Monday, December 11, 2023

Monday, Monday

After a brief cancer scare, I am feeling almost back to normal. (It was cancer two years ago and I have been taking hormone-blocking drugs since. So there will always be the possibility of a return). I have to visit an oncologist twice a year and the surgeon once.

Love, love, love this season of SLOW HORSES. I didn't know how they'd top Season 2 but so far they have. Mick Herron is a wonder at keeping the pace up, the humor up, the character development going. Also love DAGLIESH season two, which I get through my library. 

Saw THE BOY AND THE BLUE HERON yesterday, a choice of my movie group but it's not for me. I did enjoy SPIRITED AWAY a few years back but this was too much about warfare.

Heard a fabulous concert at the DSO on Friday morning. A crew of elementary kids sat behind us and applauded at every break in the music. Thankfully they left at the intermission before Pathetique. It has been playing in my head ever since.


Been watching Jane Austen movies to calm my nerves. I thought LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND (AMAZON) was credible if not as good as the book. Maybe too much showing. But the book was a real favorite of mine a few years ago. 

Anyway, what's up with you?


Margot Kinberg said...

I can't tell you how glad I am it was a scare, and not worse, Patti. It does take time to feel normal - if you ever do again - after something like that.

Jerry House said...

Yeah, bad things can happen betweeen Thanksgiving and Christmas, but a lot of good things do, too. I wouldn't put too much stock in the seasonality of bad things. I'd rather concentrate on the abundance of good things in our lives.

I came across a group photo on my Facebook feed of Kitty and eighteen relatives from her generation and younger. Among smiling faces were her brother Stephen and the son of one of her cousins, both dead now. I reposted the photo noting that two of the people were gone now and much missed. Christina commented that qctually three were gone. That's when I realized I am still having a hard time accepting Kitty's death, at least on an emotional level. How could such a force of nature be gone? I've been spending most of the week just appreciating the time I was lucky enough to have with her.

A bit of a cold spell here this week. Cold weather on the Florida Panhandle strongly resembles beach weather in New England. Along with the cold came rain, negating any possible beach time here. Grrr.

Erin said she was almost "absolutely eaten" by a chihuahua while working at the vet's office on Friday. She said she was absolutley terrified. The dog did managed to bite another vet tech on the face, and they had to use a net to catch the chihuahua, like a feral cat. She has decided that chihuahuas are one (and only) breed of dog she does not like.

Meanwhile, Christina crocheted two stuffed cacti as a Christmas gift for a teacher she works with. The woman really loves her cactus. It took a bit for Christina to find the pattern on the internet and two days of cracheting, but they came out lovely and the teacher was very appreciative.

All five ladies travelled to New Orleans Saturday to catch a performance of WICKED. A great time was had by all, then theydrove the three hours back home, arriving here at 2:45 in the morning, very tired. Less than fifteen minutes later the sky opened up with the mother of all thunder and lightning storms.

Me? I did little this week. Spent a lot of time preparing my Monday blog post, which includes a mega-list of recommended mystery books published this year. Watch John Oliver, Seth Myers, and Jimmy Kimmel. Cursed our new Speaker of the House and his democracy-destroying ilk. And read a few books: A DANGEROUS MAN and THE SENTRY (two in Robert Crais's Elvis Cole series, both placing Cole's partner Joe Pike front and center), James Lee Burke's SWAN PEAK (another Dave Robiceaux novel -- I only have a few left in the series to read before the next one comes out early in 2024), John Creasey's WWII espionage thriller THE WITHERED MAN (a Bruce Murdoch novel originally published as by "Norman Dean"), THE DEVIL'S PROMISE (a Sherlock Holmes versus a powerful devil's cult, by Holmes scholar David Stuart Davies), and Margaret St. Clair's THE GREEN QUENN (a rather prescient 1950's SF novel, and my FFB this week). Also read "The Old Lady with All the Cats" by Nigel Kneale for my short Story Wednesday post -- a manuscript discovered last year among the papers of the great and under-appreciated writer). Currently reading another Robicheaux novel by Burke and E. J. Copperman's UKELELE OF DEATH, a rather strained fantasy featuring brother and sister PI's Fran and Ken Stein (it began to pick up steam about 50 pages in). In the queue this week are Craig Johnson's THE LONGMORE DEFENSE and Max Allan Collins's TOO MANY BULLETS; hope to grab a copy of VERA WONG very soon.

Only two weeks to Christmas! Is that enough time for you to get off the naughty list and onto the nice list? Hope so. Have a great week, Patti. Stay safe.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Going so quickly into Covid after Phil's death has put an odd spin on it. Bad things seem to merge too easily. Does it seem like it should be nice every day because you live in FL? I think CA feel that way. I remember a beach vacation in Cape Cod in the eighties where it rained every day. We wanted our money back. The final season of DOC MARTIN is on PBS Passport. It seems like an afterthought but it's pleasant so I will take it.

Todd Mason said...

Further congratulations on the cancer scare being only a scare, Patti...that does tend to concentrate the mind. Not getting C19 remains advisable. Grim animation does little to lift spirits when they are otherwise down. Between you, George and its cast and other sources, I will take up the Free Episode offer on SLOW HORSES, and go from there.

When bad things seem to stack up in the last month or so of the year, it might well be the Turkeys' Revenge (the film Miyazaki won't make). The shorter days and colder temp in this hemisphere can't help. And the Size of bad things matters, when accounting for their resonances...

Jerry, it was surprising, after previous life in Alaska, Oklahoma City, and three New England states how cold 65 degrees could feel in Hawaii...of course, the walls in our house had no insulation and the damp of the rainy season was upon us, in Windward Oahu...chihuahuas have Something to Prove...and look forward to your take on Margaret St. Clair's novel.

Plumber tomorrow.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Very glad it was only a scare, Patti. Having gone through that myself a couple of years ago, it takes some time to get back to normal. I think it is because of what happened to our loved ones. It tends to rock one to the core.

Jeff Meyerson said...

We're big fans of Miyazaki's movies. The new one prompted us to get the one we hadn't seen from the library, 2013's THE WIND RISES, which was gorgeous. Yes, the war thing was somewhat disturbing, and how he deals with his supposed pacifism and Jiro Horikoshi's desire to make "beautiful" planes, knowing the Japanese will use the Zero to kill people, doesn't entirely work, does it? At least not for us.

After George's rave last week, we watched the Netflix documentary about Jon Batiste, AMERICAN SYMPHONY, which was very good and definitely worth watching.

After I read SURELY YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS: The Making of AIRPLANE!, I (naturally) had to watch the movie again, for the first time in many years. I still enjoyed it quite a bit. You remember the big bits and the jokes, but there were a few things I'd forgotten.

FELLOW TRAVELERS has improved (for us) the last two weeks since they finally dropped Roy Cohn and Joe McCarthy and moved to the later years. This episode was set in 1978, with the murders of Harvey Milk and George Moscone.

We're watching the latest series of the Swedish SANDHAMN MURDERS (9, I think) and they finally got the two main characters together after teasing it for several series.

We added another Swedish series on Acorn, DETECTIVE #24, and it is quite interesting so far. Tilde is a not very sympathetic woman who loses her job as a prosecutor in Uppsala for some unnamed mistake/indiscretion/whatever. She is assigned to a refugee center , where Ibrahim, a former Ethiopian cop (apparently) is awaiting deportation. He swears he will never go back to Ethiopia. A young girl is kidnapped and Ibrahim uses his brains and observations to figure out what happened to her and, perhaps, if she is still alive and where. Tilde uses him as a way to get her old job back. That's where it is left after two episodes - his deportation has been suspended but he is still locked up, she is back in Uppsala and she is ducking his phone calls.

Started series 24 of MIDSOMER MURDERS, and only Deb could love this one. An ugly, nasty family story, with 100% unpleasant and unsympathetic characters, and one of the worst, most evil and unforgivable murders in the whole series. We'll watch the other three episodes, but I sincerely hope they're better.

Thankfully, the much predicted torrential 2-4 inch downpours with 60 mph winds, largely didn't happen, at least around here, so we're fine for now, though colder than I like.

Have a safe week.

Gerard Saylor said...

Glad to hear it was a scare and not cancer. Glad to say a dog has never bitten me in the face.
My wife, Boy #2, and I attended Tuba Christmas in the Wisconsin Capitol Rotunda. Boy #2 played. There were about 270 musicians in attendance.

TracyK said...

Patti, I am sorry you had to go through a cancer scare, no matter how brief. I am glad you are enjoying VERA WONG'S UNSOLICITED ADVICE FOR MURDERS.

We are watching our normal shows, but especially enjoying MALLORCA FILES. We watched one of the recent MST3K movies, THE MASK, which was better than some of them. And last night we watched an old MST3K Christmas movie from 1991, SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS. We just started Season 3 of SLOW HORSES, and it was very good.

I have a question related to streaming services. We have cancelled NETFLIX, and are thinking about getting CRITERION. Is it worth it?

I will be back with what we are reading.

Todd Mason said...

If you like film-buff choices in films, you'll like Criterion.

TracyK said...

And this is our recent reading...

I read MISSIONARY STEW by Ross Thomas this week. I loved it. I would call it a political thriller but it has a bit of espionage too. The two protagonists both had difficult childhoods, one with a father who was jailed for being a Communist, the other having been basically ignored by his mother while she was an intelligence operative. The mother is a real piece of work. And one of the prominent secondary characters is named Velveeta Keats. I have only read two other books by Ross Thomas, but I have nine more on my shelves or hiding in boxes.

I am now reading THE PARIS DIVERSION by Chris Pavone. This is the second book featuring Kate Moore and her husband Dexter. Set in Paris with side trips to other locations. I have read Pavone's first three books and enjoyed them. This one is definitely spy fiction, and a lot of fun so far.

Glen is still reading THE BORDER by Erika Fatland. Subtitled: "A Journey Around Russia Through North Korea, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Norway, and the Northeast Passage". It is nearly 600 pages long but he is getting close to the end. I plan to read it in 2024.

We will both be reading books related to the winter solstice next. SUNLESS SOLSTICE: STRANGE CHRISTMAS TALES FOR THE LONGEST NIGHTS for Glen and WINTER SOLSTICE by Rosamunde Pilcher for me.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Criterion is worth it if you like foreign and noirish kind of movies, lots of them. Also interviews with film-makers, discussions of films. It is not like TCM, you can watch any movie any time. But it is for serious film-lovers.
I got AMC recently to watch LUCKY HANK and now they cancelled it. I just cancelled PEACOCK because the only thing I watched on there was POKER FACE.
APPLE is good but they don't have much of a library. PRIME might have the most or HULU if you want more than films. I think we are in a transitional phase. HBO has become a disappointment for sure.
I just order a light screen. Not going away until the end of February was a mistake.
I will return to Fellow Traveler. Glad they got rid of those horror shows.
Thanks for all the well wishes.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Patti and Todd. We went ahead and signed up for Criterion. It is worth a try I am sure.

pattinase (abbott) said...

For sure. It is the classiest one by far.

Todd Mason said...

I've finally caught up, this morning, with last year's THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING, and it's one of the best fantasy films I've seen...I do tend to enjoy the films George Miller has directed, and this one he co-adapted from a short fantasy story by A. S. Byatt. Tilda Swinton must love films that involve magical time-travel, and given this one and ORLANDO, why not.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Seems maybe I saw that. Will have to check. Love Swinton.

Gerard Saylor said...

I'm not sure I ever heard of the George Miller film. I took forever to see the last MAD MAX and did so after the Oscar nomination. I was astonished at how good it was.

Finished listening to THE PHYSICK BOOK OF DELIVERANCE DANE and it was so-so. This worked well for me because I usually pull out my phone and rewind a book each time my mind wanders. I did not care too much about missing parts of this one.
Started listening to 1635 by Eric Flint. I read the first book of the series, 1632, when it came out in 2000. I burned out on the series after book 3 and decided to go back. A twist on alternate history with an entire town in West Virginia traveling back in time to 1632 Germany.

George said...

Health scares seem to be more common lately. We have a dozen people we know who are dealing with Covid-19. Diane and I seem to be the only people in Western NY to wear masks when we go out. Got my RSV shot. My annual urology appointment went well: my PSA was 1.1. Keep eating pizza, guys!

Diane's sister broke her thumb and is struggling to prepare food or clean her house so once again Diane andI are traveling to Ohio to help. This is our FIFTH trip in 2023.

Fortunately, the weather is benign so the drive should be free of rain or snow. Patrick is going on his first cruise with my sister (who has been on over 100 cruises) and Katie is flying to London, England to spend time with a friend. Both kids are supposed to fly to Buffalo in time for Christmas. Stay safe...and healthy!