A Month of Gratitude

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

Oh-So-Grateful

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

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

 

I am grateful for family – 

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

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I am grateful for friends – 

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

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I am grateful for so much.

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

Life is good.

affirmation-gratitude-800x450

 

Eternity

William Blake, 17571827

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

A Catch-Up

Is it possible to write a post which can summarize June through October 2015? I’ll hit just a few of the highlights…

A few photos from June 2015

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That Grandbaby

  • Baby August Edward was born on 9/27/15 at 3:08 PM.  I had the pleasure of witnessing the birth, and it was amazing and beautiful. Marissa was so calm and excited to meet her little man and he is perfectly beautiful. He was born on what would have been his Auntie Abbey’s 31st birthday, and that night was the Harvest Blood Super Moon.
    Ah, I love being Nana Nette.

A few photos from July 2015

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Travels

  • Early June, we took a drive on windy roads to Chippewa Falls in an attempt to go through the Leinenkugel Brewery. It was a popular destination that day and we couldn’t get a spot on a tour, so we bought some beer and drove on home. On the way home we drove through Ellsworth, WI and saw signs for “Showdown in Curd Town,” a tractor pull, so we stopped in!  We had a burger and curds and watched FOUR HOURS of a tractor pull! What good people watching that was!
  • Later in June was our week at the Lake. We had family time, alone time, time in the Cities and time at the end of the dock.  We enjoyed searching for a winery in Waconia on our way to St. Cloud to watch the All Star Football game on a blisteringly hot Saturday.  We saw the touring company of “ONCE” at the State Theatre in Minneapols and watched an airshow in Mankato. No pelicans at the lake this year, but it was still great to be there!
  • The 4th of July was filled with family fun, minus Chris as he had to work.  The boat parade was fun, the weather was hot, and the food was good.  Due to the epic road trip coming up in August, Ferragosto was condensed to a weekend this year; relaxing time with girlfriends, meals at the resort, and good cocktails at the end of the dock.
  • After Ferragosto we took a whirlwind road trip in the Mini – across South Dakota, through Wyoming, and to Colorado.  We drove beautifully scenic roads through Rocky Mountain National Park, stayed in Vail, and then drove to the top of Pike’s Peak. We slept in a retro motel, stayed at a beautiful resort, and in the lovely company of family.  It was a great time with great weather and great roads.  Chris is a great driver but I was still very nervous on those windy roads!
  • Late September into October we celebrated the Birthdayversary in the Cities. We planned to stay close to home due to the impending grandbaby arrival, and he arrived just in time to complete the celebrations that week with hours of baby cuddling.  🙂  We also had great meals out (Pizzeria Lola, Salut, Louis Ristorante, and Christos), and went on the Surly Brewery tour and ate at their delicious gastropub.  We stayed at the lovely Covington Inn – a B&B on a boat – and had wonderful family time.

August 2015

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Taylor Swift

  • Koni and I accompanied Gracie and her friend Taylor to the Taylor Swift concert in St. Paul in mid-September.  We thought we were going to hang in the Parent’s Lounge, but Dana surprised Gracie with floor tickets and we took her seats she had since her birthday.  Gracie and Taylor were noticed by Taylor Swift’s mother and got backstage passes after the show, and we tagged along to chaperone and moderate the emotions. 🙂  Ms. Swift doesn’t have to meet her fans, but she does and it was really a sweet time.

A few from September 2015

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Movie Minutiae

  • Spy – Melissa McCarthy vehicle; was fine, but not very memorable 🙂
  • Ted 2 – I never saw the first Ted movie, but I indulged my man and saw this one. Maybe I should have seen the first. 🙂
  • Inside Out – a great movie; that’s all.
  • Minions – I haven’t seen Despicable Me, so the love of Minions is lost on me. But it was fun to take Kaydee to her first movie in the theatre.
  • Magic Mike XXL – a great time with the girls. I still am going to try to get Chris to watch this!  it was so much lighter than the first and a lot of fun.
  • Trainwreck – Saw this one twice; I’m an Amy Schumer fan and this movie was great. So much fun. LaBron was amazing!
  • Ricki and the Flash – This was an unexpected treat! Fun to see Meryl Streep in this role alongside her daughter. Very thought-provoking and it had great music!
  • A Walk in the Woods – An adaptation of Bill Bryson’s book with Robert Redford (looking old!) and Nick Nolte (acting old!). A fun romp.
  • The Martian – a great movie! I don’t like to feel tense during movies and this one was light and fun.
  • The Intern – pretty predictable, but still lots of food for thought. A fun night at the movies!

October 2015 – just a few on the computer so far!

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Book Briefs

  • The Rumour – for book club; Elin Hildebrand’s Nantucket is always a fun place to visit.
  • Paper Towns – I didn’t see the movie, but the book was fascinating.
  • We’ll Always Have Paris – a memoir about mother/daughter travels and facing mortality
  • Someday, Someday, Maybe – an actress-wanna-be in NYC; light and fun.
  • Summer Blowout – a good summer read; very light
  • You’re the Best – the Satellite Sisters ode to friendship – great essays and conversations.

Work continues to be challenging and humbling, the Cosmo Girls are up and running for another year, the baseball season turned into the football season and now we are looking forward to basketball.  I love getting to as many events as work allows!

At the last football game of Trajan’s junior year I was talking with Kai, a 5 year old we know and love, about my new grandson. He was very astute when he said, “So you’re a grandma AND an aunt!”

“Best jobs ever,” I said.  The best.

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?

 

 

 

On Podcasts

In June 2011 I blogged about the Podcasts I Have Loved, which I reblogged on 11/13.  There are some changes in what I listen to currently, and the method in which I listen!  So I thought I’d do a quick update.

  • I still listen to The Satellite Sisters weekly podcast of whoever they can gather on a Sunday afternoon.  You can read more about my relationship with the Sisters (if you don’t know already!) by reading my previous blog about podcasts, but suffice it to say that I cried when I learned that on the day they were moving their father with advanced Alzheimer’s to a skilled nursing facility in Dallas to be near sister Julie, they brought their mother Edna to the emergency room in Pasadena and she learned that she has advanced lung cancer.  And I cried again when I listened to their most recent post in which they talk about the emotional journey they are now facing, which looked so different a month ago.  They are amazing Sisters and I encourage you to look for their book (published in 2001) if you want to know more about them!
  • I also listen to The Chaos Chronicles by sister Lian, the youngest Satellite Sister.  It has gone down in my priority list because she started posting a lot about the college application process, as she has a son who is a senior this year, and I find that pretty irrelevant to my life right now.  If you are in that stage, go ahead and listen to her advice as she navigates that world!
  • I still listen to Filmspotting, although Matty Ballgame is no longer a co-host.  It’s good and interesting reviews of current and past movies with some silliness thrown in.

    Filmspotting

    Filmspotting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I listen to

  • Spilled Milk,
  • the Moth, Wait,
  • and Wait, Don’t Tell Me! – and I have added a few more to the mix.

My method of listening changed when I discovered the Stitcher app for the iPadand Android phones.  Stitcher is a way to subscribe to the podcasts or radio shows that you want to listen to and they are delivered as they are published.  I don’t have to worry about connecting to iTunes and downloading the podcasts to my devices, they just arrive automatically, if I’m subscribed and online.  So I have added a few to my planned and purposeful listening.  🙂  And it syncs between devices so I can put headphones on and walk with my phone while listening to the Culture Gabfest (as I just did) and it will remember where I left off and resume next time I turn on the app on the iPad.

Image representing Stitcher as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Currently I listen to all of the above, as well as

  • NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour (probably my current favorite!),
  • Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4 (very fun!),
  • The Splendid Table,
  • Slate’s Culture Gabfest,
  • The Dinner Party,
  • Michael Feldman‘s Whad’ya Know?,
  • TED Radio Hour Podcast,
  • New York City History by the Bowery Boys,
  • Here’s the Thing (Alec Baldwin),
  • Mike and Tom Eat Snacks (NEVER SAFE FOR WORK!)
  • and Fresh Air.

With Stitcher you can prioritize the list and it will just continue working its way down as you have it on.  So there are some that I don’t get to weekly or maybe even monthly, but it’s ok because those that I really want to hear are at the top of the list.  I really love it when I turn on the Stitcher app and it tells me how many hours I have listened since I subscribed.  It’s pretty amazing.  It also gives you ideas of other things you may like to listen to, so I just today added another to the list.  I’ll let you know what I think of it!

People always ask how I have time to do all this listening, but I think that having an iPad makes it simple.  And I have a tendency to forget that I have a TV and won’t turn it on for days.  Instead, I carry the iPad from room to room and listen while I iron (I did that today!), clean, wash dishes, blog (!), or while I’m getting ready for the day!  So the hours that I am home and alone, I am usually listening to things that I want to listen to.  Sometimes it’s music, but most often it’s podcasts!

What do you listen to?  Any recommendations?  Have you listened to any of the above based on my ravings?  🙂

Sense of Self: Don’t Sing at the Table

Adriana Trigiani is one of my favorite authors.  I have read almost all of her books and enjoyed every one.  I’m currently reading her latest in paperback, “Don’t Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from my Grandmothers.”  It’s an easy read and an enjoyable little book.  She had powerful grandmothers.  They were business owners.  They were hard workers. They were sensible and taught many lessons, through their actions.

And the lessons are still applicable to today’s world.

I’ve maybe mentioned before that I don’t care for books where people set out to experience something in order that they may write a book about it (ala The Happiness Project or Eat, Pray, Love or Julie & Julia (which I’ve never read)), but books which are a summation of what has been learned through life experiences are more interesting to me (ala The Satellite Sisters Uncommon Senses or The Girls from Ames or Don’t Sing at the Table).

Someone asked me last weekend, “Can you write?”  I didn’t hesitate too long before I said, “Yes.”  I have a good grasp on grammar and vocabulary, I can put ideas down in an interesting way, I enjoy blogging more and more all the time, I write a pretty good letter or year-end summary.  Does that mean I can write?  If I were to make a list of things that I AM, I don’t think I AM A WRITER would be in my top ten.

Not to say that I wouldn’t love to be a writer.  I read a lot of blogs about books but I also read some blogs about the writing process.  I am fascinated by the way authors work and think and prepare and plan.  I would love to be able to write a book, and it something that I may put on a list to do.  I’m not sure what kind of book – fiction or non, children’s or memoir – but it’s something that I am exploring.

What about you?  If you made a list of I AMs what would you include?

Off to read!

And once again… subscribe if you want to continue reading… I’m not going to link to facebook after this week. 🙂

40 Things (27)

In western painting, Helen's journey to Troy i...

Image via Wikipedia "Helen of Pasadena" is about archeologists, not Helen of Troy, but lots of references! Good stuff...

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 27!

27) A book I love that deserves to be better known

I have been following The Satellite Sisters for more than ten years now – through their weekly radio show turned daily radio show, turned daily podcast, turned weekly podcast; through their articles in O Magazine and through their blogs, and most recently through one of them publishing a novel.  Ten years ago for Christmas I got their book ‘The Satellite Sisters: Uncommon Senses’ which was (and still is) such a great book.  It’s the lessons they learned growing up in a large family (8 kids) on the east coast.  The lessons were many and still hold true today.  I believe they are possibly re-releasing the book or some incarnation of it and if they do, it will be a gift I will give to friends.  One of the sisters, Lian, published her novel “Helen of Pasadena,” last December and it is a really great book, too!  I drove to Edina on a cold cold evening in December to hear her speak and get some books signed for gifts.  What fun to meet a “sister” in person.  I feel like they are all friends of mine!

#27 on my list was:  Finish a NYT crossword without looking at the answers!  I have been able to successfully complete this several times – at the Monday level.  The New York Time’s Crossword Puzzles get harder as the week goes on, leading up to the nearly impossible (to me) Sunday puzzle.  I have a book filled with Monday puzzles and can rip through one pretty easily.  I should go get a Tuesday book and keep moving forward. Maybe in my 43rd year.  🙂

Off to read!

Podcasts I Have Loved…

The logo used by Apple to represent Podcasting

Image via Wikipedia

Sarah asked me to post about some of my favorite podcasts and I love to oblige requests!  🙂

I don’t know when I started listening to podcasts – probably sometime after the purchase of my first iPod in 2005.  As I blogged about before, I am an avid audiobook listener and so listening to the radio is not how I like to pass my time in the car.  I am not opposed to music – maybe sometime I’ll blog about my music listening habits – but I am purposeful about what I listen to and the radio can be too random and unsatisfying.

Probably the very first podcast I ever listened to was The Satellite Sisters.  I used to try to listen to their radio show whenever I was in range (which wasn’t often at all – a few times a year?) and I loved their book and blog, so when they started putting their radio show on podcasts, I signed up immediately.  It was a three hour radio show, condensed down to an hour forty or so and it was bliss!  It was a little overwhelming, as it was a daily show (6 days a week) and my commute was only an hour a day, but I did the best I could.  Then the sad news that their show was going to be off the air came and I was very sad!  But they continued to create a podcast, not as many hours long and not daily, and that appeased me for a while.  In the years past, they stopped making a regular podcast and got regular jobs but now they just started again – making one weekly podcast with different sisters appearing when they can.  So when there is a new Satellite Sisters podcast, that gets high priority in my listening queue.  They just archived over 200 shows onto their website and iTunes, so if you want to hear what I’m talking about, there’s lots of material to choose from!

Lian (the youngest) branched off on her own and has created The Chaos Chroniclesblog and podcast and that is a close second for my listening pleasure.  She wrote a book, “Helen of Pasadena,” and I drove to Edina to meet her and get signed copies of the book. They are a remarkable family and my friends know that I think of them as friends.  I will often bring them into the conversation (e.g., “Well, you know Liz?  She’s my Satellite Sister in CA, and she just got back from Iraq!” or “You should hear Julie’s sobering tales from North Korea!” or “Julie told the funniest story about a man who wanted her dog’s tennis ball!” or “Sheila just reviewed that movie and it was hilarious!”).  Good stuff.

Me with Lian Dolan, author of "Helen of Pasadena"

So the Satellite Sisters probably got me started on podcast listening but I have branched out!  Others that I listen to weekly are:

  • Filmspotting:  A weekly movie review podcast featuring Adam Kempenaar and Matty Ballgame.  They discuss one or two current movies, play Massacre Theatre (wherein they massacre a scene from a movie and you enter online to guess the film), discuss listener’s picks, and close with a Top 5.  They are funny and can be pretentious but it’s a good listen.  Matty is from Minnesota and Adam is from Iowa and they record in Chicago.  Good stuff.
  • The Moth Podcast: True stories told live.  There is almost nothing better than a great story told aloud, especially in front of a live audience.  Another thing I love about The Moth Podcast is that the stories are usually just over 15 minutes long, so you can listen to one in those weird times when you don’t have much time.  Or you can crank out a bunch of them in an hour.  They are sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes raunchy, but always good.
  • Spilled Milk: Sarah and I read “A Homemade Life” by Molly Wizenberg and then I discovered her blog and followed her podcast with Matthew Amster-Burton, another food writer.  They are HILARIOUS!  Their show is also usually about 15-20 minutes at most and they talk about one thing.  Their last show was about RICE.  And before that it was about MEAT STICKS.  They include recipes and are very fun to listen to.
  • Pop Culture Happy Hour: I’m new to this one but find it absolutely fun!  It’s about an hour a week, published on Friday, and about pop culture!  It’s four or five people sitting around talking about TV, movies, comics, Broadway, music… whatever pop culture is relevant for the week!  They end the show with “what’s making them happy this week,” which is a great way to end a show.  I now follow them all on Twitter (not stalkerish at all!) and they are all very fun on there, too!
  • NPR: Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!: A radio show that I usually miss on the weekends so I’m thankful for their podcast!  Funny, clever, show.
  • This American Life: A topical radio program, also often missed on the radio!  Thankful for the podcast and love the themes of the show!  I love themes!
  • Radiolab: I’m fairly new to this one and truthfully don’t listen regularly, but it’s a bit like This American Life, in that it’s topical stories, but with a focus on sounds.  They are clever and creative and good to listen to.
  • APM: Marketplace Tech Report: This is a short little podcast – 5-6 minutes daily – and I listen now and then, but truthfully started downloading it because of the host – John Moe.  A very sad podcast day for me was the day that Weekend America with host John Moe went off the air.  How I miss that show!  I follow him on twitter (@johnmoe) and he’s hilarious.  He now lives in St. Paul and I really miss that show.  It’s fun just to hear his voice in the Marketplace Tech Report and feel nostalgic for Weekend America.  🙂

That’s it for my regular listening and my favorites.  For a while this winter I listened to Lori & Julia from Talk 107 in the Cities, and it’s very fluffy.  I listen to the smart Pop Culture Happy Hour instead and so have dropped that from my list.  I know there are so many out there… smart, funny, fluffy, pretentious and boring!  But this is my list and I’m open to new ones if you have something fun to add!

Whew!  Off to read!