Monday, December 29, 2008

Life Lessons from Target

Yesterday, I broke free and ran to Target. I know, I know, I like to live dangerously. It has been so long since I've had contact with the outside world, I almost forgot how crazy people are. Leave it to the colorful world of Target to present me with a quick dose of reality.

After a quick and painless return, I browsed the aisles looking for a few things. Hunched over her cart and lumbering down the aisle about 4 feet in front of me was a middle aged woman. Nothing unusual there. Until she cut the cheese without so much as flinching. She farted in my general direction! Despite my surprise, I managed to keep my wits about me and immediately implemented the emergency protocol - close, hold and dodge. (That's close your mouth, hold your breath, and dodge the fumes in case you didn't learn this particular protocol in school.)

After narrowly escaping, I made my way to the checkout area eager to avoid another incident. Suddenly I hear a woman screaming "JUST GO GET IN LINE!!!" Like rubber neckers to a train wreck, all the customers turned to look at the commotion and I watched the drama unfold. A woman holding a toddler was screaming at her husband who was holding a preschooler and a carton of diapers. He looked equal parts bewildered and scared but managed to eek out a small protest before his wife started again. "JUST GET IN LINE. I'LL BE THERE IN ONE SECOND. IF YOU GET TO THE COUNTER, TELL THEM YOUR WIFE HAS THE RECEIPT AND SHE IS COMING IN JUST A SECOND." He just stared, blinking for a moment. "GO! GET! IN! LINE! NOW!!!" He turned, tail between his legs and did as he was told. I watched as his wife ran down the aisle in the opposite direction with the toddler bouncing on her hip.

After recovering from the shock of this display, it suddenly occured to me that while these people are clearly crazy, I too have my moments. Admittedly, I like things done WHEN I like them done and HOW I like them done. In those private moments at home while trying to gather up everything to run out the door somewhere, anywhere, I have been known to get a little, teeny, tiny bit snappy with the dear hubby. Never in public. I'm not that crazy. And never to that extent. I hope. Boy, was that poor man's public humiliation a slap in the face to me as well.

While I will work on being more open and relaxed, let's hope I don't get so relaxed and open that I start tooting in public without hesitation or remorse. People, there's relaxed and there's RELAXED. Sheesh.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Memories

Christmas marked our 6th consecutive day of being confined to our house by a snowy jailer. In many ways, it reminded me of that Christmas two years ago when Lillian had just finished her 2nd round of chemo. We were stuck at home then as well and spent a quiet Christmas, just the three of us. But back then, that stifling feeling of confinement was outweighed by overwhelming gratitude to be home instead of in the hospital. How's that for perspective? Suddenly, another day at home doesn't seem so bad.

As if those similarities weren't enough, Ian spiked a 101 degree fever on the big day. And the fever was soon accompanied by spots and whining. (Poor kid!) Yep, this Christmas definitely brought back some memories. Fortunately the doctor on call today says it's likely just a viral infection. Little did we know at the time but that quiet Christmas at home was perfect for our sick kiddo.

We're counting our blessings today and holding our sick baby tight. It looks like a few more days at home are likely in our future but that's all right with me. Sometimes these are the little reminders we need to slow down and enjoy the moment.


Even the tree gets an extra dose of Christmas cheer this year...

What? You mean to tell me you're still watering your tree?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Brrrrrrrr!

The world has turned to white and there is no signs of a thaw. I'm beginning to wonder if global warming is a myth. For now, I'm feeling grateful for our newly restored power as I admire the view from our windows...






Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow in Oregon

Top 5 ways you know it's snowing in Oregon (other than looking out the window).

5. Chains and traction tires are required for driving but there will still be a lady in 3" platform heels hobbling across an icy parking lot to get her latte from Starbucks.

4. No one will leave their house for days until the news notifies us that there is a brief gap between storms. At this point every human on the planet will go to the grocery store and clear the shelves of potato chips and Duraflame logs.

3. Kids will snowboard in the streets, build snowmen and have snowball fights on the first day off from school. On the second day, their parents will start drinking heavily and complaining about school closures on Facebook.

2. When you finally get around the white knuckled drivers going 15mph while tapping their breaks and manage to crank the ole speedometer up to a daring 30mph, some idiot will pull out like his life depended on getting in front of you. And then he will slow to a crawl until he coasts to a stop in order to park diagonally on an incline at a stop sign.

1. The news preempts Oprah for yet another hour in their continuing coverage of the "Arctic Blast". Which essentially is telling us that it's still snowing, it may or may not be sticking and it could continue. Or not.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Don't mess with me Jack


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. A white Christmas even! After just a few days of this cold, snowy weather, I'm ready to move on. How on earth do people live with this white stuff all winter long? It's too bad the forecast is for more snow. I guess I can tolerate it as long as it doesn't start messing with some important plans. On Friday, I have a much needed haircut scheduled. I NEEEEEEED this haircut. My pixie do is more like a helmet right now. And more importantly, we're supposed to travel to Seattle and back on Saturday to visit Ian's extended birthfamily. We've really been looking forward to this visit. So Jack Frost had better cooperate. Do you hear me Jack? Trust me, you do not want to mess with my plans.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Getting into the Christmas spirit

We still don't have a tree and there is nary a light twinkling at our house. With just 2 weeks left until Christmas, I think it's about time to get in the spirit. So tomorrow I plan to hold a cookie baking extravaganza! I've got the ingredients for Lemon Squares, Oatmeal Carmelitas, Chocolate Toffee Crunchies, Snickerdoodles and Oreo Truffles. That should make a nice plate of treats for neighbors, friends and co-workers.

As if that weren't enough, I also made Caramel Layer Choco Squares and Cheesecake Cookie Cups last night for a party at work. With all of this baking, I predict that I will have gained 5 lbs by Monday. See what I do for you? What can I say? I'm a giver.

Now that I've shared my cookie recipes, it's time for you to return the favor What is your favorite cookie recipe? Or for you non-bakers, what is your favorite cookie to indulge in at Christmas?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wiill you help me with those last 25 lbs???

Dear Brilliant People of Nintendo*,

I lost a bunch of weight this year with nothing but a dvd player and will power. I hope to lose some more next year but I am worried that it will be harder this time around. The last five pounds have taken as long as the first forty. Which means the next twenty-five pounds will take about 4 years. And that's kind of ridiculous really. I'd like to crank things up and drop those pesky lbs in 4 months. So that is where you come in Nintendo. Lovely, sweet, smart Nintendo.*

I need a Wii Fit.

There I said it. Despite your super-compelling marketing campaign*, I've got to admit that I've been resistant. I mean the productivity in my household is certain to come to a screeching halt if we had such an addictive video game system at our disposal. And by "household," I mean my husband. He's a terrific stay-at-home-dad and I can't have him distracted by home electronics. I finally have him convinced that the computer is dull and complicated but I'm not sure I could do the same with a Wii. I blame you and your ground breaking interactive gaming technology.* So you kind of owe me.

Anyway, I resisted your siren song until you brought Jillian Michaels on board. Jillian, or Jill as I call her, is my weight loss guru and personal trainer. And by "personal trainer," I mean that I have her dvd's. Now that Jillian has created a Wii Fit workout, I MUST HAVE IT.

Which brings me to the point of this letter. I've been seeing a bunch of Wii Fit giveaways lately and well, I want in on the action. I'll gather some bloggy, facebook, myspace, twitter, internet friends and host the bestest giveaway you've ever seen. EVER! And I totally have a big mouth so I'd tell everyone about your generosity and brilliance.* So it's really a win-win. How can you refuse? Win-win situations are just good business. And I know you are really good at business.*

By the way, have I told you how pretty you are?* Cause you are soooooo pretty.

Kthx.
Lori

*I'm not above blatant sucking up.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas letters - Yeah or nay

I was just reading this post about Christmas letters at Rocks in my Dryer* when it occurred to me that it hadn't occurred to me to even consider writing a Christmas letter. And that's a lot of occurring.

Or not occurring.

Anyhoo, I enjoy receiving Christmas letters. I enjoy writing. I was already addressing all those envelopes. So why not write a little letter and shove it in the prepared envelope?

Well first, as previously established, it didn't occur to me. (Duh) Second, I have these blog-thingies which basically tell you all about our lives over the past year and all totaled could be considered the world's longest cumulative Christmas letter. And third, I couldn't just write a letter. I'd have to write and edit and re-write and choose pictures and then it just becomes work.

So tell me, should I expect a Christmas letter from you this year? Were you terribly disappointed not to see a letter with our card?


*Best blog name ever.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The real world

A few months ago my boss took a new job in another division. Since I don't currently have any direct reports either and my work is fairly autonomous, I took it upon myself to start working what my company likes to call an "alternative work schedule." The rest of the world calls it four 10's. I call it bliss.

Sure I left a little earlier and came home a little later but it was well worth it for the three day weekends. I started taking the kiddo to Gymboree on Friday. We'd go grocery shopping. I'd watch daytime television during naptime. The hubby was able to go hunting or work in the yard or whatever else he considers fun. So pretty much, it was awesome.

Yesterday, I was asked to start working on a project for a different group. As part of that work, they also want me to attend their weekly staff meetings. Which are on Fridays.

There goes my alternative work schedule.

So here I sit, blogging working away on a Friday. And let me tell you, it is no easy task. Five day work weeks are HARD. Why did I ever switch to four days? Adding back that fifth day is brutal! I have to focus and think and go to meetings. Oh, and put on real clothes. Do you know how hard it is to shower and put on heels? On a FRIDAY? If this is the real world, I want no part of it.

Crap, I have to run to a meeting. Stupid Friday.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Not finished yet

Last week I had a meeting with a co-worker I haven't seen in a while. She commented about my weight loss and for the first time, I heard myself respond "yes, I dropped quite a few pounds but I still have more to lose."

Huh. That's new.

It wasn't until I heard myself say it out loud that I realized I'm not satisfied with my current weight. Wait, that's not entirely true. It's not the number on the scale I dislike. I couldn't care less about the number. It's the belly bulge that I'm fed up with. (Pun intended.)

Sure I look better than I used to. My arms have thinned out. I have a collar bone again. My cheeks aren't as puffy. But that darn belly still sits there, in all it's jiggly glory, mocking me. It's the first place I gain weight and the last place I lose it. And I don't feel that my weight loss is finished until it's gone. (Okay, maybe not GONE but significantly reduced.) I've come this far, why not finish the race?

Add that revelation to an extended holiday weekend of gluttony and you have a recipe for change. It's one thing to splurge on Thanksgiving. It's another thing to splurge the day before, the day after, the day after that and the day after that. If there is a healthy eating wagon, I need to get back on it.

But December is a lousy time of year to consider trying to eat healthy! So here's my plan. I'd like to find some balance over the next month. Splurge on occasion and maintain my weight as it stands. Then get back to hard-core-weight-loss mode on Jan 1. This is NOT a New Year's Resolution. That seems too temporary and gimicky. My problem has been and will continue to be one of motivation. I need a goal. A deadline. And someone looking over my shoulder. So Jan 1 will be the start. April 19 will be the deadline (my birthday). 25lbs will be the goal. You will be my progress monitors. Mkay?

Hey, do you want to lose 25lbs in 2009? Join me! Misery loves company. It'll be fun! We can swap recipes, compare work out schedules, braid each other's hair, have a pillow fight. Wait, what was I talking about? Right, we can call it the Quarter Club (or something more catchy and less dorky). I won't even make you publish your weight. C'mon, you know you want to...all the cool kids are doing it. (That's peer pressure people, I hear it's all the rage these days.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Woe is me

Everyone get your tiny little violins ready for this story. Trust me, you'll see why after you read the next sentence.

Our housekeepers didn't show up today.

Told ya. It's tragic, right?

Anyhoo, the bummer behind that sentence is that we hosted a lovely Thanksgiving feast last night. Which included good friends, obscene amounts of food and apparently every dish, pot and pan in the house. And since the housekeepers were unfortunately due to arrive shortly after dawn today, we had a ton o' cleaning to do to prepare. Yes, I realize cleaning before the cleaners is a long-standing joke. But if they cannot find the counter beneath the pile of dirty dishes, how can I expect them to clean the counter? And should they go to the effort of cleaning underneath the dirty dishes, eventually their filth will come to rest on the clean counter thereby erasing any prior work.

So, we stayed up late loading and unloading the dishwasher. (And by "we", I mean Jeff.) We also woke up early and ran another couple loads. (Same definition.) Despite our his best efforts, one counter and two sinks were filled with dirty pots and pans. Out of time, he headed out the door to go hunting and I grabbed the kiddo and jumped in the other car. (We don't like to be home when the cleaners are working. Besides being in the way, it makes me feel very lazy.) After a quick errand, I decided to swing by the house to see if the cleaners had arrived yet. That would help me gauge when to return. Seeing no car in the driveway, I decided to give them a call. They lost their cell phone with their client numbers and were en route to our house to ask if it was okay for them to come Monday instead. I know, right? That's a lot of effort to re-schedule when our number is listed in the phone book.

The bottom line, we did a lot of rushed cleaning when we could have taken our time. But at least it's done. And I discovered a few more things to be thankful for. 1) That on a whim, I swung by the house to notice the cleaners hadn't arrived. 2) That I called them to confirm before wasting three hours with a 10-month-old in the car. 3) That I have a hubby who does the dishes. 4) That I have housekeepers even if they're not always reliable.

I know, my life is sooooo rough.

On a related note, I discovered the place to shop on Black Friday is Babies R Us. At 8:30 this morning, there were only 3 or 4 shoppers in the whole place. I can't vouch for any great deals as I was there returning something. In fact, I may be the only person in the US that actually netted out with money back on Black Friday. How bout you? Did you brave the Black Friday rush? Find any great deals? Find any empty stores?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Crafty toy company big-shots

Remember that scene in "Father of the Bride" when George is in the grocery store ranting over the different number of hot dogs in a package compared to hot dog buns in a package? Let me refresh your memory...

STOCKBOY Excuse me, sir, but what are you doing?

GEORGE I'll tell you what I'm doing. I want to buy eight hot dogs and eight hot dog buns to go with them. But no one sells eight hot dog buns. They only sell twelve hot dog buns. So I end up paying for four buns I don't need. So I am removing the superfluous buns.

STOCKBOY I'm sorry, sir. But you're going to have to pay for all twelve buns. They're not marked individually.

GEORGE Yeah. And you want to know why? Because some big-shot over at the wiener company got together with some big-shot over at the bun company and decided to rip off the American public. Because they think the American public is a bunch of trusting nit-wits who will pay for everything they don't need rather than make a stink!

Aaaaaand, end scene. But not before George is arrested for this rant and learns a valuable lesson. Don't mess with the bull or you'll get the horns.

Well I have a rant of my own that hopefully won't land me in jail. I'm beginning to suspect that some big-shot over at the toy company got together with some big-shot over at the battery company and decided to rip off the American public. Why else would a toy say "goodbye" minutes after it's been abandoned for another shiny object?

We already purchased the toy so the big-shots at the toy company have no motivation in ensuring it's actually being played with. Yet moments after some far-too-happy song has FINALLY ended and my child has moved on to quieter entertainment, that darn toy reminds him that it's still there. And the music begins again. Why? WHY?! To run down the batteries, that's why! So we'll have to buy more batteries. So the toy can remind our kids that it's over heeeeerrrreeee. So that they'll run down the batteries. So we'll have to buy more batteries. So the toy...

You get the picture.

And to complicate matters, the big-shots at the toy company don't tell you their toy has this handy little feature until after you've purchased it, assembled the fortygillion pieces, given it to your child and recycled the box. They're crafty, those toy company big-shots. I'll give 'em that.

So what's a mom to do? How do we show them that we are on to them? How do we protest the blatant manipulation of America's youngest consumers?

No seriously, I'm asking what to do...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bigger isn't always better

As much as I hate to air our dirty laundry, this story entails dirty laundry so here goes...

To celebrate the completion of our bathroom remodel last year, I foolishly bought these amazing over sized spa towels from Costco. Though it seemed innocent enough, this one little decision started a domino effect that will haunt me for years to come. But back to the beginning, my shame must wait.

Apparently bigger isn't always better.

A certain someone who does most of the laundry in our house, says my spa towels are too big. You can only wash 3 or 4 of them at a time. They take up ridiculous amount of space on the towel rack. They're cumbersome to fold. Blah, blah, blah. They're just...excessive.

Isn't that like saying a puppy is too soft or a cake is too rich? Impossible I say!

And so the Great Towel Strike of 20-aught-8 began. The help My hubby has refused to wash nor use these massive towels opting instead to dry off with hand towels to prove his point. The strike left me with two choices. 1) Start doing the laundry. or 2) Buy new reasonably sized towels. I did what any lazy sane person would have done. I opted for #2.

At first I saw this as a tremendous opportunity to buy some organic cotton or bamboo towels as a sort of eco-trade-off for decommissioning perfectly good towels. Then I saw the price. $32 for ONE towel? Fortunately or unfortunately, I'm cheaper than I am green. Time for a new plan.



After a few weeks of procrastination and consequently a few weeks of doing the laundry, the answer to my problem arrived in my mailbox. No, the good people at Gaiam did not read my mind and send me a set of organic cotton towels at $32 a piece. Darn it all. Instead, I got a little postcard informing me that Linens N Things was going out of business. As the sun shone down and the angels sang, a new plan was formed. A cheaper plan where I stick it to The Man while making my man happy with properly proportioned towels.



After speeding to my local LNT, I loaded Ian in the Ergo in order to have plenty of room in the cart for lots and lots of fluffy yet demure towels. But oh, there are sheets over there. We need new sheets for the guest room. And hey, new shower curtains. We could use a new shower curtain. And oh my goodness, we have been wanting those rain shower heads. The cart was getting full and I hadn't even reached the towel department yet. But who cares, it's a Going Out of Business Sale! Look at all the red signs. They must be giving this stuff away.



Finally I mounded up a new set of bath towels and made my way to the counter. The sales associate repeated her script in monotone as Ian began to fuss in the Ergo. All sales final? Sure, whatever, JUST RING ME UP so I can get out of here. And with a swipe of my card, we were headed out the door. As I loaded bag after bag of new goodies into my car, I imagined the joy on my hubby's face as I proudly displayed my petite purchases and announced their even more petite price. I drove home smiling like the Cheshire Cat.



Until suddenly, the smile fell. Stopped at a red light, I grabbed the receipt hoping to find something other than what I knew was there. But alas, the cold hard facts stared me in the face.



Linens N Things great Going Out of Business discount was 20%. The same discount they send me every week in coupon form. So basically...I paid regular price. Dang it, DANG it, DANG IT!



Sure I now have acceptable towels. And yes, the Great Towel Strike has ended. But where is my deal? What about sticking it to The Man? After all my years in retail, I should have known better than to get caught up in the hype. And I think that's what kills me the most. But as is printed on my receipt, all sales are final. So for the next however many years, I'll be reminded of the shame of paying full price at a Going Out of Business sale as I bitterly dry off with my tiny towels.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mrs. Dad

I've been playing Mrs. Dad* since last Friday when the hubs left for an extended weekend o' hunting**. As a parent who works outside the home, I think it's always good to do the stay-at-home gig periodically. It's like an accelerated parenting class where there are many valuable lessons to be learned. Here are my top 3:

  1. Manage your time - You can get a lot done when your child takes two naps a day! Speaking of which, did you know Bonnie Hunt has a talk show? On the flip side, you cannot get anything done while the child is awake. Including, but not limited to, showering, preparing meals, answering the phone, answering the door, running errands, cleaning and going to the bathroom. I recommend planning accordingly and avoiding all beverages.
  2. Videotape everything - As soon as you implement a man-to-man instead of a zone defense, your child will get sick. The child will instantly feel better when the zone defense is reinstated. This means your spouse will not believe you when you tell him how crabby the child has been.
  3. Count your blessings - Eating a hot lunch at your desk while answering the phone and typing an e-mail is not so bad. It's better than grabbing a handful of Cheerios between diaper changes and bottle feedings. Similarly, reading the same book for the elentyhundredth time is not so bad. Especially when you've got a sleepy little baby snuggled in your arms.
And now, I'm back at work with these new lessons tucked away in the ole memory bank until I get to play Mrs. Dad again. Of course the lessons are never ending so I'm sure my next accelerated parenting class will come with a whole new set of learnings. But I'm looking forward to all the classes on the road to my parenting PhD. And then, you may call me Dr. Mom.

*They've made movies and recorded songs about Mr. Mom. Where's the equal love for Mrs. Dad? Fair is fair. I'm calling Gloria Steinem.
**Vegetarian married to a hunter = proof that opposites really do attract. Also, no animals were harmed in the writing of this post which means the Hubby is very grumpy but I am oh so happy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Stupid Murphy and his stupid laws

That darn Murphy, he's done it again. Why is it that Ian falls a million times a day but ONLY damages his face on picture day?

He was sitting right in front of me, playing on his knees when he leaned forward and sort of dribbled down the Leap Start table in slow motion. When I picked him up, I saw a drip of blood tinged drool and the start of a fat lip. How on earth could that much damage occur when he was less than a foot off the floor? Sitting mere inches in front of me? Surrounded by fluffy pillows atop a cushy rug? LESS THAN TWO HOURS BEFORE OUR PHOTO SESSION? It can only be Murphy and his stupid laws.

Then the photographer reminded me that we have this fancy new invention called Photoshop. So there will be no official record of my parental negligence combined with Ian's baby clumsiness.

Uh, except this post. Darn it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One big happy family

I totally admire the Duggars. Is that odd?

First things first, if you don't know the Duggars by name, you've probably heard of them. They have 17 children and the 18th is due in January. They've had a few television specials and now have a reality show on TLC called "17 Kids and Counting!"

So why do I admire this super-sized family? Because they seem to handle it all so darn well. They manage a family of 19 better than I can juggle life with just the 3 of us. I'm sure they have their moments but a cousin even mentioned that she has never seen Michelle (the mom) raise her voice. And this week's episode shows Jim Bob (the dad) teaching one of his 7 daughters how to drive a stick. WITHOUT SWEARING! There was even giggling involved. C'mon, that's just not normal.

I guess there are some people who have the temperament and personality to parent a large family. I am not one of those people. So I watch those who can do it successfully with a kind of fascination usually reserved for zoo animals and train wrecks.

While I enjoy watching "Jon & Kate Plus 8" on occasion, it's for much different reasons. Jon & Kate are normal. They get mad. They act stupid. They breakdown. And God bless em for it...and for letting me watch! Because through all the crazy nutiness, they obviously love their kids and are doing the best they can.

The Duggars are just in a whole other league. Life appears easygoing and joy-filled in the Duggar home. And as if that wasn't amazing enough with 19 people under one roof, prepare to have your mind blown...

  • They don't believe in debt.
  • They built their 7000 sq ft home as a family.
  • They don't watch tv and limit internet use.
  • They homeschool all the kids.

Sure their carbon footprint is probably a burden on the planet. And I probably wouldn't have my four year old operating a floor sander. And there is no question that Michelle needs a new hairstyle. But through it all, they seem to be successfully raising a family that is in this world but not of this world. And that's worth admiring.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Stupid Pound

My weight can fluctuate 1-2 lbs in any given day due to factors completely outside of my control. And some within my control. Ahem.

But when I get my heiney out of bed in the pitch blackness, trade my comfy jammies for sneakers and creep past my sleeping family for an extra hard workout, I DEMAND to lose a pound. Just one, that's all I ask.

Okay, I'd settle for holding flat.

Wait, no I wouldn't! Assuming my diet remains the same, I expect to lose a pound.

So when I stepped on the scale this morning with sweat running down my face and discovered that I gained a pound, I was pissed.

I'm still pissed.

And I miss the days when we didn't have a scale. Of course those were also the days when my weight began with a 2 so I don't miss them too much.

Whatever. Stupid pound.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Holy Moley

Have you voted? I sure hope so because this post has nothing to do with politics. Frankly, I for one need a distraction from this frenzied anticipation. And nothing shouts "distraction" like a good skin abnormality story. Right?

Once upon a time, I shared my oh-so-lovely varicose vein with you. (Stupid exercise.) And now I bring you another installment of "what the heck is that?" Yes kids, it's time to share another of my...uh...unique features.

Okay, here goes. I'm moley.


There I said it. Although if you've seen me in person, this is not exactly breaking news. Whatever.

For the rest of you, I'm not moley in a cute Cindy Crawford kind of way. No, mine are more like the creepy talking variety...




Somehow I managed to escape my childhood without getting teased about the handful of moles on my face. I guess when you're tall, gangly and acne-ridden, there is plenty of other material to grab hold of. Or maybe they didn't appear until I was older. Or maybe they're not that noticeable. Nah, that can't be it.


Regardless, no one has ever really commented on them and since I see them everyday, I generally ignore them as well. That's not to say that they don't bug me. Just not on a daily basis.


That is until Lillian came along. Actually I think my nephews noticed them first. Those innocent little cherubs would look at me intently, extend a chubby little finger and try to twist the moles right off my face. Lillian did the same thing. Obviously these wise children realized those bumps didn't belong there.


After the initial hey-that-doesn't-belong-there response comes the next phase: acceptance. Like most children, around 18 months, Lillian began pointing and listing my features.

"Ears." point.
"Nose." point.
"Eyes." poke (defensive maneuvers are recommended)
"Mouth." point.
"Mole." point.

Wait, what?


Yep, the moles became just another bump on my face for her to point out. And suddenly, I noticed them. And I wanted them gone.

Well, life managed to take priority over vanity and I haven't done anything about it. But suddenly I find myself bracing every time Ian looks at me intently. Someday soon he's gonna reach out a chubby little finger and try to twist one of those little buggers off my face. I wonder if that will be enough to send me to the dermatologist for a little slice and sew appointment. Or maybe I'll manage to move to the next phase: acceptance.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Oops, sorry kid

You know that scene in "Legally Blonde" where Elle Woods shows up to a party in the bunny costume and nobody else is dressed up?

Um, yeah. Well, Ian kinda had that moment today at his Gymboree play class.

No, not in a bunny costume. What kind of a mom do you think I am?

In my defense, the teacher told us last Friday that this weekend the kids should wear their costumes to class. She even asked us what type of candy we wanted. And in prior years when we went with Lillian, other kids wore their costumes to class around Halloween. So it didn't seem unusual that Ian would wear his costume the day after Halloween.

When Ian woke up late from his nap, I grabbed him out of the crib, threw him in the car still in his pajamas and raced to Gymboree. When we arrived, I glanced in the window and thought I saw another kid in a costume. So I quickly changed him into his lion outfit in the lobby. The receptionist commented on how cute he looked and I dashed inside and sat him on the floor while I hung up my purse. Then I turned around and realized that NONE of the other kids were wearing costumes. Gulp.

Fortunately I brought a change of clothes and in a flash he was one of the gang again. But not after everyone had a good long look at his expense. Sorry kid, I have a feeling this is just the first of many embarrassing moments your mommy will cause in your lifetime.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Google me

Have you ever googled yourself? C'mon, admit it. If you haven't yet, now is your chance.

A co-worker recently purchased the url of his full name for a new website because the url with his first & last name is already taken. I too have a fairly common name so I would have the same trouble. In fact, a google search of my name revealed that I could be a singer, a set costumer, shoe boutique owner, one of two television actresses, a romantic suspense writer, a high school English teacher, a police chief, a litigation & employment attorney, a real estate agent and so on. Pretty much anyone except me. I finally found myself on page 19 thanks to a donation we made to the Children's Cancer Association.

With such a common name, I guess I'm doomed to a life of relative obscurity. But there's nothing wrong with that I suppose. So tell me, what does your google search reveal? Which page did you find yourself on?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I get it

I'm learning some valuable lessons in empathy.

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Thanks to this cold, I can't hear out of my left ear. I have uttered "what?" more times than I can count. And if I've asked people to repeat themselves enough times that I'm even annoying myself, I'll just pretend that I've heard them. A little laugh and a "uh-huh" work most of the time. Sometimes, I wonder what I'm missing. Hi hearing-impaired friends, I feel your pain!

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I bought a pair of pants over the internet. Which is pretty much the only place you can buy tall pants. As with most internet purchases, sometimes they fit and sometimes they don't. The problem is that I'm a lousy returner. If it is borderline, I keep it. These particular pants were just a skoosh too small. But with my handy-dandy Spanx, I figured I could make them work. When I paired them with a crop jacket, I knew I'd need the industrial strength High Falutin' Spanx to avoid the muffin top. The second I wriggled into this glorified sausage casing, I thought "I hope I don't have to go to the bathroom very often." What I neglected to factor in was the constant compression on the gut/bladder actually causes you to go to the bathroom 5x more often than usual. Hi pregger friends, I feel your pain!

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Now I don't pretend that these minor experiences in any way compare with living with a hearing impairment or being pregnant. But I think I got a tiny glimpse into those worlds. So ask me to repeat myself a million times, I don't mind. And if you need a friend to accompany you to the bathroom, I'm your girl. I wonder what other lessons are in store for me. Don't these things come in threes?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Did you say something?

The cashier in our cafeteria at work has this "unique" approach to customer service. Rather than try to explain it, I'll just give you the transcript from a standard interaction:

"Hi, what is that?" he asks pointing at the to-go carton I've placed on the scale.
"A salad," I respond.
"How are you?" he asks as he punches the keys on the register.
"Good, how are you?" I reply.
"Good, you?" he says and punches more keys.
"Uh, good," I say in an attempt to end the back and forth.
"$4.17. Do you want a receipt?" he asks holding out his hand.
"No thanks," I respond handing him the cash.
"How are you?" he asks as he counts out my change.
"Uh, good," I say grabbing my salad and briskly fleeing the line as I hear him ask the next customer how they're doing.

And end scene. Cue laugh track and applause.

Some of my co-workers have argued that he is merely giving good customer service but I disagree. He is offering a memorized platitude and not listening to the response. How is that customer service?

In his defense, I believe he is trying. Like many men, he's probably not that good at multi-tasking. (Sorry guys.) He's so focused on expediting the line and making correct change that the inter-personal exchange takes a back seat. And frankly, I appreciate his priorities. I also appreciate that he is making an effort. But that doesn't stop me from avoiding his line.

What do you think? Is this good customer service? Or a sad attempt at pleasantries? Would you avoid his line to dodge this awkward exchange?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Just what the doctor ordered

This has been the week from h-e-double-hockey-sticks. I mean I've had worse, but this one was a doozy. It was a little bit weird, a little bit sad, a little bit humbling, a little bit frustrating and now, like the cherry on top of this crap sundae, a little bit sick.


What did I do to deserve such a week?!
And more importantly, how could I be getting sick AGAIN? I've been sick more in the last three months than in the last three years. And for no good reason. I've been eating well (if you ignore that bag of Cinnamon Bears I devoured yesterday). I've been working out (this week anyway). I wash my hands like thirty hundred times (and purify them another forty hundred times). So how am I getting sick again? Seriously, can anyone explain this to me?
I think it's my hand weights. After a cold, I typically clean everything...except those weights. Perhaps I keep reinfecting myself every time I work out. How's that for irony? I finally get around to exercising and it ends up making me sick so I can't exercise. Okay, I can but I won't.
If in doubt, blame exercise. That's my motto.

I'm downing Cold-Eeze every hour per the package instructions in a preemptive strike. Here's hoping this sore throat fizzles quickly and the dragon doesn't take up residency.

Now that I'm done whining (for the moment anyway), here's a happy thought, er...picture.





Tomorrow I'm making these Chocolate Peppermint Patty Cupcakes to bring to a dinner party on Saturday.


Dark chocolate cupcake with peppermint buttercream and...there's a Peppermint Patty INSIDE! Are you drooling like I am?

The last time we had dinner with this group of friends, I threw together brownies from a box and fancied them up using my sister's trick of melting Jr. Mints on top. But something went horribly wrong and they never turned cakey. They were more like a pool of chocolate goo on top of an impossibly hard, sticky crust. (Not that it stopped me from scarfing down the edible parts. Aren't you proud Mom & Dad?) Regardless, I'm determined to redeem my culinary reputation with these cupcakes. They're the furthest thing from vegan, sugar-free or healthy. And they're the perfect cure to a rough week.

Note: 1) Sickness has settled in. Ugh. 2) The cupcakes got rave reviews. I used the America's Test Kitchen dark chocolate cupcake and easy peppermint buttercream recipes. Just fill papers 1/4 full, place a peppermint patty on top and cover with more batter. But don't fill the papers more than 1/2 full though - I learned this one the hard way. Also, the centers of the cupcakes didn't rise leaving a crater for more frosting. I'm not complaining as I think of cake as merely a conduit for frosting anyway.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Surrrioussssly

The RiverGala was a rousing success. In just one evening, we raised a little over $20,000 for the Children's Cancer Association. I know, right? $20k! I learned two very important things about planning a successful auction event. 1) Wine is great for getting those bids up. 2) Wine is not so great for checking people out at the end of the event. Try asking a drunk person for their billing address. That could be a sobriety test. (Don't worry, we were calling cabs for people.) Oh, and my cute new dress was also a big hit. Which is totally important. One drunk person declared it "the bessstt dressssss heeeere. Surrrioussssly." A couple of sober people said they liked it too.

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NW Mom Finds is off to a roaring start. I'm finding all kinds of new treasures to pass along. And oh my the giveaways that are coming! You gotta subscribe. Surrrioussssly.


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Will wonders never cease? I actually managed to get my booty out of bed for a work out this morning. Woo hoo! And I actually managed to stay away from the handmade truffles at the Gala. I'm talking dark chocolate, handmade truffles people! How's that for willpower? Admittedly Mindy's carrot cupcakes were too good to pass up last night however. But as I told Jeff, carrot "cake" is really a misnomer. They're more vegetable than cake, right? Whatever, it's all about balance. Surrrioussssly.

Friday, October 17, 2008

NW Mom Finds

Remember how I told you I was going to start posting about my fav things?

And then I kinda forgot.

But then I started a whole separate blog about it?

Um, yeah...I'm changing my mind again.

But it's good! It's better than good. It's super fantabulous awesome.

Or something like that.

I've joined forces with Heather from Production not Reproduction to start the uber review blog (her words - check out the comment that started it all). So without further ado, I would like to present to you [insert drumroll please]



Da-da-da-daaaaaa! Our focus will be eco-friendly/green products, unique toys and clothing, and businesses based in the Pacific Northwest. Be sure to subscribe - we have some exciting giveaways and discounts coming soon! In fact, we have a Kipiis giveaway going on right now so what are you waiting for? Click over there already. Oh, one more thing, e-mail us if you have a product, resource or service that you think we should check out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Another Angel Birthday

Happy birthday Lily-bean! You would have been four years old today. That seems impossible. You will forever be my little two year old. Frozen in pictures and memories. I sure wish we had taken more pictures. More videos.


Oh, who am I kidding? If we're wishing here, I wish for more time with you. Then I wouldn't need the pictures and videos to remember you. I'd have your squishy cheeks right here to smooch until they turn pink. Ian's cheeks do the same thing you know. We slather him with lotion after bath time, just as we did with you. It seems to help with the "kiss rash." Sure, we could ease up on the kisses but that wouldn't be any fun!


I'm blowing kisses up to heaven for you right now. Are your cheeks turning pink yet? Are the angels singing "Happy Birthday" to you? I'm sure there is cake. And if there isn't, don't tell me. I need to believe that there is cake in heaven.


I never found out what your favorite flavor was. Or your favorite color. I know that you loved to read books. And go for rides in the stroller. Oh, and that pacifier! You sure loved your pacifier. I was not looking forward to helping you give up that thing. But I'm so glad you had something that brought you comfort throughout all the pokeys and other yucky stuff.

Ian's getting some pokeys today. Nothing serious. He's 9 months old today so it's time for some pokeys. I know you'll be there watching over him as you always do. I wish he could have known you in person. I tell him all about you though.

I tell everyone about you. I'm putting on a fancy dress on Saturday for a party to raise money for other kids with cancer. I'll be thinking about you the whole time. And in a couple weeks, I get to share your story with another group of people. I get to tell them how brave you were. How special you were. How much I miss you.

Lillian, I'm starting to forget some of the details. The sound of your odd little laugh. The feel of your sweet hand in mine. I know you don't mind. You're happy and healthy and worry-free. But I mind. I don't want to forget a thing!

I know I'll see you again in heaven. I'll hear your odd little laugh. I'll feel your sweet hand in mine. And the details will come back to me. Until then, I will never forget how much I love you sweet pea. And that's what really matters. Happy birthday angel.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Women of Faith

Isn't it sad when work is a welcome break from the rush of life? Last weekend was a blur of busyness. In a good way. I spent Friday and Saturday at the Women of Faith conference. Great speakers, AMAZING music and 11,000 women in one arena. Here are my random observations:

  • When 11,000 women take over an arena, all the bathrooms are converted to ladies rooms. The stereotypes about men's bathrooms are true. Right down to the graffiti on the stall which read "let it flow." Men are so profound.
  • Watching Nicole C. Mullen sing one of my favorite songs "My Redeemer Lives" is magical. Watching her sign the song as she sings sucks the air right out of my lungs.
  • I am likely the most annoying conference attender in the world. I comment on how cute the worship team's outfits are. I mutter questions during the speeches. I try to make a vegetarian meal out of arena concessions. I shiver and shift in my seat.
  • Contrary to my prior statement, the lady sitting behind us was the most annoying conference attender in the world. Her Laugh. Her too-loud, too-giddy laugh. Like she had just sucked on a helium balloon before each punchline. It was so obnoxious that we had to laugh right along with her.
  • One of the points that continues to bounce off the walls of my mind is that God does not want to waste one bit of our pain. We know life will be filled with trials. Christians are not exempt from pain. But God uses all things for good. We need to let him use every ounce of our pain so it has a purpose.
  • Mandisa's smile is contagious. I have loved her music but as I don't watch American Idol, I've never seen her face. Her smile is as big as her voice. Beautiful.
  • The conference would be half as long if they cut out the constant sales pitch for their books. But if I wrote a book, I'd be up there selling it just as hard.
  • It must be hard to give the same speech or sing the same song or tell the same joke over and over in city after city without losing the impact. These speakers and singers are so gifted and genuine.
  • Forget the t-shirts and hoodies, if they sold the outfits that the worship team were wearing, they'd make a fortune! Seriously.
  • God speaks to me the loudest through music. I am thankful for radio stations like Air1 and artists like Mandisa and Nicole C. Mullen for allowing God to speak to me through them.

A busy but memorable weekend to be sure. A shout out and thank you to Becci for inviting me!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Totally worth the pain

The woof of my mouth ith totally buwnt and I don't efen cawe. Okay, so it's not burnt so badly to cause a speech impediment but if it had, I'd totally endure it. Cause this bean crack is that good.

Now don't freak out after you read the recipe.
"Lori, I thought you were a vegetarian?!"
"What the heck, I thought you weren't eating dairy?"
"Dude, chips? I though you were off chips. Chips are dangerous."

Lemme explain. I veganized (is that a word?) the recipe. And I am eating it with baked Tostitos Scoops. Half the fat and still delish. Pinky swear.

Sure, you could make the original recipe. And I'm sure it would be good. Okay, it would probably be freaking awesome. But you should try my version and tell me it's not completely fantabulous. I dare you. Heck, even Jeff the Carnivore gobbled it up.

Veganized Bean Crack Dip

  • 1 pkg Gimme Lean beef style*
  • 1 pkg Smart Ground crumbles*
  • 2 pkgs taco seasoning mix**
  • 2 containers Tofutti cream cheese (one of my BRAND NEW, UNOPENED containers was moldy, darn it, so I only used 1 container)
  • 3 cans vegetarian refried beans (why would you want lard with your beans?)
  • 2 small jars salsa (1 medium and 1 mild just to mix things up)

Brown the ground "meat" in a big saute pan. (You'll have to really work on the Gimme Lean to break it apart.) Add the taco seasoning mix and cook according the instructions.

Smear cream cheese in the bottom of a pyrex baking dish. Spread refried beans on top of cream cheese layer. Spoon the "meat" on top. Pour the salsa over "meat" and mix the two layers together.

Bake at 350 for 30min.

That's it! Just 6 ingredients, some smearing and voila, tasty, tasty dip.

This is a must have for Super Bowl Sunday. Or any day that ends in day. Oh, and I'd show you a picture but...well, I ate it. Not the picture. The dip. Hey, if I didn't wait until it cooled to eat it, what makes you think I waited to take a picture?

*I like the combo of Gimme Lean and Smart Ground because the Smart Ground can be dry. But you could use 2 of either rather than 1 each.
**I used some leftover homemade taco seasoning.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Uncork Joy: RiverGala

I have the pleasure of assisting with an amazing event "Uncork Joy" 08 RiverGala for the Children's Cancer Association. I've been so focused on securing auction items that I forgot to invite you! So here are all the juicy details...


Why am I involved in this? Children's Cancer Association is near and dear to my heart for obvious reasons. (See Lillian's Legacy for more details.) During Lillian's numerous hospital stays, the Music Rx program provided by the Children’s Cancer Association brought her great joy. As the volunteer sang and played guitar, Lillian would rattle an egg shaker and for a moment the beeps of the machines that surrounded her would be drowned out by their song. This is just one small example of the support that CCA provides for children as they fight for their lives. Though my primary fundraising efforts go to the American Cancer Society, I am always pleased to have an opportunity to help CCA and try to payback their generosity a little.

What is it? Hosted by Thirst Wine Bar, this fantastic event includes a mouth watering menu created by Executive Chef Jon Sodini, wine, wine and more wine, live music, a fine art auction and a fabulous (if I do say so myself) silent auction.

When is it? Saturday, October 18th, 7pm. Black Tie Optional (totally swanky cause that's how I roll people). At Thirst Wine Bar at the Riverplace Esplanade on the Willamette River in downtown Portland.

I know what you're thinking..."how do I get a ticket to this exclusive event?" Well I'm glad you asked. You can purchase tickets here for $100 each. Hey, I know the economy sucks and money is tight. So if you can't swing it, I completely understand. But if you can, dig deep and join me for what will be a terrific event. Aside from supporting a great cause, I'm sure you will get your money's worth in tasty grub and fine wine.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Huge Problem

I have a huge problem. HUGE! I'm newly addicted to NCIS (thanks Garren) but I'm equally in love with House and Biggest Loser. And there all on at the same time. See it's a Huge Problem!

Honestly, I never thought I'd run into a situation that my DVR couldn't solve. There are many days when it idly sits there pleading to record something and yet there's just nothing of interest on those hundreds of channels. Other days it pretends to work by recording "new" episodes of Project Runway which are actually re-runs. (Stupid Bravo, why can't you learn the definition of new?!) But Tuesday nights...Tuesday nights are special. This is the night my DVR gets called up from the bull pen in the bottom of the ninth with bases loaded and a tied ball game. (Or some other appropriate sports analogy.) This is the night it gets to fulfill it's purpose by ridding my life of those pesky commercial breaks. And in the case of Biggest Loser, it also rids me of much of the filler. All I really want to know is: 1) what is the challenge, 2) who won the challenge, 3) what is the prize for the challenge, 4) how much weight each person lost and 5) who got voted off the show. That's it. The rest is a blur of fast-forwarding.

Wait, where was I?

Oh, right, how to solve my Huge Problem.

Okay so here's my plan. In order for this to work, I've got to pick one of the three shows to watch live. That's right, filled-with-commercials-kind-of-live. It can't be Biggest Loser for reasons previously established. I think I'll go with NCIS. (That's the show not currently scheduled to record so it's just easier that way.)

The next challenge is moving to a different room to watch NCIS. Though the DVR can record two shows at once, it's not very fond of letting you watch a third. So I'll have to wade through the toys and watch the non-HD version of NCIS on the tv in the playroom. I know, woe is me.

Now I just need to figure out how to feed Ian and put him to bed smack dab in the middle of this brilliant plan.

Maybe I'm not meant to watch three shows in one night.

Or maybe I need another DVR!

No, this post is evidence that I do NOT need another DVR. I need a 12 step program for tv addiction...

Update: Ian was remarkably compliant and went to bed a bit early thanks to short naps during the day. After suffering through the commercials with NCIS, we went to watch the recorded House. IT WAS A RE-RUN! All that for nothing. Oh well, this will happen every Tuesday so it was good to have a trial run.

Facebook In Reality

Do you want to be my friend? Confirm or Ignore.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Contradictions

I am gracing you with bullet points about recent observations. You're welcome.

  • While I appreciate that my company has an aggressive recycling and composting program, I'm not sure it's wise to put the compost bin in the copier room. It gets pretty warm in there. You get the smell picture.
  • Excuses for avoiding workouts seem really valid at 5:30 in the morning. Even the weak ones suddenly make total sense.
  • When Xanadu gets to the top of my Netflix queue, I start frantically looking for new releases. Why is it in my queue at all if I'm never actually going to allow it to ship?
  • I'm all in a tizzy about finding the perfect, unique Halloween costume for Ian despite the fact that he has no where to wear it.
  • I never want a camera phone until I see a diet program banner on a van in the Taco Bell drive through.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekend Getaway


Thanks for the many sabbatical ideas and offers. After spending the weekend at my Aunt & Uncle's cabin in Eastern Oregon, I'm convinced that everyone should own a vacation home. Or rather, everyone else should own a vacation home that I can visit. There is just something about getting away for the weekend that refreshes your soul.

Admittedly, I didn't expect such a relaxing getaway. After our last road trip, I was dreading a repeat. I thought for sure that Ian would scream the entire time and then not sleep in the pack and play resulting in an all around catastrophe (or sleeptastrophe as the case may be). Then he got another cold the weekend before our trip which merely cemented my feeling of impending doom.
But I tell ya, that kid was a model traveller!
He slept most of the way to the cabin. He played and ate enthusiastically. He slept soundly for (most) naps and through the night in his pack and play. He got a little fussy on the way home and I'm not ashamed to say I broke out the portable DVD player to give him a half hour Baby Einstein break. Then we stopped at a park and gave him some grub, a fresh diaper and some wiggle time. This well timed break tuckered him out and he spent the balance of the trip snoozing away. MODEL TRAVELLER!
Now if only gas prices were as cooperative...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Welcome...

...to my new blog. Isn't it purty? I wanted to give my precious a face lift but I also felt the need to smarten up. This is the WORLD wide web my internet friendz. That means anyone can read my humble little blog. And as more and more new friendz arrive (hi!), I want to make sure I'm not linking to anyone who doesn't want complete strangers reading their shtuff. Not that I don't trust YOU. You are totally awesome. And pretty! It's them I don't trust. Shhhh. As for me, I like strangers reading my shtuff. (hi again!) I think. For now anyway.

So the ball's in your court. Do you want me to link your blog? Then leave a comment with your url. Oh, and you can leave a comment telling me how purty my new format is too. If you want. No pressure or anything.


K.cu.bi.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Say it with me now...sab-ba-ti-cal

I have a question for you my internet friendz. Something wonderful and magical is going to happen in my humdrum little life next year. Due to my ten years of dutiful service, my company is giving me this mysterious thing known as a SABBATICAL! Ooooooo. Ahhhhhh.

Apparently this great company o mine will grant me 5 consecutive weeks away from work to do whatever I want. Paid! (Well, I do have to pony up half of the time out of my PTO bank but who cares? It's 5 whole weeks of work-free bliss!) All this just for showing up for the last 10 years. Or at least most of it. I have taken 2 maternity leaves and a medical leave to care for Lillian. But graciously, they don't seem to mind those hiatuses. Hiati? Hiatians? Whatever.

Which brings me back to my question.


If you had 5 weeks to do whatever* you want,
whenever you want, what would you do?

*There are a few parameters to keep in mind in this scenario. 1) Assuming the inventors have not cut you in on their new found windfall, you are not independently wealthy. 2) You have a husband and an 18-month-ish old baby who will probably want to tag along on your sabbatical adventures. 3) You have an entire year to plan for this which probably means you'll change your mind several times before ultimately sitting around the house watching daytime television for 5 weeks.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Things that make me go hmmmmmm

Inventors of the world, prepare to get rich. I'm offering you free ideas here. FREE! All you have to do is make them. I ask nothing in return. Unless you want to toss a couple bucks my way. If you got rich from one of my ideas, giving me a cut would be the right thing to do. I'm just saying that you should let your conscience be your guide. Anyhoo, here are my fantastic ideas:

  • I would like a push button device to unlock my house. It exists for my car door, just copy that. How hard can it be? Honestly, this one is a gimme.
  • For extra credit, I would really like to be able to touch the front door knob and have it unlock. Again, it exists for my car.
  • OH, even better! (I'm on a roll now!) A push button opener for my front door. So when I'm carrying a baby in one hand and groceries in the other, I can just walk in the front door. It exists for mini van doors and trunks. Copy it. This can't be rocket science.
  • This one is for the car people. I appreciate your innovation in door unlocking technology. I really do. And I am particularly fond of that cool back up camera thingy. So why not have a camera in the front too? So when I'm pulling into a tight parking spot, I can see how close my front bumper is to that car in the neighboring spot. Just a thought.
I think that's it for now inventors. Unless my internet friendz have some more ideas. Anyone? Bueller?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Superstar

I nicknamed Kennedy "Superstar" because of all of the stars she has met and because...well, she just shines. Honestly. Those of you who know Superstar can back me up on that. Those of you who don't know Superstar (yet) can watch her light up the small screen in this segment from AM Northwest. I'm so proud of you Kennedy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Missed Connection

I got the finger last night on the commute home. I love that. There's nothing like a stranger telling you that you're numero uno. Apparently the fact that she didn't stop at her red light and turned in front of me causing me to slam on the breaks as I dared to proceed through my green light earned me the aforementioned bird. I responded by throwing both hands in the air as if to say, "Nice move. I would have stopped at that red light but hey, that's just me! Not you though. You are a rebel. You live on the edge. And who am I to question your choices? Nobody, that's who! Go right on ahead friend." She must have misunderstood me because she quickly followed up with that lovely suddenly-mash-your-breaks-so-they-think-they're-going-to-rear-end-you-thing that I enjoy so much. I thought "Oh, you rascal. You almost got me that time. Hahaha!" Unfortunately I turned at the next light (after it turned green of course) and she went straight so that is where our friendship ended. *sigh*

I'm thinking about posting a missed connection on craigslist. Wanna help me write it?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Who are they trying to kid?

What happened to truth in advertising?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

BTS Traffic

Ahhhhhhhhh! I hate this time of year. When my 8-mile commute suddenly jumps from 15 minutes to a full and torturous 45 minutes. All because kids the future leaders of these United States need an edumkation? Can't they get that book learnin' during off peak hours? Think about it. They could sleep in. (win) And I could drive to work in a reasonable period of time. (win)

The real question is...how, after that glorious 3 month hiatus called summer, do I manage to forget that this is the norm 9 months out of the year?

Stupid traffic.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stop the silence

There are so many things we just don't talk about. I'm a fairly private person. When I crash over those bumps in the road, I retreat inward to manage through them. I think that's a fairly common approach. Which means that many of us have been through similar challenges...but never know it.

Infertility is one of those silent struggles in life. Though it's becoming more openly discussed, there are still so many that internalize their struggles.

Most experts define infertility as not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying. And even with that narrow definition, the infertility club has a large membership. (12% of women in the US aged 15-44 in 2002 according to the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) How many more have tried for 3 months or 6 months or 11 months unsuccessfully? It's an astonishingly large club. Though a quiet one.

To have so many people come along side me after Lillian died has been a blessing. None more than those who have also lost a child. We speak the same language. We just get it. I can't help but think it would have been equally as helpful to have an equivalent community during the height of our fertility battle. So as an offering to those of you whose dream of parenthood has been delayed, I give you a glimpse into my story and what it has taught me.

  • I have been pregnant. It only took one try.
  • When we lost that child at 7 weeks gestation, my doctor tried to console me by saying "at least we know you're fertile." Famous last words.
  • Miscarriages aren't instantaneous. They can take days. It may sound irrational but it felt like I was slowly losing pieces of my baby.
  • I had been working in the yard on a hot day when the miscarriage started. I thought it was my fault.
  • I have recorded my basal body temperature daily for a year. That involved a lot of "holding it" first thing in the morning.
  • I have bitterly regarded unplanned pregnancies and the unfairness of it all. Then quickly dismissed this as unproductive. Who am I to determine what is fair?
  • I have peed on countless ovulation predictor sticks. "Holding it" first thing in the morning while waiting for your temperature and then opening the ovulation predictor package is double the fun.
  • I have prayed and prayed and prayed for a baby. God answered my prayers in His perfect time. I wanted them answered in my time.
  • I have taken Clomid for six months. It gave me migraines and dizziness but no baby.
  • I have cried over Johnson & Johnson commercials. "Having a baby changes everything." Thanks for the reminder.
  • I have had two Hysterosalpingography tests. Both of them were normal. Both of them caused painful cramping.
  • I have attended baby showers where I was simultaneously thrilled for the expectant mom and devastated by my own delayed gratification. And then felt guilty for being jealous.
  • My cervical mucus has been admired more than the Mona Lisa. That may be a slight exaggeration.
  • Men and women process infertility grief much, much differently.
  • After a year of tests and trying and disappointment and heartache, I was done with fertility stuff. DONE.
  • I know pregnancy is really important to some people. It just wasn't that important to us.
  • I wish adoption wasn't viewed as the last resort. It wasn't for us.
  • Adoption has it's own set of struggles and challenges. They have been worth it for us.
  • There are multiple roads to parenthood. Only you can pick the right road for you. That's why I've added "for us" in the last few bullets.
  • Though I'm a mom, I'm also still infertile. And it still stinks.

What has your road to parenthood involved? And what has it taught you?

Monday, September 8, 2008

WHAT????!!!!

Right next to the Halloween aisle, I found this...


It's September people!
SEPTEMBER!!!
The paste hasn't even dried on the first school projects yet.

Friday, September 5, 2008

This is where the end of cancer begins

We used to have such crazy dreams.
The kind of dreams that brought us together, made us not mere mortals, but a movement.

We used to dream we'd get to the moon.
And we were crazy enough, fanatical enough, relentless enough, to get there.

We dreamed we'd split the atom.
Make smallpox and polio whispers from forgotten history books.
Make technology infinite, individual.
Connect the world.

All the unbelievable and the impossible,
all the can't do and the never will, we overwhelmed them, we overpowered them, we conquered them.
They said no and we, well,
We said yes.
We stood up.
We stood up and changed the world.

Stand up when everybody else sits down
Stand up when it's easier to turn away
Stand up for everyone who can't rise anymore

When the answer seems impossible, stand up
When the dream is right within our reach, stand up
When the powerful refuse your call, stand up

The moment is now and the time has come to stand up.
One out of every two men
One out of every three women
will face these diseases we call cancer.

Our sisters, our brothers, our fathers, our mothers,
our husbands, our wives, our children.
Our very best friends and those we've yet to meet.

One person every minute, one person in a moment gets lost, gets stolen, gets taken away.

We are a tapestry of lives touched and brought together by a terrorist we can actually find. And in the time it's taken to read this, three more Americans have died.

Unforgivable.

This is where the end of cancer begins.

When together we become a force unmistakable.
A movement undeniable.
A light that cannot dim.

When we take our wild impossible dreams
And make them possible
Make them true

When together we rise as one
When we stand up
When we Stand Up To Cancer.

This is the manifesto of the organization called Stand Up To Cancer. Tune in tonight at 8pm on NBC, ABC and CBS to learn more about them. The cure is coming!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Stirring the Pot

After a long, relaxing weekend, we all seem to be feeling better. My cold was a quick but intense one while Ian's cold is dragging on for over a week. He seems to be in good spirits despite the cough and congestion so hopefully that means he's not feeling too bad.

Ummmm, that's about it. I'll try to salvage this post by stirring the pot. So, what do you think about Sarah Palin accepting the Republican Vice Presidential nomination while knowing her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant?

Discuss.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It Sucks to be Sick

After an extended stay, the germ villagers finally overtook the dragon and I was once again free to breathe without coughing and wheezing. But the celebration is short lived. Apparently the germ villagers decided to sub-let their comfy home to a new gang of germ villagers. And these new tenants are having a rip-roaring time redecorating my throat. That pesky pink color is soooooo yesterday. Red is in people. And in order to achieve this lovely shade of rouge, they must pour acid thoroughly over the surface. Don't worry about the fumes, they turn to liquid and drip out of the skylight known as my nose.

What is it about a cold that makes me thoroughly goofy?

Unfortunately the whole family is battling this cold. Did you know that there is a 33% chance of infecting the kids if one parent has a cold but 100% chance of infecting the parents if the kid has a cold? I don't pretend to understand how that math works but it does. Despite rigorous germ precautions, Ian managed to pick up this bug last week from somewhere. There is nothing more pathetically sad than hearing your baby cough in the middle of the night. Poor little guy. And now that I am on day 2 of this bug, I feel even worse about what Ian has been going through. This sore throat is enough to keep me up at night and make me shun food. FOOD PEOPLE...FOOD! All things considered, I'm amazed at what a trooper Ian has been.

I never get sick so two colds in a month is crazy. Heck, two colds in a year is unheard of for me! Let's hope this anomaly ends soon because it sucks to be sick.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fountain of Remembrance

The day after Lillian died, Jeff and I set out to find the cemetery where we would lay our sweet girl to rest. A heavy task with simple requirements. We wanted her to be buried with family. We wanted her grave site to be an easy drive from our home. And we wanted an indoor facility that could hold around 100 people for her memorial service.

First we drove to the cemetery where Jeff's mom is buried. It is the closest to our home and we loved the idea of these important ladies in our lives being together. Unfortunately there was no facility for the service so we kept driving.

Our next stop was the cemetery where Jeff's nana is buried. We both loved his nana dearly and chose Lillian's initials to honor her. As we parked in front of the facility, I raised my head and saw the beautiful fountain. Though the fountain had long been a part of the grounds, they had recently converted the surrounding area to accommodate crypts beneath large boulders. When I saw this "Fountain of Remembrance", I grabbed Jeff's arm and whispered "this is it."

Lillian loved to throw rocks in the water and watch them splash. Such a simple pleasure. What better place to remember her than a rock edged fountain?

We entered the large facility and as we waited to be helped, I saw a container of leaflets for Children's Cancer Association.

The gentleman who assisted us with the planning told us that he too lost a son to cancer at age 4.

He showed us the chapel which could easily seat 100.

He gave us a map and let us choose the perfect boulder for our family.

God was not whispering. He was clearly guiding us when we needed it the most.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't visit her boulder by the fountain that often. I prefer to visit her in my memories. But today I was drawn to her. I arranged flowers in her vase, tossed a rock in the water and blew her a kiss. And then I turned to leave. There, a few yards away, two fawns walked to a grassy area and nibbled at the trees. I caught my breath and whispered a prayer of thanks.

As a deer-sighting may not seem all that unusual, I should explain further. Another reason I love this Memorial Park is it's proximity to the highway. You can see the traffic and hear the rush of the cars from the cemetery. While this would be a turn off for some, I love being able to see her fountain and to blow her a kiss as I pass by. But the adjacency to this busy highway is also what makes the presence of these young deer even more remarkable.

Every single time I visit Lillian's fountain, God gives me something. Sometimes it is hearing a special song on the radio. Sometimes it is seeing a gift someone else left for my angel. This time it was seeing two little deer in an unlikely place. It's in these desperate times that God chooses to shout instead of whisper. And for that, I am forever grateful.

Thank you Father. Thank you.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Stupid pound

Have you glanced at my weight loss progress thingy over there in the right hand column and wondered if I forgot to update it? (And yes, thingy is the technical term.) Like for the last month? Well, I haven't forgotten. It seems those last 5 pounds are gonna take as long as the first 42. When they say the last 5 lbs are the hardest, they're not lying!

A few weeks ago, I got within a pound of my goal. One fricken little pound. I have a name for that pound but I try to keep this blog g-rated...and the name clearly is not. Then the feared dragon settled in for an extended two week stay. Working out was difficult with the dragon. I went for a couple of stroller walks with Ian but couldn't even breathe well during that mild exertion. The dragon finally flew the coup and I vowed to return to my work out schedule. In some cosmic joke, the dragon was exchanged for cramps. (Sorry men. Read on, that's the worst it gets.)

On top of not working out, I've begun to revert back to some bad habits. Healthier...but still bad. BWL (Before Weight Loss), I would come home and attend to a million things other than eating dinner. After Ian was in bed, I would scarf down whatever was handy. That meant eating crap after 8:30pm. DWL (During Weight Loss), I never ate past 8pm. And I negotiated with Jeff to have a half hour to make & eat dinner as soon as I got home from work. Recently however, I've started postponing dinner in favor of playing with Ian or making a batch of food for Ian or...[fill in blank with a million different things]. And even if I manage to make and eat dinner, I am back to snacking after 8pm. Sure, I'm snacking on baked chips or soy pudding but it's still snacking. And I'm not even monitoring the portion size. I just grab a bag of something salty and dig in. Holy badness! That's like the stupidest thing I could do, I know! But I still do it.

Despite these horrible habits, I'm not gaining (much) but I'm definitely not losing either. It's time to get back on the wagon. And since repeating that to myself every morning out of late-night-binging-guilt doesn't seem to be doing the trick, I will instead reveal it all to you dear internet friendz. Hopefully that will help. I shall start with three small steps for the next 24 hours...

I will make and eat a satisfying and sensible dinner tonight.
I will not snack after 8pm tonight.
I will work out tomorrow morning.

But we are having my most favorite raspberry chocolate fudge cake from the Dessert Tray in like 8 minutes. And I will have a piece. A small piece.

Moderation not starvation, that's what I say. Even though moderation is a slippery slope for me. Ugh. I'll get back on the wagon after the cake. Promise.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's That Time...

No, not That one. What kind of blogger do you think I am?

I'm talking about oil change time. The time that strikes fear into the hearts of women everywhere. When we stumble into the testosterone jungle and pray that we'll make it out alive. And by alive I mean, the car still works and our life savings is still intact.

My jungle of choice this time? Jiffy Lube. Sure, they're all "ma'am" and opening doors and such. On the surface. But listen closely and you'll hear the real Jiffy Lube.

One mechanic complained about "hurtin real bad, man" because his girlfriend unexpectedly dumped him that morning. Went back to her ex. One minute she loved him, the next she didn't. I almost felt sorry for him. Almost. Until his tale took an abrupt turn to needing some rebound "fun." You know, to heal his poor wounded heart. Uh huh.

A mechanic snaps about needing some paperwork. Another mechanic doesn't appreciate his attitude. Yelling ensues. Yet another mechanic tries to tell them to postpone their little tantrum. They don't listen.

A customer limps into the waiting room leaning on her boyfriend. "F#$%! I'm fine but my f#$%ing shoe isn't." After ripping paper towels from the wall dispenser and dabbing at her $2.99 flip flops, I gather that she slipped and fell in the oil soaked garage en route to the waiting room. Her boyfriend ignores her.

Another customer breezes in and demands to know how much coolant they added to his Cadillac. The mechanic explains that it was dry so they just filled it. In a very don't-you-con-me-you-whipper-snapper tone, the customer argues that it couldn't be dry or the a/c wouldn't work. The mechanic looks up the coolant capacity for his car and tells him they added 10 quarts. That seems to soothe the customer.

Finally, a mechanic enters the waiting room holding what appears to be some sort of filter.

"Ma'am," he starts.
I know I'm in trouble.
He asks if I've rotated my tires.

"Uh, no."
"Well, you should rotate them every 5000 miles. Your car's an all wheel drive. If you don't rotate them every 5000 miles, the front tires will go bald."

Call me crazy, but shouldn't ALL wheel drive indicate that all the tires get worn evenly? I know, I know. Stop trying to insert logic into this process Lori.

"Do you want us to rotate them today?"
I pause. Big mistake. This shows weakness. He goes in for the kill.
"Should only take 15 or 20 minutes."
I swear he has given the same time estimate to every single procedure he's sold to the myriad of customers that have come and gone during my wait. Need the coolant topped off? 15 or 20 minutes. Tranny replaced? 15 or 20 minutes. Rotate the tires? 15 or 20 minutes.

"Sure."

Then he holds up the dirty filter. I get a sick feeling in my stomach.
"We don't stock this air filter. Just swing by the dealership or Auto Zone and pick one up. You need a clean filter to get good gas mileage."
As though I don't know what gas mileage is, he explains...
"Good gas mileage is what hybrids are for."
Thanks for that brilliant summary.

"You want the same oil today?"
Um, yeah. Same oil. Yep, let's go ahead and stick with the WD40. HOW SHOULD I KNOW WHAT OIL IT TAKES? How about looking it up in the handy dandy computer there? Or, I don't know, checking the owner's manual?

That's what I said...in my head. What came out of my mouth was something more like "sure." I find "sure" to be the optimal response in the jungle. Keep it light. Keep it simple. Keep it fast. Talk to much and they will know you're lost and confused. That's how they separate out the weak ones.

He disappeared into the jungle to finish working on my car. I retreated into my Happy Place. La, la, la.

I hear someone shout from the jungle "It's in electric mode."
The little confidence I once had is slipping quickly.
La, la, la.

True to his word, 15 minutes later the mechanic emerges from the jungle.
"Well, I thought we could rotate the tires but we don't have the tools for that."
???
"You can just call the dealership and tell them you want the tires rotated. It's free."
?!?!
"No use paying us for something the dealership'll do for free."
!!!!!

So let's recap. I waited 15 extra minutes for nothing. And now I need to swing by Auto Zone to pick up an air filter. (And who pray tell is gonna install that?) Then I need to swing by the dealership to get the tires rotated.

Well, why don't I just take night classes and learn to fix my own flippin car while I'm at it?
La, la, la.

I pay and head for the door just as Cadillac man comes storming in with the reminder sticker.

"This is wrong," he says tossing it at the mechanic.

I almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

Friday, August 8, 2008

More Helpful Hints

Remember when I wrote this? My bullet point tutorial on what to say/not to say to a grieving parent. Well gwendomama has written the extended version with such wisdom and grace that I had to share.

On the flip side, I need a tutorial on how to respond to the oft uttered "I'm sorry." Thank you doesn't seem to cut it as evidenced by the awkward silence that typically follows. Someday I'll figure that one out.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

More recipes

I'm sure you have all been waiting for my latest recipe finds. Well, here it is so you can stop drooling on the keyboard already.

I've been prowling the vegan web world looking for some tasty recipes that don't involve tofu. Not that I have anything against tofu but a girl needs variety, right? Let me first say that vegans are a rare breed with some FASCINATING websites. And by fascinating, I mean scary. If you can get past the "fascinating" content, the recipes are quite good. Now I don't know about you but I find about a 50% success rate with new recipes. So imagine my surprise when I found winner after winner. Woohoo!

Without further ado, here are some fav new resources for recipes:

If you can get past the lectures and language, I highly recommend the book "Skinny Bitch in the Kitch." Their macaroni & 4 cheeses is to die for. (Which is quite a bit more pc than their description.) And it's made with pureed winter squash so I can justify eating the entire casserole dish in one sitting. (With some soy hot dogs of course cause what is mac & cheese without hot dogs?)

I like the variety of recipes on vegcooking.com. Since the volume was overwhelming, a lot of my favorite recipes are from their two week sample Vegan menu. Mama's Mock Meatloaf is so dense and satisfying, you'd swear it was made with the old ground cow.

One brilliant mom made a New Year's Resolution to cook dinner in her CrockPot every day for a year. And like the good Samaritan that she is, she is sharing the recipes and results with us. Although nearly any recipe can be converted to vegetarian, she does me the favor of labelling them for easy sorting. Her CrockPot Tamale Pie recipe is hearty comfort food. (I see a trend...meatloaf, mac & cheese, tamale pie...all comfort foods. Hmmm.) I substituted soy cheese for the cheddar, rice milk for the milk and Ener-G for the egg to make it Vegan. See? Almost all recipes are convertible. Yipee!

And I'm not done yet. These next few websites are new finds that I'm excited to browse. I have hand picked them because they solve particular needs that I find intriguing...

One challenge that I've found with vegetarian or vegan recipes is their fat content. I guess the theory is that if you're eating nothing but vegetables and soy, you don't need to worry about calories? Well I for one managed to pack on plenty of lbs as a vegetarian. Enter my hero, fat free vegan.

But sometimes, a girl wants to indulge. I'm my father's daughter and thus have an ice cream addiction. So what's a lactose intolerant girl to do? 1) Suffer and force family to endure ice cream withdrawl symptoms. Not pretty. 2) Buy the highly acclaimed "Vice Cream" book. Christmas is coming. (hint, hint) 3) Experiment with recipes from the ultimate Vegan Ice Cream blog. Free and tasty. Sweet!

Though I'm too lazy to pack my own lunch, I am drawn to the creativity and recipes on Vegan Lunch Box. I mean, just look at how cute CORN can be! And anyone who posts a recipe for Vegan Twinkies is a-ok in my book.

So what have we learned from this awesome post? Blogs are good. They're not all filled with dribble about reality tv. Some of them actually give you stuff that you want. Like tasty, tasty recipes. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Reality Dish

I like my reality shows like I like my friends, uplifting and talented. (As opposed to smutty and conniving. badum bum) I can't even bring myself to watch Idol because it's not uplifting. At least with So You Think You Can Dance, the judges seem apologetic when they give criticism. And they deliver it constructively. From what I hear, Simon is just a jerk and Paula is so loaded she can't form coherent sentences. So I'll stick with Project Runway, Last Comic Standing, So You Think You Can Dance and the like.

Judging from the responses to my Cat Deeley comment, I'm not the only reality tv watcher out there. Frankly, they haven't left us much else, have they? So let's dish my peeps.

So You Think You Can Dance - I loves me some Twitch. Oh, and Katee. The two of them together in the door routine? MAGIC! How can I choose just one? Oh, oH, OH, and I could get lost in a Mia Michaels routine. She is beyond brilliant. But back to "America's Favorite Dancer." I have to give it to Katee on this one. I think they've been making her the underdog from the get-go when they almost kicked her out for not wanting to suffer the agony of defeat year after year. Hi ego maniacal producers of SYTYCD, you're not the only game in town. She COULD have a career in dance without your approval. I'm just sayin.

Project Runway - Is it just me or are there like a gazillion contestants? Every week I notice someone new! For crying out loud, how am I supposed to keep track of all these people? And it doesn't help that our local girl (Leann) has a less talented clone (Jennifer) on the show. All that separates them are a heavy pair of frames and an equally heavy set of bangs. But of course, the stand outs are I'm-gonna-eat-you-tan-man/boy (Blayne), I-just-wanna-use-leathuh-girl (Stella) and If-I-talk-in-the-third-person-I'll-get-more-camera-time (Suede). Once the novelty wears off, they don't seem to have the design chops to go the distance. Either way, I have to stick with the home team, don't I? Plus I thought Leann's dress was totally cute this week!

Last Comic Standing - I'm lost. This has got to be the most confusing competition known to man. One week talent scouts are selecting finalists. Then the audience votes. The next week they're living in a house and nominating each other for elimination. Then the audience votes (?). The next week they are performing head-to-head and I'm pretty sure somebody must have voted. Whatever. I just watch for the jokes anyway. The bald bass playing Brit simply must go. MUST GO. I guess I have to root for the Seattle comic, Jeff Dye. Plus he's cuuuuuute. Or something about him being funny and stuff. He really doesn't have a snowballs chance in hell at winning this thing but you gotta stay with the home team.

Well, that's my humble opinion. What's yours?

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