Highly Recommended Drama from India: Laakhon Mein Ek

Yes, you’ll need subtitles to understand what is going on, but this is a brilliant series that illustrates how corruption in high (or mid-level) places hurts needy people the most. Ordinary men and women lose incentive to try their best when they are caught in high-pressure circumstances created by those using the system for their own ends.

It sounds bleak, but it’s not. The acting, script, and story are excellent, the characters ring true, and the series maintains humor (okay, dark humor) every episode. The truths being told aren’t happy, but the depiction is artful and human.... [Read More]

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Anyone else see the new space movie?

My husband and I both like sci-fi and went to see Ad Astra yesterday. It was showing in a small room, and only a handful of viewers were there. So I wondered whether it would be any good.

Without giving much away, I would say that I enjoyed the plausible technological and political vision of our future.  There was an “airport” for going to the moon.  The effects were beautiful, and much of the acting was good. There were original aspects to the plot. I also appreciated the conclusion lMILD SPOILER below, then more to read.]... [Read More]

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Sun in Autumn

On this drizzly October day, I’m looking back on some recent sunnier memories. Here is the view from the house I just moved out of, when the furniture was mostly sold and I was operating from an office chair and folding desk tray. With the blue sky as backdrop and prospect of getting work done, this felt like a luxury.... [Read More]

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Saying Goodbye—to a House

Certain years with my daughters have been especially sweet.  I still savor the time they were three and four and went to a small preschool two mornings a week. On chilly mornings, they went bundled in little sweaters to this place of enrichment and nurture, with lots of great things to do and toys to play with. It had been a good pick for them.

This last year has been difficult in some ways, for sure. And the summer ended with my girls packing up their things and moving on to college together. Now I’ve picked up a second part-time job, and I’m figuring out how to best scale down. But it’s not an easy decision. This morning, I had to take some more pictures of the house that has been our home since last October. Here, we were warm and secure in the winter, and enjoyed glorious walks all summer. We cooked (well, I cooked, mostly) and ate together with phones generally not allowed. We had a lot of interesting conversation, daily silliness, and times where I would say we were actually witty. At least we think so. And this modest 1970’s house was the quiet backdrop. I quickly came to love its soothing colors in the upstairs rooms, and how we had arranged things to make it all our own. More below:... [Read More]

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Tales from My Camera Roll

In June, we had a string of storms. When it rained, it poured—and it rained often. There were high winds, and at least once, it hailed. There’s my faithful little red Subaru just waiting it out.

Hold on, trusty car. It will be over soon. At least I hope so, because there is a seeping issue in the basement. One rainstorm lasted, with varying intensity, for an hour and a half. I was up sopping up basement water after midnight. The owner worked on the gutters, and I haven’t had any more issues so far. It still rains like this, when we get occasional summer precipitation. I don’t know what is up with these extreme downpours.... [Read More]

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Summer Pictures

Here is the bridge over the river before late spring, when it really got gorgeous.
This is my younger daughter on “our” lake near sunset. I have a just okay camera on my phone, so I was skeptical about taking pictures. But the light that evening was amazing. My older daughter and I walked by the lake nearly every evening. We love the landscaping, trees, and walks to private little docks.

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Checking Off My Summer List, Part I

Note: Ratburger friends, I will have to post pictures soon.

Summer in Northwest Montana goes by in a blur. One breezy, sparkling day, a season I call “late spring” emerges out of the weeks of rain, mud, fog, and false starts. I’m ogling the blossomy landscaping at our McDonald’s drive-through and thinking that this must be the prettiest corner of the prettiest region in the US. We’ve arrived, and I vow to hold on to each day so that the months don’t flip by quite so quickly. But then after just a couple family visits, an out-of-town trip, several smoky days we hope will go away, and some weeks of tourist-packed traffic, we’re suddenly back to new teacher training at my job. And then I see the back-to-school supplies at WalMart. And finally—the death knell for summer—come the first crimson leaves that signal we’re about to enter that other season, that one that is unpredictably glorious, and we hope long, but always the gateway into weeks of bleak indoor weather.... [Read More]

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The Super Secret Hideout Fort

If you were anything like me growing up, one of your main modes of play with friends was identifying your super secret hideout, or at least get busy building one. Some of these were out in plain sight—no one was duped as to where you were playing. But other times, you might have managed to find a nifty clearing under low-hanging branches of a tree, or a little wooded area, or an old structure. These hideouts were often unsafe, of course. And although you talked it up often with friends who weren’t in on the secret location, most people over the age of twelve didn’t care a fig where you were playing, as long as you were quiet and stayed out of their way. Hideouts were good for that.

When I was seven, we commonly referred to a special location, which we believed was known to only an initiated few, as a “secret hiding place.” We built ours along one side of our house, next to the swing set on top of a large cement platform that covered the septic tank. I know what you’re asking: where was the supervision? They were glad to stay cool indoors, absorbed in their own tasks. The children could climb trees, launch off swings, and build secret hiding places on the septic tank with panels of sharp tin roofing as long as they played outdoors. There might be a ruptured kidney here and there, but that came with the territory.... [Read More]

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Our City Council’s Strange Decision

I noticed it the first few late evenings after my move to a different town last fall. How could I not? It was a loud, wailing, siren, foreboding and impersonal. Unlike friendly chimes of a city clock, this signal made me want to look for the nearest bomb shelter. My daughters said it went off at 9:58 each night.

We speculated often. Was it some kind of curfew signal? This got us talking about dystopias, about gangs on the street each night. You weren’t safe unless you were indoors. The sound never failed to startle visitors in our home. One thought it must be the end-of-shift siren for the workers at the nearby train yard. I accepted that explanation, until one night, I happened to be driving through downtown right at ten pm. The siren suddenly blasted, and there was no mistaking its origins. It most definitely did not come from the train yard, but wailed deafeningly from some building near me.... [Read More]

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Recommended (or not) on Prime

I thought I’d do you the favor of listing some more quick Amazon Prime Video recommendations so you don’t have to waste your time wading through mediocre productions. This is assuming our tastes align, but have I gone wrong before?

You’re welcome.... [Read More]

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Learning Late in Life

I love flying craft of all kinds; however, my passion is more of an awe of the aesthetics and history of flying, and my technical knowledge is limited. That’s why I was delighted to come across this book at a thrift store. Despite the strange green stains streaking a page,  it’s a keeper.  It is right on my level and I’m learning some terminology and concepts that are new to me.

Here’s a question: There was an illustration of an early experiment with flight, when a monk leapt from a building in giant wings and broke both legs. Why did he not fashion a dummy about his height and weight and toss it off the building before dreaming of launching off himself?

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Daughter’s Band in D.C. Memorial Day Parade

I believe it was Representative Steve Daines who nominated my daughter’s school band to play in Washington, D.C. this coming Monday. The band, which ends its yearly spring concert with a hearty rendition of “Stars and Stripes Forever,” was honored to accept. Glacier High School will be wearing green uniforms, and we can follow along with the event live here.

Of course I’m happy and proud, but I’m also looking forward to having my kid back safe from D.C. next week, done with plane rides, and ready to graduate on the first of June.

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