How to sum up awesomeness?

2014I like to end each year by looking back and thinking about the big things and the little things, summing it up and tucking it away to be recalled in the future.  2014 was a big year.  Here is a sad attempt to summarize its awesomeness.  (Lots of links you can click on if you want more info or fun videos! Anything underlined is a link.)

Movie chat!
Movie chat!

I saw some movies in the theatre.  In no particular order, I saw Inside Llewelyn Davis, Her, The Lego Movie, The Great Beauty*, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Saving Mr. Banks, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Divergent, 12 Years a Slave, Belle, Neighbors, Chef, The Fault in Our Stars, A Million Ways to Die in the West, The November Man, Boyhood, Unbroken, Wild, The Hunger Games: The Mockingjay Part 1, Dumb and Dumber To, St. Vincent, and Gone Girl.  (*Rochester Int’l Film Fest)

Some were seen alone, some with girlfriends, some with family, some with Chris.  Some felt like they were MADE FOR ME (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood, Chef, St. Vincent); others not so much, but I love a movie in the theatre, no matter what.  (Thankful for that Mayo discount and living within walking distance to a theatre!)

Netflix DVD watching also happened, including The Salt of Life, 20 Feet from Stardom, Austenland, Iron Man 1, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, 10 Years, August Osage County, Blazing Saddles, What’s Up, Doc?, Here Comes the Boom, Love Is All You Need, My Life Without Me, The Tiger and the Snow. 

None of them stand out as wonderful, except 20 Feet from Stardom – that was fun.  I blogged about that around Oscar time last year.  Some were sent back without being watched – life was just too busy to sit on the couch in 2014!

Great seats for our first show!
Great seats for our first show!
The stage and Proscenium
The stage and Proscenium


In 2014 I saw some things on a stage.

Musicians – The Skivvies at 54 Below with Koni and Troy in NYC, Jeremy Messersmith at First Ave for Marissa’s birthday, Jim Brickman with Chris for Valentine’s Day, Paul McCartney at Target Field with Mom and Dad, Marissa and Chris

Comedians – Lorna Landvik at her Party in the Rec Room at Bryant Lake Bowl in January with John and Deadra, Mike Birbiglia at the Pantages with Marissa (on a whim, due to horrific driving conditions keeping me in the Cities longer – so glad we went! Thankful we weren’t later arrivers!!)

Plays – in Minneapolis Jenny and Chris and I saw Peter and the Starcatcher, and it didn’t disappoint the second time!  We hung out after and listened to the actors talk about their magical performances night after night… So fun.

Authors – only one in 2014!  Allison McGhee, a Minnesota author.  I still haven’t read any of her books, but she was fascinating to listen to!  I do love to listen to and meet authors!

And speaking of books – you can click the BOOKS I READ IN 2014 page on my blog to see the list of books that I did accomplish in 2014.  I didn’t meet my reading goal (again, not a lot of time to sit around and read in 2014!) but I changed my goal and hopefully set a realistic goal for #marriedlife2015.

Heading in to the first show of our trip!
Heading in to the first show of our trip!

And speaking of plays, can’t forget Broadway!  I had TWO trips to NYC in 2014! The first was in early January – a girl’s weekend with my sister-in-law/great friend, Koni.  We ran through airports to catch planes, celebrated the arrival of our luggage, we braved their elements (12 degrees, which was 30 degrees warmer than we left) and were the only ones to show up for the  cupcake walking tour of the Lower East Side.  We ate delicious meals, we SHOPPED, we saw THREE Broadway shows (Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder – the Tony winner of 2014! – Cinderella, and Matilda!), we saw people singing in their underwear at 54 Below (the Skivvies – click to see a video!), we celebrated when our flight home was cancelled, as it meant we had a bonus day to see our 3rd show, hang around the Superbowl celebrations in Times Square, and enjoy more Cake Boss treats.  Read ALL about it here.

One of everything!  Yes, please!
One of everything! Yes, please!Also in 2014:

Also in 2014:

  • Birthdays were celebrated – at wineries, at the Lake, at restaurants.
  • I went to as many kids’ sporting events as my schedule would allow.
  • I continue to love my job, crazy schedule and all.  Coming up on my 3rd anniversary on January 30.
  • Someone drove through our Target exit doors, right after Chris and I walked out. Quite freaky!
  • Choir continues to bring joy and happiness to me and all who participate – can’t wait to start up again!
  • Marissa met a man that she enjoys immensely, so that’s fun for mama.  She continues in graduate school, hoping for an early spring graduation.
  • Cosmo Girls continued to meet monthly – a solid crew of amazing women that I am thankful for!
Cosmo Girls at RAC 2014
Cosmo Girls at RAC 2014

And then of course, last but not certainly not least,
we got engaged in July and married in October 2014!

The ring arrived!
The ring arrived!

Proof that he is the ONE?  When we were discussing the hows and whens and wheres of getting married, he said, “Can we get married in New York City?” Um, yes!  Most people think it was my idea, but it was his idea, which is why I love him so.  He knows how to make this girl happy.  I’m very lucky!

July to October was spent hammering out details, planning, organizing, and celebrating.  Chris moved in with me in July and that adjustment has been surprisingly smooth (further proof that he is the ONE!).  I had a wonderful, abbreviated Ferragosto week at the lake, which was almost like a Bachelorette week.  So much celebrating and planning and laughing!

It was great fun to plan the week in NYC for family and friends.  Everyone was so joyful and lovely.  The blog detailing the events of Wedding Week 2014 can be read here: #woohoowedo2014.  I’ll end this never-ending blog with the ceremony that Chris and I worked on in the hopes that we would have time in the chapel for more than just vows – and we did.

2014 was sure filled with blessings!  Looking forward to #marriedlife2015!  More adventures await!

LOVE Sculpture!
LOVE Sculpture!

-NYC Wedding Ceremony October 1, 2014- 

POEM – Deadra
READING (If time before vows) – Robert Fulgham

OPENING PRAYER – Dad – He did his own prayer 🙂 

Dear God, for the joy of this occasion we thank You. For the friends and family who are here today to witness this joy, we thank You.  For the significance of this wedding day we thank You. For this important moment in an ever growing relationship we thank You. For Your presence here and now and for Your presence at all times, we thank You. In His holy name. Amen.


Your very presence here, in this city, in this building, shows how much you love and support Chris and Danette and their life together.  Will you promise to continue to surround this couple in love, offering them the joys of your friendship?  Will you support this couple in their relationship, at times of conflict, offering them the strength of your wisest counsel and the comfort of your thoughtful concern?  At times of joy will you celebrate with them,nourishing their love of one another?

(Hope for enthusiastic “WE WILL” from all!) And they said “WOOHOO WE DO!”

During this ceremony, Chris and Danette will exchange rings.  These rings are a strong and visible sign of their love and commitment to one another. Chris and Danette ask that you, very important and loved members of their lives, hold their rings in your hands for a moment and warm them with your love.  Say a silent prayer or make a wish for Chris and Danette and their future together.


1 Corinthians 13:1-13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge,it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

POEM – Deadra

i carry your heart with me ~ e.e. cummings ~

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

VOWS – Jimmy 

Benediction – CLOSING PRAYER – Dana

The wedding is not over – it has just begun.  Marriage is not something said and done, but a promise, whose fulfillment is acted out over time.

So for Chris and Danette, we simply pray that the promises of marriage have a long and complete fulfillment; that their love is nurtured and shared by their families and friends; and that the seasons be joyous along the way. In God’s name we pray. Amen.

READING Union  ~ Robert Fulghum ~ Read by Marissa at Starbucks

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point,you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed,you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all those late night talks that included“someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.

The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.”

Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another. Shortly you shall say afew words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same.

For after today you shall say to the world –

This is my husband. This is my wife.

New York City, January 2014

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One more trip to NYC is in the books, and the city never disappoints.  Nor does the company.  Troy and Luis make it so easy to be there.  I was barely recovered from the sleep deprivation before I started thinking about when I’d like to go back again!

And this time I had the pleasure of the company of my sister-in-law, as well!  We had delayed flights going to NYC and a cancelled flight home, but that only meant that we had a bonus day, with bonus walks, bonus time at Times Square, a bonus show, bonus girl-talk, and a bonus “order-in meal” for watching the Grammy’s!

We saw the new show , “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” which was such a hoot!  We had great seats (first row!) and we laughed as we watched the D’ysquith’s die one by one!  The man who played all the D’ysquiths was so impressive, as was the heir who was assisting them in their demise.  Very fun!

Saturday we saw “Cinderella” – the last weekend with the original cast!  It is a beautiful and magical show, and even with the knowledge that I should pay attention to certain things, I still couldn’t figure out the magic.  Very beautiful.

Saturday night we went to see a silly band who sang amazing mash-up songs in their underwear!  They’re called The Skivvies, and they had special guests come on stage and sing (also in their underwear) and it was so fun!  It was at 54 Below, which is a sort of underground Cabaret featuring a lot of Broadway performers on their nights off.  So glad we went…

Sunday morning American Airlines called and said that our flight out of Chicago was cancelled so we had an extra day in NYC!  We were able to get great tickets to see “Matilda” – and I liked it even better than the first time I saw it!  The new girl was amazing, the new Trunchbull was hilarious, and the oohs of the kids in the audience was great atmosphere!  It was just so fun!  Loved it so much!  So glad we got to stay and enjoy another day in NYC!

We also had so many treats while in NYC!  We went on a cupcake tour of the East Village (and Lower East Side), stopped at Magnolia Bakery, Pieface, and the Cake Boss Bakery.  Everywhere we went we had deliciousness and goodness.  Loved the tour with Adriana Trigiani Tours!

The pictures above are just a sampling.  I posted (way too many?) on Facebook and still have hundreds to look at.  I always love looking at the buildings – old and new – and the walks outside were very comfortable in the teens and twenty degree temperatures.  I’m not sure I’d travel in January again, unless I knew that I had time to spare for travel glitches, but I’m so glad that I went in January 2014.


40 Things (33)

The Card Players, a 1895 painting by Paul Céza...
Image via Wikipedia

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 33:

33) A book that I would love to read but never do

This is tough, because it’s sort of similar to yesterday’s post (a book on my shelf for five years), but I guess maybe it could be about a book not even on the shelf?  And I don’t know what that would be.  I love love love Goodreads and the Goodreads app on my phone, because now I can keep a running list of books I want to read and eventually it will happen. I’ve found that audiobooks are a great way for me to “read” a book that I maybe won’t take the time to read but that I want to have read.  I’m very purposeful in my trips to the library and my wishlist creation, which isn’t to say that I don’t leave with an armful of books that aren’t on my TBR list when I go to the library.

That said, I’m a little curious about “Gone with the Wind,” which I’ve never read, and more Charles Dickens, but I’d like to read the Bible someday.  I’ve read parts of the Bible and gone to Bible studies, but I’ve never read the whole Bible purposefully.  I gave my parents a chronological Bible, which is interesting, and my current Bible has different reading plans so you can read it in a month or in three months or whatever plan you choose.

#33 on my list of things to do was: Learn and REMEMBER a card game.  I’m terrible at remembering how to play card games and always have to have it explained to me the first time.  I don’t remember jokes very well, either.  So I set out to find a game that I could play with friends without having to play a fake round to remember the rules.  I noted in my journal that I conquered the card game “Garbage,” but now if I had to explain it to you, I don’t think I’d be able to!  I am a whiz at Uno, so I’m going to take that as my go-to card game.

Last weekend when I was out at Oktoberfest with a friend, a group of young men approached us and asked us if we liked to play card games with our kids at home.  It was a random segue of a conversation, and it turns out that they developed a card game that was going on sale this week and they wanted to tell us about it in the hopes that we would buy.  Well, I got in touch with them through Facebook and this week met one of them in a bar and bought a game from him and learned how to play.  When I was telling my daughter about it, she said that she’d played a game very much like this in college, and the developer admitted that it was a standardized combination of two college drinking games, but that they were marketing it to families.  It’s pretty complicated and I’ll need help remembering the rules for a while, but it appears to be a fun game!

We attempted a few rounds last night at my birthday party, but the group was too large (yay!) to all play so we didn’t get too absorbed in the game but did a lot of socializing instead.

Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting. WOW.

For my birthday party, I made cupcakes from a recipe found on a blog that I just started reading – and they were sooooooooooo yummy!  Megan at ‘write Meg‘, posted about these cupcakes just as I was trying to figure out what kind of cake to make myself, and I’m so glad I read about and made these!  They were delicious!  And my niece and daughter decorated them so beautifully!  Yummy!  Quite a hit – and will become a fall staple!

Off to read!