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Tuesday, 14 November 2017
Murder on the Orient Express

Loved it!  I've seen Albert Finney 1974, David Suchet 2010, and now Kenneth Branagh 2017.  The Finney character is a little too robust for me.  Until today, I preferred David Suchet, probably from years of watching him do Poirot on PBS.  Kenneth Branaugh nails the need for perfection and balance and adds humor and a lot more humanity to the role. 

In the first scene, set in Jerusalem, Poirot sticks his cane in the wailing wall.  Just as Shakespeare used witches to signal a play was a tragedy, the cane later (at least to me) indicates that a little comedy may follow.  Indeed, comedy does follow.  There are humorous insults by Peroit and almost everyone in the audience laughed - not something that happened with the other two versions.  In the Finney version, there is a reference to a jury of twelve men that I thought wasn't going to be made.  When it finally is, it's a not done with words but art.  I think I was the only one laughing at the Leonardo sight gag.  Maybe the rest of the audience didn't get it or didn't think it right to laugh at the image.  I thought it was both campy and amusing.  (I am easily amused.)

There were moments where I was almost in tears (I cry easily also).  The other versions didn't make the death of Daisy Armstrong so heart wrenching.  There was real anguish from the actors.

The scenery is digital but amazing.  I don't know if it was because the A/C was working overtime in the theater or because the cold on the screen was so realistic, but I wish I'd worn a sweater.

Yes, the critics don't like it.  It is a little too fresh and strays from the novel.  The differences are improvements that update the story.  One doesn't go see it to find out who did it - we already know that.  I wanted to see the presentation of the characters and the story and I wasn't disappointed.  This is definitely my favorite version.

Posted by stormi36 at 6:11 PM CST
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Good Morning

I got one magazine read yesterday.  I got distracted by a new book I got in the mail.  Years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer (2003) and told I had two years to live, I got hooked on Lillian Jackson Brown.  I had most of her books but found I was missing three so I ordered them.  The first to arrive was sent from England!  I didn't pay any attention to the origin since I ordered them through Amazon.  Even though I had read all of them before, I was probably not concentrating too much due to the more serious events in my life and the required reading for the graduate classes I was taking. This time, I am retired with no death sentence hanging over me and they are a lot more enjoyable.  They are still very light reading but fun.

Having recognized my need to actually do some of the Pinterest projects I had pinned, I went to Michael's yesterday and obtained two punches and paper to make garlands.  I love garlands.  They are so cheery.  I'll be making a Valentine's garland from two gold papers (heart of gold) and a New Year's garland of black, silver, and silver/black patterned paper circles.  There were a couple of pins with layered garlands that really looked good. 

Stan found a "Christmas Tree" of silver garland on metal rings.  It collapses to a pretty flat state.  It hangs on a central pole.  It's very skinny and he found a perfect place for it by the fireplace.  Arg....Christmas up before Thanksgiving.  It's OK though because it was his find and I love when he gets involved.  So now, there are still crows from Halloween (overlooked when putting up that holiday's decorations), lots of pumpkins, and some Christmas.

Even though it got bad reviews, we are going to see Murder on the Orient Express this week.  I am usually patient and wait for movies to be released to home audiences, but this is one to see on the "big screen."  I haven't been to a movie theater since 2002.  We are going to plan a daytime visit so maybe the ticket prices won't too much of a shock!

Well, back to other things that need to be done today and to make my second cup of coffee.

Posted by stormi36 at 8:54 AM CST
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Monday, 13 November 2017
Server Error

For the second time in a month, the server I use for my web page wouldn't connect to my blog. I may move it to the web page if this continues.  It is a little more complicated to do it that way.

I'm enjoying the warm, overcast weather and doing a lot of reading.  I subscribe to about 20 magazines and they keep me busy along with my books.  I used to give the magazines I'd read to a neighbor, but she moved back to Wisconsin.  I did find out I can donate them to Half-Price Books to be redistributed.  They charge $1 for most magazines, but that is probably not enough for their staff to do all the stocking and straightening work that goes with magazines.  If you don't want the mess of so many subscriptions and live near a store, that might be an option.  Today is set aside for finishing up my unread magazines then a trip to donate them.  I doubt I'll finish today, however.

I also have a lot of stuff I want to make/finish in my craft room.  I discovered I have so many Christmas ideas in Pinterest that it would take me almost seven years to do them all if I did one a day.  It would take even longer for the Halloween stuff.  Maybe I need to spend more time doing instead of pinning!  I did make one of the folded Christmas trees out of a Reader's Digest.  I only need to put a little green paint on the edges and maybe decorate is a little.  I'm more about the tree than the decorations.  I had to put my soda bottle witch on hold before Halloween because I needed kitty litter (fill to keep the bottle from falling over) and a dowel to hold the head on.  I will enjoy her next year, perhaps.  I know after Christmas I'll have cold days to sit inside and craft, so it will get done along with the 5,000 pins I really want to do (right).

The flowers around the edge of the back terrace are still blooming.  I love Texas because you can have flowers until Thanksgiving most years and sometimes we even have roses until Christmas.  A tenant at the airport who moved to Texas in winter time told me that he knew summers here could be brutal but you don't have to shovel heat.  I guess we will do winters in Texas and travel north in the summer.

Well, off to the magazines!

Posted by stormi36 at 11:08 AM CST
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Monday, 6 November 2017
Cooler Monday

We had a really nice weekend.  It was 60 this morning and shouldn't get over 75 today.  Stan was off this morning to get my car inspected and have the oil changed.  The visitor to the engine compartment apparently is alive and well and brought a few peanut shells in and ate a little more of the poison.  I don't blame him, the poison smells like chocolate.  I just want him to go away somewhere and go to sleep forever.  We take the poison out before we drive the car.  I'm afraid it will fall out and a cat or dog will find it in the road and eat it.

We got a new bird feeder yesterday.  We had been using a flat feeder but the squirrels were taking it over.  We got a normal feeder that is supposed to be squirrel-proof.  So far, it's working.  The squirrels aren't happy!

Stan got his new weather instruments set up yesterday.  It is a Weather Channel model with wind speed and direction, humidity, barometric pressure, alarms, rain gauge and probably more that I can't remember.  We had an old decorative windmill tower from one that the bearings had gone bad on.  We couldn't find a replacement ring for it.  It makes a wonderful mount for all the monitors.

Today is market day and we/I will be off when my car gets back.  I love my car.  The paint job makes it look like new.  It still runs like new despite over 200,000 miles.  We had a back-up camera with stereo and Bluetooth capability installed last spring.  We can talk hands-free and I feel better backing up knowing I can see any children or critters behind my car.  The 4-Runner came with all that and I was a tad jealous. 

I've heard rumors that colder weather is on the way this week.  It was uncomfortable yesterday.  I finally gave up and shut the windows and turned the A/C on. 

I got another year done of the on-line photo album this weekend.  All the new pictures inspired me a little.  I hope to stay inspired, but with a serious chill anticipated, soup making is the order of the day.

Posted by stormi36 at 10:15 AM CST
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Saturday, 4 November 2017
Wisconsin is Cooooold

Our former neighbor Shena stopped by for a quick visit.  She had been in town for a very short time to finish up some business here in Texas.  She said it is cold in Wisconsin.  I'm contemplating shutting the windows and turning on the A/C.  She is very happy with her new job and mostly with the improved benefits.  Jeff got a job immediately with UPS.  We are so happy for them but sad for us.

Walter lost his brother-in-law this week.  He stopped by in the afternoon to tell us about the arrangements.  He was married to Walter's sister Fay for 70 years.  We had organic made-from-scratch chicken noodle soup for lunch.  I sent two servings home with Walter for his dinner.  Since the surgery, he's been able to eat whatever he wants without the interference of the hernia. 

The box of photos Stan retrieved from the storage building was still on the ottoman where Stan put them to look through.  He pulled out a few of Mother and Walter when they were much younger - Walter had dark hair and Mother had red hair.  I told him I would give him all the prints once I get them scanned.  That gives me more incentive to work on them.  I will add any new ones to the years I already have on the web page as I go.

 I did laundry while I was cooking and Stan cleaned the garage.  We ate our soup on the front deck, enjoying the lingering summer weather.  I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday.

Posted by stormi36 at 6:52 PM CDT
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Friday, 3 November 2017
The Bees

Yesterday we went to Foreman's for traps and bait for the car invader.  They had a sign on their marquee "Ask about 5 lbs free bird seed," so Stan did.  They all looked at each other in amazement.  Turns out the sign had been there for three months and he was the first customer to notice it.  We got free bird seed.


We were near Tom Thumb and it was lunch time so I suggested we go to the deli and pick out something for lunch.  I decided Chisholm Park would be a good place to have a spur-of-the- moment picnic.  It was wonderful out.  I'm told it got up to 93 yesterday but it wasn't that warm yet.  We were almost through with our sandwiches when a bee started buzzing my head....then another....then another.  They were small like honey bees but darker.  They were a little too aggressive for me, so we put an end to the picnic just in case they were bad bees.


Later that afternoon, Stan was looking for something in the storage building.  He found one of my boxes of photos and brought it in.  I went through the envelopes, then he went through them.  There were so many memories in that box.  I found the two photos I had been wanting to share with my nieces and nephew and put them on Facebook.


I had gotten a little burned out on my web page, but this may give me new inspiration.  There are hundred of photos to get scanned and sorted.   There were photos of the day Tawnya came home from the hospital.  There are photos of Jerry Jeff and Kirsten's wedding.  There are pictures of me skiing in 1979.  There are pictures of my sister's kids before the last one was born.  It was a time before digital cameras and cell phones.  You had to remember to take a camera and then remember to take the film to be developed.  It will be fun remembering and scanning.


 I had been trying to do the pages by year, but some of the photos aren't dated and will be sorted some other way I guess.

Posted by stormi36 at 7:04 AM CDT
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Thursday, 2 November 2017

I haven't been very good at updating this for the past couple of weeks.  So, working backwards....Halloween was wonderful.  Walter came over early then DJ and Robin brought their grandkids over.  I had made a large pot of chicken taco soup and sent some home with Walter for dinner.  Robin and DJ had soup and the kids had sugar frosted flakes - I know, nothing like more sugar on Halloween.  There was one other group of three children and two adults that stopped by.  It was cold, windy and a school night.  This is the worst turn-out we've had ever.  Even our first Halloween when there were only about five houses on our street there were more kids that came around.  Back then there weren't any Halloween Bashes at the park or trunk-or-treat events in this area.  Watauga has changed a lot since then.


Our irrigation system is installed and working beautifully.  It is mostly drip with a couple of zones in the back that are spray.  Stan is now able to nap in the late afternoon instead of being outside hand watering.  I love having the drip all the way around the house because it will really benefit the foundation.


Last Sunday I asked Stan to put washer fluid in my car.  He opened the hood and found a horde of peanuts near the windshield.  We cleaned them out and I quit putting out peanuts for the blue jays since it appeared the squirrels thought they had found a good place to hide them.  I asked Stan to check the car yesterday and sure enough, there was the start of another horde.  He cleaned it out and we are working to keep the little pests out.  We aren't sure if it's squirrels or a rat, so traps were set and they should deter either from entering the car again, WE HOPE!


We are really enjoying the cooler weather and so is the electric bill!  I'm thinking the water bill will be lower now too since the drip is so much more efficient.  Stan has all the winter-over plants in the sun room now.  His watering duties have now turned into yard maintenance duties, falling sticks from the trees triggered by north winds and the falling leaves.  He is slowly working around the yard to tamp down the trails left by the installation of the irrigation.  

Posted by stormi36 at 7:46 AM CDT
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Friday, 20 October 2017

It is a nice day out.  I have lots of "homework" to do today.  I think Stan had a good birthday.  He got lots of well wishes from family and friends.  He enjoyed his German chocolate brownie cake.  He didn't feel like going out for steak for lunch or dinner, so I fixed hamburgers for lunch and shrimp pasta primavera for dinner.

Off to do laundry! 

Posted by stormi36 at 10:33 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, 20 October 2017 10:34 AM CDT
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Thursday, 19 October 2017
My Birthday

I had a wonderful day.  Having Jess Sprinkler here made it even more fun.  Jess is a great guy and he and Stan were like two kids.  The system is complete in time for us to enjoy our joint birthday present.

Many thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday.  I've got some really wonder friends!

Today is Stan's birthday.  He got a Belgium waffle with peaches and whipped cream, bacon and milk.  He got a card from me and one from our stuffed bunny.  He isn't feeling 100% today so he's taking his after-breakfast nap right now.  It's his birthday!  He can do what he wants.

We're going to Hoffbrau for lunch today to split a steak and baked potato.  I'll probably make shrimp primavera for dinner.  I like making his birthday special. 

Posted by stormi36 at 7:45 AM CDT
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Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Birthday Breakfast

Stan got up and made me a wonderful breakfast - perfectly fried egg, toast, suasage and hash browns - and the most important beverage of the day, COFFEE!  Our joint birthday present is the irrigation system that should be complete today.

Our neighbors and friends across the street will be leaving Monday to move back to Madison.  It has been so much fun having them here and they will really be missed.  This year, the Blands sold their house and moved nearer their children and grandchildren.  We almost lost the twins and their older brother next door to relocation, but they decided to stay.  Jennifer sold her house to be better able to help care for her mom.  We have new neighbors in Bill's house and in the Blands and they seem to be really nice people.  Stella, Armando, Kathy and Troy are the longest-term neighbors.  Sherry is still two houses down and is such a joy to know.  She is still recovering from a bad fall a few months ago.  We closed on our house December 29, 1981.  In those years we've had some really great neighbors.  Terry and Mary who had the house across the street built are still two of our favorite people as are Mike and Carrie who who purchased the house after a couple from Burlington Northern purchased it then moved away.  We seem to really like the couples that move into the yellow house across the street. 

I think we knew from the start that this was our forever home.   We've shared 35 birthdays, anniversaries, Christmases, Thanksgivings, and Halloweens here.  We've always said we'd never move because we'd have to clean out the attic.  The real reason is that we have made so many memories here.  We've hosted more or my family's events here than anyone else in my family except my mother and grandmother.  Those memories fill every corner.

It's nice to reflect on those memories on my birthday. 


Posted by stormi36 at 7:30 AM CDT
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