Memorial Day

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. Most of us are off work. We are usually at the beach or at a barbecue, enjoying a rare day off.

I know it is cliche, but tomorrow is about more than beaches and barbecues.

It is about remembering the men and women who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice their lives so we can be free.

Happy Memorial Day.


Woman in Gold Movie Review

History is a funny thing. We try to forget, but it always come back when we least expect it. And sometimes, when our history comes back, it allows us to make peace with the past.

Maria Altmann ( nee Bloch-Bauer) lived a charmed life during her early years. The daughter of an influential and wealthy Jewish Viennese family, she lived comfortably until World War II. Then the Nazis invaded Austria. Maria and her husband barely escaped, leaving everyone and everything they loved behind in Vienna. Among her family’s possessions that was confiscated by the Nazis was the portrait of Maria’s aunt, Adele Bloch- Bauer, painted by famed painter Gustav Klimt.

The new film, Woman In Gold, is the story of Maria’s fight to regain possession of the painting and other works of art that the Nazis confiscated from her family.

The film sees Maria during very different stages of her life. Helen Mirren plays the elderly Maria and Tatiana Maslany plays the younger Maria. Fighting along with Maria is Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), a young lawyer whose family has been long connected to Maria’s family.

Helen Mirren, is well, Helen Mirren. She is one of those actresses who never fails to displease an audience. Her Maria is an elderly woman who goes back to Vienna despite the ghosts and the  memories that linger. As the younger Maria, Tatiana Maslany proves why she is one of the best young actresses in the business. Ryan Reynolds, in stepping out of his comfort zone to play Randol, a young lawyer who not only comes to understand and appreciate his heritage, but also knows when it’s time to fight the big boys.

I absolutely recommend this film.

Woman In Gold is presently in theaters. 

Always Be Kind




This picture came up on my Facebook feed the other day.  The message is a lesson that we all need to learn and remember.

I had to remember it myself this past week.

I’ve started a new job recently. There are complicated circumstances within the company that I will not go into for privacy reasons, but I do want to share the lesson I learned.

One of the women who is responsible for training myself and my fellow newbies has been negative since we arrived. The other day, I thought I knew who she was. Then I was assigned to sit with her on Friday.

I was wrong about her.

Her professional life, like many within the company will soon change. Her life outside of this position is not easy. While again, I will not go into details for privacy’s sake regarding the specifics, I will say that this woman is not what I thought she was. She is actually very nice and she is very knowledgeable in regards to the responsibilities of the position.

We all have our demons and battles to face. Sometimes they come out in the wrong way, creating an impression that may or may not be entirely accurate. It has been stated that first impressions are what others remember about us, even if that impression is not the entire picture. While the statement is true, first impressions are just that. If I had stuck by my first impression of this woman, I would have not learned the truth. The truth is that she is very different from whom I thought she was.

No matter whom you meet, be kind. You never know what battles they are fighting.



Beauty’s Beast Book Review

As a writer and a reader, the fun of fairy tales is that the stories can be adapted again and again in new and different ways.

Amanda Ashley’s 2014 historical romance/fantasy novel, Beauty’s Beast is new twist on Beauty And The Beast.

At the young age of 17, Kristine was accused and found guilty of murdering a man who tried to take advantage of her. She is soon to meet her fate at the gallows. That is until she receives an unexpected marriage proposal.

Erik Trevayne is widely known as the Demon Lord of Hawksbridge Castle. Cursed soon after the death of his first wife, Erik marries Kristine because he wishes to have a child before the curse takes a complete hold of him. But what starts as a marriage of convenience turns into something more. Will Erik and Kristine be able to undo the curse or will Erik spend the rest of his days as a beast?

I have not read this genre in a long time. The book was surprisingly good.  What hooked me as a reader was the human aspect of the characters. While there are the traditional elements of the genre written into the plot, Erik and Kristine both have their fair share of heartache.  It is that heartache that binds them together and draws the reader into the story.

I recommend it.

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