Believe it or not – this post has absolutely nothing to do with basketball. What a relief.
Books I Couldn’t Put Down
Hitler’s Forgotten Children: A True Story of the Lebensborn Program by Ingrid von Oelhafen – I absolutely devoured this book! Imagine discovering that you were taken from your family as a baby and placed with a good “German” family to be raised to support the Nazi Reich, Hitler and all the things that “good Germans” in the 1940’s were meant to be. The author lived that life and as she researched her family history learned that she was a part of the SS’s Lebensborn Program – she uncovered not just her roots, but the horrible and lesser known crimes committed again thousands of children that were born or brought into Lebensborn. The book was a fascinating, astounding and shocking read.
Beauty & the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanna Barbot de Villenueve – The “original” story of the beauty and the beast that takes her captive; the updated story has touchstones from the original, but – as with so many fairy tales – the original is a little more intense. As punishment for stealing a rose from the garden of the Beast, a wealthy merchant must send one of his six daughters to spend the rest of her life with the Beast in exchange for his freedom. The merchant’s youngest daughter – the most selfless and beautiful of his six daughters offers to take his place in the Beast’s enchanted castle…and there are monkeys, parrots, a strange Prince that only appears in dreams and nightly marriage proposals from the Beast…to name a few differences.
My copy of the book is the above pictured – it’s gorgeously illustrated and has pages with windows that open, dials that turn and interactive “touches” that will make the book a keepsake. It’s absolutely…beautiful!
Books on the Shelf
Oh my goodness – okay, I kind of had a field day on Amazon recently and bought a ton of books and they are all on my shelf. They include…
Night by Elie Wiesel, The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne…and I also still haven’t gotten around to reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.
I have just a little bit of reading to do…
Must See TV
Legion – What a delightfully mind-bending show this was! The show concluded its eight episode run just last night and while the sixth and seventh episodes answered some of the questions posed, there was plenty of mind-bendy goodness left up in the air for season two. The show had so many stand out performances – probably the most interesting to me was the lead, Dan Stevens…then again, I’m partial to Dan Stevens in most anything he does – Aubrey Plaza also blew my mind; I’d never have expected to see her as such an unhinged “villain” but she completely owned the role of Lenny. This show has twists and turns, really good music, a dance number here or there, excellent acting and really unique sets…its definitely different from anything I’ve watched and I can’t wait to see where season two goes!
Bones – After (almost) 12 years as a devoted Bones fan, the show’s final episode – the 246th – aired on Tuesday, March 28th and gave the show a wonderful, nostalgia inducing episode that wrapped up everyone’s story concisely and…happily! The will they/won’t they relationship between FBI Agent Seeley Booth and Forensic Anthropologist Temperance “Bones” Brennan spanned 12 seasons and included an endearing cast of characters that wormed their way into my heart and wouldn’t let go. I’ve so enjoyed spending different nights of the week at the Jeffersonian Institute watching Booth, Bones and the Squints solve the murder of the week.
Movies I’d See Again & Again
Beauty & the Beast – As the titles says…movies I’d see again and again…and in the case of Beauty & the Beast, well – I did just that. I won’t admit how many times I’ve seen it but I will tell you that it has completely enchanted me and I absolutely love it! I went to see Beauty & the Beast with guarded excitement and I was overwhelmed – in the best way possible. The gorgeous costumes, the cinematography, the songs and musical performances, this movie took my most beloved childhood favorite – which I think is perfect – and somehow built on it. The little touches here and there, the details, the added bits of story that were perfectly built into the original tale…and the new songs…OH MY. Just writing about this makes me want to go see it again…
Oh yeah – it’s not the only movie I saw all month – even though it feels like it, ha-ha!
The Shack – I like to choose controversial movies; ha-ha! Honestly though, I caught this movie while I was in the middle of a girl’s weekend in the mountains and I thought it was great. It’s based on the 2007 bestseller of the same name and revolves around a man’s confrontation with the Trinity at the Shack where his youngest child was brutally murdered. The movie deals with some pretty complex questions, including why God allows bad things to happen to good people, why God allows His children to hurt, the list goes on and on… I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to anyone – it was wonderful.
Downton Abbey – So, I’ll level with you. I’ve seen all six seasons of Downton Abbey in full but my younger sister and I recently started a cross-continental (I’m in Virginia, she’s in Nevada) re-watching of the series and I have so many thoughts! Most importantly, I have forgotten so many things! So many things! I’ve only made it halfway through season two, but it has led me to double down on the my thought that Mary is NOT a nice person and Matthew Crawley should have never looked back when she refused his first proposal. That’s right – I said it. Matthew is TOO GOOD for Mary. I find Edith more annoying than I remembered, Sybil is obviously the best daughter, Cora is delightfully oblivious to almost everything and the Dowager Countess and Mrs. Crawley (and their constant back and forth) are the best part.
If you have opinions, feel free to share them. I know people have thoughts about Downton Abbey…
Everything I Ate at Paula Deen’s Kitchen – Y’all, I am still dreaming about the food from Paula Deen’s Kitchen…dreaming…it was so good! The garlic cheese biscuits; well, they make the biscuits served at Red Lobster look like garbage – I’m sorry, it’s true. The hoe cakes with sweet potato butter were to die for and oh..the entrees! The most tender and delicious roast, creamy potatoes, macaroni and cheese, slightly spicy black-eyed peas and surprisingly delightful squash casserole. My dessert of Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, well that capped everything off to perfection. When can I get seconds?
All the Drinks – I’ve had some delightful drinks this month… I discovered blackberry wine while I was visiting Gatlinburg, Tennessee and brought home a bottle that I’ve been sipping on in my spare time. I got The Transformation at the Friday night showing of Beauty & the Beast and the combination of gin and red wine was surprisingly delicious. The best drink I had all month was called The Bleeding Rose – it’s like two drinks in one! Elderflower liquer, hibiscus infused vodka and fresh sour are combined and poured over an Aperol-tea ice cube that has citrus notes and changes the flavor of the drink as it melts. So good!
I promise I’m not an alcoholic…ha-ha!
Evermore – One of the three new songs from Beauty & the Beast, this song is performed by the Beast in the movie and is absolutely beautiful. I prefer the version from the movie (hey-o musical Dan Stevens) over Josh Groban’s rendition of it…although they’re both beautiful. I’ve listened to this song so many times I lost count…
The Beauty & the Beast Soundtrack: Deluxe Edition – When I’m not listening to Evermore on loop, I’m listening to the rest of the soundtrack. It was released on March 10th and I cannot tell you what I’ve listened to besides the soundtrack since that day – seriously. I bounce back and forth between the vocals and the score and I absolutely love it all.
What I’m Looking Forward To
Baseball Season – The 2017 season starts in just THREE days. Three! The Nationals will be playing two exhibition games on March 31st and April 1st (the second of those games will be at the US Naval Academy) against the Boston Red Sox, then Sunday afternoon is a free day before Opening Day on Monday, April 3rd! I won’t be getting to the ballpark on Opening Day, but I will be getting to the ballpark for the first time this season on April 11th…and then I’ll head back just a few days later. I cannot wait to watch my Nationals play!
Easter Break…and A (potential) Visit from the Sister – My Easter break will be kicking off on Thursday, April 13th when the clock hits 5 o’clock and I’ll be spending some of Easter weekend at Nationals Park, in old town Alexandria and of course, spending time with family. My sister may or may not be able to come home for a quick visit at Easter and so I’m crossing my fingers that she’s a part of all the goodness I listed above!
A Weekend in Williamsburg – I’ll confess, I’ve been to Williamsburg twice before…but neither visit has left much of an impression because it rained both times. Let me tell you, rain really puts a damper on walking the dusty (muddy) colonial streets…so I’ll be making my third visit at the end of April and I’m hoping the third time is the charm. I’m really hoping that the sun will be shining – I guess we’ll see!
And – that’s what I was into this past month! I cannot believe there is just one more day of March…I feel like this month absolutely sped by! It seems April has lots of good in store!