Sunday, October 26, 2014

Movie Review --- Fury

Okay, John had to drag me to see this movie last week.  I'm not much of a war movie fan.  This one is based during the tail end of World War II, in the European theater, and focuses on one specific unit of Sherman tanks as they move into Germany.  Brad Pitt plays Wardaddy, the commander of a group that has seen a lot of action together.  They lost a unit member and he is replaced by a young clerk typist who has no experience and no desire to be there, played by Logan Lerman (of the Percy Jackson films.)

I will say they don't pull any punches in the movie -- it depicts what it must have been like in "real war." Mud, mud and more mud.  Dirt, grime, blood, lack of sleep, and crudeness.  What some men will revert to when they don't think anyone is watching, and how others must step back and let them.

I had read a review of the movie by a critic that called this movie "war porn", so I was a little hesitant about the amount of blood and guts that was going to be in it, but I never had to hide my eyes.  It was tough going, but really felt like war to me.
Mostly, I'm amazed at Brad Pitt making such an honest movie about WWII.  It's nothing like his role of Aldo Raines in Inglorious Basterds, not funny and not meant to be.  He and all the actors in this movie did a great job.  Amazing.

Around the garden....

Not doing much out in the garden these days....we're slowing down and waiting for the first frost.  None so far.  I spent a full day cleaning out and arranging the little greenhouse.  It was a mess.  I've got a little sink on Amazon that I want to install in there, it just uses a hose and drains into a bucket. That should help a lot with washing pots, etc.
I'm looking for a good sale on growing lights now before I start plants for the spring garden.
 I moved a few plants in there that I want to keep through the winter, including a few peppers and those volunteer tomato plants.  Last year we had one that grew and produced throughout the entire winter.
 On the same day I cleaned out a small flower bed on the side of the greenhouse and planted a bunch of these beauties.  They will be so pretty out there all winter.
 The morning glories seem to really love this cooler weather -- they are just fantastic to look at.  These blues are mesmerizing!
 These volunteer black cherry tomatoes in pots are continuing to produce like crazy -- I couldn't even count how many fruit on them.

 The Mortgage Lifter tomato that I had just ignored (I never cut this one back) has gone crazy -- I counted 20 tomatoes on it!  Not sure they will make it, but I am watering it now, just in case.  This plant looks like hell - its so spindly and dry looking.  Its a wonder that its still alive.
This week I'm going to plant a pot of chard like I had last year throughout the winter.  Those things never quit!

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Big Project is almost done!

(Not going to mention here that I haven't blogged since Oct. 1st!!!! What's happening to me?)

We've been adding a cast iron stove/fireplace to the outside pavilion.  It's a bit more of a project then I thought it was going to be, but it will all be worth it in the end.  We ordered a nice little fireplace that has a blower (sqwee!!) that should help keep us a bit warmer on the pavilion when it really gets cold.  Not that we get a lot of cold weather here, but it will extend the amount of days that we can enjoy our big outdoor room. Then we had to locate the right kind of stove pipe, the thing-a-ma-jigs that you have to put on the roof for the smoke to go out (I'm so technical, aren't I? ha!), a grate for inside the stove, various other stuff you need that I had no idea about, and then we got started.
John poured a nice little stage area in the corner where we wanted the stove.....then that had to dry and cure for a few days....
 Then we had to go buy the flat rock to top that off with, lay it out and glue those down.....and allow that to dry for a few days....
 then spread out the grout that was a LOT darker then we had counted on.....but its growing on me...., then wash the extra grout off of the rock as best we could.....then let that dry and cure for a few days....
 then John had to straighten out the front face of the little stage area so we could put on the Mexican tile that we ordered for it and then let that dry and cure for a few days.....
 Meanwhile the stove came in and we put that in (well, not we....he.)  Trying to get this thing level was no fun.  That rock would not cooperate.  We ended up having to put some tiles under the legs, but its level now.  Sigh.....
John then cut the hole in the roof and installed the stovepipe.  It was a bit easier then I thought it would be, or maybe John just made it look that way.  
 Next, John pasted the Mexican tile on the front face of the stage.  Our floor out there is semi-level, which means its not really level, so that always frustrates him.  I say, do the best you can and let it go. No amount of anxiety is going to make that floor level.  In the end, he got it done.  Now we have to let that dry and cure.....
 I think they turned out nice.  I like the tile John picked out.
Yesterday John did the grout around the tile.  I haven't taken a picture of it yet.  It's drying and curing.

The grate came in yesterday, so as soon as we have a cool day, we'll fire up the stove and see how it does.  I'll post a picture then!

Now I'm dreaming of a little sofa and chair to sit around the fire.....I'll have to keep my eye peeled for a good buy.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Joss is 8 months old!

Can you believe it?  Where does the time go.....
From this tiny baby....

to this charmer...

in 8 short months.

Movie Review --- The Maze Runner


Another book that we've been listening to is The Maze Runner on audio-book.  We started listening to it on our way back from Mississippi, and although we didn't finish, we were looking forward to finding out what the mystery was about these kids, stuck in a glade in the middle of a huge stone maze, and who put them there, and WHY?  And what is up with the huge partially mechanical animals that come out at night and run the maze?

We went to see the movie on Tuesday, and were not disappointed.  The actors that were chosen for each of the roles were great, and we finally got a clue about the ending, although they left a lot to a future movie based on the second book, The Scorch Trials. I find this to be similar to the Hunger Games in some ways, but the basis of the trial they find themselves in is very different. Now I'm looking forward to the next movie to see what the heck is going on!
I give it 4 stars!  Go see it!

Monday, September 29, 2014

L'auberge Casino Resort -- Thursday, September 25

Thursday morning we had a leisurely breakfast at the B&B in Vicksburg before we packed up and headed to Louisiana.  A last visit to the home, and a nice conversation with another couple who had just arrived the night before from St. Louis.  They were doing some family tree/history travel.

Passing over the Mississippi a couple of times winding our way south, we arrived in Lake Charles around 1pm.  We stopped at John's favorite Cajun restaurant in the world, Steamboat Bill's for a late lunch.  We both had the gumbo -- so good.

Then we headed over to L'auberge at about 2:30 pm to check in.  I didn't take too many photos here because they won't let you take pictures in the casino.  We spent some time there, relaxed a lot, and had a late dinner at the Buffet there.  John did some more gambling after dinner, but I went up to just relax some more.  It was a great evening.
 Pretty room....

The view from our window -- 12th floor. They are building a Golden Nugget next door. The lazy river pool below us is part of this casino. It was over-cast, so not too many in the pool.

Friday was a travel day -- home again.  A perfect vacation!

What I'm Reading --- Fuzzy Nation

John and I listened to this novel on our way to Mississippi last week.  It was so good, we could not wait to get in the car on the way to Louisiana to finish it up.  It's sci-fi, and also quite funny.  Written by John Scalzi, and narrated by Wil Wheaton. We highly recommend it!


The description from Amazon:

Jack Holloway works alone, for reasons he doesn't care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp's headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation's headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, that's not up for discussion.

Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.

But there's another wrinkle to ZaraCorp's relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet, the basis of the wealth they derive from extracting its resources, is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.

Then a small furry biped--trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute--shows up at Jack's outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp's claim to a planet's worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed...and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the "fuzzys" before their existence becomes more widely known.