Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Another reason to love the people of Iowa

Great customer service.

There is this great company in Iowa called Locally Grown. You can find them on the world wide web at:

They print on American Apparel t-shirts, which are 100% organic and amazingly soft. The only drawback is since LG is a smaller business they say it takes 10-14 days to produce and ship your shirt. Well, I needed a new Iowa shirt for the game this weekend and started getting nervous that it wouldn't arrive in time. So, I decided to call.

Here's how the conversation went:

- Hello, this is Fred(very cheerful voice).
- Hi Fred. I ordered a shirt from you and I was just curious if you could check to see if it had been shipped yet.
- Sure. No problem. What is your name? (what? No order number? No hassle?)
- Stacey Lens
- (without 2 seconds pause) Oh yes. We shipped that before the weekend. Probably Wednesday or Thursday. Where are you located again?
- Chicago
- That's right. It should probably be arriving today. I specifically remember that order because I went to high school with a girl that has the same name as you.
- Really? Maybe we went to high school together. Where did you go?
- Spencer.
- Nope? That wasn't me. I went to Burlington.
- Really? Do you know so and so? He works here and is from Burlington.
- No I don't. Sorry. Thanks for all your help.
- No problem. Give me a call back if you don't receive it in the next day or two.
- Sure thing. Thanks again.

Where else do you get such nice and helpful customer service? I highly recommend ordering from them.

Pumpkin hummus...hello fall

Can't wait to make this!

Pumpkin Hummus


1 cup roasted pumpkin (or 1 15-oz. can of pumpkin puree)
1 handful roasted pumpkin seeds (or roasted pine nuts)
16 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tblsp Tahini (sesame seed paste)
3 Tblsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tblsp water
2 Tblsp olive oil (one for mixture, one for drizzling)
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp minced garlic


Roast sugar pumpkin (in halves) along with seeds @ 325° for 45 mins (or till pumpkin is soft and seeds are lightly browned).
In food processor combine pumpkin, chickpeas, Tahini paste, lemon juice, water, garlic and olive oil.
Process (or blend in blender) till smooth.
Add cayenne pepper and salt, pulse a few times and remove to serving bowl.
Garnish with toasted, salted pumpkin seeds or toasted pine nuts and drizzle with olive oil to serve.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Watch for me...on TV

I like to keep my personal life private. The only time I have made any of my dating life public knowledge was when I was doing The Year of Yes and published a select handful of the more entertaining dates I went on as blog posts.

I have had, as my friends and coworkers agree, some of the most bizarre and craziest things happen during dates. Not once, but several, several times. It's so bad that I have had multiple people encourage me to write a book. That, I'm not going to do...just yet.

Being that disastrous or freak occurrences often happen, most of my dates do not ever form into any sort of relationship. I have also had friends and coworkers encourage me to do a dating show.

The first idea was formulated when I did a one month stint on match.com. My rather intimidating and protective male coworker was not a big fan of me meeting people online and going on dates. He offered to go to the place where I would be going out on dates and hang out in the background in case there was anything sketchy going down. My other coworker thought this would be great if we did this as a tv show and if the date wasn't going well, I could just signal to my male coworker and he would walk over and "remove" the guy from the date. Then have a debriefing session. I opted not to employ my coworker to go on my dates with me, but found the idea highly entertaining.

My friend Megan also wants to run a dating show for me. The set-up would be much like trying out for American Idol. She would go all over the country and guys could audition for a chance to go out with me(really, I'm not that great). Megan would be the head judge and likened herself to Simon Cowell. I said that my mom and brother would want a say and she decided my mom could be Randy and my brother could be Paula Abdul. Ha ha. Megan did complain that I am not the easiest person to set up, because of my height requirement. I reminded her it is not a requirement, but a suggestion.

Statistically, preferring a guy that is taller than me automatically eliminates over 50% of the population since I am an inch taller than the average height of the American male. Then I would eliminate the ultra conservatives, small-minded, super religious, homophobes, unintelligent and unattractive people. Factor out gay men. Toss out the socially inept. Find someone in an acceptable age range. Don't forget they need to be single. Honestly, we are looking at about 1% of the population as POSSIBLE dating options. Oh, and they would have to be interested in me, too.

It's a bit of a tall order to fill(pun intended).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rehersal dinner

This is the story of my rehersal dinner. You didn't know I was getting married? Neither did I. This was Brock's dream the other night about my rehersal dinner and has an interesting cast of characters. Let's just hope Brock isn't psychic.

Setting: A nice restaurant down town and we are sitting at an elevated table in the middle of the restaurant, much like a head table at a wedding. But this is just rehersal dinner.

I am apparently marrying one of Jeremiah's good friends, but Brock wasn't able to see his face because he doesn't really know him all that well. Sitting on my side of the table is a guest who I am chosing not to name(because I have no idea why he would be there, let alone sitting on my side and because he adds a whole separate story of drama in the dream but telling that part would give him away) then Aaron then me. Next to me is my soon to be husband then Jeremiah and Brock. Brock is not happy to be on the groom's side because a) he doesn't really know the groom b) he is my friend and c) the person who I chose not to name is taking his seat on my side.

During dinner, Jeremiah leans over to Brock and confides in him that he knows that my soon-to-be husband is gay. All through dinner Brock keeps trying to inform me of this from his chair, which means he is trying to tell me by talking past Jeremiah and the guy I am supposed to marry. He said I just looked so happy that he couldn't bear to tell me. After dinner we went out for drinks and he got drunk and told me anyway. But then Brock woke up, so we'll never know the ending to my life.

Chant and be happy

Friday night I was transferring from the blue line to the red line on the L when I saw a homeless man trying to write in what appeared to be a journal. He was getting frustrated because he couldn't get his pen to work and started digging through his bag to find another. He came up empty handed. I carry a big bag and have endless amounts of objects in it, much like a Mary Poppins bag. I reached in and pulled out a pen. I walked over and gave it to the man, who was very thankful and returned to my seat. Within a minute my train came and I headed to board. As I did, I felt a tap on my shoulder and it was the homeless man. He held out a book for me. I kindly declined, but he insisted that I take it. It was his way of saying thank you for the pen. How sweet was that? I'm actually going to read Chant and be happy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I hold trees in my hands

I've been on a reading binge...again.

I've read 5 books in the past month...3 in the last week alone. At this pace, I'm wondering how quickly I'll crash and burn. Probably, when I get to the bottom of the stack of books that's on my desk. Only 4 or 5 more to go...

Here's what I have read:

The Ha-Ha by Dave King
Look me in the eye by John Elder Robinson
When you are engulfed in flames by David Sedaris
I was told there'd be cake by Sloane Crosley
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon

I would recommend any of them. I really liked Look me in the eye and The curious incident of the dog in the night-time because I really enjoy kids on the spectrum. And reading them really confirmed that I am slightly on the spectrum myself. One of my co-workers and I talk about how we have spectrum qualities and at times, I found myself thinking...that's how I think.

I always enjoy Sedaris and think Crosley is a little like him. I really enjoyed her essay entitled You on a stick. A funny bit on the trials and tribulations of being a bridesmaid.

If you need some new reading material, read a few of these gems.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Veg head no more...sorta

So, after being a vegetarian for a year and a half, I ate meat last week. I had been craving meat for about a month, so I decided to eat some.

I had a turkey sandwich. It was less than amazing. I am still unsure why I chose a turkey sandwich, because I have never really liked turkey all that much anyway. So, my parents were pretty excited to hear that I was eating meat again when they came to visit this weekend. I think I ate small amounts of meat twice more. It wasn't everything I remembered it to be. In fact, I haven't eaten any since lunch on Saturday.

So, I don't think I'll be adding meat back into my daily diet, but might eat a little here and there. I guess I am no longer a vegetarian...I just don't eat meat often?

party in my mouth

I tried these for the first time today. They are amazing. So much flavor. I think I also made 3 of my cowokers addicted. We are all just hanging out together now because no one will come near of, thanks to our kickin' breath.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

running thoughts

** That is NOT me running.

So, I went for my first run on my new running program today. I still hate running. According to my coworker(who is a runner), she hated running at first too, but said give it two weeks and you will like it. I have run for more than two weeks before in my life and never liked it, but will give her the benefit of the doubt.

I really don't like smokers and running through their clouds of second hand smoke. I also don't like buses for their exhaust and I don't like when I get the "red hand" at cross walks. Maybe it wouldn't have been as bad if I had gotten up to run at 5am like I had planned. Instead, I hit snooze until I had to get up to go to work. The consequence was a mid day run. Oh well, run accomplished. Check that one off the plan!

On to tomorrow!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

I've got the trots

Ok, I hate running. Hate, hate, hate it. I've always wanted to be a runner and have admired runners, but it's not my thing. I am a ma-chine on the elliptical, though. I love that thing. I've always said that if they offered a marathon on the elliptical, I'd do it in a heart beat.

The problem is, I have been doing nothing lately. So, to get my lazy ass back in gear, I enlisted Megan to sign-up with me to run the Turkey Trot. It's a 5K on Thanksgiving morning. Now I have to get my ass in gear and put on my running shoes.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

busy signal

I always think when I am making my work schedule that I can pull all sorts of crazy hours and shifts and clump all my work time together to have a larger chunk of time off later. In this case, my family is coming into town next weekend, so I am trying to lump everything together now, so I have as much time off as I can with them. Then, when I am in the middle of all my shifts, it's not me, it other people that suffer.

I often "glance" at my emails but don't fully read them. I send calls to voicemail, never to return them. Often, getting annoyed that the voicemail is too long and I quit listening to it half way through. In fact, the more people try to communicate with me, the more I get annoyed. I just want to get everything done without interruption.

Really, I've always been this way. I get very annoyed when I'm interrupted. I don't like reading books unless I can read large chunks at a time. I've never been able to read a few pages here and a few pages there. And if I'm talking and someone keeps interrupting me, I quit talking all together. It's my stubborn ways.

What prompted this? I just realized that my brother called me this morning, I was at work, had to put the phone down to help someone. It took so long that he hung up and I just realized that I never called him back and he was in the middle of a story...and now I feel bad. Sorry.

So, if you are a victim of my inability to communicate when I'm busy, I'm sorry. I'm going to try and work on it. And now is the time. I'm working four straight 16-hour days.