2016 – Things We Learned

Grandchildren are the best, aren’t they?

  • Emma turned one last January (1/18) and celebrated at the Bounce House and Valentino’s with pizza and cake. She toddles around, loves her pets, and always has a smile on her face.
  • August turned 1 in September (9/27) and celebrated with a space-themed party on Grimsrud Way in Rushford. He loves the kitties, the Zoo, dancing, bath time, books and bubbles. He’s always on the move! We Skype frequently and I love the smiles when we talk!
  • Kaydee just turned 5 (12/11) and we had her favorite foods and birthday cake while playing with the pink tractor she wanted for her birthday! She loves to learn and is so fun to talk to!

Our “children” are now all “adult children”!

  • Marissa turned 28 in February, Tyler turned 24 in October, Sierra turned 20 in August and Kevin turned 18 in November!

Retirement looks like fun!

  • We celebrated the “Permanent Vacation” of Mom and Dad Grimsrud in February with a tropical themed family gathering. They spent 6 weeks after basketball season in the warmth of Florida and with the sale of Grimsrud Way this December they downsized to a townhome in Rochester, and are looking forward to the ease of worry-free travels and living!

Family Time is Precious!

  •  We had a few weekends where we could all get together at French Lake this summer. The cabin hasn’t expanded to fit the growing family, but there are tents pitched, a new platform on the dock, and air mattresses galore, so we make it work. Memorial Day, Father’s Day and the Fourth of July were familyfun-filled.
  • August’s birthday and Thanksgiving were the last big events at Grimsrud Way. When we’re together, we always eat well, laugh a lot, play games, and enjoy each other’s company. That won’t change, wherever we gather!

Friendships are so valuable and valued!

  • Cosmo Girls continue to meet monthly September to May since 2010 – we learn and grow together, and laugh – a LOT!
  • Ferragosto at French Lake has been a yearly tradition since 2010, as well! This year was rainy, which meant more books and movies, but the time spent with friends is always appreciated!
  • Marissa said “YES” to the dress at the first bridal salon and then spent a fun day with girlfriends picking out bridesmaid dresses – the wedding in Cancun is coming up quickly!
  • Trips to the MN State Fair, the MN Zoo, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Little Mermaid, chick flicks, book club, or quick walks and lunches. SO thankful for my many girlfriends!

We love adventures – big and small!

  • We got our passports in 2016, so we are ready for international travel! We broke them in by visiting Canada twice (Thunder Bay, ON in June and Niagara Falls, ON/Montreal, QE in October) and are getting ready for Mexico in May. We look forward to working on our international bucket list!
  • Chris’s birthday wish was to go “Up North” – I guess he’s fully Minnesotan now??? We road-tripped to Grand Marais and Duluth, exploring the North Shore of Lake Superior. This was our first venture into Canada – Thunder Bay for Tim Horton’s lunch on Chris’s birthday! Great food (Betty’s Pies! Gunflint Tavern! Grandma’s Saloon! Amazing Grace!), beautiful accommodations and perfect weather for sightseeing… we do travel well!
  • MINI Takes the States 2016 – a coast-to-coast motoring adventure for MINI COOPER owners – went through MINIapolis this summer and we joined in the festivities for the day! We met MINI owners from Minnesota and beyond. It happens every 2 years, so we hope to join more fully in 2018! This year our 2 week road trip to New England was a priority!
  • Road Trip! Driving the MINI to New England was a whirlwind tour, to be sure – we were on the go! We stayed in Niagara Falls and Montreal before heading in to New Hampshire to spend time with Dad Walsh and Jen and her family; we stayed in a mountain lodge in the White Mountains, we drove up mountains and on beautiful scenic byways. We had a great time with extended family (Chris’s maternal aunts and uncles, paternal aunt and granny), visited friends Tony and Tien in Rhode Island, and spent a few days in NYC with Troy. In RI we toured the Vanderbilt mansion, The Breakers, and walked in beautiful old neighborhoods. In NYC we saw two Broadway shows (Fiddler on the Roof and Waitress), saw the New York Public Library, the Strand Bookstore, the Museum of Natural History, ate at Carnegie Deli one last time before they close, and walked a LOT.
  • A few things we learned on our road trip:
    • Chris wants to pass ALL the cars on the road. He drove most of the time, including into and out of NYC. A skilled driver he is! No “souvenir” speeding tickets obtained!
    • Chris was right about the fall foliage in New England being unlike anything we see around Minnesota.
    • Flip-flops are great travel shoes.
    • I always over-pack.
    • Bunk-beds only sound appealing in theory.
    • EZ Pass is the way to go.
    • A road trip playlist for daily listening is an excellent idea!
    • But, I still would make up words to the songs, even after 12+ days of listening to them!

Working these crazy shift jobs means more days off without using PTO!

  • Chris has been working at Land O’Lakes for more than 4 years now. He is working 12 hour overnights (5P-5A) as a cheese dryer operator – one of four operators making the cheese powder for Cheetos! He works every other weekend, so time off during the week gives us opportunity for some of our many adventures.
  • Chris spent a good portion of November serving as a juror on the US District Court in Minneapolis. He spent 11 days in court, so missed about 8 days of work. He enjoyed the metropolitan lifestyle for a while and learned a little about non-compete clauses.
  • I have been working at Mayo Clinic for 5 years this January (2017), still in the Emergency Department. It’s a 24/7 job, so there is opportunity for a variety of 12 hour shifts, and every 3rd weekend means days off during the week with Chris = #dayofftogetherness. We can run to the Cities to see Marissa (or August) on a Wednesday night, or get tickets to events or touring plays during the week (If/Then or Louis CK), see late-night movies, or have epic dates on a Tuesday. So far it’s working.

Can’t Cure Chris of his Car Craze

  • Chris learned that his Honda CRZ did not hold its value.
  • He thought he’d keep it forever (or longer than 18 months) but he is now driving a Toyota 4Runner.
  • He has great ideas for modifying the MINI Cooper, but I’m fine with my Pumpkin as she is.

Ever learning, we are! We can’t wait to experience the adventures of 2017. We hope that you and yours have a blessed holiday season and that 2017 brings you joy and happiness! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

Image result for happy new year

#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.

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

What It Is…

And another few weeks have flown by!

Here we are at another first – June 1st!  Love those firsts.
It’s a weekend off with no plans!
Here’s a recap of what’s been going on and what’s been making me happy:

UW-L graduation

  Somewhere in this crowd is a girl we know!

Graduation day at UW-LaCrosse was a great day!  Marissa wasn’t sure she wanted to walk through, but decided it would be good closure to her 2 years in LaCrosse.  Afterwards we took pictures down by the Mississippi and then went to one of her favorite after-class establishments – Howie’s Bar.  🙂

graduation

Smiles abound!

The next weekend (Memorial Day) we had a small family gathering to celebrate her accomplishments, and that was a fun day, as well!

godparents graduation party

Gathered with her Godparents

Silliness faces love

Silliness with the cousins! Love it 🙂

family photo

The family all together – we love to take these pictures!

So this summer will be filled with apartment and job searching for her – I’m sure I’ll be invited along to assist!  :

Can’t wait to watch her further adventures in education!

Bookish Stuff:

  • Had Preston book club for “The Accidental Tourist.”  Consensus was that we liked the book quite a bit, mainly it caused a lot of thinking!  Thinking is good!  Some of us related to the characters in the book more than others (I won’t name names).  It was a good discussion (mostly about the book), delicious dinner (not promptly at 5:30 but we had to make sure the Tots got browned!), and too many dessert choices!  A great time.
  • Next to read for Preston book club is “The Night Circus.”  I’m looking forward to reading it!  Oh, my TBR pile never goes down, just keeps getting bigger!
  • I just finished “Little Wolves” by Thomas Maltman, a Minnesota author.  It definitely set a mood, that book.  West-central Minnesota, in the late 1980s, a teacher who engages her students by teaching Beowolf and other early epic stories, and a mystery or two.  I can’t wait to discuss it with Paul and Heidi in a few weeks!
  • I couldn’t decide which book I would pick up next, but decided to read Rob Lowe‘s book, “Stories I Only Tell My Friends.”  It’s been highly recommended so I can’t wait to dive in!
  • I also am excited about reading “The Promise of Provence” by Patricia Sands!  I think that will be next, after Rob Lowe’s book. 🙂

Other Media:

Last week I had the pleasure of a two-movie-day.  Love when that happens!

  • First I saw “Mud” with Jenny.  I kept hearing that I needed to see this movie, and I am so glad that I did!  It was a nice story with incredible teen actors.  It felt a little like “Stand By Me” – a coming of age story, with a bit of intrigue and a lot of relationship building.  Good stuff.  And Matthew McConnaughy!
  • Then I saw the late showing of “Hangover III” with a bunch of random people.  There were many laughs, groans, and one time I gasped and jumped!  I saw the first in the theatre and the second at home, so this was better than the second but really more of the same.  But a good time.  And two-movie-days are always great!
  • On DVD I saw “Rust and Bone,” the French film which got some buzz at the Golden Globes. Kickboxing, killer whale trainer accidents, and poor parenting.  It was pretty good.  I was glad for the ending.  Not because it was over, but because it was a fitting ending.
  • I finally watched the finale to “Smash.”  There were tears, there were Broadway numbers, there was closure.  Ah, it was good.
  • I have been powering through past seasons of “Arrested Development.”  I know I’m late to the game, but it is fun to binge on it!  I’m well into season 2 now and enjoy all the episodes!  It is a smart show with truly abhorrent people in it!  How fun!
  • I have to plug Noisetrade again.  I love discovering new music this way and recently downloaded their 65 song summer sampler. How fun is that!  I have my iPad playing on random and just really enjoy all the stuff that is on it!  Of course there are over 3000 songs on there, so I will never hear them all but it’s nice to just be able to enjoy good music of all kinds!

And now I’m enjoying this weekend off.  No big plans, but just taking care of my house and hopefully seeing some friends!  What are you doing this early summer?

It feels like a weekend!

These last two days have been relaxing and semi-productive – a nice mixture!  I haven’t had a “weekend” at home in a long time, and I haven’t had two days off in a row where I haven’t over-scheduled myself.

Ah… This has been nice!  Except it makes me sad that it’s coming to a close.  I had a nice mixture of relaxing (reading, blogging, lounging), socializing (impromptu football-watching gathering, cross-country and coffee at Caribou, coffee and coffee cake), and cleaning (just my room – not my bathroom yet!).

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto...

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto: Taso de kafo. Français : Photo d’une tasse de caffé Español: Taza de café (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This morning I made a coffee cake that I read about this week – Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Streusel.  I did what I usually do, which is to jump into a recipe without reading beyond the ingredients, so next time it will look different but I don’t think my goof affected the deliciousness of it!  Yummola!  Thanks Entertaining By the Bay (Troy’s friend, Maryanne) for the inspiration!  I doubled the recipe so that I can have it for breakfast all weekend long and have some “hospitality” for my parents who will be sleeping here Saturday night!  Good stuff.

Now I’d better run to get the salt for my softener… my only goal for today.  I’m hoping for a movie tonight (Argo!), so I’d better get it done!  It’s a working weekend for me, but I will be able to get to a tournament football game Saturday night! Go Mayo!  Go Gunnar!