Tag Archives: Mike Birbiglia

#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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There Were Things Happening – 3.3.14 edition

It gets a little old to start every blog post off with “Where did the last month go?” but here I am, once again, thinking the same thing!  So I’ll recap my month in the only way I know how – by listing the highlights and the things that have made me happy since I last blogged! With pictures!  

There were some games:

  • The Superbowl happened – I worked but made it to the party before halftime.  Not much of a game, but the pool on the score always makes it entertaining when those final seconds tick down each quarter.  
  • Got to a few of Trajan’s basketball games.  His season is over now, but I look forward to watching him in the years to come!  
  • Went to one of Gracie’s Rochester tournament games.  Her season is over now, too,  but again, many years ahead!  

There were epic weekends: 

  • SocialICE 2014 was a lot of fun!  We warmed up with cocktails and Trivial Pursuit questions at my house, enjoyed some warm and cold beverages at the ice bar, went underground to The Doggery, and sang some karaoke at the Viking Lounge!  The next day we went to Newt’s too late for brunch, but it was good nonetheless.  
  • Marissa’s Birthday 2014 was also a lot of fun!  The drive to Minneapolis was treacherous, so it took a long time to get there, but I made it with plenty of time to spare before the Jeremy Messersmith concert at First Ave!  First we ate at Kieran’s, a favorite pub, and then we were at First Ave right after the doors opened – which meant we were there a LONG time before the main event!  
  • Jeremy Messersmith is just such a good songwriter… I love that you can understand every word he sings and that his songs always have a little twist in them.  So clever and fun.  After the concert, we went dancing at a club where the average age was likely 25.  Very much not my ‘scene’ but it was a fun night.  Saturday we laid low and read and watched TV.  I had decided not to face those roads again, so we worked on getting tickets to Mike Birbiglia, a great comedian!  He was sold out, but we found tickets and we went! 
  • Mike Birbiglia at the Pantages was amazing!  It was nonstop laughter about “earlies and late-ies,” the uninhabitable city Minneapolis is, as evidenced by its skyways, and swearing in front of Muppets.  Funny stuff.  Afterwards we celebrated National Margarita Day with “made at the table” guac and fancy margaritas at Rosa Mexicano!

There was an early Valentine’s Date:

  • Chris and I both worked on Valentine’s Day and that weekend, so we planned to celebrate on Wednesday 2/12, so it was perfect that I won tickets to Jim Brickman in concert for his”Love Tour” for that night!   Beforehand we went to Chester’s for a delicious dinner, and the concert was very fun!  He has a good sense of humor and a good ‘tell’ that shows he’s done.   Chris brought me the most beautiful roses and a box of chocolates.  It was a good date.  
  • The next night, the Cosmo Girls went to a local nursing home and made Valentine’s with and for the residents.  It was a fun time, followed by a pot of tea at Press Coffee House.  

There were books and discussions:

  • I had my first class of the semester, requiring a ton o’ reading, online discussions, and case study papers.  Psychopathology will be good for me, good for my job, but it confirms my dislike for professional reading in large quantities.  Ugh.  I was nervous, as it’s been a LONG time since I was in school, but it will be good.  
  • I had lunch with Cindy at India Garden, and that always involves mega book discussions.  Planning the next book party is underway!  
  • The ED book group discussion was held at Tonic last week – we discussed Winter Garden, which had been in my TBR pile for years!  I always felt like it should be read in the winter, and I’m glad it was.  It was a good book about mothers and daughters, forgiveness and understanding.  And it had a secondary story which took place in Russia, so it was timely with the Winter Olympics!  Next up is Divergent!  We’re going to the movie together.  
  • There was a brief visit with Sarah and her kiddos in the warmth of their home.  That also means that books were discussed.  Look forward to another visit!    
  • I’m still listening to The Goldfinch and just started reading Questlove’s book Mo’ Meta Blues.   Next TBR is a book for a book tour – I can’t wait!  Details to follow… 

There were movies and award shows:

  • The night before the Oscars, Jenny and I watched 20 Feet from Stardom, the documentary about back up singers.  We also went to see The Lego Movie, which was a lot of fun!  I loved the ‘meta’ of it and loved the voices.  Maybe it’ll be Oscar nominated next year!
  • I love watching the Oscar’s every year.  I blogged about the nominations when they came out and you can read that here.  20 Feet from Stardom was not a favorite to win the Best Documentary category, but it won!  That was so fun… I loved the acceptance speech and that Darlene Love sang her heart out during it!  Other things I loved were
  • Ellen’s selfie
  • Cate Blanchet and Lupita Nyong’o acceptance speeches
  • Pizza for everyone!
  • Spike Jonze winning for best screenplay for Her – the movie about relationships and intimacy.  A great discussion piece!
  • All of the songs performed live
  • Following along on Twitter all night – until it broke for a while!  Crazy selfie retweeting overload!  
  • The jokes following John Travolta’s major introduction fail.
  • I’m sure there’s more, but for now, that’s it.  

I’m sure that’s an overload.  I either need to blog more often or remember that people probably only read one paragraph before moving on!  If you made it to the end, I’d love to hear from you.  What made you happy in February?  It was a brutally cold month with horrible weather where I live, so you gotta look for the good to stay sane!  

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Film Friday Footnotes

So far this fall I have seen some great movies, in the theatre and at home!  Here’s a quick roundup:

Trouble with the Curve (with Kristine for her birthday) –  Grumpy old Clint Eastwood, successful and driven Amy Adams, the lovable friend John Goodman and the cuter-than-cute Justin Timberlake.  There’s just something about baseball movies and this one was lots of fun.  Poor Clint has failing eyes, which are pretty important to his job as a baseball scout (for the Braves I think).  Loyal friendships, strained father-daughter relationship, flirty flirty romance, baseball uniforms.  Good stuff.

Cover of "Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Co...
Cover via Amazon

Pitch Perfect (with Troy in NYC!) – The perfect movie to kick off Broadway Birthday week in NYC!  It was hilarious (“I set fires to feel joy.”) and energetic and simply A-ca-wonderful!  I wanted to see it again in the theatre but with so many other good movies to see, I will wait to purchase it!  It was produced by Elizabeth Banks and her husband and she has such a fun role in the movie.  Just great stuff.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (alone before working overnight on a free movie day) – I read this book in the 90s when it came out and it was good.  The movie is very good, as well.  A lonely freshman is “mentored” by a couple of seniors and feels relief in friendships.  The movie is funny and fun but also delicately handles mental illness.

Argo (Friday night with the grownups) – Suspenseful; so suspenseful and tense.  I was squirming in my seat but loved it.  Ben Affleck is getting cuter by the minute and not shirtless for long enough, John Goodman is still a lovable goof of a friend, and Alan Arkin appears (as always) that he’s up for anything.  Well done, Ben!

And at home via Netflix or Direct TV on Demand:

Bernie – Jack Black plays the lovable funeral director that his hometown does not want to convict of murder, even though he did it.  No one blames him because the woman who dies was really a hateful person (Shirley McLaine).  It was “meh” and interestingly enough based on a real person.

Blue Like Jazz – Based on the book of the same name by Donald Miller, a story (semi-autobiographical) of a young man who becomes disillusioned with church and goes off to a small liberal college in the NW as a rebellious gesture.  He tries to figure out himself and what he believes.  It was fine.  I didn’t finish the book probably for the same reason that the movie didn’t have zing.

Sleepwalk with Me – You can still see this in “select theatres” throughout the United States, just not a “theatre near me.”  But I was excited to learn that it was available On-Demand to rent!  Yay!  So I watched it tonight and it was so good.  I heard of the movie because I listen to This American Life and The Moth Story Hour and I think that Mike Birbiglia is very entertaining and funny to listen to.  He wrote this movie (semi-autobiographical) about the start of a stand-up comedy career and the stall of a long-term relationship and the dangerous sleep disorder woven into the mix. Quirky and smart, it was definitely the best thing I’ve seen at home in a while.  It would have been fun to see it on the big screen, but it is one of those films that probably won’t make it to our screens.

Movies to look forward to this fall/holiday season:

Scottish actor Gerard Butler at the press conf...
Scottish actor Gerard Butler at the press conference for the film Coriolanus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Cloud Atlas – Hear it’s the fastest 3 hour movie ever made!
  • Chasing Mavericks – maybe.  Gerard Butler, you know.
  • Anna Karenina – I read the books so I know what happens (ha) and can’t wait for this new adaptation
  • Life of Pi – I read this book – twice – and loved it. Hope the movie is amazing, too!
  • Hyde Park on Hudson – maybe. May be a renter.
  • Playing for Keeps – Gerard Butler. That’s all.
  • This is 40. – Judd Apatow movie with Paul Rudd.  Nice.
  • The Impossible – maybe. About the tsunami. Looks hard to watch.
  • Les Miserables – looks amazing!