Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My 2014 Resolutions - How I Did

Resolution #1
To do at least one project in each home that restores the home's sense of spirit.


At our main home, we redid the ceilings, which looks great. For a bonus, we re-did the guest room — added some curtains, some new pillows, and generally made it more comfortable. Come visit! (we also got some smaller projects finished and a good start on others. Go us!)

At Summit, I repainted the back room cobalt blue, made a cozy mud room out of an ineffective closet, and (mostly) did over the bar area). I still need a light and new flooring, but it looks much better!

Slow and steady process at Winter, including walls done.

Resolution #2
At least one date night a month.


This is my favorite resolution ever. We have been true to it, and will repeat next year. Work events (even if they are fun) don’t count, though we did go to one totally non-work show (Book of Mormon) in September. Generally we just go somewhere really good to eat (this month was The Rabbit Hole), or a couple of taprooms, or something.

Resolution #3
An evening with friends (dinner here, out to dinner, whatever) at least once a month.


This was Patrick’s resolution, but it was by necessity joint. Still, I did not buy in as hard as I could have, and I regret that (he’s right, and it was sweet of him to admit it; I am generally the logistics one that does planning of these kind of events). Still, we made it, if you count pool parties, which I totally do since we had those weekly!

Resolution #4
Go on an awesome family vacation.


Total win! Our trip to Costa Rica was all that and more. We planned for it, we had a great experience in four very different areas, and we still talk about it all the time. It had a huge effect on our family life.

I love our more spontaneous/shorter trips; we went to Madeline Island for a week this summer, which was great, and had a most excellent road trip to New Orleans over Thanksgiving. But that Costa Rica trip will always stand out as one of the most incredible experiences of my life. When I was young, my mom and I went to Hawaii several times, and I liken it to that.

Resolution #5
Embrace curiosity through learning.

Success (mainly)

I had specific tasks for this:
Fund 4 Kickstarter campaigns (I'm trying to suss how it works)
I did this, and learned I really did NOT like Kickstarter, and it does not work for the arts half as well as it does for technology. But I went to a fantastic Seed & Spark presentation (crowdfunding for film projects) in December, and I am really excited about that.

Watch 10 TED talks (Love the idea of TED and other similar events, hate watching videos online)
I put these off until the other night. Patrick and I watched them together, and had a great time. Looking forward to doing that together more in the future.

Complete online accounting course
Umm, you have to carry something over, right?

I had hoped to take some other classes, and got approved for the scholarship pool at the Loft, but just have not gotten there yet.

Resolution #6
Provide outstanding services to my consulting clients.

Mixed, but generally Success.

What I learned about this is that I really shone in some moments. At least once a week I have totally fist-bumped myself on something that I totally got right. Plus, I have picked up some really interesting new gigs. At the same time, I have still felt scrambled and not on top of things in many cases. It’s paradoxical — every time I do well at something, then I end up stretching further, and then not feeling as good! I still think I could do better, but may need some more concrete steps.

I had a bunch of mini-goals too:
Success – finding a violin teacher for Beatrix, beating my Goodreads challenge.
Mixed – more blog posts (I am so erratic on these), do more crafts (but I have gone to several sewing nights, mad a kick-ass mermaid tail for Beatrix, and LOVE making things when I get the chance), and exercise (though I am now taking yoga).

Nope – cemetery plot.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Patrick on Resolutions

On Saturday, while Beatrix went to see "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" at CTC with my aunt, Patrick and I went out to various taprooms (Bang and Urban Growler, for the record). Our big topic of discussion was New Year's Resolutions (you can see it's a big topic for us around this time of year).

Here are his thoughts on how to handle it when you BOTH make important resolutions:


Sunday, December 28, 2014

My Resolutions - In the Pioneer Press!

Patrick gets in the paper often for various technology breakthroughs. I get in sometimes, but usually in relation to him.

So it's fun to get in in my own right, for something I spend a lot of time on annually — New Year's Resolutions!


Saturday, December 27, 2014

The 12 Dogs of Christmas

One of Beatrix's favorite movies this holiday season has been "The 12 Dogs of Christmas" (and its equally riveting sequel, "The 12 Dogs of Christmas 2: The Great Puppy Escape.") In both movies, a scrappy young girl who loves dogs saves the town with a holiday show featuring — well — the twelve dogs of Christmas (you know, "Five Golden Retrievers…")

Ever since we lost Geronimo, we've been looking for a new dog, but keeshonds are hard to find. Last week, though, the perfect chance came along. A keeshond puppy came up locally, with Midwest Animal Rescue. I had a board meeting and then court, but Patrick pounced on the process, filling in the application, having them check our references, and scheduling a home visit; we passed all with flying colors. We fell in love with her through her pictures and video. But, a family had applied just before us, who the adoption person did not think was seriously looking, and they ended up taking her. No puppy for us.

For the last eight years, I have managed Christmas, as hard as it has been. We've hosted Christmas Eve, we've made lefse and cookies, we've attended holiday shows, we've gone caroling, and we've brought up a little girl who has a deep love of Christmas tradition (she claims that "The best part is spending time with family…and then presents.") Some years, I break down early; some years we go to my mother's grave; every year I power through. But it's always hard, and I don't know when it's going to get any easier.

I was looking to this puppy to fix Christmas, and that didn't happen. I was looking for it to be the 12th dog of Christmas. I don't know how Christmases will get better, instead of this kind of painful "I'm trying," but I hope they will. I hope we get a puppy, sometime. So if you see a keeshond puppy looking for a home, let us know...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Virtual Christmas Card

Happy Holidays to you all!

This is us standing just over the Nicaraguan border during our Costa Rica trip earlier this year. It's not exactly the best picture of us, but it has a great spirit to it, of discovery and doing new things and being together as a family, so I love it.

May you all have a wonderful holiday season, full of the things that make it a special time of the year for you. Thanks for being such an important part of our lives!

Much love - Bethany, Patrick, and Beatrix

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Three Gifts (not Wise Men)

So there are three gifts so far of which I am very proud.

The first is cookies. My mother used to bake about 20 different kinds of cookies, dozens and dozens, starting just after Thanksgiving and freezing. I have taken a new spin on this — I make 1-3 kinds, and then participate in cookie exchanges so that I have a big variety. This year we had our usual wonderful exchange hosted by our friends Erica and Joe, and then I hosted one for the "First Grade Mafia" which was far more casual and still a ton of fun.

Coming home from the first exchange, we stopped a a great little vintage store I had wanted to go to for a long time called Omforme. While Beatrix tried on amazing vintage hats, I checked out their collection of framed matchbooks, and thus inspired went home to dig through my big jar and see what I had.

Most of them I got from my dad and were from his travels as a book salesman — and you would not believe how many of them were hotel matchbooks, which just seems strange now! But there was one amazing one from the dearly departed New French Cafe.

My friend and colleague Andrew is the Executive Director of IFP Minnesota, and his overarching goal is to give our amazing new space the vibe that the New French did, a place where people gather to create and recreate. So I framed the matchbook for him as an indication that I believe in what he's doing and think it will work.

Finally, tonight my friend Nicole flew in from Detroit (where she is currently filing her show Rehab Addict) so she could host her annual holiday party. I knew she would not have a lot of time to put Christmas together, and I wanted to give her something that reflected her love of saving past treasures that others overlook. So I whipped up a little tree decoration from a falling apart book someone had left in our Little Free Library:

Three very quick things, but to me, all indicative of the spirit of the season.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

First Recital

Beatrix has taken piano this fall through Project Cheer, a free program of the Shubert Club. I can't say enough great things about it — she learns a ton (including music theory) in just 15 minutes a week!

We were also given a piano earlier this fall, and so she can practice at home. Practicing has been … trying … lately, but she's getting a sense of the work needed to do well.

Today was her first recital. Her song was "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" (Christmas themed recital), and she nailed it! I was so proud of all the work that she has done and how well she did. It was also good for her to see that the other kids sometimes make mistakes, too, and just move on.

So proud!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Creative Crowdfunding

One of my New Year's resolutions was to back four Kickstarter campaigns, so that I could find out more about how crowd funding works and to get savvier so I could help my clients more. I have to admit, though, the more I learned, the less I liked. Whereas tech Kickstarter campaigns seemed to bring in early adopters and get a lot of buzz, arts funding seemed more problematic — whether it was Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or any of the smaller engines, nothing seemed to grab me. (I have to admit my final gift was to a Go Fund Me site for a pet).

But last night, I went to a great presentation from Seed and Spark, which is exclusively for film-related projects. As well as crowd funding for film production, the site also has a video-on-demand function once the film is completed. Their focus is not on simply getting funding, but on building a strong community for your film production — building long-term relationships and audiences. The idea is then to create concentric circles, so on your NEXT project, you already have a built-in base.

I have pages of notes from the presentation, but their website has fantastic information; if you're thinking of a film or film-related project, I would highly advise checking it out.

Thanks to Erica Anderson and IFP Minnesota, I've totally outdone myself in my resolution — and gained a lot more faith in (some) crowdfunding!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Getting There is Half the Fun

We're on our way back from spending Thanksgiving in New Orleans, which is due for a longer post…later.

But this post is on the magic of road trips.

First of all, we know we are incredibly lucky. Beatrix is an awesome traveller, especially on road trips. In her life, we have driven to New Orleans twice and the East Coast twice, plus numerous smaller trips. We load up the car, we put some good snacks in the back seat, Patrick drives, I navigate, and we get there. We talk the whole way. Beatrix does have iPad time, but she also plays, and reads maps, and talks to us, and complains about our proclivity towards NPR, and it's great.

We're pretty good at scoring hotel deals. Holiday Inns (and the nearly-indistinguishable Holiday Inn Express) are Priceline favorites; Drury Inns, on the other hand, have free dinner (including a full free bar) and big breakfast buffets. We swim, we jump on the beds (shhh), we have great breakfast buffets with eggs and grits. The other night I had a late night tweet from the comfort in a hotel room while eating a Krispy Kreme and drinking beaujolais nouveau. Now THAT'S living.

They always have weird situations, though. Our Byram, MS hotel (where we spent a couple of days doing research) abutted a Christmas tree tent and a not just a mobile home sales location — but one that specialized in repos. Tonight's hotel is full of an extended family drinking Coors Light tallboys in Missou sweatshirts. Takes all kinds.

As we drive, we have wonderful experiences as well. Ice cream in Hannibal, jumping jacks in rest stops, lunch at our favorite Iowa City cafe, crossing the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway. One year we headed down to the St. Louis Arch at about 11:00pm, and it was beautiful.

As we drive, I flip through the AAA-TripTik. I'm told they are going away, replaces by a more google-like version. That means I'm holding on to this one. There's something about turning each page as you go.

I hope our family never outgrows road trips.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Adventures in Jewelry Rental

(NOT a sponsored post. I'm not big-time enough for those).

My friend Lindsi sent me a link to try Rocksbox for free for a month — it's basically a jewelry rental place that sends you curated (?) boxes of jewelry that you can try out, return if you want to exchange, but if you like it. Each box comes with 3 pieces designed to be worn together, and since I don't wear rings, mine has a bracelet, earrings, and necklace.

It's kind of fun to get the boxes, because they are super cute:

At first I was not bowled away by any of the pieces, but I liked stretching my usual, rather conservative, jewelry choices. Patrick has especially liked me wearing bigger earrings.

I really liked the statement necklace they just sent, and I have gotten a lot of compliments on it. But, even at the "member discounted" rate of $40, it's more than I could justify spending right now.

So yesterday, I had some Herberger's coupons, and managed this knock-off basically for free (I had a $35 coupon, this was $33.20, so I added a pair of socks to get both for a grand total of $2.18).

It's not perfect, but I am pretty proud of both my bargain abilities and of my pushing the envelope a little stylewise.

Rocksbox has some deal good through today (November 16) only, where you can get a free month if you use my code. It's http://curebit.com/x/FjXlH3. I think I get a $25 purchase credit if you become a member, though I'm not sure I'll stick around that long.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


(I hadn't originally planned a post on frugality on the day after the election. But it just came out this morning. Hmmm….)

The other thing that has been making me happy lately is re-using things. The other day my awesome friend Sarah gave us several bags of her daughter's hand-me-downs, and Beatrix looks awesome right now in a new-to-her outfit. Last night, I hung "new" curtains in the guest room, also passed down, that make it look 100x more polished an put together.

I have also become part of several neighborhood Buy/Sell/Trade boards on Facebook (including starting one in our neighborhood, which you should join if that's where you live!) Through those boards, I have managed to sell many things I no longer need, like a one piece at a time garage sale. It amazes me the things that people are crazy about, and the ones they pass up. But my "magic milk box" usually yields a few dollars a day when I put things out for people to pick up, and it adds up fast!

At the same time, I have been able to get great things off of those boards — a skirt I get compliments on, a lovely small table, some free eggplant — all while building community. Each board has its own characteristics and people, who you get to "know." Some want a deal, some want the challenge of the hunt, some are truly dedicated to a zero-waste lifestyle.

It's been a year where I have become much more dedicated to re-use, and our lives all the better for it as well!

Sunday, November 2, 2014


I'm feeling intensely grateful today. For a hot minute I thought about doing a post-a-day kind of thing in November to highlight all the things I am grateful about, but who am I kidding that I would keep that schedule up. So here, in no particular order, are just a few things I am grateful for:

-  My friend Tracy, who offered to carpool to ballet yesterday. We brought her daughter there, and then she brought Beatrix home, but not before taking her out to Bread & Chocolate for a treat. Beatrix now things that Tracy is the best mom in the world, but hey, she is probably right. And thanks to that carpooling, I for several small paint touch-up projects completed.

-  Soup. My friends Erica and Joe host a Soup Swap every year. Everyone brings six quarts of soup, and collects and trades with others. So now our freezer is full of delicious soup. Honestly, anything that can make dinner less of a chore in our household is welcome (and even more so to Patrick the usual chef).

-  Cleaning teamwork. Today we spent hours and hours cleaning Summit to within an inch of its life, the kind of deep clean it really needed and has not had in forever. I mentioned that cleaning that house made me a little sad, because it also reminded me of All The Things we need to do over there. But at least this was one big step to making it better, and we were a fantastic team. (And over here we also got a lot of Beatrix's clothes cleaned through, finished the paint touch-ups, cleaned up her playroom, listed — and sold — several things on neighborhood Buy/Sell/Trade boards, and did laundry.) That extra hours is golden.

-  My pack-rat tendencies. Tonight we relaxed by watching some Rehab Addict, and Patrick always laughs and says the reason that Nicole and I get along so well is that we are always saving and re-using things. But recently, we pulled some of my old toys out of the attic at Summit, and Beatrix has LOVED playing with them. It makes me really happy.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Discovering Neighborhoods

As a born and bred Saint Paulite (with some time away to appreciate it!), I would say that I know the city pretty well. And I am pretty solid on most Minneapolis neighborhoods as well, aseptically after my time working for the Neighborhood Revitalization Project. (now, if you get into Maple Grove or something I'm lots, don't even ask me to go there).

But lately, I've been getting more familiar with neighborhoods I knew only fleetingly before, and it has been fascinating.

This summer, I started to get involved with several neighborhood Facebook groups. Hamline-Midway, just to the north of us, has several interesting groups — a neighborhood one, a Buy/Sell/Trade Group, a craft group, a foodie group, and even a preservation one devoted to saving the historic homes around Hamline University. As such, I have gotten to know several people in that neighborhood, and driven around it a lot picking things up, and also checking out such gems as Burning Brothers Brewing. It's a really charming area, full of cute in-the-process-of-renovating houses, funky/fun people, and lots or urban amenities like parks and bikeways. Hamline-Midway, I'm sorry if I discounted you before!

A similar kind of vibe exists in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. We have spent a lot of time this fall at Junket, which is a great store that we love as much as Beatrix does (and they have had some greta craft nights!). There are several secondhand stores near there that are a lot of fun to go to. Today, Beatrix and I headed over to Off-Leash Area's "Garage Tour" in that neighborhood, and had so much fun. Plus, I have notices that there is a preponderance of Little Free Libraries there, so they are doing something right.

My heart still belongs to "my" core neighborhoods of Summit-University and Mac-Groevland, but it sure is nice to be getting much more familiar with some new ground!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Restock

One of the things I love so much to see if people restocking Little Free Libraries. Today, as I was coming home from taking Beatrix to school, I saw a man with a backpack restocking the one at the end of our street. Someone just filled ours up with some great novels, too, so head on over!

I have a small stack of books here at home from people who have given me library items. i also have, thanks to my friend Katherine's generosity, a new kindle, plus a back-up.

People who love books are awesome!

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Beatrix has taken violin for a little over a year, but this year she added piano through weekly "Project Cheer" lessons near us. So it seemed time to get a piano, and so yesterday we got this. It was given to us, and seems to fit our space perfectly. I am reminded that the original owner of our home, Sarah Chapin, had a daughter who also lived in the house and taught piano.

After it was delivered, we headed off the the Art Crawl, which included taking in a performance at Nautilus Music Theater, going through many studios in the Northern Warehouse, and seeing a few minutes of "Arrivals and Departures" projected on the Union Depot by Motionpoems. Wonderful, art-filled night!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Real vs. Virtual

We may think that much of our life can get handled in a global way, with online resources. But a couple of things in the last day have proved that wrong, at least for me.

On September 30, thanks to a coupon code from a friend, I decided to try out Gwynnie Bee (basically, a clothing rental place, you pay a monthly fee and they send you outfits which you can either wear and return or buy). I have to say, I am not impressed. The selection is not great; what's more, I am on the low end of the size range, and often things I want are unavailable. Clothes that are in banner pics are not actually available. It took over a week (or a 4 week trial period) to get my first outfit — and what a disappointment that was! It reeked of dry cleaning fluids, I put it on and immediately took it off — it looked terrible. (I replaced it with a maxi skirt, tee shirt, and cardigan for a much-more-casual-than-planned outfit, and still looked 100x better). I have another couple of weeks on the membership and things are "in my closet" so I will give it another chance, but I am not thrilled.

So, as a much better alternative, may I suggest Poppy? It's a great locally owned place on St. Clair and Snelling. The owner, Jill, has a fantastic sense of style and will always work with you to find the best possible alternative, all at reasonable prices. Head to her sale tomorrow (10/10) and not only are all sweaters 15% off, but there is a fun atmosphere with a bar and snacks at night. And tell her I sent you (and that I should have gone there instead of trying some dumb online thing).

Then, as I went up to finish my book yesterday, I realized that my Kindle was dead (I am pretty sure Beatrix stepped on it, but it's my first electronic breakage casualty so far, so I can't be too annoyed, and hey, it's DARK in the mornings!)

Amazon was nice enough, and offered me a slight discount on a new one, but there was not much they could do really, and with property taxes due next week and the unsuccessful dog vet bills still lingering on the credit card, I just could not pay for a new one anyway. But then Patrick connected in with his (virtual) Twitter network — to find a real-life solution where someone is giving him their old one. So once again, a person could do what a company cannot.

1)  2nd shipment from Gwynnie Bee equally disappointing — fir a little better but still not well, and the dress was in bad shape (pilling and stretched out). Plus their website is glitchy. Not impressed.
2)  Patrick has some leads, but still no Kindle. Went out to our Little Free Library last night to see if anyone had left anything interesting, but the only one I had not read was "How to Build Decks." I won't ruin the cliffhanger ending for you.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


I've been quiet lately. For a lot of people, including my husband, fall is their favorite time of the year, but not so for me. I find it hard to let go of the waning days of summer and to make the transition to the cold.

This year is especially hard. We put our dog Geronimo to sleep a week ago today, after a rapid decline in his 15-year-old health. I've been contemplating a post on him, but it's just too hard; the house already seems so empty, and that might make it worse.

Beatrix has started first grade, and is doing fine but nothing exciting to report. I am working a lot, and I am pleased with what I am doing, but nothing seems momentous. Patrick is working hard on research for a book. Our life seems taken up with a lot of small issues that take a lot of energy to resolve, and are not particularly rewarding once completed. To top it all off at this particular moment, I can't shake a migraine.

I remind myself that every field needs a fallow period, and that this won't last forever.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Omigoshi, It's Suminagashi!

(the minute the teacher tonight revealed this phrase had once been on her syllabus, I know I had to use it)

Beatrix and I had so much fun last week painting book pages at Junket that we decided we needed to go back this week, and Patrick was eager to join us. Tonight, Meg was teaching suminagashi, which is the art of Japanese ink marbling. I have a friend who used to do it on silk scarves (gorgeous!), but starting out on book pages turned out to be genius.

Beatrix and I made a good team marbling the ink and setting down the paper:

The finished products:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

She Sells Seashells

This was my making-it adventure today.

For some reason, the beach at our family cabin in Lake Osakis has many fragile shells. It's no Sanibel Island, but Beatrix collects them, as my cousins and I did before her. The problem is, they tend to smell kind of lake-y and terrible, and they are fairly fragile.

Today, I spiffed them up with a coat of paint, and I think they look pretty good (and it encases the smell). Beatrix likes them too, though she points out correctly I should have asked her first.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Last Chance

I love my clients. In every single case, I work with them because I love what that do and how they do it — an especially amazing feat when my roster varies from a circus school to theaters to labor unions to a mental health association.

Right now, you have only a few more chances to see some amazing work, though, and I would suggest  you hop to it!

Mixed Precipitation is a performance company exploring text, space and form with festive theatrical events that inspire social engagement. They are best known for their "picnic operettas" — operas held in community gardens, that also bring in samplings of local food grown and prepared just for the production. Their “King Arthur” is the best show of theirs yet, and plays just one more weekend; www.mixedprecipitation.org for more information.

Lloyd Brandt and Rosie Cole have a wackily innovative company called Fools Productions/Theatre of Fools. For years they have been doing their Wacky Chicken piece at the Renaissance Festival, and it’s a great way to whet your appetite for their amazing work. See them now in the Festival and look for a larger piece coming soon!

(on a completely un-related note, we also saw Book of Mormon tonight and laughed our asses off!)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ace of Vase

Yesterday, I decided to make some painted vases. It was a mixed project, which is maybe better for purposes of this exercise than a perfect one.

I started with the kind of cheap flower store vases that seem to breed in our house:

Then grabbed some old paint from the ends of cans in basement. Mixed up the grassy, thickened paint, and then poured some into each vase. Gently turned each vase until the paint coated the inside, which both took more paint than you would think and of course did not cover evenly.

Dumped out the extra paint, then turned them upside down to dry. The paint, of course, continued to kind of sludgily come out.

The lighter one turned out well. The darker one needed a second coat, so we will see — not so certain on that one. Of course, they can't be used for flowers now, but they are very decorative!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book Painting

Tonight, Beatrix and I went to Junket: Tossed & Found to make things. Every Thursday, their artist-in-residence, Meg (who also was, apparently, one of Beatrix's teachers at ArtStart this summer), leads you through some found-object art. Tonight it was painting with gouache on book pages. And you all know I love book pages.

Beatrix's pictures (the pair with the flower pic) were amazing.

My first one (the wine glass) really sucked, but I did better with the wavier one.

Once I got into the flow, I really enjoyed it. I've resolved to rip apart a book, buy a set of gouache paints, and start painting. Beatrix wants to make paintings like these at her birthday party, but of snowflakes.

Next week, they are going suminigashi (Japanese ink marbling on paper), so I think we'll go back. Wanna join us?

Monday, September 8, 2014

"Enrichment Activities"

Beatrix loves her school, but there are a lot of other activities she would like to do as well. One reason she loved all her camps so much this summer was the variety of experiences. My friend Tracy said she limited her girls to 2 things each, but I quickly pointed out she had 3 girls….

So we are going to try to keep that up this fall, with:

-  Circus classes - they are a client, and she has grown up with them, and loves it there! This year she'll take 3 classes (acrobatics, side by side, and balance), and we'll see how she likes them. She already loves SbS with her friends!)

-  Ballet - after 2 years with the beloved "Miss Amy," she's moving on to Ballet Minnesota. She'll be a mouse/rat in The Nutcracker this winter! (plus she'll be in class with her good friend Frances).

-  Spanish - 2 days a week, she takes Spanish at school, before school, though Language Sprout.

-  Discovery Club - 3 days/week, after school, finally allowing us a little extra work time (especially Patrick).

-  Piano - through the Shubert Club's "Project Cheer," she can take a free piano lesson every week. She started today and loved it!

-  Violin - we're still looking for a violin teacher — any ideas?

-  Daisies - she adores her pre-Girl Scout troop. I do too.

-  Book Club - some friends of hers started a monthly book club. Much like mine, it's about 20 minutes talking about the book, and then some play. But it totally inspires her to read!

Somehow, the schedule works a little better this year, or maybe we are just getting used to it. It's great to see her try all these new things!

(in the picture, she is at her first piano class, wearing her Daisy shirt!)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Losing Molly

Yesterday, I lost a woman very special to me — my college theatre colleague, Molly Glynn. Molly, a very well-loved part of the Chicago theatre scene, was killed in a truly freak accident in which a tree fell on her while she was riding her bike. She leaves behind a grief-struck husband, two fiercely-beloved sons, and a whole community of friends and admirers. Molly was truly an amazing force, and her loss leaves a big black hole in the world.

Molly was by no means an integral part of my daily life, though I enjoyed connecting up with her and was hoping to get to Chicago soon to see her in a show (she was a truly compelling actor, the kind who lights up the stage herself while simultaneously being part of a great ensemble cast). I had the same relationship with her that I have today with so many my Tufts Arena Theater friends —I loved the ability to connect up with her, to get a glimpse of what she was doing and what her life was like, and to feel so proud that we have all come so far and are doing great things. Seriously, my feed is so full of people creating incredible work that it makes me feel hopeful, every single day.

The loss of Molly is, though, almost more of a reminder that that time is really over. It's like when John Lennon was shot and we all realized that now there was no chance the Beatles would ever re-unite. That little world that we created, over 25 years ago in the dim spaces of a now long-demolished oval-shaped theatre space, will never be back — and it was so, so important to us.

I would not be the person I am today without those people and that experience. I honestly don't think any of us would. So maybe — just maybe — if that the door to that world is firmly and truly closed, what we we need to do is make the door to the future even more promising, and to let a little bit of Molly live on in the work that we do.

(but what I wouldn't give to be together with all of you right now, drinking contraband bad wine in the green room…)

PS - Another way to ensure Molly lives on is to give to her trust.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Day First Grade

Full of sass and ready to go!

Monday, September 1, 2014

344 Summit

From SARPA's blog on 344 Summit:


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Our Village

As many of you know, we've had a lot to deal with this week. Added to the normal work, and house project, and community activism, and last week of summer issues, our dog Geronimo is very ill, and we're treating him and not sure he'll make it.

Luckily, our friends and family have really helped. Our neighbors had us over for dinner (and margaritas!) over the weekend. My book club host gave us some yummy garden produce. Our friend and temporary roommate Sarah gave us her malt coupon from the State Fair coupon book. Our friends Julio and Jeaneth invited us to a "Frozen" viewing party, and then had Beatrix over yesterday for games and dinner, so we could get some things done. And today, my father took Beatrix down to the History Center for the morning, to which he reports "Being a grandfather is the best thing in my life!"

So thank you all (and so many more) — it truly takes a village, and we are very fortunate to be so supported!

ETA: And while I was typing this, someone refilled our pathetically bare Little Free Library as well!

Monday, August 25, 2014


Because when Julio and Jeaneth do movie night, they do it right.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Here I Am, At Camp Granada...

Beatrix's Montessori school was a full-year program, so this was the first year I dealt with summer camps for her. By mid-spring I was in full camp mode, with brochures spread out around me and color-coded schedules everywhere.  Now, in late August, I have the rare feeling of feeling like the rockstar mom, because Beatrix absolutely loved every camp she went to. They were:

YMCA Camp Daycroix - 3 weeks of traditional camp experience in Hudson (there was a bus).

Science Museum Camp Warner - the Science Museum has a nature center in Marine, where she tracked animals for the week.

Circus Camp at Circus Juventas

Australia/New Zealand camp at Artstart - 2 weeks at a great cultural camp, where she did everything from dance to felting.

Gibbs Farm Camp - this seems to be the favorite of little girls everywhere, and Beatrix was no exception.

Summer Blast at Edgecumbe Rec - the free afternoon program we used to fill in where we had some open spots.

Dance Camp - with Miss Amy at Community Ed.

Camp Curie - another Science Museum camp (held at St. Kate's), focusing on science for girls.

Music Theater Camp - another community ed camp, happening next week, half days.

It was a lot of different experiences, but that allowed us to cobble together some scholarship opportunities and discounts that really allowed all this to happen, and I think she liked the variety. There're were some periods in the middle (where were on vacation or whatever) where there were some open spots, and the half day camps, paired with Edgecumbe, were do-able but a little frenetic. We had originally felt there would not be enough just hanging around time, but at 6.5, Beatrix is too young to "hang around" much, so those days were actually harder.

We'll see next year, but it will probably be a variation on this year, and that feels pretty good!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

An Exchange with @MrJasonRBrown

It's been a tough week for Twitter. I feel fortunate that citizen journalists are broadcasting what's going on, especially in #Ferguson, but it makes for a tough stream. So today, I was happy ti see Twitter as a Force of Good….

A typical morning in the Gladhill/Rhone household. Patrick was working on a grant proposal, I was working on a budget. He asked if he could put on music, to which I said ok, and in a moment the first few strains of "The Last Five Years" began to play (which, I have to admit, made the spreadsheet easier).

A few minutes in, I wondered "I wonder what ever happened to Jamie and Cathy." Then, as I often do, I tweeted it:
Wanting to ask Jason Robert Brown where the Last 5 Years characters are 13 years later.
After a few more minutes, I realized there was a better way. So I looked up Jason Robert Brown's handle, and tweeted:
Hey, @MrJasonRBrown - what has happened to Jamie and Cathy 13 years later? 
To which he shot back:
@bethanyg Hm.  Let’s crowdsource.
Crowdsourcing the #L5Y sequel – 140 characters or less – what’s happened to Jamie and Cathy 13 years later? 
And then this happened: