Sense of Humor

Garfield (character)

Ah, Garfield. Image via Wikipedia

I love comics.  Since forever.  When I was younger, like 10 or so, I used to cut out the Garfield comics from the Sunday funnies and put them in a scrapbook (can you say nerd much?).  I thought he was the best – so sardonic and pessimistic.  And that dopey Odie.  And poor John.  Ah.  I would read all the comics but would only cut out Garfield, for some reason. (And have you seen the website Garfield Minus Garfield? – hilarious!)

The comics are still my favorite section of the newspaper and I get a comics newsletter sent to my email every day.  I’ve gone through Far Side phases and Calvin & Hobbes periods.  Recently I’ve found Pearls Before Swine to be pretty witty.  I’ve purchased calendars and datebooks only for the comics (love the New Yorker!).  My favorite cocktail napkins and party invites feature Dolly Mama.  I love smart comics and classic comics.  I still cut them out when they are super good or pertinent to something happening in life.

A sense of humor is pretty important to me, I guess, and I especially love it when it doesn’t come at anyone’s expense!

What’s your favorite comic?  Do you read them every day?

Off to read!

A Sense of Self

Found Words: Question Marks

Image by rosefirerising via Flickr

Wow.  So this isn’t going to be easy, is it?  A Sense of Self…  What does that mean?  I think that I have done a lot of self-reflection, especially lately, but at many different points in my life.  Lately I’ve been thinking about what the next part of my life will bring – new challenges and adventures, new people and opportunities. Although I am a person who likes to talk things out with others, I also am a person who trusts instincts and makes decisions on “what feels right.”  Is that because I have a good sense of who I am and what I can do?  Is that what good instincts are from?

When I googled “sense of self,” a webpage came up about how reading expands our sense of self.  I love reading so I read on… It goes on to say that when we are reading a book, we identify with the characters of the book and psychologically become part of their community.  We become vampires or students at Hogwarts or women of Biblical times.  And we can get as much satisfaction from these relationships as real-life relationships.  It comes from a desire to belong to a group.  Interesting to think about, eh?  I’ve always encouraged people to “feed their heads” with good things, because it would be awful to identify yourself with a group of racists or murderers.  Hmmmm…  Stuff to think about.

So where does this go?  I guess I’ll keep thinking about who I am and what I want and what I believe and will keep writing about it from time to time (on Tuesdays for a while).

And in the meantime, I found this on facebook from a few years ago:  25 Things about me.  I should update it – maybe that will be my assignment for this week – but it’s a glimpse into February 2009.  🙂

Off to read!

25 Things about Danette Grimsrud

by Danette Grimsrud on Saturday, February 14, 2009 at 4:12pm

1. I love lists. Some that I’m currently working on: books I want to read, movies I want to see, books I have read, movies I have seen. And see #2.

2. I turned 40 in 2008 and I had a list of 40 THINGS TO DO BEFORE TURNING 40. I didn’t complete the list (durn flood) but had a good time trying! Now I’m working on a list of 40 THINGS TO DO IN MY 40s. That gives me some time.

3. I remember weird things and forget lots of things.

4. I have a Christmas letter written that I haven’t sent out yet. Maybe this weekend? Yikes.

5. If given a choice, I will always choose eat out at a Chinese or Asian restaurant.

6. My daughter wouldn’t friend me at first and had to create a “family” facebook page so that she could join in all our fun. :-p

7. I love my job but it does have its heavy moments. Especially lately. I just want to bring kids home with me.

8. During my commute I mostly listen to podcasts. I’m very out of touch with the “pop” music scene right now. Podcasts I listen to regularly: Weekend America (last episode was 1/31 (sad sad), NPR Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, This American Life, The Satellite Sisters/The Chaos Chronicles. Others I hit now and again: anything Ricky Gervais, Oprah, iTunes book chat with authors, The Flight of the Conchords videocasts.

9. I can’t stand sports on television, with the exception of soccer. I think that the commentators for soccer don’t talk much so it’s just crowd noise. I haven’t watched a lot but during the World Cup enjoyed it a lot. Love to watch almost anything live. Although I think I’d never watch boxing or fighting.

10. I was a “Hot Box Dancer” in Guys and Dolls when I was 12.

11. I love to sing and sang a solo in a concert almost two years ago. It was the song, “Crossword Puzzle.”

12. I love crossword puzzles. But I bought a book of them recently that was just stupid. I was doing the NY Times puzzles for almost a year. Could complete a MONDAY puzzle without looking for answers. Even did a TUESDAY once. Never ever a SUNDAY.

13. I love to travel. I would love to plan trips for people.

14. I get great pleasure from sitting in a movie theatre and watching anything fun on the big screen. When I’m there I always wonder why I don’t do it more often. Last weekend was a two-movie weekend – pure bliss.

15. I have been to New York City three times. In 1991 or so with Lisa, in 1999 with Deadra and Marissa and in 2008 with Deadra. I could go back yearly, finances permitting, or even more often, just for a few days. It’s so fun to see the museums, the shows, the people. I don’t think I’d ever get tired of it.

16. I have 368 movies in my Netflix queue. Yikes.

17. I try to not eat at franchise restaurants, especially when I’m in a new place. It’s fun to hit the kitschy little places. My favorite was the little polka-dotted diner somewhere in western Minnesota on the way to Pierre. What a hoot.

18. David Letterman over Jay Leno any day.

19. The song with the highest play count on my iTunes is “Moon River” by Henry Mancini. Out of 5097 items.

20. I collect coffee cups from Broadway Shows. And music from Broadway shows. And programs from Broadway shows I’ve seen. And ticket stubs from movies. Nothing too big or that takes up too much space. Probably could say I collect books and movies and music too, but no snowmen or figurines or anything.

21. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I love anything that celebrates gratitude.

22. I use firefox instead of internet explorer. (Now I’m reaching for things to say!)

23. I have a blog. About my book and movie habits. It’s a form of list-making.

24. I’ve gotten a lot better about getting rid of things. Seeing all your stuff underwater or soaked with water makes it pretty easy to see what is important to keep and what needs to be tossed.

25. This list has taken me entirely too long to write! Am gonna publish it already! No need to make your own list, as you either already have or aren’t going to! 🙂


A Sense of Connection


Connections Image by bupowski via Flickr

Well, I completed the 40 Things challenge last week and used this past week to think about what is next.  I am going to try to blog Monday through Friday about the five senses outlined in the Satellite Sister’s book.  Set mini-goals or write about things that give me that Sense.

So it’s Monday and I’ll write about the Sense of Connection…

It’s ironic that Monday is also the day that I go “home” and sing in the choir that we started six years ago in my hometown.  I sleep at my parents’ home and connect with friends from home.  I love singing in this choir and the weekly connection we have through the music and our time together.  This fall I’ve also been walking with a friend after she’s done with work (or even walking on her lunch hour!), watching some hometown volleyball games, hanging out with my daughter and parents, and even helping out around the ponderosa (what we call my parents’ home).  Tonight I’m going to visit a friend I haven’t seen for a while and I’m happy that we’re getting together over a bottle of wine.  We both need it.  🙂

I had a busy week and weekend of connecting with friends and family.  Book club with friends from where I used to work, watching football (two games Saturday!), family meals, walks with friends, movies with friends, and meeting new friends.

I still have a few Thank-Yous to write from my birthday and a letter to write to a former student.  I used to be really good at writing letters and I’ve had it as a personal goal for a few years to stay connected with friends by sending cards and letters when I think of someone.  I have all the cute blank cards and stamps and return address labels needed so that is not an obstacle, but I don’t always do well and even emails aren’t always sent when they should be.  So it is an ongoing personal goal to maintain connections with people through phone calls, cards and letters.  Even emails.

What do you do to stay connected?  Do you have weekly check-ins with friends or family to maintain a connection?

Off to read!

Anna Karenina Readalong

Main characters and relations in Anna Karenina...

Image via Wikipedia

“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.” —C.S. LEWIS

Wallace at Unputdownables is hosting a readalong of “Anna Karenina.”  I was one of the first to tell her I was in and she had a copy of the book that she sent to me, so I have a BIG, beautiful copy of the book!  I was a little behind, as I didn’t start reading it until Wednesday night, but it was easy to catch up and I finished our assigned reading for the week last night.  Handling it in chunks is going to be nice.  Discussing it with others is going to be even nicer!

Because I just finished my book club book (“Loving Frank“) and just had book club discussion about it last night, it was still fresh in my mind when I was reading Anna Karenina.  So my first thoughts of the book are in relation to that book and the book discussion.

How are they related, you ask?  Mamah, the ‘mistress’ in Loving Frank was a language scholar and worked as a translator.  So when I began reading AK, I thought a lot about the translators and the roles that they play in the storytelling.  I thought the description that Mamah gave to Frank about how a good translator takes not only the words but the thoughts and feelings behind the words to find the best translation was very interesting, and something that I hadn’t really thought of before this time.  Frank and Mamah worked on poetry and prose together and attempted to put out beautiful translations.

Another topic that came up in discussion last night was whether or not affairs were more or less commonplace in the past than they are today.  There were mixed feelings about it, because the stigma of divorce and societal exclusion in the past may have made illicit affairs more common.  People had to go very underground if they were pulled by a new attraction.  People married for different reasons in the past (at least in these books!), not necessarily for love, so if they felt attraction and understanding outside of their marriage it may have been not as difficult to ignore.

I’m not sure of those ramblings made much sense, but it framed the thoughts that I had while reading this first section of AK.  I thought it was interesting that it was out there for all (in the family) to know when Stiva had an affair.  No secrets kept between husband and wife alone.  Makes you wonder about their relationship in particular and marriages in general in this time, in this country, in this nobility.

Well, those are some general (not specific to Wallace’s questions today!) thoughts about week one of AK!  Yay!

Off to read!

Audiobook: My Life in France

My Life in France
I just finished listening to the audiobook as I pulled into book club (to discuss “Loving Frank“) and realized that it’s Thursday and Words and Peace has her weekly “I Love France” meme on Thursdays!  Once again I’ll participate!  So at the last minute on Thursday, I’ll post about Julia Child and her memoir about her life in France.
Listening to a book is always a much different experience than reading a book, and I think this would have been good to read.  There are recipes recited and French words and phrases spouted without definition and I think I would have taken more in with my eyes than my ears.  But I liked the general feeling that I got from the book.  I liked hearing about the love that Julia and her husband had for each other, the support that Julia got for finding her passion in cooking, and the fascinating process they went through to get “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” published.
Now I want that cook book, although Julia realized at the time of its publishing in the 1960s that it was already pushing the limits of what the American housewife would tackle, in the time and care that the French pour into their food preparation (and eating!).  But yet the book and its successor were popular, as was the television show that she began filming.
I will have to look up episodes of her TV show and think about tackling some simple French meals!
Off to read!

Books: a Goodreads wrap-up! Four for the price of one (post!)

Simple Times by Amy Sedaris
Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People
by Amy Sedaris

3 of 5 stars

bookshelves: audiobooks

Read from September 27 to 28, 2011
You have to know what you’re getting into when you read an Amy Sedaris book. She’s really quite something. 🙂 It was a silly fun little listen.
Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell
Summer and the City (The Carrie Diaries #2)
by Candace Bushnell

5 of 5 stars
Read from September 26 to 29, 2011
What fun to spend Carrie’s first summer in NYC with her. I wonder if you have to be a total Sex and the City freak to love these books?? Hoping for another!
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
Ella Minnow Pea
by Mark Dunn

4 of 5 stars
Read in October, 2011
A quaint, easy read with deep meaning. As the residents of Nollop, an island founded by the creator of the “perfect” sentence – The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog – lose the ability to use letter after letter as they fall off his statue, persecution and loss of freedoms become the norm. So the search for an even more perfect sentence is their only hope. Good stuff.
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
Loving Frank
by Nancy Horan

5 of 5 stars
Read in October, 2011
Wow. I have wanted to read this book for some time now, but I didn’t realize how much it would grab me! The story of the enigmatic Frank Lloyd Wright and his mistress, Mamah. The sacrifices they made to be with the “real and true” love of their lives. Set between the years 1907-1914 and told mostly in Mamah’s voice, the struggles of women’s equality and what it means from person to person were highlighted. I want to know more about Mr. Frank Lloyd Wright and was happy to see “afterwards” and “acknowledgements” when I finished the book.
***This was read for book club and I can’t wait to discuss tomorrow night!

40 Things (40!!!) Happy Birthday, Boof!

thank you note for every language

Image by woodleywonderworks via Flickr

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, DAY 40!  Happy birthday, Boof!

40) A favourite book about a celebration

I’m going to cheat.  I looked through my Goodreads list and couldn’t find anything with a holiday theme that I would call a favorite, so I simply thought about my favorite holiday (Thanksgiving) and some great movies that were set around a Thanksgiving theme (and maybe one that isn’t set around Thanksgiving, but another holiday I’ve recently adopted).

Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday.  I love thankfulness – thinking about what I’m thankful for, telling people what I’m thankful for, and writing what I’m thankful for.  That “attitude of gratitude” has been preached to us by Oprah and I really believe that it can change your outlook on life.  So, when I started thinking of movies that were centered around a Thanksgiving celebration, a few came to mind.

First, “What’s Cooking?(In LA’s Fairfax district, where ethnic groups abound, four households celebrate Thanksgiving amidst family tensions. In the Nguyen family, the children’s acculturation and immigrant parents’ fears collide. In the Avila family, Isabel’s son has invited her estranged husband to their family dinner. Audrey and Ron Williams want to keep their own family’s ruptures secret from Ron’s visiting mother. In the Seelig household, Herb and Ruth are unwilling to discuss openly their grown daughter’s living with her lover, Carla. Around each table, things come to a head. A gun, an affair, a boyfriend, and a pregnancy precipitate crises forcing each family to find its center. IMDB)  I should re-watch this, but I remember loving it.  Loving how it wrapped up and how cleverly the story was told.

Of course, “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” is one of the greatest comedies ever, and just happens to be about getting home for Thanksgiving.  I don’t think I need a synopsis for it. My favorite scene is when they are driving down the highway and being told they are going the wrong way (“How do they know where we’re going?”).  Hilarious.

Home for the Holidays” is also a movie I haven’t seen in a while, but I remember loving it.  (After losing her job, making out with her soon to be ex-boss, and finding out that her daughter plans to spend Thanksgiving with her boyfriend, Claudia Larson has to face spending the holiday with her family. She wonders if she can survive their crazy antics. IMDB).  Ah, family holiday dinners.  🙂  I am thankful that our Thanksgiving dinners are not filled with lots of drama!

A few others that have a Thanksgiving theme that I have seen include “Pieces of April” and “Hannah and Her Sisters.”  Good movies.

The last movie about a holiday that has inspired me is the Italian film, “Mid-August Lunch,” a great movie about Ferragosto – the Italian tradition of getting out of the city for a few weeks during the hot weeks of mid-August.  It is a great movie and a great holiday that I have embraced in the last few years, having my own “lakeside” vacation with Italian flair, right in the middle of Minnesota.

And as to my list, as I admitted yesterday, it was incomplete.  Last night I did some thinking about how I wanted to move forward and here’s what I came up with:  You know I love the Satellite Sisters and I have written about their book “Uncommon Senses.”  I am going to create a list of things that I want to accomplish based upon the “senses” highlighted in their book.

The Sense of Connection
The Sense of Self
The Sense of Humor
The Sense of Adventure
The Sense of Direction.

As I’ve said about their book before, it applies as well today as it did ten years ago when it was written.  And I know that I can find things in all those “senses” that I would like to put out there as challenges for myself.  So as well as writing about books, I will be writing about these challenges.

Thank YOU for following along with these daily posts!

Off to read!

40 Things (39)

Angela's Ashes

Image via Wikipedia

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 39!

39) A book I expected to hate but loved

Before I started the Stieg Larsson trilogy of books, I never would have imagined that I would have loved them as much.  It took me about 75 pages to get into the first book, but then I was hooked.  I felt myself wincing a few times, anticipating that things were going to be scary or bad, but they just got up to the edge and never went over for me.

I also didn’t want to read “Angela’s Ashes” because I thought it would be so heavy and sad, but it was nothing of the sort.  It was full of hope and good humor.  I loved that book, too.

#39 on my list was:  Nothing.  Here is the point when I have to admit that the list that I found of my “40 things” ends at 38!  How depressing is that?  I was making my list as I went along (as was evidenced by #37 – penned when the opportunity arose) and was focused on the ones left to do rather than finishing the list.  Ugh.

So tomorrow, I will work on a new list of some kind!  5 Things to complete by October end?  10 things to do on my Sabattical?  45 things to do before 45?  50 things to do before 50?  I will ponder this and start a list…

Off to read!

40 Things (38)

Nick Hornby

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 38!

38) An author crush

This is a toughy, because although I can be an author-stalker, I don’t necessarily think about them as crushes.  But one author that I immediately looked for on Goodreads because I love to read anything by him, would be Nick Hornby.  His books are clever and witty and apt.  I would love to meet him and see if he’s anything like the characters he writes.

#38 on my list was: Drink before noon.  How silly is that?  It wasn’t a well-thought-out addition or something I had been dreaming about doing for years, but rather added as the opportunity came about.  🙂  We have a small cabin on a small lake about an hour from where I live.  It’s absolutely perfect.  This drink happened one morning at the end of the dock to celebrate my brother’s birthday and the nearing end of summer.  I always say that the end of the dock is my favorite room at the cabin… whether it be with coffee or wine, alone or with friends, with a book or purely sun worshiping.  It’s the best.

My Favorite Room at the Cabin

Off to read!

40 Things (37)

Bel Canto (novel)

Image via Wikipedia

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, Day 37 –

37) A book that I still think about years after having read it

Gosh, there are a lot of books that I still think about, years later.  I’d like to re-read “Tale of Two Cities” sometime, as I remember loving it in high school and have vivid pictures in my head relating to the story.  I also was amazed by “Death of a Salesmen” when I read it in college.  Just blown away.  And “The Color Purple” was beautifully vivid, and I can also see those pictures in my head.  More recent books that I still think about include: “Those Who Save Us,” “Bel Canto,” “Peace Like a River,” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”

#37 on my list was: Road trips with Kitschy Side Trips.  Unfortunately, I haven’t taken many road trips that allow for scenic stops along the way.  I’m usually purposeful in my travel, trying to get from Point A to Point B in a timely fashion.  But in October of 2007 my friend Beth and I took a mid-week road trip from our SE corner of the state of Minnesota to Pierre, SD.  Beth’s sister lives there and works in a bookstore that was hosting a Lorna Landvik book signing and discussion.

The Corn Palace

So we took off one Tuesday morning, stopping at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD – yes, a building and gymnasium decorated with corn.

We also stopped at cute restaurants for our meals.  It was a blast getting there, and the adventures continued when we met Lorna. She was promoting her book, “The View from Mount Joy,” which we read in preparation of meeting her.  We had photos taken with her, drank wine with her, and eventually took her site seeing around Pierre with Beth’s sister in the lead!  We went to the Veteran’s Memorial in Pierre and lit the flaming fountain.  We had such a good time with many well-needed laughs.  I need to do this more often!

We have met with Lorna twice since this first trip: once at the Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis, where she has a stand up routine in January, and she joined us for dessert afterwards, and once in our hometown where we bid and won dinner with her for a library fundraiser.  Good stuff.

at Bryant Lake Bowl

Off to read!