Category Archives: Writing for Fun

Hunkered Down, but not Out!

3.30.2020

We have enjoyed watching Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show at Home and he and his guests have been talking about how it is day 14 of their social distancing / quarantine. I can’t imagine. My pattern of life hasn’t changed, so far, even though life surely has changed. Chris and I are still working our regular shifts, so time away from work has been spent recovering from work or preparing for work.

This weekend was a little glimpse for me – I had a 4-day weekend. Chris just had a regular 2-day weekend so Friday and Monday were on my own. Friday night I had a virtual happy hour with some friends and Saturday night Chris and I played online games with Marissa via Zoom. Who heard of Zoom before two weeks ago?

This weekend we made homemade deliciousness, we ordered in to support a local restaurant, we exercised via computer trainers and we watched Netflix (Tiger King, just like everyone!). It felt like a weekend at home, but we didn’t get to see any family or friends IRL (in real life). I’m a social being, so that’s hard for me.

Dr. Elvis on Fox iHeart Radio Stars at Home concert

We watched the concert on Fox last night. It’s been hard to keep up with all the “at home” events and special things streamed; Broadway shows, piano and art lessons, meditation courses. I’m trying to pick and choose a few things that bring joy, as well as comfort during this crazy time. I know my book reading has suffered due to social media and news watching. Hopefully I can get a better balance going forward.

I wonder what our new normal will be like? What will we keep? What will we change?

3/18/2020

This is weird. Life feels surreal right now. A friend reminded me that my biggest worry a few weeks ago was our puppy somehow crawling on top of her crate. It’s already hard to remember what last week felt like.

Tonight I’m working my way through some TV shows on Hulu while I’m practicing social distancing. The latest episode of Will & Grace starts with Will sleeping on the couch with gloves on and sponges in his hand – he fell asleep deep cleaning their apartment. Not because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), but because someone was coming over and he wanted to make a good impression. On This is Us, the Pearsons are gathered together having a multi-generational game night – something highly discouraged by the CDC and our emergency managers. I haven’t watched it yet, but I bet that everyone is at the office on Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist and they aren’t worried about the employees of small businesses. The toilet paper commercials just seem to be taunting us.

The toilet paper aisle at Target

No one on TV is worried about what will become of high school graduation and senior prom this year, or if and when the baseball season will begin. On TV, no borders are closed. No one had to cancel travel plans because Broadway shows or Las Vegas casinos or Florida beaches are closed.

So, what to do? I know that it’s important to slow the world down. I am trying to limit my news intake. It’s hard. Facebook is informing of business and services hours, freebies online, and updates from family and friends. My work email is filled with ever-changing updates. I’ve made a list of things that I want to do when I’m home – write letters, read books, create photo books, walk outside, do yoga, order take-out. My goal is to video call someone every day, because it is good to SEE people! I’m really thankful that I get to work with wonderful people, because if that was the only socialization I could get and it was miserable, then life would be miserable.

I’m journaling to remember this time and trying to be mindful and keep out some of the noisy chatter. It’s hard. I’m sure I’ll blog again to document this bizarre time we are all experiencing.

What are you doing for yourself and those around you?

The Sweeney Sisters

by Lian Dolan

Lian has done it again. Her first two books – “Helen of Pasadena” and “Elizabeth the First Wife” – were very enjoyable, light and fun. Her third novel – “The Sweeney Sisters” – feels more substantial but is just as readable and fun! Three sisters – as different as they can be, but as bonded as sisters are – cope with their famous father, loss after loss after loss and then an unexpected gain. I love that they are flawed but very likeable individuals. I love the real-ness of their emotions and their questions, their thoughts about what it means to have a famous father and his legacy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can’t wait to get my hard copy when it releases in April (pre-ordered already!).

Thanks NetGalley for the Advanced Readers Copy! Thanks Lian for a wonderful book I can easily recommend to all!

Palindromes

Today’s date is a good one – 02/02/2020 – an 8 digit palindrome. Back in 2014 I wrote a long Procrastipost about palindromes and although it is certainly dated and relevant mainly to 2014, it’s still pretty fun.

Enjoy!

https://walkietalkiebookclub.com/2014/04/17/4-17-14/

Our 2019 in Song

A brief synopsis of our 2019, as told through our Spotify Playlist (Our 2019 in Song). 

I had cataract surgery on both eyes in March and April 2019, so I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW! It was the first time in my life I had an IV (age 50!), which was the freakiest part for me.  Otherwise it was uneventful and successful! 

Chris started a job search in earnest in 2019 and was hired in August for a regular 9 TO 5 job at the factory that makes Vanicream… it was nice to have him on a Monday-Friday schedule, but it was less than stimulating, so he kept looking. ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER and in mid-October he took a job at a truck sales and service company in Rochester and is working 4-midnight as a service advisor! He loves it and feels that all his life experience has led him here, so how cool is that? 

I still work at Mayo Clinic in the Emergency Department – it will be 8 years of WORKIN’ DAY AND NIGHT in January! I lead a supervision group for social workers working on their clinical licensure and enjoy that immensely. I also love my colleagues and this year a few of us on our team applied for Individual Achievement Awards through the Department of Nursing, acknowledging our involvement and expertise, and we were awarded with a beautiful night at the Mayowood Mansion with social work and nursing leadership. It was a great and memorable night. 

Our trips this year were mostly of the ROAD TRIPPIN’ variety. In June we travelled Up North from MINNESOTA, WI via a lot of backroads on the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail. We drove the 4Runner on ATV trails, stayed on Lake Superior in Ashland, WI and visited MADELINE ISLAND and Bayfield. The end of July, Chris’s dad and his friend Carol flew to Minnesota and we explored a bit of Minnesota with them!  We didn’t see THE BIGGEST BALL OF TWINE IN MINNESOTA, but many other sites – including the Eagle Center, the SPAM Museum, Lark Toys, French Lake and a paddleboat on the Mississippi!  Labor Day weekend we flew to Colorado for a wedding and we rented a fancy car and drove many roads in the ROCKY MOUNTAIN WAY. The weather was great and we had a wonderful time! In August we bought a new Jeep Wrangler for my winter travels – it is pretty luxurious! THINGS IN MY JEEP include heated steering wheel and seats and SXM radio! For our 5th Birthdayversary, we drove the Jeep Up North in Minnesota and stayed at Bluefin Resort on Lake Superior a few nights and explored the backroads with and without tour guides. We saw moose in our travels in Minnesota and Colorado this year (THE PLURAL OF MOOSE IS MOOSE)! 

I continue to be involved in BOOK CLUB and read more books in 2019 than I have in a long time.  I may have joined a second book club at the end of the year and continue to promote book club type reading at work! The Cosmo Girls are celebrating 10 years of monthly meetings this year and we celebrated in a big way with a trip to Las Vegas in October (VIVA LAS VEGAS!). We had an amazing time together and I cherish the friendships I’ve made with these wonderful women! We enjoyed the warm sunshine poolside, spent hours laughing and dancing and singing (TRUTH HURTS – but what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!). 

We no longer get DEAR LANDLORD letters, as we sold the townhome last summer! Thankfully being a LANDLORD was relatively painless, but it was still a relief to have one less mortgage in our name. Consequently, we were able to make our CASTLE ON THE HILL a little more cozy and inviting for guests. We would love to have you come visit us in our HOME

Our KIDS and grandkids continue to bring us joy. We always enjoy family time – gotta KEEP THE FAMILY CLOSE, you know! Marissa, Adam, August (4) and Juniper (1) live in St. Louis Park and are busy busy busy! It’s hard to keep up with them – I wish you could bottle their energy! Sierra, Kaydee (8) and Emma (4) now spend most of their time in Austin with Sierra’s significant other, Zach, but still attend school in Rochester so we see them when we can. Sierra is expecting a new bundle of joy in February so we can’t wait to meet her! Kevin (21) loves to travel and do work on computers and Tyler and his wife are expecting their first any minute! For August’s birthday we went to CIRCUS Absynnia at the Children’s Theatre and for Kaydee’s birthday we saw CINDERELLA. What a treat to bring the kids to these events! 

THE SEASON’S UPON US when we gather with our families and revel in the season. The attached photos show the joy that we get from being with each other, from being with our family and friends, and from our travels. We hope that this letter finds you well, that you were SATISFIED with 2019, and that 2020 brings us all continued joy and happiness!

Movie blurbs from 2018

I like to chronicle the movies I’ve seen and the books I’ve read in a year. Books have their own page on the blog (see menu above) so here is my list of movies and small screen viewing from 2018! It kind of makes me look like I watch a lot of TV – something to reflect upon for 2019…

How about you… what movies have stayed with you from 2018?

Movies I saw in the theatre:

  • The Shape of Water – interesting and beautiful movie, but sometimes I covered my eyes!
  • Game Night – soooooooooo funny! Great adult comedy!
  • Ready Player One – I read the book and thought the movie was good fun!
  • Faces / Places – foreign film festival movie about a French mural artist and an uncommon friendship (documentary)
  • Deadpool 2 – I closed my eyes through this movie… really not my jam
  • Book Club – very fun! saw with my book club!
  • Oceans 8 – a fun heist movie filled with women!
  • Bandstand: The Musical – SOOOOOOO good. Highly recommend!
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor? – also so good… very poignant and touching and heartbreaking that we are still struggling with the same things he was trying to teach us 50 years ago…
  • Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again – what fun!
  • The Incredibles 2 – good fun to revisit this super family
  • Christopher Robin – I love Pooh and Christopher Robin, so this was nostalgic but who was it made for?
  • Crazy Rich Asians – very fun! What a beautifully shot movie!
  • Farmer of the Year – widowed MN farmer road-trip movie – not very uplifting
  • A Star is Born – my birthday bash ended with this movie – and with all the tears! oh my… very good!
  • Bohemian Rhapsody – fun! I love Queen but know very little about them!
  • Second Act – I wanted this to be better… it was just ok.
  • Mary Poppins Returns – good fun and nostalgia!

Favorites: Game Night, Book Club, Bandstand: The Musical, Crazy Rich Asians, A Star is Born

Netflix movies – new to me and re-watches:

  • Expedition Happiness
  • Sleeping with Other People
  • The Endless Summer
  • Kodachrome
  • History of the Eagles (documentary)
  • Ibiza: Love Drunk
  • Coco
  • Like Father
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
  • Set it Up
  • Wild Oats
  • The Princess Switch
  • The Christmas Chronicles
  • Love, Actually
  • The Holiday Calendar
  • Christmas Wedding Planner
  • Angela’s Christmas
  • A Christmas Prince
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Dumplin’
  • Meet the Parents
  • Meet the Fockers
  • A Merry Friggin’ Christmas (Amazon)

Netflix Series / Amazon series and Comedy specials:

  • The Crown
  • The Great British Baking Show
  • Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
  • My Next Guest Needs No Introduction
  • Grace and Frankie
  • Queer Eye
  • Steve Martin & Martin Short
  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
  • GLOW
  • Demetri Martin: Overthinker
  • The Good Cop
  • Making a Murderer 2
  • Salt Fat Acid Heat
  • Patriot Act with Hasan Minaj
  • John Mulaney – New In Town
  • Shameless
  • The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
  • Mozart in the Jungle

One Day More!

This January I challenged myself to two things: Yoga with Adrienne’s daily Dedicate practice and sober January. One more day and I’ve successfully completed both!

I must say, I am most surprised that I was able to do yoga daily but I just proved that it’s possible, even with my crazy work schedule! It just takes planning. Who knew? One day I was able to get up bright and early (4:30AM) to do yoga before going in for my 6:30AM shift, but all other early days I did yoga when I got home (after 7PM). Granted, as you can see by the calendar, her practice varies from 15 to 30 minutes, with tomorrow’s final Dedicate practice the longest of the month, but still. I did it.

And I printed off a February calendar where she gives suggestions of videos already available on YouTube to build a practice of Love. I’ll keep going and see if I can continue to work on this daily practice! Woot!

As for sober or dry January, no big deal. I think there was a grand total of two days that I wished for a glass of wine but I just made some yummy herbal tea or had sparkling water and moved on. It certainly saves money at restaurants if you don’t add the $7 wine or $10 cocktail to the receipt at the end!

What will February bring? Not binge drinking, certainly, but a few new cocktail lounges opened late 2018 that I can’t wait to try! Do you have any monthly challenges for February?

Blogging via Instagram

This blog has practically gone dormant in 2018! But I have been blogging weekly (or daily while on vacation!) through Instagram! It was my goal at the start of 2018 to create a weekly post of photos – up to 10 – with commentary about the week. There were daily posts during Mini Takes the States and other trips in 2018.

I’m not giving up on this blog… I have ideas, so I just need to create the time (aka get rid of some phone apps). More to come… img_20181127_192434

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!