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Showing posts from 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.
Success!
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.
Success!
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…

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:

http://patrickrhone.com/2014/12/29/resolutions-dont-happen-in-a-vacuum/

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!

http://www.twincities.com/Features/ci_27210667/10-resolutions-kept:-Key-is-picking-passion-not-obligation

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 u…

Virtual Christmas Card

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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

Three Gifts (not Wise Men)

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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…

First Recital

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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!





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 NE…

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 …

Adventures in Jewelry Rental

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(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 …

Re-Use

(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…

Grateful

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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…

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 re…

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!

Piano

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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!

Real vs. Virtual

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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 an…

Fallow

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&#…

Omigoshi, It's Suminagashi!

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(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:

She Sells Seashells

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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.


Last Chance

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Ace of Vase

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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!


Book Painting

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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?

"Enrichment Activities"

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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 t…

Losing Molly

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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…

First Day First Grade

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Full of sass and ready to go!

344 Summit

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From SARPA's blog on 344 Summit:

http://sarpaexpress.blogspot.com/2014/08/sarpas-position-on-344-summit.html


Our Village

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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…

Frozen

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


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.

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. …