#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

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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!

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A Summary of Summery Events!

Prepping for summer, the Cosmo Girls created a list of Summer Events in the area so that there is always a social event at the ready!  I typed up an excel sheet and emailed it to all, including the websites that provide further information, but I will post a condensed version here and trust that you can do your own research if you are interested in learning more about what is happening!  Of course, the list is not exhaustive, as we live close to Wisconsin and close to the Twin Cities, where something is always going on, but these either close to Rochester or involve a few bands I think are a hoot!  (If you’d like an emailed copy, write a comment below and I’ll email it to you – so you can sort to your heart’s content!)

Enjoy!

Date Event Location TIME Type
29-May Arch Allies Boiler Days in Arcadia, WI Live music/Dance
2-Jun Thursdays on First First St and Peace Plaza vendors /  music
4-Jun Rochester Art Center 70th Anniversary Party Rochester celebration
4-Jun Rhubarb Festival Lanesboro, MN small town celebration
7-Jun Community Singalong 7-8:30 Peace Plaza, Rochester singing
11-Jun Movies in the Park – The Intern Central Park, Rochester 9pm movie
June 15-June19 Steamboat Days Winona, MN town celebration
June 17-June 18 Straight River Days Medford, MN small town celebration
June 18-June 26 Rochesterfest Rochester town celebration
June 21-June 23 Rochesterfest Book Sale Roch Public Library ? sale
15-Jun Hairball Steamboat Days, Winona Live music/Dance
18-Jun Hangar Fly-In & Dance 9am-sundown planes and a dance (5-11)
19-Jun Art in the Park Lanesboro, MN 10A-5P vendors /  music
20-Jun Happy Hour Entertainment – Six Mile Grove Rochesterfest grounds 5p- Live music/Dance
22-Jun Phish Minneapolis ? live music / dance
23-Jun Rochesterfest Hot Air Balloon Glow ?? Dusk celebration
24-Jun Rochesterfest Parade Rochesterfest route 6:15start parade
June 24-June26 Lake City Waterski Days Lake City, MN small town celebration
25-Jun Hairball Cresco, IA Howard County Fair Live music/Dance
25-Jun Movies in the Park – Alexander and the Terible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day Central Park, Rochester 9pm movie
26-Jun Tammy Van Moer’s Birthday everywhere All Day celebration
26-Jun 1860s Baseball History Center historic
26-Jun Hairball Lake City Waterski Days Live music/Dance
26-Jun Gay Pride Parade Minneapolis ? parade
July 1-July 4 Austin Freedom Fest Austin, MN small town celebration
1-Jul Arch Allies Clear Lake, IA ? Live music/Dance
2-Jul Stewartville Street Dance Stewartville, MN ? Live music/Dance
4-Jul Harmony 4th of July Harmony, MN small town celebration
July 8-July 9 Basilica Block Party St. Paul, MN Live music/Dance
July 11-July 17 Rushford Days Rushford, MN small town celebration
9-Jul Movies in the Park – Jurassic World Central Park, Rochester 9pM movie
10-Jul Down by the Riverside – Soul Asylum The riverside 7pm Live music/Dance
22-Jul Movies at the History Center Barn movie
23-Jul Movies in the Park – Cool Runnings Central Park, Rochester 9pm movie
24-Jul Arch Allies Mystic Lake Casino  – Ribfest Live music/Dance
July 29-July 31 Wabasha Riverboat Days small town celebration
August 5 – August 7 Buffalo Bill Days Lanesboro, MN small town celebration
August 5-August 7 River City Days Red Wing, MN small town celebration
August 11- August 14 Western Days Chatfield, MN small town celebration
13-Aug Sudden Lovelies Dance at Western Days, Chatfield Live music/Dance
8/12ish-8/21 Ferragosto French Lake, Faribault Danette’s Italian holiday on French Lake
August 16-August 21 Ag Days Spring Valley, MN small town celebration
August 18-August 20 Corn on the Cob Days Plainview, MN small town celebration
August 19-August 21 Goodview Days Goodview, MN small town celebration
August 26-September 4 MN State Fair St. Paul, MN The Great Minnesota Get-Together
Fri/Sat/Sun The Nelson Stone Barn Nelson, WI 5-9PM pizza farm
Fridays Suncrest Gardens Farm Cochrane, WI 4:30-8:30 pizza farm
July 11-July 17 Rushford Days Rushford, MN small town celebration
Saturdays Farmer’s Market Rochester 7:30-12:39 vendors /  music
Sept 9 – Sept 11 Watermelon Fest Kellogg, MN small town celebration
Sundays (3rd)  May – Oct Red Barn Farm Northfield, MN 11:30-3:30 pizza farm
Thursdays Suncrest Gardens Farm Cochrane, WI 4:30-8:30 pizza farm
Thursdays Grower’s Market Chatfield, MN vendors /  music
Thursdays Thursdays on First Peace Plaza, Rochester vendors /  music
Tuesdays Taco Tuesday Tap House, Rochester live music / food
Wednesdays Berne Wood Fired Pizza Berne, MN 5-8PM pizza farm
Wednesdays Red Barn Farm Northfield, MN 4-8:30 pizza farm
Wednesdays Farmer’s Market Stewartville, MN evenings vendors /  music

 

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What’s been making me happy…

February is in full swing… lots of fun things to look forward to!  But here’s a quick look back on January goodness….

In January I visited some new places:

  • Bunny’s Bar & Grill in St. Louis Park – right around the corner from Marissa and Adam’s home is the local hangout.  Good food!  Went there with Chris and Kevin during a quick trip to Microcenter – had to get some Nana time!
  • LTS Brewing Company – Cosmo Girls goodness, as usual, at a local brewery. LTS = Life’s Too Short – and ain’t that the truth!  We had some great conversation with one of the proprietors and learned a lot about beer making and about his life philosophy.  Cool place.  Must go back.
  • Five West – owned by the Loop, a beautiful location out in western Rochester.  A great night there with Chris, spending the Powerball money we didn’t win. 🙂
  • HyVee – we wandered around the new HyVee out by Five West. It is monstrous! Fun to see. Would love to take a class there!
  • Radisson Hotel LaCrosse and the Three Rivers Restaurant – Chris and I were able to go to my dad’s retirement party with his work peeps.  Lots of wonderful and fun stories told about dad – nothing surprising!  He’s a wonderful and fun man!
  • The Breakfast Club and Pub – a cute theme joint in LaCrosse where we went for breakfast the next morning. They take the theme seriously, which is always good to see! All John Hughes all the time!
  • Treasure Island and Xtreme Bowling – Chris’s LOL work party. We ate, we drank, we bowled and we gambled.  And the only thing I lost was my lipstick!
  • Eat Street Social – Minneapolis – girl’s weekend with Marissa (and August!) and Trisha. Met Deadra and Maya here Sunday for brunch and it was delish!  A fried egg BLT. Oh my.  Yum! Saturday Marissa, Trisha and I ate at Surly’s Brew Pub Hall – delicious food there, too!  Busy places…

Other than all that goodness, January has been filled with basketball, Emma’s first birthday party, date-night and double-date night, Scrabble with Kevin, book club in Preston, and only one movie in the theatre!  We saw “The Big Short,” which was so smart and complicated.  Uff. That stuff happened … and is happening again????  Yikes.  We attempted to watch “Mad Max: Fury Road” on TV for the sake of Oscar’s, but it is really just too something-something. NOT my style of movie. Hard to watch, even in my own living room.

So of the best picture nominees, I have only seen “The Big Short,” “The Martian,” and “Brooklyn.”  LOVED Brooklyn. Sweet movie.  Not a banner year for my movie viewing! Too much other goodness… I did get two books read, which is a great thing for me!  Yay!  Maybe I’ll get back into the swing of things!

Much to look forward to – hope the same is true for you!

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Oscar nominations 2016 –

Nominees: BEST PICTURE
“Spotlight”
“The Big Short”
“The Revenant”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Brooklyn”
“Room”

Nominees: BEST ACTOR
Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”)
Matt Damon (“The Martian”)
Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”)
Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”)
Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”)

Nominees: BEST ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett (“Carol”)
Brie Larson (“Room”)
Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”)
Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”)

Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”)

Nominees: BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale (“The Big Short”)
Tom Hardy (“The Revenant”)
Mark Ruffalo (“Spotlight”)
Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”)

Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”)


Nominees: BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight”)
Rooney Mara (“Carol”)
Rachel McAdams (“Spotlight”)
Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”)
Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”)

Nominees: BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Matt Charman, Joel & Ethan Coen (“Bridge of Spies”)
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley (“Inside Out”)
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (“Spotlight”)
Alex Garland (“Ex Machina”)

Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff (“Straight Outta Compton”)


Nominees: BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Emma Donoghue (“Room”)
Drew Goddard (“The Martian”)
Nick Hornby (“Brooklyn”)
Adam McKay and Charles Randolph (“The Big Short”)
Phyllis Nagy (“Carol”)

Nominees: BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”
“Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction

“Simple Song #3” from “Youth”
“Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”
“Writings on the Wall” from “Spectre”

 

It’s 2014 – and other things making me happy…

2014

Time… keeps marching, doesn’t it?

Here’s a list of things that have made me happy since Christmas –

  • Christmas with the family on the Ponderosa.  A snowfall, a bonfire, good food and laughs with family.  Bliss.
  • “Phantom of the Opera” at the Orpheum with Marissa and my mom (and Mo’s friend, Tricia).  The music didn’t disappoint, the set was beautiful, and the chandelier dropping made me jump!  Good stuff…
  • Lots of Laughs (LOL) with Land O’ Lakes (LOL) at their Christmas party at Goonie’s Comedy Club!
  • New Year’s Day movie watching with Jenny and Chris – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty at the Wehrenberg (loved it!), and take-out Chinese and Don Jon via my new AppleTV (also making me happy – thanks Chris!).
  • The day-after-New-Year’s-Day movie watching with Marie – Saving Mr. Banks – a tear-jerker, for sure!
  • A “Grand Getaway” to Minneapolis (and St. Paul) – the Minnesota History Center for Speakeasy Saturday, a double-date with Deadra and John to see Lorna Landvik at her Party in the Rec Room at the Bryant Lake Bowl, followed by a retro-bar crawl to Nye’s and Honey and brunch at Ike’s.  Good stuff.  I’m a lucky gal.  🙂
  • Celebrating Chris Riggle’s birthday with her today!  Pizza and brownies… nothing fancy but it was sure delicious!  It was fun to catch up!
  • I made my Goodreads goal for 2013 – 32 books read.  I set my goal for this year at 36 and am optimistic that I can make it.  🙂  I’ll continue with Audible for a little while longer, but I’m collecting enough that I have a few banked up to read!  Below is a list of the books I read in 2013 – looking forward to hitting more in my TBR pile in 2014!

Looking forward to spending more time reflecting on what my theme for 2014 will be… do you set New Year’s Resolutions or goals?

Happy (Belated) New Year!!

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Wishin' and Hopin'
Perfect
Pope Joan
Mad About the Boy (Bridget Jones, #3)
Paris Was the Place
Falling Together
Freud's Mistress
The End of the Affair
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
Ready Player One
Playing for Keeps (Neighbor from Hell, #1)
Fin & Lady: A Novel
My One Square Inch of Alaska
The Night Circus
The Promise of Provence: A Novel
11/22/63
Little Wolves
Stories I Only Tell My Friends
Elizabeth the First Wife
The Accidental Tourist
Sick Girl
The Silver Linings Playbook
Gone with the Wind
A Week in Winter
84, Charing Cross Road
Tell the Wolves I'm Home
Silencing Sam (Riley Spartz, #3)
Mistletoe Mischief
Swim
Missing Mark (Riley Spartz, #2)
The Next Best Thing
A Highlander for Christmas (Children of the Mist, #5)
Forget Me Knot
Stalking Susan (Riley Spartz, #1)
Shunning Sarah (Riley Spartz, #5)
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Postmistress
High Line: The Inside Story of New York City's Park in the Sky
 

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!  

45

45

Yes.  I’ve been absent from my blog for a while.  Life has been busy – and good!

In September

  • I went to a few football games under the Friday night lights and in the steamy heat of a Saturday – ah, September in MN
  • I spent time with friends, sitting in the creek with margaritas on that steamy Saturday, celebrating milestone birthdays, and organizing Cosmo Girls for year 4
  • I’ve been spending time with this guy I have been dating, whenever our schedules (and the stars) align.
  • I was preparing for a trip to NYC, so I had to work a little extra on the front end.
  • I made it to two movies in the theatre:
    The Family (with Chris) – a mobster in witness protection.  Robert DeNiro still has it, at 70 years old!  Amazing.
    The Spectacular Now (with Marie) – I was excited to see this, and it didn’t live up to expectations.  It was just ok and mostly depressing.  
  • I finished Orange is the New Black on Netflix, and it is worth watching.
  • I spent a lot of time listening to Broadway Cast Recordings of Cinderella and Matilda and reading My City, My New York in preparation for my (annual) birthday trip to New York City.  

So, yes, now there has been a birthday.

birthday cake

birthday cake (Photo credit: freakgirl)

I flew out 9/30/13 and spent my 45th birthday (10/1/13) in NYC celebrating in style!  I’ll do a recap post of that trip later, but it was another amazing trip which makes me feel so blessed.

For my 44th year, I divided the year into quarters and made lists of 11 things to do or look forward to in each quarter.  I didn’t complete them all, but it was a fun way to organize the year.  You can read the summary posts from the first three quarters here:  Quarter 1, Quarter 2, Quarter 3.

Here is a wrap-up of the 4th quarter of my 44th year:,

my final 11 things: 

  1. Fourth of July!  Always a great time with family – relaxing time at the end of the dock, fireworks, great food and photo ops!
  2. Plan a Book Fest!First annual?  Bi-annual? Bookish food and treats?  Crafts?  Oh my!  It’s coming right up, but it’s in the planning stages!  It was SOOOO awesome!  You can read all about it here!  I am just starting to think about Book Fest 2.0!
  3. Ferragosto!  I can’t wait for my made up mid-August celebration!  More details to follow!  You can read all about it – here!  Buon Ferragosto!
  4. New York City! Looking forward to planning my annual trip to NYC!  It will make turning a year older more palatable! The trip is history – and it definitely was a great time… such a great way to spend a birthday!
  5. Books! Read and listen as much as possible! Tragic fail… keep on plugging away!  I actually did TWO book reviews and giveaways this quarter, so I guess that’s where my reading was focused – on The Promise of Provence and Freud’s Mistress – click to read more!
  6. Cosmo Girls! Start planning for 2013-2014!  Organized and rolling along!  We had a great organizational meeting and a terrific first meeting of the year! It’s going to be a great year!
  7. State Fair? Go if I can!  I guess I can – I went THREE times!
  8. Help Marissa move and get settled! Done!  It was a hot hot day we moved her in, but she is well-settled, the apartment is cute, and she is having a great time and great success in graduate school!  Woot!
  9. Ferragosto Ferragosto Ferragosto!  I have a feeling it’ll be the best ever!  Again – see above!  It was terrific!
  10. Sit down and … play piano or write poems or letters or play accordion… take time.  Well, also a fail.  Didn’t get much “time” for any of that but it’s all good!
  11. What do you think I should add to my list?

So as you can see, not even 11 things on the list, but still a fun way to remember the year.

45 years old

45 years old

And for this year, 45?  

Maybe I’ll do something creative with 45 records (remember them?) like “on the flip side” or “B Side”… have ideas?  

45 rpm, flip side? b-side?

45 rpm, flip side? b-side?

 

I learned that 45 is the sum of all the numbers (0+1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9 = 45), the dialing code for Denmark (+45), a gun or ammunition (.45), and the sapphire wedding anniversary.  

Elvis Costello wrote this song called 45 (http://youtu.be/KPZkldKk1WA), referring to record singles and his age when he wrote the song.  A catchy song… There are lots more songs and movies and other information you can read about online – thanks Wikipedia!  

So I haven’t fleshed out the plan or theme for being 45, but I’m enjoying every minute of it so far!

Before…

Before Midnight:

I was so excited to learn that another Linklater movie was going to come out this summer… and it did not disappoint!

Cover of "Before Sunrise"

Cover of Before Sunrise

  • In 1995, “Before Sunrise” came out – a small independent movie about a couple who meet on a train and have one night in Vienna.
  • In 2004, “Before Sunset” came out – a small independent movie catching up with this same couple 9 years later.
  • And now, in 2013 “Before Midnight” is released.  The same couple, now in their very early 40s.

I won’t give any spoilers here (links below to many reviews – read at your own risk!), but will simply say that if you love movies with smart dialogue, romantic chemistry, beautiful European settings, and real-world conversations and relationship troubles, you should definitely see all of these movies.

I am thankful that I was able to borrow the first two movies and binge on them a bit before seeing the 3rd movie.  It was a great way to reacquaint myself with Jesse and Celine.  I plan to buy all three when they’re all out on DVD so that I can binge again!

I was listening to a podcast last night (Filmspotting) and they were wondering (as I was) if since the characters were approximately my age during all three of these movies if I have more of an affinity to love the movies.  I would love to have this discussion – if anyone else has seen them!  🙂

Before Summer Solstice:

  • I finished “Circle of Friends” by Maeve Binchy this morning.  It’s a re-read and I wondered if it would hold up as I’m not in my 20s anymore (like I was when I first read it) but it did.  She writes such great stories about great places with great characters.  Love it!
  • I will watch “Anna Karenina” with Cindy tomorrow – and can’t wait for the re-watch!  I’m sure there will be vodka and something sorta Russian to eat.  Love me a theme!
  • I had an impromptu game night last Saturday night!  Beth came for a planned girl’s night, and we stayed in and invited others over.  We played Loaded Questions and “What if…”  A great time!
  • I watched Trajan graduate from 8th grade – such a fun kid.
  • I celebrated Jenny’s birthday with her at Goonie’s and the Loop!  The comedians were fun – the raunchy one leading up to the cerebral one made for some big brain shifts!
  • I sang with Take Note! at our yearly spring concert, on Over the Back Fence, and during Art in the Park in Lanesboro!  Good stuff.  I think I finally have the songs committed to memory and now we won’t sing them again!
  • I listened to music outside during Harmony at Mayo on Monday 6/10.  Great band, great food and great company!
  • I chatted about “Little Wolves” with Sarah, Paul and Heidi.  What a delicious meal was prepared and enjoyed al fresco!  A beautiful summer evening…

Before the end of Quarter 3 (44 Things)

Here’s my list of 11 things for this quarter… how am I doing?  Have til the end of the month…

11 Things: 3rd Quarter

  1. Book Club – LOVE talking about books, whenever and wherever!  April 2 – with rum & Cokes, pizza burgers, and Mississippi Mud Cake!! May 27 – with hot turkey sandwiches we discussed The Accidental Tourist!  Good stuff!  Next one July 9!  
  2. Cosmo Girls – April brought green smoothies, chair massages, and henna!  May brought A Cosmo Girl Party to celebrate another year of fun! Next – organize for next year!  
  3. A Spring Break facial – and pedicure!
  4. Baseball games and softball games – hopefully in sunshine!
  5. THE GREAT GATSBY movie! Saw it once in the theatre – it was great!  
  6. Marissa’s graduation in May with a party to celebrate her Bachelor’s in Biology!  Taran’s graduation in June! Both parties were very fun!  Very proud of their accomplishments!  
  7. Take Note! spring concert – most likely in June! Done! A great concert followed by a get-together at Mom and Dad’s with s’mores around the campfire!  Perfect!  
  8. New walking shoes – so hopefully many walks! Knee feels better – still no power walks!  Just short ones and stretching!  
  9. Catch up on the TBR pile – as many as possible!  #1 Silver Linings Playbook!  #2 Elizabeth the First Wife #3 Little Wolves #4 Circle of Friends – the list is interminable!  Oh well!  
  10. June will bring Thursdays on First and Rochesterfest – outdoor food, music and fun!  And hopefully sunshine!  (Can you tell we’ve been without for too long?)  Spun through Thursdays last week and plan to go this week – on June 20!  
  11. Strike up a conversation with a stranger (NOT a patient!) weekly (?) and WRITE about it!  Woot!   Haven’t done this really!  What was I thinking?  Looking for a challenge, I guess.  I’m just enjoying getting to know my coworkers and planning things for my “circle of friends.”  🙂  

I suppose it’s time to think about my 4th Quarter list… hard to believe that I’m winding down my 44th year and really close to 45!  What will the theme of 45 be?

What do you have planned – Before Midnight?  Before the Summer Solstice?  Before the end of the month?

44 Things: Q2

Goodness… we’re tripping right along into the end of March, aren’t we?  How did that happen?  I was feeling unsuccessful in my 44 Things: Q2, until I looked at it.  I guess I’m not doing too badly – which is what happens when you simply document “things to look forward to” with a few added “things to do.”  I think I felt unsuccessful because I haven’t given it much thought lately.  So as we all push into the latter half of March, here’s my recap: 44 Things – Quarter 2 (Jan-Feb-Mar)

  1. A January mini-vacation at Deadra’s, including many movies and much wine! It was a great mini-vacation at Deadra’s!  Good conversations, good wine, good food, and a good (great!) movie!  As well as some great dance parties!  

    January Dance Party!

    January Dance Party!

  2. Read “Persuasion” by Jane Austen with Wallace’s readalong in January  I fully participated in the “Persuasion” readalong!  Woot!  Readalongs are so good… inspires you to have a deadline, critically think about what you’re reading, attempt coherent communication about those thoughts.  Good stuff.  I didn’t participate in her next one, “Crime & Punishment,” but a friend is and is loving the book!  Guess I’ll have to add that to my TBR list!  
  3. START reading “Gone With the Wind” in February – it’s so large I’m not sure I can finish it in two months!  But it’s after “Persuasion”! I started it!  Had a few great days of reading and then kind of fell off that wagon… I’m on pg 200 (of 900) so quite a ways to go.  It is a great book and amazing how much of it is already in my head through the movie and knowledge of the movie.  Hopefully I will have quality reading time throughout the month so that I can finish sooner than later!  So many books to read!  
  4. “The Book of Mormon” with Deadra and John in February! This was such a fun event!  We had dinner at a great Indian restaurant (Bombay Bistro), a brisk walk to the show, and belly laughs throughout!  I already posted about turning my pins into magnets (making me happy!), and when I hear someone shout, “Hello!” I usually sing the next line in my head!  Good stuff!  

    Pre-show dinner @ Bombay Bistro!

    Pre-show dinner @ Bombay Bistro!

  5. Host a baby shower for a work colleague at my house on February 13! This was a lot of fun, too!  It was fun to share my home with my new co-workers, meet family of the guest of honor, have delicious and fun food and drink, and simply socialize with the great people I work with!  

    Shower Sweets - what will it be? A boy or a girl? Can't wait to see!

    Shower Sweets – what will it be? A boy or a girl? Can’t wait to see!

  6. Gaelic Storm in March with Kristine! Last weekend we finally saw them in concert!  We have been talking about going to see them for more than a year and it finally happened.  It was so fun!  It was at the Fitzgerald Theatre, which was fun to see on its own, and they are so fun to listen to!  Clever, quirky, energetic, and fun!  A great concert with great friends!  Gaelic Storm in concert!

    Post-concert - not going strong, but still looking good!

    Post-concert – not going strong, but still looking good!

  7. Social-ICE in February! Already blogged a bit about this, but worth mentioning that it was a great time once again!  
    Keeping warm at SocialICE 2013!

    Keeping warm at SocialICE 2013!

    ice sculptures

    Icy Skyscrapers

  8. Walk at least twice weekly and do yoga once weekly. I was doing pretty good at this – in fact it was happening for all of January and into February.  But horrible knee pain has derailed that and I think it’s been a month since I walked for exercise, as I can barely walk to “get where I’m going” without terrible pain.  There’s been a doctor’s visit, a steroid shot, and now I don’t know what the plan is.  Bummer, eh?  So I’ve been focusing on healthy food choices (and easy quick cooking meals, since it hurts to stand in the kitchen and cook!) instead of getting my heart rate up.  Boo.  
  9.  Spray Tan!  Get the look of a summer glow! Have not done this yet but will have to make a plan for that soon!  Maybe next week during my days off… or maybe before Easter… or maybe on April 1 so the glow moves in to Q3!  
  10.  Pick a closet and clean it out OR watch all of the Oscar nominated movies (which would you rather do??)  Well, I didn’t get either one fully done – yet!  I still haven’t seen Amour, Django Unchained, or Zero Dark Thirty.  I’m ok with that to this point, but I will look for them on DVD when they’re available.  Still can’t wait to purchase Silver Linings Playbook, as it was my favorite of all.  And cleaning?  Hmmm.. maybe I’ll get to a closet.  We’ll see!  
  11.  Invigorate book club and plan ahead for the year.  Well, we met in February to discuss The Great Gatsby and ate and talked for 4 hours!  We did discuss the book and are now reading another book from the Book Club in a Bag program – We Are All Welcome Here!  And we have a date picked for our next meeting – April 2.  No plan for the year, but a little more planful to get together!  

Well, there’s my list – as I said, I haven’t done as badly as I thought I had!   I will have to start making my list of 44 Things: Q3 very soon, as April will no doubt be here before I blink again!  

First Monday in 2013!

2013

2013 Here We Come!

The New Year feel has settled in.  I think I’ve already gotten used to typing 2013 at work!  

So now it’s time to think about my 2nd quarter of 11 fun things to do and look forward to!
(I think it needs a new name! It’s so cumbersome! 44 Things Quarter 2?)
 

My FALL list was not completed: I did NOT shop early for Christmas or play accordion weekly.  
But I don’t feel regrets or guilt about not accomplishing things…
it just means that other things popped up and pushed them out of the way!  

So my WINTER list of things to do or look forward to starts here: 

English: Persusasion (Jane Austen Novel). For ...

English: Persusasion (Jane Austen Novel). For Sir Elliot, baronnet, the hints of Mrs Sheppard, his agent, was very unwelcome. Français : Persuasion, dernier roman de Jane Austen. Sir Elliot n’apprécie pas les conseils d’économie de Mr Sheppard, son notaire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

44 Things – Quarter 2 (Jan-Feb-Mar)

  1. A January mini-vacation at Deadra’s, including many movies and much wine!
  2. Read “Persuasion” by Jane Austen with Wallace’s readalong in January 
  3. START reading “Gone With the Wind” in February – it’s so large I’m not sure I can finish it in two months!  But it’s after “Persuasion”!
  4. “The Book of Mormon” with Deadra and John in February!
  5. Host a baby shower for a work colleague at my house on February 13!
  6. Gaelic Storm in March with Kristine!
  7. Social-ICE in February!
  8. Walk at least twice weekly and do yoga once weekly.
  9.  Spray Tan!  Get the look of a summer glow!
  10.  Pick a closet and clean it out OR
    watch all of the Oscar nominated movies (which would you rather do??)
  11.  Invigorate book club and plan ahead for the year

Well, that wasn’t what I thought it would be, but there you have it!  I am maybe forgetting some of the things that I know that I will be looking forward to!  Yikes… I started writing this down somewhere.  And I’m still kicking around a list of THINGS for 2013, sort of like last year’s list.  It may be an over-arching list, or maybe a theme word or statement for the year… still thinking about it on paper.  

How about you?  How do you feel about resolutions?  Would you rather pick a theme WORD or STATEMENT (ala Let ‘er Rip) than set goals?  Do you avoid these altogether?  

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