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.


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!


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!


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


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.


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.


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.

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Thursday, October 2, 2008


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.

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