11.12.13 – What is Making Me Happy

First, the date.  11-12-13 – How fun is that?  I guess it’s the big wedding date of the year – what will next year’s big date be?  12-13-14 I guess.

Other things making me happy –

On the reading front…

  • I’m feeling a little bit like I got my reading groove back!  Yay!
  • Since “Freud’s Mistress,” I’ve read “Falling Together” by Marisa de los Santos,
  • “Paris was the Place” by Susan Conley (see review here) and
  • “My One Square Inch of Alaska” by Sharon Short (for FC book group next week).
  • I’m currently reading (and flying through!) “Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy” by Helen Fielding,
  • and listening on audio (slowly) “Finn & Lady” by Cathleen Schine.
  • Woot!

    QUESTLOVE (Photo credit: thetortmaster)
  • I think the moral to this story for me is that I need to read books of my choosing rather than for book tours and blogging for a while. I have enjoyed the books I’ve read for book tours, but find that I read them even slower than normal and the blogging aspect adds even more time.
  • Hopefully I can crank out (and enjoy!) a few more before the end of 2013!
  • Next on my reading list are “Pope Joan” for the ED book club,
  • and “Mo’Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove” by Questlove and Ben Greenman.
  • Then maybe I’ll FINALLY read “Winter Garden” by Kristin Hannah, and some other seasonal reads.

On the film front:

  • On DVD or streaming on Netflix:  “The Oranges,” – a slightly disturbing story about a college aged girl who starts dating her dad’s best friend and neighbor; “Springbreakers,” – a very disturbing story about spring break gone awry, jumpy and weird; “Bachelorrette” – a story about a bride who asks high school friends to be in her wedding, even though they were mean to her in high school, interestinglly famous cast;  “Mike Birbiglia‘s: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” – stand up routine by this guy… love his stuff;
  • and in the theatre on a mid-week date night, “Enough Said.”  Elaine Bennis (Julie Louis-Dreyfuss) and Tony Soprano (James Gandolfino) meet and begin dating.  It’s James Gandolfino’s last film and it was a very sweet story.  Lots of good discussions – in the movie and after.

On the social front:

  • Lots of great dates with Chris – whether it’s cooking a meal, eating out, going to football games, exploring the SPAM Museum, watching DVDs or going to movies, we have a good time.
  • Met some girls at 4 Daughters’ Winery for a delicious afternoon lunch and conversation!  Was a great time and hope to do it again soon!
  • Had 1:1 time with great friends, as well – Beth came to Rochester and we hit consignment shops and had a great lunch and some coffee, had a birthday lunch with Ellen last week, and Vicki and I shared a bottle of wine in Mom and Dad’s basement, discussing life!
  • The SPAM Museum with Chris and Marissa was a ton o’ fun… I don’t know what it is about that place!  Maybe the SPAMples we ate throughout our time there, the gift store with everything SPAM you can imagine, or the knowledge that was absorbed, as evidenced by the SPAM game show.  Fun fun times.
  • I went to the ED Book Club for the first time last night to discuss a book I recommended to them and read in 1998!  I didn’t re-read it but read the SparksNotes for Angela’s Ashes, and there was great discussion with people I don’t know very well.  Was a fun night and I’ll go again!
  • Feel like I’ve been working a lot, but I guess no more than normal.  Just recovering from overnights, so a little brain dead yet today.
Spam Museum
Spam Museum (Photo credit: isNoOp)

And so I’ll close… I feel a little bad that I’m not participating in the month of Gratitude leading up to Thanksgiving… the days fly by and there is always something to be thankful for.  I’m working this Thanksgiving, so I am trying to figure out what I can do to celebrate in some way.  I’m thankful for TimeHop App which tells me what I posted on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare for the last 5 years, so that I can remember all the good things that have gone on before… Life is good!

What is making YOU happy??

Book Club Read – “The Night Circus”

Reading at the end of the dock
Reading at the end of the dock

I always complain that it’s hard to get a lot of reading done at the end of the dock, because it’s difficult to read with your eyes closed with all the sun worshiping that goes on!  (NOT really something to complain about!)
It’s just  so much easier to chat with those around you, than to make the effort to read in the sunlight.

But I did dive into this book over the 4th of July holiday and finished it right before I walked out the door for book club today!

We had SO much fun at book club (as usual), but tonight I had to share a few pics from the day.  Some of the book clubbers have husbands who like to tease that we are a drinking club with a book problem, but I said today that we really don’t live up to that reputation!  We do love a good theme and always bring fun food, so maybe we are a food club with a book problem!

book club
Book Club Treats

Jill set the theme with the black and red and white decor.
The popcorn and chocolate sweets added to the ambiance, as did the cocktails!
(I didn’t say we didn’t have drinks at book club!  The rhubarb slush was delicious!)

book club food
The spread was delicious – as usual!

We had delicious grilled hotdogs, fresh fruit, chips and dip, cheese and crackers, macaroni and cheese corn (yummy!) and a terrific taco salad.

Chocolate mice dessert book club
Chocolate Mice (ala The Night Circus)

And for dessert these delicious and decorative chocolate mice!  How fun is that?  Of course it’s a treat you can pick up at Le Cirque des Rêves, but also can be homemade in your very own kitchen!  And they were delicious!

And every few years we like to take a photo.  It’s been a few, and one of our gals was missing, but we had a blast taking these photos.  Jill’s camera will take 7 shots in a row, and that is great fun.  We had different poses for each shot, each one sillier than the next.  But mine was just a simple 10 second delay… we look good!

book club picture Night Circus reveours
Book Club July 2013

We also discussed the book, because we never have book club without discussing the book, and although some didn’t like it as much as others, there was great discussion.  We certainly didn’t pay attention to the Shakespearean references, but maybe we will on a re-read!

Good fun!

What will I read next???  Whatever it is, I look forward to it!

Snapshot of a Sunday

What I’m Reading: I finished The Great Gatsby for book club next week.  I look forward to discussing it and eventually seeing the new movie this

84 Charing Cross Road (film)
84 Charing Cross Road (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

spring!  I have done some book ordering lately, so a bunch of new books arrived.  The first that I picked up and devoured was 84, Charing Cross Road.  Wow! I learned about it through the blogger Wallace who reads it for her birthday yearly.  It was so intriguing and only available in print (no virtual book this!). I’m so glad I bought it, because after I lend it to all my friends to devour, I will re-read it yearly!  It was tempting to re-read it immediately after finishing, but I will let it out of my grasp for a bit.  So unexpectedly fun!  I will now look for the movie based on the book!

Other books that I now own include: A Week in Winter (Maeve Binchy‘s final book), Apple of My Eye (same author as 84, Charing Cross Road but about NYC! Yay!), Silver Linings Playbook (hope it’s as good as the movie), and How to be a Woman (Caitlyn Moran – British comedian, cheap book!).  Gone with the Wind is waiting to be started, but I think it will wait until after I read Maeve’s book.  It’s only fair, right?  Gotta pay respects.  I learned that my 13 year old nephew is reading GWTW so there is further incentive to get started on it!

What I’m Watching: Last night I watched Beasts of the Southern Wild.  It is so fascinating.  I didn’t love it, but I was moved by it.  I am amazed by the community who lives in the Bathtub and I’ll have to do some research on that.  The little gal did a great job and will be fun to watch in the future!  I’m also excited to see the final episode of Downton Abbey.  I won’t see it tonight (as I’m going to the Book of Mormon!) but I’ll watch it as soon as I can.  Last week’s episode was great and feel-good.  Hoping for a good ending to this season!  Can’t think of anything else that I’ve watched lately… I also bought the (cheap) Blu-Ray DVD of Becoming Jane, which I remember liking a lot.  I’ll watch that along with the latest Pride and Prejudice movie sometime soon – maybe this week during my overnight-shift-self-care routine.

What I’m Doing: Last week I hosted a baby shower and it was a lot of fun.  Great to socialize with co-workers outside of work and fun to meet the mama-to-be’s mother and sister.  Good food, good times.  I took a few days off this weekend, so I shopped for shoes (ugh), had coffee with SDL, and had a slumber-party with VN; I watched littlest nephew play BB, ate taco pizza and watched Rochester Roller Derby with Marissa, Gracie and some friends.  And now I’m heading to the Cities (well in a little bit) to stay with Deadra and John and to have a delicious dinner before seeing the Book of Mormon!  Yay!  Can’t wait.  We’ve been looking forward to this for quite some time – anticipation of great events is always fun!  And I’ll still get to choir and book club this week – sounds perfect, eh?

That’s about it for me!  What are you Reading, Watching, and Doing?

A Little Bookish Post

I haven’t written about books for a while, mostly because I haven’t been a rock star in the book-reading department lately!  I spent a lot of my August reading time catching up on my magazine reading.  There is no way I will meet my already-modified reading goal for 2012, but I’m ok with that.  I’ve enjoyed the books that I’ve read this summer, choosing fluff, classics, and good old recommended fiction.

The Shoemaker's Wife

The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani

Isn’t that a beautiful cover?  I wouldn’t mind a poster of it in my “library” upstairs.  The orange would totally clash with my cherry-colored walls, but that would be cool, too.  I love books by Trigiani.  I am looking forward to a walking food tour of Greenwich Village with her tour group!  I’m going to TRY to re-read one of her books before I go!
Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk by Freya North

This was one of those little fluffy books that I read for some mindlessness.  It was “meh,” according to my Goodreads review. 🙂  Just a little too long.


Thanks For The Memories

Thanks For The Memories by Cecelia Ahern

Another mindless book which I picked up cheaply at B&N a while ago.  It had an “intriguing premise and surreal plot,” according to my Goodreads review.  Deja Vu 🙂


The Importance of Being ErnestView the full version of this book online

The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde

I listened to this on audio (soooooooo delightful!) and read it free on Kindle (sooooooooooooo witty!) and participated meagerly in Wallace’s 3 week readalong.  And then I watched the movie.  Such good stuff!  Why did I wait so long to read some Wilde?

The Art of Mindful Living

Mindfulness for Beginners

Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Two audio books read by their authors who are “gurus” in this area.  I am feeling a little scattered this summer, so it was good to listen to these and I hope that I can continue to think about them and put mindfulness into practice!

The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - CityView a preview of this book online

The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious – and Perplexing – City by David Lebovitz

How fun! This was a fast read, because it was filled with recipes that I’ll never make or already have a good enough recipe for thanks to other great books filled with recipes.  But he is a hoot.  I think that if I go to Paris, I will try to look him up and make him buy me lunch.  I would have to prove myself a worthy dinner companion, but I think he would do it!

Beautiful Ruins

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

And then I bought this for Ferragosto.  Set in a small village in Italy in the 60s and jumping forward to Hollywood today, it was a gem of a story – “Beautiful and unpredictable – just how I like ’em” is how I put it on Goodreads.

And now… The Chaperone

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

I am enjoying this a lot!  Only about 1/3 through (I think – dang iPad), but a nice and engaging story.

FC book club is setting up a date, and we are supposed to have read “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” which I’ve heard is not too engaging.  I’ll skim it and then we’ll move on.  Book club is mostly about connecting with those women, right?  🙂

I think I’ll try to participate in the Book Club that the Emergency Department has going.  I’ve read almost all of the books they’re reading, but that’s ok.  Again, it’s about connecting, right?

And speaking of connecting, very excited to start Year Three of the Cosmo Girls tomorrow night!  Ready to dive in and organize the year!  Yay!

Well, off to read!  Haven’t said that for a while, but I mean it!  🙂

If you’ve made it to the end and have any ideas for other BOOKISH things to do while I’m in NYC, please let me know!  I plan to do that book/walking/food tour in Greenwich Village and to find The Strand bookstore.  Anything else that will be easy and fun?


A. A. Milne – Now We Are Six

Young Milne with bear

Last night before I went to bed, I read that it was A. A. Milne’s birthday – January 18, 1882.  I have always been a huge fan and still count “Now We Are Six” as one of my favorite books.  It was given to me as a gift when I turned six and it has been a gift that I give to the six year olds in my life.

It is filled with smart and witty poetry on many topics that children (and child-like adults) love to read about – kings and dragons, shipwrecks and friendships, fooling adults and questioning adults.  Most of the poems are long-ish stories and are begging to be read aloud.  For example:

Christopher Robin

Had wheezles
And sneezles,
They bundled him
His bed.
They gave him what goes
With a cold in the nose,
And some more for a cold
in the head.
They wondered
If wheezles
Could turn
Into measles,
If sneezles
Would turn
Into mumps;
They examined his chest
For a rash,
And the rest
Of his body for swellings and lumps.  

Don’t you want to know what happens?  There are four more stanzas of the poem and a clever, funny ending.  Ah.  Good stuff.  The Knight Whose Armour Didn’t Squeak, King John’s Christmas, The Old Sailor, and King Hillary and the Beggarman are all great stories, and the list goes on.  I’m sure I appreciate it more now than I did when I was six.  I know I included a few of the poems in my “poetry notebooks” in 9th and 10th grades, favorite poems we collected and illustrated (by cutting up old greeting cards and magazines – remember those pre-clip-art days?).

I also remember back when the internet was brand new finding a game of Pooh Sticks online and being so happy that I would be able to look at classic Pooh illustrations and learn about the man who wrote these books.

Does anyone else have a love of A. A. Milne’s work?  What is your favorite?

Off to read!

Sense of Connection: Readalongs

WalkingAs you know, I’m participating in the Anna Karenina readalong, hosted by Wallace.  It’s fun to read at the same pace as a group of people and to have discussions along the way.  Especially with the size of this book!

The Walkie Talkie Book Club was founded on readalongs, really.  My friend, Beth, and I used to walk daily (almost) and then we started reading the same book and discussing it on our daily walks.  It just adds something to discuss something happening in the moment, rather than at book club every five weeks.

It’s a nice way to connect – with a good book and with good friends and with good readers.

Off to read!

A Sense of Self

Found Words: Question Marks
Image by rosefirerising via Flickr

Wow.  So this isn’t going to be easy, is it?  A Sense of Self…  What does that mean?  I think that I have done a lot of self-reflection, especially lately, but at many different points in my life.  Lately I’ve been thinking about what the next part of my life will bring – new challenges and adventures, new people and opportunities. Although I am a person who likes to talk things out with others, I also am a person who trusts instincts and makes decisions on “what feels right.”  Is that because I have a good sense of who I am and what I can do?  Is that what good instincts are from?

When I googled “sense of self,” a webpage came up about how reading expands our sense of self.  I love reading so I read on… It goes on to say that when we are reading a book, we identify with the characters of the book and psychologically become part of their community.  We become vampires or students at Hogwarts or women of Biblical times.  And we can get as much satisfaction from these relationships as real-life relationships.  It comes from a desire to belong to a group.  Interesting to think about, eh?  I’ve always encouraged people to “feed their heads” with good things, because it would be awful to identify yourself with a group of racists or murderers.  Hmmmm…  Stuff to think about.

So where does this go?  I guess I’ll keep thinking about who I am and what I want and what I believe and will keep writing about it from time to time (on Tuesdays for a while).

And in the meantime, I found this on facebook from a few years ago:  25 Things about me.  I should update it – maybe that will be my assignment for this week – but it’s a glimpse into February 2009.  🙂

Off to read!

25 Things about Danette Grimsrud

by Danette Grimsrud on Saturday, February 14, 2009 at 4:12pm

1. I love lists. Some that I’m currently working on: books I want to read, movies I want to see, books I have read, movies I have seen. And see #2.

2. I turned 40 in 2008 and I had a list of 40 THINGS TO DO BEFORE TURNING 40. I didn’t complete the list (durn flood) but had a good time trying! Now I’m working on a list of 40 THINGS TO DO IN MY 40s. That gives me some time.

3. I remember weird things and forget lots of things.

4. I have a Christmas letter written that I haven’t sent out yet. Maybe this weekend? Yikes.

5. If given a choice, I will always choose eat out at a Chinese or Asian restaurant.

6. My daughter wouldn’t friend me at first and had to create a “family” facebook page so that she could join in all our fun. :-p

7. I love my job but it does have its heavy moments. Especially lately. I just want to bring kids home with me.

8. During my commute I mostly listen to podcasts. I’m very out of touch with the “pop” music scene right now. Podcasts I listen to regularly: Weekend America (last episode was 1/31 (sad sad), NPR Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, This American Life, The Satellite Sisters/The Chaos Chronicles. Others I hit now and again: anything Ricky Gervais, Oprah, iTunes book chat with authors, The Flight of the Conchords videocasts.

9. I can’t stand sports on television, with the exception of soccer. I think that the commentators for soccer don’t talk much so it’s just crowd noise. I haven’t watched a lot but during the World Cup enjoyed it a lot. Love to watch almost anything live. Although I think I’d never watch boxing or fighting.

10. I was a “Hot Box Dancer” in Guys and Dolls when I was 12.

11. I love to sing and sang a solo in a concert almost two years ago. It was the song, “Crossword Puzzle.”

12. I love crossword puzzles. But I bought a book of them recently that was just stupid. I was doing the NY Times puzzles for almost a year. Could complete a MONDAY puzzle without looking for answers. Even did a TUESDAY once. Never ever a SUNDAY.

13. I love to travel. I would love to plan trips for people.

14. I get great pleasure from sitting in a movie theatre and watching anything fun on the big screen. When I’m there I always wonder why I don’t do it more often. Last weekend was a two-movie weekend – pure bliss.

15. I have been to New York City three times. In 1991 or so with Lisa, in 1999 with Deadra and Marissa and in 2008 with Deadra. I could go back yearly, finances permitting, or even more often, just for a few days. It’s so fun to see the museums, the shows, the people. I don’t think I’d ever get tired of it.

16. I have 368 movies in my Netflix queue. Yikes.

17. I try to not eat at franchise restaurants, especially when I’m in a new place. It’s fun to hit the kitschy little places. My favorite was the little polka-dotted diner somewhere in western Minnesota on the way to Pierre. What a hoot.

18. David Letterman over Jay Leno any day.

19. The song with the highest play count on my iTunes is “Moon River” by Henry Mancini. Out of 5097 items.

20. I collect coffee cups from Broadway Shows. And music from Broadway shows. And programs from Broadway shows I’ve seen. And ticket stubs from movies. Nothing too big or that takes up too much space. Probably could say I collect books and movies and music too, but no snowmen or figurines or anything.

21. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I love anything that celebrates gratitude.

22. I use firefox instead of internet explorer. (Now I’m reaching for things to say!)

23. I have a blog. About my book and movie habits. It’s a form of list-making.

24. I’ve gotten a lot better about getting rid of things. Seeing all your stuff underwater or soaked with water makes it pretty easy to see what is important to keep and what needs to be tossed.

25. This list has taken me entirely too long to write! Am gonna publish it already! No need to make your own list, as you either already have or aren’t going to! 🙂


School Library Days

Here Come the Littles
Here Come the Littles Image via Wikipedia

I read a lot of book blogs and someone posted some questions about memories related to school and books.  I have a lot of memories about reading when younger, so I’ll answer a few of the questions – and hope you will too!

  • What’s your favorite bookish school memory?
  • Did your teacher read aloud to you? Do you remember what book it was?
I vividly remember Mrs. Karnath reading aloud “The Call of the Wild.” I know she read a lot of books aloud but that’s the only title I can remember right now. That was 5th grade!!
  • Do you remember what books you checked out at the school library?
I was just telling my niece that my favorite book that I would check out over and over was “No Flying in the House.” It was about a girl who realizes that she is a fairy and can fly around. You can tell if you’re a fairy if you can kiss your elbow. 🙂 Years later I went to the elementary library and looked for this book and it was gone. I haven’t searched for it online … yet. I also remember reading all the books about the Littles – little people who lived in the walls and had tails. I never read the Borrowers, but think they’re similar genres. And Trixie Beldon books were favorites with me and Maureen.
I loved the library and going there.
I didn’t start going to the public library until after college. It was always such a dark and quiet place with a crabby librarian, so it didn’t feel inviting at all.
  • What was one of the first book reports you did for school?
  • Do you have a favorite book or author that you first heard about from a teacher or school project?
  • Do you have a not-so-pleasant bookish memory from your school days?
How about you? Any answers to the above questions? Any great memories of reading in your school years?
Off to read!

What a high!

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…


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!

April Fool!

alarm clock, bought from IKEA
What is your preferred reading time?

About ten days into spring – and I’m moving along on my Spring Thing List!  I’m almost done with “Heart and Soul” by Binchy and then I’ll start “Saving CeeCee Honeycutt.”  I’m going to attempt all the Harry Potter’s on audio this spring, so that’s an addition to my list!  So far, watched one movie (I only cheated because I forgot which book came first and ordered the wrong one from the library!), listened to book 2 and starting book 3.  Maybe I will get them all read by the time part 2 comes out!  A girl can dream…

I’ve been enjoying setting my alarm clock for about 30 minutes before I need to get up and reading in bed in the morning.  Lately, I am not a great night-time reader – probably all of the blog reading I’m doing at night and the getting up early to read in the morning!  Gotta trim time somewhere!  So I am enjoying reading and have only procrastinated a little too long one morning!  Can’t wait for tomorrow… no alarm!

Things that made me smile this week:

  • Finally admitted that I can’t grow anything in my dark downstairs so moved the herbs to my bedroom.  I don’t know if there’s hope, but we’ll see.
  • Improv Everywhere – a little Friday night fun.
  • Laughing at my crabbiness on Tuesday
  • Marissa’s April Fool’s joke!
  • Reading in bed
  • Next week’s plans – Mexican food and Cosmo Girls!
  • Tomorrow night’s plans – the Minnesota RollerGirls!
  • Fake Baking.  Just a little light therapy.

And now, books on my list:(I’ve added to the list… it’s still a work in progress!  And we’ll see… it’s getting more and more ambitious!)

  • Mockingbird
  • The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
  • Heart and Soul
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey
  • Fly Away Home
  • Winter’s Garden
  • Harry Potter (2-8)
  • Jane Eyre
  • Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

How are you doing on your spring reading?  What is your preferred time of day to read?  And what made you smile this last week?

Well, off to read!