Category Archives: Business

Mashing It Up

When I am over my head at work, making lunch in the morning is not something I want to spend a lot of time on.  That’s why I try to cook on the weekends, so that there are leftovers that can be quickly scooped into containers for lunch.  Yesterday morning there wasn’t much to choose from but there were four different take-out containers from last week, each with a bit left: Vegetable Fried Rice, Sticky White Rice, Broccoli in Garlic Sauce, Egg Foo Yung.  I dumped all of them into one container, mostly thinking it was the best I could do and resigning myself to a lunch that would be mediocre at best.

But it was great.  I stirred it all together, warmed it up in the microwave and it was a big comfort at lunchtime.  Not quite macaroni & cheese, or pizza, but close!

Do you have a surprising mash-up in your life?


The last time I took Brekke (my car) into the dealership for an oil change, the attendant came to me saying that I needed new tires. He mentioned that there was a sale on tires but that the coupon would run out in two days.  When I asked if the coupon could be extended (since I didn’t have time that night), he said yes it could and said I should call him the next day to set up the appointment.  After I got home I did some research of my own on average tire wear and tear.  Then the next day I did the penny test.  Abraham Lincoln showed me the tires were just fine.  I never called the dealership back.

So when the “change oil” indicator lit up on Tuesday, I was interested to see what would happen. When I took Brekke in, would they see a note from January about tires and remind me?  Would they use the tire rotation as a reason to suggest again that I needed new tires?

But nothing. They did the oil change and the annual inspection, including the tire rotation.  Not one single word about the tires.  Sigh.  Unfortunately I know that many service folks in big car dealerships get rewarded for upselling products and service.  Now I’m stuck knowing that my service guy in January was just trying to make a sale, thinking that an older single woman would easily be persuaded that she needed new tires, even if she didn’t.

I am used to being overlooked and not taken seriously when technology is concerned in the wide world, despite the fact that I am considered a guru at my job. Young sales people look at my graying hair and my admittedly frumpy weekend clothing and often make the assumption that I don’t have any knowledge or buying power and I get fairly poor service. It pisses me off but it’s never been quite as blatant as this.

So what do I do now? Should I call the dealership and complain?

Weeds Can Help Control Climate Change?

Photo credit: Bru-nO

As someone with a garden, I’ve railed in the past again weeds, especially Creeping Charlie. So when I saw the above headline on the BBC last week, I got a little excited.

The story turned out to be about a farmer in Australia who has been advocating “natural sequence farming” which at its core seems to be allowing nature do more of what nature does when we don’t interfere. It’s about a system to hang onto water and also about letting weeds be in some places so they can soak up carbon dioxide.  I’m seriously simplifying this.

It doesn’t look like “natural sequence farming” will work at my house which means unfortunately I don’t think I can use climate change as a reason to let weeds take over my garden. Rats.

What do you have too much of that you wish could help combat evil?

If You’re Going to Blow it, Blow it BIG!

Photo Credit: Reserve Bank of Australia

As part of my job, I send out communications to travelers all the time. Most of our communications are proofed by four or five people, more if the client actually reads the copy.  Every now and then we find a typo after something has gone to print and we tend to say the same thing “How can so many people look at something and not see the error?”

Well now the Reserve Bank of Australia is asking this same thing. Their new £50 note with Edith Cohen (first woman member of the Australian parliament) has a typo.  In teeny tiny letters, as part of the background, the note says repeatedly “It is a great responsibilty to be the only woman here and I want to emphasize the necessity which exists for other women being here.”  Missing an “I” in the word responsibility.  46 MILLION of these notes are now in use around the country.  Wow – when I mess up, it usually only has an impact on 100 folks or so.

Australia says they won’t recall the notes but will correct the mistake when they print the next batch of £50 notes. This makes me wonder if folks will hang onto the notes as a curiosity that won’t be repeated, like that rare Beanie Baby or Geordi Laforge action figure without a visor.

Do you collect anything?

Budding Artist and Art Dealer

Today’s post comes from Plain Jane.

Thursday afternoon a boy of about nine or so rang my doorbell. Turned out to be Marcus, a budding artist who lives in the neighborhood. He showed me a 14″ x 17″ watercolor painting and asked if I’d be interested in buying it. It’s an abstract piece, and in addition to some pretty watercolors he has used salt on it in some places to achieve a different effect. I told him I thought it was pretty interesting, and asked him what he wanted for it, and why he was selling it. He needed to raise some money, he said, and would take whatever I thought was fair. I gave him five dollars, but could tell from the look on his face that he had hoped for more, so I gave him another five bucks, and he seemed pleased. He then offered to rake the leaves in my yard, an offer I declined. He then pulled a long piece of turquoise yarn from his pocket. He had finger-knitted it into a chain, and offered it to me. I politely declined, but he insisted, saying “it’s for free.” I thanked him for this gift, and he happily biked off down the sidewalk.

About ten minutes later my doorbell rang again, quite insistent this time. When I opened the door, there was Marcus with an older sister who appeared to be about twelve or thirteen. Pointing to his sister Marcus said, could you please tell her that you bought my painting. Would you believe it? Marcus had apparently gone home to report on his art sale, and either his mom or his sister had questioned the veracity of his story and took him back to our house to verify it. I thanked his sister for checking up on him, but assured her that I had, in fact, paid him ten dollars for the painting. Thank you, she said, and turning to Marcus her face lit up in a big smile, and she said “congratulations, you’ve finally sold your first piece of art.”

This incident made my day. I had never met Marcus before, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen the last of him. He is a testimony to good parenting. Polite, creative, and showed good initiative, glad he’s in my neighborhood.

How do you support local talent and initiative?


Spring Tableside

On Saturday, as YA and I drove around, it seemed as if every restaurant in SW Minneapolis had chosen that day to assemble their outside tables and chairs and begin their outdoor service. Lots of folks were taking them up on the offer too.

Then on Sunday morning, when I let the dogs out, a fresh rainy burst of air hit me – aah, the smell of Spring. Finally.  Made me wish I has sat outside at a restaurant table the day before to sip wine and appreciate the first truly warm day of the season.

Do you have a favorite outdoor restaurant/dining spot?

New Horizons

I found a recipe online that I wanted to try, but it needed two items that I’d never heard of. A quick search made it clear that the only place I would find these items would be in a specialty market.    These days you can find so many different kinds of things in regular grocery stores and I don’t visit any specialty markets (think Asian grocery or Mexican grocery) often.

So there I am in the middle of aisle upon aisle of items that I don’t recognize, some of which I can’t even GUESS what they are. Unfortunately I was on my lunch break so didn’t have time to wander and linger.  I asked about my two items, was shown where to find them, checked out and went back to work.

But now I think I’ll have to go back next week when I have more time. I hope I don’t spend too much when I do!

Do you have a favorite ethnic/specialty market or restaurant?