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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chicks and sticks for Christmas

My top two gifts from Christmas '08:

1. Nancy Lopez golf clubs from my man! Along with a couple accessory must haves.

2. Twenty chickens...Yes, you read correctly. Twenty chickens (or, about that). Bought to help families from Cameroon to the Caribbean through Heifer International. The website says, "Heifer helps many hungry families with a starter flock of 10 to 50 chicks. A good hen can lay up to 200 eggs a year - plenty to eat, share or sell."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dedicating myself to life, not work

From this day forward (and some of those days of the past when I had similar, positive thinking thoughts) I will not be known just by what I do for work, but for what I do in life.

This post by the author of the Someday Syndrome blog has been good for me. It's probably good for you too.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

BKBM’s Response to the Budget Crisis

A friend of mine just told me that the company she works for, BKBM Engineers, not only cut four people as a result of the budget crisis, but made a decision to cut 10% of everyone’s salary and decrease to 36 hour work weeks. “36 hour work weeks, 10% hour cut, 10% pay cut,” my friend quoted. However, the sad truth is is that just because the company is paying less, most likely does not mean less work. “We will probably work the same amount, just less pay.”

When asked what kind of impacts this might have on her company she said, “Is it too late to sign up for classes at the U of M? Now I have free time so I can take a class.”

Monday, December 15, 2008

First baby steps for wine cellar planning


Someday, someday that is most likely in the very distant future, I want to have a wine cellar. I currently don't have a place to have a wine cellar even if I were ready for one.

However, something tells me that more work will go into having a wine cellar than the time I've spent dreaming about having one. I probably should research wine cellars, etc. before I am ready for one, or am even able to develop one.


My first baby steps/brain-dumping:

1. Read up on materials, blogs, articles
2. Research needs for a wine cellar space
3. How to maintain a wine cellar
4. Check out wine cellars
5. What kind of wine cellar do I want? (Supposing there are different types)
6. Develop scope of wine cellar
7. Process to getting the wine cellar I want (Scope vs. Affordability, etc.)
8. Where to start…get started

Have you dreamed about having a wine cellar and don't know where to begin? Or, having desired one, gone about a process to actually starting one? What were your baby steps?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New to Twitter?

New to Twitter, the social networking site for millions? Or, just need some lingo tips?

Check out TwiTips. "Twitter Tips in 140 Characters or More."

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thinking Scope

Scope, fresh, green, clean. No...not the stuff you flush around in your mouth before bed. Scope, the focus and lens through which we organize and develop a project, a team and information.

Without it, a project can fall apart, teams get off track, and information gets jumbled. Developing a clear scope is like creating the background for a play or knowing what's for dinner before choosing the wine. It reminds us of what we're really trying to do, and what's important. And maybe by providing a lens, people of desire and energy can be united to build and maintain a program, team, or project.

The U.K.'s packaging policy, scope. "Focus of material optimization"..."an update on the policy"..."two of the main aims of the policy"..."to ensure that good quality recyclables"..."better communication."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Reimagining Black Friday

William Doherty, family science professor at the University of Minnesota, invites us all to pay closer attention to what is really important and what aligns with our values as the holiday season approaches. “Black Friday, instead of being a day of the launching of the frantic consumerism, can be a day of reflection on regaining a balance in our lives.”

Holiday Season 2008

“The idea behind a ‘Black Friday’ event is to put into people’s awareness and consciousness that the launch of the holiday season does not have to center around frantic shopping.”

Please take the time this Friday to ask yourself, ‘What is important to me this holiday season?’ and, ‘How can I live this out this year?’

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What's next? Taxing groceries?

Will MN join the 14 states already taxing groceries? Or, will the 14 states follow the "Commonwealth of Minnesota?"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Snarkiness

Sometimes I use words that I've heard out of context, sometimes I use words just because they sound fun and sometimes I modify fun words. Yesterday I used another slang rendition of snarky: "snarkiness." Someone tried calling me out that "snarkiness" wasn't a word...but I assure you that it's at least modified from one.

The definition of "snarky," according to Dictionary.com:

snark·y (snär'kē) Pronunciation Key
adj. snark·i·er, snark·i·est Slang

1. Rudely sarcastic or disrespectful; snide.
2. Irritable or short-tempered; irascible.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

MN without snow

Ever wonder what Minnesota would be like without snow? I do.

10 things MN would miss if there wasn't snow:

10. Sledding

9. The pride for being a Minnesotan braving the snow

8. Snow boots/coats/pants

7. Skiing/Snowboarding

6. Snowball fights

5. Building snow forts/igloos

4. Sticking tongues out in the air

3. Snow days (for those of your without snow, these are kid-favorite days)

2. White evergreens

1. Bundling up and still freezing

Friday, November 7, 2008

Scholastic Strength: Evaluating

According to Blogthings my scholastic strength is 'Evaluating.'




Your Scholastic Strength Is Evaluating



You are great at looking at many details and putting them all together.

You are talented at detecting subtle trends, accuracy, and managing change.


You should major in:


Statistics

Speech

Conflict studies

Communication

Finance

Medicine



Try a few!

Longing for shelter

Slowly waking to the sound of drops hitting the roof above me, I crawl out of bed, especially chilled. And then I hear a shriek...

Peering out the front window I noticed my roommate realizing our looming fate for the next 4-6 months. Dread overcoming our faces as I stare out with her.

It's that time of year again. A time when so many are happy/cheerful/excited and others grumpy/sluggish/frost-bitten. Although I currently find myself associated with the latter group (and will be there for a while...just give me time), there always comes a time that I also find hope, cheer and excitement in this bittersweet season.

As I sip my earl grey and am trying to calm myself with warm thoughts, I think of all those who, like me, wish away the biting cold but are without all that I have: a shelter, loving arms, hope...or, maybe just tea. May the God who shelters all, especially shelter them.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Phalen is where it's at

For all you fellow St. Paul residents who faithfully shop at Cub...we have "the first store in the country to obtain gold-level certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use of green refrigeration technology," reports the Greener Buildings Staff at Greenbiz.com.

The store residing in the Phalen neighborhood is now seeking to possibly become Minnesota's first LEED Gold certified grocery store.

"The new Cub Foods store in Saint Paul's Phalen neighborhood uses 65 percent less refrigeration than the industry standard. And its LED lights in refrigerated cases use 35 percent less energy and are motion-activated, shutting off when no one is in the aisle.

Other green elements at the store include 44 skylights that illuminate 75 percent of regularly occupied space and use a solar powered GPS system to track and redirect sunlight as needed; use of LED lights in the parking lot — a first among commercial parking sites in the state and a move that provides a 50 percent energy savings, a landscape irrigation system that uses 50 percent less water than conventional systems, shower rooms to encourage employees to bike, walk or snow-shoe to work, and polished concrete floors, which do not require waxing."

Cub Foods Bags EPA Gold rating

JCPenny LEEDing the way

JCPenny develops the first LEED certified store in the U.S.! It has been reported that the store in Plano, Texas will use 41% less energy than non-LEED stores of the same size use.

JCPenny breaks ground on first LEED store

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Only time will tell...


Photo courtesy of 9News.

I offer much congratulations to President Elect Obama. One thing I congratulate him on arguably one of the most successful campaigns to date. However, it's only a matter of time before the media...acts like the media. Where everything you say and/or do (or in these cases, everything our president says/does) 'Can, and will be used against you.'

The Future War Between Obama and the Press
Published by PRSA

Monday, November 3, 2008

Political Drinks...

The McCainarita, The Sarah Palin, Ciroc Obama, Cocktail for a Change, and the Patriotic Margarita...

"With less than one week left before the election, there's no shortage of politically-themed cocktails in the minds of the nation's bartenders and liquor producers. Here are some clever conoctions to consider, whether you plan to host a returns-watching party or spend the night solo."

"Need a Drink on Election Night?"

Monday, October 13, 2008

glitter pumpkins

It's hard coming up with new, scary pumpkins each year. Have you ever tried a different way to carve a pumpkin? Have you seen any different ideas for decorating pumpkins? What was your best pumpkin's facial expression? Did it even have a face?

This year set the carving knife aside. Instead, see what a little glitter and glue can do!

I saw these photos and am definitely tempted to try out their quick and crafty idea!



Pumpkins courtesy of my boyfriend's friend, Kristy!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

108 years of candy corn

A little blip about the history of candy corn...my favorite Halloween treat!

Attributed to RealSimple.com ... "With Halloween approaching, what better time to learn a few kernels of truth about a favorite fall treat? Candy corn has been made with the same recipe — containing sugar, corn syrup, and marshmallow — by the Jelly Belly Candy Company since around 1900. One serving (about 30 pieces) has 140 calories, the equivalent of three miniature Hershey bars. The National Confectioners Association reports that more than 35 million pounds were manufactured in 2005, amounting to almost 9 billion kernels."

October 2006

Monday, October 6, 2008

Some Do’s and Don’ts for riding the metro in Minnesota

1. Don’t have loud, personal conversations arguing with your significant other. Not only is it embarrassing for you, but it makes things more uncomfortable for all those already trying to avoid eyeballing you.

2. Please do relieve a seat for those with disabilities. You know how hard it is to hang on to the railing while trying not to fly down the aisle. Imagine how hard it must be for those who aren’t as fortunate.

3. DON’T snag the stopping cord seconds before your stop; it’s only going to a) make people annoyed at an unnecessary abrupt stop, b) make the driver stop past the stop (if they even choose to stop), and/or c) both.

4. DO thank your driver when you exit the bus. They deal with enough people bad mouthing them for being late, for forgetting to release the back door for exiting, etc. I believe drivers appreciate those who use common courtesy and respect.

5. DON’T hang over your driver while inserting your change. I’ve seen more than a number of people do this, causing the driver to potentially be distracted while driving and uneasy about what is going on right behind them.

6. DO have exact amount of change or Metropass ready before you enter the bus. Not being prepared takes additional time of the bus driver and causes the payer to remain standing as the bus takes off. Paying as you enter creates smoother, quicker stops for the bus and a safer ride for everyone.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Creative Lighting Recycles Old Bulbs

Just read this...for those of you who live in or near the Twin Cities, Creative Lighting located off of 94 and Snelling Ave. will take your old or new bulbs to recycle and in return give you a discount on new CFL's!

"GREEN LIGHT!
Creative Lighting wants to help customers go green with light bulbs.

Creative Lighting customers can now recycle old or new incandescent light bulbs at the store and apply the full retail price of the incandescent light bulb towards a purchase of one compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL). Incandescent bulbs, which provide on average only 750-1000 hours of light, can be traded at Creative Lighting for a discount on a new CFL, which omits less heat, uses about 75% less energy and provides anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 hours of light. In addition, Creative Lighting will recycle your household fluorescent bulbs at no charge!"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

35W Bridge renewed, reopened

The rumors are true, the 35W bridge reopened this morning at 5 a.m. Cars following patrols led the way, with flashing lights and horn honking. The Star Tribune has a pretty good opening video of the bridge...but if you aren't able to check that before another story covers it up I found a sight that produces live camera shots every 15 minutes or so: http://www.oxblue.com/pro/open/flatironmanson/stanthony.

Friday, June 20, 2008

"Green Your..."

Not able to ride your bike to work, but looking for new ways to stay green? "Green Your..." website is your guide for greening pretty much any and all areas of your life. Feel free to take away the facts, tips and products the site recommends, as well as contribute your own tried and true ways to be more green.

From greening your commute, greening your office to greening your beer: Green Your...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Twins fans on the field and off/Sheena Miller

Twins fans on the field and off/Sheena Miller


Beer, Banners and Baseball

Read my article on the Star Tribune. It's about my trip to Milwaukee last year to see the Twins defeat the Brewers, and other fun things throughout the trip.


http://www.startribune.com/sports/twins/19840544.html?page=3&c=y

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"What is the story with all that stuff we use"

Courtesy of McLaren's website Everything Must Change, I stumbled upon this neat little video that we all seriously need to think a little bit more about.

The Story of Stuff Teaser #1

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Taraccino Coffee, 224 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis

Taraccino Coffee is a quaint secret on E Hennepin, great in combination with the many bagel shops, restaurants and groceries neighboring.

Read my cafe review...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

iReport.com

"iReport For CNN" - CNN claimed to be the first for interactive citizen journalism. A half an hour program on CNN comprised from stories around the world by the people for the people; Hosted by Anchor Michael Holmes. Watch it now or upload your own stories at www.ireport.com.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cupcake, 3338 University Ave. SE., Minneapolis

"What is the one thing you think of that always makes you smile?" reads a postcard at University Avenue's Cupcake. By taking a moment looking around this hip bakery/café it is nearly impossible to find anyone without a smile.

Read my cafe review...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

Truly one of my favorite days of the year.

Also, everyone who is in the Twin Cities should visit the Living Green Expo at the State Fair, May 3-4.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Beautiful U Day in sync with Earth Day

I may not always like my job, but I love the atmosphere, people and department I work with. Facilities Management includes Recycling, Reuse, Landcare among other areas for facilities care. With this, it's fun to always be around people who care about sustainability, environmentally-friendly substances and product efficiency.

Every year, the U of M celebrates Beautiful U Day and this year is the 10th anniversary.

"Beginning on Beautiful U Day, the University of Minnesota will celebrate campus beautification and sustainability through Earth Day (Tuesday, April 22) and later."

Throughout the day there are various things happening at all of the University's campuses. This year's event includes free environmentally-minded lunches, beautiful building awards, tours and free LCD light bulbs! In addition, the kick off is scheduled at the Reuse Center and there will be an open house in the Food Operations Building (the one I'm located at). To see the schedule of events and more visit the BU Day website to learn how you can get involved.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ponderings from Big Sky - Montana

Returning from a week long trip in Big Sky, Montana on Easter Sunday, while sitting with my best friend, recently recovering from brain surgery, I realized more thoroughly the complexity of life, or my life for that matter. There are so many things I want to do, be or see in this life; So many places I want to go; However, almost all of them conflicting.

Currently, I wish I was back in Big Sky. Usually around this time of year I long for beaches and warm water. Some days I'd love to find myself with the ever cheerful Irelanders at The Brazen Head (Dublin's oldest pub). But, I also love and need to be with those I love and care about. My family...best friend...boyfriend.

Everyone has similar conflicting desires/wants out of life. And for most, we won't be able to have or experience all we would like. I believe there's an inherent part of myself that clings to selfish desires found in the world. I also find there to be an even more prominent set of values and priorities engraved deep within myself. This set of priorities and values doesn't always reveal itself appropriately, and certainly is overcome by my human selfishness a lot of times. But when conflicting desires are given opportunity of fulfillment at precisely the same time as another, one want/desire will eventually overcome the other. Even more so when a want/desire is found in conflict with something I consider to be a need/or of highest priority.

I found this small revelation of theory come into play after returning from Big Sky. I'd love to be in the mountains, sun shining over them, right outside my window. But I can hardly compare this desire to being able to be at home with my best friend during the hardest time in her life.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Twin Citites Chekhov Festival: Bryant Lake Bowl

"Swan Song" & "Uncle Sergei" & "A Boring Story" (Twin Cities Chekhov Festival)

Three one-act plays at Bryant lake Bowl, Saturday Feb. 23. The first two were short, the last (A Boring Story) a bit longer...but for good reason. Leading actor Bruce Hyde, a.k.a. 'Professor So-and-so,' did an amazing job in the first adaptation of Chekhov's 'A Boring Story'. Hardly boring; five artists played what had to be at least 10 roles.

Go to Bryant Lake Bowl to go bowling, have dinner, a drink and see a play all under one roof. This Lake Street gem has 'Cheap Date' nights Monday after 6pm to include 2 entrees, a bottle of wine and a game of bowling for $28. Or, take advantage of BLB's tradition of wining and dining while pleasantly enjoying a theatric event.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Program Administrator, Central Services

It's been a crazy past two weeks. Lots of shuffling around, a couple interviews and some miscellaneous happenings. At about the same time I was wondering what I would be doing after my contract was going to end, there was talk about offering me a job in the Central Services (C.S.) area of Facilities Management at the U of M. This conversation didn't happen very quickly and I felt a little uneasy most of the time...but when it came down to decision making time, I was offered a job to help with the many projects that are going on in C.S.

Now, just over two weeks into my job, working title still in flux, I have officially become a University employee and have began to tackle some big projects that are happening at the U. Benefits will be a big plus, and the experience unparalleled I'm sure.

Now that I have a bit of stability, time to figure out if this is what I really want to do, or should do.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Beautiful Day

Today is a beautiful day. Not only is it 40 degrees outside, but I also got to walk around, take pictures of FM employees and have coffee with a team manager in the health sciences district. It was a pleasure to have coffee with him, share stories and catch up about life. If only every day was this nice. If only it was 40 degrees through the rest of winter. If only I had this fresh attitude everyday while at work. ‘If only.’

‘If only’ appears to be a mindset that I solely control and determine. It doesn’t have much to do with events that happen throughout my day or the people I interact with, but the outlook and attitude I bring into my life each day.

All these boring days I have at work...??? Nah!

“Listen to your life, see it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”

-Frederick Buechner

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Emperor of the empty self, Peer Gynt

Robert Bly’s Peer Gynt provides mystical bliss and pulls off noteworthy humor. Friday night’s opening performance was one of the best for Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theatre.

Bly’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s 1867 Peer Gynt shows how a troubled man’s misfortunes and behavior unravel hardship in life, love and relationships. A mother’s boy, turn liar, turn drunkard, develops a nasty reputation in his hometown.

“What I need is a big cleaver so I can cut their guts out!” murmured Actor Mark Rylance, the amazingly talented, yet distressed, Norwegian Peer Gynt. After being humiliated and drunk with wine, Peer extricates himself from civilization as he knows it, and decides to try a new way of life among the unpopular trolls…unsuccessfully.

After escaping from engagement, a child and an indefinite troll life, Peer tries to mold his being around the unattainable troll king’s motto, "Out there, where the sun shines so much, people say: 'Be true to yourself, increase and grow.' Down here in the dark, where everything's rough, we say, 'Just be yourself, you're good enough.'"

Giving a realistic account for the number of professional changes often found in modern life, Peer tries himself at sea, convinces a religious group of ladies he’s a prophet, becomes a European capitalist and ultimately ends up fulfilling his professional dream of being emperor…alas, of an insane asylum in Cairo.

With countless scene changes, foreshadows and flashbacks, Bly’s rhyming rendition reflecting Ibsen’s original Peer Gynt left some themes feeling incomplete. The lively opening surprise party for Peer amid an already bustling audience didn’t seem to receive the attention it probably deserved. Not only did it take minutes for them to quiet the audience, but after realizing that this wasn’t entirely important to the show itself it was rather disruptive.

Even with the sometimes non-comprehendible, otherworldly events and scenes, Rylance’s self-awareness over his powerful ability to engage and captivate an audience was remarkable. It’s not very often an actor can stop an orchestra’s music mid-script through humor and wit without worry of losing the audience.

Unfortunately many years too late, Peer seemed to be reconciled to his faithful empire, Solveit, played by Miriam Silverman, just before accepting punishment for his sins.

With energy that blew through the roof and a special closing appearance from the playwright himself, Peer Gynt receives my highest recommendation for play of the season and vote for best leading actor.

Monday, January 21, 2008

MLK

“Make a career of humanity…and you will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”

- Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, January 18, 2008

January 31 - less than 2 weeks away

I now know that my last day of my current job will be January 31. I’m excited to move on to something different, even if the difference may unfortunately be unemployment.

Life is such a funny thing. One day you’re worrying about the future, and the next thing you know you find yourself somewhere completely unexpected. Sometimes at a job you didn’t even apply for. I think I have a job now and I won’t say what it is yet because it isn’t ‘for sure, for sure’ yet. I was offered a job that I’ve accepted, but I haven’t even applied or turned in any paperwork yet…which makes it feel just a little too unofficial as of now. I will tell you that I’m really excited about it though.

These unexpected surprise jobs happen every day. I met up with a friend for coffee the other day who just recently was hired to be a Junior Account Executive for a firm based in New York. They threw in some perks and he had no option but to rid himself of his more-complicated job situation, which involved about a billion part-timers (exceedingly exaggerated). An unexpected, welcomed surprise.

As a matter of fact, almost all of my jobs have happened unexpectedly. Sufficient proof that God knows better than I do.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Interior Design/Decorating, Architecture, Aesthetics

I love putting things together and editing, always design-minded, always. The only experience I’ve had that remotely expresses and reveals these types of artistic skills in me is my editing and layout experience for The Column (NWC’s bi-weekly newspaper). I like the fine details, the creativity of making pages different and stand out and the use of fonts, graphics and photos to illustrate stories or themes. I also like playing with words, using the thesaurus and writing very descriptive reviews of places, plays and restaurants.

‘Someday I’d like to be an Interior Designer!’ I tell myself. This odd, out-of-nowhere job only stems from the aforementioned experience. But I’ve only had that single experience because I’ve never allowed myself to take an art class, architecture class or creative writing class. I think I would have loved these kinds of classes actually. If I had maybe then I’d have an idea of a specific career I could do, and enjoy.

Perhaps interior decorating, advertising or English degrees would have gotten me somewhere. Journalism… perhaps journalism will get me there too. Or somewhere in between.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Capoeira

Man, am I sore today! I went to a very exhilarating, yet consequential class yesterday at my gym, The Sweatshop. The class that just recently came to my gym is Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian Martial Arts class. It incorporates self-defense, music, break dancing and acrobatics! Obvious enough, it was intense.

However sore I am from head to toe, I can’t wait to go back! It may just be the hardest fitness class I’ve ever gone to. I went to a Kettlebell class about a month ago, and until now, that was the hardest class I’ve ever been to. The two classes really shouldn’t be compared though. They are two different sorts of ‘tough.’ Kettlebell uses what looks like a cannonball with a handle attached to it and one uses lots of swinging motions. It can greatly increase ones strength and takes a lot of endurance and balance.

Capoeira… well it incorporates a little of everything. Those who are the most dedicated wear white karate pants and often have a musical instrument to contribute to ‘game time,’ a sort of combat in actuality. Since the martial art comes from Brazil, the language behind songs and moves is in Portuguese. For the most part, Capoeira is a no-impact sport, but you use different moves such as kicking, ducking, cart-wheels, hand-stands, etc. to be offensive or defensive. If you are having a hard time visualizing this, you should just go see it for yourself!

Visit the Sweatshop on an open house day!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Free-Writing

Dear Reader:

This is my second attempt at doing ‘free-writing.’ I remember practicing this in 7th grade in Ms. Hume’s English class. It was enjoyable. Sometimes we did it while listening to music that people brought in. She wanted us to learn how to just keep writing. I think she probably had the same theory behind it as the editor did in the suggestion I read yesterday. Between the two influences, now I am doing just this.

I hardly ever write anymore. I keep a blog online that I contribute opinions, links, photos and job inputs to once in a while. It’s just for me really; part of my effort to try and get me writing more often.

Maybe I’ll start posting these free-writing samples on there… that could be fun. And, only the ones that don’t have personal stuff in them of course.