Thursday, April 26, 2012

"My Charity"

I'm interested in people who talk about "my charity" — who have one particular organization that they identify with and focus all of their efforts on. Mostly, it has seemed like a Hollywood kind of thing to me — one more step in being famous, where you adopt a single cause and become known for that. To that end, it honestly seems a little fake. But at the same time, I have some friends who focus on one charity, and it seems to work for them and allow them to really concentrate their efforts.

I was brought up differently, to give — to the best of your ability — to several different groups. Based on this, our giving patterns skew toward the arts, but also preservation, social justice, mental health, animals, etc. We also give a lot of our time, by sitting on boards, working with neighborhood groups, and helping out with caring for several neighborhood parks. I often push (or perhaps "educate about"?) these groups on social media. My giving is like my lifestyle — diverse, scattered, and maybe not as effective as it could be, but always interesting.

I'm trying to work on how to pass down these values to Beatrix.

How do you give?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Nest of Humble Pie

Happy Earth Day!

A while back, several of our friends purchased Nest thermostats. They were really excited by them, and I was a bunch of cold water on it. It's costly, and I did not think we would ever get a return on our investment.

They then sent me to the Nest whitepaper, however, that looked at heat savings, with Minneapolis being one of the test markets — and it turns out that having the easy, teachable features that the thermostat does really does save money (according to the research). So we bit the bullet and went on the wait list for one; it arrived last week and Patrick installed it quickly and easily.

So far, it does seem to be saving a lot of energy, which should result in some heat savings. It's easy to remember to turn down when you leave, and "notices" when you return and turns back on. I'm optimistic, and it's got me thinking of other ways to try to conserve.


Patrick's take on it is here.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

(Corporate) Places That Get It

Lest you think all I do on this blog is rant, I want to tell you about 2 experiences that stick in my mind.

Two nights ago, we hit Punch Pizza (my love of which has been documented here greatly) for the half off tax day special. While we were standing in line, the pizza maker punched out a dough circle — he then took the outside of the dough and made it into a loopy bracelet, which he put around the arm of a delighted Beatrix. She's been playing with that dough for days — she says she prefers it to play-doh because it's "more real." Score one for Punch.

Then today, heading home from picking up my car after repairs (ouch!), traffic on 394 was bad, so we stopped at the West End Noodles and Company. Say what you want about Noodles and Co, it's a big favorite in our family — cheap, fast, and something that everyone likes to eat (mac and cheese for Beatrix, truffle mac for me, salad for Patrick). And the food is always reasonably good. Tonight, my truffle mac seemed like I got a small instead of a regular, and we brought it up to a staffperson as we were about to leave. He was immediately apologetic, saying "I'm really sorry, hopefully you just ordered a small but let me go get you a coupon for a free bowl next time and find out what happened." He came back in just a minute with the coupon and our receipt copy and a deep apology "You were right and you did order a regular. I know you're just leaving, but can I bring you a cookie or a rice crispy bar or something? I'm really sorry that happened."

See? Some places Get It.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Open Letter to Ikea

Dear Ikea:

I love you. I really do. before you opened here, I used to go to Ikeas all over the country and haul back stuff. One of Patrick's and my first dates was at Ikea. I have spent countless hours showing friends around there, and encouraging them to get over their fear of you. Your items mix perfectly in our home with heirloom antiques. We're big fans.

So why treat us so coldly? Just when Beatrix gets big enough for Smalland you reduce the time from 60 minutes to 45 — and though we can get 30 minutes extra as Ikea Family members, you are full every single time we go anyway. You reduced your hours of operation. Your Marketplace is, for all intents and purposes, closed for the forseeable future, so we can't get lightbulbs. The ones we do get, the extensive halogens, burn out in less than 40 hours of use. The Svelvik bed that we wanted, and saved up for, and borrowed a truck for? Out of stock until summer.

Please stop making us sad....

the Gladhill/Rhone family


The Ikea spambot really worked overtime on their response to my email regarding the above:

Hello Bethany,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We do apologize for any
difficulty that you may have experienced.

At IKEA, every effort is made to ensure the quality of our products,
as well as our service. In reviewing the information that has been
provided in your e-mail, we do understand that you were not satisfied
with the service that you received in IKEA Twin Cities. Please accept
our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience that you may have

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. We
appreciate your feedback and value your opinion.

Best Regards,
IKEA Customer Care Center

Friday, April 6, 2012

Simple Things

It's amazing how simple things make life so much easier.

For the first time since I have owned the house, we added an effective door closer to the back screen door. No more door blowing open/cat getting out/other adventures.

In celebration, I cleaned the shelf off above the sink. No more collections of things I don't know what else do do with. I also got rid of a lot of cookbooks, despite my good intentions to cook from them.

As soon as I can find the right nail, I'm nailing in the piece of rogue trim I just stained.

Now, if I can get a handle on the garden, I'll be set!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

See Theatre!

I'm lucky enough to be involved with several local theatres that are doing INCREDIBLE work right now. I mean it, go out and see these shows. They are relatively inexpensive, and if you go out for a quick drink or bite to eat afterwards and talk about them, I guarantee your life will be changed!

Werther and Lotte - by The MovingCompany, at the Lab Theatre through April 15.
An incredibly poetic, beautiful, philosophical and inspirational show that you will be thinking and talking about for weeks to come. Head out to the Marvel Bar for cocktails or Toast for wine afterwards, or Chowgirls is doing a pop-up bar in their space on April 5.

Cirque de la Loon - by Fools Productions, at the Lehr Theatre through April 15
Opened tonight (April Fool's Day!) and is a greta showcase for the work Fools Productions does best. Circus, "New Vaudeville" and music, with an extremely talented young cast that will blow you away! Then hit late night happy hour at Pazzaluna, Kincaid's, or Meritage, or some music at the Amsterdam.

And coming up:

Toy Theatre After Dark - at Open Eye Figure Theatre, April 13-21
Open Eye brings in the best puppeteers in the nation for this unique festival, which includes performances (all ages and adult), workshops, late night cabarets, and more. Head over to Eat Street afterwards to talk about what it means in miniature — cocktails at Eat Street Social, anyone?

The Golden Ass opens at Nimbus Theatre on April 27
Nimbus shines in developing new work, and this is a greta chance to see it. Sample Room of 331 Club after for cocktails and the meaning of life.