The Summer of Paul Wrap Up

I managed to finish up my Summer of Paul with The Sting this past week so I thought I’d share impressions of that movie, two of Paul’s sort of “epic” films, From the Terrace and The Philadelphians and one in his later years, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, as a type of close out to my Summer of Paul movie watching. I’m going to place a spoiler here and tell you I did not finish Mr. and Mrs. Bridge for various reasons. Read on to find out why.

First From the Terrace.

Warning: There will be spoilers for this one, so if you haven’t seen the movie and are just dying to do so (I have no idea why you would want to, however), then don’t read on, or skip on to my impression of The Philadelphians.

If you don’t think you are a fan of Paul or of his amazing good looks then you need to at least see him in the beginning From the Terrace, specifically the scene with him and Joan Woodward (his wife by the time this movie was made) on a boat. Oh my. I’m not usually the swooning type but — swooooon. I felt the need to fan myself and then give my husband a kiss (lest you think my crush on Paul distracts me from loving my husband. Don’t worry. I’m not that far gone.)

Alfred (Paul’s character) certainly doesn’t have it easy in this movie, but he also doesn’t always make things easy for himself. He has an alcoholic mother, an angry and bitter father still mourning the death of a young son, his firstborn, who died some 20 years earlier. Alfred’s choice of work and then a few other bad life choices also don’t make his life easy.

I read some reviews that called it melodramatic garbage and it was, but it was also well acted by everyone involved, even the characters I hated. I think I hated them so much because they were so well acted.

I wasn’t fond of many aspects of the movie to be honest. At the end these words came to mind, “Wow. That was a pile of hot garbage.”

This movie was like watching a train wreck, since I pretty much assumed where it was going and I wouldn’t get a nice ending, and while I don’t usually really agree with the critics, I did this time. I see a lot of movie critics as stuck-up elitists and usually like what they don’t and hate what they do. This time around I had to agree with the critics who said the movie was horrible.

Despite this movie being so awful, it was progressive in many ways with themes that were unnerving and made me cringe a bit, similar to A Streetcar Named Desire, which I watched earlier in the summer.

If lines like “What does success look like when you turn out the lights?” isn’t enough to tell you that this movie is full of innuendos and suggestive moments, I don’t know what is.

In the end, though, this movie was two and a half hours of watching the destruction of a man and his marriage, and that’s not really a spoiler. It’s obvious by the movie’s description that it isn’t going to go well for the guy. They could have destroyed his life in an hour and a half and still reached the same conclusion, in my opinion. This is a movie where it’s normal to have a lover on the side if your wife or husband isn’t showing you the attention you think they should. Communication be damned, I guess.

 It was awkward and cringeworthy for me to watch Paul make eyes at a woman who was not his wife for the second half of the movie, so I ended up fast forwarding a lot. I guess we were supposed to feel sympathetic to his “plight” but I didn’t. He was the one who traveled all the time and left his wife behind.

 I couldn’t really get on board with feeling all swoony about that when he’d already invested his love in one woman and then went chasing after another as if she was now something special. Then the romantic music when he pursued a relationship with the new woman. Like this time it’s real love. Gag me.

Not only that, I’m beginning to get annoyed at Paul’s stoic way of acting. He doesn’t have a terrible lot of range in some of his movies.

Eek. I know.

How could I speak ill of my “favorite” actor? I don’t know but I guess watching this many movies of his in a row isn’t the best idea because now I am analyzing him too much.

The Young Philadelphians

This movie is pretty depressing as well with a lot of people who lie, cheat, and don’t communicate, leading to a lot of hurt and destruction.

The movie starts out with a huge lie that will shape all of Paul’s character’s life and made me sit and wonder when the lie would come out.

This is another movie where parents try to keep their children from marrying each other to protect the family name and reputation and all that jazz. This movie provided me with a lot of moments of yelling at the screen, “Why didn’t you just talk to him!?” or to her or whatever. It was full of tons of assumptions by the main characters, leaving them wandering away from each other for years and wandering based on the inferences of others, instead of the truth.

This movie was also about Paul working his way up the ladder to success to prove others wrong who said he couldn’t become successful. The movie was also sort of all over the place plot wise and got really odd at the end with a court case.

It definitely wasn’t one of my favorite movies of Paul’s, even though I have seen worse.

Mr. and Mrs. Bridge

This movie starred Paul and his wife Joan as a husband and wife.

I am going to be straight up and honest that I abandoned this movie part way in, though I should have much earlier, like after a scene where it looked like Paul was checking out Kyra Sedgwick, who plays his daughter, right before he finally does something not boring by sleeping with his wife in the middle of the day. The scene was very confusing and I don’t know if he attacked his wife because his daughter turned him on or because seeing her reminded him of his wife when she was younger. Either way, it was a really creepy scene. I thought maybe I interpreted it wrong, so I Googled for any other opinions on this scene and found this impression of it on a site called Vocal Media:

“I make this comparison because though I have described Mr Bridge as incredibly, remarkably dull, he does have one trait: he gets turned on by his daughter. Yeah, that’s a running through-line of this austere drama, dad is kind of incest-y toward his daughter. A scene in which Mr Bridge watches his daughter sunbathing leaves Mr Bridge so horny that he immediately has sex with Mrs Bridge.

It’s possible that this wasn’t the intent of the filmmakers but when you place the scene of him leering out the window, trying not to be seen while watching his daughter sunbathe, and then follow that scene with Mrs Bridge walking in and Mr Bridge is immediately (ahem), the implication is almost unmistakable. Either they intended this, or they are very bad at making movies and understanding how film language works.

Granted, this is as close to something happening in Mr. and Mrs. Bridge as the movie gets, but it’s not something that anyone should want to happen. In fact, I have to wonder why anyone thought that this was a good idea to include in this or any movie. In a movie this dull, livening things up should not include ‘my daughter made me horny so now I am having sex with my wife.’ I don’t care how boring your movie is, don’t do this.”

I agree with the assessment of the above reviewer.


The movie is based on a pair of books, one called Mr. Bridges and the other Mrs. Bridges, and I don’t think the weird incest-type stuff was in the books, from what it sounds like. They were much more innocent I’m gathering. The story I about two insanely boring people who are noticing the world is passing them by.

Mrs. Bridge doesn’t like this and wants to experience some of what she is seeing going on around her, while Mr. Bridges is very stuck in his ways and doesn’t want to change. He tries to change in tiny ways for her, only to fall back to his boring self with all his particular ways of doing things. The movie is just a series of boring scenes built on top of other boring scenes. It’s baffling why it was even made really, other than to wake people up and try to urge them not to be boring themselves.

Paul’s excellence at being boring was probably why this movie actually was boring. He’s a good actor and is even great at being boring when he needs to be.

It was so boring, I didn’t even care what happened in the end and didn’t finish it.

The Sting

This movie was much more exciting, and it was a good movie to end my Paul Newman movie binge.

Paul and Robert Redford playing conmen who work to pull off a huge con on another conman in the city.

Paul is a retired big-level conman while Redford wants to break into the big-time of con jobs.

While Paul is smooth, Redford is a bumbling idiot who screws up most of the time. By the end of the movie, you start wondering if Redford’s screw ups are going to be the end of him or if he’ll pull it out after all.

Robert Shaw plays the bad guy in the film (wait..they are all conmen so who is the actual bad guy? Hmmm…) and for those who don’t know he’s also in Jaws and unpleasant things happen to him in that movie. We had a hard time watching the movie without saying things like “Watch out for the shark!”

The movie is a lot more lighthearted than some of the Paul movies I watched during my binge. I loved Paul’s personality and seeing him a character who was allowed to, and supposed to, have a range of emotions, versus characters he portrayed in other movies, which were a bit more stoic.

No matter how old Paul got, he kept those amazing good looks and crazy blue eyes, which makes watching him fun no matter what movie he is in.

For the final wrap-up, here are all the Paul Newman movies I watched this summer and fall:

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Paris Blue

The Long Hot Summer

The Hustler

Sweet Bird of Youth

The Rack

A New Kind of Love

Cool Hand Luke

Torn Curtain

From The Terrace

The Young Philadelphians

The Sting

In the past I watched Exodus, Twilight, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and the Towering Inferno.

Now, while I did say in my post about The Hustler, that I didn’t enjoy the movie as much as I hoped, I do recognize it as being a very well-acted and well-written movie. It was just darker than I thought, and I would have liked more Jackie Gleason.

Movies I wanted to get to but didn’t included:

The documentary on HBO Max by Ethan Hawke (The Last Movie Stars)

The Color of Money

The Verdict


And Somebody Up There Likes Me

I also started The Prize but got interrupted and forgot to finish it before my rental ran out.

If you want to read the impressions of the movies I watched you can search for “Summer of Paul” in the search bar.

So, how about you? How many Paul Newman movies have you seen? Any on my list? Which one was your favorite?

Sunday Bookends: The last swim, the passing of a queen, and a variety of books

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing and listening to.

What I/we’ve been Reading

I finished Junkyard Dogs, A Walt Longmire Mystery, by Craig Johnson yesterday. It was hard to put down, it was constant action, as usual. It is the sixth book in the series. The eighteenth book in the series came out last Tuesday and The Husband is excited. I don’t usually like books with harsh language but I’ve read a lot worse (or started to and put them down), there is no on-page sex (except in one book and it was thankfully really brief), and I love the characters.

I hope to finish Refuge of Convenience by Kathy Geary Anderson by today or tomorrow.

I was glad to have the two books to switch back and forth on since the Longmire book has heavier topics and isn’t as clean. Kathy’s books are all listed under Christian Historical Fiction and are engaging and make me want to find out what happens.

Up next in my list is The Cat Who Wasn’t There by Lilian Jackson Braun, a book from a cozy-mystery series I enjoy. It’s a comfort read to me.

Little Miss and I are reading either Paddington or Anne of Green Gables at night. She’s enjoying Anne so much that she has even been drawing photos of her. We are also reading The Year of Miss Agnes for her school lessons.

The Boy is reading War of the Worlds by H.G. Welles for school.

The Husband is reading Hell and Back by Craig Johnson.

What’s Been Occurring

Last Sunday we attended a picnic at our neighbors and my parents came as well. It was a super nice day.

It wasn’t a hot day, which made it even nicer, but Little Miss still took a dip in their little pool in the backyard. She talked me into going in as well and it was awful. It was so cold it was like standing in a large glass of ice water. I lasted about seven minutes.

It appears that it will be our last swim in a pool this season, unless the weather warms up this week.

It’s supposed to rain all day today and part of tomorrow.

Zooma the Wonder Dog even got some socialization in, visiting with the neighbors’ Shitzu dogs while Little Miss jumped in the pool.

Today we have a family reunion to attend. It should be interesting in the rain and will probably consist of me talking to former neighbors of mine who I am not actually related to but attend the reunion every year because they are like family.

Last week was our first week of homeschool and it got off to a bit of a bumpy start for Little Miss and me because neither of us has actually adjusted to being back at school. She wasn’t ready to sit and learn just yet and I was way too uptight about it all so on Thursday we both feels to separate parts of the house to have a good cry at one point.

What We watched/are Watching

Last week The Boy and I watched Clue as part of a feature Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs, and I are doing called Spooky Season Cinema. I talked more about that in this post. This week we are watching The Addams Family.

The Husband and I watched a Brokenwood Mysteries episode, some specials about Queen Elizabeth, and an episode of a hilarious old British sitcom called Yes, Prime Minister.

Sunday morning, I watched the coffin of the queen being driven from Balmoral Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland, and will admit I felt weepy over it. I believe this queen was a very “grand lady” who had a great deal of dignity, unlike a few members of her family (*cough* Andrew. *cough* Harry lately.). With her gone, I’m not sure what the family will devolve into, though they had devolved into a pretty big mess in the 1990s with the divorces of Charles and Diana and Andrew and Sarah Ferguson.

As I mentioned on a post on Instagram last week, the world is not only mourning a person, who seemed very kind and compassionate, but an era of respect, dignity, and grandeur that is slowly being eroded away. I didn’t finish The Crown when we had Netflix, but I enjoyed watching it and later doing my own research on what parts of the show were accurate and which parts weren’t. I feel, somehow, as I am sure the people of Great Britain feel even more, that after watching and reading so much about her that I knew her personally.

Of course, I didn’t know her personally, her family did and I do feel for them as they mourn her. Some might say “Well, she was old, so it was to be expected,” but that doesn’t take away from the pain of losing someone who was more than a queen to her family. She was a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother to her family and not having her around to interact with anymore, to not having her wisdom to rely on, will be extremely difficult.

In addition to all the queen news, I watched The Young Philadelphians as part of my “Fall of Paul” yesterday since I didn’t finish a couple of movies I wanted to watch with Paul Newman during my Summer of Paul movie-watching experience. I hope to watch Mr. and Mrs. Bridge with Paul and Joan (his wife) later this week.

I’ve also started a documentary on Mae West last week that I hope to finish this week.

What I’m Writing

I am working on The Shores of Mercy, but honestly, I am discouraged in my writing. I started writing fiction to have fun but for some reason I’ve been focusing too much on how poorly my books are doing in rankings, etc.

Sadly, I feel like I often start things and enjoy them for a bit and then feel depressed when I watch others get the “success” I worked for but could never reach. But at the same time, I feel like success for me is connecting with other people and by that measurement, I have had success and it’s all I really need. It’s a weird dichotomy of wanting to be popular with my writing yet loving that I am not popular and can write whatever I want.

I think one issue is that I have been writing books I think certain readers want instead of stories I want to tell, even though I have enjoyed getting to know the characters of my Spencer Valley books. I also appreciate, more than anyone knows, my blog readers who have faithfully supported me in my writing journey, especially Bettie who offers prayers for me and my fictional characters. I often feel like even if I am only writing for Bettie and my mom, it is worth it.

This week on the blog I shared:

What I’m Listening To

This week I listened to Toby Mac’s new album again and I don’t love every song, but I really like most of them. I plan to listen to some sermons this week and maybe an audiobook since I’ve decided to check out Chirp, where you can buy audiobooks a you go, versus having a membership.

So far, this one is my favorite:

Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

The Summer of Paul: The Rack, The Hustler, and A New Kind of Love

Last week I watched three Paul Newman movies as part of my Summer of Paul — The Rack, The Hustler, and  A New Kind of Love. The Summer of Paul is what I am calling my plan to watch as many Paul Newman movies as I can this summer.

The Rack:

Ooh boy. This one was a tough one to watch. This is a very early Paul Newman movie, (his third only in fact) and it was loosely based on a play by Rod Serling (Twilight Zone fame). His acting skills aren’t sharpened just yet, but that is not why it was difficult to watch. It was difficult because it splayed open PTSD from war in a way most movies of the time never did. It showcased what really happened to prisoners of war and stripped away the idea that war creates only unmarked heroes who fought and died for their country and suffered only from being away from their family.

This movie was a very raw depiction of patriotism run amok, how military brass thought they would punish men who collapsed under the heaviness of months and months, if not years of brutal mental and emotional torture and call them traitors, all the while not admitting their own culpability in the mental, emotional, and physical ruin of these men (and later women as well). I support and absolutely stand by our military but our country’s politicians and military leaders are often blind to the hollowed-out husks they abandon when they deny the impact war has on those who fight it on the ground level.

As much as this is a commentary on the effects of war it is also about the stoic relationship between many military leaders and their families and how they can emotionally shut themselves off because of their training.

A lot of the movie features the court room drama of Newman being court marshalled for supposedly collaborating with the enemy, which were the North Koreans at that time. There was one point I wanted to climb right through my computer and absolutely thrash the prosecuting attorney. It is such a brutal scene and I’m guessing many a modern military courtroom drama scene was crafted after it. It certainly stirred up emotion in me. Enough I could have screamed and my heart rate increased at the cruelty of what was being done to Newman’s characters but also what is done to our own soldiers.

The topic of PTSD from our veterans is close to my heart because not only were there two suicides by Vietnam vets within a very tiny area around my house when I was young, in a little grouping of houses of less than 100 people, but after a local soldier was killed in Iraq, many of the soldiers who returned after his death either killed themselves or suffered horrible PTSD. It infuriates me to hear the prosecutor in this film mocking Newman’s obvious mental trauma after being tortured.

Sadly, this film ended in an off way for me. This is a little bit of a spoiler but Newman pretty much says he missed being a magnificent person because he was too mentally week. Ick.

I felt like soldiers with PTSD were made to feel like they are wrong for their actions under duress, but then again, maybe that was the point of the writing of the film (since the film actually changed Serling’s television play quite a bit) — to show that many soldiers will apologize for their weakness under mental stress, instead of admitting it is an actual issue.

The movie is still a good one that makes you think, so I definitely recommend it. It’s also fun to watch Newman start to become the great actor he later became (though he definitely is not there in this one).

If you want to know more about the movie, how it was made, and Paul’s part in it, you can read this story on Roger Ebert’s Blog (

The Hustler:

This movie did not have as much action in it as I had hoped. I wanted more pool playing and less melodrama between Paul and the woman in the movie. I think the only reason I felt like I didn’t like this movie is because I was expecting something completely different.

Paul plays a professional hustling pool player who travels the country pretending he doesn’t know how to play pool and then swindles people out of their money. The 1986 film, The Color of Money, which stars Paul and Tom Cruise, was the sequel to this film. Yes, it is also on my list of Paul movies to watch this summer.

In the middle of the movie the woman Eddie (Paul’s character) is living with yells, “What else are we going to do?”

And I said I hoped Eddie would go back and play pool because we needed some more action in this movie already. I seriously thought the movie was more about playing pool than Eddie just being a huge jerk.

At one point Paul asks his girlfriend after they’ve spent most of the movie drinking away their days, “So, do you think I’m a loser?”

The Husband, The Boy, and I all said, “yes” at the same time.

I sort of feel like if a movie director needed someone to play a mopey, depressed and moody guy in the 1960s he said, “Call Newman. This role is for him.”

But then I see a movie like A New Kind of Love and realize that Paul could play light characters as well.

The Hustler is a good film, don’t get me wrong. It is well written and well-acted. It was just quite a bit darker than I realized and I would have liked more scenes with Jackie Gleason, who was nominated for an Oscar for the 15 minutes he was on screen out of the 2-hour and 16 minute movie.

A New Kind of Love:

A New Kind of Love was much lighter, but as a self-proclaimed prude, I was bothered by how flippantly sex was regarded by Paul’s character. I wondered when all the STDs would catch up with him if he’d been a real person and not a character in a movie.

Despite my prudish views, I did enjoy the movie overall.

Paul plays a reporter who is also a womanizer, which is always getting him in trouble. His latest fling causes him to be sent into exile in Paris where he meets Joan who is a fashion consultant visiting Paris from New York. Joan has no interest in love. She acts more like a man than a woman and when she first meets Paul, she hates him, of course. The movie takes some unexpected turns when Joan decides that love might be interesting after all when she gives herself a French makeover.

The movie was a nice distraction from the depression in the world.

Sadly, I think I might be sinking into more depression at some point when I watched From the Terrace and Rachel Rachel this weekend. But I get to stare at Paul’s blue eyes, so I guess it is worth it.

Have you seen any of these movies? If so, did you enjoy them?

Summer of Paul: Sweet Bird of Youth

I decided about a month ago that I would start watching Paul Newman movies for fun this summer. I started with Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, at the suggestion of Erin at Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs, and then stumbled on to a list of Paul Newman movies on a movie site to sort of guide me.

I have a lot of catching up to do on this list and hope to get to as many of them as possible through August. So far this summer, I have watched Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Long Hot Summer, Paris Blues, and Sweet Bird of Youth. In the past, I have watched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Exodus.

Up this week will be The Rack and The Hustler. The Husband wants me to watch The Hustler with him this weekend.

Before the summer ends, I hope to get to:

Cool Hand Luke (which I watched once many years ago),

Somebody Up There Likes Me

Rachel Rachel (which he directed and stars his wife Joan)

The Color of Money


Nobody’s Fool

The Sting

The Verdict

And the documentary series about him and his wife, Joan Woodward:

The Last Movie Stars

The documentary is on HBO Max, but I will have to get a subscription to watch it because we were sharing a subscription with someone, and they got rid of their subscription. We will see what can be done, but, man, a subscription to HBO Max is expensive now! Maybe they will have a sale.

I have digressed quite a bit here because I had planned for this post to be about Sweet Bird of Youth, which I watched a couple of weeks ago. This is yet another movie that Paul was in that was based on a Tennessee Williams play. I didn’t realize that Paul had been in more than one movie based on Williams’ plays until I started watching his movies this summer.

I had never heard of Sweet Bird of Youth before and for a movie made in 1962, it was quite dark and heavy and also seemed ahead of its time somehow. The acting was absolutely stellar all the way around. The overall story was gritty and raw, focusing on some serious issues, at least one of which I don’t want to share because it will be a spoiler. A couple of the issues I can mention are alcoholism, drug (pot) use, promiscuity, domestic abuse, power-hungry politicians, greed, and nepotism.

Paul’s shirt was off quite a few times in this movie, which wasn’t a bad thing to me but did drive my son nuts because every time he walked in the room, there was a shirtless Paul Newman.

“Just go back to watching your movie with that shirtless guy,” he told me one day to avoid discussing his need to eat healthier food (or maybe it was about his need to clean his room. I lose track of our discussions now that he is a teenager).

In addition to Paul, the movie starred Ed Begley (wow. His performance made me want to reach through the screen and slap him! Dang!), Shirley Knight (she was stunning and so perfect in that part), Rip Torn (didn’t even recognize him, he was so young), Geraldine Page, and Madeline Sherwood.

Here is a small description of the movie I found online: “After unsuccessfully trying his luck in Hollywood, charming gigolo Chance Wayne (Paul Newman) wanders back to his hometown, accompanied by Alexandra Del Lago (Geraldine Page), a movie star on the wane. Chance quickly falls back into his old rut — he’s still smitten with his former sweetheart, Heavenly Finley (Shirley Knight), but her thuggish brother (Rip Torn) and her crooked politician father (Ed Begley) both hate him. When Alexandra leaves town, Chance is left with little more than trouble.”

I do recommend the movie, but I will warn you that it is not a happy Paul and some of the topics are a bit uncomfortable. I am not giving rankings to the movies I am watching but if I was, I’d give this one a five out of five.

Sunday Bookends: Juggling books with my mood and tours, smells (good and bad) returning, and playing in water

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing and listening to.

What I/we’ve been Reading

I had to abandon my plans from last week when I realized I had a couple books I agreed to read for blog tours. Luckily I have a little bit of time before the reviews need to be up, but I never know what each week is going to bring so I figured I’d better start them.

I am reading an indie book by Milla Holt called Into the Flood, which is a Christian romance. I’ll share a little bit more about it after I finish it and post a review, but it is available for sale at this time.

A description:

One mistake imploded Sonia Krogstad’s PR career, leaving her with a stack of debt and no job prospects. Out of options, she returns to her tiny hometown in the northern wilds of Norway, planning only to stay long enough to get back on her feet and prepare for her big-city comeback.

Reclusive tech genius Axel Vikhammer bought a non-profit community arts center that’s fast becoming a money pit. Closing it down is not an option, especially since it’s a refuge for the teenage daughter he only recently learned he has. With her PR background, Sonia seems the perfect hire for the job as his center’s fundraising manager.

Yet as feelings develop between the two, Axel wonders how he can trust Sonia with his business—or his heart—when her dreams don’t include his small town or him.

With her head and her heart pulling her in different directions, Sonia needs to take a leap of faith. But every time she’s done that in the past, she’s fallen flat on her face. Why should it be different now?

I’m also reading Dead Sea Rising by Jerry B. Jenkins. It is the second book in the Dead Sea Chronicles, but I didn’t realize that when I signed up for the tour. So far I am able to follow along without reading the first book. This is the first book I’ve read by Jenkins, who co-wrote the Left Behind series and is all the father of Dallas Jenkins who is writing and directing The Chosen series.

A description:

Nicole Berman is an archaeologist on the brink of a world-changing discovery. Preparing for her first dig in Jordan, she believes she has found concrete evidence of a biblical patriarch that could change history books forever. But someone doesn’t want the truth revealed. While urgently trying to connect pieces of an ancient puzzle, a dangerous enemy is out to stop her.

I’m switching between the two books and since I have a couple weeks before Dead Sea Rising needs to be finished, I am reading A Breath of French Air, the second book in the Pop Larkins series by H.E. Bates before bed each night because it’s very light and fun.

Little Miss and I are reading Ramona and Her Mom by Beverly Cleary.

The Husband is reading Noir by Christopher Moore.

The Boy is still reading War of the Worlds by HG Welles.

What’s Been Occurring

I had mentioned a few times in the last nine months, since the dreaded virus, that my smell has either remained dulled or distorted, sometimes to the point of making me physically ill. My taste had also been off and still is for some things. For the longest time most meats, anything with garlic, and many other foods tasted rancid or like burnt rubber. I don’t know how else to explain it. Also, like sweaty feet smell, if that makes any sense. There are still times that chicken, especially with skin, garlic, and tomatoes don’t taste right. This summer has also been rough because watermelon doesn’t taste sweet any longer. It tastes like squash in a way. Strawberries sometimes taste like strawberries and sometimes have what I, and others who have had their smell and taste effected by the virus, call The Covid Taste/Smell.

As for smell, things that still have the Covid Smell are sweat (sorry), gasoline, propane, chemicals, and sometimes … um…poop (like cat and dog).

This week, though, I noticed I was smelling things I couldn’t smell at all before. For the last nine months smells have been muted or I haven’t noticed them much. When someone says “oh that smells good” I say, “can’t smell it.” Of course, I had sinus issues before the dreaded virus as well, and that had also dulled my smell.

Late in the week, when I walked outside with my daughter and walked between our pine tree bushes I suddenly realized I could smell pine. A couple of days later I could smell — excuse me for sharing, but dog poop in our yard. It didn’t smell like Covid, it smelled like poop. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to rejoice for that or not.

For most of my life, smells that don’t bother other people, bother me. Like perfumes or air freshners. I get headaches and sometimes my chest tightens. That hasn’t been common the last nine months but The Husband sprayed some Febreeze and it was overwhelming. I could actually smell it. Again, I don’t know if I want to rejoice that I can smell smells which bother me, but it is nice to be able to smell pine trees and freshly cut grass again.

Little Miss and I went swimming again this week at my parents. We also grocery shopped again, which I always dread and hate. Grocery shopping went wonderful but then I got to my van, which has issues with its locks and its key fobs and I accidentally locked it while trying to open the back hatch. When I went to open the hatch it was locked, as was the rest of the van. This left me standing in the parking lot with Little Miss and a cart full of groceries but no way to get home. To cut a too long story already short, I called The Husband, who called our insurance company to have someone come open it. Our insurance company apparently stinks because they called someone a half an hour away. The Husband came and traded cars with us and waited for the locksmith (or whatever he is called) and I drove home wondering why I can’t buy groceries without something weird happening.

The day before we picked up groceries, we visited our neighbor who broke her ankle a few weeks ago and is still laid up from it after spending some time in the hospital and a rehabilitation center. Our kitten walked with us to her house and when we came out after the visit, she was waiting for us and walked back home with us. Our neighbor is about five houses from ours. Our animals crack us up and I also think it is sweet that the cats, who sometimes seem like they couldn’t care less about us, apparently do.

Yesterday The Husband and The Boy borrowed my dad’s truck and picked up some firewood to help us prepare for this winter and hopefully cut down on our heating bill since we are currently struggling to pay the one we just received.

Earlier in the week, the kids had fun on the Slip N Slide and yesterday Little Miss had fun running through the sprinkler.

What We watched/are Watching

I did not watch as many movies last week, partially because I tried to read more and also because I was outside so much with Little Miss and grocery shopping and all that kind of stuff that I just didn’t have time to sit down and watch an entire movie. Not until The Boy and I watched Gladiator, which we started Thursday and finished Friday. I hadn’t seen it in years and forgot how good it was.

Last night, The Husband and I watched a Poirot movie, Murder on the Links.

This week I am returning to the Summer of Paul with a list of Paul Newman movies I hope to get through before the end of August.

What I’m Writing

I am working on Mercy’s Shore, The Shores of Mercy, whatever I’m going to call it, but this week I forgot to post Chapter 13 on Friday. I am going to make up for it this week by posting Chapter 13 on Thursday and Chapter 14 on Friday.

I guess my brain was mush from all the little weird things that seemed to happen Friday and how busy we were playing outside during the week.

On the blog I shared:

What I’m Listening to

Matthew West. I don’t know if I have praised him enough on this blog, but his songs are so uplifting, so encouraging and help soothe my spirit on the most anxious days. On the days where I am really shook up and worried I turn his songs on, especially the ones on his greatest hits album. Those songs, the lyrics, all of it, help me so much.

The album is Brand New, and I really encourage you to check it out via whatever music listening service you listen to.

This song is not on that album, but it is Matthew’s latest:

Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

Sunday Bookends: Paul Newman movies and romantic comedy books dominate this week

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing and listening to.

What’s Been Occurring

Last week seemed busy even though we didn’t do as much as the week before. Sunday we spent the day at my parents again. Wednesday The Husband and I went out for dinner for our 20th anniversary. We went to a place we were familiar with and enjoyed a good meal and then came home and watched a show based on an Agatha Christie short story.

Friday it was my first time grocery shopping in person in several years. I hate grocery shopping, so we have been doing grocery pickups for years, even before it was a “thing”. Now that we live 45 minutes from any Walmart, and with the price of gas, doing grocery pick up has become too expensive, so Friday the kids and I drove 20 minutes to the new Aldi store. It looks like I will now be doing this every Friday or every other Friday for the foreseeable future. Wish me luck.

I did learn one thing — don’t take a young child with you because they try to fill the cart with extra food. Luckily most of that extra food was fruit, but still.

This week I have to take Little Miss to gymnastics and take some photos at dress rehearsal for the play my husband is in and that, thank goodness, is about it.

What I’m Reading

I am still reading The Do Over by Bethany Turner, but will probably finish it this week.

For those who are curious about what it is about, here is a description:

A witty, romantic comedy of errors as former high school rivals McKenna and Henry inadvertently reunite in their hometown.

Hot-shot lawyer McKenna Keaton finds herself in hot water with her own law firm when she’s (falsely!) accused of embezzlement. Placed on unpaid leave, she suddenly finds herself with the free time to return home and attend her youngest sister’s wedding activities.

But it’s not all fun and games. Waiting back home is shy, nerdy Henry Blumenthal—McKenna’s high school rival for valedictorian who once took three hours to beat her at chess. Scratch that. He’s Hank Blume now, the famed documentarian, Durham, North Carolina’s, darling son, who has attained all his dreams and more. He also happens to look like he stepped out of an Eddie Bauer catalog.

Whereas McKenna is a disgraced workaholic from New York on unpaid leave, accused of a white-collar crime she would never commit, succumbing to panic attacks, and watching her dreams unravel. At age thirty-eight—and destined by the family curse to die before she turns forty, apparently—it’s absolutely the wrong time to have a major crush on a man. Especially one who treasures his memories of McKenna as the Girl Most Likely to Succeed.

On some days I am also reading a chapter or two of Anne of the Island but I’m trying to be more careful with the paperback copy of it I have because it’s starting to look very beat up since I have been carrying it everywhere with me. I’ve decided to only read it at home from now on. I’m not very gentle with hard copies of books, which is why I hate to get books out at the library. The Husband, on the other hand, somehow keeps even paperback copies of books pristine and I don’t know how he does it. I refuse to read his paperbacks because I am always paranoid that I will mess it up.

How about you? Do you keep your books in good shape or do they get a bit bent up and scuffed?

The Husband is reading Don’t Know by Tough by Eli Cantor (it’s the author’s debut novel).

The Boy is reading War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

Little Miss and I are reading Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary.

What I/We Watched/Are Watching

I call Paul Newman my favorite actor but this past week I realized, rather sadly, that I have not watched very many of his movies, so I decided to remedy that by watching more of his movies this summer. Then I found a list that suggested 15 of his movies to watch so I decided to work through those for fun for the rest of the summer and maybe beyond.

­­­Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs, had already suggested A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as a movie for me to watch and I’ll have a blog post on that later this week. She and I are trading movie suggestions this week.

From there I watched The Long Hot Summer, which I have wanted to watch for a long time. That was one of the eleven movies he did with his wife, Joanne Woodward. I really enjoyed it, even though I thought Paul’s character was a little bit of a jerk for most of the movie. A sexy jerk but a jerk nonetheless. I also didn’t recognize Orson Welles at all in the movie and it took the credits at the end for me to realize it was him.

This weekend I also checked off Paris Blues, another Newman/Woodward movie, that also starred Sidney Poitier, Diahan Carroll, and Louis Armstrong.

A description of the movie, if you, like me had never seen it:

During the 1960s, two American expatriate jazz musicians living in Paris meet and fall in love with two American tourist girls. During the 1960s, two American expatriate jazz musicians living in Paris meet and fall in love with two American tourist girls.

A couple interesting things about the movie, which was made in the 60s, was that it was Woodward who pursued Newman and not just pursued him, but jumped right into bed with him. Newman also started to flirt with Carroll’s character in the movie, hinting at an interracial relationship, but that relationship doesn’t happen as Newman and Poitier switch partners, so to speak.

According to the above article I mentioned, the book that the movie was based on featured an interracial relationship, but movie producers felt that that would be too progressive and offend audiences (insert eye roll here). There was, however, a conversation about civil rights in the movie between Poitier and Carroll when he asks her if she wants to have fun or “do you want to discuss the race thing?” Sounds a lot like conversations we could have today.

The on-screen chemistry between Newman and Woodward is amazing, of course, but that’s to be expected since they had married three years earlier.

Once again, Newman was a bit of a jerk at times during the movie, but there is one scene where he and Woodward break into laughter and I don’t think it was scripted. I think they naturally started to laugh at each other.

As I mentioned above, The Husband and I also watched an episode of The Agatha Christie Hour through AcornTV, which is a series based on Agatha Christie’s short stories.

Yesterday I rewatched North by Northwest with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint because I couldn’t remember most of the movie. It was better the second time around but I still don’t like Eva Marie Saint, who I saw in Exodus with Paul Newman years ago, as an actress. Something about her just grates on my nerves, but more so in Exodus where she was a seriously arrogant American.

North by Northwest is one of Hitchcock’s best and this is one of the most famous scenes:

Upcoming this week: Blue Hawaii with Elvis at the suggestion of Erin, The Rack with Paul Newman and maybe another Paul movie.

What I’m Listening To

I’ve been listening to a lot of Christian music and finding some new artists on Apple Music, including Jon Reddick.

Last night I listened to some songs from Fiddler on the Roof, including my favorite, which I used to dance to in our living room, and made my parents think I was going to be in musicals someday (ha!)

What I’m Writing

This week on the blog I shared:

Now It’s Your Turn

What have you been watching, reading, listening to, writing, or doing? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: Crazy week in so many ways

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing, and listening to.

What’s Been Occurring

Last week was one of the busiest weeks I’ve had in a very long time. For that reason, I am writing this while barely awake. What do you mean all my posts sound like I’m barely awake when I write them? Well, anyhow. . . The busy week started Sunday when we headed 40 minutes away to see Top Gun: Maverick for me and The Boy and one of his friends, and the Minions movie for The Husband, Little Miss, and some of her friends (and those friends’ dad and brother.). I went despite the fact I’d only had about four hours of sleep the night before. Maybe the day was so fun because I was barely awake. I’m not sure.

Because Minions ended before Top Gun, The Husband and the father of Little Miss’s friends took the other children to a park and playground across town. The Husband came back to pick us up and when he did the boys and I were outside the theater and I was looking through the Little Library they had by the front doors. I had just discovered there was another row behind the first row (It was bigger on the inside!) and had three books in the crook of my arm when he pulled up in the middle of the street and called, “Get in quick!” and grinned like he was driving a get away car. I bet he always wanted to do that.

I had to hurry and slide the safety pin back into the door latch to hold the door closed and take off with the books like I was some kind of thief before a car came up behind him. It was both humorous and sad. I escaped with two hard-cover Robert Galbraith books and a Robert Parker book. I felt horrible because the sign on the little library door said “take a book, leave a book.” I didn’t have a book to leave, but The Husband said he would take three down to replace the next time he has to go to a meeting in the town for work.

And then, when we went back to the park to play a little longer and pick up Little Miss, he snatched another book out of another Little Library. So now we owe the town four books. Sigh.

On Monday we went to my parents to spend the Fourth with them. All four of my immediate family jumped in the pool together, which is unusual. Usually, Little Miss and I are the ones who go in the pool and sometimes The Boy. This time we were all in and it was a lot of fun, even though The Boy ripped a hole in one of his toes, and a couple of days later we thought it was infected.

The Boy was also dealing with a horrific sore throat from the Thursday before until Tuesday when it disappeared right before we took him to the doctor to see if he might have an infection of some kind. On the Fourth he couldn’t even eat because swallowing was too painful.

This is the third time I have taken one of my children to the local doctor only to have their symptoms disappear the day I take them and be told there is nothing wrong with them. I’m beginning to worry this local doctor thinks I’m crazy, but this time it was The Boy who insisted on going because the pain had been so bad.

I was hoping for a break on Wednesday, but then I was reminded the local firemen’s carnival was being held almost two months earlier than normal because of a change in ride vendors. This is the largest fundraiser of the year for the small, volunteer fire department in the town my husband works in, and I went to school in. My friends and I traditionally attended this carnival every, or almost every, year when I was growing up. I’ll probably share a blog post later this week with some stories about our trips there.

There is a huge parade held on the first day of the carnival and Little Miss’s gymnastics school was walking in it. Her little friends were going to be in the parade so I thought she would enjoy going as well since this is her first year in gymnastics. I had to go a couple hours before the parade for decorating (which it turns out they actually didn’t do because the girls ended up just walking and not riding a float) and then to drop them off for line up.

I then went to The Husband’s office because he was rushing to take photos of the floats to be sure the photos and stories went into the next day’s newspaper. His newspaper is a weekly newspaper, and they usually have an earlier deadline to have their newspaper sent to the printer, but once a year they are provided with a later deadline to make sure coverage of the parade is in the next day.

Little Miss went to the carnival for about 30 minutes with her friends after the parade and then we staggered home for a day off (Thursday) before I drove 45 minutes south (yes..we seem to be 45 minutes away from everywhere) on Friday to pick up Little Miss’s friends so they could have a day to play. That day became a little weird when Little Miss drank some orange juice too fast while we were at my parents, told me her chest hurt and she was scared, and then briefly fainted, similar to how she fainted when she was bit by a non-venomous snake last Labor Day and we had to take her to the ER. We called an ambulance that day because she slammed her head off a table during her fainting spell and was completely out of it.

This time she slumped into the fridge, I grabbed her and held her, calling her name and she opened her eyes within 30 seconds and asked what happened. We sat in the floor for a bit because she said her legs were weak and shaking but within 15 minutes she was up and running around with her friends again.

She acted completely normal for the rest of the day but since she’s now fainted twice after stressful situations, we are going to be calling a doctor to have her checked out. This will probably be the fourth time I take her to the local doctor and have them tell me there is nothing wrong with her, but I’ll be fine with that this time.

I have read before that fainting is somewhat common in some children (I fainted once from low blood sugar and gave almost fainted many times), whose body sometimes reacts quite quickly to stress by dropping their heart rate and blood pressure. The scary thing is that her fainting spells happen so quickly. One minute she’s talking and the next she collapses to the floor. My mom compared her to a fainting goat and she’s right- it’s sort of what it is like.

What was even odder about Friday is that my dad started to black out while we were on our way to see some fireworks later in the day. I don’t know of any connection between the two incidents. My dad believes his was dehydration, but we weren’t sure, so I drove him home before the fireworks even started. Little Miss was disappointed because she and her friends had planned to jump in the bouncy house before the fireworks, but after her odd day, she was actually very tired. In the end, I don’t think she minded going back home.

On the way home, Dad started feeling better (after drinking a bottle of Gatorade) and we also saw four deer either standing very close to the road or in fields on four different occasions. The first deer, a doe, was standing on our side of the road, right on the edge, turned toward us and watching us as we drove by slowly (because I was honestly afraid she was going to jump out in front of us).

The second deer was in a wooded area with another deer laying next to her. I didn’t see the deer laying next to her, but Little Miss did. The third deer was a young buck, standing in a field close to the road. Little Miss didn’t see the buck so we actually circled around so we could show him to her and he was still there, chewing while he watched us. He had very short antlers, with one of them deformed. He was obviously a very young buck because he still had velvet on his short antlers. I wish I had been able to take a photograph of him, but I was driving and we were in the middle of a highway and I wasn’t sure when a car might come up behind us.

The fourth deer was running in a field, but also close to the road. The Boy also said he saw three wild turkeys while we were driving, but the rest of us missed those.

After my dad was back home, I called my brother to tell him about Dad. As if the incidents with Dad and Little Miss weren’t enough, while we were talking my brother’s nose started bleeding. I said a prayer over our family because it was starting to feel like a demonic attack!

What was odd about all the medical stuff happening to my family members is that I’m the one who usually has some weird medical episode when we go to an event or try to do something special. This time I was feeling fairly good and was actually very calm when Little Miss fainted and when my dad started to feel a little off. I’m going to say that the peace came both from praying and from the very small amount of CBD I started taking daily a couple of weeks ago.

Since we missed going to the carnival Friday night, I had to take another trip to it yesterday so Little Miss could jump in the bouncy house. It’s the only thing she’s asked to do recently and after watching her faint and fall into the fridge Friday, I wanted to let her have as much fun as possible.

Luckily her little friends were there then too so they were able to have fun together. The Boy’s two friends came as well so it was a nice day for the kids.

I’m hoping for a little bit of a more relaxed week this week, but there is a local VBS going on so…who knows what will happen. At least most of the stuff we did last week was fun (other than the fainting and almost fainting episodes). I think this is one of the longer “What’s Been Occurring” sections I’ve ever shared and, actually, I’m hoping future sections are much shorter. I’m tired, ya’ll.

What I’m Reading

Last night I finally finished Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. I think I’ve been reading it two months or so, and to explain, it was not boring, it was simply a book full of a lot of a lot of technical kitchen and restauranter lingo and stories, which was sometimes overwhelming. I was also reading a couple of books for book tours while reading it, which delayed me finishing it. I am going to write a longe post about my impressions of it later this week.

I am still enjoying a leisurely read of Anne of the Island. I pick it up during more depressing or tough moments and read a chapter or two. I’m not in any hurry to finish it.

Last week I also started The Do Over by Bethany Turner. It is a romantic comedy and so far, I am enjoying it. I will most likely concentrate on it this week and maybe even finish it.

I hope to start one of the Dortmunder novels by Donald Westlake next week.

What I’m/We’re Watching/Watched

I mentioned already above, and in a separate blog post earlier in the week, that I watched Top Gun: Maverick. I presented my spoiler free impression of it HERE.

Later in the week, The Boy and I watched Jaws for fun. I had only seen parts of it in the past. We actually enjoyed it.

I started Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, but I wasn’t able to finish it before my rental ran out on Amazon so hope to watch it Monday or Tuesday.

The Husband and I watched a Brokenwood Mysteries one night, but he was busy all week with either work, play practice, or volunteering at the carnival.

We hope to watch Family Camp for our family movie next week since we ran out of time this week.

What I’m Writing

Last week I worked quite a bit on The Shores of Mercy.

On the blog I shared:

Now It’s Your Turn

Your turn! What have you been doing, reading, watching, or listening to recently? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday Bookends: big house news, books finished, books to start


I finished two books this week. One was a middle school-aged book and the other was an adult book (not that kind of adult book!). The adult book was a library book, the first I’ve actually read in probably 10 years, if not more. Normally I borrow books or read them on Kindle.

The middle school book, The Misadventured Summer of Tumbleweed Thompson by Glenn McCarty was one my son and I read together for his homeschool English. It was a fun book, full of adventure and perfect for every age, but especially 5th to 7th-grade boys.

Tumbleweed Thompson

I helped my son write a book report about it and realized it really is not easy to write a book without giving away the entire plot. Of course, I realize this when I mention books on the blog, as well. I decided I’d share part of my son’s book report to let my readers know what it was all about and why he said he felt sad when he realized he had reached the end of it.

The Misadventured Summer of Tumbleweed Thompson (or M.S.T.T.), a book made for kids about the Wild West, was written by Glenn McCarty and is his second book. This book follows Eugene Appleton and the son of a shady businessman Tumbleweed Thompson. They go adventuring, doing kooky stuff like being tricked into looking for a fake treasure to getting kidnapped.

The story starts when Eugene Appleton was walking in Rattlesnake Junction when he saw Tumbleweed and his dad “performing. After a scandal involving a misunderstanding about what was actually in Mr. Thompson’s tonic, they became friends, despite the fact the tonic worked as a laxative. Eugene, Tumbleweed, and Charlotte (the love interest) go on crazy adventures, but it gets serious. While they are looking in a widow’s old house, they found out robbers were living there with plans to rob a train. The rest of the book is them trying to stop the robbers.

Eugene, Charlotte and Tumbleweed are the main characters of this story. Eugene is smart, brave, and trusts people too much. Tumbleweed is dumb, brave and lies a lot. Charlotte is smart, brave, and a love interest of Eugene and Tumbleweed, who sometimes compete for her attention. Together they try to stop a band of robbers named the No Shave Gang. It’s probably important to say everything is told through the eyes of Eugene.

Well, in conclusion, this book has everything a children’s book should have. It has adventure, interesting characters, and slapstick comedy. I love how three dimensional some of the characters are, take for instance Widow Springfield the local widow whose husband got in trouble with a local gang. The plots and the great description of the locations are on point and make you feel like your really there. If you like stories that make you think this is the book for you. Even if you don’t like thinking, there’s a lot of action.

I also finished Falling Home by Karen White.


The book was well written but was fairly melodramatic and cliche. Since I like books that are melodramatic and cliche, that didn’t make me hate the book but I did find myself rolling my eyes a few times. (Let me clarify that the books I write are also melodramatic and cliche and sometimes I even roll my eyes at my own writing, so this isn’t a negative review 😉 ). I ended up skimming through some of the chapters toward the end because the subject dealt with a very real fear of mine and I couldn’t handle reading about it. White did such a good job of bringing out the emotion of the situation I could immediately see myself in a similar situation. She’s a wonderful writer, but during those chapters, I almost wish she hadn’t been and I could have had an excuse to abandon the novel. I read all the way to the end, even though I had figured out both plot twists well toward the beginning of the novel and I was squirming reading the one plot twist because of the aforementioned personal trigger.

Up on the reading block this week is a book recommended by Erin at Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs: Love Begins at Willow Tree Hall by Alison Sherlock. I’ve started it and so far I’m really enjoying it. It’s a nice light read, which I need right now. The description, according to Goodreads:

51TD7VdahCL (1)

A feel-good love story in a gorgeous country village, perfect for fans of Milly Johnson and Heidi Swain.
Previously published as A House To Mend a Broken Heart.

Willow Tree Hall has been the proud ancestral home of the Cranley family for centuries. But now the house is falling apart, and the elderly Earl is growing too frail to manage it himself.

Annie Rogers is looking for a job that will allow her to disappear. The role of live-in housekeeper to Arthur, Earl of Cranley, and his reluctant heir, Sam Harris, is just perfect. How hard can it be to run a household? But with no qualifications, and Sam criticising her at every turn, Annie suddenly finds herself completely out of her depth.

But it turns out that Sam and Annie have more in common than they think. Both of them are running from their past. And both of them have fallen under the spell of Sam’s beautiful, once-grand home. Maybe, just maybe, together they can save Willow Tree Hall … and bring each other back to life at the same time.

As for what I watched recently, not a lot. I’ve been reading and writing more than watching. I did watch a movie by myself on the recommendation of my brother: About Time, starring Domnhall Gleeson (what a name) and Rachel McAdams. If you don’t recognize Domnhall’s name you might recognize him from the newer Star Wars movies as General Hux:


And if you have children, you might recognize him as Thomas McGregor from the latest adaption of Peter Rabbit:


Or from the Harry Potter as Ron Weasley’s brother Bill (which I added here after my brother reminded me.):


After I saw him in Peter Rabbit, I recognized him in Star Wars I said “Hey! It’s that guy!” Since I don’t know how to pronounce the man’s name, I will most likely say “Hey! It’s that guy!” And honestly, I’ve been saying that a lot lately since he’s been in a lot of movies we have watched recently. When my brother mentioned About Time, I looked it up and said “Hey! It’s that guy!”


Anyhow, the movie was very good (rated R for language, just an FYI if you sit down to watch with the family). The R rating surprised me in some ways because the movie really was pretty clean. I think a couple uses of the f-word were what gave it the R rating. The basic premise is that the main character learns that the male members of his family can go back in time to certain points in their lives to change what happened without changing the timeline drastically, as long as they don’t go back before a child or person is born, which can pretty much mess everything up.

The theme was love in all forms – between couples and family, but especially love between a son and father. Yes, I cried. I cried a lot. I think I damaged a muscle in my cheek from crying toward the end because for the rest of the day a muscle along my cheek and temple jumped.

I will probably be burying myself in books the next few weeks while we deal with the stress of selling and buying a house and moving. Last week someone made an offer on the house and we accepted and hope to have it sold by the beginning of April. We also hope to be able to move into our new house around the same time, if all goes as planned.

Last week on the blog, I shared photos from our winter; wrote about my need to trust in God even when I don’t feel he’s near; and I shared Chapter 20 and Chapter 21of my novel in progress, A New Beginning.

Up on the blog this week will be a post sharing some of my favorite blog posts from the last month and two more chapters of A New Beginning and a post about nightmares in children and adults.

How about you? What are you reading or watching or simply doing this week? Feel free to share in the comments.

This post is part of Readerbuzz’s Sunday Salon and Caffeinated Reviewer’s Sunday Post. 

Sunday bookends: A trinity of movies, winter depression, and ready to burn the house down

Desperate to stave off the deep depression that normally besets me during winter, I’ve been burying myself in movies and books and writing this past week or so.

I watched two movies and a mini-series this past week (in between waiting on children and letting a dog in and out the back door, cooking, suffering with a cold, petting the cat, and pondering our earthly existence) and continued reading The Cat Who Lived High, slowly since I couldn’t see through the watery eyes from the cold earlier this week.

51tIxEH0QoLWith my eyes a little better I’m back to reading a little more and have added The Misadventured Summer of Tumbleweed Thompson by Glen McCarthy, an independently published book for middle school-aged children, to my reading list (again). It is so creatively written and I tried reading it to my daughter since I’m much better at Southern accents than British ones, but she rejected it and asked for Paddington again for her nighttime reading.  In case you are interested in finding out a little bit more about the book, here is the blurb on Amazon: For Eugene Appleton, the summer of 1876 in Rattlesnake Junction, Colorado promises to be just as sleepy as the ones before, his only excitement provided by the pulse-pounding Dead-Eye Dan adventure novels he devours. But Eugene’s life takes an unexpected turn with the arrival of Tumbleweed Thompson, a gangly, red-haired boy who spins yarns about whaling voyages in the Atlantic and hidden stashes of gunpowder. Drawn into Tumbleweed’s orbit, Eugene soon finds himself chasing smugglers, firing rifles, and competing for the attention of the lovely Charlotte Scoggins.”

I also rambled in some blog posts about a bunch of things because this blog is called Boondock Ramblings. I’ll link to those at the bottom of the page.

MV5BYjBkOTZlNmYtN2NjOS00YWM2LTk0MzMtOTEwMmIyNWIwMDA5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjg3MDMxNzU@._V1_After seeing a preview for Wild Rose at one of the only movies I saw in the theater this year (Brittany Runs a Marathon, which was pretty good, but not my favorite.), I was interested to see it when it popped up on Amazon. The movie is about a young Scottish woman who wants to become a country singer in Nashville but lets her temper and her propensity for alcohol to get in her way. Her other issue is that she is a young, single mother with two children. The movie opens with her being released from jail and returning home where her mother has been raising her children for the last year.

Without spoiling anything, the movie does not take the darker paths I thought it would and it does not end the way I thought it would either. It was rated R and with that rating, I thought dark scenes would abound, but thankfully, they didn’t.  I don’t watch too many rated R movies and in case you are curious, this one is rated R because the main character, Rose-Lynn Haran likes to use the “F” word a lot. In other words, I watched this one on my laptop with the earphones in so my children couldn’t hear it. I also watched it with close captioning because I’m not Scottish and their accents were very thick.

(Incidentally, my husband has been watching old Siskel and Ebert episodes on YouTube and because of that when I share my thoughts about a movie lately I hear Roger Ebert in my head. Is that weird? Yeah. I knew it was.)

Next up on my list Jane Eyre, for some reason, I have no idea why. I guess I was looking for something different to watch while I blew my nose all day long Tuesday and got caught up in it. Like many movies based on either Charlotte Bronte or Jane Austin books, there are about 1,000 movie versions of this story, but this series was from the BBC in 2006. It starred some British guy and some British girl I’d never heard of. (Okay, I looked it up instead of being lazy… it was Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens). I have never read the book (I know. I’m sad) but for some reason, the story was very familiar to me when I got to the end.

It’s possible I had seen a movie version of it before or heard the story somehow I suppose. As far as plot, Jane Eyre is a bit bizarre, but the actors in it won me over and I had to keep watching to see how it all turned out.

On the recommendation of my brother, I watched Stranger Than Fiction (on my phone, in case of bad language or scenes) and then made the rest of the family watch it a couple of days later. Starring Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, Molly Gyllenhaal, and Emma Thompson, it came out in 2006, but I’d never heard of it, probably because in 2006 I was busy with a newborn and working full-time at the newspaper. The movie is about an IRS agent who begins to realize someone is narrating his life and he needs to find a way to stop the narrator when she announces she plans to kill him.

I could relate to the author in the movie as she struggles to complete the book she is working on, her first fiction novel in ten years. She was part of my inspiration for an upcoming blog post about the mental torture writing fiction can be.

In the midst of contracting my son’s cold (which is no surprise since he came over to talk to me one day and had an uncontrollable coughing fit  . . . in my face.), winter came back with a vengeance – frigid temperatures, snow and all.  So, here I sit on Saturday, writing this post while snow swirls around the house and wind slams it against our windows. I’m writing this in-between cleaning the house for yet another house showing tomorrow. This is our tenth and I’m pretty much ready to burn the house down at this point to get rid of it. Of course, I am absolutely not serious, but there are days the thought has crossed my mind.

As for blogging this week:

I shared a flash fiction entitled “Carrying Out His Wife.”;

Shared a guest blog post by Lisa at The Manitoba Mom Blog;

Shared aRound-up of Blog Posts from around the blogosphere;

Chapter 13 of A New Beginning;

Chapter 14 of A New Beginning;

Remembering Truett, in honor of TobyMac’s son, who passed away suddenly at 21 a couple of months ago.

This post is part of Readerbuzz’s Sunday Salon.

So, how about you? What have you been up to this past week? Let me know in the comments!