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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruuuuuuuce!

Bruce Springsteen, girls' night out, November 2012

These girls are ready to rock!

I woke up this morning thinking of the Bruce Springsteen concert, which was one week ago tonight!

We bought our tickets in August, so it has been something we have been anticipating for quite some time.
(Anticipation of great things is so awesome!)

We began our adventure at the House of Coates Bar where we had delicious burgers –

Best burgers in Minnesota?

Best burgers in Minnesota? In 2008!

and sat in a booth that was either too hot or too cold!

House of Coates Bar booth

A dive bar experience with delicious burgers and inconsistent heat!

We had tickets on the Club Level, so it was a quieter atmosphere.  Our seats were in the last row so we didn’t have to worry about standing and dancing in front of people who chose to sit during the concert.
(Really, who sits during a Bruce concert??? Evidently people in the Club Level!).  

Bruce didn’t disappoint.  He was on stage for 185 minutes.  He never left.  Not for a minute.

Bruce Springsteen

Walking amid the crowd – early in the show and late in the show!

Dancing in the Dark

Dancing in the Dark – Bruce brought a Veteran on stage for a dance! (Sidenote: According to Google, Bruce wears Wrangler Jeans! And he wears them well!)

Bruce Springsteen crowd surfing

He even crowd surfed! (This is pre-surfing)

Bruce Springsteen 2012 st. paul high energy end of show

This is at the end of the show – and he is full of energy!

And he appeared more energized at the end of the show than at the beginning!  

American Land Bruce Springsteen the end

The Finale – American Land is such a fun song!

He is an amazing performer and I hope that I get to see him a few more times!  I think next time, I want to be “down there,” in that crowd of people dancing and singing along.  I hope I can do that before I get too old.
Although, you could see on the big screen, that some of them were not spring chickens!  

I’ve been thinking about Bruce, because I feel like I’m a “come-lately” fan.
But I used to listen to his music a lot in the late 80s, and I had forgotten that until I went to his concert for the first time in 2009
He is an amazing song writer and his songs tell stories.
I remember listening to his Live album (3 cassettes, given to my brother for Christmas), listening to the stories of Johnny 99, Reason to Believe, Cadillac Ranch, Nebraska… all stories beautifully (and often tragically) told.
Good stuff for a moody teenager to listen to (now and then)!

So I’m not really a “come-lately” but I have been a “Tramp” for many years!

I think as I get older, I can appreciate more and am in awe of his passion for music and for people.

Here is a World Premiere of Devils and Dust from that night, a compilation of songs from the night and the setlist for
Monday, November 12, 2012 at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, MN!  Woot!

Soundcheck:

Devils And Dust

Concert:

1. I’m A Rocker
2. Hungry Heart
3. No Surrender
4. Night
5. Loose Ends
6. Something In The Night
7. STOLEN CAR*
8. We Take Care Of Our Own
9. Wrecking Ball
10. Death to My Hometown
11. My City of Ruins
12. The E Street Shuffle
13. Pay Me My Money Down
14. DEVILS AND DUST*
15. Youngstown
16. Murder Incorporated
17. She’s The One
18. Shackled and Drawn
19. Waitin’ On A Sunny Day
20. The Rising
21. Badlands
22. Land of Hope and Dreams

Encore:

23. Jungleland
24. Born to Run
25. Dancing In The Dark
26. Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
27. American Land

http://www.backstreets.com/setlists.html to read more about the tour.
Our concert was a special event according to the Bruce experts!

Well, that’s enough about Bruuuuce!  Unless you want to tell me about your experiences!

A Sense of Connection

Connections

Connections Image by bupowski via Flickr

Well, I completed the 40 Things challenge last week and used this past week to think about what is next.  I am going to try to blog Monday through Friday about the five senses outlined in the Satellite Sister’s book.  Set mini-goals or write about things that give me that Sense.

So it’s Monday and I’ll write about the Sense of Connection…

It’s ironic that Monday is also the day that I go “home” and sing in the choir that we started six years ago in my hometown.  I sleep at my parents’ home and connect with friends from home.  I love singing in this choir and the weekly connection we have through the music and our time together.  This fall I’ve also been walking with a friend after she’s done with work (or even walking on her lunch hour!), watching some hometown volleyball games, hanging out with my daughter and parents, and even helping out around the ponderosa (what we call my parents’ home).  Tonight I’m going to visit a friend I haven’t seen for a while and I’m happy that we’re getting together over a bottle of wine.  We both need it.  🙂

I had a busy week and weekend of connecting with friends and family.  Book club with friends from where I used to work, watching football (two games Saturday!), family meals, walks with friends, movies with friends, and meeting new friends.

I still have a few Thank-Yous to write from my birthday and a letter to write to a former student.  I used to be really good at writing letters and I’ve had it as a personal goal for a few years to stay connected with friends by sending cards and letters when I think of someone.  I have all the cute blank cards and stamps and return address labels needed so that is not an obstacle, but I don’t always do well and even emails aren’t always sent when they should be.  So it is an ongoing personal goal to maintain connections with people through phone calls, cards and letters.  Even emails.

What do you do to stay connected?  Do you have weekly check-ins with friends or family to maintain a connection?

Off to read!

Monday meandering…

Decorative header displayed before Chapter I f...

Decorative header displayed before chapter 1 from Jane Eyre Image via Wikipedia

I’m so looking forward to crawling into bed in a few minutes and reading some more in “One Day” before bed.  We drove to Des Moines this weekend and I got to sit in the backseat and read… something I haven’t done in a LONG time!  I’m usually the driver, so being driven and being able to read in the car (thankfully that hasn’t changed) is a blessing!  I’m really liking the book, and I’m about half done.  I’m also almost done withe “Brava, Valentine” on audio – put in the last CD before I got out of the car on Friday – and then I’m going to try “Jane Eyre” on audio!  I’ve never read it and I signed up for the goodreads challenge to read it before the movie comes out mid-March.  My second goodreads challenge, for the record!

I skimmed through my blog reading and came across a list of contemporary books (1983-2008) that may become classics.  It was a list created by Entertainment Weekly, so not too high brow, maybe.  I’ll post it and welcome your thoughts on it.  I skimmed the list (lots of skimming tonight) and think I’ve read less than 20 of the 100. I love lists.  🙂

It’s Marissa’s birthday today.  Hard to believe that she could be 23 years old.  We had a great weekend celebrating together and since she’s moving home I’m looking forward to a whole bunch more quality time with her.  Technically she’s moving into mom and dad’s home, but it will still be close and nice to have her around.  I think I’ll starting thinking of the ‘guest room’ at my house as Marissa’s room.  That’s exciting.

So, what are you reading?  What have you finished reading?  Have you ever read “Jane Eyre”?  What do you think of these ‘contemporary classics’?  Any that you will put on your TBR list?

Well, off to read!

1. The Road , Cormac McCarthy (2006)
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000)
3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
4. The Liars’ Club, Mary Karr (1995)
5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997)
6. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane (2001)
7. Maus, Art Spiegelman (1986/1991)
8. Selected Stories, Alice Munro (1996)
9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997)
10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1997)
11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997)
12. Blindness, José Saramago (1998)
13. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87)
14. Black Water, Joyce Carol Oates (1992)
15. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (2000)
16. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986)
17. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (1988)
18. Rabbit at Rest, John Updike (1990)
19. On Beauty, Zadie Smith (2005)
20. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding (1998)
21. On Writing, Stephen King (2000)
22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz (2007)
23. The Ghost Road, Pat Barker (1996)
24. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry (1985)
25. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan (1989)
26. Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984)
27. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)
28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997)
29. Bel Canto, Anne Patchett (2001)
30. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (2004)
31. The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien (1990)
32. Parting the Waters, Taylor Branch (1988)
33. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion (2005)
34. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (2002)
35. The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst (2004)
36. Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt (1996)
37. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (2003)
38. Birds of America, Lorrie Moore (1998)
39. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri (2000)
40. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (1995-2000)
41. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (1984)
42. LaBrava, Elmore Leonard (1983)
43. Borrowed Time, Paul Monette (1988)
44. Praying for Sheetrock, Melissa Fay Greene (1991)
45. Eva Luna, Isabel Allende (1988)
46. Sandman, Neil Gaiman (1988-1996)
47. World’s Fair, E.L. Doctorow (1985)
48. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
49. Clockers, Richard Price (1992)
50. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (2001)
51. The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcom (1990)
52. Waiting to Exhale, Terry McMillan (1992)
53. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)
54. Jimmy Corrigan, Chris Ware (2000)
55. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls (2006)
56. The Night Manager, John le Carré (1993)
57. The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe (1987)
58. Drop City, TC Boyle (2003)
59. Krik? Krak! Edwidge Danticat (1995)
60. Nickel & Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)
61. Money, Martin Amis (1985)
62. Last Train To Memphis, Peter Guralnick (1994)
63. Pastoralia, George Saunders (2000)
64. Underworld, Don DeLillo (1997)
65. The Giver, Lois Lowry (1993)
66. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace (1997)
67. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003)
68. Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (2006)
69. Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)
70. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (2004)
71. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Ann Fadiman (1997)
72. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon (2003)
73. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving (1989)
74. Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger (1990)
75. Cathedral, Raymond Carver (1983)
76. A Sight for Sore Eyes, Ruth Rendell (1998)
77. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)
78. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
79. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (2000)
80. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney (1984)
81. Backlash, Susan Faludi (1991)
82. Atonement, Ian McEwan (2002)
83. The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields (1994)
84. Holes, Louis Sachar (1998)
85. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson (2004)
86. And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts (1987)
87. The Ruins, Scott Smith (2006)
88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995)
89. Close Range, Annie Proulx (1999)
90. Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl (2001)
91. Random Family, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (2003)
92. Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow (1987)
93. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley (1991)
94. Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2001)
95. Kaaterskill Falls, Allegra Goodman (1998)
96. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003)
97. Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson (1992)
98. The Predators’ Ball, Connie Bruck (1988)
99. Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman (1995)
100. America (the Book), Jon Stewart/Daily Show (2004)