Category Archives: Writing for Fun

12/21/12: What’s Making Me Happy This Week

A Christmas tradition in New York City is WPIX...
A Christmas tradition in New York City is WPIX’s yearly yule log program (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

12/21 is the date of the Winter Solstice this year.  I love to find a reason to celebrate daily, so I will find some way to honor the shortest day of the year – a short walk in the early dark? lighting a candle when I get home? searching for sunshiney foods in the cafeteria (think citrus)?  Who knows.  One year I had a party for the start of each of the four seasons.  During my Winter Solstice party we had a bonfire on my deck and I’m sure we had good food and drink.  🙂

The lists for my 44th year are still a work in progress; part 1 of 4 is nearing deadline.  Here’s the list from Fall:

11 Things to Do or Look Forward to in the Fall (October November December)

  1. Celebrate my birthday in NYC – check! October 1
  2. Go to 4 Daughters Winery – October 13
  3. Go to Door County to celebrate birthdays and trivia wins! October 19-21
  4. Go to Bruce Springsteen concert – November 12!
  5. Choir gigs and holiday concerts – November 30-December 2
  6. Read … something classic or new?: just try to read! I read a few books!  
  7. Write … poetry or themed blogs? Blogs!  22 in these three months – so far!  
  8. Plan … a dinner party or ??: I planned a Christmas Open House!  
  9. Shop early for Christmas gifts: Fail!  Waiting for packages to arrive! I’m thinking tomorrow will be a big delivery day here!
  10. Play accordion weekly and give piano lessons as regularly as possible: FAIL!  Never home!
  11. and something else that I’ll think of eventually!: Thinking a “Pay it Forward” or volunteer thing… – We did a Random Acts of Kindness Night for Cosmo Girls and it was so fun!  And I’ve done a few things at work to help make someone’s Christmas “merry and bright.”  

Not too bad.  I look forward to writing about my list for WINTER (Jan Feb March).  Much to look forward to in those months!

Happy Christmas, painted by Johansen Viggo
Happy Christmas, painted by Johansen Viggo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For now, what’s making me happy this week:

  • Jimmy Fallon – Tuesday was a great example of a perfect show – Tom Cruise and Water Wars, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Judd Apatow, Christmas sweater giveaway… Always good stuff!
  • Making it to Gracie’s play last week, going for ice cream after, and then a Christmas open house at Dana’s office
  • Having a 3 day weekend without work!  Cleaning for my Open House, playing games and eating good no-fuss food with good friends and family, Christmas program at church and then the Lessons & Carols, shopping… a great weekend!
  • Learning that we will get a raise this year at Mayo, even though they are making drastic changes in how they will operate.  They really value their employees and aren’t afraid to say so!
  • A “snow day” today on my day off – hunkering down to wrap presents, bake cookies and make some soup concoction (not very tasty).  And then ringing the bells with Dana and family (per Rees’s request) in the blizzard-like wind!
  • I’m actually sort of looking forward to working this weekend.  I know that no one wants to be in the hospital, especially at Christmas time, so I will attempt to be a blessing to everyone that I meet this weekend and work hard to help them get home to be with family.
  • And then I’m looking forward to having 3 days off to be with family in Rushford.  Movies, games and togetherness!  Love the holidays!

What’s making you happy this week??

I hope that the darkest day of the year (daylight-wise) fills you up with brightness and light, in anticipation of longer days, soon-arriving Christmas Day and a New Year!  

Happy Newyear

I hope…

christmas 2007
christmas 2007 (Photo credit: paparutzi)

that the presents I ordered online (some as late as yesterday!) arrive in time for Christmas

christmas 2007
christmas 2007 (Photo credit: paparutzi)

that I get busy and am productive on one of my only days off until Christmas
(1. finish shopping 2. start wrapping 3. make cardamom cookies)


that someone comes and helps me drink all of the wine I’ve purchased lately

that the pink Christmas balls don’t fall off my little tree outside and shatter

pink outside Christmas tree

Enough on my inside tree so some went to the outside tree!

that the few cards and letters that I mailed out arrive in time
(and that the few more that I will send will arrive in one piece!)

Once ornament
A great remembrance of 2012

that I think of a clever way to re-cap 2012 and set goals for 2013

that the Christmas fun continues throughout the next week

Christmas party open house

Sweaters are fun!

that there is time for reflection these few days before the first day of winter
(I have that list, remember… )

that someday soon I can get through a day without shedding sad tears
(so much sadness in the world)

that in 2013 I can get lost in a Jane Austen re-read – so relaxing
“It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.”
— Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility)

that everyone takes time to have a wonderful holiday season with those that they love and keeps their faith in the goodness of people.

“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
― Anne FrankThe Diary of a Young Girl

12.12.12

12 12 12
It’s here

Couldn’t let the day go by without noting the wonderful symmetry of the date.

I’ve seen today celebrated as Soundcheck Day (1..2..1..2..1..2..)
Dozen Dozen Dozen day (roses or donuts, your choice!)
and I guess it’s a great day to get married (anyone?).

AND it’s 12 days to Christmas (eve) today, as well!  The countdown begins!

12/12/12 custom type

I celebrated by starting my Christmas shopping
and finishing my food/drink shopping for my Christmas Open House I’m having this weekend.

And I bought a new lipstick.

And I washed my car, because it was in the 40s and sunny!

And tonight I’m going to have dinner and see the movie “Lincoln.”

No typical Wednesday here!  Although any day off is not a typical day!

Now if someone would just come and clean and prep my house for the Open House!
But there’s always Saturday until 3PM, right?

Not going!
Tonight is the Hurricane Sandy Relief concert at Madison Square Gardens.

 

What a Difference…

Only a few weeks left in 2012.

Tonight I was looking back in my computer to see if I wrote any kind of “end of year wrap up” for 2011 and found nothing but revisions of resumes and cover letters dated 2011.  I guess that’s where my mind was last year at this time!  What a difference a year makes.

It was fun to go back and read my December 2011 and January 2012 blogs – the books and movies that I indulged in during unemployment and my blogs about what I will and won’t miss about unemployment.  Ah.

Pretty good stuff.  I think I was the most creative during that time!  Blogs in early 2012 were pretty ‘meh.”  I guess brain power was going elsewhere for a while… rightly so!

Anyway, found this list again:

US passport
US passport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

12 Things to Get Done in 2012

  1. See Garrison Keillor at the Fitzgerald Theatre
  2. Visit the Four Daughters Vineyard in Spring Valley (maybe more than once!). Doesn’t it look lovely?
  3. Get my passport – so I’m ready!  This was on my list of 40 Things and it didn’t happen.  It will happen – soon.
  4. Write – at least weekly blogs
  5. Write – more letters. It’s so fun to get mail.
  6. Eat healthy and REAL food
  7. Watch for and attend more Table Trivia Nights
  8. Seek out author and book events, especially for authors and books I love!
  9. Go to New York City to see “Once – the Musical” – you see that, Troy
  10. While in NYC maybe go on a Greenwich Village walking tour with Adriana Trigiani (love her!)
  11. Read at least one GOOD book per month.  Easily achievable.
  12. Try new recipes and cook for myself (or invite others!)
Garrison Keillor
Garrison Keillor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Still no passport (eeek!) and no Garrison yet, but NYC twice in a year?  A dream come true.

Seeing “Once” twice?  Amazing.

Even on Facebook in January 2011 I was posting links for the musical and dreaming of getting there.

Fun to start my dream list for 2013!  What do I want to come true this coming year???

I have to review my birthday list of 11 Things to do in the Fall, as the Winter Solstice is coming up soon and it’ll be time for a new list!  Yikes!

More later on that!

It Was Time.

Trade-in
After 10 years, 7  years and 150,000 with me, it was time.

It was a good car.

I’d been balking at the idea of trading it in and was contemplating getting it fixed, but the list of things needing repair kept getting longer and longer, so it boiled down to getting a loan to fix it up or bite the bullet and get a car payment.

Bumper stickers
Once you put on a bumper sticker,                                     there’s no going back…

This car was with me during Marissa’s senior year (she got my old Honda Civic)

This car drove us away from my house during the flood evacuation

This car took me on a few road trips – to Chicago, Des Moines, Pierre SD, and many Minnesota adventures

When I bought this car, audiocassettes were the most common way to listen to audiobooks,
so I had to have a cassette player installed, as it only had CD!

In the glove box, I found the cassette that will play walkmans or iPods over the stereo. So retro!

When I bought this car, the moon roof scared me a little!
I was afraid a bird (more accurately, a wild turkey) would fly in or something.

honda civic trade-in
The Swell Season bumper stickers

So it wasn’t without a teary eye that I traded it in last week.
I told the guy “I needed a moment” with it and I took these photos.

It was a good car.

But it was time.

I spent more time researching things online than I did test-driving cars.

One car guy sent me an email saying that 4% of people spend more time looking for their car than their spouse.
That’s a weird statistic, isn’t it??  I didn’t spend THAT much time.  I was wanting it to happen sooner than later.

I was thankful to find a manual transmission 2-door at a decent price.
Evidently manual transmissions are a dying breed.

Happy Honda Owner
Happy Honda-Days!

So this super-fancy car is a 6-speed manual! Yay!

44 Miles for this 44 Year Old
Had to stop for the photo opportunity before I got to my house! Lovely digital interior after 44 miles!

So you’ll have to stop by and ask me for a ride!  I’m sure I’ll be ready to roll!
But I may make you notice that even my garage has the New Car Smell!

Merry Christmas to me!

 

What’s Making Me Happy This Week 11/27/12

I’ve been trying to do one of these posts every other week, so here’s the third “in a row”!
Maybe I’ll get some format, but for now it remains random…

Things that were great about Thanksgiving week –

  • Getting a haircut!  Always feels great!

    Cheers
    Cheers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Choir – getting ready for some upcoming gigs!
  • FOUR days in a row without work!
  • Playing “Headbandz” with the kids – so many laughs!
  • Flying kites on Thanksgiving morning – amazing weather!
  • Watching the “Cheers” Thanksgiving episode – hilarious!
  • NOT shopping on Black Friday because I was working – still loving my great colleagues!
  • Working four short shifts (i.e. 8 hours v. 12 hours!) in these two weeks!
  • Getting my tree up effortlessly!

 

 

Things that I look forward to this week –

Cover of "Life of Pi"

  • Seeing “Life of Pi” on Thursday with a couple of book-lovin’ fools like me (although neither has read the book)!
  • Thursday off – and probably car shopping!
  • A short day of work on Friday and then a weekend off!
  • The Christmas Radio Show gigs in Winona and our annual concert with the Winona Brass Band on Sunday!
  • Organizing my Christmas list and starting to make purchases!
  • It will be December! Yay!  Because, why not?

 

 

 

Things that I will never tire of:

  • The movie “Once” – I just re-watched it tonight for the first time since I’ve seen the Broadway show twice, and it’s still just soooooooo good.  Such a nice story with great music and the lovely Glen.  Ah.

    Glen Hansard
    Glen Hansard (Photo credit: Irish Philadelphia Photo Essays)

Bruuuuuuuce!

Bruce Springsteen, girls' night out, November 2012
These girls are ready to rock!

I woke up this morning thinking of the Bruce Springsteen concert, which was one week ago tonight!

We bought our tickets in August, so it has been something we have been anticipating for quite some time.
(Anticipation of great things is so awesome!)

We began our adventure at the House of Coates Bar where we had delicious burgers –

Best burgers in Minnesota?
Best burgers in Minnesota? In 2008!

and sat in a booth that was either too hot or too cold!

House of Coates Bar booth
A dive bar experience with delicious burgers and inconsistent heat!

We had tickets on the Club Level, so it was a quieter atmosphere.  Our seats were in the last row so we didn’t have to worry about standing and dancing in front of people who chose to sit during the concert.
(Really, who sits during a Bruce concert??? Evidently people in the Club Level!).  

Bruce didn’t disappoint.  He was on stage for 185 minutes.  He never left.  Not for a minute.

Bruce Springsteen
Walking amid the crowd – early in the show and late in the show!
Dancing in the Dark
Dancing in the Dark – Bruce brought a Veteran on stage for a dance! (Sidenote: According to Google, Bruce wears Wrangler Jeans! And he wears them well!)
Bruce Springsteen crowd surfing
He even crowd surfed! (This is pre-surfing)
Bruce Springsteen 2012 st. paul high energy end of show
This is at the end of the show – and he is full of energy!

And he appeared more energized at the end of the show than at the beginning!  

American Land Bruce Springsteen the end
The Finale – American Land is such a fun song!

He is an amazing performer and I hope that I get to see him a few more times!  I think next time, I want to be “down there,” in that crowd of people dancing and singing along.  I hope I can do that before I get too old.
Although, you could see on the big screen, that some of them were not spring chickens!  

I’ve been thinking about Bruce, because I feel like I’m a “come-lately” fan.
But I used to listen to his music a lot in the late 80s, and I had forgotten that until I went to his concert for the first time in 2009
He is an amazing song writer and his songs tell stories.
I remember listening to his Live album (3 cassettes, given to my brother for Christmas), listening to the stories of Johnny 99, Reason to Believe, Cadillac Ranch, Nebraska… all stories beautifully (and often tragically) told.
Good stuff for a moody teenager to listen to (now and then)!

So I’m not really a “come-lately” but I have been a “Tramp” for many years!

I think as I get older, I can appreciate more and am in awe of his passion for music and for people.

Here is a World Premiere of Devils and Dust from that night, a compilation of songs from the night and the setlist for
Monday, November 12, 2012 at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, MN!  Woot!

Soundcheck:

Devils And Dust

Concert:

1. I’m A Rocker
2. Hungry Heart
3. No Surrender
4. Night
5. Loose Ends
6. Something In The Night
7. STOLEN CAR*
8. We Take Care Of Our Own
9. Wrecking Ball
10. Death to My Hometown
11. My City of Ruins
12. The E Street Shuffle
13. Pay Me My Money Down
14. DEVILS AND DUST*
15. Youngstown
16. Murder Incorporated
17. She’s The One
18. Shackled and Drawn
19. Waitin’ On A Sunny Day
20. The Rising
21. Badlands
22. Land of Hope and Dreams

Encore:

23. Jungleland
24. Born to Run
25. Dancing In The Dark
26. Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
27. American Land

http://www.backstreets.com/setlists.html to read more about the tour.
Our concert was a special event according to the Bruce experts!

Well, that’s enough about Bruuuuce!  Unless you want to tell me about your experiences!

On Podcasts

In June 2011 I blogged about the Podcasts I Have Loved, which I reblogged on 11/13.  There are some changes in what I listen to currently, and the method in which I listen!  So I thought I’d do a quick update.

  • I still listen to The Satellite Sisters weekly podcast of whoever they can gather on a Sunday afternoon.  You can read more about my relationship with the Sisters (if you don’t know already!) by reading my previous blog about podcasts, but suffice it to say that I cried when I learned that on the day they were moving their father with advanced Alzheimer’s to a skilled nursing facility in Dallas to be near sister Julie, they brought their mother Edna to the emergency room in Pasadena and she learned that she has advanced lung cancer.  And I cried again when I listened to their most recent post in which they talk about the emotional journey they are now facing, which looked so different a month ago.  They are amazing Sisters and I encourage you to look for their book (published in 2001) if you want to know more about them!
  • I also listen to The Chaos Chronicles by sister Lian, the youngest Satellite Sister.  It has gone down in my priority list because she started posting a lot about the college application process, as she has a son who is a senior this year, and I find that pretty irrelevant to my life right now.  If you are in that stage, go ahead and listen to her advice as she navigates that world!
  • I still listen to Filmspotting, although Matty Ballgame is no longer a co-host.  It’s good and interesting reviews of current and past movies with some silliness thrown in.

    Filmspotting
    Filmspotting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I listen to

  • Spilled Milk,
  • the Moth, Wait,
  • and Wait, Don’t Tell Me! – and I have added a few more to the mix.

My method of listening changed when I discovered the Stitcher app for the iPadand Android phones.  Stitcher is a way to subscribe to the podcasts or radio shows that you want to listen to and they are delivered as they are published.  I don’t have to worry about connecting to iTunes and downloading the podcasts to my devices, they just arrive automatically, if I’m subscribed and online.  So I have added a few to my planned and purposeful listening.  🙂  And it syncs between devices so I can put headphones on and walk with my phone while listening to the Culture Gabfest (as I just did) and it will remember where I left off and resume next time I turn on the app on the iPad.

Image representing Stitcher as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

Currently I listen to all of the above, as well as

  • NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour (probably my current favorite!),
  • Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4 (very fun!),
  • The Splendid Table,
  • Slate’s Culture Gabfest,
  • The Dinner Party,
  • Michael Feldman‘s Whad’ya Know?,
  • TED Radio Hour Podcast,
  • New York City History by the Bowery Boys,
  • Here’s the Thing (Alec Baldwin),
  • Mike and Tom Eat Snacks (NEVER SAFE FOR WORK!)
  • and Fresh Air.

With Stitcher you can prioritize the list and it will just continue working its way down as you have it on.  So there are some that I don’t get to weekly or maybe even monthly, but it’s ok because those that I really want to hear are at the top of the list.  I really love it when I turn on the Stitcher app and it tells me how many hours I have listened since I subscribed.  It’s pretty amazing.  It also gives you ideas of other things you may like to listen to, so I just today added another to the list.  I’ll let you know what I think of it!

People always ask how I have time to do all this listening, but I think that having an iPad makes it simple.  And I have a tendency to forget that I have a TV and won’t turn it on for days.  Instead, I carry the iPad from room to room and listen while I iron (I did that today!), clean, wash dishes, blog (!), or while I’m getting ready for the day!  So the hours that I am home and alone, I am usually listening to things that I want to listen to.  Sometimes it’s music, but most often it’s podcasts!

What do you listen to?  Any recommendations?  Have you listened to any of the above based on my ravings?  🙂

11/11 What’s Making me Happy This Week

The things that make me different are the thin...
The things that make me different are the things that make me – me. (Photo credit: deeplifequotes)
  • Symmetry in dates – 11/11 and 11/11/12!
  • A weekend off!
  • Sunshiny weather on my day off Thursday – and being out and about during the daylight!  Durn daylight savings time!
  • Wearing capris in November – one more warm burst for a bit!
  • Poetry reading with the girls – from Shel Silverstein to to e.e. cummings to Japanese Haikus.
  • Poetry written by the girls!  Funny haikus!
    Haikus

  • A surprise party, even if it wasn’t a surprise in the end! It was still a good party!
  • Being with family
  • Watching the boys at the Metrodome tonight – fun to see them win!
  • A good book that makes me want to carry it around and read at every spare moment!
  • Having fun things to look forward to this week – Springsteen and book club!!
E. E. Cummings
E. E. Cummings (Photo credit: o admirador secreto)

It’s almost over…

facebook and politics
Facebook posts

Tomorrow morning we will know the outcome.   (Hopefully. Remember that one time when it dragged on and on?)

I’m not a big news watcher but I try hard to find impartial news sources to read my news, and if I can’t find impartial I read from all sides.  I’m going to be glad when it’s over so that I can unhide those facebook friends who constantly barrage their statuses with political news (all sides) and I hope for a return to civility.

Other things I hope will go away when the election is over:

There’s more I’m sure.

What about you? What are you looking forward to putting behind you?

voted vote

Yes I did.