I'm a multi-tasker

We have a winner!

A few days late, but scientifically chosen*, the winner is NANCY!

Nancy – get in touch on Facebook or by email with your snail mail address and I’ll get the book to you soon!

*Names were written on identically sized pieces of paper, folded identically, and then one was chosen by my beautiful daughter, who happened to be visiting.  :)  So scientific.

If you know me, you know I love authors.  I love to listen to them talk about their books, about their writing process, about their view the world, about the books the love to read.  I’m also loyal to authors.  If I like a book, I will continue to follow that author to see what they will come up with next.

If you know me, you also know I’ve been in a reading slump – planning a wedding and getting married takes a lot of brain power and time!  So when Nicole Baart, (an author I’ve followed since I read her book The Moment Between in 2009) posted on Facebook that she was looking for members of a “street team” for her newest book, The Beautiful Daughters, I applied!  The opportunity to read an Advanced Reader’s Copy, offer it for a giveaway, and then to receive a copy of the book when it is published on April 28, 2015 – I love stuff like that!  I was tickled to be chosen for her Street Team and for The Beautiful Daughters to be the first book I read in 2015.  Bonus:  She sent her favorite chocolates, book marks, signed book plates, and homemade soap made receipt of the package even sweeter!

Below is the description of the book from the Digital Catalog at Atria Publishing (a branch of Simon and Schuster), the tentative cover design, and a little info about Nicole Baart, the author.

Below that is my review and details on how you can get your hands on my ARC!!

The Beautiful Daughters – 

The Beautiful Daughters by Nicole Baart

The Beautiful Daughters
by Nicole Baart

From the author of Sleeping in Eden, described as “intense and absorbing from the very first page” (Heather Gudenkauf, author of The Weight of Silence), comes a gripping new novel about two former best friends and the secrets they can’t escape.

Adrienne Vogt and Harper Penny were closer than sisters, until the day a tragedy blew their seemingly idyllic world apart. Afraid that they got away with murder and unable to accept who they had lost—and what they had done—Harper and Adri exiled themselves from small-town Blackhawk, Iowa, and from each other. Adri ran thousands of miles away to Africa while Harper ventured down a more destructive path closer to home.

Now, five years later, both are convinced that nothing could ever coax them out of the worlds in which they’ve been living. But unexpected news from home soon pulls Adri and Harper back together, and the two cannot avoid facing their memories and guilt head-on. As they are pulled back into the tangle of their fractured relationships and the mystery of Piperhall, the sprawling estate where their lives first began to unravel, secrets and lies behind the tragic accident are laid bare. The former best friends are forced to come to terms with their shared past and search for the beauty in each other while mending the brokenness in themselves.

Nicole Baart’s lush and lyrical writing has been called “sparkling” (Publishers Weekly), “taut and engrossing” (Booklist), and “evocative and beautiful” (Romantic Times). The Beautiful Daughters is another exquisitely rendered, haunting story that will stay with readers long after the last page.


Nicole BaartNicole Baart is the mother of four children from four different countries. The cofounder of a non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, she lives in a small town in Iowa. She is the author of seven previous novels, including, most recently, Sleeping in Eden. Find out more at NicoleBaart.com.

My review:

I really enjoyed this book.  I love books with rich character development.  I love beautiful descriptions.  This book has all that, plus a suspenseful plot with insight into how tragedy affects people.  The book also tackles sensitive topics, but I don’t want to spoil the suspense.

Some of the passages that I re-read and bent the pages for include:

Regarding Adri’s father, Sam:

“Her father was one such daydreamer, the kind of man who spoke volumes in silences and heard God whisper in the song of distant stars keeping watch over the land that he plowed.”

Regarding Adri’s fiance’, David:

“In his personal life he was sensible and composed, able to take up and set aside the mantle of a playboy as easily as donning a coat.  To laugh and joke and drink until his imposing mother slipped into the room, a quiet and watchful revenant whose presence instantly sobered and reined in her son.”

Regarding The Five:

“Jackson was hand in hand with Nora, a new girlfriend who didn’t quite fit.  Harper couldn’t help resenting her.  When Nora was around, they were quick to pair up, but when it was just the five of them, they were a unit.  A fist clenched tight.”

This book is about young adults who meet at a small college in Blackhawk, Iowa.  Adri and her brother Will grew up on a farm in Blackhawk, and David grew up at Piperhall, a mansion down the road.  Along with Harper and Jackson, The Five become fast friends and spend most of their out-of-school time playing grown-up at Piperhall and when Harper suggests a trip to commemorate their college graduation and mark endings and new beginnings, they are unaware of the tragic event that will happen and change their lives forever.  They scatter – Adri to Africa and Harper into dark relationships – and are called home five years later when the matriarch of Piperhall dies.

This is a page-turner and I’m so thankful it was the first book I read in 2015!

Now, to get your hands on my Advanced Readers Copy, please COMMENT BELOW with the FIRST BOOK YOU READ OR ARE READING in 2015!  If you share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter (and share the link), you 10933699_10152994556774210_1188091013014551439_nwill get extra entries!

I’ll pick a winner WEDNESDAY JANUARY 28.

How to sum up awesomeness?

2014I like to end each year by looking back and thinking about the big things and the little things, summing it up and tucking it away to be recalled in the future.  2014 was a big year.  Here is a sad attempt to summarize its awesomeness.  (Lots of links you can click on if you want more info or fun videos! Anything underlined is a link.)

Movie chat!

Movie chat!

I saw some movies in the theatre.  In no particular order, I saw Inside Llewelyn Davis, Her, The Lego Movie, The Great Beauty*, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Saving Mr. Banks, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Divergent, 12 Years a Slave, Belle, Neighbors, Chef, The Fault in Our Stars, A Million Ways to Die in the West, The November Man, Boyhood, Unbroken, Wild, The Hunger Games: The Mockingjay Part 1, Dumb and Dumber To, St. Vincent, and Gone Girl.  (*Rochester Int’l Film Fest)

Some were seen alone, some with girlfriends, some with family, some with Chris.  Some felt like they were MADE FOR ME (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood, Chef, St. Vincent); others not so much, but I love a movie in the theatre, no matter what.  (Thankful for that Mayo discount and living within walking distance to a theatre!)

Netflix DVD watching also happened, including The Salt of Life, 20 Feet from Stardom, Austenland, Iron Man 1, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, 10 Years, August Osage County, Blazing Saddles, What’s Up, Doc?, Here Comes the Boom, Love Is All You Need, My Life Without Me, The Tiger and the Snow. 

None of them stand out as wonderful, except 20 Feet from Stardom – that was fun.  I blogged about that around Oscar time last year.  Some were sent back without being watched – life was just too busy to sit on the couch in 2014!

Great seats for our first show!

Great seats for our first show!

The stage and Proscenium

The stage and Proscenium

 

In 2014 I saw some things on a stage.

Musicians – The Skivvies at 54 Below with Koni and Troy in NYC, Jeremy Messersmith at First Ave for Marissa’s birthday, Jim Brickman with Chris for Valentine’s Day, Paul McCartney at Target Field with Mom and Dad, Marissa and Chris

Comedians - Lorna Landvik at her Party in the Rec Room at Bryant Lake Bowl in January with John and Deadra, Mike Birbiglia at the Pantages with Marissa (on a whim, due to horrific driving conditions keeping me in the Cities longer – so glad we went! Thankful we weren’t later arrivers!!)

Plays – in Minneapolis Jenny and Chris and I saw Peter and the Starcatcher, and it didn’t disappoint the second time!  We hung out after and listened to the actors talk about their magical performances night after night… So fun.

Authors – only one in 2014!  Allison McGhee, a Minnesota author.  I still haven’t read any of her books, but she was fascinating to listen to!  I do love to listen to and meet authors!

And speaking of books – you can click the BOOKS I READ IN 2014 page on my blog to see the list of books that I did accomplish in 2014.  I didn’t meet my reading goal (again, not a lot of time to sit around and read in 2014!) but I changed my goal and hopefully set a realistic goal for #marriedlife2015.

Heading in to the first show of our trip!

Heading in to the first show of our trip!

And speaking of plays, can’t forget Broadway!  I had TWO trips to NYC in 2014! The first was in early January – a girl’s weekend with my sister-in-law/great friend, Koni.  We ran through airports to catch planes, celebrated the arrival of our luggage, we braved their elements (12 degrees, which was 30 degrees warmer than we left) and were the only ones to show up for the  cupcake walking tour of the Lower East Side.  We ate delicious meals, we SHOPPED, we saw THREE Broadway shows (Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder – the Tony winner of 2014! – Cinderella, and Matilda!), we saw people singing in their underwear at 54 Below (the Skivvies – click to see a video!), we celebrated when our flight home was cancelled, as it meant we had a bonus day to see our 3rd show, hang around the Superbowl celebrations in Times Square, and enjoy more Cake Boss treats.  Read ALL about it here.

One of everything!  Yes, please!

One of everything! Yes, please!Also in 2014:

Also in 2014:

  • Birthdays were celebrated – at wineries, at the Lake, at restaurants.
  • I went to as many kids’ sporting events as my schedule would allow.
  • I continue to love my job, crazy schedule and all.  Coming up on my 3rd anniversary on January 30.
  • Someone drove through our Target exit doors, right after Chris and I walked out. Quite freaky!
  • Choir continues to bring joy and happiness to me and all who participate – can’t wait to start up again!
  • Marissa met a man that she enjoys immensely, so that’s fun for mama.  She continues in graduate school, hoping for an early spring graduation.
  • Cosmo Girls continued to meet monthly – a solid crew of amazing women that I am thankful for!
Cosmo Girls at RAC 2014

Cosmo Girls at RAC 2014

And then of course, last but not certainly not least,
we got engaged in July and married in October 2014!

The ring arrived!

The ring arrived!

Proof that he is the ONE?  When we were discussing the hows and whens and wheres of getting married, he said, “Can we get married in New York City?” Um, yes!  Most people think it was my idea, but it was his idea, which is why I love him so.  He knows how to make this girl happy.  I’m very lucky!

July to October was spent hammering out details, planning, organizing, and celebrating.  Chris moved in with me in July and that adjustment has been surprisingly smooth (further proof that he is the ONE!).  I had a wonderful, abbreviated Ferragosto week at the lake, which was almost like a Bachelorette week.  So much celebrating and planning and laughing!

It was great fun to plan the week in NYC for family and friends.  Everyone was so joyful and lovely.  The blog detailing the events of Wedding Week 2014 can be read here: #woohoowedo2014.  I’ll end this never-ending blog with the ceremony that Chris and I worked on in the hopes that we would have time in the chapel for more than just vows – and we did.

2014 was sure filled with blessings!  Looking forward to #marriedlife2015!  More adventures await!

LOVE Sculpture!

LOVE Sculpture!

-NYC Wedding Ceremony October 1, 2014- 

OPENING PRAYER – Dad
COMMITMENT TO THE COUPLE / RING WARMING
SCRIPTURE READING  – Koni
POEM – Deadra
READING (If time before vows) – Robert Fulgham
VOWS
CLOSING PRAYER – Dana

OPENING PRAYER – Dad – He did his own prayer :) 

Dear God, for the joy of this occasion we thank You. For the friends and family who are here today to witness this joy, we thank You.  For the significance of this wedding day we thank You. For this important moment in an ever growing relationship we thank You. For Your presence here and now and for Your presence at all times, we thank You. In His holy name. Amen.

COMMITMENT TO THE COUPLE / RING WARMING – Beth

Your very presence here, in this city, in this building, shows how much you love and support Chris and Danette and their life together.  Will you promise to continue to surround this couple in love, offering them the joys of your friendship?  Will you support this couple in their relationship, at times of conflict, offering them the strength of your wisest counsel and the comfort of your thoughtful concern?  At times of joy will you celebrate with them,nourishing their love of one another?

(Hope for enthusiastic “WE WILL” from all!) And they said “WOOHOO WE DO!”

During this ceremony, Chris and Danette will exchange rings.  These rings are a strong and visible sign of their love and commitment to one another. Chris and Danette ask that you, very important and loved members of their lives, hold their rings in your hands for a moment and warm them with your love.  Say a silent prayer or make a wish for Chris and Danette and their future together.

SCRIPTURE READING – Koni

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge,it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

POEM – Deadra

i carry your heart with me ~ e.e. cummings ~

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

VOWS – Jimmy 

Benediction – CLOSING PRAYER – Dana

The wedding is not over – it has just begun.  Marriage is not something said and done, but a promise, whose fulfillment is acted out over time.

So for Chris and Danette, we simply pray that the promises of marriage have a long and complete fulfillment; that their love is nurtured and shared by their families and friends; and that the seasons be joyous along the way. In God’s name we pray. Amen.

READING Union  ~ Robert Fulghum ~ Read by Marissa at Starbucks

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point,you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed,you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all those late night talks that included“someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.

The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.”

Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another. Shortly you shall say afew words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same.

For after today you shall say to the world –

This is my husband. This is my wife.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

I’ve had better years, but I’ll keep plugging away!  I still love to write!  Hopefully in 2015 I’ll do more of it!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 50 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

I’m overwhelmed.  I like to blog about the “goings-on” of life, but wow. There’s been a lot going on.  So, instead I’m going to give you lists of the good stuff with very little commentary – if you have questions, ask!

First, I got married in NYC.  I have hundreds of photos but instead I’ll just share with you my “check-ins” from the SWARM app on my phone.

NYC via SWARM app

MONDAY-

  • RST – our flight was cancelled Sunday morning, so we had to re-book with a different airline, avoiding O’Hare on the way to NYC.  Got in a few minutes earlier than we would have, so it was all good!  
  • MSP
  • LGA
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Office of the City Clerk – Marriage Bureau – Got dropped off at City Hall, which was not open, because it’s not where you get married!  I had the address, just not the correct name!
  • London Terrace Towers – Where Troy lives!  Love his hospitality!
  • Toshi’s Living Room – a Funky place; met everyone here and moved on… 
  • O’Reilly’s Irish Pub – good grub and quieter atmosphere!
  • 230 Fifth Rooftop Lounge – beautiful place!

TUESDAY

  • London Terrace Towers – up and at ‘em, heading out for a walking tour!
  • Staten Island Ferry – Whitehall Terminal
  • Battery Park
  • Bowling Green
  • Federal Hall National Memorial
  • Trinity Church
  • National September 11 Memorial and Museum
  • City Hall Park Gas Lite Bulbs Fountain
  • Wafels & Dinges – Pagadder Card
  • Wo Hop Restaurant
  • Chinatown
  • Becco – great Italian restaurant with a prix fixe meal before theatre!  Toasts, tears and laughter!
  • Lyric Theatre – ON THE TOWN! A great musical during preview week. Appropriate for a bunch of people experiencing NYC for a short time – and getting the most out of it!
  • Times Square – the Red Stairs
  • O’Lunney’s – birthday drinks! I almost forgot that my wedding day was actually my birthday, as well!  So after midnight we had a toast to the awesome day ahead! I still don’t remember that I turned a year older, so maybe I’ll remain 45 forever?  

WEDNESDAY – WEDDING DAY!

  • Office of the City Clerk – Marriage Bureau – #woohoowedo2014 ! A perfect ceremony!
  • Starbucks – a brief reception, due to drizzle!  Then on to our ROLLING RECEPTION!
  • Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
  • High Line
  • Central Park – Bethesda Fountain
  • LOVE Sculpture
  • Empire State Building – 86th Floor Observatory
  • Archer Hotel New York – checked in and met the crew at the rooftop bar, Spyglass!
  • Periyali – Greek dinner! 
  • Marie’s Crisis – singing along with every song!
  • Archer Hotel New York – what a beautiful day!  

THURSDAY 

  • Times Square
  • M&M’s World – met Rob here and also went to the Hershey store!
  • Pie Face
  • MSG Entertainment HQ
  • High Line – the newish part!
  • Joe the Art of Coffee
  • Archer Hotel New York – a disco nap!
  • Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar – dinner with Troy!
  • Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre – “It’s Only a Play” – a fun play with a star-studded cast!  
  • Junior’s Restaurant & Bakery – treats for morning
  • Shake Shack – treats for now! “Great White Way” 
  • Times Square at midnight

FRIDAY

  • Carnegie Deli
  • Bethesda Terrace
  • Heartland Brewery
  • Stephen Sondheim Theatre – “Beatiful – The Carole King Musical” SO GOOD!
  • Swing 46

SATURDAY 

  • Chelsea – leaving in a downpour!  
  • Queens – Midtown Tunnel
  • LGA
  • ORD
  • RST
  • Whistle Binkies on the Lake – with Tony and Tien!
  • The Doggery

SUNDAY

  • Willow Creek Golf Course – our wedding reception!  
  • Whistle Binkies on the Lake – with Kim and Eric, Maureen and Dennis!  Yay!

MONDAY – Chris back at work, Danette unpacking!  

That was a whirlwind of a week – and I know there were stops I didn’t “check in” but it is a fun way to keep track of a vacation!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Design K_

And then life after the wedding …

  • There was FOOTBALL!  Gunnar’s senior year, filled with wonderful highlights and honors!
  • There were meals – at Burdey’s, at Panera, at Caribou, at Jessie Street Java, at Four Daughters Vineyard & Winery, at Victoria’s, at Chester’s, at The Thirsty Belgian, at Cowboy Jack’s Saloon, at Chipotle, at Brothers, at Pho Chau…
  • There were movies – GONE GIRL, ST. VINCENT, DUMB AND DUMBER TO, and HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART I.
  • Garrison Keillor came to Rochester and we enjoyed his live radio show
  • Basketball has begun and I look forward to watching TRAJAN and GRACIE and REES play during this season!
  • Thanksgiving was a blast – relaxing and fun.  Highlights were sledding with Kaydee, listening to what everyone was Thankful for this year, and playing HEADS UP.  Download it to your phone or iPad if you haven’t!  It’s a hit!
  • Notice: Not a SINGLE BOOK WAS READ!  Oh my.  I have been catching up with my Oprah magazine, and slowly reading a great book.  I am going to fail miserably at my Goodreads goal, but I’m really ok with that.  Life is SO good.

Now it’s December.  I am hoping that in December I can connect with many friends and family, enjoying TIME and conversations with everyone.  I tend to enjoy Thanksgiving more than Christmas because I get stressed about presents, but I hope that I can focus on relationships instead of receipts this December, so that Christmas can be celebrated as it is intended.

Ah, life is good!  I am blessed!

30 Days Hath September

And since we’re already 3 days in, that means that our wedding is 4 weeks from today (meaning Wednesday!)!  It’s getting to be crunch time, and the to-do list keeps growing, but it’s all good and exciting stuff!

So much to be happy about – August fairly flew by and was filled with awesomeness!  For example –

  • A course at the U of M brought me to the Cities for a few days and Chris was on vacation so he tagged along!  He enjoyed daytime adventures on foot in St. Paul and Minneapolis and we both enjoyed nights out in the Minneapple!  We ate Mexican at Masa on Nicollet, yummy bar food on a rooftop off 1st Ave and desserts down below at Hell’s Kitchen;  we drank cider and beer at Sociable Cider Werks with Marissa and her guy, and walked through the sculpture garden at the Walker Art Center!  The highlight of the trip was seeing Paul McCartney at Target Field – amazing!  What a beautiful and fun night – and what an incredible entertainer!
  • Many date nights with wedding planning as a topic of conversation.  We’ve been to Cowboy Jack’s a few times, the Tap House and the Doggery (Chris discovered the Shallow End), and we saw “Boyhood” and “The November Man” in the theatre.  We took a trip to IKEA and the Mall of America for wedding paraphernalia, and have shopped for furniture!  Always on the go!
  • Ferragosto!  It was an abbreviated version this year, but no less fun!  We had wet campfires, hot hazy humid weather, no mosquitos, and many trips to the Hoy’s Resort for BYOB!  No shortage of good food, good drinks, good talks, good belly laughs, and good relaxation!  We watched a few movies and even danced and sang on the deck, while planning wedding reception songs! There will be photos – eventually!

Every day off in September is precious and filled with planning!  So many details – but it is all so good!  Looking forward to take-off on 9/29 and everything that week brings!

Yay, September!

Spoon and Cherry at the Sculpture garden MPLS.

Spoon and Cherry at the Sculpture garden MPLS.

August 1

September 1

October 1

In 60 days I will be married.

LOVE this sign

LOVE this sign

Amazing, eh?

It has been a whirlwind, my mind is always a little preoccupied, and (slowly but surely) decisions are being made.  Trying to keep it simple and yet throw a fun party, trying to plan a distance wedding and honeymoon week with a small wedding party contingent in tow.

The dress has arrived.  The invitations have arrived.  More decisions to come – like dessert options!

Ah… life is so good.

6.30.14

Milestones.

SIX years ago June 30, I closed on my townhome.  Time flies, doesn’t it?  When I moved in, I didn’t have much.  Two beds.  Chairs.  Lamps.  And my old TV.  Now I have more furniture than I need, my home is comfortable and my closets could likely use some culling!

Six years ago these little guys were 3!

Nephews - 6 years ago!

Nephews – 6 years ago!

Six years ago my house looked like this:

New furniture and used furniture - still mostly looks the same!

New furniture and used furniture – still mostly looks the same!

Lots of laughs around this table in six years!

Lots of laughs around this table in six years!

These shelves are filled... love the loft!

These shelves are now filled… love the loft!

Gotta love milestones.

So thankful for everything.

And time is marching on…  it’s about ten days since the first day of summer.

I had a great time around a summer solstice campfire in Rushford and celebrated a milestone birthday (4-0!) with my guy.

And speaking of milestones, July 1 marks one year since my first date with this guy!

He enjoys coffee as much as I do!  Although, he likes it sweet!  Guess that's why he likes me!  :)

He enjoys coffee as much as I do! Although, he likes it sweet! Guess that’s why he likes me! :)

Seems like we just met and that he’s been in my life a long time.

I look forward to celebrating more milestones with him by my side.

(Aww shucks!  I’m not usually schmaltzy!) 

Happy JULY everyone!

It is a pleasure to walk outside at night and feel the warm summer air!  Aside from all of the rain we had this week and last, we have had good June weather so far!  It’s also a pleasure to have some weekends off to enjoy the summertime!  But, as I’ve said before, I don’t usually let a little thing like work slow me down…

Here’s what has been bringing me smiles from the past few weeks:

Movies

  • Saw “A Million Ways to Die in the West” with Chris – I’m not a Family Guy watcher or a Seth McFarland groupie, but this was fun.  It’s a Western with modern language, with shocking humor and interesting characters.
  • I saw “The Fault In Our Stars” by myself on opening night.  Well, not by myself, but with a theatre filled with Tweens and Teens, swooning and sobbing.  I wish I hadn’t gone that night, because I felt more like an observer of the theatre than a movie-watcher.  I thought the book was so much better (no surprise) because I liked the parents so much better in the book, I liked their relationships so much better in the book, and the movie felt watered down and immature.  \
  • Tonight I saw “Chef,” which I think is my favorite movie of the year!  I’ll have to think back for sure (“Grand Budapest Hotel” was this year, too… hmm) but it was so fun!  A fun story about having passion for your work and doing what you love, about fathers and sons, and about Cuban sandwiches!  I almost danced throughout the movie, because the soundtrack was incredible (and is now purchased!), and I had tears spring to my eyes twice, just because of happy emotions!  Loved it!

Books!

  • There have been a few rainy days, so I’ve been reading on my Kindle and catching up on Oprah Magazine.  I finished a smutty book while on the dock, “Bettie Page presents: The Librarian,” and then returned to the world of Pride & Prejudice with “Georgiana Darcy’s Diary.”  Ah, there is something about that book and those characters.  Good stuff.  Now I”m working on “Wild” and almost finished with listening to “Whistling Past the Graveyard.”

Road Trips and Adventures!

  • For Jenny’s birthday, we had lunch at Trempeleau Hotel and went for a tasting at Elmaro Winery.  It was a beautiful Sunday and the winery was in a beautiful setting, so we sat outside and enjoyed live music, a fruit and nut plate, and some delicious wine.
  • Chris and I went to the cabin for his June vacation.  We had two great weather days, one washout day, and one very windy day.  There was reading, DVDs (Breakfast Club, War Games, The Upside of Anger, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), and good cabin food.  There were a creche (I think) of White Pelicans who must have stopped there for the summer, and they were amazing to watch and learn about!  Who needs TV when you can watch pelicans?  And as always, the sunsets were spectacular.
  • One of the days we drove to Northfield to have dinner with Deadra for her birthday!  It was fun to explore Northfield and we had a delicious dinner in a Tavern there along the river.  The day started out breezy, cloudy and cool, but it ended up clear and calmer.
  • When I got home from the lake, I joined some peeps at the rooftop of the Tap House for Sunday Night Trivia!  We rocked (mainly one guy rocked) and got one free round of drinks and 3rd place overall.  I love trivia.  And the weather was perfect for a night on the rooftop!

Looking forward to celebrating the first day of summer at an International festival in Rochester and then I’ll travel to Rushford to see Mom and Dad and hopefully some Rushford friends!  I’m counting on a campfire to celebrate the shortest night of the year!

Chris has a Summer Solstice birthday, but he gets t work.  I’ll bake him a cake for when he’s done with this 7 day stretch!

Yay summer!

Always so much to be thankful for!  We are marching in to June and the calendar is filled with fun things on the days that work isn’t scheduled (and even on some days when work is scheduled!).

Here are a few things I am thankful for from the past few weeks —

  • Friday nights!  Spent a seemingly rare Friday night off at Jabbers (and evidently the last Friday night we’ll spend there, as it just closed!) getting in some Jabbering with Jabber Juice.  Fun fun.   And even after work last Friday night, it was fun to sit outside on the patio at Fat Willy’s!  Fridays still rock!
Love this selfie with Rushford in the background!

Love this selfie with Rushford in the background!

  • Rushford friends and family – had a lot of fun showing Chris around Rushford – the bluff, the new coffee shop – and hanging out with friends.  Take Note! sang at the ExpoCulinaria and it was a lot of fun with good food tastes and good company!  Followed by more good food and a good campfire at Brenda and Roger’s!  It was chilly so that fire felt good!  It was a Starry Starry Night!
  • Speaking of Starry Starry Nights – loved the time with Beth at the painting event by Wine & Canvas!  It was a challenging painting but I think we did a respectable job – and it was so fun!
Love Starry Night with Rochester Wine & Canvas!  And Beth!

Love Starry Night with Rochester Wine & Canvas! And Beth!

  • Memorial Day weekend I had to work overnights, but I still was able to indulge in a last minute invitation to hear Temple Grandin speak on Friday night, followed by coffee at Chester’s!  And Monday Chris and I went for a good meal on a rainy afternoon before I went in for night four. I always manage to fit in the important stuff!
Love last minute invitations and loved hearing Temple Grandin again!  She's something!

Love last minute invitations and loved hearing Temple Grandin again! She’s something!

  • Trajan turned 15 in May and we celebrated him at Texas Roadhouse!  I also love that I’ve been able to help out and drive him to his basketball practices in the Cities and to watch him play a few games.  He’s on a competitive team and they are all so fun to watch!
Love this kid who isn't afraid of the saddle on his 15th birthday!

Love this kid who isn’t afraid of the saddle on his 15th birthday!

  • The weather has been great so I have been getting in some great walks!  Some with friends, some with Chris, and some with his daughter and granddaughter.  It’s been fun to play with a 2 year old again!
Love this guy and love hanging out with a 2 year old every once in a while!  It's been a while...

Love this guy and love hanging out with a 2 year old every now and then! It’s been a while…

  • Books – I’m finally on a little reading streak!  I finished Allegiant, moved on to The Fault in Our Stars (heartbreakingly beautiful… just lovely), and Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (a fun little read with dares all over NYC!).  I bought a used Kindle so it’s exciting to fill it up (it holds a TON!) and look forward to reading it at the end of the dock.
  • Audiobooks – I’ve officially been an Audible member for a year!  Yikes… I have purchased more than I’ve listened to (sound familiar??  I guess I’m growing my TBL (To Be Listened to) pile, as well!).  I tend to buy the long books that I want to read but doubt I’ll have the time or stamina for.  So far I’ve listened to 11.22.63, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Fin & Lady, Ready Player One, The End of the Affair, The Goldfinch, and The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog.  I’m currently listening to Whistling Past the Graveyard for book club (if they don’t give up on me!).  Love listening in the car, still, but much less commuting time so now it’s while puttering around.  Love it!
  • Movies – always thankful for movies!  Movie nights at home on the couch, movies while trying to sleep, movies in the theatre with a tub of popcorn.  Love them!  This month in the theatre I’ve seen Neighbors (pretty funny, Seth Rogan stuff) and Belle (interesting story about Britain’s position in the slave trade business).  From Netflix on DVD I’ve seen Here Comes the Boom (very funny and fun!) and Love Is All You Need (unexpected story about Danish people traveling to Italy for a wedding, with Pierce Brosnon! Pretty good!).  Mindless instant viewing includes Drop Dead Diva (series) and The Sweetest Thing (Cameron Diaz craziness that was pretty fun).
  • Of course, Jimmy Fallon always makes me laugh, which is a thing to be greatly thankful for.  Fun stuff.  Look for his clips if you can’t commit to an entire week of shows!  :)

As usual, I have much to look forward to, as well.  We are working fewer weekends than last summer, so I’m looking forward to that!  I am penciling in fun plans with friends and family – so give a shout if you want to get together!  Let’s make this the best summer ever!

If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance. ~Bern Williams

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 634 other followers

%d bloggers like this: