26 December 2011

Holiday Bowling

Last week Scott and I went to Linn Lanes to bowl it up a little. It's not very often that I'm willing to go bowling with Scott, but with everyone out of town on vacation I thought we could use a little entertainment. Once we got to the bowling alley, however, we found that we were in for a whole lot more excitement than we had bargained for. Apparently we had interrupted the bowling alley's holiday party. All but two lanes were full of semi professionals clad in bowling wrist braces. Let's just say that our lane had the least action, though I was hoping we might win a door prize.

Scott and I played two games, and would you believe that I won both? Scott thought you wouldn't. We took a picture of the second round to prove it, because I won... in the last frame... by one pin!

Scott gladly took the picture for me, and then said, "Good luck convincing everyone that you are "H" (for Hon) and I am "S" (for Schnooks). Let's just be honest though - would I take a smiling picture of myself and the scoreboard if I had lost? Case closed.

23 December 2011


I stumbled across this vintage Western Union telegram from the North Pole when I was rummaging through my dad's family photo box. How fun is that?! It made me think of how thoughtful and kind Santa was to send a telegram to such very young children (my dad, the oldest, was only three at the time). I guess it wasn't Santa though... it was Rudolph!

Uncle Tim, Uncle Tom, Aunt Cathy, and my dad
Christmas, family photo circa 1955

Merry Christmas!

19 December 2011

How's Your Flame?

After my CT scan in October, my doctors weren't sure why I had abnormal symptoms. Their analysis showed that my organ activity was normal, though my Crohns was inflamed and had spread slightly. I wasn't really feeling ill, but I knew that my body was trying to tell me it was time for change. The doctors recommended drugs with side effects. While those drugs are a good option for other circumstances, I didn't feel like it was right for me or right for me now.

While I was sitting in the waiting room of my specialists office, I noticed a table tent for their acupuncture clinic. A friend at work had recommended an acupuncturist in Corvallis when I first moved here. I had been to a Chinese doctor before in Salt Lake City. I was intrigued by the experience but it became difficult to make the commute for each appointment. So when I saw this table tent I was open to the idea of accupuncture and figured it would be worth investigating, especially if it meant no side effects. In the meantime, I also accepted a prescription for my usual Crohns medication.

The philosophy of Eastern medicine is sometimes difficult for us Westerners to comprehend. I still feel like I need to study an "Acupuncture for Dummies" edition. My dad said he heard the difference in philosophies explained like this - Eastern medicine is like tending a garden to make plants grow. First you need to check the soil and make sure there are enough nutrients and the levels are right. Once your soil is good you can plant seeds and help them to grow into a healthy garden. Western medicine, on the other hand, is like a fire truck.

During my first visit to this practitioner of Chinese medicine, she explained how my central burner/flame (spleen-stomach) was not communicating well with the rest of my body. Also, she could tell from pressure points on my body and through feeling my pulse that my liver was also involved in this miscommunication. She explained how Chinese medicine is approached through herbs, acupuncture, and diet.

When she asked me what I ate on a regular basis, she was surprised. My diet, she said, was putting out my flame, at least that's how my Western mind understood what she said. She recommended that for my Crohns right now, I should try eating warm foods, drinking warm liquids, and eating things like sweet potatoes, cooked greens, and whole grains like quinoa.

For so many years I thought that avoiding iceburg lettuce, popcorn, and fried foods was "managing my Crohns through diet." This visit completely changed my perspective. I had avoided some foods that were bad for Crohns, but I wasn't focusing on foods that could help my Crohns. Since then I've been walking around talking about my flame, and people are giving me funny looks. "Sorry, my flame doesn't like onion rings." "Ooh, I really shouldn't have that alfredo. It may do bad things for my flame." "Honey, my flame wants oatmeal for breakfast." Scott has started referring to his flame as well, even though he has definitely not had an official flame evaluation.

While it's a bit unusual, I can tell that the process is working. I am more aware of body language, I feel a difference in my immune system, and there are times when an acupuncture visit or dose of herbs has immediate effect on the problems I'm seeing. The point is not to put out the symptomatic fires. Ideally I'm creating a happy qi garden, where my flame is rockin'. Maybe like the eternal flame at Arlington.

For a more kosher explanation of Chinese Medicine, you can visit this site.

16 December 2011

Lost Video of Princesses

I was looking through my photos and videos the other day and found this video from our New Year's visit to Burbank last year.

My nieces love to dress up and pretend, though it's obviously not too difficult for them to channel their inner princess. In this episode of Princess Academy, Princesses Mackenzie and Casey learn to share, curtsy, blow kisses, and say "Hello, everyone!" in royally sweet tones. My favorite moment has to be when Casey thinks I'm taking a picture and dryly says, "Cheeeeese." Oh I miss these adorable girlies!

14 December 2011

Christmas at the Foundation

One day at work I walked into the break room and it was filled with Christmas tinsel and ornaments. The foundation events team decorates the exterior, reception, and break room with holiday cheer every December. By the end of that work day the lights were twinkling and greenery was hung.

I love coming to work and the halls are decked with garland and wreaths. It makes December so much more exciting!

12 December 2011

Weekend Review

The Chandlers surprised us by coming up for the weekend from Sacramento. The main event and purpose for the trip was the Oregon City High School's rendition of South Pacific, where Scott's cousin had the lead role of Nellie Forbush... and of course we're here too!

We introduced them to The Original Breakfast and discovered their stuffed french toast with boysenberry preserves.


Then Martie and I were both introduced to ABC's new TV series, Once Upon a Time. LOVE! It would be fantastic as a movie, and I'm stoked that it's a TV series and I can enjoy it that much longer. If you haven't seen it yet, I would recommend starting from the very first episode. I can't wait to see where they take the plot. In fact, I'm pretty sure this show is going to replace many of the other shows I'd been DVRing. Priorities!

It was a whirlwind weekend and I definitely forgot to make a trip to the grocery store, but we had a blast!

09 December 2011

Chilly Not Cold

To give you an idea for what our weather is like lately, here is a picture from a sharing site with our local newspaper taken in November. Nothing much has changed since then, though we did have freezing fog this week.

Doesn't that just sound like a super villan power? I can just imagine the Joker spraying something from his wrist (I know, that's Spiderman) that creates a thick fog, freezing everything it touches. I've heard a rumor that the locals "made up" freezing fog as an excuse for slowly delivered mail. However, I can be a whitness to the frozen spider web, like in this picture, that was in our work parking lot this morning. Though there are no other indicators, if that is the power of freezing fog then I'm a believer!

Many mornings I wake up and the fog is so thick from all the rain the days before you can barely see the barns on the side of the road. I hope to get a picture of that some day!

07 December 2011

Bombs Away Cafe - Corvallis

By the look of that signage, what would you expect on Bombs Away Cafe's menu? Pizza? Video game themed burgers? Nope. Bombs Away Cafe, officially a taqueria, is not at all what you would expect. Unless of course, you're just expecting tastiness.

Their menu actually goes beyond just tacos and your normal Mexican fanfare. Bombs Away menu includes burgers and sandwiches, and probably my favorite feature is their $5 lunch specials.

The interior is very cafe like, with Christmas lights and small tables. In fact, space is pretty limited. So during their busy lunch hours Bombs Away Cafe uses their stage to house more seating. That's right, I was sitting on a stage! A stage where they host various local bands and performers on a daily?, weekly at least, basis. Again, not exactly what you would expect of a taqueria, but definitely capturing the cafe feel.

A couple co-workers and I visited Bombs Away Cafe on your average school session weekday, and it was fairly busy but we were served quickly. Luckily, my co-workers were not at all weirded out that I took pictures of their food.

Bombs Away is a great option for a casual lunch, maybe a party spot around dinner and happy hour, and not the place to go if you want to be classy. I'd say the only downside is parking, but that's the case with any restaurant you visit near the university.

05 December 2011

How to Attend an Ugly Sweater Party

This last weekend was the first Ugly Sweater Party I have ever attended. Prior to this event I had nary a Christmas sweater in my closet, much less an ugly one. So for those of you who are unfamiliar with Ugly Sweater Parties and how to prepare, I am happy to map it out for you.

Step 1: Get invited to an Ugly Sweater Party
There's one happening every year and most likely being hosted by someone you know. When we found out that fellow med school wife, Amanda, was anxious to throw a party this year, I made it known that not only would I attend, but I would be extra supportive of her efforts to plan. To be honest, my support was offered more in the way of enthusiastic phone calls, but that probably helped...

Step 2: Take a friend Ugly Sweater Shopping
The best place to shop for Ugly Sweaters is your local thrift store, and the best time is around Thanksgiving. You may be able to find something online, but it's likely that you wont have much time for shipping after you receive your party invite. Plus who really wants to spend $20 for a new UGLY sweater that you only wear once a year... or depending on how ugly, maybe only once!

I escorted my buddy and fellow attendee, Morgan, to the oh so eccentric Lebanon thrift store strip in search of Ugly Sweaters. Expecting Lebanon to be an untapped gold mine for particularly ugly sweaters, we instead found:
Strange figurines that could double as scary movie props,

unusually large, used basketball shoes,

and a variety of tree skirts, all of which were not large enough to wrap around as a skirt for our Ugly Sweater outfits.

It is important to be flexible in your ideas for Ugly Sweater outfits. You never know when you might find a bedazzled vest, elf hat, or dress length sweater that could pull your whole party image together. We found that the best thrift store for Ugly Sweater shopping in Oregon is Goodwill. Unlike Lebanon's stores, the Goodwill stores I visited were organized and had specific Ugly Sweater sections for browsing.

Step 3: While thrifting, keep an eye out for White Elephant gifts
Many Ugly Sweater parties have a white elephant gift exchange on their agendas. A typical white elephant gift is something unwanted or previously loved, whether from your home or purchased at the store. Clearly there were many items to choose from on our visit! The most popular white elephant gifts are the entertaining ones. While most people enjoy making a crowd laugh with their humorous gift, I would say providing the most fought over gift has it's benefits as well (especially if stealing gifts is allowed in game rules).

We happened upon this lovely pooch portrait with a stunning suede canvas in my favorite Lebanon thrift store. This homemade beauty was only $3!

Step 4: Don't be afraid to look the part
When preparing for an Ugly Sweater party, don't be afraid to match the personality of your sweater combo! Personality is key to making your sweater stand out as the ugliest of ugly. If you second guess your sweater choice, test it out at the local Walmart in December. You should get at least one compliment or see familiar outfits.

And there we have it. I hope these tips help you to have the ugliest of sweater seasons!

02 December 2011

A Middle Way to Capitalism

I thought about apologizing for overusing OPB as a source for my deep blog posts, but really I think you should be thanking me. This is good stuff! If you aren't listening to National Public Radio or changed the channel when the story about Herman Cain came on, you are missing out, because today All Things Considered ended with a great story on social entrepreneurship in India. The kind of story where I wait in my parking lot for the story to end before getting home for the day. The kind of story that reminds me why I want to study business.

Here's the 30 second run down - There's a hospital in India that is not a for-profit business, nor is it a charity. Surgeons in this hospital perform approximately 300,000 cataract surgeries each year. That's about 15 times more than the average US surgeon! AND half of those surgeries are free. It's worth listening to the story or reading to find out how any hospital can afford to provide services for free without outside intervention. Brings a whole new meaning to healthcare reform!