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Morning Meanderings… A RUNNING kick off to the year and MORE First Books



I guess we are doing this.  “

Little known fact about me…. that line above is how I usually think right before I have to complete whatever I agreed to do or signed up for.  😛  True story….  The first year of Wine and Words… we planned it – I envisioned it, found authors, held meetings, and then the day of the event…

I was all butterfly’s and twirling tummy… and thought…

“Well, I guess we are doing this.”

That still has not changed.

I sign up for things and agree to things- because they are who I want to be…  I want to be a runner.  I want to be a biker and a hiker.  I want to be a thrill seeker.  I want to be energetic.  I want to have events in my community that are fun and successful….   and so I plan things.  I agree to things… and I do them.

Yesterday was no exception.  Doing the Polar Dash on January 1st each year is insane,  The weather is usually freezing…. it is a 2 1/2 drive for me to get to the event to run in this freezing weather.

Yet to see all the people that do this…. I like being a part of that crazy.  I like to start out a new year with something positive and shiny.  And here is how it went…


I ran with my two friends Sheila (yes another one!) and Belinda.  The weather was fantastic – in the mid 20’s…..  if my knee would have been feeling top notch, I would have loved to have does the 10k instead of the 5.  We ran, we got our free beer ticket at the end and we had a delicious lunch.  I felt I hit the mark for shining day one of 2017.

Also – if you did not see and read the First Book post from yesterday, please do.  LOVE LOVE LOVE the participation.  I had a few late comers to the party and I am happy to add them here today.  Look in this mix for our Emcee of Wine and Words, author Lorna Landvik.


Thank you to all once again for ringing int he New Year with me and with great reads.  I love looking at all the titles and seeing what I should be reading.  Also – did you find me in yesterdays post?  I am there.  ;P

Morning Meanderings…. Bringing The Year To A Close


December 30th.

Does that just feel crazy to anyone else besides me?

This whole year really has been… different.  I started out the year just trying to breathe and honestly not really caring if I did.  That solid depression/funk stayed with me through June and only started lifting when I had to be a part of the Camp Board I am on… I went in planning to resign when the week was up… I came out…


From there – I moved into August for Wine and Words and then I MOVED.  By that I mean, I got on my bike.  I went back to the gym.  I started walking with friends and signing up for runs.  I started to find me again, probably because I was actively trying to… for myself and for my son.  Reading, fell to the wayside this year…. its crazy to say that but true.  I kept my mind occupied with projects and going and doing.

It brought me to now… still and forever crushed by the enormous loss in my life… at the same time determined to do something with what I have been given as I am all too painfully aware many of us take our days for granted….  and I can tell you first hand – dont do that.  LIVE each one well.

So here we are.

Our winter so far has been mild with little snow.  I have walked a lot through our local arboretum with friends… more than I have probably ever been out in the winter weather before.  Yes yes… I am a Minnesota girl who is not a fan of winter – it is true.

If you have not signed up for first book yet – please do!  I love putting that together for the new year and it is so uplifting to see all the readers from around the world!  Here is the link to that post.  I look forward to getting back into my reviews and back with all of you as we enter 2017.

Morning Meanderings….Count Down To Christmas


Good morning.

I hope all of you are well and snug and warm and ready for the week to come.

This season is odd for me now.

No tree is put up in our home.  I am not bustling around and wrapping gifts and making lists….

The joy of the season – for me is gone.  For now anyway.  And I hate even writing that because it makes me sad but it is also so true.

So what do I do?

This week I will do what I have been doing the last 5 months.  I will stay busy.  I will go to the gym, walk in the arb, have coffee dates and find my way through.  My friend Amy and I are going to make a make shift 5k for Christmas eve eve  (yes the eve before the eve) because having something to focus on works for me.

Enough of that though….

lets talk books.

WHAT?????  Books?

Yes yes.. ha ha.  I have not written a review in ages.  I need to.  I want to.  I am ready for a New Year in that sense as I can start my Good Read goal again…. the one I blew this year as I just…. didnt.

AND be sure to check out First Book of the year…..  AND soon to be coming/posting will be One Word…. our word for the year which I am still sorting through as I do every year…trying to pick just the right one.  It is a BIG DEAL.

So that is a brief what is happening with me.  I am off to the gym, making biscotti this afternoon while listening to audio and perhaps a walk in the arb with a friend.

Working my way back.

I am.


Morning Meanderings: We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Program


I do exist.

I have no excuses.  I just went about life and didn’t make it here.  I needed time to find me again… it is still a work in progress but I feel as though I may be getting there.

AND – I have been DOING.  Which…. is actually a great word.

I am going to quickly update you as I have TONS to catch up on with reviews and crazy things that have been happening (in good ways)…

Most importantly at this moment – YES to those of you who have asked if I am doing First Book again.  YES!  I love first book and this will be my 4th year doing it and I absolutely want to own this one again.  I will have the sign up ready today – I hope you will join.

Did I mention I LOVE First Book?

Next – YES I am totally doing ONE WORD again as well.  This will be the 5th year I have hosted the One Word and as you know from last years post, I LOVE this as well.  I am still thinking about my word……  posting soon on this.  Yes I promise 🙂

As for everything else….  I have been running, dressing up, biking, hanging with friends, getting out of the house, working with non profits, working with a fun online project, creating websites, walking in the snow, going back to the YMCA, lifting weights, saying YES more… and remembering that I am doing this life for two now…  and I can not let Justin down.   (Yes there are sample pictures….)






I miss all of you.  I just have not been taking the time to be here and I need to do that.  Minnesota is cold…. damp… and it s a good time to get acquainted with this blog again and all of you.

Thanks for waiting for me. 




Morning Meanderings… Not The Same


Good morning.

I woke up this morning at our cabin on the North Shore.

It is weird to be in Minnesota now… I have not been in Minnesota on this date for 5 years….

This is the time of my annual trip with Justin to Florida.  We went three years in a row, 2012, 2013, 2014….  last year, I went with my friend Amy to Arizona during these dates… and this year…

this year….

I felt I needed to do this alone.

So here I am.  At the cabin….  drenched in his memory… signs of him everywhere…. a note on the refrigerator, his entries in the guest books… the memories… the ginger ale bottle…   and this – makes me cry but I want to share this with you… and for me as well.


It was August 2014 and Wine and Words had just ended and Justin and I were taking our annual weekend trip here to the cabin as we did after every Wine and Words.  We stopped in Duluth at Grandma’s Restaurant to have lunch.  We were sitting up at the bar, myself exhausted from the planning of W & W as I always am afterwards, and looking forward to a fun two days with my son.

The bartender walked by us carrying a little bottle of Scwheppes Ginger Ale to deliver to a customer sitting down from us.  Justin stopped talking, stared at the bottle of Ginger Ale and said, “Oh my God…. delicious!”

I have no idea why – perhaps the over tired version of me, perhaps the atmosphere, honestly it may have been the Bloody Mary we each had with lunch… but I thought that was the funniest thing ever.  I started laughing so hard I cried.  Justin just stared at me and started laughing too.  I could not stop – I could not catch my breath and I just repeated what he had said, “Oh my God, delicious.” and we would both burst into laughter again.

Justin of course, had to have one… and that little bottle has sat in the window sill of the cabin kitchen since that day.  We kept it as a memory… and you do know I love memories…..

This morning.  I picked up the bottle… I unscrew the top and breathed in the faint scent of Ginger Ale….

remembering the laughter….

remembering the weekend….

trying to breathe it directly into my heart forever….

It is a hard day.

I brought my bike in the event it is warm enough for me to bike today.  I feel as though I need to do something to honor this date, this crazy date that is filled with sunny memories of Harry Potter world,  bonding with my son year after year, Justin’s tattoo on November 2nd 2014 to commemorate our trip… mine now that matches his….


I am thankful.  Every day.  I know I know I know I was lucky to have him as long as I did….

I knew these days would be hard.., I knew I had to get away and grieve.. and do what a broken mom does as she tries so desperately hard to put together the broken pieces and make some sort of mosaic version of who I was and who I am supposed to be.



Nov. 2, 2012 – Harry Potter World Florida



Nov, 2 – 2013- Harry Potter World Florida



Nov 2, 2014 Florida – Harry Potter World


Nov. 2 2015

Nov. 2 2015 – Arizona


Nov. 2, 2016: North Shore Minnesota

Nov. 2, 2016: North Shore Minnesota


Still here.  Still moving forward one step at a time.  celebrating us, remembering us….  ALWAYS.


Morning Meanderings… The End Of The Week Again….


Good morning!  2nd (3rd?) cup of coffee this morning.  I woke up with the best intentions to head out the door and hit the gym and ….


woke up a little later than I planned with about 30 minutes to get to the gym class.  I started out strong, put the workout clothes on, my new super cute tennis shoes, and with 20 minutes to go I was ready to walk out the door and then…

looked at my work list by my laptop….

  1.  work on the website I am building for a company
  2. complete new camp application
  3. Upload camp board application
  4. Update camp website
  5. work on the 2 grants I need to complete
  6. haul used books from the library to the new sorting area

What is it about that “to do” list that suddenly zaps you like kryptonite?


Sometimes…. we have to pick and choose.

Don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE having a to do list.  It makes me feel very productive.  And yes, I am sitting here typing this in my gym wear…. but I have a treadmill downstairs… and after I finish this post, and tackle that Camp application…. I am going to turn on some LOUD 80’s music…. and run for a bit.  I will still have time to start the website update, and be at that the library in time to help and then home in the afternoon to continue wherever I leave off.

It’s a crazy mix…. but I make it work.  Not always in the order I intended…. but it does get done.  😀

And tomorrow….

I am going to try if possible to hit Octoberfest…..  kicking off my Festival A Month goal…..  and that is a story for another day.

What am I listening to during this crazed business?


Luke Richardson has returned home after burying Natalie, his beloved wife of sixteen years, ready to face the hard job of raising their three children alone. But there’s something he’s not prepared for – a blue envelope with his name scrawled across the front in Natalie’s handwriting, waiting for him on the floor of their suburban Michigan home.

The letter inside, written on the first day of Natalie’s cancer treatment a year ago, turns out to be the first of many. Luke is convinced they’re genuine, but who is delivering them? As his obsession with the letters grows, Luke uncovers long-buried secrets that make him question everything he knew about his wife and their family. But the revelations also point the way toward a future where love goes on – in written words, in memories, and in the promises it’s never too late to keep.

This one I am listening to on my phone as I do things around the house.



In Emma Donoghue’s latest masterpiece, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle – a girl said to have survived without food for months – soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life.

Tourists flock to the cabin of 11-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.

Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge best seller, The Wonder works beautifully on many levels – a tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.

This one I am listening to in my car….

Both audio’s are very good and they are working for me in this season of constantly doing something.  Or maybe….it’s not a season.  Maybe…. it is a life style.  I am not really sure but whatever it is – it is working for me.

Happy Friday all!





Saturday Snapshot…. Weekend Cooking… A Little Investing In Me.


Hey all.  I meant to get this posted earlier but well… you know…  life and laundry and working on projects and OH where does the time go?  😉  I think (I think…) I mentioned here somewhere in my ramblings that I am in a season of investing in me.  I am trying to move forward with healthy habits….more activity in my life than the last year+, good friendships, good activities, and healthy eating.  I think I am making progress and thought I would give you a recap of this “Investing In Me”here for Saturday Snapshot along with a tasty recipe for Weekend Cooking.

Yes…. this post is a combo platter.


Yes.  That is this week.

Monday I participated in the first Game Night at one of my favorite venues, Prairie Bay

Tuesday was book club…. Classic night.... a little Fitzgerald set in the 20’s

Wednesday I got a hair cut bought new tennis shoes and headed to the gym and the elliptical

Thursday I went to the Prairie Bay 2nd Thursday community night

Friday I hit the gym and the Group Power class


And now for that recipe….  this is something I picked up from one of the Librarian’s and ooh this is so good.



Ok… here is something TASTY!

You need:
4-6 ears of corn
1/2 onion chopped
cherry tomatoes – yellow and red – cut in half
2 TBSP lemon juice
red pepper flakes
fresh basil
2 TBS olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

With sharp knife remove the corn kernels from the shucked corn. Heat oil over medium heat in large skillet. Add corn and onion to the skillet – shake and stir the pan for 3-5 minutes until browned. Gently add the chopped tomatoes and heat an additional 2-3 minutes until hot. Place in bowl and season with the pepper flakes and lemon juice and sprinkle the chopped basil on top. Season to taste.

**To mix it up – add an egg to the mix while cooking, or chicken or shrimp to make it more of a meal. Delicious!


That’s my week.  Hope yours was eventful in positive ways.  🙂  Tomorrow… I hope to share with you about a little event coming up I like to call… Books, Burgers, and Brews.  Stay tuned.  😉

Morning Meanderings…. Now THAT is Classic. ;) A Bookies Event


Three days in a row…. could it be?  😉

It feels as though I have just finished a marathon of back to back events… all good stuff.  The Friends Books Sale was a big chunk of time the last few weeks with the volunteer line ups, setting the sale, and working it.  Then on Monday the First Game Night at Prairie Bay was SO AWESOME, I was so tired going.. but so glad I went!  That brings us to last night, book club at my house….



Whose idea was THAT?  😉

Yes yes… I apparently agreed a month ago that book club would be at my house.  I really don’t know what I was thinking as my house has been a tad bit neglected in recent days due to all the activity in my life.  It all worked out for the best though – put on a little audio and put the house back in order yesterday so we could review our Classic for the year:  The Beautiful and The Dammed by F Scott Fitzgerald.  Now I am not going to review the book part yet as I have not finished it myself (See my crazy life above)… however I will share with you the Bookies meet up.

First.. I think you all know I like to dress the occasion.  Classics can be a lot of fun for this and a chance to dress the 20’s era….

well then….


We had a great time with the food as well… I do love setting the food to go with the era or the book setting.  In this case, I Googled the 20’s to see what I could learn about food and who knew?  Chicken Pot Pie was a 20’s hot item… as well as deviled eggs could be found at most social gatherings.



and the Bookies added to the tasty goodies as well…


And this was not all… I missed a picture of the delicious chicken that was served as well.

As always.. good food, good conversation… a lot of fun.  I do really enjoy days that go from tennis shoes… to party sandals.




Morning Meanderings… DO Try This In Your Home Town


Good morning.  Two days of posting?  WOW!  Must be the coffee.  😉

In reality… I think it is me trying to reach beyond the grief.  I made a decision in mid August that I needed a season of investing in me…. good positive healthy habits.  I have been biking – A LOT.  I have been getting out more, eating right and all in all… feeling a weight of darkness lift off of me.  I know the grief will always be there, that underlying sadness I feel like a constant lump in my throat…. however by DOING and BEING I am trying to live the life I am supposed to live – almost for both of us….

How is that going?

Well… I have biked over 400 miles in the past 6 weeks.  I have stretched myself to go back to the gym to Group Power.  I have thrown myself into good community projects and working with good community people that keeps my mind active and while it is still hard to be out “there” I am doing it.


I feel….


Last night, I went to the first of a new 2nd Mondays thing at one of my favorite venues in the area, Prairie Bay.  I love how they do community and Friends of the Library will be partnering with them as well next week (more on that awesome stuff) later.  Last night was the Game night.

Here is how it works.

From 6 – 9 pm you show up on 2nd Mondays to play a board game.  The game will be announced on their website and you do not have to know how to play before going.  Last nights game was Catan.  I did not know how to play.


This was so much fun!  Not only did I learn a new game, I hung out with friends and met new people too.  If you live int he area, I recommend you check out all the good that Prairie Bay is doing in our community.  They have excellent ideas of bringing people together.


Laughter… although painful at times…. is also an investment in me.

Ok… challenge is out there?  How will you invest in YOU today?


Define Appropriate.


I am still here.

It seems like my days fly away before I even know what is happening.  It’s been a busy summer of bike riding, events, bookish stuff, and spending time with friends.  Good things. Things I need to do.  Things I want to do.

The bench.

Those of you who know me know I spend a  good deal of time working with our local library.  You also may know about the bench outside the library in memory of my son.  Can I say my heart runs over with love for all who had a part in this happening?

That bench.

Every time I pull in to the library parking lot I see it.  Sometimes there are things left on it… notes, flowers, a rock that says trust… What seems to take my breath away – is seeing people sitting on it.  Justin’s bench sits between two others.  To me… it feels as though it is used more and that makes me so happy and sad at the same time.  Does that make sense?  Happy because he would love this whole idea of a bench… and  that quote, and people enjoying it…..  Sad because… well hell…. why does there have to be a bench in the first place?

A few weeks back I walked out of the library and saw a man sitting on the bench.  I had this sudden urge to go over and hug him.  Of course then I think… how appropriate is that?  Scare this poor man sitting on a bench unknowingly being observed by the mother of the boy who the bench is dedicated to?  And define appropriate.  I honestly am not sure I know what it means anymore… my filter for where to draw the line is pretty much gone.  I live it true – I live it real.  So what if I scare someone on the bench?

But of course…. I don’t approach him.  I just take myself teary eyed to my car and drive away.

Then today….

I am leaving the library and I see a boy in his 20’s sitting on the bench.  My pace slows.  I look at him and he sees me and smiles.  That urge… that urge to go over and talk to him about who Justin was simmers right there… right at the edge of moving me that direction but instead…. I smile back..  My eyes fill…. I walk away.

Define appropriate…




Today… working on a contract. Mowing the lawn.  Riding my bike.  Hopefully writing a review and breaking that seal on this site where I start to write and gush about books again.  I do miss it.  I do miss you.

WHAT are you reading?