WalkieTalkieBookClub

I got a text this evening from a friend who said she thought of me when she heard the news of Maeve Binchy’s death today.  I hadn’t heard the news yet, so I was thankful to hear it from a friend!  I’ve written before on my blog about how Binchy’s books make me feel and even chose one of her books as my favorite read of 2011.

I have vivid memories of discovering her books in the Rushford Public Library and devouring all that were on the shelf, and years later finding comfort in their presence in the corner where we sat for library board meetings.  When I’m asked for a book recommendation, I always ask if they’ve read her books.  If I’m asked to pick out a book from the library for someone, her books are top on my list.  I know that her books have greatly influenced my…

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Ah, Maeve. *sigh*

Maeve Binchy 1940-2012

I got a text this evening from a friend who said she thought of me when she heard the news of Maeve Binchy’s death today.  I hadn’t heard the news yet, so I was thankful to hear it from a friend!  I’ve written before on my blog about how Binchy’s books make me feel and even chose one of her books as my favorite read of 2011.

I have vivid memories of discovering her books in the Rushford Public Library and devouring all that were on the shelf, and years later finding comfort in their presence in the corner where we sat for library board meetings.  When I’m asked for a book recommendation, I always ask if they’ve read her books.  If I’m asked to pick out a book from the library for someone, her books are top on my list.  I know that her books have greatly influenced my love of Ireland and all things Irish.

In 2011 I read her most recent book, Minding Frankie, and I was worried before I started reading that maybe it had been so long since I’d read a Binchy book that I had glorified them too much and I wouldn’t love it as much as I remembered loving her books.  But it felt like coming home and ended up being my favorite book I read in 2011. Her books are so comfortable and the characters and communities are beautifully and vividly and simply described.

I am thankful that I discovered her years ago and have had her books and characters in my life for probably more than 20 years.  I checked amazon.com tonight and found a short story she published in 2011 (A Week in Summer) and I immediately downloaded it.  I can’t wait to curl up to another new Binchy book and I’m sad that there won’t be any more.

Off to read a little Binchy before bed.  🙂

Do you have a favorite Binchy book? Who is the author you always find yourself recommending to people?

Binchy Bibliography, compliments of Wikipedia:

Novels[9]

TGI… what day is it?

I love Pooh

I still feel fortunate every day that I have a new job that I love.  I love the crazy hours, I love the crazy situations I get to try to problem solve, I love the people I’m learning from.  It’s been a full six months that I’ve worked this job of switchy shifts!

I love the crazy hours but I am still having a little bit of an “adjustment disorder” to my first summer (practically since forever) of working like a normal person.

No fun!

I’ve had ‘personal pity parties’ a few times this summer, as I feel pretty isolated from my typical social life with friends and family.  It seems that when my family and friends are available or doing fun things, I am working, and when I have time off or want to plan something fun with friends, everyone has plans.  I hate spending my time off alone!

Half-Full!

I do pride myself on a positive outlook and I remind myself often that there are so many great things about my job and my life and that it won’t always be this crazy – or if it is, I will get used to it!  I am confident that next summer will be better, as I am better able to plan time off – at least that’s what I keep telling myself!

Have you had a big lifestyle change that impacted your time with family and friends?  How did you cope?

 

Again with the lists!

For the lists

I was at Barnes & Noble the other night with my niece and I was captivated by these little notebooks.  It was a pack of four made to look like “dance cards” from Jane Austen novels.  I’m a sucker for things Austen and also like to have something to write on at any time, so I bought them (and shared with my niece).  I have one by my bed and it has turned in to another place to keep lists.

 

I’ve never written a “Bucket List,” per se, but have created many lists in my day.  So far my book contains lists for potential blog posts (a list for movie blogs, book blogs, and blogs about random topics), as well as lists for places I want to visit – in the United States and the World.

 

I read many blogs and one that I recently found and enjoy immensely is Lesley Carter’s blog, Bucket List Publications.  She is FAR more adventurous than I am, but also quite a list-maker.  After moving to South Carolina, she started and posted a list of the things she wants to do there. It’s a fun read.  And she has thousands of followers!  She hopes to share the wealth, so if you follow my blog, you should check out her blog -and I hope that some of her followers do the same!  (I may need to step-it-up a bit, if that’s the case!)

 

So check out Bucket List Publications for a great blog about Travel, Adventure and New Experiences – Indulge!

 

http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/

Bucket List word cloud #3

Bucket List word cloud #3 (Photo credit: mccmicb)

 

Food and Healthy Eating

Last week I signed up for Seattle Sutton Healthy Eating program.  A few things were appealing to me:  there is no commitment required – you can order your plan week by week with no penalty for taking a break; you can also get the full 7 day week or you can get a 4 day or 3 day week.  Deliveries are on Monday and Thursday in Rochester or you can pick it up on those days, as well.  It is more money than I probably spend on groceries and eating out in a week so I’ll be weighing the pros and cons as I go, but here are my thoughts so far.

My refrigerator

I wondered what the packaging would be like.  I’m happy to say that the black containers are recyclable plastic.  They are bigger than I thought they’d be, so although they will fit in my lunch bag, I’m not sure two of them will.  In fact, tonight, I repacked breakfast and lunch for tomorrow because they could be packaged smaller.  They’re uniformly packaged, which is nice for refrigerator storage, but not so much for hauling it around.

(Note the Coke Zero in the back of the refrigerator- I think it’s been there for almost two years! Should I do an experiment with it?)

The variety…

I think I can safely say that what I like most about this program is the variety of food that I have eaten so far.  When I cook for myself, I NEVER make peas AND squash AND potatoes for one meal!  And today I had a nectarine for breakfast AND a kiwi for lunch.  This lunch today (seen above) was very tasty.  A cold bean salad with a turkey breast on that yummy toasted bagel with honey-mustard-yogurt.  Oh my!

Breakfast burrito

Yesterday was a chicken breast topped with salsa and some carrots.  I’ve had a breakfast burrito, tasty oatmeal, delicious spaghetti with a yummy celery and onion side dish, and turkey meatloaf with a twice-baked potato.  The only thing I haven’t found really tasty is a hazelnut spread for my English muffin one morning.  I really had a hard time with that.  And would you believe I’ve never had cooked spinach before?  I also had to choke that down.  Quite a variety of meals for this week!  And no leftovers!  Or pots and pans to wash!  

Cooking for one has been a challenge, and I’ve told many people lately that it has been one of the biggest challenges for me with my new crazy work schedule, not the sleeping.  I have been eating out a lot, eating unhealthy cafeteria food, eating dinner at 11:00pm, driving through fast-food on my way to or from work, among other bad habits.  So I’m going to try this a little bit, maybe off and on.  For next week, I only ordered 3 days worth of meals and I’ll not order any when I’m on vacation, of course.  It is expensive but eating healthy is expensive.

I’ll keep you posted on whether or not I continue to like it!

Have you ever tried anything like this?

 

 

Mid-Summer Movie Update

A Night at the Movies (film)

A Night at the Movies (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since my last movie update, when I talked about the Independent Film Festival, I have seen a few movies.  Not as many as my marathon summer last year, but the ones I have seen I have really enjoyed!

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Five Year Engagement – In May I saw this film and it was good.  I love Jason Segal and Emily Blunt and it was a fun movie, which wasn’t predictable.  A plus, in my books!

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – What a treat this was!  We definitely skewed the age demographic a bit, as there were many people 60 and over, but it was so fun.  It was a great audience with people talking back to the screen and making jokes, and the movie was a delight.  Loved the sights!

What to Expect When You’re Expecting – I wasn’t expecting this to be as good as it was!  I thought it would be a predictable meaningless movie, but it was more than that.  Worth seeing, even if you aren’t Expecting!  It was funny and touching.  Good stuff.

Rock of Ages – And this was fun.  Just silly fun.  I know that I smiled throughout the whole thing, sometimes in disbelief at Tom Cruise’s character, and sometimes at the silly lines and predictability of the show, but it was a good time.

People Like Us – I didn’t know what to expect with this one, but it was really good as well!  A nice story; again, an unpredictable and well-told story.  There were moments of discomfort, but the resolution was worth it.

To Rome With Love – Woody Allen movie set in Rome.  I was at the 10:00 PM showing, and that sometimes is a different audience.  This time was no exception.  There were three gentlemen who sat in the back and conversed with each other, loudly, in another language, throughout the entire show.  I weighed whether or not I should say something and eventually decided to chalk it up to ambiance in the film-going experience.  This movie had several story lines running through it and some I liked more than others.  It was fun and beautiful.

Moonrise Kingdom – What a fun movie this was!  Silly and sweet and laugh-out-loud quirky.  I really like Wes Anderson movies (The Royal Tennenbaums, Rushmore) and this one does not disappoint.  It was really good.

Magic Mike – Ah.  With the girls, this was a lot of fun.  It certainly didn’t live up to everyone’s expectations, as it turned out to be a pretty realistic and gritty view of the life of a male stripper, so the comedy was hard to find.  But the scenery was great and the company was perfect.

In theaters now I would like to see Brave, Safety Not Guaranteed and Take This Waltz.

On DVD I hope to see Friends with Kids, and Salmon Fishing in Yemen.

I just watched Jeff, Who Lives at Home and The Newlyweds, and really liked them both.  I also have almost finished the NBC series “Smash.” I have the season finale to watch and I keep putting it off!

That’s my May to Mid-July movie wrap up!  What have you seen that you have loved this summer?

 

New York City 2012

A blur!

Wow!  I’ve been home from NYC for a week now!  The trip was indescribable and a blur, much like the photo above!  I loved every minute:  loved every show, loved the time spent with friends, loved my sleeping accommodations, loved the nighttime, loved the walks, loved the musicals, loved the play, loved the theatre district walking tour, loved the YouTube screenings… loved it all.  It simply flew by and I cannot wait to go back.  I’m thinking October, if it works for you Troy!

Highlights:  Click the links to see clips or the official sites for everything below!

Monday: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was such a fun show to start off the week!  Literally dancing in my seat and singing along to the music!  Quite a spectacle – so glad I got to see it, as it closed last Sunday!

Luis and I at Carnegie Deli

After the show we went to Carnegie Deli for some late night “snacks.”  The portion sizes are crazy!  I ordered a chocolate cream pie and didn’t expect to get the whole pie piled on one plate!  Yummy!

The High Line Park

Tuesday I walked a lot on the High Line, attempting to walk off the previous night’s dinner.  🙂 The High Line is a new park that is built on an abandoned railroad bed above 10th and 11th Avenue on the west side of Manhattan.  I walked its length, getting off in the Meat Packing district and enjoyed lunch at a French restaurant and then rambled around Greenwich Village a bit.  I took a lot of pictures of interesting buildings and sat in a few parks for shade, when needed.

On the Broadway Stage! Once: A New Musical

Tuesday night we saw Once: A New Musical.  It was just sooooooo good.  During intermission they opened the bar onstage and we got to go up there.  It was fun to stand on the stage where the performers/musicians had been standing.  It was a great show – the music is made right on stage and I either had goose bumps or tears in my eyes throughout the entire show.  The show flew by and before I knew it, it was done.  Troy and Luis were kind enough to wait at the stage door with me and I got Steve Kazee’s (Guy in Once) autograph.  Ah.  Afterwards, a delicious pub meal at the Playwright’s Celtic Pub – although it is noted that it wasn’t true Irish fare offered, as there were some Mexican offerings on the menu.  🙂

Kevin, tour guide, and George M. Cohan (“Give My Regards to Broadway”!) statue at Times Square

Wednesday Troy and I signed up for a walking tour of the Times Square Theatre District.  Kevin was our tour guide, and of course he was an aspiring actor.  It was a lot of fun to walk around the district and learn about the history of the theatres and how Times Square has changed.  It was beastly hot on this first day of summer, so a brewery lunch was a perfect respite before the matinee of Newsies!  A great fun show!  I took pictures of the cast after but somehow I saved them so that I can’t get them off my camera.  Ugh.  But what fun, that show was.  Great singing and dancing.  Loved it!  Seize the Day!

Brilliant, it was!

Adam Chanler-Berat (Boy) from Peter and I!

Christian Borle (Black Stache) and I after Peter and the Starcatcher

We freshened up and ordered Chinese before our second show of the day, Peter and the Starcatcher!  What a joy that was!  I loved the books by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, and the play was so fun!  Very musical, very funny, very smart!  Black Stache cracked up the cast on stage, and it was just a delight to be there!  He obviously doesn’t like to smile offstage, as he looked so serious while taking pictures with the stage door fans.  But I smiled big enough for the both of us!  How fun.  His last day in the show was last night, as now he’s focusing on Smash, the TV show.  I’ll have to catch up with it!

Then…

Billy’s Bakery

Delicious desserts were brought home to savor while we sat up late (again!) and talked and talked and talked. Ah.  Good times.

Central Park

Thursday was the hottest day of the week so I jumped in a cab to 80th street, wandered Zabar’s for a bit, and then grabbed coffee and a muffin and walked to Central Park and sat in the shade.  I took a LOT of photos this day, and I walked a lot of the city.  From Central Park I walked down Fifth Avenue for some window shopping, and then caught a cab back to 18th street to meet Kaitlyn for lunch at Room Service (yummy Thai!).  Then more walking around Chelsea and on the High Line.  Then back to Troy’s to rest my weary feet.  I had blisters in several places, I think because of the heat of the day.

After Nice Work If You Can Get It

And then the finale of the week – Nice Work If You Can Get It!  what a fun show!  It is so beautiful to look at and reminded me of an old Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie.  The dancing, the Gershwin tunes, the beautiful costumes and set, the bootleggers and the high society.  How fun.  And to see Matthew Broderick and Kelli O’Hara was a treat!  I can’t wait til this Broadway Cast Recording comes out!

Post-Broadway dinner at Sardi’s

And to top off the week of Broadway Blitz/Bliss, a post-show dinner at Sardi’s.

This was a perfect vacation.

Broadway Blitz Week

I’m already making plans for next time and hope that I can get there again in 2012!

The Empire State Building from the High Line Park

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday