#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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How to sum up awesomeness?

2014I like to end each year by looking back and thinking about the big things and the little things, summing it up and tucking it away to be recalled in the future.  2014 was a big year.  Here is a sad attempt to summarize its awesomeness.  (Lots of links you can click on if you want more info or fun videos! Anything underlined is a link.)

Movie chat!

Movie chat!

I saw some movies in the theatre.  In no particular order, I saw Inside Llewelyn Davis, Her, The Lego Movie, The Great Beauty*, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Saving Mr. Banks, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Divergent, 12 Years a Slave, Belle, Neighbors, Chef, The Fault in Our Stars, A Million Ways to Die in the West, The November Man, Boyhood, Unbroken, Wild, The Hunger Games: The Mockingjay Part 1, Dumb and Dumber To, St. Vincent, and Gone Girl.  (*Rochester Int’l Film Fest)

Some were seen alone, some with girlfriends, some with family, some with Chris.  Some felt like they were MADE FOR ME (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood, Chef, St. Vincent); others not so much, but I love a movie in the theatre, no matter what.  (Thankful for that Mayo discount and living within walking distance to a theatre!)

Netflix DVD watching also happened, including The Salt of Life, 20 Feet from Stardom, Austenland, Iron Man 1, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, 10 Years, August Osage County, Blazing Saddles, What’s Up, Doc?, Here Comes the Boom, Love Is All You Need, My Life Without Me, The Tiger and the Snow. 

None of them stand out as wonderful, except 20 Feet from Stardom – that was fun.  I blogged about that around Oscar time last year.  Some were sent back without being watched – life was just too busy to sit on the couch in 2014!

Great seats for our first show!

Great seats for our first show!

The stage and Proscenium

The stage and Proscenium

 

In 2014 I saw some things on a stage.

Musicians – The Skivvies at 54 Below with Koni and Troy in NYC, Jeremy Messersmith at First Ave for Marissa’s birthday, Jim Brickman with Chris for Valentine’s Day, Paul McCartney at Target Field with Mom and Dad, Marissa and Chris

Comedians – Lorna Landvik at her Party in the Rec Room at Bryant Lake Bowl in January with John and Deadra, Mike Birbiglia at the Pantages with Marissa (on a whim, due to horrific driving conditions keeping me in the Cities longer – so glad we went! Thankful we weren’t later arrivers!!)

Plays – in Minneapolis Jenny and Chris and I saw Peter and the Starcatcher, and it didn’t disappoint the second time!  We hung out after and listened to the actors talk about their magical performances night after night… So fun.

Authors – only one in 2014!  Allison McGhee, a Minnesota author.  I still haven’t read any of her books, but she was fascinating to listen to!  I do love to listen to and meet authors!

And speaking of books – you can click the BOOKS I READ IN 2014 page on my blog to see the list of books that I did accomplish in 2014.  I didn’t meet my reading goal (again, not a lot of time to sit around and read in 2014!) but I changed my goal and hopefully set a realistic goal for #marriedlife2015.

Heading in to the first show of our trip!

Heading in to the first show of our trip!

And speaking of plays, can’t forget Broadway!  I had TWO trips to NYC in 2014! The first was in early January – a girl’s weekend with my sister-in-law/great friend, Koni.  We ran through airports to catch planes, celebrated the arrival of our luggage, we braved their elements (12 degrees, which was 30 degrees warmer than we left) and were the only ones to show up for the  cupcake walking tour of the Lower East Side.  We ate delicious meals, we SHOPPED, we saw THREE Broadway shows (Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder – the Tony winner of 2014! – Cinderella, and Matilda!), we saw people singing in their underwear at 54 Below (the Skivvies – click to see a video!), we celebrated when our flight home was cancelled, as it meant we had a bonus day to see our 3rd show, hang around the Superbowl celebrations in Times Square, and enjoy more Cake Boss treats.  Read ALL about it here.

One of everything!  Yes, please!

One of everything! Yes, please!Also in 2014:

Also in 2014:

  • Birthdays were celebrated – at wineries, at the Lake, at restaurants.
  • I went to as many kids’ sporting events as my schedule would allow.
  • I continue to love my job, crazy schedule and all.  Coming up on my 3rd anniversary on January 30.
  • Someone drove through our Target exit doors, right after Chris and I walked out. Quite freaky!
  • Choir continues to bring joy and happiness to me and all who participate – can’t wait to start up again!
  • Marissa met a man that she enjoys immensely, so that’s fun for mama.  She continues in graduate school, hoping for an early spring graduation.
  • Cosmo Girls continued to meet monthly – a solid crew of amazing women that I am thankful for!
Cosmo Girls at RAC 2014

Cosmo Girls at RAC 2014

And then of course, last but not certainly not least,
we got engaged in July and married in October 2014!

The ring arrived!

The ring arrived!

Proof that he is the ONE?  When we were discussing the hows and whens and wheres of getting married, he said, “Can we get married in New York City?” Um, yes!  Most people think it was my idea, but it was his idea, which is why I love him so.  He knows how to make this girl happy.  I’m very lucky!

July to October was spent hammering out details, planning, organizing, and celebrating.  Chris moved in with me in July and that adjustment has been surprisingly smooth (further proof that he is the ONE!).  I had a wonderful, abbreviated Ferragosto week at the lake, which was almost like a Bachelorette week.  So much celebrating and planning and laughing!

It was great fun to plan the week in NYC for family and friends.  Everyone was so joyful and lovely.  The blog detailing the events of Wedding Week 2014 can be read here: #woohoowedo2014.  I’ll end this never-ending blog with the ceremony that Chris and I worked on in the hopes that we would have time in the chapel for more than just vows – and we did.

2014 was sure filled with blessings!  Looking forward to #marriedlife2015!  More adventures await!

LOVE Sculpture!

LOVE Sculpture!

-NYC Wedding Ceremony October 1, 2014- 

OPENING PRAYER – Dad
COMMITMENT TO THE COUPLE / RING WARMING
SCRIPTURE READING  – Koni
POEM – Deadra
READING (If time before vows) – Robert Fulgham
VOWS
CLOSING PRAYER – Dana

OPENING PRAYER – Dad – He did his own prayer 🙂 

Dear God, for the joy of this occasion we thank You. For the friends and family who are here today to witness this joy, we thank You.  For the significance of this wedding day we thank You. For this important moment in an ever growing relationship we thank You. For Your presence here and now and for Your presence at all times, we thank You. In His holy name. Amen.

COMMITMENT TO THE COUPLE / RING WARMING – Beth

Your very presence here, in this city, in this building, shows how much you love and support Chris and Danette and their life together.  Will you promise to continue to surround this couple in love, offering them the joys of your friendship?  Will you support this couple in their relationship, at times of conflict, offering them the strength of your wisest counsel and the comfort of your thoughtful concern?  At times of joy will you celebrate with them,nourishing their love of one another?

(Hope for enthusiastic “WE WILL” from all!) And they said “WOOHOO WE DO!”

During this ceremony, Chris and Danette will exchange rings.  These rings are a strong and visible sign of their love and commitment to one another. Chris and Danette ask that you, very important and loved members of their lives, hold their rings in your hands for a moment and warm them with your love.  Say a silent prayer or make a wish for Chris and Danette and their future together.

SCRIPTURE READING – Koni

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge,it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

POEM – Deadra

i carry your heart with me ~ e.e. cummings ~

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

VOWS – Jimmy 

Benediction – CLOSING PRAYER – Dana

The wedding is not over – it has just begun.  Marriage is not something said and done, but a promise, whose fulfillment is acted out over time.

So for Chris and Danette, we simply pray that the promises of marriage have a long and complete fulfillment; that their love is nurtured and shared by their families and friends; and that the seasons be joyous along the way. In God’s name we pray. Amen.

READING Union  ~ Robert Fulghum ~ Read by Marissa at Starbucks

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point,you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed,you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all those late night talks that included“someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.

The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.”

Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another. Shortly you shall say afew words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same.

For after today you shall say to the world –

This is my husband. This is my wife.

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. ~Celia Thaxter

Always so much to be thankful for!  We are marching in to June and the calendar is filled with fun things on the days that work isn’t scheduled (and even on some days when work is scheduled!).

Here are a few things I am thankful for from the past few weeks —

  • Friday nights!  Spent a seemingly rare Friday night off at Jabbers (and evidently the last Friday night we’ll spend there, as it just closed!) getting in some Jabbering with Jabber Juice.  Fun fun.   And even after work last Friday night, it was fun to sit outside on the patio at Fat Willy’s!  Fridays still rock!
Love this selfie with Rushford in the background!

Love this selfie with Rushford in the background!

  • Rushford friends and family – had a lot of fun showing Chris around Rushford – the bluff, the new coffee shop – and hanging out with friends.  Take Note! sang at the ExpoCulinaria and it was a lot of fun with good food tastes and good company!  Followed by more good food and a good campfire at Brenda and Roger’s!  It was chilly so that fire felt good!  It was a Starry Starry Night!
  • Speaking of Starry Starry Nights – loved the time with Beth at the painting event by Wine & Canvas!  It was a challenging painting but I think we did a respectable job – and it was so fun!
Love Starry Night with Rochester Wine & Canvas!  And Beth!

Love Starry Night with Rochester Wine & Canvas! And Beth!

  • Memorial Day weekend I had to work overnights, but I still was able to indulge in a last minute invitation to hear Temple Grandin speak on Friday night, followed by coffee at Chester’s!  And Monday Chris and I went for a good meal on a rainy afternoon before I went in for night four. I always manage to fit in the important stuff!
Love last minute invitations and loved hearing Temple Grandin again!  She's something!

Love last minute invitations and loved hearing Temple Grandin again! She’s something!

  • Trajan turned 15 in May and we celebrated him at Texas Roadhouse!  I also love that I’ve been able to help out and drive him to his basketball practices in the Cities and to watch him play a few games.  He’s on a competitive team and they are all so fun to watch!
Love this kid who isn't afraid of the saddle on his 15th birthday!

Love this kid who isn’t afraid of the saddle on his 15th birthday!

  • The weather has been great so I have been getting in some great walks!  Some with friends, some with Chris, and some with his daughter and granddaughter.  It’s been fun to play with a 2 year old again!
Love this guy and love hanging out with a 2 year old every once in a while!  It's been a while...

Love this guy and love hanging out with a 2 year old every now and then! It’s been a while…

  • Books – I’m finally on a little reading streak!  I finished Allegiant, moved on to The Fault in Our Stars (heartbreakingly beautiful… just lovely), and Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (a fun little read with dares all over NYC!).  I bought a used Kindle so it’s exciting to fill it up (it holds a TON!) and look forward to reading it at the end of the dock.
  • Audiobooks – I’ve officially been an Audible member for a year!  Yikes… I have purchased more than I’ve listened to (sound familiar??  I guess I’m growing my TBL (To Be Listened to) pile, as well!).  I tend to buy the long books that I want to read but doubt I’ll have the time or stamina for.  So far I’ve listened to 11.22.63, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Fin & Lady, Ready Player One, The End of the Affair, The Goldfinch, and The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog.  I’m currently listening to Whistling Past the Graveyard for book club (if they don’t give up on me!).  Love listening in the car, still, but much less commuting time so now it’s while puttering around.  Love it!
  • Movies – always thankful for movies!  Movie nights at home on the couch, movies while trying to sleep, movies in the theatre with a tub of popcorn.  Love them!  This month in the theatre I’ve seen Neighbors (pretty funny, Seth Rogan stuff) and Belle (interesting story about Britain’s position in the slave trade business).  From Netflix on DVD I’ve seen Here Comes the Boom (very funny and fun!) and Love Is All You Need (unexpected story about Danish people traveling to Italy for a wedding, with Pierce Brosnon! Pretty good!).  Mindless instant viewing includes Drop Dead Diva (series) and The Sweetest Thing (Cameron Diaz craziness that was pretty fun).
  • Of course, Jimmy Fallon always makes me laugh, which is a thing to be greatly thankful for.  Fun stuff.  Look for his clips if you can’t commit to an entire week of shows!  🙂

As usual, I have much to look forward to, as well.  We are working fewer weekends than last summer, so I’m looking forward to that!  I am penciling in fun plans with friends and family – so give a shout if you want to get together!  Let’s make this the best summer ever!

If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance. ~Bern Williams

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!  

Monday Movie Minute…

I saw TWO great movies in the theatre this week – how much fun is that?

The Wehrenberg 100th Anniversary logo (2006).

The Wehrenberg 100th Anniversary logo (2006). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, Jenni and I attempted to celebrate VIP Free Movie Day at the Wehrenberg, but the movie we wanted to see was not included in the freeness of movie day.  But we stuck with our plan to see Captain Phillips – and it was worth it!  Such a tense and stressful movie!  Even though I knew the outcome, it was hard to watch, and the ending was so powerful and emotional.  I highly recommend this movie!

Then, Saturday night (date night!), we saw Gravity (3D) and wow!  I thought the movie was beautiful to watch and, if it’s possible, I was even more tense throughout!  It was a little bit of a “whatever could go wrong did go wrong” story, but going in I knew nothing about it, so it was all a surprise.

Image representing Netflix as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

On Netflix, I’ve seen The Trip on Instant – two British comedians on a foodie road trip.  They are real-life famous comedians (Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon) but it was a mockumentary.  Funny and serious.

On Netflix DVD:

Stories We Tell – a filmmaker re-creates her mother’s life and gets the family to tell the stories they remember.  I sort of fell asleep for a few minutes because it was booooooooring, but it got better and it was actually pretty good.

Loosies – a pickpocket who is trying to pay off his dead father’s debt, attempts to go straight.  It was just ok – sometimes I wonder why the movies in my queue are there.  But I guess sometimes it’s nice to have just a brainless, silly movie to watch.  I don’t recommend this one, but it was ok.

What next?  Hmmm… Movies Coming Soon that I’d like to see include About Time, The Wolf on Wall Street, The Book Thief, and Delivery Man (because Vince Vaughn?).  My Netflix Queue includes The Kings of Summer, Frances Ha! and Smashed… among 331 others. 🙂

How about you?  Have you seen anything good?  Have anything you want to see?

Snapshot of a Sunday 4/7/13

Frankie and Johnny (1991 film)

Frankie and Johnny (1991 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am thankful that I didn’t make a lot of plans for my weekend off.  I was so looking forward to having three days in a row off – Friday, Saturday AND Sunday! So when I woke Thursday morning feeling a little stuffy and scratchy and sniffly, I hoped it wasn’t true.  I bought salt refills for my Neti pot and hoped for the best.

Friday was a busy and fun-filled day, even though I was sneezing and sniffly all day and a true mess by 10:00 PM.  I went to PT (very little knee pain anymore!), got a relaxing facial leaving me looking positively dewy, and then went to happy hour for a Perfect Margarita followed by dinner at Whistle Binkies on the Lake with co-workers.  That is a good day off. 🙂  But I do apologize for being all sniffly at the end of the night – no one wants to be around that!

Yesterday brought a 4.5 hour work meeting on my day off.  It was fine, although, again I apologized to all for being all sniffly at the end of the meeting! Then I was on the couch, finally watching “The Intouchables” on DVD (yay! just as good the second time!) and then going to Zorba’s for a Greek dinner with Jennifer!  Flaming cheese and souvlaki – yummy!  And the soup… delicious!   Last night was the new episode of Smash on Saturday night!  It was fun to watch.  Oh, that scamp Jimmy.  It’s so predictable, but good fun.

Today I’ve been lying on the couch, watching movies, eating soup, and drinking water and a pot of hot tea.  Tomorrow will be better.  Right?

Cover of "Frankie & Johnny"

Cover of Frankie & Johnny

But in the mean time, Netflix has been keeping me company.  For some reason I have an itch to watch some old Al Pacino movies.  So I put “Scent of a Woman” at the top of my DVD queue and today watched “Frankie and Johnny” on Netflix Instant.  Good stuff!  Loved the movie in 1991 and love it still today!  Last week I recorded “Valley Girl” at mom and dad’s, and really think that I need to add that DVD to my collection!  Such a great movie… ah, Nic Cage before his fake-y teeth.  So dreamy. 🙂

Looking forward to:

  • Mad Men season starting tonight!
  • Cosmo Girls this Thursday – some fun adventures will be had!
  • Finishing “Gone with the Wind” – I’m over 600 pages!  It will happen!
  • and having this cold behind me!

Hope you have had a fun Sunday!

March Movie Report

movies

I love movies!

It’s been a while since I did a post exclusively about movies.  The list is quite long since my last film post just over 6 weeks ago and most of them were in the last few weeks  as I’ve been hanging close to home and resting my knee.

In the Theatre:  

Oz The Great and Powerful – Saw this last Wednesday (free popcorn at the Wehrenberg!) with Jen.  We didn’t go for 3D,  because isn’t that getting a little old?  Everything does not have to be in 3D.  This movie did not need to be seen in 3D but it was obvious when they were playing it up.  James Franco is pretty cute, the China Doll was adorable, the monkey was a great side-kick, and it was fun to think about the land of Oz pre-Dorothy, and pre-Wizard!

Quartet – Saw this today and loved it!  I want to live there or a place like it, say in 30-35 years, so I’m going to start building my community!  The home for retired musicians was filled with the ever-constant presence of beautiful music, people rehearsing for fun opera or showtunes, and croquet and walks on the grounds.  Sounds blissful, eh?  The characters were lovable and the story was fun.  And no one died. 🙂

Liz on the Satellite Sisters podcast was talking about creating her own retirement community for her future and I was thinking about that throughout the entire movie.  Instead of moving to some canned community, she was going to create hers, inviting the people she loves to spend time with and figuring out where they want to live and hiring someone to live with them to prepare meals.  So, who’s in?  🙂  You know I’m a great social organizer!  I will ensure that there will always be something to do!

From Netflix Instant:

The Giant Mechanical Man – What a nice little find this was!  Starring Jenna Fisher (the Office) and Chris Messina (more about him later!), the movie is about not fitting in and not knowing what to do “with the rest of your life.”  Chris is a street artist and Jenna struggles keeping temp jobs.  Family and friends try to assist, but they don’t fit their mold.  Very sweet movie.

Butter – And what a hoot this was!  I saw it on preview somewhere and saved it to my Netflix queue.  Surprising cast in this film about the competitive butter sculpting world in Iowa!  The cast includes Jennifer Garner, the guy from Modern Family (Ty Burrell), Alicia Silverstone, Rob Corddry, and a surprise appearance by Hugh Jackman.  And a funny and sweet plot about a pre-teen girl who is living with yet another foster family.  Good stuff.

7 Up, 7 Plus Seven14 Up, 21 Up, 28 Up – These British documentaries are interesting, although I’m not watching them fully engaged but while multi-tasking.  In the first they meet a group of 7 year olds and they follow up with them every 7 years.  I believe that 56 Up was just released, so I have some catching up to do and I’m glad they’re all available!  Just a “slice of life” for a small group of people in Britain.

From Netflix DVD:
I have mentioned a few of these in previous posts, so these will be brief.  

Beasts of the Southern Wild – Fascinating story about people living in the “bathtub” of Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina.

Ruby Sparks – Did not keep my attention.  Interesting premise – a writer meets a girl like the one he is writing about and then realizes that she is, in fact, the girl he is writing about.  I don’t know what I was multi-tasking with this day, but I let it play without re-watching it.

Eulogy – Liked this neat little movie with many unexpected stars!  

Undertaking Betty –

 

Celeste and Jesse Forever – Starring Rashida Jones (also one of the writers!) and Jason Samberg, these BFF get married and then divorced, while remaining BFFs.  It is awkward and uncomfortable for their friends and gets in the way of their ‘moving on” so they have to figure out a new relationship.  Also starring Chris Messina!

 

Thirteen Conversations About One Thing Well, the one thing is HAPPINESS, but it’s not a very happy movie at all.  Lots of story lines and stars. Not a recommendation.

 

From DVR: 

 

Ira & Abby – Starring Chris Messina (!) as a neurotic guy who gets dumped by his psychotherapist after many years, and Jennifer Westfeldt as the loosey-goosey gym membership salesperson.  They meet and feel a connection and decide to get married.  Lots of talking in this film, crazy family members, and a pretty fun story.

Next!

Next!

 

Coming up on DVD:

 

The Sessionsabout a quadraplegic’s experience with a sex therapist and The Intouchables (again!), the lovely French (?) movie about a quadraplegic’s caregivers.  Wow.  That’s interesting, eh?  Good timing.  

 

I have purchased Anna and will plan a viewing party soon!

 

Ira and Abby

Ira and Abby (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Movies starring Chris Messina:
So as I was watching the third movie starring Chris Messina lately, I decided to look him up on IMDB and see how many of his movies I have seen.  He has been in a lot and I have seen a fair number of them!  It is surprisingly a lot!  I counted 30 MOVIES on IMDB (he has also been on several TV shows).  

 

Of those 30, I have seen:   Argo, Ruby Sparks, The Giant Mechanical Man, Celeste & Jesse Forever, Julie & Julia, Greenberg, Away We Go, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Ira & Abby, Made of Honor, You’ve Got Mail, and Vicky Christina Barcelona

That’s 12 movies through the years!  Crazy, odd statistic.

Well, that’s enough. More than enough!  

Let me know if you’d like to be in on the retirement community I’m planning!

 

 

What’s Up?!

What I’ve Been Watching:

  • Smash (NBC Tuesday Nights) – It’s so fun to watch this show about putting on a Broadway show.  There’s much that is predictable, but the music and locations are so fun.  
  • Late Night with Jimmy Fallon – Still loving this show and never miss it.  Prince was on Friday night and that was a blast!  He looked like he was having a great time, which doesn’t seem typical Prince to me.  He was smiling so big… maybe being on Jimmy’s show makes everyone feel that way.  I know I am always smiling throughout his show… good stuff!
  • Eulogy (from Netflix) – a very fun movie with a lot of people in it!  Ray Romano, Hank Azaria, Debra Winger, Zooey Deschanel, Rip Torn… and more.  The patriarch of the family passes away and the oldest granddaughter is asked to read his eulogy.  His four children have different views of him and their relationships today are strained and difficult.  Pretty good stuff.
  • Undertaking Betty (from Netflix) – Brenda Blethyn is so fun.  This is a crazy story about a small Welsh town with two funeral homes in
    Plots with a View

    Plots with a View (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    competition with each other.  One funeral director reaches out to his unrequited love and they decide the only way they can be together is if she fakes her death.  Very crazy.  And Naomi Watts?  Christopher Walken?  Craziest.  🙂

  • The Commitments (from my library) – While watching Once with Deadra, I read that Glen Hansard was in The Commitments – one of my all time favorite movies! – so I had to watch it again.  Still an amazing movie with amazing songs.  Glen doesn’t have a big role in the show and doesn’t sing much at all, but it is a strong movie.   What are the chances – two of my favorite movies of all time have a few things in common!

What I’ve Been Reading:

  • Gone With the Wind – Finally started this and about 100 pages in.  I’m sure that I have watched the movie in its entirety only twice in my life, but it’s amazing how it is so firmly in my mind as I read it. I can hear Scarlett’s mama’s voice in my head as I read the words.  I can picture the barbeque (which I’m just coming up to) and Scarlett and her admirers. I look forward to reading more and then having a viewing party!
  • My City, My New York: Famous New Yorkers Share Their Favorite Places – A fun little “guide book” that Sarah bought and I borrowed.  I’ve been taking notes, Troy, so will have some little additions to my itinerary when I visit next!

What I’m Listening to:

  • “Nice Work If You Can Get It” has a great Broadway Cast Recording!  Love the Gershwin tunes!
  • Noisetrade is introducing me to a lot of new musicians for the cost of my email address.   – just downloaded a SXSW sampler. Love samplers!
  • NPR Music also has a free download of 100 songs featuring artists who will be at SXSW.  Love NPR!  Good through the beginning of April!
  • Still listening to my weekly stash of podcasts – Pop Culture Happy Hour, Satellite Sisters, Wait, Wait!, Filmspotting, The Moth, …
  • Listened to a few hours worth of Gaelic Storm via their youtube channel – good stuff!

What I’m Looking Forward to:

  • It’s March!  Spring is right around the corner!
  • Gaelic Storm this weekend – can’t wait!  “What’s the rumpus!” Guess I’m going to find out!
  • Cosmo Girls Thursday – stargazing!
  • There are some movies that I look forward to seeing (Oz! Admission!), but many of them are on DVD already (Anna Karenina! Celeste and Jesse Forever!  The Sessions!)!  More to come on that front!

What about you?  What’s up?

 

 

 

First February Friday Film Footnotes

I know I have mentioned a few films in my past few posts, but thought I’d do a full-fledged Film Footnote.  It is Friday the First of February, after all.

“The Impossible” – Saw this with Marissa at the late-late show on a Wednesday.  Before going, I read a bit about the family the movie is centered on.  It  would be interesting to read the book that they wrote, as it is very amazing how they came though the horrific situation as whole as they appear.  Having lived through a national disaster, as well as spending time thinking about a crisis response to a disaster, it is hard to imagine the response needed to a disaster of this magnitude.  The underwater scenes were painful to watch; the search for family was painful to watch; the difficult hospital situation was painful to watch.  I guess, it was painful to watch!  The middle son broke my heart when he said, “But I’ve never taken care of anyone before” after he is asked to take care of his younger brother.  Wow.  I cried throughout the movie and thought that the flashback underwater scene was a bit much.  I can recommend this movie, even as it isn’t the kind of movie that I would usually be drawn to.

“Silver Linings Playbook” – I just can’t say enough about this movie.  I saw it a second time last week and can’t wait for its next viewing!  I will refrain from purchasing another ticket and will wait until it comes out on DVD, but it is truly my favorite movie from 2012.  I’m glad it is nominated for so many Oscars and I hope that it takes a few!  Although it tackles the serious subject of mental illness, it is happy and light and funny.  It is sooo feel-good.  The first time I saw it, I was surprised by some of the plot.  No spoilers here.  It is just a clever story.  I ordered the book and will see if it lives up to the movie!

From Netflix:

What to Expect When You’re Expecting – a second viewing for me.  I saw this in the theatre and was pleasantly surprised.  It isn’t great literature or film, but it is a cute movie, well-done.

The Ides of March – political intrigue, not my usual cup of tea, but this was well-done as well.  Ryan Gosling and George Clooney, oh my!  But aside from being easy to look at, it had a good story.

In Honor of Pride & Prejudice being 200 years old:

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

A scene with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy after a ...

A scene with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy after a swim in a lake is recognized as “one of the most unforgettable moments in British TV history”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Pride & Prejudice- BBC version” – I own this and thought it deserved a viewing upon finishing reading “Persuasion” by Austen and in honor of the 200th year since publication of the book.  It is just so delightful.  Colin Firth is a perfect Darcy; watching him play disagreeable and prideful and then seeing the love in his eyes when Elizabeth plays piano… amazing.  Ah…. such good stuff.  All 5 hours of it.   I’ll watch the most recent version sometime soon, too.

Coming next from Netflix: “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and Ruby Sparks.”  Can’t wait to see what the Oscar buzz is about for Beasts and think that Ruby will be a fun one to watch.  

What about you? What have you seen lately?

 

Movie Monday!

I haven’t seen anything in the theatres for a few weeks (not that I haven’t wanted to!) but had good Netflix viewing time…

Movie night

Movie night (Photo credit: Andrei Z)

Blu-Ray DVDs – so fun!

  • Safety Not Guaranteed – The ad: “Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 91 Ocean View, WA 99393. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.”   Answered by magazine writers looking for a story.  Mark Duplas was very enjoyable!  Jake Johnson (from New Girl) was unlikable and sad.  Aubrey Plaza was just crazy enough to join in the fun.  Nice little movie!
  • Brave – beautiful in Blu–Ray!  I didn’t fully tune in to the story as I was multi-tasking, but got the gist and enjoyed the Scottish accents, men in kilts, and bears.
  • Liberal Arts – recommended to me as a Josh Radnor fan (How I Met Your Mother, happythankyoumoreplease).  Again, I wasn’t fully attentive.  It was good but not as good as happythankyoumoreplease in my mind.  Thirty-something guy goes back to his alma mater for professor’s retirement party and falls for a student.  Sixteen year age difference may not be the deal-breaker, but roommates and cafeteria lunches may be.  Maybe it’s a guy movie.

Netflix Instant:

  • Sleepwalk With Me – I watched this on PPV and re-watched it on Netflix instant.  I’m tempted to buy the autographed blu-ray from the star, but we’ll see.  Just an enjoyable look at a comedian who is avoiding facing his life.
  • Serious Moonlight Meg Ryan.  Timothy Hutton.  Married.  He’s planning to leave her.  She’s planning to surprise him by coming home from the city early for the weekend.  She realizes (by the rose petals everywhere) that he is unfaithful and as he is trying to leave she throws a pot, hitting him in the head, rendering him unconscious.  He wakes, duct taped to a chair. Comedy ensues.  🙂  Just kidding. It’s not funny, but it was not a bad movie.  But what is up with Meg Ryan?  Those lips take up 1/3 of her face.  Poor thing…

Coming up:

  • Seeing Silver Linings Playbook with Deadra – yay!  The previews continually to make me happy, so I can’t wait to see it again!
  • Bringing movies to Deadra’s for some girl-time while she is recuperating – Magic Mike, Once, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and the Ides of March.  
  • Still wanting to see The Impossible (if I can hack it – hear the tsunami is difficult to watch).
  • Before Midnight is the third movie by Richard Linklater about the same couple – played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. In Before Sunrise (1995) they meet on a train and after spending the night walking around Vienna they talk about meeting in 6 months, after they tie up loose ends in their lives.  In Before Sunset (2004) they meet again, when she sees that he is speaking at a book signing (or something) in France and neither of them knows if the other showed up at their planned meeting.  And now, almost 20 years after the first, it premieres at Sundance.  Very exciting.  Can’t wait til it comes to a “theatre near me.”
    66ème Festival de Venise (Mostra) Ethan Hawke

    66ème Festival de Venise (Mostra) Ethan Hawke (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

     

What is your movie news?