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?

On Podcasts

In June 2011 I blogged about the Podcasts I Have Loved, which I reblogged on 11/13.  There are some changes in what I listen to currently, and the method in which I listen!  So I thought I’d do a quick update.

  • I still listen to The Satellite Sisters weekly podcast of whoever they can gather on a Sunday afternoon.  You can read more about my relationship with the Sisters (if you don’t know already!) by reading my previous blog about podcasts, but suffice it to say that I cried when I learned that on the day they were moving their father with advanced Alzheimer’s to a skilled nursing facility in Dallas to be near sister Julie, they brought their mother Edna to the emergency room in Pasadena and she learned that she has advanced lung cancer.  And I cried again when I listened to their most recent post in which they talk about the emotional journey they are now facing, which looked so different a month ago.  They are amazing Sisters and I encourage you to look for their book (published in 2001) if you want to know more about them!
  • I also listen to The Chaos Chronicles by sister Lian, the youngest Satellite Sister.  It has gone down in my priority list because she started posting a lot about the college application process, as she has a son who is a senior this year, and I find that pretty irrelevant to my life right now.  If you are in that stage, go ahead and listen to her advice as she navigates that world!
  • I still listen to Filmspotting, although Matty Ballgame is no longer a co-host.  It’s good and interesting reviews of current and past movies with some silliness thrown in.

    Filmspotting

    Filmspotting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I listen to

  • Spilled Milk,
  • the Moth, Wait,
  • and Wait, Don’t Tell Me! – and I have added a few more to the mix.

My method of listening changed when I discovered the Stitcher app for the iPadand Android phones.  Stitcher is a way to subscribe to the podcasts or radio shows that you want to listen to and they are delivered as they are published.  I don’t have to worry about connecting to iTunes and downloading the podcasts to my devices, they just arrive automatically, if I’m subscribed and online.  So I have added a few to my planned and purposeful listening.  🙂  And it syncs between devices so I can put headphones on and walk with my phone while listening to the Culture Gabfest (as I just did) and it will remember where I left off and resume next time I turn on the app on the iPad.

Image representing Stitcher as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Currently I listen to all of the above, as well as

  • NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour (probably my current favorite!),
  • Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4 (very fun!),
  • The Splendid Table,
  • Slate’s Culture Gabfest,
  • The Dinner Party,
  • Michael Feldman‘s Whad’ya Know?,
  • TED Radio Hour Podcast,
  • New York City History by the Bowery Boys,
  • Here’s the Thing (Alec Baldwin),
  • Mike and Tom Eat Snacks (NEVER SAFE FOR WORK!)
  • and Fresh Air.

With Stitcher you can prioritize the list and it will just continue working its way down as you have it on.  So there are some that I don’t get to weekly or maybe even monthly, but it’s ok because those that I really want to hear are at the top of the list.  I really love it when I turn on the Stitcher app and it tells me how many hours I have listened since I subscribed.  It’s pretty amazing.  It also gives you ideas of other things you may like to listen to, so I just today added another to the list.  I’ll let you know what I think of it!

People always ask how I have time to do all this listening, but I think that having an iPad makes it simple.  And I have a tendency to forget that I have a TV and won’t turn it on for days.  Instead, I carry the iPad from room to room and listen while I iron (I did that today!), clean, wash dishes, blog (!), or while I’m getting ready for the day!  So the hours that I am home and alone, I am usually listening to things that I want to listen to.  Sometimes it’s music, but most often it’s podcasts!

What do you listen to?  Any recommendations?  Have you listened to any of the above based on my ravings?  🙂

One more week…

unemployment

Image by Sean MacEntee via Flickr

January 30 I start my new job.  I simply cannot wait!  It has been 8 months that I have been unemployed.  Hard to believe!  But now I’m just tickled to be starting.  I went on Friday for pre-employment stuff – health and drug screening, HR form-filling, and information about the two days of general orientation for all new hires.  So tomorrow I have to go in to get my TB test evaluated and then I have one more week of unemployed “bliss”!

So what will I do this week?  Monday nights I have choir, so I’ll stay at my parent’s house and hang out with them.  I will hopefully watch a movie or two. I’m hoping for some “what not to wear” time with my closet and then I need to shop a little for some updated business-y clothes. I would love to bake and prepare meals for the freezer – maybe something from my French book. I am going to the Cities for some celebrating with Deadra and family. I need to catch up on my magazine reading – goodness! – and then hopefully start a good book.

Speaking of books, I am so excited that Wallace’s next readalong is “A Moveable Feast” by Ernest Hemingway!  After reading “The Paris Wife” I decided that it would be the Hemingway book that I would most like to read.  So I bought it (for my iPad!) and I’m ready to start the readalong in February!  Yippee!

The Artist (film)

Image via Wikipedia

And speaking of movies (was I?), I went to see “The Artist” last night – and it was just so good.  Amazing actors, beautiful music, funny “dialogue,” and a great story. Absolutely a wonderful movie experience.  It made me want to watch a bunch of really old movies – the good ones.  Ah…

Well, I’m off… to read, play word games, and watch some old episodes of How I Met Your Mother.  One more week of doing whatever I want – before this new life begins!

Spring Reads – April

Garden with some tulips and narcissus

Spring! Can't wait! Image via Wikipedia

Yay for good books!  As I said, I loved “Heart and Soul,” and “Saving CeeCee Honeycutt” is a sweet book that I can’t wait to discuss at book club.  I’m almost done listening to HP book 3 and picked up book 4 today!  I’m intrigued by “The Hundred Foot Journey,” as I just started it this morning.  Any book about food is fun to read!  It starts in India and moves to London and beyond.  India is so fascinating to me.  But the descriptions of the filth and poverty will deter me from making it a high priority on my visit list.

I’m also saying “yay” about the iPad2 I am using for work!  After I finish with my pile of books, I will hopefully share nook books with friends!

So, although my Spring Reads list is LONG (and getting longer!) I am making progress!

  • Mockingbird
  • The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
  • Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
  • Heart and Soul
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey
  • Fly Away Home
  • Winter’s Garden
  • Harry Potter (2)
  • Harry Potter (3)
  • Harry Potter (4)
  • Harry Potter (5)
  • Harry Potter (6)
  • Harry Potter (7)
  • Jane Eyre
  • Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

And now to celebrate Poetry month, a poem from “Reflections on a Gift…”  – one of my favorites!

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.