My Movie Love Letter 2017

That’s a bit of an exaggeration.  I haven’t seen as many movies in the theatre as in years past, but every time I do there’s something I love… Here is a list of films I’ve seen in chronological order:

  1. Moana – love the Lin Manuel Miranda musical score!
  2. LaLaLand – love the music and dancing! also love the Oscar blooper where it was briefly named Best Picture!
  3. Rogue One: Star Wars – not too memorable… hmmm
  4. Hidden Figures – loved that I saw this on Martin Luther King Day with a teen girl who loves math!
  5. Singing in the Rain – love that this was brought back onto the big screen for a few showings in 2017!
  6. Dous Iozurri (Two Lottery Tickets) – love that the Wehrenberg has a foreign film festival every year – cute pic about losing winning lottery tickets!
  7. Gifted – love movie night with the girls!
  8. Wonder Woman – love the girl power in this pic!
  9. The Big Sick – love this story based on his true life – heart wrenching at times but so good!
  10. The Glass Castle – loved seeing this with social worker friends and discussing the differences between the book and the movie!
  11. Victoria & Abdul – love this pic about the curmudgeonly Queen Victoria! Makes me want to know more!
  12. Bad Mom’s Christmas – again, love movie nights with the girls! Big Laughs!
  13. Wonder – loved the sweetness of this movie!
  14. Lady Bird – loved everything about this movie – great characters!
  15. Murder on the Orient Express – loved the beauty and the actors in this film.
  16. Star Wars: The Last Jedi – loved seeing Carrie Fischer again… good stuff.
  17. Pitch Perfect 3 – love a movie with singing (although it really pales to the first)
  18. The Greatest Showman – absolutely loved this and hope to see it again!
  19. Ferdinand – love the story and loved taking the girls!
  20. Jumanji – love the laughs and the premise – but had to look through my hands a few times!  I’m a wimp!

On Netflix I have watched a bunch of Christmas cheer, a few action flicks, and the Thanksgiving episodes of Friends. Some series I have loved…

  1. Master of None – love the feel to season 2!
  2. Last Chance U – love the reality of this!
  3. Grace & Frankie – love those two
  4. The Great British Baking Show – love watching those Brits make things I’ve never heard of!
  5. The Good Place – caught up so I could watch season 2 – which is sooo weird!

On Amazon Prime we LOVED The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – highly recommend!

Image result for the marvelous mrs maisel

What’s been making me happy…

February is in full swing… lots of fun things to look forward to!  But here’s a quick look back on January goodness….

In January I visited some new places:

  • Bunny’s Bar & Grill in St. Louis Park – right around the corner from Marissa and Adam’s home is the local hangout.  Good food!  Went there with Chris and Kevin during a quick trip to Microcenter – had to get some Nana time!
  • LTS Brewing Company – Cosmo Girls goodness, as usual, at a local brewery. LTS = Life’s Too Short – and ain’t that the truth!  We had some great conversation with one of the proprietors and learned a lot about beer making and about his life philosophy.  Cool place.  Must go back.
  • Five West – owned by the Loop, a beautiful location out in western Rochester.  A great night there with Chris, spending the Powerball money we didn’t win. 🙂
  • HyVee – we wandered around the new HyVee out by Five West. It is monstrous! Fun to see. Would love to take a class there!
  • Radisson Hotel LaCrosse and the Three Rivers Restaurant – Chris and I were able to go to my dad’s retirement party with his work peeps.  Lots of wonderful and fun stories told about dad – nothing surprising!  He’s a wonderful and fun man!
  • The Breakfast Club and Pub – a cute theme joint in LaCrosse where we went for breakfast the next morning. They take the theme seriously, which is always good to see! All John Hughes all the time!
  • Treasure Island and Xtreme Bowling – Chris’s LOL work party. We ate, we drank, we bowled and we gambled.  And the only thing I lost was my lipstick!
  • Eat Street Social – Minneapolis – girl’s weekend with Marissa (and August!) and Trisha. Met Deadra and Maya here Sunday for brunch and it was delish!  A fried egg BLT. Oh my.  Yum! Saturday Marissa, Trisha and I ate at Surly’s Brew Pub Hall – delicious food there, too!  Busy places…

Other than all that goodness, January has been filled with basketball, Emma’s first birthday party, date-night and double-date night, Scrabble with Kevin, book club in Preston, and only one movie in the theatre!  We saw “The Big Short,” which was so smart and complicated.  Uff. That stuff happened … and is happening again????  Yikes.  We attempted to watch “Mad Max: Fury Road” on TV for the sake of Oscar’s, but it is really just too something-something. NOT my style of movie. Hard to watch, even in my own living room.

So of the best picture nominees, I have only seen “The Big Short,” “The Martian,” and “Brooklyn.”  LOVED Brooklyn. Sweet movie.  Not a banner year for my movie viewing! Too much other goodness… I did get two books read, which is a great thing for me!  Yay!  Maybe I’ll get back into the swing of things!

Much to look forward to – hope the same is true for you!

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Oscar nominations 2016 –

Nominees: BEST PICTURE
“Spotlight”
“The Big Short”
“The Revenant”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Brooklyn”
“Room”

Nominees: BEST ACTOR
Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”)
Matt Damon (“The Martian”)
Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”)
Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”)
Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”)

Nominees: BEST ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett (“Carol”)
Brie Larson (“Room”)
Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”)
Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”)

Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”)

Nominees: BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale (“The Big Short”)
Tom Hardy (“The Revenant”)
Mark Ruffalo (“Spotlight”)
Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”)

Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”)


Nominees: BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight”)
Rooney Mara (“Carol”)
Rachel McAdams (“Spotlight”)
Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”)
Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”)

Nominees: BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Matt Charman, Joel & Ethan Coen (“Bridge of Spies”)
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley (“Inside Out”)
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (“Spotlight”)
Alex Garland (“Ex Machina”)

Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff (“Straight Outta Compton”)


Nominees: BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Emma Donoghue (“Room”)
Drew Goddard (“The Martian”)
Nick Hornby (“Brooklyn”)
Adam McKay and Charles Randolph (“The Big Short”)
Phyllis Nagy (“Carol”)

Nominees: BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”
“Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction

“Simple Song #3” from “Youth”
“Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”
“Writings on the Wall” from “Spectre”

 

My own MINI March Madness

keep-calm-its-my-half-birthday-2

Here we are again – the beginning of a new month!  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I have an affinity for the 1st of any month.  April 1 happens to be my half birthday, so now it is also my SIX MONTH ANNIVERSARY!  Wahoo!  Seems like that just happened AND that he’s been in my life forever… life is so good.

Here’s a recap of all the goodness of March –

We started the month off with a double date with Beth and Doug to see “Almost, Maine” in Lanesboro.  It was such a great play and a fun night out in Lanesboro!  Highlight (outside of the theatre) was asking at the Legion if they served any food and the (harried, busy) waitress said, “No.  We just have pizza.”  We chuckled, ordered it, and it was sooooo good! Hegge’s pizza is the bomb!

We ended the month with celebrations for Beth’s birthday at Osaka for a Tepanyaki style dinner, followed by a Blues Fest at Wicked Moose.  I got Chris on the dance floor, which was a first (and won’t be the last time!) So fun!.

Singing the birthday blues!

In early March, Chris and I attended the Minnesota Monthly Food & Wine Show at Target Field in Minneapolis!  Jenny and I had planned to go for months, but she was ill so Chris went instead.  We didn’t get even close to falling down drunk, like some that we saw, but we did enjoy the little corner of spirits and made sure to stop sampling with plenty of time for metabolizing before driving home.  It was a lot of fun – and a lot of people!

Outside Target Field on a beautiful day!

March brought me my MINI!  Chris and I drove to the Cities to look at a few cars one beautiful Saturday.  I was certain I was going to get another Honda, but manual transmissions are becoming fewer and fewer… so we went in search of some different car dealers in the Cities.  We never got past the first, as I knew I didn’t need to look any further after I drove the MINI Cooper S.  So we went back the next week with my car and did the trade and then back the next week for my “Second Delivery Date” with an expert and to get the bonnet stripes installed.  Ah.  It’s a fun ride!

My MINI! Woohoo!

March also brought sunshiney warm days and a big snowstorm.  We looked for patio dining and couldn’t find any yet, so we encouraged friends to open their patio and enjoyed a roaring fire with s’mores.  Good stuff.  And then the snow came and schools were closed.  Crazy Minnesota March.

A campfire at the Chalet

March brought $2 burgers with the family a few times.

During Lenten season, I went to confirmation with Gracie and got to talk with her about what we think it means to be a Lutheran.

A 3 movie month is pretty solid!  I saw Cinderella with Gracie, the March birthday girl.  We loved it – it was beautiful and romantic.  The story you know and love told wonderfully.  I saw The Second Most Exotic Marigold Hotel with Jenny – and it was very fun!  Many laugh-out-loud moments, some tears, and a big old dance scene!  Yay!  And last night I saw McFarland, USA with the crew in Rochester.  What a movie!  It was so good.  A story about coaching, field-working-high-schoolers, and the community.  It was very incredible – and the end with the real guys was the best. Just so good.

I binge watched The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix, and that is a hoot.  Very clever and fun!  (Dang, now I have the theme song in my head!)

I read The Kitchen House for book club and am listening to The Weird Sisters.  It’s hard to know what to read next, as my TBR piles continue to grow and grow!  Someone, help me out here!

And lastly, we celebrated Tony’s last night in Madison with Supper at Bandung Indonesian followed by champagne cocktails and martinis at Opus Martini Lounge.  Tony and Chris left early yesterday morning for their trek across country to move him to Rhode Island. They arrived safely this morning, a mere 24 hours after leaving Madison.  Tomorrow Chris will get to New Hampshire for some family time in before flying home to me on Sunday.  Ah.  Next time I’m going with.

Looking forward to April, although it will be a different sort of month with Chris starting to work overnights.  I work overnights the rest of this week and again the end of the month, so that will keep things interesting around here!

Happy April, all!

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. ~Celia Thaxter

Always so much to be thankful for!  We are marching in to June and the calendar is filled with fun things on the days that work isn’t scheduled (and even on some days when work is scheduled!).

Here are a few things I am thankful for from the past few weeks —

  • Friday nights!  Spent a seemingly rare Friday night off at Jabbers (and evidently the last Friday night we’ll spend there, as it just closed!) getting in some Jabbering with Jabber Juice.  Fun fun.   And even after work last Friday night, it was fun to sit outside on the patio at Fat Willy’s!  Fridays still rock!
Love this selfie with Rushford in the background!

Love this selfie with Rushford in the background!

  • Rushford friends and family – had a lot of fun showing Chris around Rushford – the bluff, the new coffee shop – and hanging out with friends.  Take Note! sang at the ExpoCulinaria and it was a lot of fun with good food tastes and good company!  Followed by more good food and a good campfire at Brenda and Roger’s!  It was chilly so that fire felt good!  It was a Starry Starry Night!
  • Speaking of Starry Starry Nights – loved the time with Beth at the painting event by Wine & Canvas!  It was a challenging painting but I think we did a respectable job – and it was so fun!
Love Starry Night with Rochester Wine & Canvas!  And Beth!

Love Starry Night with Rochester Wine & Canvas! And Beth!

  • Memorial Day weekend I had to work overnights, but I still was able to indulge in a last minute invitation to hear Temple Grandin speak on Friday night, followed by coffee at Chester’s!  And Monday Chris and I went for a good meal on a rainy afternoon before I went in for night four. I always manage to fit in the important stuff!
Love last minute invitations and loved hearing Temple Grandin again!  She's something!

Love last minute invitations and loved hearing Temple Grandin again! She’s something!

  • Trajan turned 15 in May and we celebrated him at Texas Roadhouse!  I also love that I’ve been able to help out and drive him to his basketball practices in the Cities and to watch him play a few games.  He’s on a competitive team and they are all so fun to watch!
Love this kid who isn't afraid of the saddle on his 15th birthday!

Love this kid who isn’t afraid of the saddle on his 15th birthday!

  • The weather has been great so I have been getting in some great walks!  Some with friends, some with Chris, and some with his daughter and granddaughter.  It’s been fun to play with a 2 year old again!
Love this guy and love hanging out with a 2 year old every once in a while!  It's been a while...

Love this guy and love hanging out with a 2 year old every now and then! It’s been a while…

  • Books – I’m finally on a little reading streak!  I finished Allegiant, moved on to The Fault in Our Stars (heartbreakingly beautiful… just lovely), and Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (a fun little read with dares all over NYC!).  I bought a used Kindle so it’s exciting to fill it up (it holds a TON!) and look forward to reading it at the end of the dock.
  • Audiobooks – I’ve officially been an Audible member for a year!  Yikes… I have purchased more than I’ve listened to (sound familiar??  I guess I’m growing my TBL (To Be Listened to) pile, as well!).  I tend to buy the long books that I want to read but doubt I’ll have the time or stamina for.  So far I’ve listened to 11.22.63, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Fin & Lady, Ready Player One, The End of the Affair, The Goldfinch, and The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog.  I’m currently listening to Whistling Past the Graveyard for book club (if they don’t give up on me!).  Love listening in the car, still, but much less commuting time so now it’s while puttering around.  Love it!
  • Movies – always thankful for movies!  Movie nights at home on the couch, movies while trying to sleep, movies in the theatre with a tub of popcorn.  Love them!  This month in the theatre I’ve seen Neighbors (pretty funny, Seth Rogan stuff) and Belle (interesting story about Britain’s position in the slave trade business).  From Netflix on DVD I’ve seen Here Comes the Boom (very funny and fun!) and Love Is All You Need (unexpected story about Danish people traveling to Italy for a wedding, with Pierce Brosnon! Pretty good!).  Mindless instant viewing includes Drop Dead Diva (series) and The Sweetest Thing (Cameron Diaz craziness that was pretty fun).
  • Of course, Jimmy Fallon always makes me laugh, which is a thing to be greatly thankful for.  Fun stuff.  Look for his clips if you can’t commit to an entire week of shows!  🙂

As usual, I have much to look forward to, as well.  We are working fewer weekends than last summer, so I’m looking forward to that!  I am penciling in fun plans with friends and family – so give a shout if you want to get together!  Let’s make this the best summer ever!

If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance. ~Bern Williams

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!

Nominated for BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR:

  • 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
  • Jonah Hill, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
  • Jared Leto, DALLAS BUYERS CLUB

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

  • Amy Adams, AMERICAN HUSTLE
  • 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…

2014

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'
Perfect
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
11/22/63
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
Swim
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
 

12.24.13 What’s Making Me Happy

Merry Christmas everyone!  It has been so long since I posted (more than a month!) and I’ve done many things, so I’ll try to catch up with a whirlwind post of what’s making me happy:

  • I love firsts – even the first day of winter!  It means the days are getting longer and we are heading towards spring, instead of away from summer.  There was a year when I had a party for every first day of the season (or last day of the season, depending on where it landed in the week).  Maybe someday I’ll reprise, but for now know that I quietly celebrated and remember.
  • I’ve seen movies –

On Netflix DVDs:  

  • Frances Ha (a girl wants to pursue dancing career – and avoid growing up!), 
  • The Kings of Summer (boys build a home in the woods to avoid their families), 
  • Smashed (a married couple goes separate ways when one decides to be sober)
  • and at home right now is The Salt of Life (an Italian movie starring the man in Mid-August Lunch, the inspiration for Ferragosto!)
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My Christmas DVD Traditions: 

  • Elf
  • Love, Actually
  • The Holiday
  • Family Stone
  • Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas

On Netflix Streaming:

And in the Theatre:

  • About Time (I loved this so!  I thought it had such a great message of how to live life… soooo good!  Bummed that it didn’t stay in the theatre long – I will be buying this!), 
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (So fun to see this with the girl who loves it best – Gracie.  We went on opening night, so the theatre was filled with other lovers of the series, and there were cheers and boos and sighs throughout.  A good movie!), 
  • Dallas  Buyers Club (Not a feel good movie at all, but outstanding performances, and a thought-provoking glimpse into the government/ pharmacology difficulties in obtaining medications.), 
  • Philomena (a great British film about a woman who goes in search of the son that was taken from her in the 50s while she was “banished” to a convent as an unwed mother – great story, great performances, great movie),  
  • Delivery Man (Vince Vaughn finds out his sperm-donating days have wielded him a passel!  It was not as funny as I like Vince to be, but it was a pretty good movie), 
  • Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (and so it does.  The story is original and the point they make about 24 hour media is pretty spot-on. Not great, but not a bad sequel.), and 
  • American Hustle (I love that “some of this really happened” was the tag line at the beginning of the movie.  Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence were amazing, and the story was fun to follow. )
I do indeed...

I do indeed…

As always during the holidays, there have been Musical Events:

  • Crossings At Carnegie – Becky Schlegel and the 48 High – a great, intimate setting, with fun music – a little country, a little bluegrass!  
  • Messiah “Sing In” – Always a treat to go with Beth!  This year Vicki went as well!  The music seemed harder to sing, but it was a great night.  
  • Take Note! and Winona Brass Band – our concert has been a tradition since 2006 – isn’t that amazing?  It always goes by so fast, but is a fun night at the beginning of the holiday season! 
  • Christmas program at church – Even though it was only 20 minutes long between church services, I was glad to get to the program!  Good smiles, good songs… 
  • Take Note! party – Mom and Dad opened their house for the Christmas party for the choir.  Everyone brought delicious food, we had good weather, good laughs, watched our concert, and had a relaxing afternoon.
  • Festival of Lessons and Carols at the Chapel at St. Mary’s – Gracie has been singing with her choir at this concert for a few years.  It’s a nice time to reflect on the season, listen to beautiful choral music, handbell choirs, and to sing favorite hymns.
  • Dan Chouinard and Peter Ostroushko – Such a great evening of singing and music!  The ability of these two men is awe inspiring, and they make it look effortless.  Such a great Christmas tradition I hope I will do every year!
Next year I may make a Christmas tree out of books

Next year I may make a Christmas tree out of books

I’ve read some books: 

  • Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding – It’s nice to hear Bridget’s voice again, although she really should grow up, right? It’s a fun read with Bridget antics and a few precious moments.  
  • Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross – Read this for the book club in the ED.  It’s amazing how I never want to read historical fiction and then enjoy it a lot.  This takes place in the 800s and it’s fun to read about their education, religion and beliefs.  Good discussion!  
  • Perfect by Autumn Jordan – Very short Christmas story!  Trying to “pad” my book numbers for 2013!  
  • Fin & Lady by Cathleen Schine – on audio – a story about a young man being raised by his older sister.  A good story, which probably would have been better if I had a more consistent listening schedule.  🙂  
  •  Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Mindy Kaling – Currently listening to this on audio – I love Mindy and can’t wait to listen further. 
  • Wishin’ & Hopin’ by Wally Lamb – another short Christmas story – hoping to maybe make my goal of 32 books in 2013!  
  • Next on my list is Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – hear it’s a great YA book!  

football_santa

And then I’ve made it to a few sporting events – 

  • Wrestling – I spent an afternoon watching cousin Trevor wrestle – well, I waited all afternoon to watch Trevor wrestle once, as he had a win by forfeit in his second match of the day and I missed his first one! 🙂  He wrestled hard and I hope to make a few more meets this winter.  
  • Basketball – Trajan is playing Junior Varsity for Mayo, and I’ve made a few of his games so far, hoping for more!  Gracie and Rees will also be playing, so hope I can get to some of those, as well!  

Phew!  I wonder how many will make it to the end of this long list!  I’m hoping to blog again before the end of 2013 so let’s see if that happens!  I know that the days ahead are filled – with work, with fun events, and with family time.  

Christmas

 

I hope that your Christmas holidays are as blessed and a blessing to you!  

11.12.13 – What is Making Me Happy

First, the date.  11-12-13 – How fun is that?  I guess it’s the big wedding date of the year – what will next year’s big date be?  12-13-14 I guess.

Other things making me happy –

On the reading front…

  • I’m feeling a little bit like I got my reading groove back!  Yay!
  • Since “Freud’s Mistress,” I’ve read “Falling Together” by Marisa de los Santos,
  • “Paris was the Place” by Susan Conley (see review here) and
  • “My One Square Inch of Alaska” by Sharon Short (for FC book group next week).
  • I’m currently reading (and flying through!) “Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy” by Helen Fielding,
  • and listening on audio (slowly) “Finn & Lady” by Cathleen Schine.
  • Woot!

    QUESTLOVE

    QUESTLOVE (Photo credit: thetortmaster)

  • I think the moral to this story for me is that I need to read books of my choosing rather than for book tours and blogging for a while. I have enjoyed the books I’ve read for book tours, but find that I read them even slower than normal and the blogging aspect adds even more time.
  • Hopefully I can crank out (and enjoy!) a few more before the end of 2013!
  • Next on my reading list are “Pope Joan” for the ED book club,
  • and “Mo’Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove” by Questlove and Ben Greenman.
  • Then maybe I’ll FINALLY read “Winter Garden” by Kristin Hannah, and some other seasonal reads.

On the film front:

  • On DVD or streaming on Netflix:  “The Oranges,” – a slightly disturbing story about a college aged girl who starts dating her dad’s best friend and neighbor; “Springbreakers,” – a very disturbing story about spring break gone awry, jumpy and weird; “Bachelorrette” – a story about a bride who asks high school friends to be in her wedding, even though they were mean to her in high school, interestinglly famous cast;  “Mike Birbiglia‘s: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” – stand up routine by this guy… love his stuff;
  • and in the theatre on a mid-week date night, “Enough Said.”  Elaine Bennis (Julie Louis-Dreyfuss) and Tony Soprano (James Gandolfino) meet and begin dating.  It’s James Gandolfino’s last film and it was a very sweet story.  Lots of good discussions – in the movie and after.

On the social front:

  • Lots of great dates with Chris – whether it’s cooking a meal, eating out, going to football games, exploring the SPAM Museum, watching DVDs or going to movies, we have a good time.
  • Met some girls at 4 Daughters’ Winery for a delicious afternoon lunch and conversation!  Was a great time and hope to do it again soon!
  • Had 1:1 time with great friends, as well – Beth came to Rochester and we hit consignment shops and had a great lunch and some coffee, had a birthday lunch with Ellen last week, and Vicki and I shared a bottle of wine in Mom and Dad’s basement, discussing life!
  • The SPAM Museum with Chris and Marissa was a ton o’ fun… I don’t know what it is about that place!  Maybe the SPAMples we ate throughout our time there, the gift store with everything SPAM you can imagine, or the knowledge that was absorbed, as evidenced by the SPAM game show.  Fun fun times.
  • I went to the ED Book Club for the first time last night to discuss a book I recommended to them and read in 1998!  I didn’t re-read it but read the SparksNotes for Angela’s Ashes, and there was great discussion with people I don’t know very well.  Was a fun night and I’ll go again!
  • Feel like I’ve been working a lot, but I guess no more than normal.  Just recovering from overnights, so a little brain dead yet today.
Spam Museum

Spam Museum (Photo credit: isNoOp)

And so I’ll close… I feel a little bad that I’m not participating in the month of Gratitude leading up to Thanksgiving… the days fly by and there is always something to be thankful for.  I’m working this Thanksgiving, so I am trying to figure out what I can do to celebrate in some way.  I’m thankful for TimeHop App which tells me what I posted on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare for the last 5 years, so that I can remember all the good things that have gone on before… Life is good!

What is making YOU happy??

Monday Movie Minute…

I saw TWO great movies in the theatre this week – how much fun is that?

The Wehrenberg 100th Anniversary logo (2006).

The Wehrenberg 100th Anniversary logo (2006). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, Jenni and I attempted to celebrate VIP Free Movie Day at the Wehrenberg, but the movie we wanted to see was not included in the freeness of movie day.  But we stuck with our plan to see Captain Phillips – and it was worth it!  Such a tense and stressful movie!  Even though I knew the outcome, it was hard to watch, and the ending was so powerful and emotional.  I highly recommend this movie!

Then, Saturday night (date night!), we saw Gravity (3D) and wow!  I thought the movie was beautiful to watch and, if it’s possible, I was even more tense throughout!  It was a little bit of a “whatever could go wrong did go wrong” story, but going in I knew nothing about it, so it was all a surprise.

Image representing Netflix as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

On Netflix, I’ve seen The Trip on Instant – two British comedians on a foodie road trip.  They are real-life famous comedians (Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon) but it was a mockumentary.  Funny and serious.

On Netflix DVD:

Stories We Tell – a filmmaker re-creates her mother’s life and gets the family to tell the stories they remember.  I sort of fell asleep for a few minutes because it was booooooooring, but it got better and it was actually pretty good.

Loosies – a pickpocket who is trying to pay off his dead father’s debt, attempts to go straight.  It was just ok – sometimes I wonder why the movies in my queue are there.  But I guess sometimes it’s nice to have just a brainless, silly movie to watch.  I don’t recommend this one, but it was ok.

What next?  Hmmm… Movies Coming Soon that I’d like to see include About Time, The Wolf on Wall Street, The Book Thief, and Delivery Man (because Vince Vaughn?).  My Netflix Queue includes The Kings of Summer, Frances Ha! and Smashed… among 331 others. 🙂

How about you?  Have you seen anything good?  Have anything you want to see?

Monday Movie Musings (with a few plays thrown in)

I thought I’d do a catch-up post on the media I have consumed in the past month or so!  I am still hoping to soon have a Ferragosto wrap-up post, as well as more information on the book that I’m reading for a book blog tour (sneak peak: so far I love the book!), but movie Mondays are pretty melodic, so here ya go.

Besides the movies and plays below, I finished watching Arrested Development seasons this summer and started catching up on Weeds.  I am going to jump into Breaking Bad, I think, or I’ll dive into Orange is the New Black.  So many choices.  I do not miss cable TV at all!  Just have to stay home and relax a little!

Here are my thoughts:

MacbethAs mentioned in a post about July, I saw Macbeth at the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, MN with good friend Cindy.  It was a performance by the summer interns, but wow.  I don’t know that I have seen much serious Shakespeare – usually I see the lighter stuff (typical me!) – and I really felt like I needed a massage when this was done!  How intense!  If you know me, you know that I like to branch off from things, so I need to read The Weird Sisters now.  Or someday.  My TBR pile is much too large.

The Way, Way Back – I really enjoyed this summer flick!  Steve Carell has a very different role and I loved Sam Rockwell in this movie – what a hoot!  I loved the 14 year old boy,  ahd love being reminded that my Satellite Sister Sheila proctored an exam for him on set of another movie!  It wasn’t all light-hearted, but a good picture of relationships between dating adults with children.  Not a positive or healthy picture, but an interesting view.  Really, Sam Rockwell was terrific!

“Don’t Tell My Wife!” – I saw this community theatre play in Zumbrota.  It was an original play and I had never been in this nice little theatre before!  A friend was directing it, so that’s why I made it a priority to go, and it was very fun.  There were pastry chefs trying to raise money as ‘ladies of the evening,” a wealthy man wanting to open a bakery, men at a tool convention, a frumpy secretary who gets a makeover, and a wife who is an adult Girl Scout leader.  I think that community theatre is often better when you know the people who are portraying the characters, but this was well done, which is what I expected. 🙂

When Did You Last See Your Father? (on Netflix) – Meh.  I had this forever before I finally put it in.  It was an adult son who is caring for his dying father and thinking back on their relationship.  Colin Firth was the draw, but it was not fun at all.  Remember me?  I prefer fun.

Lee Daniels‘ The Butler – Saw this on Monday with Jenni.  I didn’t know much about it going in, except that Oprah was in it and there were presidents.  It was a very enjoyable movie, even if it felt trite or heavy-handed in its message sometimes.  I loved the presidents: Robin Williams as Eisenhower, John Cusack as Nixon, James Marsden as JFK, Liev Schreiber as LBJ, and Alan Rickman as Reagan.  They were all amazing.  As were Forrest Whitaker, Oprah, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz and Terrence Howard.  I will read more about it, as they say it is “based on true events,” but it is mostly a fictionalized account.  Still good enough to recommend.

Blue Jasmine – I really liked this Woody Allen movie a lot!  I am a Woody Allen fan, as a rule, so it isn’t surprising to me that I enjoyed this.  Cate Blanchett was amazing and the story was a well-told glimpse into madness.  I sat throughout the entire movie wondering how it could ever end – and it was never predictable.  I love that in a movie.  I guess Cate Blanchett played Blanche Dubois on Broadway, and this is reminiscent of that role.  She is “dependent on the kindness” not of strangers, but of estranged family and has conflicts with her sister’s boyfriends and ex-husband.  So glad I caught this movie in the theatre.

The Sapphires  (on Netflix) – I wanted to see this when it came out and it never came to our neck of the woods.  That’s either a good sign or a bad sign.  This film has Chris O’Dowd (love him!) managing an Aboriginal girls’ singing group who tours Vietnam.  There were some overt messages which played into the plot – “white looking” Aboriginal children were often removed from their birth families and raised in white communities and the Civil RIghts movement and assassination of MLK were highlighted – and some of the plot points were predictable, but it was a fun little movie.  I wonder if a lot was cut out of it, because some of the relationships weren’t as flushed out as they could have been and you are left jumping to conclusions, but it was a good watch.

Have you seen any of the above?  Have any thoughts about them – or about anything you’ve seen lately?