Where did January go?

It’s hard to believe that today is the last day of January 2014.  I haven’t written my 2013 re-cap yet, I haven’t thought much about goals or theme for 2014, I haven’t even organized photos for my photo book for 2012 yet!

But all the “haven’t”s are only because I have been doing so much.  Here’s what I’m thankful for today —

  • Chris and I found a delicious authentic Mexican restaurant – and I crave it almost daily!  Can’t wait to go back there.

  • Got through another weekend of overnights, and was able to have dinner with Marissa one day and with Chris and his daughter the day I was recovering.  Working overnights makes me want to hibernate and put life on hold, but it doesn’t hurt to fit in a little social life!  I’m thankful I don’t work all overnights, but can’t wait to try to spread them out even more. 🙂
  • On a day off, Chris and I were very close eyewitnesses to a woman driving through the exit door at my local Target.  We were the last people out that door, and I looked her in the eye as she backed up and slowly drove away.  I felt scared that she was going to use her vehicle as a weapon against us, because it appeared intentional, so I am very thankful that everyone was safe and that I wasn’t alone in experiencing it!  Koni was inside the store and saw it from a different angle… quite a story!
  • And then NYC… how to recap that in a few short words?  Travel in January is not without its complications – the flight was delayed out of Rochester and we nearly missed the last flight from Chicago to NYC that night, but we arrived – as did our luggage! Our flight home was cancelled, so we were able to enjoy one more full day in NYC – and we made the best of it!  Our flight out of O’Hare was delayed delayed delayed, but eventually we made it home.  And the trip was so much fun… I’ll write more about that in another blog.  Monday.  🙂

  • January 30 is the 2 year anniversary of my employment at Mayo Clinic – and I got to enjoy it with a day off!  Yesterday and today I have been able to take care of things at home (laundry, mail, groceries), enjoy time at Caribou with Chris and a book, go to the ED book club, attend an author talk at the library, and now tonight a BBB game.
  • By the skin of my teeth (and with the help of Sparknotes summaries!) I finished reading “A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway for book club last night.  Hemingway really has an interesting writing style, which is not my favorite, but he and his life still fascinate me.  I was able to set my DVR from NYC to record the movie on TCM – so I can’t wait to watch it.  All 2 hours 45 minutes of it.
  • The talk at the library was by Allison McGhee, author of “Shadow Baby.”  I haven’t read anything she has written, but I will now.  I am always fascinated by author discussions and she was not a let down.  She was able to speak eloquently about her insecurities and her writing process.  She said she reads poetry every morning, and that sounds like something I’d like to do.  She also talked about writing exercises, and I think I’ll do one!

Things I’m looking forward to in early February –

  • I look forward to organizing my NYC photos and blogging about the trip!
  • I “get to” take a class, which starts Friday!  I’m working on my clinical license and have to get some “hours” in different content areas and this class will help a lot.  I’m thankful that the class will be very relevant to my job, but I’m dreading the actual work of taking a class.  I have homework due before I even go to class, so I’ll be looking at that this weekend.  The books have arrived, so now I’ll get organized.  It’s one Friday per month, so I can do it.  And I’m thankful for an ED colleague who is also taking the class – she will keep me motivated and on top of things!
  • Next weekend is SocialICE downtown Rochester!  I have gone every year with Kristine and a varied group of people, and this year is no exception!  Saturday night we will be enjoying the bands, the weather, the beautiful ice sculptures, and the company of fun people!  Can’t wait!
  • Just bought tickets to see Jeremy Messersmith at FIrst Ave for Marissa’s birthday!  Looking forward to spending her birthday with her!  Yay!
  • Although I work on Valentine’s Day, I will actually have a Valentine this year!  That’s something to look forward to, right???  Wow.  Thankful for him.  🙂

I’ll end with the quote that I adopted for my January photo album on Facebook.  I think it’s a great sentiment and I hope to live up to it!  (And I hope to read something by Neil Gaimon in 2014, too!)

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.  

—Neil Gaiman

Movie Chat

The Academy Award nominations were announced today!
And I saw two movies this week!  
So it’s time for a little movie chat!  

Movie chat!
Movie chat!


  • American Hustle – I saw this the Monday before Christmas instead of seeing Anchorman 2, which everyone went to, but I’d already seen.  I’m glad I saw this. I thought that the performances by the four leads were incredible.  Christian Bale’s hair should get an award all by itself!  I’d like to see this one again!
  • Captain Phillips – This was an incredible movie.  It’s a shame that Tom Hanks wasn’t nominated, because his performance was incredible – especially at the end.  It was tense and frightening and even though I knew the outcome, it was an amazing ending.  Probably my favorite of the movies on this list that I have seen.  
  • Dallas Buyers Club – Incredible performances (wow, I keep saying that!) by the two leads, discouraging story about the FDA and pharmaceutical companies and their snail pace progress in approving drugs.
  • Gravity – Another tense movie!  Saw it in 3D and the visuals were spectacular, the storyline was so nerve-wracking, and the performances were very good.
  • Her – Saw this today!  I was super sleepy and we were the only people in the theatre for the first matinee. My eyes closed a few times (gasp!) and we were able to talk through the movie, because of having the theatre to ourselves.  It was thought-provoking and I thought Joaquin gave a great performance, again with no nomination.  The depiction of the not-so-distant-future was fascinating and disturbing.
  • Nebraska – Didn’t see this one  – yet. 🙂
  • Philomena – Really liked this little gem of a movie.  Love British movies, love Judi Dench, love Steve Coogan, love the premise.  Not a happy story, but a real-life story.  No Hollywood ending here.
  • 12 Years a Slave – Haven’t seen this one – yet!
  • The Wolf of Wall Street – Haven’t seen this one yet, either!

The other movie I saw this week was Inside Llewyn Davis – the story of a folk singer down on his luck.  It’s a week-in-the-life, and comes full circle.  It is another non-Hollywood ending, I loved the music and the 1961 era.  It was anticipated to be a big nominee but it wasn’t nominated for anything big.  The main man had quite a beard!

Performance by an ACTOR in a Leading Role

  • Christian Bale, AMERICAN HUSTLE
  • Bruce Dern, NEBRASKA
  • Leonardo Dicaprio, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 YEARS A SLAVE
  • Matthew McConaughey, DALLAS BUYERS CLUB

Performance by an ACTOR in a Supporting Role

  • Barkhad Abdi, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
  • Bradley Cooper, AMERICAN HUSTLE
  • Michael Fassbender, 12 YEARS A SLAVE

I haven’t seen all of the movies that the men are nominated for, but I did think that Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey were both very incredible in their roles – and both had major physical transformations for their roles.  I thought that Jared Leto was beautiful as Rayon in the Dallas Buyers Club, as well.  

Performance by an ACTRESS in a Leading Role

  • Cate Blanchett, BLUE JASMINE
  • Sandra Bullock, GRAVITY
  • Judi Dench, PHILOMENA
  • Meryl Streep, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY

Performance by an ACTRESS in a Supporting Role

  • Sally Hawkins, BLUE JASMINE
  • Jennifer Lawrence, AMERICAN HUSTLE
  • Lupita Nyong’o, 12 YEARS A SLAVE
  • Julia Roberts, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
  • June Squibb, NEBRASKA

This is tough.  I’ve seen four of the roles nominated in the leading actress category and would have a very difficult time picking one.  Cate Blanchett’s Jasmine in Blue Jasmine is most memorable – she plays someone who is chemically dependent and mentally ill very well.  It was quite the role in quite the movie.  

So I have some movies to see if I want to see them all before March 2 –  how about you?  Have you seen many of the nominated films or roles?  Who will you pick?  What are your favorites?

It’s 2014 – and other things making me happy…


Time… keeps marching, doesn’t it?

Here’s a list of things that have made me happy since Christmas –

  • Christmas with the family on the Ponderosa.  A snowfall, a bonfire, good food and laughs with family.  Bliss.
  • “Phantom of the Opera” at the Orpheum with Marissa and my mom (and Mo’s friend, Tricia).  The music didn’t disappoint, the set was beautiful, and the chandelier dropping made me jump!  Good stuff…
  • Lots of Laughs (LOL) with Land O’ Lakes (LOL) at their Christmas party at Goonie’s Comedy Club!
  • New Year’s Day movie watching with Jenny and Chris – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty at the Wehrenberg (loved it!), and take-out Chinese and Don Jon via my new AppleTV (also making me happy – thanks Chris!).
  • The day-after-New-Year’s-Day movie watching with Marie – Saving Mr. Banks – a tear-jerker, for sure!
  • A “Grand Getaway” to Minneapolis (and St. Paul) – the Minnesota History Center for Speakeasy Saturday, a double-date with Deadra and John to see Lorna Landvik at her Party in the Rec Room at the Bryant Lake Bowl, followed by a retro-bar crawl to Nye’s and Honey and brunch at Ike’s.  Good stuff.  I’m a lucky gal.  🙂
  • Celebrating Chris Riggle’s birthday with her today!  Pizza and brownies… nothing fancy but it was sure delicious!  It was fun to catch up!
  • I made my Goodreads goal for 2013 – 32 books read.  I set my goal for this year at 36 and am optimistic that I can make it.  🙂  I’ll continue with Audible for a little while longer, but I’m collecting enough that I have a few banked up to read!  Below is a list of the books I read in 2013 – looking forward to hitting more in my TBR pile in 2014!

Looking forward to spending more time reflecting on what my theme for 2014 will be… do you set New Year’s Resolutions or goals?

Happy (Belated) New Year!!

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Wishin' and Hopin'
Pope Joan
Mad About the Boy (Bridget Jones, #3)
Paris Was the Place
Falling Together
Freud's Mistress
The End of the Affair
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
Ready Player One
Playing for Keeps (Neighbor from Hell, #1)
Fin & Lady: A Novel
My One Square Inch of Alaska
The Night Circus
The Promise of Provence: A Novel
Little Wolves
Stories I Only Tell My Friends
Elizabeth the First Wife
The Accidental Tourist
Sick Girl
The Silver Linings Playbook
Gone with the Wind
A Week in Winter
84, Charing Cross Road
Tell the Wolves I'm Home
Silencing Sam (Riley Spartz, #3)
Mistletoe Mischief
Missing Mark (Riley Spartz, #2)
The Next Best Thing
A Highlander for Christmas (Children of the Mist, #5)
Forget Me Knot
Stalking Susan (Riley Spartz, #1)
Shunning Sarah (Riley Spartz, #5)
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Postmistress
High Line: The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky