A Month of Gratitude

I failed at the Daily Gratitude Posts on Facebook this November, so I thought I’d attempt a wrap up of the month.  There is, indeed, so much to be thankful for!

Oh-So-Grateful

I am grateful for the arts – music, movies, theatre… 

  • Chris and I saw Madea at Saint Mary’s University in Winona – a translation from Seneca which was creative and interesting to see!
  • 10 years of Take Note! Amazing… 10 years ago we created a group with people who loved to sing showtunes. We moved on a few years ago to incorporate different genres, but we still have a great time!  We have put on 10 Christmas concerts (our final one with our current director is this Sunday!) and 9 spring concerts. We have performed at community events, nursing homes, and with college students.  It has been a touchstone in my life, keeping me connected with the community where I grew up and raised my daughter, with my friends, and provided me with great visits with my parents.  Let’s see what the next journey is!
  • Koni, Gracie and I saw the final installment of the Hunger Games series, The Mockingjay Part 2.  We went to a late show and sat holding hands through the entire movie! Just a little stressful, that final flick.  A war film with monsters. I watched some through my fingers and asked for spoilers (Gracie remembers the story better than I do!). Glad to see it through!
  • Chris and I saw Glen Hansard at the State Theatre in Minneapolis! I don’t know what it is about Glen, but his passion for his art moves me. I had tears in my eyes for the first four songs!  He started the concert unamplified with strings. Wow.  Chris appreciated the live music and got a handshake as he came up the aisle!  A fun night! Tickets were purchased in August – the anticipation was worth it!

 

I am grateful for family – 

  • We had a great weekend in Rushford during opening buck season. Many cuddles with baby August, Gracie’s first buck, Rees’s first hunt (with the big ones that got away!), and movies and relaxing together. Only thing that would have made it better would have been having Derek’s family and Chris there!
  • We had a delicious tuna casserole (made mostly by Chris) at Sierra’s house, with games and books and good times!  We also had Kaydee over to help decorate our Christmas tree – complete with hot cocoa and cookies!
  • I worked during Thanksgiving so I missed all of the family time in Rushford. But Dana and Koni invited us over (via an email from Rees!) for a Thanksgiving Feast on Saturday night! We had great food, great family time, and played some fun games (Suspend for the win!)!
  • Sunday we drove to the Cities for time with the Bendson Cousins! Kristyn, Andrew & Natalie  and Emily and Andrew were home and we joined them with Ruth and Steve and Marissa, Adam and August for snacks and chili. All was delicious and the company was fantastic. A great celebration of family!
  • The basketball season is underway, so we have made a few games with many more on the calendar!  I hope to make as many as possible!  Trajan, Gracie and Rees are all playing, so it’ll be a whirlwind!
  • It’s hard to get enough snuggles of that new little grandbaby. He’s giving us those precious smiles and it’s hard to stop looking at him. Love him so!  Marissa is counting down the days left at home, so send special wishes and prayers her way!
  • I’m looking forward to December and hoping for some quality family time, grandbaby snuggles, and Christmas cheer!

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I am grateful for friends – 

  • Cosmo Girls met at my house in November and the focus was gratitude. How appropriate, eh? We watched YouTube videos, TED Talks, discussed what we’re grateful for, and of course there were laughs.  We left everyone with a notebook to keep track of the things they’re thankful for and Thank You notes to send.  I’m going to start my daily journaling in December – so that’s tomorrow!  Looking forward to getting in to a habit of writing again!
  • The Satellite Sisters were in Minnesota for a book signing and us faithful followers drove up to be with them and get books signed by them!  They are amazing women/sisters, and it was fun to see Sheila and Liz in person and hear the stories they chose to share. There were many laughs and a few tears.  We had a great time and I’m so thankful that my Satellite Mister from NYC was able to  come to Minnesota and spend a little time with us.  He Periscoped from the Brooklyn signing and it was so fun to get that glimpse into the next-generation of women who wrote for the book, and it wasn’t too hard to convince him to trek to MN!  We had a great time with the Sisters as well as over dinner at Parma 8200.  It was such a fun day!
  • Work has been a little calmer than earlier in the fall.  I worked a lot of afternoons, evenings and overnights during November, so I am not used to getting up in the morning but I am working on it. 🙂  I’m thankful for my coworkers who work hard, are supportive and fun.  It makes the difficult stuff we do a joy.
  • I am looking forward to some intentional quality time with friends during this holiday season, as well!  I’m going to start making plans soon!  Time is precious!

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I am grateful for so much.

  • For the cookie dough I whipped up, which is in the refrigerator waiting to be rolled out into stars.
  • For Hulu and Netflix – I love commercial-free television.
  • For books – I’m hoping to spend more time reading and less time on Facebook in December.
  • For quotes and words and pictures.
  • For the wonderful autumn we have experienced so far – it has been amazing!
  • For Trader Joe’s.
  • And most of all for my daughter, the beautiful new momma, and my husband, my confidant and rock.

Life is good.

affirmation-gratitude-800x450

 

Eternity

William Blake, 17571827

He who binds to himself a joy 
Does the winged life destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise

What’s Making Me Happy, July Edition!

Apartment Hunting!

  • We make apartment hunting fun!  
  • Stops for coffee (Dunn Bros)
  • Stops for mid-afternoon sustenance (Salut Bar)
  • Rooftop dining with Deadra (Louie’s Ristorante)
  • Looking forward to more Minneapolis adventures!

Co-workers!

  • Book talks at Binkies
  • Happy hours after supervision
  • Celebrations of LICSW after work
  • Strolling along the river in Red Wing

Summer fun and celebrations!

  • Rolling River Music Festival in Red Wing (late June)
  • Fourth of July
  • Rooftop meals
  • Binkies on the Lake
  • Thursdays on First
  • Bonfires
  • RASA’s “Leaving Iowa”
  • Using my kitchen to create deliciousness
  • FAIR FOOD!  One funnel cake per year
  • Walks on beautiful days
  • Planning Ferragosto Fun

Movies! Books! Music!

  • The Heat
  • Playing for Keeps
  • 21 Jump Street
  • The Promise of Provence
  • 11/22/63
  • The Night Circus for book club
  • Stories I Only Tell My Friends: Rob Lowe
  • Emails filled with songs for each day of the week
  • My favorite song of the week: Thursday (Here’s Why I Did Not Go To Work Today) http://youtu.be/ciz_C3xiuN0
  • Cancelled cable = Netflix fests
  • Planning a party for fellow book lovers

What is making you happy this July??

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?

Our Musical Monday

Last Monday we had tickets to a unique concert experience.  A very cool musician was starting a Supper Club Tour – performing in people’s homes all across the United States with the concert-goers bringing the supper.  He is wrapping up the Midwest portion of his tour this weekend, I believe, and then starting the West Coast portion in Des Moines (Des Moines = West Coast? Who knew?) in October.  He asked for people to open their homes for the event.  I wanted to volunteer either my parent’s home or my brother’s home for a concert spot but decided that my life is chaotic enough – so we just made it our mission to get tickets.

Tickets obtained (the show was sold out!) so we needed to figure out what to bring for supper!  I finally thought of cheesy potatoes and Marissa agreed that was the perfect Midwestern potluck food.  Then that day I realized that the bow-tie wearing Jeremy also warranted a little bowtie pasta salad!  His handmade bow-ties were part of his merch, after all.

The address of the venue was emailed out on Sunday and ours was an art studio downtown Rochester – not a home but a cool space.

Fagan Studios for the Supper Club Tour

We arrived and found our names on the guest list (no tickets issued) and tried to find space for our food!  What an incredible amount of food! When lining up, it was hard to decide what to eat, as there were four full tables of deliciousness to choose from.

Supper: Table 1 of 4 = good stuff!

We got our yummy food and then Jeremy began playing.  He played for 90 minutes, which just flew by!

Singing one of his smart and quirky songs, I’m sure.

I asked about his writing process, because that always interests me.  I know I’m a writer-wanna-be.  He says he will just obsess about a lyric or a melody until he’s done with it or sick of it.  He finds deadlines to be helpful and wrote a beautiful song for his wife.  On Valentine’s Day.

Here’s the lyrics to one of his songs that I like:

Beautiful Children lyrics

Warm house, cold hand
I was standing outside,
Trying to find your doorbell
At 2 am
Ran all the way,
Hope that you weren’t sleeping

You rubbed your eyes
Gently with the palm of your left hand
We talked a while
And you told me how much you appreciate me
and I knew that it was time for me to stay or leave
So I started walking home,
Sawing teardrops in the snow
We’ll be friends forever
But i’m afraid that you’ll never love me

You met someone
At the show when you went home for the weekend
And he makes you laugh
Somehow I remind you little of him

Two perfect hands
A part time job that says that he loves children
I lost my tongue
Until now you never felt that you missed anyone
And even tough it’s early,
You think it could be love

Another heartsick lullaby
But i can’t seem to make you cry
We’ll be friends forever
But i’m afraid that you’ll never love me

Does he love you?
Does he love you?
I hope he loves you
If he doesn’t,
At least you’ll have beautiful children, beautiful children

He played a couple of new songs, including “Someday Someone” and “I Want to be Your One Night Stand.”  Very fun and clever. Afterwards we got our photo taken with him and bought some Merch (from him, not a Merch Girl – another of his songs).

Good times

We had such a great time.  And the cheesy potatoes were a HIT as the pan was empty when I picked it up!  Not many people can say that.

Looking forward to our next Musical Adventure – as soon as next Saturday!  Glen Hansard at First Ave…

Ah, life is good.

Again with the Movies

I guess my movie-going and movie-watching has slowed a little since early summer, but I have seen some great movies.  I think I saw the best one this weekend in the theater – “The Intouchables.”  This is a French gem which is based on true events about an affluent quadriplegic, Philippe, who hires Driss — a young Parisian petty criminal — to be his caregiver.  They are an unconventional pair – the classical-music-loving cerebral man in the mansion and the pot-smoking man from the streets – and they both are changed by the bond that they form.

I loved this part of the movie, where Philippe knows he will be bored by his “surprise” birthday party, but Driss brings joy to the evening.

I think I’ve gotta get me some Earth, Wind and Fire!

I also loved the scene where they went to the opera.  Just classic.  See it, if you can!!

Other movies seen at my local theatre include “Hope Springs,” “The Campaign,” and “Step Up: The Revolution.”

“Hope Springs” was not what we were anticipating – very much NOT a romantic comedy.  Serious stuff, relationships!

“The Campaign” had some pretty funny moments, but was not great.  Fun night out with the kids next door.

“Step Up: The Revolution” was my first Step Up experience!  It was one of those movies that I smiled all the way through – sometimes because of delight but mostly because it was just so cheesy.

Eagle vs Shark

Eagle vs Shark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On DVD I really liked “Peter’s Friends” – a British “Big Chill” – and “Stardust” – a mishmash of “Princess Bride” and “The Witches of Eastwick.”  🙂  I also enjoyed Jemaine in “Eagle vs. Shark,” a quirky New Zealand movie.  And it was fun to see “The Importance of Being Earnest” after reading it and listening to the audiobook!  Oscar Wilde is so witty!

I’ve been following bloggers who are at the Toronto Film Festival and started creating a list of movies to watch out for.  Top of the list for me are ‘Sleepwalk With Me” and “Safety Not Guaranteed.”  Also, “Argo,” “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “Pitch Perfect,” and “Anna Karenina.”  There are others I want to see but this is a good start!

Next on my “agenda” are some musical events!  First, Jeremy Messersmith’s Supper Club tour in Rochester Monday night (!) with Marissa.  Can’t wait! It will be unlike anything I’ve ever done before.  Then Glen Hansard at First Ave on Sept 29 and some great musical events in NYC!  Woot woot!

So much to look forward to…

What are you looking forward to this fall?

What a high!

Microphones

Ah, the power of a microphone! Image by Rusty Sheriff via Flickr

Found this blog post in the drafts!  Never got published!  Written on May 13… oops! Better late than never, right? Or totally out of context and boring? Oh well…

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Just home and winding down from our “Over the Back Fence” radio show premiere!  Take Note!, our singing group, performed three songs, and the whole thing was such a blast!  We sounded great at sound-check and in the little room we practiced in and during the singalongs and during our songs.  And there were many laughs at the expense of Norwegians everywhere!  Tonight’s show paid tribute to both Cinco de Mayo and Syttende Mai.  What a great little show.  I must try to get there again – and for sure try to listen more faithfully.  I naively thought it would be broadcast live but it is simply recorded live – played later.  It was a great night leading into a great week of music ahead!

On the other hand, I haven’t been getting as much reading done!  Book reading, anyway.  I’m so far behind in my magazine reading but I’m feeling better about that, so I started reading “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” this week.  I finally made some headway today.  I am really liking it!  I thought it would be all heavy and sad and ominous, but it isn’t.  It’s about children.  So I imagine there will be sadness and heartbreak ahead, but it doesn’t seem like it will tear my heart out, so that’s a good thing.

Well, as I said, a music-filled week ahead!  Our big spring concert (with my solo!) coming up on Wednesday, Thursday a performance for a church family night, and Saturday we are performing at Minnesota City days!  It’s been such a great spring with the choir.  Can’t wait for the next adventure!

Well, off to read!  Happy weekend all!