Monday, July 30, 2007

Ramblings

For all of you out there who love your not so bottled water like it's going out of style, read on. Don't get me wrong, I am definitely a fan of Dasani water if I'm traveling or something, but my Nalgene filled with H2O from my Brita water filter I stick in the fridge do the trick for me most of the time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Step in WHAT direction?

So here's the thing. Most of my adult life (which I realize hasn't been all that long), I've wanted to work at a large corporation. I used to dream of walking to work in my high powered job in suit and heels with no worries socially, financially, or otherwise. At some time or another I have had the desire to work in the fields of fashion, beauty, health or simply changing the world, whether it be for Oprah, Glamour magazine, a PR firm, or as a nutritionist, physical therapist or sports psychologist for athletes. But when it comes right down to it, I can't help myself by working at a non-profit and wondering what in the heck I'm doing?! Anywayr, the dilemma I'm having is which step to take to start figuring this whole mess out.

A few days ago, thanks to MSN, I started watching an episode of roadtrip nation online. It's this great show where groups of three college students travel around in this big green RV for five weeks and try to figure out what to do with their futures as they interview inspiring people around the U.S. At one point, the group interviewed a man who basically said, "Why are you worrying about this? You're not 50 yrs old. If you find out you don't like something you can just switch at any time." Easy for him to say. That doesn't work for those of us who are Type A, anal, and want to know what we're destined to do RIGHT NOW! Moral of the story, the show is great, but it didn't give me any guidance as to what step to take next.

Frankly, I'm not sure I'll ever know.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Just make the spinning stop...

This morning reminded me of an early Saturday morning my Sophomore year of college in which I had stayed a few too many hours at a party the night before and woke up to a pounding on my door and my world spinning around me. That morning I was supposed to drive to the State Motor Pool office with my teammate Tara to get our 12 passenger vans for a lacrosse tournament we had in Corvallis, OR. Alas, I had been irresponsible the night before. If you know me, this is something I am not known for as I am constantly agonizing over making the "right" decision in any situation. But for a few years in college, when long nights, friends and beverages were involved, my common sense didn't always kick in. As you might guess, I was unable to pick up one of the vans and made my way to our pickup point outside the rec in time to be called "Alkie" the rest of the day. I know, not a nickname to be proud of. The first few hours of running around on a grass field in cleats and a lacrosse skirt were interesting, but by noon I was good to go.

However, this morning I am happy to say my world was spinning to reasons unknown to me. I haven't had an ounce of alcohol to drink in the last 48 hrs, even though I feel otherwise. As I stepped out of bed I almost fell flat on my face on my heap of dirty laundry and other assorted items on my floor. As I made my way to the kitchen to turn on the dryer I tried with little success to walk a straight line on the linolium tiles. For whatever reason, my inner ear or cochlea has decided not to function properly today and I must say I'm not very pleased. Let's just hope that by tomorrow morning the spinning has ceased.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Butte to Butte

Last Wednesday, 4th of July and a day off of work for me, I woke up @ 530 am in anticipation of the infamous 10k Butte to Butte run I was entered in. The race starts at Spencer's Butte, goes uphill for a mile or so and then downhill and becomes flat for the remaining 5+ miles to Skinner's Butte.

Thinking I had all the time in the world, I didn't get myself to the shuttle @ 5th St Market until 7:25am. Well, guess what? The line doubled back and looped halfway around the block. Just my luck. By the time I got on a lovely LTD bus it was 8am (start time). And by the time we bumped and bounced our way to 43rd and Donald it was about 8:20am and I had to pee like a race horse. Most of the participants on my bus were walkers who not only had a later start time, but walked just 4.5 miles bypassing the glorious hill. The rest of them ran like hell frantic that they had missed the start gun.

I however, HAD to pee. So, I got in line and waited, did my thing, and started running. Luckily, I had my handy dandy Garmin 305 on so I knew how fast I was going, my heart rate, my overall time, and much more than I ever need to know. The first mile or so was much less painful than I had expected and actually enjoyable with the numerous "good luck" and "way to go runners!" shouts from friendly homeowners, even though I was clearly the only runner around. Soon after, I hit the walkers and spent the next several miles dodging numerous walkers, baby strollers and just plain unexperienced racers. All in all, it's a lot of fun to run in your own city, even if your 52 min race time gets calculated as 1:02 due to a minor error in judgement.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

"Hi, nice to meet you...(for the third time)."

Ok, I have a rant. What is with people who have met you two, three or even four times and still do not know your name or even recall meeting you (or rather me I should say)?

I have two theories on this:
a) I am just not a very memorable person OR
b) a good portion of people out there don't have a detailed memory

I realize that I have a somewhat unique memory in which I can recall where I met someone, what we talked about, what they like to do, etc. but for once I would like to meet someone for a second time and have them say, "Oh yeah, we met..."

On the occasions in which I have admitted that "yes, I remember meeting you @ ..." I always feel guilty for making the person realize we have in fact spoken before. So for now, I will continue to smile and reply, "Oh, nice to meet you. I'm Lauren. What's your name? Where do you work? (All the while knowing their name and occupation)

Get a life...

This is a speech I found on a friend's myspace that pretty much says it all. Someday I hope to be able to say that I succeeded at doing what she recommends.

"I'm a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is all I know. Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work. You will walk out of here this afternoon with only one thing that no one else has. There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree: there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank accounts but also your soul.

People don't talk about the soul very much anymore. It's so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is cold comfort on a winter's night, or when you're sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you've received your test results and they're not so good.

Here is my resume: I am a good mother to three children. I have tried never to let my work stand in the way of being a good parent. I no longer consider myself the centre of the universe. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make marriage vows mean what they say. I am a good friend to my friends and they to me. Without them, there would be nothing to say to you today, because I would be a cardboard cut out. But I call them on the phone, and I meet them for lunch. I would be rotten, at best mediocre at my job if those other things were not true.

You cannot be really first rate at your work if your work is all you are. So here's what I wanted to tell you today: Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger pay cheque, the larger house. Do you think you'd care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast?

Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze at the seaside, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water, or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a sweet with her thumb and first finger.

Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Pick up the phone. Send an email. Write a letter. Get a life in which you are generous. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Take money you would have spent on beer and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good too, then doing well will never be enough.

It is so easy to waste our lives, our days, our hours, and our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the colour of our kids' eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of to live. I learned to live many years ago. I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get. I learned to look at all the good in the world and try to give some of it back because I believed in it, completely and utterly. And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned. By telling them this: Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the fuzz on a baby's ear. Read in the back yard with the sun on your face. Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness, because if you do, you will live it with joy and passion as it ought to be lived."

Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Anna Quindlen

Monday, July 2, 2007

Black-bean and tomato quinoa

Thanks to the air miles of which I'll never build enough to actually get a free flight, I have subscribed (for a few hundred points each) to various magazines I would never purchase on my own, including Gourmet. While I don't like to spend a ton of time making a healthy, almost-vegetarian meal for just lil ole me, once in a while they actually have a recipe that sounds good and fairly easy to make. Plus, let's face it...salads become a little mundane day after day.

Tonight's venture was black-bean and tomato quinoa from my July issue of Gourmet. Like many of you, I had never heard of quinoa, but the picture reminded me of couscous. According to the mag, quinoa is a fast-cooking, protein-packed whole grain.

After my usual 7 mile Monday night run with the running group, I rode my bike home and prepared this delicious meal. The best part is, I have leftovers for lunch the rest of the week! I definitely give this recipe two thumbs up. It tasted great and was fairly easy to make.

Ingredients
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (I only used 1 tbsp and it really doesn't need any)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup quinoa
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation
Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.

Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don't worry if lid doesn't fit tightly) and steam over medium heat until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and remove lid. Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes.

Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.

Gourmet, July 2007