Tag Archives: Christmas

12.24.13 What’s Making Me Happy

Merry Christmas everyone!  It has been so long since I posted (more than a month!) and I’ve done many things, so I’ll try to catch up with a whirlwind post of what’s making me happy:

  • I love firsts – even the first day of winter!  It means the days are getting longer and we are heading towards spring, instead of away from summer.  There was a year when I had a party for every first day of the season (or last day of the season, depending on where it landed in the week).  Maybe someday I’ll reprise, but for now know that I quietly celebrated and remember.
  • I’ve seen movies –

On Netflix DVDs:  

  • Frances Ha (a girl wants to pursue dancing career – and avoid growing up!), 
  • The Kings of Summer (boys build a home in the woods to avoid their families), 
  • Smashed (a married couple goes separate ways when one decides to be sober)
  • and at home right now is The Salt of Life (an Italian movie starring the man in Mid-August Lunch, the inspiration for Ferragosto!)
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My Christmas DVD Traditions: 

  • Elf
  • Love, Actually
  • The Holiday
  • Family Stone
  • Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas

On Netflix Streaming:

And in the Theatre:

  • About Time (I loved this so!  I thought it had such a great message of how to live life… soooo good!  Bummed that it didn’t stay in the theatre long – I will be buying this!), 
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (So fun to see this with the girl who loves it best – Gracie.  We went on opening night, so the theatre was filled with other lovers of the series, and there were cheers and boos and sighs throughout.  A good movie!), 
  • Dallas  Buyers Club (Not a feel good movie at all, but outstanding performances, and a thought-provoking glimpse into the government/ pharmacology difficulties in obtaining medications.), 
  • Philomena (a great British film about a woman who goes in search of the son that was taken from her in the 50s while she was “banished” to a convent as an unwed mother – great story, great performances, great movie),  
  • Delivery Man (Vince Vaughn finds out his sperm-donating days have wielded him a passel!  It was not as funny as I like Vince to be, but it was a pretty good movie), 
  • Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (and so it does.  The story is original and the point they make about 24 hour media is pretty spot-on. Not great, but not a bad sequel.), and 
  • American Hustle (I love that “some of this really happened” was the tag line at the beginning of the movie.  Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence were amazing, and the story was fun to follow. )
I do indeed...
I do indeed…

As always during the holidays, there have been Musical Events:

  • Crossings At Carnegie – Becky Schlegel and the 48 High – a great, intimate setting, with fun music – a little country, a little bluegrass!  
  • Messiah “Sing In” – Always a treat to go with Beth!  This year Vicki went as well!  The music seemed harder to sing, but it was a great night.  
  • Take Note! and Winona Brass Band – our concert has been a tradition since 2006 – isn’t that amazing?  It always goes by so fast, but is a fun night at the beginning of the holiday season! 
  • Christmas program at church – Even though it was only 20 minutes long between church services, I was glad to get to the program!  Good smiles, good songs… 
  • Take Note! party – Mom and Dad opened their house for the Christmas party for the choir.  Everyone brought delicious food, we had good weather, good laughs, watched our concert, and had a relaxing afternoon.
  • Festival of Lessons and Carols at the Chapel at St. Mary’s – Gracie has been singing with her choir at this concert for a few years.  It’s a nice time to reflect on the season, listen to beautiful choral music, handbell choirs, and to sing favorite hymns.
  • Dan Chouinard and Peter Ostroushko – Such a great evening of singing and music!  The ability of these two men is awe inspiring, and they make it look effortless.  Such a great Christmas tradition I hope I will do every year!
Next year I may make a Christmas tree out of books
Next year I may make a Christmas tree out of books

I’ve read some books: 

  • Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding – It’s nice to hear Bridget’s voice again, although she really should grow up, right? It’s a fun read with Bridget antics and a few precious moments.  
  • Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross – Read this for the book club in the ED.  It’s amazing how I never want to read historical fiction and then enjoy it a lot.  This takes place in the 800s and it’s fun to read about their education, religion and beliefs.  Good discussion!  
  • Perfect by Autumn Jordan – Very short Christmas story!  Trying to “pad” my book numbers for 2013!  
  • Fin & Lady by Cathleen Schine – on audio – a story about a young man being raised by his older sister.  A good story, which probably would have been better if I had a more consistent listening schedule.  🙂  
  •  Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Mindy Kaling – Currently listening to this on audio – I love Mindy and can’t wait to listen further. 
  • Wishin’ & Hopin’ by Wally Lamb – another short Christmas story – hoping to maybe make my goal of 32 books in 2013!  
  • Next on my list is Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – hear it’s a great YA book!  

football_santa

And then I’ve made it to a few sporting events – 

  • Wrestling – I spent an afternoon watching cousin Trevor wrestle – well, I waited all afternoon to watch Trevor wrestle once, as he had a win by forfeit in his second match of the day and I missed his first one! 🙂  He wrestled hard and I hope to make a few more meets this winter.  
  • Basketball – Trajan is playing Junior Varsity for Mayo, and I’ve made a few of his games so far, hoping for more!  Gracie and Rees will also be playing, so hope I can get to some of those, as well!  

Phew!  I wonder how many will make it to the end of this long list!  I’m hoping to blog again before the end of 2013 so let’s see if that happens!  I know that the days ahead are filled – with work, with fun events, and with family time.  

Christmas

 

I hope that your Christmas holidays are as blessed and a blessing to you!  

What’s Making Me Happy This Week 1/9/13

Joy! NYC New York City
Joy Joy Joy!

I hope that I will remember to post about the Things Making Me Happy at least every other week… it’s been a few weeks (busy weeks) since I last wrote about this, but it’s such a good thing to focus on that I hope I will make it a habit!

  • Days off!  I had a great Christmas and New Year‘s with family and although I worked last weekend, it has been bracketed by wonderful days off!  I’ve been productive and relaxed; reading, entertaining, singing, watching movies, with just a little cleaning and organizing.  Good stuff.  
  • My Blu-Ray player for Christmas is so exciting… so easy and smart to use.  Just a breeze.
  • Reading Jane Austen is always so relaxing. I’m reading “Persuasion” as a readalong and although it isn’t living up to “Pride and Prejudice” level of love from me, it is still enjoyable to read.  I’m wondering if Jane Austen is NOT meant to be read on an electronic device, though. That has been a struggle.  
  • I spilled a big old glass of water on my stove top a few weeks ago, which prompted a deep clean under the stove.  Felt kinda good!
  • Taco Soup – Wow!  Mom made this and it was so delicious, and then I whipped it up at Dana and Koni’s last night and it was so easy!  The best flavor  and a fast feast!  Ingredients: 1 can black beans, 1 can pinto beans (both drained and rinsed), 1 can petite diced tomatoes, 1 can sweet corn (both drained), 1 can white chicken breast, drained, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 can green enchilada sauce, 1 can chicken broth, 1 packet taco seasoning. Mix, heat, serve.  Excellent with tortilla chips!  Yummy!
  • The game Telestrations brought us many laughs on New Year’s Eve – what a fun family group game!
  • A mild sunshiny day today is certainly making me happy!
  • Looking forward to the weekend off – with nothing planned feels pretty great!
  • I love having my Christmas tree up – to think I almost didn’t do it this year! – but it does feel good to put it away.  I really don’t have many seasonal decorations aside from Christmas – maybe I need to add that to one of my lists… Mix it up a little.
  • Reflecting on 2012 has been such a Joy (see above pic!).  I continue to feel grateful for the people in my life and the adventures that they bring. 

I feel like I could go on and on, which is a good thing, but I’d better move on and get some more stuff done!  Enjoying the day!

What’s making you happy this week??

LOGO Give Joy Get Joy

Joy Joy Joy!
Joy Joy Joy!

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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

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’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)

December Things

I’ve had this page up a few times in the month of November but have remained quiet!  Partly because my reading has slowed, due to the Thanksgiving holiday and other things.  And partly because I didn’t want to post for the sake of posting!  Finally, I have something to say. 🙂

new tree, glittery baubles

I love firsts – first of the month, first of the year, first time doing anything.  So a few days ago (the first of December) I started a list in my head (I also love lists) of things to get done in December.  Fun things.  I was going to do it like an Advent calendar, one thing assigned to each day, but decided to just make a list and see how many I can knock off.

  1. Bake bake bake!
  2. Try new recipes (Whiskey caramels? Yes please!)
  3. Bake with kiddos
  4. Drive around and look at Christmas lights while drinking hot cocoa
  5. Have a hot cocoa and cookie party
  6. Read the Christmas story in the Bible
  7. Hear the Christmas story being read
  8. Read “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”
  9. Watch “Elf”
  10. Watch “The Holiday”
  11. Watch “Love Actually” (again)
  12.  Buy some mistletoe
  13. Get a New Year’s Eve plan (before New Year’s Eve rolls around)
  14. Plan get-togethers with friends during Christmas break
  15. Sing as many carols as possible – find (or create!) singalongs
  16. Make more lefse
  17. Listen to LOTS of Christmas music!
  18. Play LOTS of Christmas music at the piano
  19. Find a tree topper – an angel or star
  20. …. I’m going to continue to add to this list as I think of more things.

Maybe you can help!  Any holiday traditions that you have that are “must-do”s?

Off to read!

40 Things (20)

Following along with Boof‘s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 20!  Wow!  Her topic is:

20) A book with a character most like me

This is hard!  Maybe someone more impartial has great ideas for me, but I looked through my list of books and cannot think of one that makes sense.  I liked Katie Fforde‘s “Love Letters,” because it was about a woman who loves books and is hired to organize a huge book event (and to try to get the handsome, reclusive Irish writer to show up).  Is Laura like me?  In some ways. Did I think of this book because it’s something I would love to be doing (organizing book events and meeting reclusive Irish writers)?  Probably.

#20 on my list of things to do before I turned 40 was: Clean the basement – give away, declutter!

Well, I crossed this one off the list when the flood came!  My basement was filled with books, photos, decorations, old toys, and souvenirs.  When the flood came two tubs were salvaged from the basement (as well as the laundry basket of towels I went downstairs to retrieve before we evacuated that night) – one filled with old t-shirts and one filled with my old Barbies.  Everything else was scooped out by a skid loader and put into a dumpster.  I try not to think about the individual things that were lost, but there have been times that I have given in to the emotions.  My first Christmas in my new home, I really missed my old Christmas decorations and all the glitzy, glittery, gaudy things I chose the year before from the donated baubles seemed absolutely awful, especially on the small, free Christmas tree that was donated to me.  I had a pity party for a few days and then I decided to shop after Christmas for a new tree befitting my new abode and embraced the beauty in the glitter that was given to me.

December 2009 - new tree, glittery baubles

I still have all those baubles on my new tall and skinny tree.  I also am a lot more picky about what I keep.  It is easier to get rid of clutter.  The flood brought perspective on what is truly important, and it can’t be kept in a box in the basement.

Off to read!