Things to Do in 2012

Now that I have some ‘certainty’ in my life, I have been able to think about the things that I would like to do in 2012.  Not really New Year’s Resolutions, but more of a To Do list. I’m sure I’ll add to it, but right now I have:

Garrison Keillor
Image via Wikipedia
  1. See Garrison Keillor at the Fitzgerald Theatre
  2. Visit the Four Daughters Vineyard in Spring Valley (maybe more than once!). Doesn’t it look lovely?
  3. Get my passport – so I’m ready!  This was on my list of 40 Things and it didn’t happen.  It will happen – soon.
  4. Write – at least weekly blogs
  5. Write – more letters. It’s so fun to get mail.
  6. Eat healthy and REAL food
  7. Watch for and attend more Table Trivia Nights
  8. Seek out author and book events, especially for authors and books I love!
  9. Go to New York City to see “Once – the Musical” – you see that, Troy?

    New York City
    Image by kaysha via Flickr
  10. While in NYC maybe go on a Greenwich Village walking tour with Adriana Trigiani (love her!)
  11. Read at least one GOOD book per month.  Easily achievable.
  12. Try new recipes and cook for myself (or invite others!)

That’s all for now!  If I think of more, I’ll add on… but a Dozen Things to do in Twenty-Twelve List suits me fine, too!

Off to read!


Last Day of Being Unemployed

Unemployed Girl


Things I Won’t Miss:  

  • That nagging feeling that I should be chained to the computer searching or any of the many job search sites I checked
  • That nagging feeling that I should be out networking and hob-nobbing
  • That nagging feeling that I should be sending another email or making another phone call to check on a job status
  • That nagging feeling that while I was home, unemployed, I should be exercising and getting into shape
  • That nagging feeling that I shouldn’t be eating out/seeing a movie/doing anything fun because I should keep all my pennies
  • That nagging feeling that I didn’t have health insurance for a few months
  • I guess a lot of nagging feelings 🙂

Things I Will Miss:

  • Going to bed and waking up whenever I want to – I had some months of pretty good sleep, after the anxious sleeplessness went away
  • Bringing the kids to school in the morning or picking them up after school
  • Having the time to help out – making meals, babysitting, painting a nursery, grocery shopping, library-going…
  • Long leisurely showers in the afternoon and air-drying my hair (maybe only understood by curly-haired folk?)
  • Painting my fingernails crazy colors
  • Movie matinees on Wednesday (free popcorn!)
  • Keeping up with Twitter and bloggers
  • Tweeting and blogging
  • Having a super flexible schedule so that I could say YES to almost anything

Although the list of things that I will miss could go on and on, the overwhelming feeling of relief about being employed really overshadows them all.  I value being self-reliant and I know that most of the things on the second list will continue in some way.  I will still be helpful when I can, stay up late and sleep in when I can, tweet and blog when I can, and say YES to fun things when I can.

Life is good.

Happy last day of unemployment to me!!!

Off to read – after a leisurely afternoon shower!

Ah, Oscar Season!

Academy Award
Image via Wikipedia

This morning the nominations were announced and you’d better believe it was the first thing I read!  As I’ve said before, the Academy Awards are like my Superbowl!

Nine movies are nominated for Best Picture and I have seen seven of them – so far.  One more is in my possession to watch on DVD and the last I will probably go see this week!  What fun…

I’ll post thoughts about them all later…

Have you seen many of them? Do you have a favorite you’d like to see win? Are you surprised by any of them?

The ArTisT
The DescenDAnTs
exTremely louD & increDibly close
The help
miDnighT in pAris
The Tree of life
WAr horse

Yay!  Let the fun begin!

Off to read…


World Book Night

I signed up to be a “giver” on World Book Night in April.

I read about it on another book blog and when I looked into it further, I thought it was a worthy and great thing!  The goal is to get copies (20 per giver) of a great book in the hands of non-readers or light readers on April 23 (UNESCO’s International Day of the Book – the date Shakespeare and Cervantes died).  There was a list of books to choose from and it is important to choose a book that you are passionate about sharing with others – which was pretty easy for me!  I could have easily picked 6 or 7 on the list that I have loved and have recommended to others already.

The Book Thief
Image via Wikipedia

I chose “The Book Thief” as my first choice, because I think that, although there are endless stories about the Holocaust, they are all worthy of hearing so we never forget.  I chose “Bel Canto” and “Little Bee” as my second and third choices, because they are just wonderful books that really touched me emotionally.  Just so great.

The deadline to sign up is February 1 and they will be notifying people mid-February if they are chosen to be givers of books and more details on where to pick up the books.  Click below if you’re interested!

Off to read!

One more week…

Image by Sean MacEntee via Flickr

January 30 I start my new job.  I simply cannot wait!  It has been 8 months that I have been unemployed.  Hard to believe!  But now I’m just tickled to be starting.  I went on Friday for pre-employment stuff – health and drug screening, HR form-filling, and information about the two days of general orientation for all new hires.  So tomorrow I have to go in to get my TB test evaluated and then I have one more week of unemployed “bliss”!

So what will I do this week?  Monday nights I have choir, so I’ll stay at my parent’s house and hang out with them.  I will hopefully watch a movie or two. I’m hoping for some “what not to wear” time with my closet and then I need to shop a little for some updated business-y clothes. I would love to bake and prepare meals for the freezer – maybe something from my French book. I am going to the Cities for some celebrating with Deadra and family. I need to catch up on my magazine reading – goodness! – and then hopefully start a good book.

Speaking of books, I am so excited that Wallace’s next readalong is “A Moveable Feast” by Ernest Hemingway!  After reading “The Paris Wife” I decided that it would be the Hemingway book that I would most like to read.  So I bought it (for my iPad!) and I’m ready to start the readalong in February!  Yippee!

The Artist (film)
Image via Wikipedia

And speaking of movies (was I?), I went to see “The Artist” last night – and it was just so good.  Amazing actors, beautiful music, funny “dialogue,” and a great story. Absolutely a wonderful movie experience.  It made me want to watch a bunch of really old movies – the good ones.  Ah…

Well, I’m off… to read, play word games, and watch some old episodes of How I Met Your Mother.  One more week of doing whatever I want – before this new life begins!

A. A. Milne – Now We Are Six

Young Milne with bear

Last night before I went to bed, I read that it was A. A. Milne’s birthday – January 18, 1882.  I have always been a huge fan and still count “Now We Are Six” as one of my favorite books.  It was given to me as a gift when I turned six and it has been a gift that I give to the six year olds in my life.

It is filled with smart and witty poetry on many topics that children (and child-like adults) love to read about – kings and dragons, shipwrecks and friendships, fooling adults and questioning adults.  Most of the poems are long-ish stories and are begging to be read aloud.  For example:

Christopher Robin

Had wheezles
And sneezles,
They bundled him
His bed.
They gave him what goes
With a cold in the nose,
And some more for a cold
in the head.
They wondered
If wheezles
Could turn
Into measles,
If sneezles
Would turn
Into mumps;
They examined his chest
For a rash,
And the rest
Of his body for swellings and lumps.  

Don’t you want to know what happens?  There are four more stanzas of the poem and a clever, funny ending.  Ah.  Good stuff.  The Knight Whose Armour Didn’t Squeak, King John’s Christmas, The Old Sailor, and King Hillary and the Beggarman are all great stories, and the list goes on.  I’m sure I appreciate it more now than I did when I was six.  I know I included a few of the poems in my “poetry notebooks” in 9th and 10th grades, favorite poems we collected and illustrated (by cutting up old greeting cards and magazines – remember those pre-clip-art days?).

I also remember back when the internet was brand new finding a game of Pooh Sticks online and being so happy that I would be able to look at classic Pooh illustrations and learn about the man who wrote these books.

Does anyone else have a love of A. A. Milne’s work?  What is your favorite?

Off to read!


What a difference a week makes.  Last Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday I was holding my breath every time the phone rang. My mind was not engaged in many things that I was doing.  Last Wednesday I grocery shopped, Target shopped, emptied and cleaned the refrigerator, emptied and cleaned the cupboards, sorted and shredded mail…

and then they called.  

I got a job!

They called around 3:30 Wednesday afternoon – which isn’t “early in the week” to me, which is when they said they’d make the decision, but I’m not complaning!  I’m just glad they called!  So I have a lot of paperwork to fill out and a health screen and drug screen to complete and then I’ll start work January 30!

So now I feel like I can look ahead to 2012 and make lists or set some goals or do some planning!  Already, amid all the celebrating, I have tackled a big messy closet and made some sense of it – something my mom would have done in her first week of unemployment, instead of one of her last!

It just feels so different to NOT have job searching hanging over my head.  Such a relief!  The first thing I did on Thursday was to file away all of my job searching notes and resources!  I should look back at it and check the number of jobs I applied for and the number that I actually heard anything back from.  That was a little surprising to me.  It is such a technological world with no people contact in many cases.

The whole thing has been another learning experience for me.

  • I learned, once again, that it is ok to accept help and support from friends and family. It is very humbling. I am so thankful that I have such wonderful friends and family, because it wasn’t that long ago that I was learning the same lessons for a different reason! Hopefully I can return the favors!
  • I learned that it’s possible to go a whole day without talking to anyone. Sometimes I would have to put on some music I could sing to, just to warm up my voice!
  • I learned that I can easily live without cable television but I cannot live without internet. You can watch a lot of television on the computer!  And I love revisiting the movies I own!
  • I learned that if I read fewer blogs I’d read more books.
  • I learned that lots of people liked to come up with job ideas for me – and very rarely were the ideas anything that I would want or like to do.  I guess I like to think for myself.
  • I learned that many things are easier said than done.  The signature of my email for years has been: “Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.” -Gilda Radner.  Turns out, it isn’t easy to relish ambiguity. 🙂  But I think I kept a pretty good attitude throughout, treasuring each day as it came.
  • I learned that having faith – in God and yourself – really helps when you’re dealing with ambiguity and big changes. That, and good family and friends, gets you through anything!
  • I learned that even with lots of time on my hands, I still don’t make time to exercise!  Yikes… I need a workout pal!

I know there were more lessons, but I’ll end it for now. I’m sure I’ll also learn more about myself as I start this new adventure!  The job I am moving into is going to be a big change from what I did before and will be a big challenge, but I am so excited for the opportunity in this next phase of my life.

Maybe I’ll blog about that learning curve another time.  🙂 First, I’ll try to put into words some goals for 2012.  But for now…

Off to read.  Ah… Life is good. 🙂

Author: “The Paris Wife”

I love to meet authors, or if I can’t meet them personally, to listen to them speak about their books and their passion for writing.  I find it fascinating.

Paula McLain, author

In the beginning of December I noticed a sign at the Rochester Public Library that Paula McLain, author of “The Paris Wife” was going to be speaking in January.  I knew that Deadra loved this book and so I put in my request for it and invited Deadra down for the afternoon event.  I started reading the book right before Christmas and ate it up.  It was hard to remember that it was historical fiction and not a memoir or biography of the woman who was Ernest Hemingway’s first wife.  It is a beautifully written book and made me want to know more about Papa.

Paula talked about how she got the idea to write the book from Hadley’s point of view and how she read thousands of pages of letters that Hadley had written to Ernest while they were courting.  Unfortunately, Hadley destroyed her letters from Ernest after their messy divorce (reminded me a little of the Love Letter Bonfire that Beth and I had a few years ago!), but as a result, she really got an understanding of how Hadley thought and felt.

Ernest Hemingway's 1923 passport photo
Ernest Hemingway's passport photo 1923 Image via Wikipedia

Paula recommended we look at Hemingway’s passport photo from 1923 and challenged us to see if we didn’t get a little swoony at the sight.  Deadra and I agreed that it didn’t do it for us, but I found this picture of him in 1921 that does make him look a little dreamy.  (Sorry it’s so small!)

Ernest Hemingway 1921

I also found this wedding photo from Hadley and Ernest’s wedding, which I thought was pretty fun.

Hadley and Ernest Hemingway, Wedding Day 1921

It was fascinating to listen to Paula talk about her passion she found while researching for this book and I’m glad that I read the book before listening to her discussion.  I also liked to hear the reaction she is getting from the descendents of the Hemingways.  Made me tear up a little!

I will read Hemingway – Deadra and I think “A Moveable Feast,” his last book – sounds like a great one to read, so it will go on my TBR list!

As I was listening to her speak, I wondered if I could challenge myself to find an author discussion/book reading each month for the year 2012… I know I will keep looking for them and going when I can!  I just love hearing authors talk about writing!  If you click on the picture of Paula McLain above, it is linked to an interview done with her on The Hemingway Project blog.  Good stuff!  

Off to read!

Books: Flood and Food

The first book I read in 2012 was one written by and about the Rushford Volunteer Fire Department and their response to the flood of 2007.  Their thoughts were collected by Bonnie Flaig Prinsen and the book was published with help from the Rushford Community Foundation.  It is a great document for posterity and it was good to read it.  I entered the information into Goodreads, which is something I haven’t done before, so I hope it gets other views!

The next book I had was terribly overdue to the library so I did some intense browsing/speed reading so I could return it today.

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home CooksView a preview of this book online

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks

It was a great book about creating meals from real ingredients.  It is something that I like to do – bake bread, make cakes from scratch – and I thought it was very well-written.  I loved reading about the evolution of cake mixes and how in the 1950s the women could tell the difference and didn’t like that they just had to add water, so they created them so that we could add eggs, oil AND water.  The rest of the ingredients should read flour, sugar, salt, soda, but the ingredient list goes on and on.  Crazy.

It was a great book and would be a great gift for someone who is wanting to change their fast-food ways and to learn how simple it is to really prepare real food.

Next I plan to read my back issues of magazines and dig into the pile of books that are on my nightstand!  They are books I own, books I was given as gifts, and books I borrowed.  And I’ll read the next book for book club – The Center of Everything.  Again, I love the book club in a bag concept!

Cover of "The Sun Also Rises"
Cover of The Sun Also Rises

On a book and movie related note – I mentioned that I read and loved “The Paris Wife” and I’m excited about meeting the author on Sunday!  Tuesday night I watched the movie “Midnight in Paris” (love it! own it!) and watched carefully the scenes featuring Ernest Hemingway and I ordered the movie “The Sun Also Rises,” based on a Hemingway book of the same name.  Very interesting to put it all together – Hemingway living in Paris, with his first wife, drinking in bars and his melancholic diatribes, and the wounded expatriate living in Paris and going to Spain for the bull fights.  I hope to actually READ some Hemingway in 2012 – not just read about him!  I love it when one book leads you to another…

Off to read!


and it’s 2012!

English: The logo of the blogging software Wor...
Image via Wikipedia

Well I set my Goodreads goal for the number of books to read in 2012 (70) and that’s the only goal or thought I’ve put into goals so far.  It doesn’t mean I won’t “resolve” to do other things, I guess it means that I’m just working on each day as it comes and not doing much planning for 2012 – yet.  I’ll get to it, maybe even next week after the busy-ness of life settles down.  I’m sure I’ll keep you posted.

One more reflection on 2011 came from WordPress in the form of “Your Year in Blogging – 2011”.

  • I wrote 130 new posts in 2011!  Wow.
  • The blog had 1900 views!  Wow.
  • People found the blog by searching for “accordion naked” (among other things)!  Wow.
  • Most visitors were from the US but Germany and the UK weren’t too far behind!  Wow.
  • The blog had visitors from Africa, Asia and Australia as well!  Wow.

I like blogging but I don’t know how important it is to me to have my blog seen around the world.  It’s kind of fun.  I do check stats.  And today, for some reason, I’m getting a lot of hits because of a Hungarian site which linked to my post about movies!  Crazy… It’s turning into a high traffic day.  If you’re a blogger who reads this, how did you decide you wanted to go BIG with your blog rather than keeping it personal?

One thing that I woke up thinking about this morning (and will probably turn into a plan for 2012) is that I read way too many blogs and twitter feeds.  It’s becoming cumbersome, so I will do something about that.  I love technology but when it feels cumbersome, it’s time to pare it down.

Many of the blogs that I read are aspiring to many book-related challenges and it just wears me out!  Non-Fiction challenge; Fiction challenge; Bookshelf challenge; European challenge; Classics challenge; etc. etc. etc.  I participated in a few challenges/read-alongs in 2011 and I probably will participate in a few in 2012, but I’m certainly not joining any right now.  A year long challenge sounds like a little much right now.  I liked the seasonal or book-specific challenges and I think that’s where I’ll stick.

Well, off to read (something besides tweets and blogs!)!