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Showing posts from May, 2011

Groupon Shopping Success

I think this is the point where I admit my email in-box full of deals is like a little morning treasure trove. However, I have several friends who are extremely anti-Groupon(type offers), and I appreciate their advocacy for supporting local business.

But in my best-of-all-worlds experience yesterday, I discovered and supported two local businesses, which I plan to return to often and promote, due to their great customer service and sense of place.

I actually discovered Shoe Zoo via a coupon this winter. They have a reputation for being expensive that kept me away, but with the deal-site offer, I decided to try it out. I've since become a big convert; their shoes are the same price as anywhere else and are often on sale, the upstairs outlet is AMAZING, the staff is great, and they send Beatrix home with a free balloon. She always finds shoes there that she loves. Far more rewarding than scouring the internet for deals. This weekend I used the deal offer stacked with 20% off the outle…

Veolia

And here's an example of customer service issues that have gotten completely out of control.

For several years, I have had 2 properties served by Veolia, the Summit house and the Ashland house. Literally EVERY TIME I sent in payment, they would mess it up and apply the payments to the wrong account, resulting in a credit to one account and arrears to the other. Several phone calls, late charges, etc. later, they would solve it, only to make the exact same mistake in the next bill.

So I switched Ashland to e-bill. That way I could send the paper check from Summit, and pay Ashland on-line. I successfully do this for 2 billing cycles.

They forget to pick up the Christmas tree I asked them to haul, and by the time I got through to them to solve it it was too late, but at least the billing was correct.

Except then they "upgraded" the e-bill. Which apparently meant that everyone had to re-register, but they did not tell anyone that. So I didn't get an e-bill. I eventually got …

More House News!

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In an anecdote that will no doubt amuse those of you familiar with my house obsessions, Beatrix does NOT, as many of her friends do, have an imaginary friend. She has an imaginary house, which she refers to constantly as "my new house." Descriptions of it vary, but it appears to be brown, 2-story, sometimes very close by and sometimes far away, and have a pool with icky green water in the back. She lives there with her grandfather, who sometimes lets her watch all the TV she wants and sometimes won't let her watch it at all. It has a horsey bed. And someday, if we're good, we can visit her there.

In a solution that is perhaps nowhere as grand as her "New House," last weekend we got Beatrix a playhouse off of Craig's List (the pictures are dark because I took them in the garage before we moved it into the yard). It's pretty amazing, actually, with windowboxes (which we planted with marigolds yesterday), closing shutters that cover the windows (because…

New New Moon

I've mourned the passing of Theatre de la Jeune Lune much more that I thought I would (even after spending over 12 years working there). Seeing the building sit empty and leaking, going to shows that critics called "Jeune-Lune reminiscent" but weren't quite there, even the momentos in our home.

So it's been really good for me, in the last few weeks, to see some amazing shows that perhaps begin a new era.

Over at Nimbus Theatre, Barbra Berlovitz stars in Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. Barbra is such a compelling performer, and the book is one of my all-time favorites, so I was a little afraid to see it on stage. But the performance is amazing — luminescent and powerful — that it reached to my inner being in the way that theatre does more than any other medium. Her performance, like the book, gains its ultimate effect from the passion of dispassion, and Barbra is spot-on. I've seen her perform since Jeune Lune, but nothing liek this.

Then, last n…

Coming to Terms with Mother's Day

So once again I face the inherent emotional conflict that has come to be Mother's Day for me.

In some ways, it's beyond perfect. Patrick went out of his way to make me way ideal, taking care of me, an incredible gift that he knew I really wanted (more on that later), sleeping in, coffee, a haircut, a nap, relaxation. The Hanafin family has a Mother's Day Brunch tradition; for the last several years it's been at the Lake Elmo Inn, and that was delicious. Beatrix got me a board book about animal moms ("I picked it out for myself!"), which I know is Clara validating how important reading with Beatrix is to me. I'm trying really hard to even think about work and domestic tasks that are stacked up, and to just enjoy the day. Were the story to end here, it would be lovely.

But it doesn't. There's always a hole in the day where my mother should be. There's the societal expectation that I *should* probably be done grieving, when the truth is that I just…

A New Era

9/11 was, literally, a different lifetime ago. I was still at Jeune Lune, still married to Chris, my mother was in perfect health...We had a Jeune Lune intern living with us, and his girlfriend was visiting from New York for the weekend, so stayed several extra days. Together, like everyone else in the country, we watched hours of footage and wondered how it would mean the world would change.

That was soon answered. Years of colored threat levels, of shoeless airports and travel containers, of subway bombs and nightclub attacks, of vilifying the Islamic other and politicizing the personal (and the idiotic) until many times I don't recognize the world. At the same time, we've developed a citizen-journalism based news network (including my Twitter feed that kept me amused, informed, and exasperated last night), and elected our first Islamic congressman.

The news of Osama's death last night was a very adult moment for me. It's the first time I can remember waiting anxiously…