#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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February Fairly Flew!

Time just keeps “March”ing on, doesn’t it?  Hard to believe we are moving into the end of the first quarter of 2015 – and creeping up on the 6 month anniversary of my wedding/birthday!

So far #marriedlife2015 is just grand.  We both work crazy hours at our job, which means we have random days off during the week and every other weekend off together.  We try to make the most of our time off.  In January, we had a daytrip to LaCrosse, WI where we met Chris’s friend from high school who is moving from Madison to Rhode Island in a few months.  We visited the Dahl Automotive Museum and Pearl Street Brewery, Buzzard Billy’s and the Starllte Lounge and then drove to the Ponderosa for movie time by the fireplace.

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Two weeks later we drove to Madison to see them before Tien moved mid-February.  We weren’t able to make the going away party, so had our own time with them, which was very fun.  Chris and I got there early and enjoyed a Restaurant Week restaurant, a Mustard Museum, and then we enjoyed a pub meal before retreating to their bar for darts and drinks.  Saturday we walked on State Street, went to the Madison Modern Museum of Art and then visited my old “haunts” – Ella’s Deli and Few Street!  Was quite a blast from the past.  My old stomping grounds revolved around a 4 year old, so they weren’t too exciting, but it was a great reminiscence.  We also had a delicious Vietnamese meal before we travelled back to Rochester.  It was a great weekend.  Next time we go there it will be to drop Chris off for his road trip to Rhode Island / New Hampshire with Tony!  Less than a month away!

Mom, Marissa, Gracie and I had a little daytrip to the Cities for Mom’s birthday in early February.  We went to Marissa’s apartment and said hello to the kitties, and then went to an art open house at Pam Weisdorf’s home  Afterwards we had a delicious hibachi meal and avoided all malls.  It was a nice little road trip!

In January, Chris’s new little granddaughter was born – Emilee Ashlyn.  What fun to hold a baby!  And what fun to witness Chris’s discomfort at the same.  He says he’s afraid he’ll drop her. She is a little peanut, but growing every day, as babies are supposed to do.  We took her big sister, Kaydee, to Soccer World one bitterly cold morning and played during their open gym time.  That was a hoot.  Fun to be inside, warm, and running around on fake grass.

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January and February means there is basketball almost every day of the week if you want.  It was fun to watch Rees, Gracie and Trajan play basketball.  And fun to witness Gunnar sign with SDSU for his collegiate football career. And I made it to section wrestling to see Trevor wrestle a few!  Phew, there is an abundance of sports in the winter!

February also means SocialICE – a yearly festival of the cold!  They moved it back a few weeks, so it coincided with Marissa’s birthday weekend.  They were hoping that it would be warmer, but it just wasn’t to be.  Chris and I went for about 45 minutes on Thursday night and it was sooo cold (-5).  Hot drinks were not hot, cold drinks were freezing – literally.  Chris had a beersicle.  We eventually moved inside for a cocktail at the Doggery.  Saturday we went back during the daylight with the kids, because the ice sculptures are really fun to see, but it got cold and windy and crowded fast, so we didn’t last long.  We celebrated Marissa’s birthday with the family tradition of pizza and ice cream cake!  Delicious…

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And the Oscars 2015 happened, as well!  I haven’t seen all the movies up for Best Picture, including the winner, but I did see a few.  I already loved The Grand Budapest Hotel and Boyhood.  I thought The Imitation Game was ok and American Sniper was very hard to watch.  I haven’t seen Birdman (the winner), Whiplash (looks painful), Selma or the Theory of Everything.  I have seen a few movies in the theatre in 2015 – Into the Woods (Rees’s “worst movie ever,” but I loved it!), The Imitation Game (just OK, not super-great), Paddington (sooooooo fun… used to LOVE Paddington!), and Still Alice (the book is SO much better – this is a watered down version, but with a great performance).

At home we’ve watched The Long Way Round series (documentary about a motorcycle trip around the world! Love it!  Ewan McGregor, so fun), The One I Love, The Wolf of Wall Street, They Came Together, The Hundred Foot Journey (nice little movie – I read the book!), The Edge of Tomorrow, and 84 Charing Cross Road (such a sweet story about this eccentric woman – so fun! Very true to the book!)

And speaking of books, we had book club last week.  We read The Perfume Collector and had great fun planning our French food theme!  Lots of fromage, French Onion dip, potatoes au gratin, quiche and croissants.  Topped off by French silk pie!  What was the book about?  Hmmm…   It happened in France in the 50s and was about gifts and independence and the role of our senses.  I read it in December, so had trouble with the details but we had a good discussion anyway!

Other books I’ve read in 2015 include: The Beautiful Daughters (see review here – it is released soon!), Yes Please (audiobook read by the author, Amy Poehler!  Loved it!), The Supreme Macaroni Company (Adriana’s book continuing with Valentine’s life in NYC), and Apple of My Eye (sooooo good!  Helene Hanff is quite the character and brings NYC in the 70s to life!  Loved it!)

I can’t decide what to read next… so I’m catching up on magazines.  Looking forward to diving into that next good book, though!

Would love to hear what you’re reading, what you’re watching, what you’re doing, while waiting for spring weather to arrive! Comment below!

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. ~Hal Borland

What’s Making Me Happy 8.8.13

cropped-happiness-quotes-facebook-cover-18.jpgIt is the 14th annual Happiness Happens day today, sponsored by the Secret Society of Happy People!  Thought I’d do a quick “what’s making me happy” list to commemorate.

  • The Timehop app makes me so happy.  I know I’ve mentioned it before (haven’t I?) but it’s an app that shows my social media posts from the last 1-5 years, as well as one thing in history from this day.  Today it showed me my blog posts from the past few August 8ths (about school libraries and domain names), my Facebook posts and pictures (regarding gardens), and my twitter feed.  Reminded me that Xanadu came out 33 years ago today and that it’s been one year since I purchased my own domain name.  All good stuff.
  • My new glasses are making me happy – even though I feel like everyone freaks out a little when they see them!  It’s pretty funny.  They are a statement and so comfortable.  It was such a good buying experience.  I also am so happy to have my rose-colored Coach sunglasses turned into prescription sunglasses!  Since I stopped wearing my contacts, I didn’t get to wear them as much, so now I’m happy to be able to wear them – and to stop squinting while driving!
Yay!  I can wear my rose-colored glasses all the time now!

Yay! I can wear my rose-colored glasses all the time now!

  • It made me happy to dream a little about winning the lottery last night – I actually made a list of what I would do if I won some money.  It clarified the travels I would love to do and how “stuff” isn’t as important as adventures. 🙂
  • The music video of Mumford and Sons is quite a hoot – many smiles from that!  http://youtu.be/rId6PKlDXeU  Click to watch it yourself!  Find the surprise!
  • I was asked to participate in another Book Blogger Book Tour!  I will be receiving a book and review it during their book tour!  September 17 is the date I will be reviewing Freud’s Mistress by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman.  This book tour is sponsored by TLC – the website where I won a box of books from!  Love books!
  • Still on a high from the Superbowl of Books held the last week of July… so much fun.  Maybe instead of twice yearly, we will have to do it quarterly!
  • Anticipating great fun at Ferragosto this year!  I truly think it will be the best ever – and I haven’t even heard from some of you!  🙂  My kitchen is a mess with bags of food packed and ready, my suitcase is out with the important stuff in it (swimsuits and towels!), and I have many Ferragosto-type beverages packed and ready to go!
  • Having every weekend in August off is so exciting!  Last weekend I had a great day long road-trip with this guy I’ve been hanging out with (woot!  maybe more about that later???).  Lots of fun stops, including the Marine Art Museum in Winona, Lakeview Drive-in, the Great River Road (?) in Wisconsin, a winery, River City Days in Red Wing, and dinner with Beth and Doug in Lake City.  The day ended at Whistle Binkies on the Lake, sitting around the firepit with whiskey and bread pudding.  Ah.  It was a good day.  And then to the lake on Sunday with Marissa and Jenny to see the Rochester Grimsrud’s.  A perfect summer weekend off and a preview of my upcoming Ferragosto time!
  • I heard through the grapevine (my mom’s Facebook page) that Marissa is going to be able to move in early, so that last weekend in August that I don’t work I will be able to help her move in and get settled!  Very excited that it can happen, as I work overnights that first weekend in September/Labor Day weekend, so I will be tired and zombie-ish.
  • Speaking of working overnights, that’s what I’m doing now.  Well, I mean last night and tonight and tomorrow night.  But I slept pretty good today – almost 7 hours – and I survived night one without much trouble.  That makes me happy. 🙂
  • Watching Jimmy Fallon daily on my computer makes me happy.  Last night I started looking at plane fares for NYC in October!  So much to plan, which is almost the best part of a vacation – and hopefully Jimmy Fallon will be part of that trip!  Woohoo!!!  Troy – we’ve gotta talk!  🙂

Well, that’s all for now.  Must get out of bed, get some food, and get ready for night 2!  But tell me — what’s been making you happy lately?  How are you celebrating Happiness Happens HappyThon today?

Secret Society of Happy People

Secret Society of Happy People