#HappinessHappens

Where has the time gone?* 

Summer of 2016 is marching on.  Today is National Happiness Happens day (8/8/16), so I thought I needed to catch up on what has been making happy memories for the summer of 2016!  *the question I ask myself most frequently on the blog

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Gathering with friends and family:

  • At graduations – a few friends had kids who graduated this year – fun to watch them get through this emotional time with grace!  Gracie also graduated from 8th grade, and boy, does she have grace.  She wrote a letter to the principal and he read it to everyone…. uff. There were tears.
  • At the cabin – Several weekends in June and July have been spent with family. We kind of thought Memorial Day would be the only time we would all be together there, but there have been so many wonderfully relaxing days spent there.  Looking forward to Ferragosto 2016!
  • At Berne Woodfired Pizza – We went in June with Sierra and family and enjoyed a beautiful night with great music.  I went again in July with various family members. It was a HOT night but mom and dad got there early and scoped out a perfect spot in the shade of those big trees and the nice breeze kept it so very comfortable.  Definitely a must-do in the summer!
  • At Whistle Binkies on the Lake – birthdays, book club, and “no-more-class” celebration all at Whistles!  Also met with Troy and Cheryl there for a lovely lunch on their patio.  He had to see the place that is such a big part of us!  So good to see him anywhere!
  • At Four Daughters – the social work department is attempting to promote more social activities! The first was at Four Daughters. We were a small group but we were treated to a tour of the wine and cider making equipment and had a delicious dinner together.  And the ED social workers kept the party going by visiting various rooftops in Rochester.  A fun night out!
  • At Thursdays on First – Also had a fun night with co-workers listening to music at Thursdays, followed by eats and treats in various locations.  A great night!
  • At the Minnesota Zoo – We spent a steamy day at the zoo in July!  What fun to wander there with grandkids and to watch them watching the animals.  Such a great day!
  • At the Minnesota Twins – We had prime seats to watch the Twins (vs. Chicago White Sox) on a beautiful day! It was Chris’s first game at the Target Field in Minnesota – he thought it was only for concerts and food & wine shows!  Even though they lost, it was a great game (extra innings) and good fun with the family.
  • At Skyline Raceway – with Chris’s work family (ha!) we rode go-karts, played mini-golf, and ate great food.
  • At Flapdoodles – we’ve visited the new south Flapdoodles a few times… have to celebrate National Hot Fudge Sundae day, and National Ice Cream Day, and whatever else needs celebrating….
  • At various new (to us) restaurants – we’ve tried out some new places, in addition to our favorites.  Luna Rosa Wine Bar in Stillwater with Marissa and Adam, Pittsburgh Blue in Edina after a hair appt, Fogo de Chao in Minneapolis for Chris’s birthday, Hen House Eatery for breakfast downtown Minneapolis, World Street Kitchen and MilkJam Creamery for dinner before a movie in Uptown, and Modist Brewery before the Mini Takes the States gathering in Minneapolis.  Ah, good memories!

A Birthday Road Trip –  Chris and I took a road trip in June. We celebrated his birthday at Fogo de Chao and then the next day we headed north: destination #1 Grand Marais! We motored in his Honda and stopped briefly at our hotel in Grand Marais (incredible view!) before continuing on up to Thunder Bay, Ontario for dinner at Tim Horton’s!  First passport use together!  Grand Marais is beautiful, and home to the World’s Best Donuts, so of course we had to try that for breakfast.  The next day we motored our way back to Duluth, with stops at Cross River, Split Rock Lighthouse, Gooseberry Falls, and finally our hotel in Duluth. We ate at Grandma’s Saloon, Amazing Grace for breakfast, toured the William F. Irvin shipping boat, and then made it back to have some dinner at Rochesterfest.  We know how to pack in a lot on a road trip!  We are planning our great big Birthdayversary Trip to the East Coast now – so much fun to anticipate these trips!

Movies – At home I’m binge watching The Gilmore Girls in preparation for this FALL!  Can’t wait to catch up with them all again!  So not many movies on Netflix of late…. Seriously, just checked my “recent activity” on Netflix and it’s all Gilmore Girls and episodes of Grace and Frankie!  I love Grace and Frankie and recommend it!  It’s a Netflix series with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. I thought Season 2 was better than Season 1.  Good stuff!

In June I did buy a streaming live ticket to see She Loves Me live from Broadway!  Invited some girls over and we had Ice Cream during intermission (“Ice cream! He bought me ice cream!”).  It was fun to see a Broadway show and exciting to know that it was LIVE!  There were technical difficulties in the beginning so that was a little frustrating but we got through… and it was great fun!

In the theatre:

  • Me Before You – Thought it would be all book club mamas but there were a lot of teens in the audience!  It is a good rendition of the book.  Not as detailed but the things they left out were ok.  Shock ending to those that hadn’t read the book!
  • Don’t Think Twice – So. Fun. For weeks I had on my calendar that there was a showing of this new movie written and directed by Mike Birbiglia, playing in Minneapolis.  When I went to get tickets eventually, it was sold out.  So I was thrilled to get the newsletter from Mr. Birbiglia saying they added another show and I quickly bought tickets.  He was there at the end for a Q&A and it was very fun.  Chris got a high five from him (he collects high-fives from famous people, evidently – well, Mike Birbiglia and Glen Hansard, two of my favorites!).  The movie was great, as well.  An improv troupe in NYC is facing changes as they all strive to be noticed for national television shows (ala SNL) and their theatre space is being closed for some big expensive NYC thing.  I recommend you see this if you can – and it is being released in Minneapolis and other big cities, so you can!  Good stuff.
  • Ghostbusters – took a crew to see who was ‘fraid of the ghosts!  I realized that I wasn’t a super fan of the first movie but this was great fun for me.  It was great to see all the cameos, I was just scared enough (I hate being scared) and knew that it was silly fun scaredy-stuff, and the ‘busters were fun to listen to.
  • Jason Bourne  – we watched all the Bourne movies at home over the past year, so this was the first one seen in the theatre.  Uff.  It’s a wild ride.  When I’m at home I can walk to the kitchen, remaining in ear shot, and avoid the stressful stuff.  In the theatre I just closed my eyes a lot.  A. Lot. Not going to overanalyze the Bourne, just enjoyed a night at the movies!

I’m reading Books again – Since my last post in June about the 3rd Provence book, I’ve read a few books!  Maybe I’ll legitimately reach my book goal for 2016!

  • Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (author of The Paris Wife) – so captivating! Based on real people and real events, a story of ex-patriots living in Africa. The main character is Beryl Markham, a fascinating woman with a fascinating story. Highly recommend!
  • Life’s a Beach by Claire Cook – a light summer read. Nothing earth shattering or remarkable. Just something to keep me reading!
  • Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – for FC book club. A story of three women in WWII and how their lives connect. It was up to the brink of horrifying (WWII is so filled with horrifying stories) and led to great discussion at book club. As usual, I finished the book in time to wipe away the tears and run off to discuss it. We had good discussion (about the book and otherwise – also, as usual!).
  • All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner – a compelling book about a successful woman’s spiral downward with addiction to pain pills. It showed the hard work she had to do to maintain her addiction, her lifestyle, and then the hard work she had to do to start on her road to sobriety.
  • Currently reading All Summer Long by Dorothea Benton Frank.
  • Also currently listening on Audible to Hamilton by Ron Chernow.
  • And  Four Friends by Robyn Carr (taking too long, may drop it).

Phew!  I’m tired.  This is a glimpse into our life. So much to be happy about!  Right now I’m looking forward to Ferragosto 2016, hoping for relaxation at the end of the dock for days and days… more books, some movies, good talks with good friends. What else could you want?  We are also having a lot of fun planning our East Coast adventure this fall.  We are going to do some leaf-peeping, hoping for a good showing of autumn brilliance, but most importantly we will see the people that are important to Chris out there!  Looking forward to meeting the people he talks about.  And seeing his dad again.🙂

So enjoy your August, enjoy the photos below, and if you feel so moved, let me know what is making you happy!

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I Promise You This by Patricia Sands

 

I Promise You ThisI am thankful to have been given the opportunity to read the third in the Love in Provence trilogy in advance of release date.  I reviewed Patricia Sand’s first book in the trilogy, The Promise of Provence in July of 2013 (and it is a pretty great review, if I do say so myself, so please click through on this link and re-read it!), so when Emma from Words and Peace sent out an email looking for reviewers for the third in the series, I quickly devoured the second and signed up!   I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  See below for a giveaway so that you can get your own copy!  

Patricia’s books read like travel guides with some plot thrown in.  The descriptions of the locales and the food and the people make it feel as though you’re there!  It helps that I follow Patricia’s Instagram account (@patricialsands) and see her eautiful photos of France and her travels ! Click HERE to see her travel journal and Fall in Love with Provence!  

The second book (Promises to Keep) finds Kat remaining in France with Philippe and exploring their relationship. There’s some drama and intrigue, but nothing scary.  I don’t do scary, after all.  The book ends with a cliff hanger and I Promise You This picks up with Kat returning to her native Toronto to care for her great friend who was in a bad auto accident.

This third and final book in the Love in Provence series has Kat looking in her heart and wondering if she can leave the first and only home she has known for a new life in France. Being in her childhood home while her friend recuperates from her life-threatening accident brings Kat closure – with her ex-husband’s betrayal and with her mother’s death.  She packs up her treasured memories and boxes them for their voyage to her new home in France, wondering if she will ever return.  She is never unsure about her feelings for Philippe and their life together in Provence, even though an old beau professes his feelings.

This is a satisfying  resolution to this story of a woman starting her life over after an emotional crisis. In the first book her mother taught her that “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Her friends taught her to “Take a chance. Make a choice to change your life.” In this final book in the trilogy, her new found friend, Simone, teaches her “Once you choose to do what you really want to do, you will begin living a different kind of life. It will be the life you are meant to be living in that moment of time.”  Kat and Philippe are looking forward with great happiness to opening their Inn, to developing the website blending their love for photography and cheese (Fromagegraphie – love it!).  Their happiness exudes and Kat realizes that home is, truly, where your heart is.  

Kat and Philippe are living the life of their dreams – doing what they love, loving what they do.  Seems like I just read some articles about happiness that insist that very same theme – live authentically! (Like this one and this one!) And here are some quotes:

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Ghandi

“The basic thing is that everyone wants happiness, no one wants suffering. And happiness mainly comes from our own attitude, rather than from external factors. If your own mental attitude is correct, even if you remain in a hostile atmosphere, you feel happy.” – HH The Dalai Lama

“Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.” – Helen Keller

As I said earlier, these books read as travel guides and make you yearn for your own travel adventures – thankfully I now have a fresh passport and am always ready!   France is definitely on the list!

Patricia Sands

on Tour

May 17-26

with

I Promise You This

I Promise You This

(women’s fiction)

Release date: May 17, 2016
at Lake Union Publishing

ISBN: 978-1503935723
365 pages

Author’s page | Goodreads

 

SYNOPSIS

Suddenly single after twenty-two years of marriage, the calm of Katherine Price’s midlife has turned upside down. Seeking to find her true self, she took a chance on starting over. A year later, she is certain of this: she’s in love with Philippe and adores his idyllic French homeland, where he wants her to live with him.

But all that feels like a fantasy far removed from Toronto, where she’s helping her friend Molly, hospitalized after a life-threatening accident. Staying in her childhood home full of memories, Katherine wonders: Is she really ready to leave everything behind for an unknown life abroad? And if all her happiness lies with Philippe, will it last? Can she trust in love again?

Searching her heart, Katherine finds the pull of the familiar is stronger than she thought. An unexpected meeting with her ex, the first time since his cruel departure, and a stunning declaration of love from an old flame spur her introspection.

With sunlit backdrops and plot twists as breathtaking as the beaches of Côte d’Azur, author Patricia Sands brings her trilogy about second chances to a provocative and satisfying close that proves that a new life just might be possible—if you’re willing to let your heart lead you home.

BOOK TRAILER

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I Promise You This Patricia Sands

A confessed travel-addict,
best-selling author
Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada,
when she isn’t somewhere else,
and calls the south of France her second home.
I Promise You This,
is Book 3 in her award-winning Love in Provence series.
Find Patricia on Facebook,
on Twitter
on Instagram
at her Amazon Author Page
or her website

Subscribe to her mailing list and get information about new releases.

Buy the book : Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | Amazon.fr | available on Barnes & Noble on May 17

***

You can enter the global giveaway here
or on any other book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook,
they are listed in the entry form below
.

Enter here

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open internationally:
10 participants will each win a copy of this book, print or digital

***

CLICK ON THE BANNER
TO READ REVIEWS AND EXCERPTS

I Promise You This Banner

 

A Summary of Summery Events!

Prepping for summer, the Cosmo Girls created a list of Summer Events in the area so that there is always a social event at the ready!  I typed up an excel sheet and emailed it to all, including the websites that provide further information, but I will post a condensed version here and trust that you can do your own research if you are interested in learning more about what is happening!  Of course, the list is not exhaustive, as we live close to Wisconsin and close to the Twin Cities, where something is always going on, but these either close to Rochester or involve a few bands I think are a hoot!  (If you’d like an emailed copy, write a comment below and I’ll email it to you – so you can sort to your heart’s content!)

Enjoy!

Date Event Location TIME Type
29-May Arch Allies Boiler Days in Arcadia, WI Live music/Dance
2-Jun Thursdays on First First St and Peace Plaza vendors /  music
4-Jun Rochester Art Center 70th Anniversary Party Rochester celebration
4-Jun Rhubarb Festival Lanesboro, MN small town celebration
7-Jun Community Singalong 7-8:30 Peace Plaza, Rochester singing
11-Jun Movies in the Park – The Intern Central Park, Rochester 9pm movie
June 15-June19 Steamboat Days Winona, MN town celebration
June 17-June 18 Straight River Days Medford, MN small town celebration
June 18-June 26 Rochesterfest Rochester town celebration
June 21-June 23 Rochesterfest Book Sale Roch Public Library ? sale
15-Jun Hairball Steamboat Days, Winona Live music/Dance
18-Jun Hangar Fly-In & Dance 9am-sundown planes and a dance (5-11)
19-Jun Art in the Park Lanesboro, MN 10A-5P vendors /  music
20-Jun Happy Hour Entertainment – Six Mile Grove Rochesterfest grounds 5p- Live music/Dance
22-Jun Phish Minneapolis ? live music / dance
23-Jun Rochesterfest Hot Air Balloon Glow ?? Dusk celebration
24-Jun Rochesterfest Parade Rochesterfest route 6:15start parade
June 24-June26 Lake City Waterski Days Lake City, MN small town celebration
25-Jun Hairball Cresco, IA Howard County Fair Live music/Dance
25-Jun Movies in the Park – Alexander and the Terible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day Central Park, Rochester 9pm movie
26-Jun Tammy Van Moer’s Birthday everywhere All Day celebration
26-Jun 1860s Baseball History Center historic
26-Jun Hairball Lake City Waterski Days Live music/Dance
26-Jun Gay Pride Parade Minneapolis ? parade
July 1-July 4 Austin Freedom Fest Austin, MN small town celebration
1-Jul Arch Allies Clear Lake, IA ? Live music/Dance
2-Jul Stewartville Street Dance Stewartville, MN ? Live music/Dance
4-Jul Harmony 4th of July Harmony, MN small town celebration
July 8-July 9 Basilica Block Party St. Paul, MN Live music/Dance
July 11-July 17 Rushford Days Rushford, MN small town celebration
9-Jul Movies in the Park – Jurassic World Central Park, Rochester 9pM movie
10-Jul Down by the Riverside – Soul Asylum The riverside 7pm Live music/Dance
22-Jul Movies at the History Center Barn movie
23-Jul Movies in the Park – Cool Runnings Central Park, Rochester 9pm movie
24-Jul Arch Allies Mystic Lake Casino  – Ribfest Live music/Dance
July 29-July 31 Wabasha Riverboat Days small town celebration
August 5 – August 7 Buffalo Bill Days Lanesboro, MN small town celebration
August 5-August 7 River City Days Red Wing, MN small town celebration
August 11- August 14 Western Days Chatfield, MN small town celebration
13-Aug Sudden Lovelies Dance at Western Days, Chatfield Live music/Dance
8/12ish-8/21 Ferragosto French Lake, Faribault Danette’s Italian holiday on French Lake
August 16-August 21 Ag Days Spring Valley, MN small town celebration
August 18-August 20 Corn on the Cob Days Plainview, MN small town celebration
August 19-August 21 Goodview Days Goodview, MN small town celebration
August 26-September 4 MN State Fair St. Paul, MN The Great Minnesota Get-Together
Fri/Sat/Sun The Nelson Stone Barn Nelson, WI 5-9PM pizza farm
Fridays Suncrest Gardens Farm Cochrane, WI 4:30-8:30 pizza farm
July 11-July 17 Rushford Days Rushford, MN small town celebration
Saturdays Farmer’s Market Rochester 7:30-12:39 vendors /  music
Sept 9 – Sept 11 Watermelon Fest Kellogg, MN small town celebration
Sundays (3rd)  May – Oct Red Barn Farm Northfield, MN 11:30-3:30 pizza farm
Thursdays Suncrest Gardens Farm Cochrane, WI 4:30-8:30 pizza farm
Thursdays Grower’s Market Chatfield, MN vendors /  music
Thursdays Thursdays on First Peace Plaza, Rochester vendors /  music
Tuesdays Taco Tuesday Tap House, Rochester live music / food
Wednesdays Berne Wood Fired Pizza Berne, MN 5-8PM pizza farm
Wednesdays Red Barn Farm Northfield, MN 4-8:30 pizza farm
Wednesdays Farmer’s Market Stewartville, MN evenings vendors /  music

 

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Urban Dictionary: reading slump

TOP DEFINITION
a readers worst nightmare.

not being able to pick up a book and read because you just can’t, you just can’t read.

person 1: “what’s the matter with you?”
reader: ” I CAN’T READ , NO BOOK IS GOOD ENOUGH, LEAVE ME ALONE, READING SLUMP

person 1: uhm….. okay.

Source: Urban Dictionary: reading slump

According to Goodreads, I am “currently reading” 6 books, and that doesn’t include the one I am actually listening to and the one I picked up last night, in the hopes to get out of this slump.  Uff.  I’m a one-at-a-time girl, so having 8 books in the air is not like me.  On Goodreads you can create folders and a while ago I created a “did not finish – taking too long” (DNF in the book blog world).  I’ll have to do some updating, I guess, but really these are all books that I do want to finish.  So I’ll leave them in my Currently Reading folder and hope to get in the mood to read them soon!

So I’ve implemented a few action steps to hopefully jumpstart my reading again.

  • I picked up Maeve Binchy.  A book of a collection of her short stories was published after her death.  They are previously published stories, in magazines, other compilations, etc., and now they’re all together in a book called “A Few of the Girls.”  Reading Maeve is like talking to an old friend.  I think she’ll keep me reading a bit.
  • I started listening to “The Girl on the Train.” I’ve heard good things about it and am finding it compelling to listen to.  It’s a little hard to follow the audio, as I remember things differently when I listen vs read with my eyes, but I think I’ve gotten past the confusing part and am excited to listen to more.
  • I went to Books on Tap at Forager Brewery last night.  It’s been on my calendar since it began but last night was the first night the stars aligned so I could go. The group is informal and flexible and different every meeting, I think.  All you need to do is talk about what you’re reading right now, books you love, books you hate, anything related to books.  The moderator from the library kept a running list of every book that was mentioned and will email it out to all.  I can talk about books, even if I’m not reading anything currently, and I got some sympathy from the avid readers for the feeling of being in a slump.  I didn’t want to go alone, so Jenny was going to meet me there, but she was late and it was ok.  I could go alone next time if I had to.  Of course, the best part was rehashing books and life and having a little supper afterwards with Jenny, but I could go alone if I had to.  Book people are book people!
  • And yesterday I signed up to do a book blog about a book by Patricia Sands.  I read and reviewed “The Promise of Provence” a few years ago and another of her books is being released on May 17 (“I Promise you This”).  It’s the 3rd in a trilogy, so I guess I better read the second one quick!  See!  There’s incentive and desire to read!

Have you ever had a reading slump?  What did you do about it?

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What if…

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Tuesday night we went to see the touring Broadway musical, “If/Then.”  I was excited to see it, because Anthony Rapp (of Adventures in Babysitting fame – ha!), who starred in it on Broadway, was also with the touring company.  I listened to the Broadway Cast Recording a few times and I knew that there was a dual story line of “what could have been,” but the ending was a surprise to me – very sweet.

AIB anthony rapp

Then & Now: Daryl in Adventures in Babysitting and Lucas in If/Then

The story shows the life lived when chances are taken, when the heart wins over the mind, and when a life is lived fully.  Tonight at Cosmo Girls we watched “About Time,” the little British drama about time travel that is also sweet and thought provoking.  The movie and the play  both have the message that each day we get to start over and make a choice about what kind of life we’re going to live.  Each day is filled with choices and what we do with the road we travel is what can make life meaningful and full.

The musical numbers do not translate well into a singalong, but the songs tell quite a story.   Songs encouraging taking leaps, songs wondering “what if?”, songs of love to a baby, songs questioning whether you would change your path if you knew  your story ends with hurt, and a song with an expletive in it questioning what just happened.  Idina Menzel was the original lead on Broadway, but the touring actress was a look-alike and sound-alike – quite a powerhouse.

So glad we saw it.  Enjoy a few clips of the music.  And ponder your own “What if…”

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Minneapolis, MN Orpheum 3.8.16

Leaps and Bounds

Leap

I don’t remember many Leap Days of the past, but here are some ramblings…

  • The year Marissa was born was a Leap Year.  With a due-date in late February 1988, I had wondered what it would be like to have a Leap Day Baby.  She had a Leap Day Baby in her graduating class, so we do think of her every Leap Day!
  • I remember taking a Leap Day walk with Beth where we did many Leaps along the way – over puddles, over cracks in the sidewalk, over tall buildings (ha!).  It was a fun walk (one of many) but leaping made the day memorable!
  • Leap Day 2008 was closing day on my flooded Rushford house. Marissa and I just drove around Winona instead of going to the closing – tears were shed, memories were shared.  Probably the most memorable Leap Day for me and the day was chosen purposefully so that it wouldn’t be a yearly memory – once every four years!
  • And now to Leap Day Present.  Nothing memorable – just reflections of how much can happen in four years!  Leaps and Bounds!
  • I didn’t know Chris in 2012  and now I look forward to spending the rest of my Leap Days and all the days between with him.
  • It’s the 2nd Leap Day in this home – 8 year anniversary is coming up in July!
  • Next Leap Day, little August will be 4! Kaydee will be 8 and Emma will be 5! I’ll be in a new decade (Yikes) and we will hopefully be debt free?
  • Today I told my mom she should have a party pretending to serve foods inspired by all things leaping – rabbit stew, frogs’ legs, Mexican jumping beans… it didn’t happen but we will have to plan it for the next time Leap Day rolls around!

Looking back, February 2016 was again filled with friends, family and fun! Chronologically:

  • Lunch with Cindy and a Take Note! party at Beth’s!
  • A Tropical Celebration with my parents for their birthdays, retirements and their anniversary – a Permanent Vacation party!
  • Superbowl party and Mayo Basketball!
  • The Forager for dessert and Panera for dinner with Chris’s kids.
  • Prescott’s for Valentine’s celebration amid Chris’s big work weeks. His new job meant a shift change and overtime work.
  • Celebrating Marissa’s birthday and SocialICE 2016!
  • The Grammy’s and the Oscar’s and Downton Abbey and movies at home!
  • Belated Margarita festivities with friends at El Patron, Nupa with Sierra and family and Victoria’s with Kevin.
  • “The Lady in the Van” at the Wehrenberg

Now we’re staring at March… what madness will ensue?!

March

What’s been making me happy…

February is in full swing… lots of fun things to look forward to!  But here’s a quick look back on January goodness….

In January I visited some new places:

  • Bunny’s Bar & Grill in St. Louis Park – right around the corner from Marissa and Adam’s home is the local hangout.  Good food!  Went there with Chris and Kevin during a quick trip to Microcenter – had to get some Nana time!
  • LTS Brewing Company – Cosmo Girls goodness, as usual, at a local brewery. LTS = Life’s Too Short – and ain’t that the truth!  We had some great conversation with one of the proprietors and learned a lot about beer making and about his life philosophy.  Cool place.  Must go back.
  • Five West – owned by the Loop, a beautiful location out in western Rochester.  A great night there with Chris, spending the Powerball money we didn’t win.🙂
  • HyVee – we wandered around the new HyVee out by Five West. It is monstrous! Fun to see. Would love to take a class there!
  • Radisson Hotel LaCrosse and the Three Rivers Restaurant – Chris and I were able to go to my dad’s retirement party with his work peeps.  Lots of wonderful and fun stories told about dad – nothing surprising!  He’s a wonderful and fun man!
  • The Breakfast Club and Pub – a cute theme joint in LaCrosse where we went for breakfast the next morning. They take the theme seriously, which is always good to see! All John Hughes all the time!
  • Treasure Island and Xtreme Bowling – Chris’s LOL work party. We ate, we drank, we bowled and we gambled.  And the only thing I lost was my lipstick!
  • Eat Street Social – Minneapolis – girl’s weekend with Marissa (and August!) and Trisha. Met Deadra and Maya here Sunday for brunch and it was delish!  A fried egg BLT. Oh my.  Yum! Saturday Marissa, Trisha and I ate at Surly’s Brew Pub Hall – delicious food there, too!  Busy places…

Other than all that goodness, January has been filled with basketball, Emma’s first birthday party, date-night and double-date night, Scrabble with Kevin, book club in Preston, and only one movie in the theatre!  We saw “The Big Short,” which was so smart and complicated.  Uff. That stuff happened … and is happening again????  Yikes.  We attempted to watch “Mad Max: Fury Road” on TV for the sake of Oscar’s, but it is really just too something-something. NOT my style of movie. Hard to watch, even in my own living room.

So of the best picture nominees, I have only seen “The Big Short,” “The Martian,” and “Brooklyn.”  LOVED Brooklyn. Sweet movie.  Not a banner year for my movie viewing! Too much other goodness… I did get two books read, which is a great thing for me!  Yay!  Maybe I’ll get back into the swing of things!

Much to look forward to – hope the same is true for you!

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Oscar nominations 2016 –

Nominees: BEST PICTURE
“Spotlight”
“The Big Short”
“The Revenant”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Brooklyn”
“Room”

Nominees: BEST ACTOR
Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”)
Matt Damon (“The Martian”)
Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”)
Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”)
Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”)

Nominees: BEST ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett (“Carol”)
Brie Larson (“Room”)
Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”)
Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”)

Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”)

Nominees: BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale (“The Big Short”)
Tom Hardy (“The Revenant”)
Mark Ruffalo (“Spotlight”)
Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”)

Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”)


Nominees: BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight”)
Rooney Mara (“Carol”)
Rachel McAdams (“Spotlight”)
Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”)
Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”)

Nominees: BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Matt Charman, Joel & Ethan Coen (“Bridge of Spies”)
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley (“Inside Out”)
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (“Spotlight”)
Alex Garland (“Ex Machina”)

Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff (“Straight Outta Compton”)


Nominees: BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Emma Donoghue (“Room”)
Drew Goddard (“The Martian”)
Nick Hornby (“Brooklyn”)
Adam McKay and Charles Randolph (“The Big Short”)
Phyllis Nagy (“Carol”)

Nominees: BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”
“Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction

“Simple Song #3” from “Youth”
“Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”
“Writings on the Wall” from “Spectre”

 

#marriedlife2015

Our life in a nutshell… readying for more goodness in #sweet2016!

#marriedlife2015 * Emilee Ashlynn Overton born* Basketball * LaCrosse, WI * Dahl Automotive Museum * Tony and Tien * Starlite Lounge * American Sniper * Take Note! Choir Monday nights * Madison, WI * Flaming Mos * Ella’s Deli * The Imitation Game * Signing to SDSU * Osaka Birthday lunch with Mom * Art Show open house * Double Dates with Beth and Doug * Paddington * Soccer World with Kaydee * SocialICE * Brrrrr * Beersicle * The Doggery is a favorite * Birthday by the pool * Marissa is 27 * Basketball * Oscars 2015 * Still Alice * Almost Maine * Lanesboro, MN * Mini Cooper * 2015 4 door 200 hp * Go-Kart Handling * 100% more doors * Thirsty Belgian * Beth’s Birthday * Blues Fest * Cinderella * Gracie is 13 * The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel * La Poblana * Chris’s road trip to Rhode Island * Relocating friends * McFarland, USA * broken tooth * Baseball * Lakeview Drive-Inn * Texas Roadhouse * Gunnar is 18 * Danette is an LICSW * Such relief * Johnny Holm * Mac’s Restaurant * breakfast all day * Book Club * Minnesota Monthly Food and Wine Show * Winona, MN * Minnesota Marine Art Museum * Blue Heron * Lake Winona * Casablanca * Kentucky Derby * Take Note! * Gender Reveal * It’s a boy! * Billy Joel * Singalong at Gluek’s * Ike’s Food * 25th Anniversary party for Chuck and Carolyn * Graduation party for Sierra * Trajan is 16 * Pitch Perfect 2 * Memorial Day in Lanesboro * Thursdays on First * Gunnar Graduates June 2015 * We’ll Always Have Paris, a Memoir * Campfire with Friends * Road Trip to Chippewa Falls * The Leinie Lodge is booked up * Showdown in Curd Town * Ellsworth, WI * Tractor Pull * Spy * Mississippi Sippin’ * June birthday vacation at the Lake * Once * State Theatre * The Local * Hoy’s Resort * No pelicans this year * Ted 2 * Minnehaha Falls * Lola’s Lakehouse * Waconia, MN * Parley Lake Winery * All-Star Football game * hottest day ever * Mankato Air Show * Food Truck Summit * Inside Out * 4th of July * Minions with Kaydee * Book Guilt * Not reading much * Magic Mike XXL with the girls * Trainwreck * Tooth extraction and implant * live music * rooftops * The Afterwhiles * Marissa and Adam buy house in July * #2015isamachine * Gunnar goes to SDSU * Family time * Ferragosto * Hoy’s Resort for meals * National Day of Relaxation * August 15 * Mini in the Mountain road trip * Mitchell, SD * Corn Palace * Wall, SD * Wall Drug * Mount Rushmore National Memorial * Rocket Motel * Iron Mountain Road * Needles Highway * Wyoming * Loveland, CO * Denver, CO * Kristyn and Andrew and Natalie * Snooze * Estes Park, CO * Rocky Mountain National Park * Vail, CO * The Arrabelle at Vail Square * Continental Divide * Pikes Peak * Nebraska * Iowa * Derek’s shouse * Football * Berne Wood Fired Pizza * Macy is 13 * Thursdays on First * Sierra is 19 * The Afterwhiles * The Great Minnesota Get-Together * State Fair * Everything on a Stick * Hot September * Ricki and the Flash * Cosmo Girls * Bowling * Garden Party * Meals * Cosmos * Thankfulness * Rees is 10 * RYFA Rees’s turn *Me Before You *  Taylor Swift * I’m a Swiftie * hugs * A Walk in the Woods * Sierra and Aaron buy a house in September * Pickle Factor * Pepin, WI * On a Budget * Painful / Not Painful * Birthdayversary week * August Edward Rother born* Nana ‘Nette * Terza Rooftop * Pizzeria Lola * Couples massage * Covington Inn B&B * we’re on a boat * Surly Brewing * Christos for anniversary dinner * Love Greek * The Martian 3D * Sierra and Aaron get married in October * This queen gets a crown * Dentist work is no fun * Tyler is 23 * The Intern * Medea at SMU * baby cuddles * Satellite Sisters * You’re the Best * book signing * Satellite Misters! * The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 * Glen Hansard * State Theatre * Ethan is 10 * Worked during Thanksgiving * Kevin is 17 * Bendson Cousins get-together * found a Cuban café in Rochester * Messiah Singalong * Take Note Christmas concert * Winona Brass Band * Cosmo Girls * Kaydee is 4 * Creed * Nana Duty * Star Wars: The Force Awakens * Twice * 3D Imax * Brooklyn * Pho * Honda CR-Z * One-Year * Almost a record *  Netflix Binges * Long Way Round * Gracie and Frankie * Orange is the New Black * The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt * Mad Men Finale * Refinance at Forest Knoll * Books * Book Club * #sweet2016 ahead

A Month of Gratitude

I failed at the Daily Gratitude Posts on Facebook this November, so I thought I’d attempt a wrap up of the month.  There is, indeed, so much to be thankful for!

Oh-So-Grateful

I am grateful for the arts – music, movies, theatre… 

  • Chris and I saw Madea at Saint Mary’s University in Winona – a translation from Seneca which was creative and interesting to see!
  • 10 years of Take Note! Amazing… 10 years ago we created a group with people who loved to sing showtunes. We moved on a few years ago to incorporate different genres, but we still have a great time!  We have put on 10 Christmas concerts (our final one with our current director is this Sunday!) and 9 spring concerts. We have performed at community events, nursing homes, and with college students.  It has been a touchstone in my life, keeping me connected with the community where I grew up and raised my daughter, with my friends, and provided me with great visits with my parents.  Let’s see what the next journey is!
  • Koni, Gracie and I saw the final installment of the Hunger Games series, The Mockingjay Part 2.  We went to a late show and sat holding hands through the entire movie! Just a little stressful, that final flick.  A war film with monsters. I watched some through my fingers and asked for spoilers (Gracie remembers the story better than I do!). Glad to see it through!
  • Chris and I saw Glen Hansard at the State Theatre in Minneapolis! I don’t know what it is about Glen, but his passion for his art moves me. I had tears in my eyes for the first four songs!  He started the concert unamplified with strings. Wow.  Chris appreciated the live music and got a handshake as he came up the aisle!  A fun night! Tickets were purchased in August – the anticipation was worth it!

 

I am grateful for family – 

  • We had a great weekend in Rushford during opening buck season. Many cuddles with baby August, Gracie’s first buck, Rees’s first hunt (with the big ones that got away!), and movies and relaxing together. Only thing that would have made it better would have been having Derek’s family and Chris there!
  • We had a delicious tuna casserole (made mostly by Chris) at Sierra’s house, with games and books and good times!  We also had Kaydee over to help decorate our Christmas tree – complete with hot cocoa and cookies!
  • I worked during Thanksgiving so I missed all of the family time in Rushford. But Dana and Koni invited us over (via an email from Rees!) for a Thanksgiving Feast on Saturday night! We had great food, great family time, and played some fun games (Suspend for the win!)!
  • Sunday we drove to the Cities for time with the Bendson Cousins! Kristyn, Andrew & Natalie  and Emily and Andrew were home and we joined them with Ruth and Steve and Marissa, Adam and August for snacks and chili. All was delicious and the company was fantastic. A great celebration of family!
  • The basketball season is underway, so we have made a few games with many more on the calendar!  I hope to make as many as possible!  Trajan, Gracie and Rees are all playing, so it’ll be a whirlwind!
  • It’s hard to get enough snuggles of that new little grandbaby. He’s giving us those precious smiles and it’s hard to stop looking at him. Love him so!  Marissa is counting down the days left at home, so send special wishes and prayers her way!
  • I’m looking forward to December and hoping for some quality family time, grandbaby snuggles, and Christmas cheer!

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I am grateful for friends – 

  • Cosmo Girls met at my house in November and the focus was gratitude. How appropriate, eh? We watched YouTube videos, TED Talks, discussed what we’re grateful for, and of course there were laughs.  We left everyone with a notebook to keep track of the things they’re thankful for and Thank You notes to send.  I’m going to start my daily journaling in December – so that’s tomorrow!  Looking forward to getting in to a habit of writing again!
  • The Satellite Sisters were in Minnesota for a book signing and us faithful followers drove up to be with them and get books signed by them!  They are amazing women/sisters, and it was fun to see Sheila and Liz in person and hear the stories they chose to share. There were many laughs and a few tears.  We had a great time and I’m so thankful that my Satellite Mister from NYC was able to  come to Minnesota and spend a little time with us.  He Periscoped from the Brooklyn signing and it was so fun to get that glimpse into the next-generation of women who wrote for the book, and it wasn’t too hard to convince him to trek to MN!  We had a great time with the Sisters as well as over dinner at Parma 8200.  It was such a fun day!
  • Work has been a little calmer than earlier in the fall.  I worked a lot of afternoons, evenings and overnights during November, so I am not used to getting up in the morning but I am working on it.🙂  I’m thankful for my coworkers who work hard, are supportive and fun.  It makes the difficult stuff we do a joy.
  • I am looking forward to some intentional quality time with friends during this holiday season, as well!  I’m going to start making plans soon!  Time is precious!

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I am grateful for so much.

  • For the cookie dough I whipped up, which is in the refrigerator waiting to be rolled out into stars.
  • For Hulu and Netflix – I love commercial-free television.
  • For books – I’m hoping to spend more time reading and less time on Facebook in December.
  • For quotes and words and pictures.
  • For the wonderful autumn we have experienced so far – it has been amazing!
  • For Trader Joe’s.
  • And most of all for my daughter, the beautiful new momma, and my husband, my confidant and rock.

Life is good.

affirmation-gratitude-800x450

 

Eternity

William Blake, 17571827

He who binds to himself a joy 
Does the winged life destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise