I have the opportunity to be part of Nicole Baart’s street team to promote her new novel, which comes out mid-June! I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy for my Kindle through NetGalley and gobbled it right up!
The story is about a mom-daughter duo who become Insta-famous and is told brilliantly from many perspectives and timelines.I loved the description of the Instagram photos and thought the book was just about as dramatic as I could handle. I’m not one for books with a lot of suspense or darkness, and this one went right up to the edge for me.
Nicole did a giveaway, which sadly is already over, but she encouraged people to think about their journeys in life and how taking “the long way back” sometimes brings you the best joy. I know that at the end of travels, getting home quickly can sometimes be the goal, but it is important to remember that the Long Way Back can afford you a different view of your return and of your home and can help you to savor every moment of the journey.
I love books set in Minnesota and this one takes place “up north,” in a fictional town north of Duluth. I’m pretty sure I’ve been there and can imagine the houses and beaches on Lake Superior. The book also touches on current concerns, such as social media influence.
As I said, I gobbled this book up and hope that people look for it when it is released on June 13!
I always review the year as it closes… list the books I’ve read, the places I’ve been, the things I’ve celebrated. I usually write it up in Christmas card letter style, but this year I haven’t gotten around to it! Here’s an attempt to recap 2022 before too much of 2023 is behind me as well!
ONE new job for me! In July our supervisor told us that she was leaving us and moving into another position. I applied and interviewed for the job of ED social work supervisor in August and started the job after Labor Day! It has been a huge learning curve but I think it will be good. One of the biggest perks is no more overnights for me. I was feeling those more and more the older I got. I’m grateful to still work in the ED and to support our team in a different way!
TWO new cars for us! In late September the new MINI Countryman I built and ordered arrived stateside and I took ownership! I love the car. She’s Sage Green Metallic and is named Elphaba. She has great winter tires (thanks, Chris!) and with All4 I have been tooling around in this weather easily. And at the end of the year (literally, 12/28/22), Chris bought a 4 door Jeep Rubicon – the car of his overlanding dreams.
THREE Broadway shows during a NYC trip with Marissa in February! We went to ONE cabaret, TWO piano bars and THREE Broadway shows in the FOUR nights we were there! We saw Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster in The Music Man; we saw Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick in Plaza Suite; and we almost saw Patti LuPone in Company (thanks, Covid!).
FOUR trips for us this year – 1) Me to NYC in February with Marissa 2) Chris to Wyoming for the BDR (Backroads Discovery Route) in June with Tyler, 3) Both of us on a road trip with Beth and Doug to Bourbon Country and Music City, and 4) Chris and I flew to see family in NH for his dad’s 70th birthday! A total of TWELVE states involved in those trips!
SIX movies in the theatre this year – that’s it! I saw Downton Abbey: A New Era (Fun to see old friends on a big screen!), Top Gun: Maverick (What a satisfying movie! Just so great!), Elvis (An amazing movie! The time flew…), Where the Crawdads Sing (with book club!) Bros (great fun!) and Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (A cute movie I saw with Deadra so we could relive our Paris adventures!). Of course there were other movies that I streamed and loved – Coda (AMAZING! And award winning!) and Good Luck to You, Leo Grande. We watched The Offer about the making of the Godfather, which led us to watch The Godfather… lots of good options at home, which is why we didn’t make it to the theatre often!
SIX grandchildren getting older! We didn’t ever get them all together in the same room in 2022 but maybe that will be a goal for 2023! Kaydee turned 11, Emilee is soon to be 8, and Charlotte is soon to be 3; August is 7 and Juniper is 4; Myles just turned 3 on Christmas.
SEVEN Grimsrud cousins recreated a photo from the past at Thanksgiving!
EIGHT books were read for my book club, which has been meeting for … gosh, more than 20 years! In 2022 we read: The Second Life of Mirielle West, Lost and Found in Paris, The Personal Librarian, The Lincoln Highway, Shopaholic and Sister, Dear Edward, Lessons in Chemistry, and The Best Christams Pageant Ever. No matter what we’re talking about we always have a good time! And we have the best food!
We also celebrated EIGHT years of marriage in 2022!
NINE months of the year the Cosmo Girls continue to meet! Don’t know what I’d do without those girls!
TEN dollars we won playing trivia a few times… we started going to trivia nights at a few places in 2022 and I think we got in the top three four times and have racked up about $25 in gift cards to spend for the four of us. We usually end up “going big” and “going home” with nothing to show, except for a fun night with friends.
THIRTY FIVE years since I graduated from high school! It can’t be, right?
SEVENTY FIVE years is what Mom turned in 2022 and Dad will soon take his turn!
ONE HUNDRED percent complete, the year. Of course, these highlights only showcase the smiles and bright spots of the year, but 2022 had its share of ups and downs. Life is full of changes – some changes occur in the blink of an eye and others happen little by little. I’m grateful for my family and my friends who listen and support me and each other and hope that I can be a blessing in the New Year!
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.” T.S. Eliot
“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” Hal Borland
Enjoy a few more photos of some more good times from 2022. And Happy New Year to you!
My reading goal for 2022 was 34 books and I made it! Below are 35 books; my Goodreads also has a CEU book I read for my license renewal in October, but it was not a fun book to read so I didn’t include it here.
We read 8 books for book club and I picked some great summer reads for summer. I loved The Lincoln Highway and think it’s my favorite of the year, but the books by Emily Henry were really pleasantly surprising and right up there – fun with substance! And the Lager Queen of Minnesota was also a really great read.
So enjoy my brief summaries of the books I read in 2022! What is your favorite book for the year?
This year I set a goal of 26 books and according to Goodreads I made that goal! Below are the 37 books I read in 2021. Yay me! I feel like I got my groove back a little and I have big plans for 2022!
Every year I try to find a winter/Christmas themed book to read for fun… this is part of a series and I didn’t know the characters, so I didn’t love it.
A politics themed book which wasn’t too heavy. Part of the Jen Hatmaker’s book club.
Book 14 of a series and I jumped right in! A good read, though…
A signed copy as a gift for Christmas. A local woman and her stay in Italy, resulting in found love. Filled with recipes! (I love a book with recipes!)
The End of the Lupine Season by Laurie Otis: I like to buy books set in my vacation locations – this one is “up north” in Wisconsin – on Madeline Island in Lake Superior. A little mystery, a little local flair.
“A gem of a book!” I said after reading this. We read it for book club and it was a treat.
Another winter-themed book – Scotland this time. I gave it 5 stars!
I actually skimmed through this book and read the Kindle summary book.
I also loved this book! Delightful family. Didn’t want it to end.
For book club, a step outside my typical genre! Very engaging…
A little Irish tale by one of my favorite authors, read during March. Ah.
A character driven novel I didn’t want to end… South Korea and the beauty scene…
For book club – great discussion! I loved her and became very curious about Nigeria…
Decluttering, an endless goal!
Young love, choices… read for work book club (and never discussed!)
Brilliant story for book club. He’s amazing.
Another great book for book club – North Korea and South Korea and China… oh my. And it’s a true story / memoir!
A bit heavy for a summer read…
Book #2 from Arthur Truluv… love these people
Book #3 in this series… great characters!
Great story with twin sisters who start their lives in the south. Great book.
Another memoir about a Korean-American girl and her relationship with her mother.
For book club – so much to think about! How would I act?
And then in the French phase of the year – a YA book about Chanel, who was really quite a character!
A memoir about an American living in France. Some insight into the differences…
Not a book I loved – I didn’t know anything about the author, but felt that I was expected to.
I loved this book and bought a copy for myself. Very artistic – an illustrated story. I bought another of hers and will read it in 2022!
For book club – a great story to discuss!
My French season – a book about occupied France, specifically Paris. Sympathetic characters.
Advanced copy by “local” author (Iowa!). Good mystery and good characters.
Another library story told through the brutal Nazi occupation of St. Malo. Uff.
For book club – we chose a book set in France that wasn’t a WW2 novel. Instead we have the revolution against nobility and modern day friends. I really liked this.
A fun little romance – kind of predictable but enjoyable.
A nice little story about moving from your old life and creating a new one. This book takes place in Brittany, which is one of the locations we visited in France.
I’m late to the game, but a wonderful novel about tough stuff. Nazi occupation, losing family, and horrors of war. But easy to read in its small bites.
Read for book club – fun to read a book written by a local!
And my attempt to get a Christmas book in. Again, another in a series I haven’t read, so I felt behind the game. I’ll have to get more prepared for next Christmas!
I’ve seen some good movies this year but only two movies on the big screen.
In June I saw “In the Heights” on opening weekend in Imax. It was so fun – to see that big musical on a big screen! It was definitely a joyous experience!
On New Year’s Eve I saw “West Side Story” in an afternoon matinee with some girlfriends. It was kind of the opposite experience. It is a big beautiful musical with amazing costumes, exhilarating dancing, and beautiful voices – but it is not joyous! The story is still tragic and there is no big musical number at the end to lift you up. But I’m still glad I saw it!
One day around Thanksgiving, I asked Chris, “Do you think we will ever become people who go to movies again?” We used to go a few times per month – before Chris I went even more frequently! Now we have so many options at home, so it’s easier to stay home and stay cozy and watch what we have. Maybe there will be movies that will entice me enough again, but so far it has only been the two.
I’ve started a list of movies on my phone so I can add to it in one place and try to keep track of where to find them. One of my “things to do” in 2022. It’s probably very 2010 but here you go. I’m gonna start keeping track!
In 2021, movies and series I have enjoyed include:
Bunheads – ah, Sutton
Younger – ah, Sutton
Alice in Paris – the food!
Emily in Paris – the fashion!
TED LASSO!!! – Oh, I wish that everyone could see this… so amazing.
The Morning Show
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
Mad About You – a fun glimpse into their “more adult” life!
Barb & Star Go to Vista del Mar – fun fun fun!
Score: The Hockey Musical – available on Youtube!
Never Have I Ever
9 Perfect Strangers
On the Verge
8-Bit Christmas – an AMAZING movie! I wish everyone could see this!
And Just Like That…
Found – an amazing documentary on Netflix about three girls adopted from China who find that they are cousins and become lifelong friends.
What has been your best-of-2021? What are you looking forward to in 2022?
It’s established that I love a good movie. I haven’t been to the movie theatre for far more than a year, having seen only one film in the theatre in 2020 (“1917”). We’ve done a few high dollar rentals over the year but mostly have found things worth watching on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Prime.
One item on my “21 things in 2021” list is to watch 21 movies from “best of” lists. Mostly movies I have missed but one or two that I want to see again. This April and May friend Jenny and I have started a Film Festival, which I thought we should call COVID Film Festival, but I have just named it the Couch Film Festival. We miss the Rochester International Film Festival, so we are going to look for great international films or Academy Award nominated films to watch, hopefully each week.
We started out the Film Fest with a fun romp that is neither international nor award nominated, but was just loads of goofy fun – “Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar.” It is over-the-top and surprising but there were big laughs! Those women are geniuses! I now own the digital copy so if you want to see it, come on over!
We watched “Minari,” the subtitled American film nominated for Best Picture, which is about a Korean family’s search for the American Dream in 1980s Arkansas. We rented the theatrical release on Prime and I think it was worth it. I would have wanted to see it in a “normal” year, and I’m glad it was available to us this year. Often the little great films don’t come around for long, so it is really nice to be able to find them and pop your own popcorn.
Tonight we watched a nominee for Best International Film, “Another Round” (Denmark). It is billed as a comedy, but there were moments that definitely weren’t funny. In the end I hope they all got their Joy for Life back. That’s what I’ll choose for them.
What’ll be next? Who knows… What is your favorite International Film?
INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM nominees:
THE MAN WHO SOLD HIS SKIN
QUO VADIS, AIDA?
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Best Picture NOMINEES
David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi and Philippe Carcassonne, Producers
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH
Shaka King, Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler, Producers
Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth and Douglas Urbanski, Producers
Christina Oh, Producer
Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Chloé Zhao, Producers
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell and Josey McNamara, Producers
During this “current unpleasantness,” when we are at home watching all the TV, I got my husband to watch an episode of The Great British Bake Off, Holiday edition, and asked him to create a technical challenge for me. I’m NOT a great technical baker, but I do love to bake. Details, conformity, beauty… not my strong suit. Deliciousness, I can do.
He challenged me to make Whoopee Pies – his mom’s recipe. His dad had shared it with me a few years ago, as I had the thought of creating a photo book of recipe cards (still on my list!), so I was able to find it quickly. Because the crisco/powdered sugar frosting recipe freaked me out a bit, I also found a recipe from Epicurious so we could have a comparison.
Both recipes were fairly simple and made small batches (8 sandwiches apiece – perfect for dropping off with family). I was told that the secret (oops -sharing secrets!) to his mom’s is letting it sit overnight before baking, so I made both batches of dough and put them in the frig until the next day. You can see the differences in the recipes: oil vs butter, white sugar vs brown sugar, milk vs buttermilk. I used the same cocoa in both (Trader Joe’s baking chocolate powder), even though the Epicurious one called for Dutch processed cocoa.
I wondered, to grease the baking sheets or to use parchment paper? I decided to use parchment paper. Unfortunately, one thing I found is that I have awful baking sheets. I take that back, I have one great stone jellyroll pan (which impacts baking time), one okay insulated baking sheet, and a few terrible old baking sheets. I tried to veer away from the stone, but did eventually use it after using a bad sheet resulted in overdone cookies.
The frosting recipes were also different – I chose the Epicurious recipe because it used marshmallow creme (I love marshmallow creme). The family recipe was Crisco and powdered sugar. Both recipes made the right amount of frosting. The marshmallow creme frosting was suuuuuper sweet.
Of course, Chris preferred the family recipe although he said the Epicurious was not bad. The family recipe cookies actually were very delicious tasting – the chocolate taste really came through, which I find difficult sometimes with chocolate bakes. And the frosting was not bad, as well. They weren’t uniform in appearance, at all, but they still went together and held the frosting in the middle.
I need better baking sheets. And maybe a scoop?
I struggle with technical baking, making uniform looking goods.
I’ve started my review of 2020, cataloguing the books I’ve read, the movies I’ve seen, the places I’ve gone… it certainly is different than most years! I think I saw one play and one movie in the theatre in 2020. One. Of. Each. I’ll write more about the review of 2020 later, but mainly wanted to stop by here to write about the passage of time.
It’s hard to believe that it is December 2020. Gretchen Rubin has many proverbs and one is “The Days are Long, but the Years are Short,” and I think that is especially true in a pandemic. The days have been very long but still, here we are – December 10. Already 1/3 through the last month of the year. It kind of is amazing to think all that has happened.
I started a list of things I want to accomplish before 2020 ends. Mostly holiday things – play carols at the piano, drive around to look at lights, watch “Elf,” or maybe even “It’s a Wonderful Life”…
This weekend I’m having a Baking Challenge, put forth by Chris. His mom always made Whoopie Pies, so I’m going to use her recipe and make them for the first time! I told him I may use another recipe too, and do a taste-test… I’ll try to follow Great British Baking Show criteria for the challenge and make them look the same (not my strong suit!).
Mothers. Mothering. Being mothered. I’m so blessed with incredible women in my life: my mother who exudes unconditional love, my daughter whose joie de vivre shines in her mothering, my sister-in-law who is raising amazing, compassionate humans and my stepdaughter and aunts and cousins and friends and all who are gracefully teaching life lessons to children – their own or the children of others.
It’s hard work, mothering, but such important work. Reading the origins of Mother’s Day is humbling and reminds that mothering doesn’t start and end with flesh and blood.
In 1908, Ann Jarvis petitioned to start mother’s day in honor of the passing of her mother, a peaceful activist who cared for soldiers on both sides of the Civil War.
She was a blessing and being a blessing to everyone you meet and lifting them up so that they can also bless others is great important work, as well. Maybe the greatest.
Hope everyone had a fantastic Mother’s Day! Virtual hugs to all!