Porch Talk

It’s been a little too cold for much porch sittin’ around here this winter! It’s in the low fifties today, so not too bad, rainy and overcast. Thought I’d sit with you a few minutes. The mountains are hiding today behind the dreary gray mist.

We’ve been hibernating pretty much since the first of the year. Between the flu epidemic and the cold bitter temps we decided to just stay in as much as possible. I got quite a bit of reading done in January, six books, and we pulled out the jigsaw puzzles I’ve been stocking up on over last summer. We’ve played a lot of rummy and backgammon. It’s been nice and cozy. February has been warmer so we are venturing out more now.


Since I last talk to you I’ve had a birthday. The Big 6-0! Yep, I’m on the other side of old now!

Not usually movie buffs we’ve watched quite a few this year so far. Tuesday’s $5 day is getting to be a ritual with us!

The Mountain Between Us – Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain. When they realize help is not coming, they embark on a perilous journey across hundreds of miles of wilderness, pushing one another to endure and discovering strength they never knew possible. The film is directed by Academy Award nominee Hany Abu-Assad and stars Academy Award winner Kate Winslet and Idris Elba.

Loved it! Idris Alba is gorgeous and a good actor. Nice love story that didn’t bore Bossman to death because of the stranded on the snowy mountain aspect.

The Greatest Showman – Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

The Wolverine can sing and dance! Very good musical. Sad that the circus is no longer around. I would have loved to take my grandkids. See this one if you can. I found a museum in Bridgeport, CT. all about PT Barnum. Barnum died in Bridgeport. His and his families graves are there too, and Tom Thumbs too!

Crooked House – The new Agatha Christie film that never did show up at the theater! A friend on the Miss Marple Group Facebook page sent me a copy to watch through dropbox. How kind was that! I loved it. Not sure why it never made it to the big screen.

Phantom ThreadSet in the glamour of 1950’s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love. With his latest film, Paul Thomas Anderson paints an illuminating portrait both of an artist on a creative journey, and the women who keep his world running. Phantom Thread is Paul Thomas Anderson’s eighth movie, and his second collaboration with Daniel Day-Lewis.

A beautiful film with Daniel Day-Lewis. Slow character study with very dysfunctional people. The cinematography was lovely to look at and the musical score was fabulous. The acting was top notch. But it is a very strange story. Kudos to Bossman for sitting through it with me. It was his birthday present to me 🙂 then bowling and dinner. A full day out! Day-Lewis has retired from from movies after this movie, he gets so into character and the sadness after this one will not go away. He said its time to quit. I loved it and I hear its up for lots of awards. The unknown Vicky Krieps stole the show right out from under Day-Lewis’ feet!

Hostiles – Set in 1892, Hostiles tells the story of a legendary Army Captain (Christian Bale), who after stern resistance, reluctantly agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief (Wes Studi) and his family back to tribal lands. Making the harrowing and perilous journey from Fort Berringer, an isolated Army outpost in New Mexico, to the grasslands of Montana, the former rivals encounter a young widow (Rosamund Pike), whose family was murdered on the plains. Together, they must join forces to overcome the punishing landscape, hostile Comanche and vicious outliers that they encounter along the way.

We just went and saw this western with Christian Bale and Rosamunde Pike yesterday. Fantastic movie! I was amazed at how much of a tale of forgiveness and redemption it was. Stunning visuals and excellent acting. Highly recommend this one. My favorite line in it is… “We can’t understand God’s rough ways, Joseph”. See this one!

On Amazon and Netflix we watched…

A Man Called Ove – Just as good as the book! I’ve wanted to see this for so long. Subtitles, Bossman didn’t want to watch it when it was in Asheville, but I found it on Amazon Prime! If you loved the book you’ll have to see the movie!

Manchester by the Sea – After the death of his older brother Joe (Kyle Chandler), Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is shocked to learn that Joe has made him sole guardian of his nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges). Taking leave of his job, Lee reluctantly returns to Manchester-by-the-Sea to care for Patrick, a spirited 16-year-old, and is forced to deal with a past that separated him from his wife Randi (Michelle Williams) and the community where he was born and raised. Bonded by the man who held their family together, Lee and Patrick struggle to adjust to a world without him.My neighbor and I waited and waited for this to come to our theater but it never did. I found it on Netflix. It wasn’t what I expected from the previews. Slow and sad but very good.

The Hateful Eight – Set six or eight or twelve years after the Civil War, a stagecoach hurtles through the wintry Wyoming landscape. The passengers, bounty hunter John Ruth and his fugitive Daisy Domergue, race towards the town of Red Rock where Ruth, known in these parts as “The Hangman,” will bring Domergue to justice. Along the road, they encounter two strangers: Major Marquis Warren, a black former union soldier turned infamous bounty hunter, and Chris Mannix, a southern renegade who claims to be the town’s new Sheriff. Losing their lead on the blizzard, Ruth, Domergue, Warren and Mannix seek refuge at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach stopover on a mountain pass. When they arrive at Minnie’s, they are greeted not by the proprietor but by four unfamiliar faces. Bob, who’s taking care of Minnie’s while she’s visiting her mother, is holed up with Oswaldo Mobray, the hangman of Red Rock, cow-puncher Joe Gage (Madsen), and Confederate General Sanford Smithers. As the storm overtakes the mountainside stopover, our eight travelers come to learn they may not make it to Red Rock after all…

We thought we were going to watch a typical western. Hadn’t seen Kurt Russell around in ages. We were unpleasantly surprised at this movie. At the very end i it said Director Quentin Tarantino and that explained it! Vulgar and bloody and terrible language. Bossman said we should have turned it off and not finished it.

Did you know James Oswald, the Scottish author of the Inspector McLean series has a new series out?  He has gone with a new publisher, leaving Penquin for Wildfire. The new series features a female lead, DC Constance Fairchild. Not yet available in the US, but he said they are working on it. I’d love to read it.

We’ve gotten five Wysocki puzzles done this last month and a half. There’s a big table in the basement so we have been doing them down there. The side of the top right one got cropped off. Starting a new one today.



We had an unusually warm day in January, almost 70*, so we took advantage and did a day trip to explore Bristol TN/VA. The state-line runs right down the center of the road so one side of the street is TN and the other is VA. Quaint and full of history. I’ll get a post up soon about it.

My son and daughter-in-law bought a house several years ago and it came with it’s own little family cemetery.  I did a blog post back on Peggy Ann’s Post about it. Check it out here. The graves are very old, two of the people were born before the country was a nation and died in the early 1800’s. It has the original cast iron fence and gate. It was so overgrown they didn’t even know they were getting a cemetery! Very cool. Well it got even cooler this last month! My daughter-in-law was contacted by the great, great, great, great, great granddaughter of the man, John Lauderbaugh. We had tried to find info about him, but came up empty handed. She sent Stephanie a pic of a paper clipping from the Baltimore Sun in 1899. John Lauderbaugh, who is buried in my son’s backyard, came to America from Germany and joined the Continental Army in the Revolution. He was with Washington when he crossed the Delaware river and surprised the enemy on that snowy Christmas night!


Pretty cool huh!!!? The granddaughter wants pictures of the graves and said her daughter lives in DC so she will stop and see them when she comes from California to visit.

We’ve ‘adopted’ a young man from church who lives up here alone. His family is all in Florida and he doesn’t see them much. He is 28. I told him we would be his family! I enjoy his company a lot. He loves to play board games and just hang out with us old folk. I think this is going to be great for all of us.

Friday night we are going to The Capitol to see Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember! In March Singing in the Rain is showing.

Bossman has been having an issue with chronic diarrhea for a couple months now. The doctor thought it sounded like Giardia, a bacteria you pick up in stream water. He hasn’t drank any but I guess you can get it other ways too. So he took the meds for that and if it didn’t work then he has to have a test done. It didn’t work so we off to get the test kit. He is so frustrated. His colonoscopy came back clean last year. I have him taking Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar but its not helping.

I’ve sat out here on the porch long enough that the sun is trying to come out back behind the house. Still can’t see the mountains in the front though. I better get in and see what I can get into. Nice chatting with you!

Later Gator…


Google, Bah!

Google is a creeping monster, sending tentacles out all over in our online lives. They data mine, which means: the practice of searching through large amounts of computerized data to find useful patterns or trends. They track what you search for, which websites you visit and use all your data for ads that follow you around the internet. Their trackers have been found on 75% of the top million websites. Your personal data can be subpoenaed by lawyers. They scan your gmail emails and contacts to find names similar to those on social sites you use and request to connect all your accounts through them.  There is an obscure checkbox, checked by default, on a buried Google’s account preferences pane, which reads, “use my Google contact information to suggest accounts from other sites.” If by some miracle you found this option, you can disable it. You can read this decent article about their nefarious workings HERE.

They own Youtube and are famously known for restricting and even removing anything that doesn’t line up with their liberal views and agendas. Last time I looked we were still in America, the land of the free and not a communist state. They fired an employee for a research memo he did (a common practice there) that questions some of their practices. How dare he not blindly follow the lead!

I got tired of all the ads in my email and the idea that I have to put up with all this tracking and bias and censorship just for the convenience that goes with having a Google account online. I switched from Google as my search engine and started using Duck Duck Go. They are completely private and do not track in any way or store information about you or your habits. They have a great ‘Privacy Newsletter‘ that gives great information and tips. After reading all those articles I decided I was taking back control of my online life and disengaging from Google. It hasn’t been easy! I changed to a WordPress blog, much nicer than the Blogger blog. Not as many bugs either. I stopped using Hangouts to chat and message. I dropped my gmail account and signed up with Tutanota, it is completely encrypted and they do not even store your password! There’s that convenience thing again, if you lose it you are locked out! You can’t use the email client app on your device with Tutanota, but they do have an app of their own.  How important is your privacy to you? To me it’s worth the little inconveniences.

Youtube is hard to cut out completely. A lot of things I follow are only on it. I try to use Vimeo and Vevo as much as possible. Signing into something is difficult if you don’t use your Google ID, like Blogger blogs! I can’t seem to sign in to most of those with it anyway! But I am determined to eradicate it from my life. HERE is a page on how to live without Google if your interested.


Twenty Three Years

Today is Bossman and my anniversary! Twenty three years ago we went to Gatlinburg Tennessee and got married in a little mountain chapel. We never dreamed we would one day live here in East Tennessee. Usually we just stay home on our anniversary as it’s always so busy everywhere on New Year’s Eve. But tonight, (the coldest night of the year) we’re going to join the festivities in town, Midnight on Main. They close off two city blocks on Main St. there will be music in the coffee shop and in the General Morgan Inn, karaoke, kids entertainment, and two shows in The Capitol of which we got tickets too! At midnight they have their own little silver ball that drops and fireworks.

For two old fogeys that usually don’t even stay up until midnight to see the new year in we’re in for a night! I better layer up, 17* at midnight.


Update: the weather is frightful! It’s snowing and cold and there isn’t much of a crowd…

But the music in the Capitol is HOT😄

Wonder Books

We went to my youngest son’s in Maryland last Friday for several days. They have a Wonder Books used book store near them in Hagerstown. It is heaven on earth there! Lots of the used books I buy on amazon come from there. Every time I go to Paul’s I try to get to Wonder Books. We timed it right this time, buy two mass market paperbacks and get two free! I had mostly Penguins in my pile and thought they would be exempt, but they said ‘no, they count too’! So I went back and got more!  Sixteen in all and a Charles Wysocki puzzle to boot.

Three Jane Langton’s, two Michael Gilberts and five Georgette Heyer mysteries! They had lots of Donald E. Westlake, but I had never read any of his so I passed. Then I read THIS review of one of his over @ Bitter Tea and Mystery and wished I had gotten a couple. Next trip, if they are still there. I’m going to try to go back in mid-December for my granddaughters Christmas concert. She plays violin in the school orchestra.


I’m especially excited about the Georgette Heyer books and can’t wait to dig into one! And Christie’s Ordeal of Innocence, I would like to read it before the new TV version on the BBC comes out this Christmas. There was a sign on the door ‘Hiring for the Fredricktown warehouse’. For a minute I thought about moving to Maryland 🙂 Working in all those old books! Yum!

Have you read any of these and what did you think?

Kitchen Re-do

Finally, the kitchen is done! I still need to hang the Pennsbury Pottery on the cornices above the cabinets, but I’m adding to the collection and want to wait until I have it all. I’ve tried to do this without having to sell my first born to finance it and I’m pretty happy with the outcome. The busy carpet was fairly new when we bought the house so I’m living with it for a few more years before I think about replacing the flooring.

Come on in…

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You can see above how tight it was to walk in from the side door. The kitchen cabinet delivery men just about had a heart attack when they stepped in and thought they had to bring the cabinets in this way. Then I told them there was another door on the backside of the kitchen and they sighed relief! This opened it up a bit. It was certainly a poor design in the house layout! The basement door is directly opposite this side door.

Here is the major long view of the kitchen…

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We moved the refrigerator from one wall by the back door across the room…

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The ‘dining room’ end of the kitchen is an odd layout and hard to make look really nice, but we work with what we have. Updated the light too. It’s nice having two doors in this room. One out to the back patio, which will one day be a back screened porch, and one onto the side carport (I love having a carport!).  The third photo here is a sideway shot of the eating area.  The doorway leads left to my sitting room or right into the living room. Another odd layout! Two fireplaces divide these rooms. Maybe the sitting room was meant to be a dining room? It’s my room now! Books sitting everywhere and all my little ‘things’ I love, like my cotton I picked from the side of the road in Alabama, bookends, pencil drawings of places in Scotland I got to visit, a basket of rocks I’ve picked up on various journeys, my tartan wool blanket from a trip to Scotland, the painting my sweet friend Shelley bought me as a house warming gift. It’s my little nest!

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There was an old round fluorescent ceiling light in here when we bought the house. I didn’t manage to get a shot of it in any of the photos of before, but this is the kind it was. Nasty! We replaced the lights with new LED ones and the kitchen is so much brighter now! I’m still in my own light when at the kitchen sink and it’s dark doing dishes, but next summer when the Bossman has the electric run to the garage I might have the electrician put in a small hanging pendant light over the sink at the same time. I looked and looked for a chandelier type light for over the table and just couldn’t find anything I liked. Because of the layout its near impossible to get the table centered out under the light so I finally opted for the same light as in the kitchen area, not hanging down at all. That way it doesn’t draw your attention as much to it being a little off center.
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Well, that’s it. The last of the major projects in our house. Someday a screened-in back porch I think, but thats all. Now we can just relax and enjoy retirement!

Spectacular Sunset

Just had to share this sunset we had last week with you guys! These pictures do not do it justice. The golden color in the sky and glow it produced was almost otherworldly, it took my breath away. It went all around us.

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Did you notice the rainbow? I think there were two but one started to fade before I got the camera.