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!

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Blog pages

I added a new page to the blog – the list of books I read in 2017 – here it is!

Books I Read in 2017

As I look at this list of books from 2017, it is notable that most of them are for book club!  We made an intention in 2016 to meet monthly NO MATTER WHAT and so we have been more organized and planful. I have also read a few books for a work book club, listened to a few audiobooks, and picked up a few kindle books for quick reads.

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By Jenny Colgan

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by Luke Sullivan (Book Club)

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By John Tiffany and Jace Thorne

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By Liane Moriarty (book club)

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By Sara Bereilles (audio)

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By Don Miguel Ruiz

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By M. L Stedman (book club)

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By Lily King (book club)

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By Edward Kelsey Moore (book club)

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By Paul Kalanithi (work book club)

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By Jennifer Weiner

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By Clara Beaudoux (blog)

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By Gretchen Rubin (audio)

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By Jane Healey

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By Fredrik Backman

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By Liane Moriarty

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By Stephanie Powell Watts

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By Jenny Colgan

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By Jennifer Ryan (book club)

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By Adriana Trigiani

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By Brene Brown

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By Gabrielle Zevin (book club)

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By Amor Towles (book club)

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By Sandhya Menon

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By Lorna Landvik – did not finish

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By Jane Hamilton – did not finish

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By Gretchen Rubin – reading monthly

 

#2017inReview

We (@netty1001 and @realbigtweezy) still have the same cars and the same jobs but otherwise it has been an eventful year with big changes!  Here are a few highlights of the year …

#NewEnglandBlizzard – Chris’s granny, Eva Walsh, passed away in February of this year and we travelled to Newton Centre, MA for her funeral. There was a blizzard in progress, so our flight from Philadelphia to Manchester, NH was cancelled and we rented a car and drove the rest of the way. What should have been an almost 6 hour drive took us about 10. We arrived safely and in time for the celebration of Granny’s long life. I only got to meet her once, during our birthdayversary road trip last October, but it was fun to be with family and hear stories of her life.  The cemetery where she is buried was incredible – so much history out there in New England. I also experienced Candlepin bowling for the first time with Chris’s family – that was a fun night – and we got to meet Chris’s first grand-niece, Aurora!!

#BrandLoyal – Chris and I both celebrated 5 years of employment at our respective employers in 2017!  Chris started at Land O’Lakes in October 2012 and I started at Mayo in January 2012. I completed a 40 hour group supervision training for social workers so I can now lead small groups of social workers towards clinical licensure and may try my hand at that in 2018. Chris continues to be one of four people who dry the cheese powder for Cheetos!

#MermaidInLove and #CincoDeWedding – Marissa and Adam were married in Cancun on Cinco de Mayo! There were three showers, some great parties, and about 30 mother-of- the-bride dresses tried on prior to getting to Mexico.  The bachelorette party was an all-day multigenerational affair with a mermaid theme!  What a blast.  Before we walked down the “aisle” to the beach, Marissa and Icried and she said this was the wedding of her dreams. She was a beautiful bride and it was fun to be with everyone in Mexico for one week. Lots of time to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Mom and Dad even went parasailing!

#TeamGrandpaDanTough – Right before we went to Mexico my dad was diagnosed with laryngeal small cell carcinoma. He began treatments the day after we returned from Mexico (all the more reason why it was meaningful to be together down there), and it was a grueling course of 7 rounds of chemotherapy and 35 daily doses of radiation to his throat. In September his PET scan was all clear and he is getting stronger and is back out in the woods hunting this autumn. So glad to have them in Rochester!

#OnlyInMinnesota – We have enjoyed the many things life in Minnesota has to offer. We enjoyed outdoor festivals and outdoor music, my 30th class reunion was in July, we hosted and attended outdoor campfires, we spent time at our cabin at the Lake (which we now are part-owners of!), we went to the Great Minnesota Get-Together (State Fair) twice and I went to a Minnesota Twins game. Chris is ready for the Minnesota winter with his supreme snow blower and we have been enjoying watching the Minnesota Vikings play football and all the hype that is leading up the the Super Bowl being held in Minneapolis in early 2018.

#Birthdayversary2017 – For our 3rd anniversary, we took a train to Chicago for a few days with the main event seeing “Hamilton.” It is as amazing as everyone says it is, truly. We also ate good food, walked a lot, and went on a double decker bus tour. The weather was beautiful  After Chicago we spent a few days at the Dells celebrating August’s birthday with family, and spent one night in a lovely hotel in LaCrosse.  Chris thinks train travel is the way to go!

#49isDivine – 2018 means a big birthday is coming up for me, so I will be finding cause for lots of celebration leading up to it!  Marissa has a big birthday coming up as well, turning 30 in February. In 2017 Tyler turned 25, Sierra turned 21, and Kevin turned 19.  We have been enjoying time with the grandchildren; Kaydee just turned 6 in December, Emma will be 3 in January, and August turned 2 in September. Lots of chitter-chatter and laughter with them! Also lots of quality time with the nieces and nephews, much of it courtside.

#2SellOrNot2Sell – Last winter into spring we started thinking about whether we should remodel the townhouse or look for our “forever house.”  We really wanted a gas stove, which is what started all of the looking.  We spent many weekends going to open houses, wandering around tile and kitchen stores, and talking with realtors and contractors.  We wrote lists and dreamed big dreams.  Ultimately, we found and bought a new home, moving in right before Chris’s birthday in June, so it’s time to update your address books! Message me for the new address!    We gained no square footage but we now have a one level home with a big garage, a little shed, and a huge driveway (the reason Chris needed a supreme snow blower!).

I knew I missed having a sunny spot to sit outside and read, but I didn’t know how much I would LOVE having a fireplace!  We didn’t sell the townhouse, so Chris is now a landlord – so far so good.  We love our new house and it’s fun to get back to hosting again! We hosted Thanksgiving here (22 people!) as well as book club, Cosmo Girls, a housewarming / birthday party, a catch-up night with the girls, marshmallow roasting sessions over the new firepit, and hopefully we will be hosting you sometime soon!  Just call and let us know when you’re coming!

#MerryandBright – We hope that your Christmas season is filled with all things good and wonderful – family, friends, peace and love. Merry Christmas to you and a very happy 2018!

After the funeral at Granny’s home – Chris’s sister, Jen, and dad, Rob and his friend Carol.

Candlepin bowling in NH

Smiles and squishes

US Wedding

Mermaid party!

Park fun!

Last night in Mexico

Just a few ER visits

Graduation #2 for this Grimsrud clan

Graduation #4 for the Turner clan!

Moving fun!

His birthday matches the highway!

He never stopped smiling…

The last Radiation Treatment! A milestone worth celebrating!

Summer 2017 at French

Birthday hugs

Cousin time!

#OnlyinMN – The Great Minnesota Get-together!

21st birthday!

Photobomb!

The Minnesota Twins!

Beautiful day for a fire….

Train station!

Chicago!

Pre-Hamilton!

August is 2!

Halloween 2017

Our cozy home…

First lost tooth!

Santa visit 2017

Our outdoor Christmas tree!

 

The Gift of Stories

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Last year for Christmas I bought my parents each a subscription to StoryWorth – a year of story starter questions, sent by email, for their response. The responses are sent to each of us kids as they answer and at the end of the year (soon!) they will be compiled into a book.  Photos can be attached to the emails and they will be included.  The questions can be chosen from a list of several hundred in different categories – early life, parenting, work life, school, marriage, and more – and you can put them in any order you want or even write your own questions.  The questions can even be recorded on a voicemail and transcribed (for a fee or by a family member) for those who are less than tech savvy, although it really is as simple as replying to an email.

We haven’t received the books yet, but the responses we have read so far are gift enough!  Stories of their parents, of their school years, of their vacations and their first cars and first jobs, of their wedding day, and their advice for their grandchildren – all of it is priceless.  There have been funny stories and touching stories and really sweet and meaningful stories.  I have cried while reading them and shared them aloud with friends.  I am impressed with the wisdom they have shared and I can’t wait to see it bound in a book!

If you need ideas for a Christmas gift for anyone wise and wonderful in your life, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend StoryWorth. They are a sponsor for the Satellite Sisters podcast, which is how I learned of it last year, and they have a promo code (sisters) for $20 off a subscription.

I’m receiving no compensation for this post and review.  I should work for them, but this is my unsolicited gift idea and one that I have been raving about all year long!  StoryWorth is sooooooooo great!

https://www.storyworth.com/

My history with 7/7

10 years ago on 7/7/7, Marissa and I thought it would be fun to stay at the lake and head to the casino to try our luck (7s are lucky, right?). We headed there with her friend, Ashley, and we found that the water at the lake was murky and green and stinky.  We decided to take out the boat – something I’d never done on my own – and we got instructions about how to do that.  We took the boat to the middle of the lake where the water was clearer, the girls could swim, and we could breathe in the air.  We brought the boat back up to the dock to make lunch and when we next looked, the boat was sitting on the bottom of the lake (which is less than 3′ deep at that spot) filled with that green stinky murky water.  The plug had fallen out somewhere during our ride and the boat filled with water.  Family back home was chuckling while we were buckling down to put in a new plug, bail the water out and then hose down and bleach out the boat.  And remember, the lake water is murky and stinky and green.  Ugh.  Needless to say, I haven’t taken the boat out by myself since – and really have no desire to!  7/7/07 was not a lucky day for us!

And 3 years ago on this day, Chris and I got engaged (7/7/14 – 7+7=14!)!  We drove to Cabela’s and sold some of his guns for cash and then went ring shopping.  The ring I’m currently wearing is the one that I first tried on.  We looked in a few other stores but I was always looking for this ring.

Today we are both going to work after another week off – a week filled with more organizing and settling in our new house, with family time at the lake, and our first dinner guests. Looking forward to more continued goodness!

Happy July!

It’s May!

It’s IMPOSSIBLE to land on May 1 and not think of the song from Camelot – the Lusty Month of May (as evidenced by two blog posts in my history referencing the song!). So go ahead, take a minute and have Alexa play it for you or find it on YouTube…

Ok. So I’ll forever think of that and sing it often – in my head and aloud – throughout the month.

Since it’s May, that means it’s TIME FOR A WEDDING!  Last March (2016) Marissa got engaged and dreamed of a destination wedding – so here we go!  She and Adam are celebrating their marriage on Cinco de Mayo in Cancun! How fun. We are all looking forward to warm weather (upper 80s during the day! 70s at night!), family time (every Grimsrud child and grandchild will be there!), and fiestas galore!  I’m hoping I’m not a blubbering fool because it’s going to be a joyous day – so I will do my best not to blubber! I worry about finding words of wisdom or having an eloquent speech, but actually there is lots of life ahead to share wisdom, so I’ll try not to stress about that.

More about the wedding when we get back… it will be a memorable time!

Haven’t done a post in a while, so I’ll just blather on here a bit about what’s been making me happy in these last few months.  So much to be thankful for (always!).

  • We have been searching – first casually and then more seriously – for a new home. It all started with wanting a gas stove.  We tried to see if it would be possible to update the kitchen in our townhome. And then we started dreaming about aspects of our dream homes.  Me, I wanted big windows, lots of light, an open floor plan, not too big but big enough to be able to host gatherings. Chris wanted a fabulous bathroom with tile shower and a glass door and granite countertops. We both wanted that elusive gas stove.  Well, we found it. It’s just big enough for us but with that open floor plan that will make it fun and possible to host Christmas and Thanksgiving and singalongs and game nights and backyard BBQs.  But it’s small enough that we won’t have to spend all our free time taking care of it. It’s just perfect. More on that later, as well!  We will close in June, so this summer will be filled with changes!
  • Movies – not as many of those lately, but we did get to one movie during the International Film Festival. We saw a Romanian film called Two Lottery Tickets. It was a funny little film.  So glad the festival is here in Rochester and so glad that I got to at least one movie.
  • Books – I’m on a bit of a reading streak, so that is fun!  Book Club is meeting MONTHLY so that helps!  Recently we read “The Light Between Oceans,” “Euphoria,”  “Big Little Lies” and “Thirty Rooms to Hide In.”  Next is “The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat.” I’m also reading “When Breath Becomes Air” for a book club at work. Looking forward to beach book time in Mexico!
  • Food – We haven’t been going to as many restaurants because we are cooking at home! We have now tried Marley Spoon, Hello Fresh, and Blue Apron in the past few months. We are going to stick with Marley Spoon, because all the meals were so very tasty, although the most challenging to make, and you have control over the meals you get (unlike Blue Apron) and have an option for 2 meals in a week rather than 3 (unlike either of the other two).  We find it hard to cook at home 3 days out of a week and most need to be eaten within that time frame. So we have had some really good food at home recently – today we had a spicy rigatoni with lemon ricotta.  Looking forward to cooking on our gas stove in the new house! I do love having the house smell like good food!
  • Wedding Wedding Wedding! – There have been showers, bachelorette parties, a USA wedding, too-many-to-count Mother of the Bride dresses tried on and returned, and the various ablutions that come with a fancy to-do. So that has taken up quite a bit of time recently!  The day-long mermaid themed bachelorette was an incredible time on a beautiful April day (April 1!). We had mimosas in the morning with a Beyonce drag show, failed an Escape Room in the afternoon, had a patio party at Betty Danger’s in the evening and then went clubbing into the wee hours. Oh my. So fun! Looking forward to more such shenanigans in Mexico!

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Be of love (a little) more careful than of anything.
— E. E. Cummings

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May you find many things to be happy about in this Lusty Month of May!

A Foodie Post!

Chris and I eat out a lot.

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Nupa is a favorite on a day off

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Hefe Rojo on 2/1 – our attempt to have date nights on the 1st!

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In NH we hit an Italian favorite – Bertucci’s

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And another NH favorite, delicious sandwiches at Christopher’s!

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We brought some Fluff back with us from NH – I see fudge in the future! 

I told Chris that in our 3rd year of marriage I wanted to eat at home more – it’s healthier, it’s cheaper, and it could be fun to cook together!

But it isn’t easy. When we work our long days, we don’t eat much at home except fast breakfasty foods – poached eggs, yogurt, frozen waffles. I’m terribly out of practice with meal planning and prepping. And on days we aren’t working , we are recuperating and don’t want to plan meals or clean up after cooking. (Excuses, excuses.)  So in an effort to try, I signed up for a few food subscription services!  I also heard about a meat counter in a little grocery in Minneapolis that has the best meatloaf, so we picked some of that up and cooked it at Marissa’s for her birthday (read about it here – http://heavytable.com/meatloaf-everetts-foods-meats/)!  Easy peasy!

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Wow. Meatloaf from Everett’s Foods with Lingonberry sauce from Ingebretson’s – a delightful combination! Let’s do it again! 

The first subscription service arrived this week. I tried Martha Stewart’s Marley Spoon. Had a great coupon and received 3 recipes in my first shipment.  See below for packaging.

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The shipments arrive in Rochester on Tuesdays by FedEx.

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Each recipe is packaged in a brown paper bag.

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The meats and cold items were under a false floor with ice packs.

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The ice packs in question. Anyone need ice packs? Otherwise they are recyclable and I’ll dispose.

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The box is lined with this batting material.

The first recipe I made was a Parmesan crusted chicken breast with basmati rice. We didn’t eat the lettuce salad that came with that day but saved it. The second recipe we made was for a Vietnamese style turkey burger with quick carrot and cucumber slaw.

Yum. The prep time was longer than stated, but I am out of practice in the kitchen. It took about an hour for the turkey burgers but that really isn’t too long.  Sunday we will make a broiled beef stir-fry with broccoli and sweet onion.

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Portions of butter and parmesan!

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The parmesan crusted chicken with rice. Pretty good – a little dry, but could have been the preparer!

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The recipe card – it’s important to read before starting!

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The bag with fresh carrots, jalepeno, ginger, and cilantro!

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The items ready for preparation.

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I did get lots of help! He’s not as excited as I am – it’s not his goal, after all!

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The finished product – oh my! This was delicious!

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Garnishing his sandwich. Delicious quick pickle.

I look forward to more Marley Spoon recipes next week and Hello Fresh! in March.

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Delicious!

2016 – Things We Learned

Grandchildren are the best, aren’t they?

  • Emma turned one last January (1/18) and celebrated at the Bounce House and Valentino’s with pizza and cake. She toddles around, loves her pets, and always has a smile on her face.
  • August turned 1 in September (9/27) and celebrated with a space-themed party on Grimsrud Way in Rushford. He loves the kitties, the Zoo, dancing, bath time, books and bubbles. He’s always on the move! We Skype frequently and I love the smiles when we talk!
  • Kaydee just turned 5 (12/11) and we had her favorite foods and birthday cake while playing with the pink tractor she wanted for her birthday! She loves to learn and is so fun to talk to!

Our “children” are now all “adult children”!

  • Marissa turned 28 in February, Tyler turned 24 in October, Sierra turned 20 in August and Kevin turned 18 in November!

Retirement looks like fun!

  • We celebrated the “Permanent Vacation” of Mom and Dad Grimsrud in February with a tropical themed family gathering. They spent 6 weeks after basketball season in the warmth of Florida and with the sale of Grimsrud Way this December they downsized to a townhome in Rochester, and are looking forward to the ease of worry-free travels and living!

Family Time is Precious!

  •  We had a few weekends where we could all get together at French Lake this summer. The cabin hasn’t expanded to fit the growing family, but there are tents pitched, a new platform on the dock, and air mattresses galore, so we make it work. Memorial Day, Father’s Day and the Fourth of July were familyfun-filled.
  • August’s birthday and Thanksgiving were the last big events at Grimsrud Way. When we’re together, we always eat well, laugh a lot, play games, and enjoy each other’s company. That won’t change, wherever we gather!

Friendships are so valuable and valued!

  • Cosmo Girls continue to meet monthly September to May since 2010 – we learn and grow together, and laugh – a LOT!
  • Ferragosto at French Lake has been a yearly tradition since 2010, as well! This year was rainy, which meant more books and movies, but the time spent with friends is always appreciated!
  • Marissa said “YES” to the dress at the first bridal salon and then spent a fun day with girlfriends picking out bridesmaid dresses – the wedding in Cancun is coming up quickly!
  • Trips to the MN State Fair, the MN Zoo, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Little Mermaid, chick flicks, book club, or quick walks and lunches. SO thankful for my many girlfriends!

We love adventures – big and small!

  • We got our passports in 2016, so we are ready for international travel! We broke them in by visiting Canada twice (Thunder Bay, ON in June and Niagara Falls, ON/Montreal, QE in October) and are getting ready for Mexico in May. We look forward to working on our international bucket list!
  • Chris’s birthday wish was to go “Up North” – I guess he’s fully Minnesotan now??? We road-tripped to Grand Marais and Duluth, exploring the North Shore of Lake Superior. This was our first venture into Canada – Thunder Bay for Tim Horton’s lunch on Chris’s birthday! Great food (Betty’s Pies! Gunflint Tavern! Grandma’s Saloon! Amazing Grace!), beautiful accommodations and perfect weather for sightseeing… we do travel well!
  • MINI Takes the States 2016 – a coast-to-coast motoring adventure for MINI COOPER owners – went through MINIapolis this summer and we joined in the festivities for the day! We met MINI owners from Minnesota and beyond. It happens every 2 years, so we hope to join more fully in 2018! This year our 2 week road trip to New England was a priority!
  • Road Trip! Driving the MINI to New England was a whirlwind tour, to be sure – we were on the go! We stayed in Niagara Falls and Montreal before heading in to New Hampshire to spend time with Dad Walsh and Jen and her family; we stayed in a mountain lodge in the White Mountains, we drove up mountains and on beautiful scenic byways. We had a great time with extended family (Chris’s maternal aunts and uncles, paternal aunt and granny), visited friends Tony and Tien in Rhode Island, and spent a few days in NYC with Troy. In RI we toured the Vanderbilt mansion, The Breakers, and walked in beautiful old neighborhoods. In NYC we saw two Broadway shows (Fiddler on the Roof and Waitress), saw the New York Public Library, the Strand Bookstore, the Museum of Natural History, ate at Carnegie Deli one last time before they close, and walked a LOT.
  • A few things we learned on our road trip:
    • Chris wants to pass ALL the cars on the road. He drove most of the time, including into and out of NYC. A skilled driver he is! No “souvenir” speeding tickets obtained!
    • Chris was right about the fall foliage in New England being unlike anything we see around Minnesota.
    • Flip-flops are great travel shoes.
    • I always over-pack.
    • Bunk-beds only sound appealing in theory.
    • EZ Pass is the way to go.
    • A road trip playlist for daily listening is an excellent idea!
    • But, I still would make up words to the songs, even after 12+ days of listening to them!

Working these crazy shift jobs means more days off without using PTO!

  • Chris has been working at Land O’Lakes for more than 4 years now. He is working 12 hour overnights (5P-5A) as a cheese dryer operator – one of four operators making the cheese powder for Cheetos! He works every other weekend, so time off during the week gives us opportunity for some of our many adventures.
  • Chris spent a good portion of November serving as a juror on the US District Court in Minneapolis. He spent 11 days in court, so missed about 8 days of work. He enjoyed the metropolitan lifestyle for a while and learned a little about non-compete clauses.
  • I have been working at Mayo Clinic for 5 years this January (2017), still in the Emergency Department. It’s a 24/7 job, so there is opportunity for a variety of 12 hour shifts, and every 3rd weekend means days off during the week with Chris = #dayofftogetherness. We can run to the Cities to see Marissa (or August) on a Wednesday night, or get tickets to events or touring plays during the week (If/Then or Louis CK), see late-night movies, or have epic dates on a Tuesday. So far it’s working.

Can’t Cure Chris of his Car Craze

  • Chris learned that his Honda CRZ did not hold its value.
  • He thought he’d keep it forever (or longer than 18 months) but he is now driving a Toyota 4Runner.
  • He has great ideas for modifying the MINI Cooper, but I’m fine with my Pumpkin as she is.

Ever learning, we are! We can’t wait to experience the adventures of 2017. We hope that you and yours have a blessed holiday season and that 2017 brings you joy and happiness! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

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#HappinessHappens

Where has the time gone?* 

Summer of 2016 is marching on.  Today is National Happiness Happens day (8/8/16), so I thought I needed to catch up on what has been making happy memories for the summer of 2016!  *the question I ask myself most frequently on the blog

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Gathering with friends and family:

  • At graduations – a few friends had kids who graduated this year – fun to watch them get through this emotional time with grace!  Gracie also graduated from 8th grade, and boy, does she have grace.  She wrote a letter to the principal and he read it to everyone…. uff. There were tears.
  • At the cabin – Several weekends in June and July have been spent with family. We kind of thought Memorial Day would be the only time we would all be together there, but there have been so many wonderfully relaxing days spent there.  Looking forward to Ferragosto 2016!
  • At Berne Woodfired Pizza – We went in June with Sierra and family and enjoyed a beautiful night with great music.  I went again in July with various family members. It was a HOT night but mom and dad got there early and scoped out a perfect spot in the shade of those big trees and the nice breeze kept it so very comfortable.  Definitely a must-do in the summer!
  • At Whistle Binkies on the Lake – birthdays, book club, and “no-more-class” celebration all at Whistles!  Also met with Troy and Cheryl there for a lovely lunch on their patio.  He had to see the place that is such a big part of us!  So good to see him anywhere!
  • At Four Daughters – the social work department is attempting to promote more social activities! The first was at Four Daughters. We were a small group but we were treated to a tour of the wine and cider making equipment and had a delicious dinner together.  And the ED social workers kept the party going by visiting various rooftops in Rochester.  A fun night out!
  • At Thursdays on First – Also had a fun night with co-workers listening to music at Thursdays, followed by eats and treats in various locations.  A great night!
  • At the Minnesota Zoo – We spent a steamy day at the zoo in July!  What fun to wander there with grandkids and to watch them watching the animals.  Such a great day!
  • At the Minnesota Twins – We had prime seats to watch the Twins (vs. Chicago White Sox) on a beautiful day! It was Chris’s first game at the Target Field in Minnesota – he thought it was only for concerts and food & wine shows!  Even though they lost, it was a great game (extra innings) and good fun with the family.
  • At Skyline Raceway – with Chris’s work family (ha!) we rode go-karts, played mini-golf, and ate great food.
  • At Flapdoodles – we’ve visited the new south Flapdoodles a few times… have to celebrate National Hot Fudge Sundae day, and National Ice Cream Day, and whatever else needs celebrating….
  • At various new (to us) restaurants – we’ve tried out some new places, in addition to our favorites.  Luna Rosa Wine Bar in Stillwater with Marissa and Adam, Pittsburgh Blue in Edina after a hair appt, Fogo de Chao in Minneapolis for Chris’s birthday, Hen House Eatery for breakfast downtown Minneapolis, World Street Kitchen and MilkJam Creamery for dinner before a movie in Uptown, and Modist Brewery before the Mini Takes the States gathering in Minneapolis.  Ah, good memories!

A Birthday Road Trip –  Chris and I took a road trip in June. We celebrated his birthday at Fogo de Chao and then the next day we headed north: destination #1 Grand Marais! We motored in his Honda and stopped briefly at our hotel in Grand Marais (incredible view!) before continuing on up to Thunder Bay, Ontario for dinner at Tim Horton’s!  First passport use together!  Grand Marais is beautiful, and home to the World’s Best Donuts, so of course we had to try that for breakfast.  The next day we motored our way back to Duluth, with stops at Cross River, Split Rock Lighthouse, Gooseberry Falls, and finally our hotel in Duluth. We ate at Grandma’s Saloon, Amazing Grace for breakfast, toured the William F. Irvin shipping boat, and then made it back to have some dinner at Rochesterfest.  We know how to pack in a lot on a road trip!  We are planning our great big Birthdayversary Trip to the East Coast now – so much fun to anticipate these trips!

Movies – At home I’m binge watching The Gilmore Girls in preparation for this FALL!  Can’t wait to catch up with them all again!  So not many movies on Netflix of late…. Seriously, just checked my “recent activity” on Netflix and it’s all Gilmore Girls and episodes of Grace and Frankie!  I love Grace and Frankie and recommend it!  It’s a Netflix series with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. I thought Season 2 was better than Season 1.  Good stuff!

In June I did buy a streaming live ticket to see She Loves Me live from Broadway!  Invited some girls over and we had Ice Cream during intermission (“Ice cream! He bought me ice cream!”).  It was fun to see a Broadway show and exciting to know that it was LIVE!  There were technical difficulties in the beginning so that was a little frustrating but we got through… and it was great fun!

In the theatre:

  • Me Before You – Thought it would be all book club mamas but there were a lot of teens in the audience!  It is a good rendition of the book.  Not as detailed but the things they left out were ok.  Shock ending to those that hadn’t read the book!
  • Don’t Think Twice – So. Fun. For weeks I had on my calendar that there was a showing of this new movie written and directed by Mike Birbiglia, playing in Minneapolis.  When I went to get tickets eventually, it was sold out.  So I was thrilled to get the newsletter from Mr. Birbiglia saying they added another show and I quickly bought tickets.  He was there at the end for a Q&A and it was very fun.  Chris got a high five from him (he collects high-fives from famous people, evidently – well, Mike Birbiglia and Glen Hansard, two of my favorites!).  The movie was great, as well.  An improv troupe in NYC is facing changes as they all strive to be noticed for national television shows (ala SNL) and their theatre space is being closed for some big expensive NYC thing.  I recommend you see this if you can – and it is being released in Minneapolis and other big cities, so you can!  Good stuff.
  • Ghostbusters – took a crew to see who was ‘fraid of the ghosts!  I realized that I wasn’t a super fan of the first movie but this was great fun for me.  It was great to see all the cameos, I was just scared enough (I hate being scared) and knew that it was silly fun scaredy-stuff, and the ‘busters were fun to listen to.
  • Jason Bourne  – we watched all the Bourne movies at home over the past year, so this was the first one seen in the theatre.  Uff.  It’s a wild ride.  When I’m at home I can walk to the kitchen, remaining in ear shot, and avoid the stressful stuff.  In the theatre I just closed my eyes a lot.  A. Lot. Not going to overanalyze the Bourne, just enjoyed a night at the movies!

I’m reading Books again – Since my last post in June about the 3rd Provence book, I’ve read a few books!  Maybe I’ll legitimately reach my book goal for 2016!

  • Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (author of The Paris Wife) – so captivating! Based on real people and real events, a story of ex-patriots living in Africa. The main character is Beryl Markham, a fascinating woman with a fascinating story. Highly recommend!
  • Life’s a Beach by Claire Cook – a light summer read. Nothing earth shattering or remarkable. Just something to keep me reading!
  • Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – for FC book club. A story of three women in WWII and how their lives connect. It was up to the brink of horrifying (WWII is so filled with horrifying stories) and led to great discussion at book club. As usual, I finished the book in time to wipe away the tears and run off to discuss it. We had good discussion (about the book and otherwise – also, as usual!).
  • All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner – a compelling book about a successful woman’s spiral downward with addiction to pain pills. It showed the hard work she had to do to maintain her addiction, her lifestyle, and then the hard work she had to do to start on her road to sobriety.
  • Currently reading All Summer Long by Dorothea Benton Frank.
  • Also currently listening on Audible to Hamilton by Ron Chernow.
  • And  Four Friends by Robyn Carr (taking too long, may drop it).

Phew!  I’m tired.  This is a glimpse into our life. So much to be happy about!  Right now I’m looking forward to Ferragosto 2016, hoping for relaxation at the end of the dock for days and days… more books, some movies, good talks with good friends. What else could you want?  We are also having a lot of fun planning our East Coast adventure this fall.  We are going to do some leaf-peeping, hoping for a good showing of autumn brilliance, but most importantly we will see the people that are important to Chris out there!  Looking forward to meeting the people he talks about.  And seeing his dad again. 🙂

So enjoy your August, enjoy the photos below, and if you feel so moved, let me know what is making you happy!

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Urban Dictionary: reading slump

TOP DEFINITION
a readers worst nightmare.

not being able to pick up a book and read because you just can’t, you just can’t read.

person 1: “what’s the matter with you?”
reader: ” I CAN’T READ , NO BOOK IS GOOD ENOUGH, LEAVE ME ALONE, READING SLUMP

person 1: uhm….. okay.

Source: Urban Dictionary: reading slump

According to Goodreads, I am “currently reading” 6 books, and that doesn’t include the one I am actually listening to and the one I picked up last night, in the hopes to get out of this slump.  Uff.  I’m a one-at-a-time girl, so having 8 books in the air is not like me.  On Goodreads you can create folders and a while ago I created a “did not finish – taking too long” (DNF in the book blog world).  I’ll have to do some updating, I guess, but really these are all books that I do want to finish.  So I’ll leave them in my Currently Reading folder and hope to get in the mood to read them soon!

So I’ve implemented a few action steps to hopefully jumpstart my reading again.

  • I picked up Maeve Binchy.  A book of a collection of her short stories was published after her death.  They are previously published stories, in magazines, other compilations, etc., and now they’re all together in a book called “A Few of the Girls.”  Reading Maeve is like talking to an old friend.  I think she’ll keep me reading a bit.
  • I started listening to “The Girl on the Train.” I’ve heard good things about it and am finding it compelling to listen to.  It’s a little hard to follow the audio, as I remember things differently when I listen vs read with my eyes, but I think I’ve gotten past the confusing part and am excited to listen to more.
  • I went to Books on Tap at Forager Brewery last night.  It’s been on my calendar since it began but last night was the first night the stars aligned so I could go. The group is informal and flexible and different every meeting, I think.  All you need to do is talk about what you’re reading right now, books you love, books you hate, anything related to books.  The moderator from the library kept a running list of every book that was mentioned and will email it out to all.  I can talk about books, even if I’m not reading anything currently, and I got some sympathy from the avid readers for the feeling of being in a slump.  I didn’t want to go alone, so Jenny was going to meet me there, but she was late and it was ok.  I could go alone next time if I had to.  Of course, the best part was rehashing books and life and having a little supper afterwards with Jenny, but I could go alone if I had to.  Book people are book people!
  • And yesterday I signed up to do a book blog about a book by Patricia Sands.  I read and reviewed “The Promise of Provence” a few years ago and another of her books is being released on May 17 (“I Promise you This”).  It’s the 3rd in a trilogy, so I guess I better read the second one quick!  See!  There’s incentive and desire to read!

Have you ever had a reading slump?  What did you do about it?

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