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!