Monday, May 31, 2021

Still Here

I had a very nice two week trip to VA, MD, DC and DE. Great weather. Mostly we walked in gardens because the museums were just opening. My brother and his family are moving to FL so it may be the last time I go to VA at least.  Lewes is a very nice town on the ocean although it was too cold to really do more than walk on the beach. Great meals though. Lots of fish, of course.

Now I am knee-deep in gardening and it really is too much for me. There are beds everywhere that need lots of weeding and planting. I ordered 8 bags of mulch not realizing how heavy they are. Oh, well, there's always next year. 

Reading KLARA AND THE SUN, which I am not enjoying much sadly. The flat writing style he uses for his AI characters seems to be catching because the human characters use it too. 

I did enjoy Megan's book, THE TURNOUT, which is getting great prepublication reviews. It comes out in August.She will be doing a virtual tour that I will post on here before it happens. Also reading THE OVERSTORY for my book group.

Still enjoying FOR ALL MANKIND and just started THE FRENCH VILLAGE. IN TREATMENT looks promising. Hpefully MARE ended well last night. Also found a show called LOUDERMILK with Ron Livingstone on Prime, which is pretty good. 

I am going to get hearing aids. Anyone have any recommendations for me?

And what about you?



Steve A Oerkfitz said...

Welcome back. Glad you had a good trip.
Read All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson which I liked and First Person Singular, a short story collection by Haruki Murakami which I didn't. I like his novels but these stories didn't engage me. Now reading Blood Grove by Walter Mosley.
The only new movies I have seen are The Dry based on the Jane Harper novel which was good and Those Who Wish Me Dead on Netflix which wasn't.
Mare ended well. Have just started the new season of The Kominsky Method on Netflix.
Read a recent interview with Megan online. Mostly about her work methods.

George said...

Glad you had a good time on your trip! It's been rainy and cold here, but temps are supposed to return to Normal later this week.

I'm looking forward to Megan's new book! Meanwhile, I have a dozen Library books stacked up. They all came in at once!

THE QUIET PLACE 2 is playing in local theaters, but I'm not ready to go to AMC or Regal, yet.

Diane used to spread 80 bags of mulch--they are heavy!--each year until I finally convinced her to go with a landscaping service. The landscaping crew did a great job and Diane admitted, "I should have done this years ago."

I'll have a short story collection review up on my blog this Wednesday!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I need to read a short story by then. I am overwhelmed with reading THE OVERSTORY in two weeks time.
Was hoping to see THE DRY before it disappeared but not sure anyone is willing to go. I don't see why movies are scary if you have had the shots and wear a mask.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Welcome back! We definitely missed you and the blog. I did think MARE ended well last night. Sad end, but you expected that. Winslet and Julianne Nicholson were terrific. And of course, Jean Smart, when they gave her anything to do.

Freezing, raw, rainy weekend here. We mostly stayed in.

I finally made three lists of the various shows we're watching on the streaming channels we have - Netflix, Amazon Prime/Britbox/Acorn, MHz Choice, PBS Passport. One list is series we're in the middle of watching - The Good Place (down to 4 episodes), Schitt's Creek, Money Heist, Seaside Hotel, Rita, Midnight Diner, Kavanagh Q.C., Thou Shalt Not Kill, Insp. Manara, Murder By the Lake, Brokenwood Mysteries. We did finish the second series of the Swedish Modus, with Kim Cattrall as the American President (so so). Watched the two available episodes of series 22 of Midsomer Murders (not very good). Enjoyed (for the most part) Atlantic Crossing. Watched series one of Hanna (better than I'd expected).

List two is series we've watched one (or two) complete series, where a second (or third) is now available, that we will be starting soon: Kominsky Method, Line of Duty (series 6 now available), Lupin (June 11), The Sinner, Professor T, Hannah, Spiral, The Tunnel, Before We Die.

List three consists of things from Netflix (Ragnarok, Black Space, Innocent, Hashoter Hatov, Borderlinere, The Woods, Atypical, Valhalla MUrders), AMazon etc. (Grace, The Attache, White Dragon, The Bureau, The Family Man, and MHz Choice (long list, including Low Winter Sunm London Kills, All the Sins, Paris Murders, Agatha Koltes, A French Village, Crime Scene Cleaner, Captain Marleau, Bannon, Perfect Murders, Cain, Murder In..., Beck, Nordic Murders, many more) that one or both of us are at least interested in trying.

If anyone has definite thumbs up or down on any of this last group, feel free to let me know.

S. A. Cosby (BLACKTOP WASTELAND) had a summer book preview in the Washington Post where he called Megan's book "an instant classic." Will send it to you.

We watched a favorite, SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller, on the youtube channel on television last night. They recorded the final performance on Broadway in 2000, with most of the original cast performing.

I've been reading mostly short stories lately - collections by Jim Shepard and Antonya Nelson (which I am enjoying much more than her previous one), as well as the newest MWA collection, WHEN A STRANGER COMES TO TOWN, edited by Michael Koryta. Also reading the non-fiction FIRST RESPONDER: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Love on New York City's Front Lines by Jennifer Murphy. I read a good review of this and I am really enjoying it so far. She is a writer and investigator, but also an EMT with the Park Slope Volunteer Ambulance Corps in Brooklyn.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks for all the ideas, Jeff. I am enjoying French Village but just three eps into it.
I don't use you tube nearly enough. So much music on there. Although I put Pandora on my cell phone now and am listening to more music that way. Love Jim Shepard and I have a collection somewhere. Not sure I like Kominsky without Alan Arkin. I liked RITA a lot until the last series. Lost track of Atlantic Crossing with all the travels.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Where in Florida is your brother moving? We prefer Palm Beach County. We know it pretty well, from Jupiter down to Boca.

Steve A Oerkfitz said...

I couldn't get anyone to go see The Dry with and I didn't expect it to stay around very long so I rented it on Amazon Prime. It cost about the same as a ticket price at the theater.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, Steve. Didn't know it was on there.
Jeff, he is probably going to live in the Fort Myers area. Everyone I know that moves there lives on the west coast. Not sure why. I have only been to the east side once or twice and don't know it at all. I thought it was a Midwest thing but my brother is from the east coast.

George said...

Patrick loved THE OVERSTORY and left a copy for me to read. It's on the Read Real Soon stack.

Diane and I are leery of movie theaters for the some reason we're leery of inside dining in a restaurant: spending hours in the presence of unvaccinated (and possibly Covid-19 carrying) people. There are more stories of "break-through" cases of vaccinated people getting Covid-19 every day. We're hoping enough people in Western NY will be vaccinated a month from now so we start going to movie theaters and dining in restaurants. Caution is key.

Jeff Meyerson said...

We're going to eat inside a restaurant for lunch today - Japanese. But they are very cautious and there are rarely any other people eating in at lunchtime there. There are places we do not eat - diners with lots of tables on top of each other, etc. - but most places either took a number of tables away or have plastic separating the booths, or have enough outdoor tables that you don't have to worry. Plus, the staff is all masked and they are careful with utensils and glassware.

TracyK said...

I am glad to hear that you had a nice trip but I would have been afraid to travel that much. But then, I like staying at home anyway, and you like getting out. Everyone that I know (or knew) in Florida lives on the Gulf Coast, but that is because I was raised in Alabama. My brother lives in/near Panama City and my mother's brother and sister moved to Pensacola.

I can believe the gardening is too much for you. I have to ration out my gardening time so that I don't overdo it and I have only a small space compared to your yard. (Compared to anybody's yard, really.) Recently I have had a bout of acid reflux issues which has affected my ability to do that kind of work and plants are sitting out there waiting for me to do something with them. Plus the weeds of course. Fortunately a lot of my container garden plants are coming back this year and the butterflies and hummingbirds are visiting those.

We are not doing anything different than we were before, even though we all have our shots. This week is Glen's last week before retirement, although he will do some "as needed" work for them for a few weeks. We will go to our favorite book store for the first time in a long while after his last working day. They have been open for many months but the space is tight there so we only went a couple of times in 2020. A friend is coming through town mid June and we will have lunch out (eating outside) for the first time then.

I finally finished reading THE MIRROR & THE LIGHT by Hilary Mantel. A difficult read but worth it to me. While reading that I read a bunch of vintage mysteries: CURTAIN by Christie, CHECKMATE TO MURDER by E.C.R. Lorac, THE MAN IN THE QUEUE by Josephine Tey and THE RED BOX, a Nero Wolfe mystery by Rex Stout. The last two were rereads. I recently finished SO PRETTY A PROBLEM by Francis Duncan. Right now I am reading A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY by J.L. Carr.

Now I need to go through Jeff's list of shows and see which ones we might be interested (and have access to).

Jerry House said...

Glad you've had a good trip. DC is a wonderful area to visit. My favorite activity there is to sit on the steps on the the Lincoln Memorial and people-watch. Walt is in DC now, spending a few days with his new job. His hotel is right next to a Potbelly's sandwich shop and Christina is jealous. Potbelly's is her favorite sandwich place and there are none down here; she'll probably go with Walt next month for his next DC trip just to eat at Potbelly's. She may also spend some of her time sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Things are going fine down here. Jessie got her AA in bookkeeping and is moving on to get her BA. Ceili is comemplating moving out and getting her own apartment nearby. Amy remains completely in love with her puppy. School ends for Christina and Jack on June 10. Mark is off working somewhere in Alabama at a summer camp and hopes to interact with a snapping turtle. Erin is hoping to be able to move into a dorm at FSU in Tallahassee this fall, and she got a scholarshio from Chic-fil-A. Kitty remains astoundingly beautiful and I remain the luckiest man on Earth -- at least until August, when I'm due to have my teeth removed to make way for dentures. (It's time -- a zillion and one root canals over the past twenty years have decided to disintegrate.) I managed to schedule the oral surgery AFTER we return from a week at Cape Cod.

When I first needed hearing aids, I went to a company that worked with local senior facilities in Maryland. The cost would have been about $5-6,000. Then I chacked out Costco and got mine for under $2,000. After we moved to Florida, I got my new hearing aids at Sam's Club because the nearest Costco was in Mobile, Alabama. Sam's Club turned out to have a slightly better price than Costco. Costco, Sam's Club, and BJ's all have qualified audiologists and offer decent hearing aids at a reasonable price, and all offer quality service.

Still reading mainly short stories -- this week from various Otto Penzler-edited "BIG BOOKS" (ROGUES AND VILLAINS, BLACK MASK STORIES, PULP STORIES, CHRISTMAS MYSTERIES, and VAMPIRES) and from a number of sources online. (I tend to use online sources for my Wednesday Short Story posts so the stories will be easily available for anyone who wishes to read them.) Just started reading my way through the three-issue run of WEIRD TERROR TALES, a magazine edited by Robert A. W. Lowndes in 1969-70.

Binge-watched BIG SKY, based on a C. J. Box series, and really likes it. Hope there will more to come. Also enjoying DEBRIS, although I'm beginning to suspect thatit might venture into LOST territory where the producers and writers don't really know how to end the series properly.

To celebrate Memorial Day, there were dolphins at the beach just for us. It was a bit more crowded than usual, but still not very crowded. A nice gentle breeze, A warm day, blue and green water (we're on the Emerald Coast, after all), and white sands...Life is good.

Looking forward to Megan's new book.

Hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day, enjoyng the wonder and the beauty for which so many people have sacrificed themselves. It's more important than ever to enjoy our freedoms in this post-Trump, pro-Q-Anon, anti-democratic and whacked-out GOP era. (Time to get off my soapboz and enjoy the rest of the day.)

Jerry House said...

TracyK, big shout-out to your mother's brother and sister in Pensacola. We live just across the Bay in Gulf Breeze. They finally reopened the Pensacola Bay Bridge after part of it was destroyed in Hurricane Sally, so if they need beach recommendations, we're available!

Patti, yes, the bridge is finally open although they cancelled the reopening ceremony this past Thursday for "acoustical problems." Go figure. Actually, since this is Florida, it makes some sort of weird sense, I guess.

TracyK said...

Jerry, thanks for that, I had forgotten that you live in Gulf Breeze, although I now remember your reports on the status of the Pensacola Bay Bridge.

Unfortunately both my uncle, his wife, and my aunt are now deceased. I may have a cousin living in that area but we have not kept in touch, so I am not sure. My sister would know, she is the outgoing one. I visited my aunt in Pensacola in the seventies (with my first husband) and loved the area. Although I am sure it is much different now, as is Panama City, and for that matter, Birmingham.

Rick Robinson said...

So glad you enjoyed your trip!

It's a beautiful day here in Portland for Memorial Day, low 80s, sunny, the garden looks great just now. I posted a favorite Iris today. I'll probably be out on our lower deck, in the shade, reading and having some sun tea this afternoon. It could hit 90 tomorrow, which is too hot too early for our taste.

I just can't imagine where Jeff and the rest find so much time to watch what must be hundreds of hours of television and movies per week! All those shows and movies! Unreal. Between morning newspapers, blogs, lunch, gardening, reading, news, and occasional movie on TCM is about all I can squeeze in. But then I go to bed about 10:30, so maybe that's it.

I finished the Mammoth Book of Locked-Room Mysteries and Impossible Crimes edited by Mike Ripley which will be Wednesday's post, and am reading an autobiography of Roger Mudd just now. More library books will hopefully come in soon. Our libraries still aren't open except for pick-up, but that's okay. We're not going out and about, I'd not have had the courage to do the traveling you did, I just don't want to spend time with people who aren't vaccinated, and don't trust everyone to tell the truth about that, either. So no movies, travel, etc. for us. Barbara did go visit with a friend outside in her yard, masked and distanced, which was nice, she said.

George's advice to have a gardener / landscaper come in to spread your mulch and fertilize your property is good. You should do that. Take care, enjoy!

Todd Mason said...

Welcome back and also glad you had a good time in the southern Mid-Atlantic.

My father would want me to tell you to get rechargeable hearing aids if at all possible. Keeping up with the batteries for his was one of his great late-life irritations.

I still feel MARE OF EASTTOWN was better acted than written, but I did watch it to the end. Amusingly, the number of people tuning into HBO Max for MARE's final episode crashed the feed for at least a half-hour. Inasmuch as the crash happened just as it was coming on, I suspect that rather than Denial of Service vandalism was at play. Alice and I were watching PERSON OF INTEREST episodes (she loves the series in the first season, at least, so far) on HBO Max at the time, with me expecting to catch MARE on delay when Alice, usually early to bed, turned in after the POI episode we were half-way through. HBO cable wasn't affected, so I watched the MARE finale while Alice looked at videos of various sorts till MARE was nearly over (I've been going through the POI episodes a second time with Alice's first exposure...nice to catch a few things I missed from duping them from WGN).

Todd Mason said...

Also watched THE NEVERS, very much Whedon and company remaking BUFFY in a slightly older and earlier context. Rather enjoyed it. Suspect the last episode was the result of having an order for 8 or 9 episodes suddenly remade into six.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Watching MARE just now I noticed that the captions didn't match what was happening on my Roku and wonder if that was why, Todd.
The issue with the hearing aids is that the FDA is stalling on approving a very much less expensive alternative (German, I think) that will be available at CVS and other pharmacies. But I have been waiting too long already and I am told that your brain will do better if you don't wait forever. My AARP-UHC gives me a discount at HEAR USA although there is none near me so the place they are sending me seems to only cover high end aids so I may end up at Costco.
My main issue is tinnitus, which sounds like all of the cicadas have landed in my ears.
The only place I got into in DC was Politics and Prose where they were pretty rude about staying only 30 minutes and using only a dollop of hand sanitizer, which they had at the doors and every where else.

Steve A Oerkfitz said...

If you need some help with your gardening I can volunteer but I have little experience.

Todd Mason said...

I have a much quieter tinnitus, particularly with my newishly empowered allergic reactions to pollen, apparently, beaten back with pills and sprays. I suppose I'm grateful that they took twenty more years to begin messing me over than they did my parents. Sorry it's that bad...and subtitles are useful for PERSON OF INTEREST as well, where the dialog can be quiet.

Best of luck with our rather, at times, current-industry-protective FDA.

Politics and Prose was always, in the '80s and '90s. a store more impressed with itself than it had reason to be. The closure of the likes of Common Concerns and other sort-of competitors, I'm sure, hasn't helped matters. Also staff live in DC on bookstore wages. I know what that's like.

Jeff Meyerson said...

To answer Rick's question above: I get up at 6:00 or 6:30 most days. Spend until 8:00 reading emails, blogs, the Daily News, then make breakfast. After that I catch up on the NY Times and Washington Post and anything I've missed. Then read a few short stories, and if there is nothing else to catch up on a novel or non fiction book.

Jackie watches some stuff during the day, but I don't look at the television until the 5:00 local news. Then we generally watch television from about 7 to 11. I try and provide a variety from the shows on our list, stuff on the DVR already, the few network shows we watch, an occasional DVD. Jackie doesn't like to watch two shows with subtitles in succession, so I rotate what we watch.

I guess it does add up, in the end.

Gerard Saylor said...

Boy #1's high school graduation was on Sunday. If interested, his speech starts at 37:20,
We were able to host an outdoor party at a local park after graduation and both my mother and and my wife's parents were able to visit this weekend. The Boy was awarded two scholarships a bit over a week ago at the high school's annual awards night. Those scholarships will be a big help.

Both children had friends and classmates come by the reception and it's neat seeing them interact with friends and peers because it is a lot different than behavior at home.

I started Watching MARE OF EASTTOWN but I don't think I got past the first episode. I have too much going on. I did watch SHADOW IN THE CLOUD on Hulu and a lot of it was just absurd.