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.

Image result for christmas at the cupcake cafe book

By Jenny Colgan

Image result for thirty rooms to hide in book

by Luke Sullivan (Book Club)

Image result for harry potter and the cursed child  book

By John Tiffany and Jace Thorne

Image result for Big little lies book

By Liane Moriarty (book club)

Image result for sounds like me   book

By Sara Bereilles (audio)

Image result for four agreements  book

By Don Miguel Ruiz

Image result for the light between oceans  book

By M. L Stedman (book club)

Image result for euphoria  book

By Lily King (book club)

Image result for the supremes at earls all you can eat book

By Edward Kelsey Moore (book club)

Image result for when breath becomes air book

By Paul Kalanithi (work book club)

Image result for who do you love book

By Jennifer Weiner

Image result for the madeleine project  book

By Clara Beaudoux (blog)

Image result for better than before book

By Gretchen Rubin (audio)

Image result for the saturday evening girls club book

By Jane Healey

Image result for my grandmother asked me to tell you she's sorry book

By Fredrik Backman

Image result for truly madly guilty  book

By Liane Moriarty

Image result for no one's coming to save us book

By Stephanie Powell Watts

Image result for the bookshop on the corner book

By Jenny Colgan

Image result for chilbury ladies choir book

By Jennifer Ryan (book club)

Image result for kissing carlo book

By Adriana Trigiani

Image result for daring greatly  book

By Brene Brown

Image result for the storied life of aj fikry  book

By Gabrielle Zevin (book club)

Image result for a gentleman in moscow book

By Amor Towles (book club)

Image result for when dimple met rishibook

By Sandhya Menon

Image result for Mayor of the universe book

By Lorna Landvik – did not finish

Image result for Laura rider book

By Jane Hamilton – did not finish

Image result for Happier at home book

By Gretchen Rubin – reading monthly

 

The Gift of Stories

Image result for storyworth images

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/

Review: The Madeleine Project

Clara Beaudoux

on Tour

July 12-18

with

Madeleine Project-Cover

The Madeleine Project

(biography/history)

Release date: September 12, 2017
at New Vessel Press

ISBN: 978-1939931498
288 pages

Website
Goodreads

MY REVIEW

As someone who just decluttered and moved (and needs to continue decluttering), this was an interesting book to read! Imagine finding a storage room filled with someone else’s belongings from a different era… and then imagine tweeting about it! It is an interesting way to glimpse into the life of Madeleine. At times, I found myself frustrated that I couldn’t “click” to enlarge a photo or “click” on a link that was provided (etsy, youtube!), so I did end up going online and finding the songs she linked to (listen while you continue to read!):

I didn’t look for the audio of her interviews with those who knew her, as I don’t speak French, but I am glad that the author went in search of those who knew and remembered Madeleine, as I loved their thoughts about her.  The common thread seemed to be “I wish I had asked her more questions, got to know her better,” which led to, “I wish I knew my own parents/aunts/uncles/grandparents better, had asked them more questions.”  And that made me grateful that in my family we bought both of my parents a Story Worth subscription** so they are receiving weekly emails with questions about their lives which will be compiled into a book at the end of a year.

Ultimately, this book was not fully satisfying to me. I love Twitter, so I am now following #Madeleineproject and the author (@clarabdx) and will check in occasionally.  This book takes you through Seasons 1 and 2 and currently the author is working on Season 4, so I have some catching up to do. I would have loved more of the interaction with other Twitter followers to more fully develop the story of Madeleine and Paris. Unfortunately I don’t read or understand French, and the Storify links don’t translate, so I probably will not delve too much further into the life of Madeleine.

But maybe with all my decluttering, I will create a time capsule of life in the early 2000s that can be discovered by grandchildren in their adulthood. And I will be more purposeful in asking questions and learning about all the people in my life.

**I really should work for Story Worth, because I love it so and recommend it to everyone I know! CLICK Story Worth for more information!

I received a copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of honest review.  I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.  Click below to enter a giveaway!

SYNOPSIS

A young woman moves into a Paris apartment and discovers a storage room filled with the belongings of the previous owner, a certain Madeleine who died in her late nineties, and whose treasured possessions nobody seems to want. In an audacious act of journalism driven by personal curiosity and humane tenderness, Clara Beaudoux embarks on The Madeleine Project, documenting what she finds on Twitter with text and photographs, introducing the world to an unsung 20th century figure. Along the way, she uncovers a Parisian life indelibly marked by European history. This is a graphic novel for the Twitter age, a true story that encapsulates one woman’s attempt to live a life of love and meaning together with a contemporary quest to prevent that existence from slipping into oblivion.
Through it all, The Madeleine Project movingly chronicles, and allows us to reconstruct, intimate memories of a bygone era.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Madeleine Project-Beaudoux

Clara Beaudoux
is a Paris-based journalist for the France Info news network.
The Madeleine Project has been wildly popular in France.
You can follow her on Twitter at @Clarabdx

In French: on Facebook, The Madeleine Project page,
and the author’s main website

Follow New Vessel Press on Twitter | on Facebook
Sign up to receive their latest news and deals.

Buy the book: on Indiebound | on Amazon

***

You can enter the global giveaway here
or on any other book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook,
they are listed in the entry form below.

Enter here

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open to all
5 winners

 

***

CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ REVIEWS

Madeleine Project-BannerSave

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!

20170325_122050

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

20170402_101336

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

#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

304297_10151287388187003_2058466087_n

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What’s been making me happy…

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

In January I visited some new places:

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

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

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

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Oscar nominations 2016 –

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

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

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

Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”)

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

Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”)


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

Nominees: BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

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

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


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

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

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

 

#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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

A Catch-Up

Is it possible to write a post which can summarize June through October 2015? I’ll hit just a few of the highlights…

A few photos from June 2015

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

That Grandbaby

  • Baby August Edward was born on 9/27/15 at 3:08 PM.  I had the pleasure of witnessing the birth, and it was amazing and beautiful. Marissa was so calm and excited to meet her little man and he is perfectly beautiful. He was born on what would have been his Auntie Abbey’s 31st birthday, and that night was the Harvest Blood Super Moon.
    Ah, I love being Nana Nette.

A few photos from July 2015

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Travels

  • Early June, we took a drive on windy roads to Chippewa Falls in an attempt to go through the Leinenkugel Brewery. It was a popular destination that day and we couldn’t get a spot on a tour, so we bought some beer and drove on home. On the way home we drove through Ellsworth, WI and saw signs for “Showdown in Curd Town,” a tractor pull, so we stopped in!  We had a burger and curds and watched FOUR HOURS of a tractor pull! What good people watching that was!
  • Later in June was our week at the Lake. We had family time, alone time, time in the Cities and time at the end of the dock.  We enjoyed searching for a winery in Waconia on our way to St. Cloud to watch the All Star Football game on a blisteringly hot Saturday.  We saw the touring company of “ONCE” at the State Theatre in Minneapols and watched an airshow in Mankato. No pelicans at the lake this year, but it was still great to be there!
  • The 4th of July was filled with family fun, minus Chris as he had to work.  The boat parade was fun, the weather was hot, and the food was good.  Due to the epic road trip coming up in August, Ferragosto was condensed to a weekend this year; relaxing time with girlfriends, meals at the resort, and good cocktails at the end of the dock.
  • After Ferragosto we took a whirlwind road trip in the Mini – across South Dakota, through Wyoming, and to Colorado.  We drove beautifully scenic roads through Rocky Mountain National Park, stayed in Vail, and then drove to the top of Pike’s Peak. We slept in a retro motel, stayed at a beautiful resort, and in the lovely company of family.  It was a great time with great weather and great roads.  Chris is a great driver but I was still very nervous on those windy roads!
  • Late September into October we celebrated the Birthdayversary in the Cities. We planned to stay close to home due to the impending grandbaby arrival, and he arrived just in time to complete the celebrations that week with hours of baby cuddling.  🙂  We also had great meals out (Pizzeria Lola, Salut, Louis Ristorante, and Christos), and went on the Surly Brewery tour and ate at their delicious gastropub.  We stayed at the lovely Covington Inn – a B&B on a boat – and had wonderful family time.

August 2015

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Taylor Swift

  • Koni and I accompanied Gracie and her friend Taylor to the Taylor Swift concert in St. Paul in mid-September.  We thought we were going to hang in the Parent’s Lounge, but Dana surprised Gracie with floor tickets and we took her seats she had since her birthday.  Gracie and Taylor were noticed by Taylor Swift’s mother and got backstage passes after the show, and we tagged along to chaperone and moderate the emotions. 🙂  Ms. Swift doesn’t have to meet her fans, but she does and it was really a sweet time.

A few from September 2015

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Movie Minutiae

  • Spy – Melissa McCarthy vehicle; was fine, but not very memorable 🙂
  • Ted 2 – I never saw the first Ted movie, but I indulged my man and saw this one. Maybe I should have seen the first. 🙂
  • Inside Out – a great movie; that’s all.
  • Minions – I haven’t seen Despicable Me, so the love of Minions is lost on me. But it was fun to take Kaydee to her first movie in the theatre.
  • Magic Mike XXL – a great time with the girls. I still am going to try to get Chris to watch this!  it was so much lighter than the first and a lot of fun.
  • Trainwreck – Saw this one twice; I’m an Amy Schumer fan and this movie was great. So much fun. LaBron was amazing!
  • Ricki and the Flash – This was an unexpected treat! Fun to see Meryl Streep in this role alongside her daughter. Very thought-provoking and it had great music!
  • A Walk in the Woods – An adaptation of Bill Bryson’s book with Robert Redford (looking old!) and Nick Nolte (acting old!). A fun romp.
  • The Martian – a great movie! I don’t like to feel tense during movies and this one was light and fun.
  • The Intern – pretty predictable, but still lots of food for thought. A fun night at the movies!

October 2015 – just a few on the computer so far!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Book Briefs

  • The Rumour – for book club; Elin Hildebrand’s Nantucket is always a fun place to visit.
  • Paper Towns – I didn’t see the movie, but the book was fascinating.
  • We’ll Always Have Paris – a memoir about mother/daughter travels and facing mortality
  • Someday, Someday, Maybe – an actress-wanna-be in NYC; light and fun.
  • Summer Blowout – a good summer read; very light
  • You’re the Best – the Satellite Sisters ode to friendship – great essays and conversations.

Work continues to be challenging and humbling, the Cosmo Girls are up and running for another year, the baseball season turned into the football season and now we are looking forward to basketball.  I love getting to as many events as work allows!

At the last football game of Trajan’s junior year I was talking with Kai, a 5 year old we know and love, about my new grandson. He was very astute when he said, “So you’re a grandma AND an aunt!”

“Best jobs ever,” I said.  The best.

February Fairly Flew!

Time just keeps “March”ing on, doesn’t it?  Hard to believe we are moving into the end of the first quarter of 2015 – and creeping up on the 6 month anniversary of my wedding/birthday!

So far #marriedlife2015 is just grand.  We both work crazy hours at our job, which means we have random days off during the week and every other weekend off together.  We try to make the most of our time off.  In January, we had a daytrip to LaCrosse, WI where we met Chris’s friend from high school who is moving from Madison to Rhode Island in a few months.  We visited the Dahl Automotive Museum and Pearl Street Brewery, Buzzard Billy’s and the Starllte Lounge and then drove to the Ponderosa for movie time by the fireplace.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two weeks later we drove to Madison to see them before Tien moved mid-February.  We weren’t able to make the going away party, so had our own time with them, which was very fun.  Chris and I got there early and enjoyed a Restaurant Week restaurant, a Mustard Museum, and then we enjoyed a pub meal before retreating to their bar for darts and drinks.  Saturday we walked on State Street, went to the Madison Modern Museum of Art and then visited my old “haunts” – Ella’s Deli and Few Street!  Was quite a blast from the past.  My old stomping grounds revolved around a 4 year old, so they weren’t too exciting, but it was a great reminiscence.  We also had a delicious Vietnamese meal before we travelled back to Rochester.  It was a great weekend.  Next time we go there it will be to drop Chris off for his road trip to Rhode Island / New Hampshire with Tony!  Less than a month away!

Mom, Marissa, Gracie and I had a little daytrip to the Cities for Mom’s birthday in early February.  We went to Marissa’s apartment and said hello to the kitties, and then went to an art open house at Pam Weisdorf’s home  Afterwards we had a delicious hibachi meal and avoided all malls.  It was a nice little road trip!

In January, Chris’s new little granddaughter was born – Emilee Ashlyn.  What fun to hold a baby!  And what fun to witness Chris’s discomfort at the same.  He says he’s afraid he’ll drop her. She is a little peanut, but growing every day, as babies are supposed to do.  We took her big sister, Kaydee, to Soccer World one bitterly cold morning and played during their open gym time.  That was a hoot.  Fun to be inside, warm, and running around on fake grass.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

January and February means there is basketball almost every day of the week if you want.  It was fun to watch Rees, Gracie and Trajan play basketball.  And fun to witness Gunnar sign with SDSU for his collegiate football career. And I made it to section wrestling to see Trevor wrestle a few!  Phew, there is an abundance of sports in the winter!

February also means SocialICE – a yearly festival of the cold!  They moved it back a few weeks, so it coincided with Marissa’s birthday weekend.  They were hoping that it would be warmer, but it just wasn’t to be.  Chris and I went for about 45 minutes on Thursday night and it was sooo cold (-5).  Hot drinks were not hot, cold drinks were freezing – literally.  Chris had a beersicle.  We eventually moved inside for a cocktail at the Doggery.  Saturday we went back during the daylight with the kids, because the ice sculptures are really fun to see, but it got cold and windy and crowded fast, so we didn’t last long.  We celebrated Marissa’s birthday with the family tradition of pizza and ice cream cake!  Delicious…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And the Oscars 2015 happened, as well!  I haven’t seen all the movies up for Best Picture, including the winner, but I did see a few.  I already loved The Grand Budapest Hotel and Boyhood.  I thought The Imitation Game was ok and American Sniper was very hard to watch.  I haven’t seen Birdman (the winner), Whiplash (looks painful), Selma or the Theory of Everything.  I have seen a few movies in the theatre in 2015 – Into the Woods (Rees’s “worst movie ever,” but I loved it!), The Imitation Game (just OK, not super-great), Paddington (sooooooo fun… used to LOVE Paddington!), and Still Alice (the book is SO much better – this is a watered down version, but with a great performance).

At home we’ve watched The Long Way Round series (documentary about a motorcycle trip around the world! Love it!  Ewan McGregor, so fun), The One I Love, The Wolf of Wall Street, They Came Together, The Hundred Foot Journey (nice little movie – I read the book!), The Edge of Tomorrow, and 84 Charing Cross Road (such a sweet story about this eccentric woman – so fun! Very true to the book!)

And speaking of books, we had book club last week.  We read The Perfume Collector and had great fun planning our French food theme!  Lots of fromage, French Onion dip, potatoes au gratin, quiche and croissants.  Topped off by French silk pie!  What was the book about?  Hmmm…   It happened in France in the 50s and was about gifts and independence and the role of our senses.  I read it in December, so had trouble with the details but we had a good discussion anyway!

Other books I’ve read in 2015 include: The Beautiful Daughters (see review here – it is released soon!), Yes Please (audiobook read by the author, Amy Poehler!  Loved it!), The Supreme Macaroni Company (Adriana’s book continuing with Valentine’s life in NYC), and Apple of My Eye (sooooo good!  Helene Hanff is quite the character and brings NYC in the 70s to life!  Loved it!)

I can’t decide what to read next… so I’m catching up on magazines.  Looking forward to diving into that next good book, though!

Would love to hear what you’re reading, what you’re watching, what you’re doing, while waiting for spring weather to arrive! Comment below!

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. ~Hal Borland