Tag Archives: Holiday

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 (First of April 2013!)

1st April 2013, Easter Monday, April Fool's Da...
1st April 2013, Easter Monday, April Fool’s Day P1710412 (Photo credit: tomylees)

Happy April!  Happy April Fool’s Day!

 

 

 

I’ve always loved the 1st of a new month and I feel great affinity with April 1st, as it’s my half birthday!
(Really, who celebrates such a thing? I guess I do! )  
April is kind of the yin to my yang or something.  

 

 

April is also National Poetry Month and Autism Awareness Month, among other wacky holidays (National Welding Month? International Guitar Month?). I’m always looking for a reason to celebrate, so websites like Holiday Insights  are great places to find inspiration.  (e.g. 3rd Thursday in April (4/18) = National High Five Day, April 23 = Take a Chance Day, April 30 = Hairstyle Appreciation Day.)

 

 

It’s been a great start to April, so I’ll start the month with a list of what’s been making me happy lately!

 

 

Movies States
The United States of Movies
  • This is a fun new poster I have added to my walls.  I haven’t seen all the films (haven’t even heard of some of them!  SLC Punks?  Who knew?) but maybe that will be a goal sometime!  If not, it’s fun to look at and think about and a conversation piece.  
vodka stroganoff beets vodka
Anna Karenina celebratory meal
  • Had a few Walkie Talkies over for dinner and a movie!  The movie was the new Anna Karenina and before the movie we had vodka, beef stroganoff, yummy bread and brie, and pickled beets.  After the meal we had vodka and white Russian cupcakes.  The movie was engrossing and fast-moving and fun to watch!  Very cleverly done!  I can’t wait to watch it again!  
Keep Calm Chivery
Keep Calm and…
  • I saw this as I was browsing in B&N and thought it was pretty hilarious!  Love the Keep Calm stuff.  Love this even more.  
Pedis with the girls pedicure pampering spa
Pedis with the girls
  • Any day off is a good day off.  A day off spent with friends and family is the best day off ever!  Lots of times other people have to work on my days off (and vice versa) so I’m happy that it’s spring break this week!  
  • Today I also went to Macy’s because I won a door prize that I signed up for last week!  So I have two full-sized bottles of some perfumes I’ve never heard of before!  Good times!
  • And also today my mom decided we would celebrate opening day of baseball season with hotdogs, potato salad and ice cream while watching the Twins on TV!  Good stuff.  Mom loves a theme, too!
Easter Chicks
Easter Chicks (Photo credit: Flying Pig Party Productions)
  • I worked on Easter weekend but enjoyed the time spent with my fellow “Easter chicks,” as we dubbed ourselves.  We had some cookies, which looked like these above, and lots of jelly beans.
  • I am over HALF WAY DONE with Gone with the Wind!  Yay me!  I am more than 500 pages into this book of about 960 pages.  Ah.  Still enjoying it and can’t wait to have another dinner and a movie night!
  • I’m looking forward to book club tomorrow night – gonna make Mississippi Mud cake to celebrate!  Also bringing little Cokes in glass bottles and someone else is bringing the rum (relevant to the book!).  Always a good time.
  • I’m looking forward to a WEEKEND OFF!  Friday, Saturday AND Sunday!  Woot!  No big plans and a 4 hour meeting for work on Saturday, but excited, nonethless!
  • I’m looking forward to making my list of 44 Things:Q3!  I haven’t started yet, but will work on it this week.

In honor of National Poetry Month, here is my favorite poem about April.  I’ve shared it on my blog in another April post (2011, I believe).  I memorized it in high school and it still comes to mind when I think of springtime and April.  I would LOVE to know your favorite poems!  Send them my way!  

 

 

APRIL by Marcia Masters
It’s lemonade, it’s lemonade, it’s daisy.
It’s a roller-skating, scissor-grinding day;
It’s gingham-waisted, chocolate flavored, lazy,
With the children flower-scattered at their play.

 

It’s the sun like watermelon,
And the sidewalks overlaid
With a glaze of yellow yellow
Like a jar of marmalade.

 

It’s the mower gently mowing,
And the stars like startled glass,
While the mower keeps on going
Through a waterfall of grass.

 

Then the rich magenta evening
Like a sauce upon the walk,
And the porches softly swinging
With a hammockful of talk.

 

It’s the hobo at the corner
With his lilac-sniffing gait,
And the shy departing thunder
Of the fast departing skate.

 

It’s lemonade, it’s lemonade, it’s April!
A water sprinkler, puddle winking time,
When a boy who peddles slowly, with a smile remote and holy,
Sells you April chocolate flavored for a dime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Film Footnotes from 2012

In the Theatre: 

  • Lincoln (with Cindy at Wehrenberg) – Wow, Daniel Day Lewis was amazing.  He WAS Lincoln.  It was an interesting story about the politics around the passage of the 13th Amendment.  Definitely worth seeing – and probably seeing again when it comes out on DVD!
  • Les Miserables (with Marissa, Cindy and her friend Andrea at Winona 7 Dec 26) – Wow, again.  It was a great capture of the Broadway musical with very powerful performances.  There were tears, there were laughs (seriously? Sasha Baron Cohn?), and there was a little singing along.

Netflix Streaming/On-Demand:

Image representing Netflix as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase
  • Brief Interviews with Hideous Men – A grad student tries to figure out where she has gone wrong romantically while doing her research interviews with a variety of men to hear their confessions.  Meh.  Not bad. Not good.  Fine for cooking in the kitchen!
  • Sleepwalk with Me  – Re-watched this – saw it On Demand.  Good story about a stand-up comedian who sleepwalks – dangerously – and avoids discussions of importance.
  • The Fitzgerald’s Family Christmas  – Edward Burns made another movie ala The Brothers McMullen – set in Brooklyn, family drama, good characters.  This time a dad asks to be allowed to have his last Christmas with his estranged wife and their children.  So many siblings!  So much drama!  Such good stuff!

Netflix DVDs:

  • Damsels in Distress  – I unfortunately didn’t pay too much attention to this. I was looking forward to it but it didn’t grab me.  May have been more about the circumstances (pre-Christmas busy-ness) or the B&W TV that I was watching it on, but it wasn’t captivating.  Was just ok.
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – A re-watch.  So good and fun.
  • Seeking a Friend for the End of the World  – Pretty disappointing.  I am not a sci-fi or dystopia fan, so watching people prepare for the inevitable end of the world was not very fun.  I suppose it could be interesting to think about – how would you act? who would you seek out? where would you go?  But it didn’t pull me in that much… I may have been distracted by other things (work!) but it was just ok.
  • Big Miracle (with Mom, Dad and Marissa on Christmas Eve) – based on a true story about 3 grey whales who are stuck in the ice off the Alaska coast.  They are migratory animals who need to get to CA.  To get them out of the ice or harvest them for food?  The small town becomes overrun by media and activitists and the President eventually asks for Russian assistance.  Loved the actual footage that was shown during the movie and during the credits.  I was a little preoccupied in 1989 so I don’t really remember this happening, but it was a good story!

Christmas Views:

  • Love, Actually – Watched while decorating. Such a great movie.

    Cover of "Holiday Affair"
    Cover of Holiday Affair
  • Elf – Always makes me guffaw
  • The Holiday – A fun one every year
  • The Family Stone – Gets me every time!
  • The Holiday Affair (TCM recording) – oldie with Robert Mitchum playing the romantic lead. He’s unemployed and gives a widow’s son an expensive train for Christmas.  He’s going to stay in town long enough to make money to get to CA, but the widow’s new fiance can tell that they’re in love and encourages her to convince him to stay.  Hmm.  Silly holiday movie.

And now, we’re in 2013.  January 1 and one movie down!  Silver Linings Playbook!  Sooooo good!  And another will be seen on January 3 –  This is 40. Can’t wait!  Will write more about these and others that I can’t wait to see later!

Happy New Year!

 

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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

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 (40!!!) Happy Birthday, Boof!

thank you note for every language
Image by woodleywonderworks via Flickr

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, DAY 40!  Happy birthday, Boof!

40) A favourite book about a celebration

I’m going to cheat.  I looked through my Goodreads list and couldn’t find anything with a holiday theme that I would call a favorite, so I simply thought about my favorite holiday (Thanksgiving) and some great movies that were set around a Thanksgiving theme (and maybe one that isn’t set around Thanksgiving, but another holiday I’ve recently adopted).

Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday.  I love thankfulness – thinking about what I’m thankful for, telling people what I’m thankful for, and writing what I’m thankful for.  That “attitude of gratitude” has been preached to us by Oprah and I really believe that it can change your outlook on life.  So, when I started thinking of movies that were centered around a Thanksgiving celebration, a few came to mind.

First, “What’s Cooking?(In LA’s Fairfax district, where ethnic groups abound, four households celebrate Thanksgiving amidst family tensions. In the Nguyen family, the children’s acculturation and immigrant parents’ fears collide. In the Avila family, Isabel’s son has invited her estranged husband to their family dinner. Audrey and Ron Williams want to keep their own family’s ruptures secret from Ron’s visiting mother. In the Seelig household, Herb and Ruth are unwilling to discuss openly their grown daughter’s living with her lover, Carla. Around each table, things come to a head. A gun, an affair, a boyfriend, and a pregnancy precipitate crises forcing each family to find its center. IMDB)  I should re-watch this, but I remember loving it.  Loving how it wrapped up and how cleverly the story was told.

Of course, “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” is one of the greatest comedies ever, and just happens to be about getting home for Thanksgiving.  I don’t think I need a synopsis for it. My favorite scene is when they are driving down the highway and being told they are going the wrong way (“How do they know where we’re going?”).  Hilarious.

Home for the Holidays” is also a movie I haven’t seen in a while, but I remember loving it.  (After losing her job, making out with her soon to be ex-boss, and finding out that her daughter plans to spend Thanksgiving with her boyfriend, Claudia Larson has to face spending the holiday with her family. She wonders if she can survive their crazy antics. IMDB).  Ah, family holiday dinners.  🙂  I am thankful that our Thanksgiving dinners are not filled with lots of drama!

A few others that have a Thanksgiving theme that I have seen include “Pieces of April” and “Hannah and Her Sisters.”  Good movies.

The last movie about a holiday that has inspired me is the Italian film, “Mid-August Lunch,” a great movie about Ferragosto – the Italian tradition of getting out of the city for a few weeks during the hot weeks of mid-August.  It is a great movie and a great holiday that I have embraced in the last few years, having my own “lakeside” vacation with Italian flair, right in the middle of Minnesota.

And as to my list, as I admitted yesterday, it was incomplete.  Last night I did some thinking about how I wanted to move forward and here’s what I came up with:  You know I love the Satellite Sisters and I have written about their book “Uncommon Senses.”  I am going to create a list of things that I want to accomplish based upon the “senses” highlighted in their book.

The Sense of Connection
The Sense of Self
The Sense of Humor
The Sense of Adventure
The Sense of Direction.

As I’ve said about their book before, it applies as well today as it did ten years ago when it was written.  And I know that I can find things in all those “senses” that I would like to put out there as challenges for myself.  So as well as writing about books, I will be writing about these challenges.

Thank YOU for following along with these daily posts!

Off to read!