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!

#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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What if…

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Tuesday night we went to see the touring Broadway musical, “If/Then.”  I was excited to see it, because Anthony Rapp (of Adventures in Babysitting fame – ha!), who starred in it on Broadway, was also with the touring company.  I listened to the Broadway Cast Recording a few times and I knew that there was a dual story line of “what could have been,” but the ending was a surprise to me – very sweet.

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Then & Now: Daryl in Adventures in Babysitting and Lucas in If/Then

The story shows the life lived when chances are taken, when the heart wins over the mind, and when a life is lived fully.  Tonight at Cosmo Girls we watched “About Time,” the little British drama about time travel that is also sweet and thought provoking.  The movie and the play  both have the message that each day we get to start over and make a choice about what kind of life we’re going to live.  Each day is filled with choices and what we do with the road we travel is what can make life meaningful and full.

The musical numbers do not translate well into a singalong, but the songs tell quite a story.   Songs encouraging taking leaps, songs wondering “what if?”, songs of love to a baby, songs questioning whether you would change your path if you knew  your story ends with hurt, and a song with an expletive in it questioning what just happened.  Idina Menzel was the original lead on Broadway, but the touring actress was a look-alike and sound-alike – quite a powerhouse.

So glad we saw it.  Enjoy a few clips of the music.  And ponder your own “What if…”

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Minneapolis, MN Orpheum 3.8.16

Leaps and Bounds

Leap

I don’t remember many Leap Days of the past, but here are some ramblings…

  • The year Marissa was born was a Leap Year.  With a due-date in late February 1988, I had wondered what it would be like to have a Leap Day Baby.  She had a Leap Day Baby in her graduating class, so we do think of her every Leap Day!
  • I remember taking a Leap Day walk with Beth where we did many Leaps along the way – over puddles, over cracks in the sidewalk, over tall buildings (ha!).  It was a fun walk (one of many) but leaping made the day memorable!
  • Leap Day 2008 was closing day on my flooded Rushford house. Marissa and I just drove around Winona instead of going to the closing – tears were shed, memories were shared.  Probably the most memorable Leap Day for me and the day was chosen purposefully so that it wouldn’t be a yearly memory – once every four years!
  • And now to Leap Day Present.  Nothing memorable – just reflections of how much can happen in four years!  Leaps and Bounds!
  • I didn’t know Chris in 2012  and now I look forward to spending the rest of my Leap Days and all the days between with him.
  • It’s the 2nd Leap Day in this home – 8 year anniversary is coming up in July!
  • Next Leap Day, little August will be 4! Kaydee will be 8 and Emma will be 5! I’ll be in a new decade (Yikes) and we will hopefully be debt free?
  • Today I told my mom she should have a party pretending to serve foods inspired by all things leaping – rabbit stew, frogs’ legs, Mexican jumping beans… it didn’t happen but we will have to plan it for the next time Leap Day rolls around!

Looking back, February 2016 was again filled with friends, family and fun! Chronologically:

  • Lunch with Cindy and a Take Note! party at Beth’s!
  • A Tropical Celebration with my parents for their birthdays, retirements and their anniversary – a Permanent Vacation party!
  • Superbowl party and Mayo Basketball!
  • The Forager for dessert and Panera for dinner with Chris’s kids.
  • Prescott’s for Valentine’s celebration amid Chris’s big work weeks. His new job meant a shift change and overtime work.
  • Celebrating Marissa’s birthday and SocialICE 2016!
  • The Grammy’s and the Oscar’s and Downton Abbey and movies at home!
  • Belated Margarita festivities with friends at El Patron, Nupa with Sierra and family and Victoria’s with Kevin.
  • “The Lady in the Van” at the Wehrenberg

Now we’re staring at March… what madness will ensue?!

March

#marriedlife2015

Our life in a nutshell… readying for more goodness in #sweet2016!

#marriedlife2015 * Emilee Ashlynn Overton born* Basketball * LaCrosse, WI * Dahl Automotive Museum * Tony and Tien * Starlite Lounge * American Sniper * Take Note! Choir Monday nights * Madison, WI * Flaming Mos * Ella’s Deli * The Imitation Game * Signing to SDSU * Osaka Birthday lunch with Mom * Art Show open house * Double Dates with Beth and Doug * Paddington * Soccer World with Kaydee * SocialICE * Brrrrr * Beersicle * The Doggery is a favorite * Birthday by the pool * Marissa is 27 * Basketball * Oscars 2015 * Still Alice * Almost Maine * Lanesboro, MN * Mini Cooper * 2015 4 door 200 hp * Go-Kart Handling * 100% more doors * Thirsty Belgian * Beth’s Birthday * Blues Fest * Cinderella * Gracie is 13 * The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel * La Poblana * Chris’s road trip to Rhode Island * Relocating friends * McFarland, USA * broken tooth * Baseball * Lakeview Drive-Inn * Texas Roadhouse * Gunnar is 18 * Danette is an LICSW * Such relief * Johnny Holm * Mac’s Restaurant * breakfast all day * Book Club * Minnesota Monthly Food and Wine Show * Winona, MN * Minnesota Marine Art Museum * Blue Heron * Lake Winona * Casablanca * Kentucky Derby * Take Note! * Gender Reveal * It’s a boy! * Billy Joel * Singalong at Gluek’s * Ike’s Food * 25th Anniversary party for Chuck and Carolyn * Graduation party for Sierra * Trajan is 16 * Pitch Perfect 2 * Memorial Day in Lanesboro * Thursdays on First * Gunnar Graduates June 2015 * We’ll Always Have Paris, a Memoir * Campfire with Friends * Road Trip to Chippewa Falls * The Leinie Lodge is booked up * Showdown in Curd Town * Ellsworth, WI * Tractor Pull * Spy * Mississippi Sippin’ * June birthday vacation at the Lake * Once * State Theatre * The Local * Hoy’s Resort * No pelicans this year * Ted 2 * Minnehaha Falls * Lola’s Lakehouse * Waconia, MN * Parley Lake Winery * All-Star Football game * hottest day ever * Mankato Air Show * Food Truck Summit * Inside Out * 4th of July * Minions with Kaydee * Book Guilt * Not reading much * Magic Mike XXL with the girls * Trainwreck * Tooth extraction and implant * live music * rooftops * The Afterwhiles * Marissa and Adam buy house in July * #2015isamachine * Gunnar goes to SDSU * Family time * Ferragosto * Hoy’s Resort for meals * National Day of Relaxation * August 15 * Mini in the Mountain road trip * Mitchell, SD * Corn Palace * Wall, SD * Wall Drug * Mount Rushmore National Memorial * Rocket Motel * Iron Mountain Road * Needles Highway * Wyoming * Loveland, CO * Denver, CO * Kristyn and Andrew and Natalie * Snooze * Estes Park, CO * Rocky Mountain National Park * Vail, CO * The Arrabelle at Vail Square * Continental Divide * Pikes Peak * Nebraska * Iowa * Derek’s shouse * Football * Berne Wood Fired Pizza * Macy is 13 * Thursdays on First * Sierra is 19 * The Afterwhiles * The Great Minnesota Get-Together * State Fair * Everything on a Stick * Hot September * Ricki and the Flash * Cosmo Girls * Bowling * Garden Party * Meals * Cosmos * Thankfulness * Rees is 10 * RYFA Rees’s turn *Me Before You *  Taylor Swift * I’m a Swiftie * hugs * A Walk in the Woods * Sierra and Aaron buy a house in September * Pickle Factor * Pepin, WI * On a Budget * Painful / Not Painful * Birthdayversary week * August Edward Rother born* Nana ‘Nette * Terza Rooftop * Pizzeria Lola * Couples massage * Covington Inn B&B * we’re on a boat * Surly Brewing * Christos for anniversary dinner * Love Greek * The Martian 3D * Sierra and Aaron get married in October * This queen gets a crown * Dentist work is no fun * Tyler is 23 * The Intern * Medea at SMU * baby cuddles * Satellite Sisters * You’re the Best * book signing * Satellite Misters! * The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 * Glen Hansard * State Theatre * Ethan is 10 * Worked during Thanksgiving * Kevin is 17 * Bendson Cousins get-together * found a Cuban café in Rochester * Messiah Singalong * Take Note Christmas concert * Winona Brass Band * Cosmo Girls * Kaydee is 4 * Creed * Nana Duty * Star Wars: The Force Awakens * Twice * 3D Imax * Brooklyn * Pho * Honda CR-Z * One-Year * Almost a record *  Netflix Binges * Long Way Round * Gracie and Frankie * Orange is the New Black * The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt * Mad Men Finale * Refinance at Forest Knoll * Books * Book Club * #sweet2016 ahead

A Month of Gratitude

I failed at the Daily Gratitude Posts on Facebook this November, so I thought I’d attempt a wrap up of the month.  There is, indeed, so much to be thankful for!

Oh-So-Grateful

I am grateful for the arts – music, movies, theatre… 

  • Chris and I saw Madea at Saint Mary’s University in Winona – a translation from Seneca which was creative and interesting to see!
  • 10 years of Take Note! Amazing… 10 years ago we created a group with people who loved to sing showtunes. We moved on a few years ago to incorporate different genres, but we still have a great time!  We have put on 10 Christmas concerts (our final one with our current director is this Sunday!) and 9 spring concerts. We have performed at community events, nursing homes, and with college students.  It has been a touchstone in my life, keeping me connected with the community where I grew up and raised my daughter, with my friends, and provided me with great visits with my parents.  Let’s see what the next journey is!
  • Koni, Gracie and I saw the final installment of the Hunger Games series, The Mockingjay Part 2.  We went to a late show and sat holding hands through the entire movie! Just a little stressful, that final flick.  A war film with monsters. I watched some through my fingers and asked for spoilers (Gracie remembers the story better than I do!). Glad to see it through!
  • Chris and I saw Glen Hansard at the State Theatre in Minneapolis! I don’t know what it is about Glen, but his passion for his art moves me. I had tears in my eyes for the first four songs!  He started the concert unamplified with strings. Wow.  Chris appreciated the live music and got a handshake as he came up the aisle!  A fun night! Tickets were purchased in August – the anticipation was worth it!

 

I am grateful for family – 

  • We had a great weekend in Rushford during opening buck season. Many cuddles with baby August, Gracie’s first buck, Rees’s first hunt (with the big ones that got away!), and movies and relaxing together. Only thing that would have made it better would have been having Derek’s family and Chris there!
  • We had a delicious tuna casserole (made mostly by Chris) at Sierra’s house, with games and books and good times!  We also had Kaydee over to help decorate our Christmas tree – complete with hot cocoa and cookies!
  • I worked during Thanksgiving so I missed all of the family time in Rushford. But Dana and Koni invited us over (via an email from Rees!) for a Thanksgiving Feast on Saturday night! We had great food, great family time, and played some fun games (Suspend for the win!)!
  • Sunday we drove to the Cities for time with the Bendson Cousins! Kristyn, Andrew & Natalie  and Emily and Andrew were home and we joined them with Ruth and Steve and Marissa, Adam and August for snacks and chili. All was delicious and the company was fantastic. A great celebration of family!
  • The basketball season is underway, so we have made a few games with many more on the calendar!  I hope to make as many as possible!  Trajan, Gracie and Rees are all playing, so it’ll be a whirlwind!
  • It’s hard to get enough snuggles of that new little grandbaby. He’s giving us those precious smiles and it’s hard to stop looking at him. Love him so!  Marissa is counting down the days left at home, so send special wishes and prayers her way!
  • I’m looking forward to December and hoping for some quality family time, grandbaby snuggles, and Christmas cheer!

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I am grateful for friends – 

  • Cosmo Girls met at my house in November and the focus was gratitude. How appropriate, eh? We watched YouTube videos, TED Talks, discussed what we’re grateful for, and of course there were laughs.  We left everyone with a notebook to keep track of the things they’re thankful for and Thank You notes to send.  I’m going to start my daily journaling in December – so that’s tomorrow!  Looking forward to getting in to a habit of writing again!
  • The Satellite Sisters were in Minnesota for a book signing and us faithful followers drove up to be with them and get books signed by them!  They are amazing women/sisters, and it was fun to see Sheila and Liz in person and hear the stories they chose to share. There were many laughs and a few tears.  We had a great time and I’m so thankful that my Satellite Mister from NYC was able to  come to Minnesota and spend a little time with us.  He Periscoped from the Brooklyn signing and it was so fun to get that glimpse into the next-generation of women who wrote for the book, and it wasn’t too hard to convince him to trek to MN!  We had a great time with the Sisters as well as over dinner at Parma 8200.  It was such a fun day!
  • Work has been a little calmer than earlier in the fall.  I worked a lot of afternoons, evenings and overnights during November, so I am not used to getting up in the morning but I am working on it. 🙂  I’m thankful for my coworkers who work hard, are supportive and fun.  It makes the difficult stuff we do a joy.
  • I am looking forward to some intentional quality time with friends during this holiday season, as well!  I’m going to start making plans soon!  Time is precious!

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I am grateful for so much.

  • For the cookie dough I whipped up, which is in the refrigerator waiting to be rolled out into stars.
  • For Hulu and Netflix – I love commercial-free television.
  • For books – I’m hoping to spend more time reading and less time on Facebook in December.
  • For quotes and words and pictures.
  • For the wonderful autumn we have experienced so far – it has been amazing!
  • For Trader Joe’s.
  • And most of all for my daughter, the beautiful new momma, and my husband, my confidant and rock.

Life is good.

affirmation-gratitude-800x450

 

Eternity

William Blake, 17571827

He who binds to himself a joy 
Does the winged life destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise

Where have I been? What have I been up to?

I’m overwhelmed.  I like to blog about the “goings-on” of life, but wow. There’s been a lot going on.  So, instead I’m going to give you lists of the good stuff with very little commentary – if you have questions, ask!

First, I got married in NYC.  I have hundreds of photos but instead I’ll just share with you my “check-ins” from the SWARM app on my phone.

NYC via SWARM app

MONDAY-

  • RST – our flight was cancelled Sunday morning, so we had to re-book with a different airline, avoiding O’Hare on the way to NYC.  Got in a few minutes earlier than we would have, so it was all good!  
  • MSP
  • LGA
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Office of the City Clerk – Marriage Bureau – Got dropped off at City Hall, which was not open, because it’s not where you get married!  I had the address, just not the correct name!
  • London Terrace Towers – Where Troy lives!  Love his hospitality!
  • Toshi’s Living Room – a Funky place; met everyone here and moved on… 
  • O’Reilly’s Irish Pub – good grub and quieter atmosphere!
  • 230 Fifth Rooftop Lounge – beautiful place!

TUESDAY

  • London Terrace Towers – up and at ’em, heading out for a walking tour!
  • Staten Island Ferry – Whitehall Terminal
  • Battery Park
  • Bowling Green
  • Federal Hall National Memorial
  • Trinity Church
  • National September 11 Memorial and Museum
  • City Hall Park Gas Lite Bulbs Fountain
  • Wafels & Dinges – Pagadder Card
  • Wo Hop Restaurant
  • Chinatown
  • Becco – great Italian restaurant with a prix fixe meal before theatre!  Toasts, tears and laughter!
  • Lyric Theatre – ON THE TOWN! A great musical during preview week. Appropriate for a bunch of people experiencing NYC for a short time – and getting the most out of it!
  • Times Square – the Red Stairs
  • O’Lunney’s – birthday drinks! I almost forgot that my wedding day was actually my birthday, as well!  So after midnight we had a toast to the awesome day ahead! I still don’t remember that I turned a year older, so maybe I’ll remain 45 forever?  

WEDNESDAY – WEDDING DAY!

  • Office of the City Clerk – Marriage Bureau – #woohoowedo2014 ! A perfect ceremony!
  • Starbucks – a brief reception, due to drizzle!  Then on to our ROLLING RECEPTION!
  • Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
  • High Line
  • Central Park – Bethesda Fountain
  • LOVE Sculpture
  • Empire State Building – 86th Floor Observatory
  • Archer Hotel New York – checked in and met the crew at the rooftop bar, Spyglass!
  • Periyali – Greek dinner! 
  • Marie’s Crisis – singing along with every song!
  • Archer Hotel New York – what a beautiful day!  

THURSDAY 

  • Times Square
  • M&M’s World – met Rob here and also went to the Hershey store!
  • Pie Face
  • MSG Entertainment HQ
  • High Line – the newish part!
  • Joe the Art of Coffee
  • Archer Hotel New York – a disco nap!
  • Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar – dinner with Troy!
  • Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre – “It’s Only a Play” – a fun play with a star-studded cast!  
  • Junior’s Restaurant & Bakery – treats for morning
  • Shake Shack – treats for now! “Great White Way” 
  • Times Square at midnight

FRIDAY

  • Carnegie Deli
  • Bethesda Terrace
  • Heartland Brewery
  • Stephen Sondheim Theatre – “Beatiful – The Carole King Musical” SO GOOD!
  • Swing 46

SATURDAY 

  • Chelsea – leaving in a downpour!  
  • Queens – Midtown Tunnel
  • LGA
  • ORD
  • RST
  • Whistle Binkies on the Lake – with Tony and Tien!
  • The Doggery

SUNDAY

  • Willow Creek Golf Course – our wedding reception!  
  • Whistle Binkies on the Lake – with Kim and Eric, Maureen and Dennis!  Yay!

MONDAY – Chris back at work, Danette unpacking!  

That was a whirlwind of a week – and I know there were stops I didn’t “check in” but it is a fun way to keep track of a vacation!

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And then life after the wedding …

  • There was FOOTBALL!  Gunnar’s senior year, filled with wonderful highlights and honors!
  • There were meals – at Burdey’s, at Panera, at Caribou, at Jessie Street Java, at Four Daughters Vineyard & Winery, at Victoria’s, at Chester’s, at The Thirsty Belgian, at Cowboy Jack’s Saloon, at Chipotle, at Brothers, at Pho Chau…
  • There were movies – GONE GIRL, ST. VINCENT, DUMB AND DUMBER TO, and HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART I.
  • Garrison Keillor came to Rochester and we enjoyed his live radio show
  • Basketball has begun and I look forward to watching TRAJAN and GRACIE and REES play during this season!
  • Thanksgiving was a blast – relaxing and fun.  Highlights were sledding with Kaydee, listening to what everyone was Thankful for this year, and playing HEADS UP.  Download it to your phone or iPad if you haven’t!  It’s a hit!
  • Notice: Not a SINGLE BOOK WAS READ!  Oh my.  I have been catching up with my Oprah magazine, and slowly reading a great book.  I am going to fail miserably at my Goodreads goal, but I’m really ok with that.  Life is SO good.

Now it’s December.  I am hoping that in December I can connect with many friends and family, enjoying TIME and conversations with everyone.  I tend to enjoy Thanksgiving more than Christmas because I get stressed about presents, but I hope that I can focus on relationships instead of receipts this December, so that Christmas can be celebrated as it is intended.

Ah, life is good!  I am blessed!

6/21/14: Summer Solstice! And summer begins…

It is a pleasure to walk outside at night and feel the warm summer air!  Aside from all of the rain we had this week and last, we have had good June weather so far!  It’s also a pleasure to have some weekends off to enjoy the summertime!  But, as I’ve said before, I don’t usually let a little thing like work slow me down…

Here’s what has been bringing me smiles from the past few weeks:

Movies

  • Saw “A Million Ways to Die in the West” with Chris – I’m not a Family Guy watcher or a Seth McFarland groupie, but this was fun.  It’s a Western with modern language, with shocking humor and interesting characters.
  • I saw “The Fault In Our Stars” by myself on opening night.  Well, not by myself, but with a theatre filled with Tweens and Teens, swooning and sobbing.  I wish I hadn’t gone that night, because I felt more like an observer of the theatre than a movie-watcher.  I thought the book was so much better (no surprise) because I liked the parents so much better in the book, I liked their relationships so much better in the book, and the movie felt watered down and immature.  \
  • Tonight I saw “Chef,” which I think is my favorite movie of the year!  I’ll have to think back for sure (“Grand Budapest Hotel” was this year, too… hmm) but it was so fun!  A fun story about having passion for your work and doing what you love, about fathers and sons, and about Cuban sandwiches!  I almost danced throughout the movie, because the soundtrack was incredible (and is now purchased!), and I had tears spring to my eyes twice, just because of happy emotions!  Loved it!

Books!

  • There have been a few rainy days, so I’ve been reading on my Kindle and catching up on Oprah Magazine.  I finished a smutty book while on the dock, “Bettie Page presents: The Librarian,” and then returned to the world of Pride & Prejudice with “Georgiana Darcy’s Diary.”  Ah, there is something about that book and those characters.  Good stuff.  Now I”m working on “Wild” and almost finished with listening to “Whistling Past the Graveyard.”

Road Trips and Adventures!

  • For Jenny’s birthday, we had lunch at Trempeleau Hotel and went for a tasting at Elmaro Winery.  It was a beautiful Sunday and the winery was in a beautiful setting, so we sat outside and enjoyed live music, a fruit and nut plate, and some delicious wine.
  • Chris and I went to the cabin for his June vacation.  We had two great weather days, one washout day, and one very windy day.  There was reading, DVDs (Breakfast Club, War Games, The Upside of Anger, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), and good cabin food.  There were a creche (I think) of White Pelicans who must have stopped there for the summer, and they were amazing to watch and learn about!  Who needs TV when you can watch pelicans?  And as always, the sunsets were spectacular.
  • One of the days we drove to Northfield to have dinner with Deadra for her birthday!  It was fun to explore Northfield and we had a delicious dinner in a Tavern there along the river.  The day started out breezy, cloudy and cool, but it ended up clear and calmer.
  • When I got home from the lake, I joined some peeps at the rooftop of the Tap House for Sunday Night Trivia!  We rocked (mainly one guy rocked) and got one free round of drinks and 3rd place overall.  I love trivia.  And the weather was perfect for a night on the rooftop!

Looking forward to celebrating the first day of summer at an International festival in Rochester and then I’ll travel to Rushford to see Mom and Dad and hopefully some Rushford friends!  I’m counting on a campfire to celebrate the shortest night of the year!

Chris has a Summer Solstice birthday, but he gets t work.  I’ll bake him a cake for when he’s done with this 7 day stretch!

Yay summer!

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