Somewhere else, the real people rating came in at 93% positive (Google users).

So who is right? Everybody is. My husband is in love with this movie. I like it. It’s a nice movie. But mostly I am in love with a song that is basically another character in the movie and, get ready for this, the song was written by Bob Dylan. If you know anything about me, you know I am NOT a Bob Dylan fan. Up until 2 days ago there was only one Bob Dylan song I liked (She Belongs to Me).  Now there are two Bob Dylan songs I like, or in the case of this one, I love – sweet, sentimental, mawkish even (much like the movie) – but I love it –

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My ineptitude is amusing

except when it is frustrating.

I’ve often stated that I have no domestic skills (or artistic ones, for that matter). Since Wednesday afternoon I’ve been fighting with curtains (again!). Taking out seams, then re-hemming, lace curtains. Lace! By hand! I need a needle threader to thread the needle threader.

Four 60″ wide lace panels and to be deconstructed then re-constructed – by hand. I worked on them for about 3 hours on Wednesday and then another 3 hours today, then washed them along with the existing curtains; then washed the windows, then put them back up.

While I was contemplating this chore, having done it once already, I thought I should just buy a small sewing machine and then I remembered, I don’t know how to operate one. I also remembered that the last time I had an encounter with a sewing machine I was stymied by the bobbins – didn’t know how to make one (does one ‘make’ a bobbin? All I know is it is a little round thing with thread that goes somewhere underneath where the needle goes in and out.)

It’s not that I wasn’t taught how to sew, knit, crochet, it’s that a.) I wasn’t good at it and b.) I had no interest in it. I have little patience for repetitive tasks. And I just wasn’t interested. Twice I was forced to complete a sewing project – back in the day they actually made you learn to sew and cook in grammar school. Cooking class was okay, if stupid because by the time we had cooking classes in 8th grade I had been cooking for a family of 5 for several years. I nearly barfed when we made English muffin pizzas (anyone old enough to remember those?) I gave the cooking teacher grief over that you can be sure.

I used to know all about gardening too, can you believe that? I knew which plants required which kind of fertilizer, when each different plant/shrub had to be pruned and all that happy horse manure (and yes, horse manure is basically for lawns, not flowers.) I wasn’t really interested in gardening, it was one of my chores during my time as an indentured servant.

Technically I know how to do all these things, home repairs too – but actually doing them – Ahhh – not so much.

While I hate cooking, I’m not bad at it, as long as I keep it simple. Like tonight – we are having a salad with grilled chicken. Salad part is Bibb lettuce, fresh mozzarella, tomato, green olives, kalamata olives, and stuffed grape leaves. The chicken has been marinating in olive oil, white wine, balsamic vinegar, chili lime powder, garlic powder and 21 seasoning salute (it’s a Trader Joe’s spice mixture). I’m thinking that is going to be some speecy-spicy chicken.

I can bake – but I keep that simple too – tho I tweaked all the classic recipes so they are just a little bit different.

I’ve spent the last two days being all domestic – totally inept, but I got it done, half-ass and badly, but done!

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8:30am (Maybe I should take up soccer)

It’s Sunday morning, it’s not all that warm (yet) but oh so super sticky. I hate air conditioning because it gives me the most awful headache, and with closed windows I feel like I can’t breathe. Despite having lived in the Caribbean (through no choice of my own) I simply don’t understand why people would willingly submit themselves to this torture of heat, humidity and air conditioning for the major part of the year.

I have often spoken about my husband’s dedication to routine. He denies it but any deviation from his self-constructed, strict routine makes him irritable and grumpy. You have no idea the negative impact this has on my life, no idea. He doesn’t mind being one of the living dead, me- I am constantly aware that I am just sitting here waiting to die.  Our lives are defined by his schedule of naps and lunch and his resistance to anything that even remotely resembles movement.

For years (and years) we always did the major housework on Sundays – Sunday morning to be exact. I can make sense of this when we both worked the usual Monday-Friday, 9-5 but since retiring (yes, he works, part-time, from home) it doesn’t matter what day we do anything.  My husband’s contribution to the housekeeping is a major vacuuming once a week – wherein he moves most of the furniture and spends and hour and a half vacuuming a 1116 square foot apartment. That’s pretty much it. He does feed the cats and he will empty and wash the litter box once a week (he never scoops). Every other day he will take out the trash (there’s just the two us, we don’t make much trash) which means he walks 15 steps to the end of the hall, turns left, walks another 15 steps to the trash room. And even with that little effort I have to remind him to do it. I could easily do it myself, and sometimes I do, but seriously that is all the exercise he gets! Oh, and twice a week he carries the laundry to the laundry room, just to, I haul it back. The laundry room is 15 steps to the end of the hall, a left turn, and then 10 steps.

My husband’s day is – coffee, feed cats, work, breakfast, shower, nap, work, lunch, nap. Which leaves his afternoons free. He usually reads and occasionally watches television (with headphones).  Somehow, out of boredom, he started watching soccer. Pro, amateur, whatever was playing on whatever sports channels we have.

Then along came the women’s world cup. Hoo-boy – is he ever dedicated to this. I mean like dedicated. So here’s the thing – the final of the women’s world cup is today, Sunday, at 11am. What to do, what to do? Sunday, 11am, he’s usually vacuuming.  Oh No!

His answer to this world shattering problem? CHANGE HIS INVIOLABLE SCHEDULE.

Yup, yesterday, Saturday, we did the major housework so this morning would be free for him to watch soccer.

If I dare suggest a change to his schedule, he pulls faces, whines a bit and if his schedule MUST be adapted, even if it is just for that one time, well, harumph, sigh, he goes along – but just this once, please, thank you very much.

For me, groans and grumps. For the Women’s World Cup Soccer finals – No problemo!

Maybe I should take up soccer.

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Frankie and her odd relationship with water

Miss Lulubelle has always had an odd relationship with water. She likes it but in her own weird way.

In the morning after my husband fills the coffee pot and replenishes the water bottles he refills the Brita water dispenser and Frankie gets her morning water from the Brita dispenser – meaning she drinks from it directly as the water flows through.

During the day if she is thirsty she will park herself in front of the sink and complain, at which point one of us will fill a glass cup with water and put it on the floor,  she will first lap up any water that has dripped on the floor and then drink from the cup.

And then there is the bathroom. When she was able to jump into the tub, in her younger days, she’d make a beeline for the bathroom as soon as anyone had finished their shower to lap up water drops from the shower curtain. Or if someone had used the coffin shower in the hall bath – bingo – you was there.

Since we got rid of the tub and put in the new, big walk-in shower she has been in Frankie bathroom heaven. Except that she knows she is forbidden from going in there. It is so funny to watch her wait, as unobtrusively as possible, in the hall until we get out of the shower and then she slowly meanders down the hall, towards the shower room. If I catch her before she gets there and tell her ‘No’, she does an immediate 180 and wanders nonchalantly into the bedroom. You can almost hear her saying, “What? I wasn’t going into the shower just headed for a little nap on the bed”

It’s always been difficult to catch her slow meander down the hall, but yesterday I did manage to get her as she almost into the shower…(There is sound, me telling her ‘No”)

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The greed gene

All the evil in the world can be attributed to the greed gene. Locate that gene and eradicate it from the human genome and whatever environment that human beings inhabit will be a good place.

I’ll leave it to you to make the connections because you are not stupid. Perhaps you don’t spend much time thinking about this but give it a moment’s thought and it will be clear.

I started out today mentally composing a long screed (well ‘long’ screed is a bit redundant) on the topic of my un-patriotism. I don’t care a whit about the United States of America. My citizenship in this country was beyond my control, an accident of birth, as it were. I would easily and happily renounce that relationship and take on another. I have no connection, emotionally or otherwise, except as it is stated on my birth certificate, to this country.

The finding and founding of this country, like so many other countries, was based on greed. And on greed it continues to function. But unlike other countries, those who have achieved stability, this country has seen fit to embrace greed, to elevate it to the highest status. Other countries have realized that the well being of its citizens is of the utmost importance while in this country the enslavement of the many in service to the few is still the dominant governing principle.

Is there any country on this planet that has shaped itself into being a place of equality, compassion and concern? No but some have tried and continue to try and have achieved some modicum of success.

But greed exists wherever human beings exist.  And I will not celebrate it. July 4th? Just the day between July 3rd and July 5th.

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