Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mom's Day Giveaway

Time for a Mother's Day Giveaway! Here's how it works...

Pregnancy Magazine has featured Pickled Tink this month. Go to any store with the magazine and check it out. Then e-mail me or leave me a post on the pickled tink facebook page. Tell me something about the page you saw.... Once you do that - you will automatically get 20% off any order placed by April 25th for Mother's Day - get something for your mom, your sister, your aunt, your grandma or - you!

If you want to win a FREE 2 charm necklace - buy the magazine and scan the page pickled tink is on. Then post your pdf file to the pickled tink facebook page. The first person to scan and post the page wins a necklace.

Isn't that easy??? What's not to love about free things for Mother's Day? And you win just for entering with the comments - even better!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What I want for Christmas

What a day. Thought it'd be your basic boring Thursday - but those are the days that throw us for a loop aren't they?

I started by being a guest on an OPB radio show called "Think Outloud". They were doing an hour on food safety and asked me to be a guest to talk about my experiences with Beck and his salmonella. It was an honor to be asked and I think it went pretty good. You can listen here if you are so inclined.... OPB Think Outloud I am on the last 15 minutes or so. Definitely don't have a future in radio, but very cool to continue doing my advocacy for food safety!

Then I went to work. While at work I remembered a comment from my husband this morning. He said something about googling your own name. Have you done this? Fascinating. I googled my own name - wow. All kinds of things on there - luckily all (or at least most of them) are current and relevant to my life which I felt good about. Not that I've done anything I should be worried about...but you just never know what kind of crazies are out there!

As I scrolled down the page I began to see references to my dad's name. My dad died when I was 23 in 1995. He was 50. He was a prolific writer and photographer and involved in some amazing projects throughout his life, so it didn't really surprise me to see his name online. But there were several blogs within the past 3 years that mentioned his name. That threw me off a little.

I found one that quoted a book he wrote in 1979 - it was a prayer of thanks. A missionary in Cambodia drew peace and solace from the prayer and printed it on his blog for Thanksgiving. That one was lovely, I smiled to know he was still touching people.

Another man, a minister, quoted a story I have never read and here's where my day got weird. He (my dad) tells a story of spending Easter in prison with 10,000 other political prisoners. He talks about how many of them wanted to take communion on that day but had no wine or bread. My father led them in a communion (he was a minister back then) without the wine or bread but in spirit. The blog is called Heart on the Left.

I know that my dad travelled a lot when I was a child. I lived with my mom so I didn't always know where my dad went, what he was doing. I remember one long trip he took to Bangladesh and Calcutta where he worked with Mother Teresa. But I am drawing a total blank at him ever having been a political prisoner of any sort. Does the story referenced refer more to him visiting prisoners? As I read the quote, it doesn't seem like it. He tells it as if he was a prisoner himself.

I am left to feel a little sad...a little confused. I have always felt that my dad died too early, before he as ready - certainly before I was ready. I have always had so many unanswered questions - and now I have even more. There is no one left to ask about it that I know of.

For Christmas this year, I would like one more day with daddy. Just one. Santa, are you listening?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Our White House Tour

Our trip to DC was Oct 6th-8th - so many things to write about, but this is one of the coolest.

On our last day in Washington DC we were lucky enough to be included in a special tour of the White House vegetable garden. One of the children we were lobbying with on the Hill is involved in a special project that she and a friend created to bring healthier lunches to her school. She has since gotten several other schools to pilot this healthy lunch program and somewhere along the way she connected with Mr. Sam Kass, the White House chef!

Mr. Kass invited Megan to come and tour the garden and Megan was kind enough to invite us along, allowing us to see a part of the White House not many are privy to.

We arrived en mass. My 3 year old already melting. There were 8 kids and their parents plus a few of the people from each of the groups being represented during the week. We met with Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, who is lead staffer for the White House Food Safety Working Group; and David Lazarus, senior advisor the USDA, and Mr. Kass. They listened as we each described what had happened to our families and children during each of our experiences with food-borne illnesses.

It was certainly an interesting meeting, formal as all the rest of the meetings that week and reaffirmed my belief that my world in Bend, OR is light years away from anything happening in Washington. Of course, during the meeting, true to form, my kids were the most restless. Beck was hungry, which didn¹t really help ­ he also has absolutely no understanding of what we were doing there. The child wouldn¹t sit still to save his life and there was no way I could explain to him why he couldn¹t just run up and down the hallways! National Security truly holds no weight with a hungry 3 year old!

After an hour long meeting with 3 very serious men who probably couldn¹t wait to escape my unruly child, we were led through the house and out into the garden. And it was definitely worth the wait. Beautiful and abundant don¹t begin to describe it. Mr. Kass showed us the bee houses, ­ a first at the White House. He also told us that they have gotten 140 lbs of honey from them!

The vegetable garden was something I will always wish we could have here in Bend. Aside from the extremely short growing season, my thumb is more black than green- something that is obviously not a problem for Mr. Kass. He and the First Lady have done an amazing job with the garden and have already harvested over 700 lbs of food so far this year! What they don¹t use at the White House, they are able to donate to local soup kitchens. The variety of vegetables we saw was wonderful ­ all different kinds of tomatoes, lettuces, herbs, potatoes- it made me want to make a salad on the spot.

Thomas spotted the broccoli and launched into a story about how broccoli is actually a flower and if you don¹t cut off the center it will bloom. I was so proud of him for speaking up and sharing what he knew about the garden ­ he thought it was very cool to be able to share his knowledge.

It was an amazing two hours ­ we got to see things most people don¹t ever get to see or even know it exists ­ like the awesome play structure the Obama girls have there at the White House. Keeping Beck and Thomas from running over to climb on it was no easy feat! And of course Thomas, being a very curious 7 year old, was bound and determined to go places he shouldn¹t ­ like behind the hedges away from the garden and walking over away from the group to touch the White House.

After we got home, I looked online to learn a bit more about the garden and the projects going on around food at the White House. Interesting to see Michelle Obama involved in bringing more of a healthy approach to not only the White House and what she feeds her kids but also making it one of her projects as the First Lady. It¹s nice to see another mom who is concerned about teaching her children about healthy choices for life. As First Lady she has a position to make a difference ­ power it seems she is using wisely. On most of our trip I noticed hundreds of tourists making poor choices right and left and was beginning to feel that maybe the east coast in general eats a little differently than we do on the west coast. I was heartened to hear the story of the garden and see that the local and regional food movements are happening across the country not just in the places I¹ve been lucky enough to live in.

I was appreciative of the opportunity to see a part of our government that most people don¹t even know exists.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Crossing the fuzzy line

From the Pickled Tink Blog....

Does Facebook make it all too easy to cross the line? What about creating "friendships" that don't really exist?

My best girlfriend from HS won't sign up for FB. She has said from the beginning that she doesn't have time. And I will admit - it is a time-suck. But now, after hearing about the rest of us signing up and "watching" each other via this weird virtual world, she says she doesn't really want to do it because of the information sharing. "If I'm not friends with them now in real life, why would I want to be friends with them on FB?" she asked me. Good question....one I do not have an answer to.

I certainly understand the networking parts of FB if you are using it for business, but let's face it, most people are not using it for business. It's all about adding friends and watching their lives described in short little snippets. Some are funny, some are actually useful info (so & so had surgery etc), but a lot of it is purely voyeuristic. I have definitely fallen victim to wanting to know what everyone is doing.

And here's the other dilemma....this came up because a friend ("lisa") was telling me about "messaging" this friend ("dave") of hers on FB. Well, Lisa and Dave knew each other....in the biblical sense in HS. They are now both happily married to other people - so is it strange that they are friends on FB and that they message each other? When do their spouses begin to wonder why they are messaging each other versus posting on the wall for all the world to see?

I got a recommendation for a "friend" recently that I am leaving alone for a while. The dilemma above says it all. Do we need to be friends on FB just because someone recommended it or because we knew each other in HS. I just think it's too bizarre. Some of these people are in my past because that's where they belong. They know me in their minds as the person I was back then - not the person I am now. And just seeing them on FB takes me back to feeling like the person I was then - not something I want to remember necessarily. Don't we grow and change as we age for a reason? I don't want to be the person I was in HS anymore. I'd like to think I am much different than that girl who was insecure, worried what everyone thought of her, and frankly a little shallow. Once we are older, aren't we allowed some room for letting go of the old us and truly being the new, current us. I think adding that friend will just make me feel like I did when I was 18 and stupid. Besides, we're not really friends now - I don't even know what state this "friend" lives in!

I realize this dilemma is really only my own issue, I can "ignore" the recommendation. But the fact that this "friend suggestion" lingers in my FB corner makes me think more and more abut the fuzzy lines of facebook. Does the person know they were recommended to me? Will they know I clicked "ignore" on them? Then again, why do I care? See - makes me feel 18 and stupid all over again!

To play my own devil's advocate, I do love facebook for some of the same reasons I hate it. I love that I have found and rekindled old friendships that I thought had been lost. I have found some people I was sad to lose along the way because we lost touch during one of the millions of moves between us. Having them back in my life - even virtually - has been amazing. Some are childhood friends and some are from those "stupid" 18 year old times - some of them have brought back hilarious and wonderful memories.

I guess I can't stop wondering when are the virtual friendships crossing the fuzzy line?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My day as a Lobbyist

I went to Washington DC last week to lobby for food safety and FDA Reform. I went as part of a coalition of several food safety groups, lobbying for HB875, or the Food Safety Modernization Act, as it has come to be called. In a nutshell, here a the key points:

• Mandatory recall power for the FDA – did you know they don’t have this now?
• Annual inspections of food manufacturers
• Mandatory reporting of positive test results for things like salmonella and E-coli (right now a company can test and get a positive result, throw those results away and keep testing till they get a negative test – then put it ALL on the shelves! All without telling anyone!!!))
• Adoption of science based standards for food manufacturing

There are a few other elements, but those are the ones that tipped the scales for me. I have been asked by friends and family why I went to DC. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

The CPSIA which was passed by Congress last fall says that I cannot sell a vinyl raincoat to a 12 year old because he might get lead poisoning if he eats it. However, Congress did not create a way to keep E-coli out of strawberries grown in Mexico, relabeled once across the border as “US GROWN” so they could qualify to be sold into school lunches, where Lindsey ate them and now has life-long kidney problems, is diabetic and will need a kidney transplant eventually. They did not find a way to keep spinach with e-coli off the shelves last year where it was then sold and fed to 2 year old Kyle who died within 4 days of eating it. There was no protection for the people who ate peanuts over the past year that were being processed and packaged in a rat and mice infested factory, 9 of whom have died so far.

This is why I went to DC. Congress needs to get up and change things in the FDA. They acted more swiftly than most have seen in their lifetime when it came to lead in kids clothes….why not food? Isn’t food a more basic need? Going out on a limb here, but I feel 99.9% certain that I can keep a vinyl raincoat out of my 7 & 2 year olds mouth. Exactly how do I keep them from eating strawberries, spinach, orange juice, veggie booty, etc? And why would I want them to avoid those things? Am I supposed to live in fear that they might get sick if I don’t cook everything they eat in scalding water to hopefully kill any e-coli? And isn’t raw spinach better for you vitamin-wise? What’s a mom to do?

On my first day there, I sat with my fellow “lobbyists”, a room full of victims. I have never owned the word “victim” – I just can’t. It’ not that I don’t understand the word, I just don’t accept it. I tend more towards the “get over it” side of camp, but as I sat in this room of people who had traveled from all over the country to rally together for a cause, I found that the word “victim” was oddly applicable here. None of us chose this. Especially not the couple from Idaho whose son Kyle is gone. He died at the same age that my son Beck is now.

Capital Hill is overwhelming if you are there to participate. How does anything actually get done up there and how do those people know who their constituents actually are and what they want? How could they possibly?

I am not sure about the answer to those questions, but after spending a full day up there with a professional lobbyist as my “sherpa and guide”, I at least have a better understanding of how it all works. I went from meeting to meeting, telling the story of Beck and how he got sick. I told my Congressman that I just didn’t think it was right that I should have to wonder if what I am bringing home from the grocery store will actually make him sick, not provide for his nutrition and growth. I met with 4 of our leaders and their staff – in meetings that ranged from welcoming and understanding to dismissive and rude. Quite an experience to say the least.

Throughout my day the School House Rock – “I’m Just a Bill” ran though my head. To see it in action was educational. And maybe a little disheartening – I just don’t know how those guys muddle through the issues presented to them and come up with the ones that truly have depth and substance and are really important. I do not envy them that job and I did leave the Hill that day with a deeper respect for the job of our representatives.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. I can’t go through life without knowing I haven’t done everything I can to ensure that my kids grow up healthy and happy and this particular issue falls into that category. I hope someday they can know and appreciate the work being done on their behalf.

Friday, April 24, 2009

FDA and me....

I head to Washington DC next Monday. Me and the government are going to go at it again. Maybe this time I'll win? Didn't really get too far with the CPSIA but I am eternally optimistic.

The newest issue in my world is the FDA reform - dubbed the Food Safety Modernization Act. I am supposedly meeting with some of the powers that be in Washington DC to try and convince them that our FDA is broken and needs to be fixed. I have been asked several times now - why are you doing this? Why are you going to DC - it is because you just like to get involved in causes? Do you feel really strongly about this issue?

And I have been asking myself the same questions. I suppose that before Monday, I need a clear answer. But the fact is that there are a lot of reasons to do this. I have to at least admit that on some level - the shallowest and least important reason is - it's a really cool way to get to see how the government works and to get to go to DC on someone else's dime.

BUT.... there are also important reasons.... like the fact that I have now seen first hand what a bad law does to good people. Having personal up close experience with the CPSIA, I know what bad government can do. I realize I am small potatoes compared to some of the biggies out there - but if I can make the smallest amount of difference, it's worth it.

It is not OK with me to think that we cannot rely on our government and it's agencies to take care of our food supply. Eating is NOT an option. We have to get our food from somewhere and since no one I know has the ability to eat 100% from their own backyard, we need to rely on grocery stores and other food sources. I need to know that when I go to my local store, the items I choose to buy for my family will not make the sick, give them long-term health problems or even cause them to be hospitalized or God-forbid, cause death.

So - I am off to DC... and our local News station picked it up. More press on it's way - this was just the first. We had the crew in the living room this morning before school - nothing like a news crew to start your day!


Saturday, April 18, 2009


I LOVE birthdays. Love em. I also really love making birthday cakes. I spend hours planning it and hours making it. I need people to oohhhh and aaahhhh over it. I am crushed when no one makes and/or buys a cake for me on my birthday.

Silly - I know. But true. Can't help it. It's like if I don't receive a cake, no one cares. OK - that seems really lame now that I actually type it out - but it's true anyway.

This must be why I love making cakes. I think I put so much time and effort into the cake that the person must now know how important I think they are.

So - here it is - my latest cake - Thomas will be 7 tomorrow. Think he'll understand the love that went into this cake? One can only hope.

BTW - It's a Bakugan. Don't know that that is? If you don't, you clearly do not have a 7 year old boy.

Just in case you are dying to try this at home - I covered a tray with a tie dye t-shirt and then covered it in plastic wrap. (An idea I totally stole from the internet) I then made a sheet cake and used Wilton spray on frosting to make it look like a Bakugan Card. The eyeball is made from a round cake pan and the things that look like leaves are actually construction paper that Thomas colored and then we covered them in plastic wrap so they wouldn't actually touch the cake. It looks like an actual Bakugan.