Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

I hope that this finds everyone either in the midst of or having recovered from a wonderful Christmas with family and/or friends!

In keeping with tradition beginning with last year's Christmas post, here is another favorite Christmas YouTube video.  It combines the festivity of the holiday season with one of my favorite things: flash mob!

Dear Santa, 

For Christmas next year, PLEASE have a flash mob production be performed in my presence.  It would be worth going to a mall for.  K thanks bye.

On a slightly more serious note, please read this excerpt from a Christmas Eve sermon given at a friend's church many moons ago:

"You think Christmas is all about perfection? Let's look at this scene again: we have loud animals, smelly shepherd boys, more loud and smelly animals. I'll give you one guess at to what it smelled like. And, it wasn't roses folks. Let's face it. Sometimes, Jesus comes into our crap. And thank God for that."

Keep it Real and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Prep

A major feat was accomplished in the Moore household this morning:

Christmas Gift Purchasing: Been done since last weekend

Wrapping: Check

Packaged and Mailed: Check

Additionally, I just ran across this fantastic video.  You've got to check it out:

Keep it Real

P.S. Los Alamos Trails Goal Update: 18.4 out of 29.5 miles completed.  17 trails down, 8 to go!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Good Customer Service?

I know.  The terms "good" and "customer service" don't seem like they belong in the same sentence unless they are separated by the words, "luck on getting any decent".  But I was recently the pleased recipient of some excellent customer service worth mentioning.

The company: Dell

The situation: The hinge on our laptop was broken and subsequently causing the casing around the LCD screen to split.  Finally, I drug myself to the Dell website to chat with a customer service agent about the problem.  Thank God, we had purchased the extended warranty but I figured that we'd have to mail off the laptop and be without it for a number of weeks while it was being serviced.

Much to my surprised, the agent asked me to email him some pictures of the problem.  He then informed me that he was sending the parts to a service technician in my area and that he would fix it in my home.  Within 48 hours, the service tech had the parts and had already come and gone, leaving my laptop fixed without us having to part with it!

Flash forward 1 week.  Those sticky keys on the keyboard were becoming a bigger problem.  The space bar could barely be depressed.  Kicking myself for not having thought to report this the first time, I went back to the Dell website to chat with someone about the issue.  This time, I was not worried that I would have to send off the machine again but rather embarrassed that the same service tech would have to drive back up here from Santa Fe to fix such a silly problem.  To my delight, that wouldn't be the plan this time!  They simply mailed me a new keyboard with very clear and simple instructions on how to install it myself.  Within 36 hours, the part was here and installed with no problems!

Thank you, Dell, for your excellent customer service!  

Moral of the story: extended warranties on computers are TOTALLY worth it!

Keep It Real!

P.S. Los Alamos Trails Goal Update: 10.4 of 29.5 miles completed - between hiking close (already completed) trails with family lately and being busy I haven't gotten out a lot on new trails.  Have hopeful plans to knock off a 6-mile trail soon when a friend comes to visit.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Turkey Day 2011

A fraction of the things for which I am thankful, in no particular order:
  • Jesus' sacrifice for me
  • My husband
  • Family
  • Friends
  • My health
  • My home
  • My church and church family
  • My doggies
  • Old school nintendo
  • NBC
  • Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat
  • Food in the fridge
  • Money in the bank
  • A comfortable bed
  • A closet full of warm clothes
  • My education
  • Soldiers who serve our country
  • Cars that are paid off
  • Insurance coverage
  • Traveling experiences
  • Cultural experiences
  • The Internet
  • Employment
  • Camp
Happy belated Thanksgiving, friends!  Here's a brief look into the Moore Family Thanksgiving:
Woke up to a light dusting Thanksgiving morning

Another good fried turkey, brought to you by Leni Moore

A Moore family holiday without a little wheelin?  Forget it!
Here's wishing you a very happy Advent as we prepare for the birth of Christ!

Keep It Real!

Los Alamos Trails Goal Update: 9.4 of 29.5 miles completed

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What Are the Odds?

True Story:

Leni is currently on the phone with his brother Landon, who is driving down from Idaho to see us for Thanksgiving.

What are they talking about?  Glad you asked!  Apparently, a magpie has taken off with his one and only car key.  Leni is talking him through how to start the car with a screwdriver and unlock the steering lock.

As nature would have it, magpie's like shiny things and perhaps that it why one, allegedly, took off with this car key.

I'm sure you all find this situation absurd, as do I.  But it is entertaining as hell.  

Keep It Real!

P.S. Los Alamos Trails Goal Update:
9.4 of 29.5 miles completed

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Decision 2012

We took a poll and it has been decided.  Now that the mid-term elections are over, grumblings about the 2012 presidential election are becoming stronger and it is time for Snack for Later to weigh in with some predictions.

Prediction may be too strong a word.  I don't know if all the candidates below represent my predictions so much as my hopes for a fun, entertaining election season.  Here's who I'd like to see on the ballot:
  • DEMOCRATIC: Barrak Obama -Duh.  

  • REPUBLICAN: Sarah Palin - Please recall that I previously mentioned that these selections are for entertainment purposes (except for my Democratic one).  
I literally cringed the first time I saw this
How great would this be?  For all the entertainment we got out of the Katie Couric interviews and SNL impersonations back in 2008, imagine the fun to be had with a full-blown presidential campaign.  I recently saw a snippet of an 8-episode show on TLC (that will premier soon) called Sarah Palin's Alaska.  In this preview, Sarah was shown doing some rock/ice climbing.  It is probably a fantastic portrayal of Alaska's landscape, but it clearly isn't "Sarah's Alaska".  She obviously had no idea what she was doing and had never experienced Alaska that way before, which was evident by uttering of the (para)phrases, "I've never done this before" and "I'm not sure I can do this".  I can't help but imagine this echoing through the inner chambers of the Oval Office and how true it would be in that context as well.

This segment of an interview with Matt Damon, while somewhat dated, is hilariously true:

On a more serious note, I absolutely cannot imagine any of the two major parties endorsing a reality TV host (Tea Party?  Maybe). It just doesn't seem like something that belongs on the resume of the President of the United States of America.  Additionally, I recently read that Sarah had said (in relation to resigning as governor) that she was relieved to no longer be "shackled in Juneau by those hellbent on seeing my political destruction".

Yeah.  Like the atmosphere inside the Beltway would be any different.


  • INDEPENDENT: Ross Perot

Sure, he may be 80 and no one has heard from him in years.  But I've missed him.

I can only hope that in this time of dormancy, he's been diligently drafting strategy for his 2012 campaign.  As much as I miss sayings like "NAFTA? Don't hafta!", "Giant Sucking Sound", and "Ross for Boss", I'm sure the old guy still has more creativity in there to share with the country to keep us laughing.  He's a one-man-show for sure and I'd be delighted to see a 3-candidate presidential debate again in which the moderator can't control Perot, as he constantly runs over time and interrupts other candidates.  

I saw a list of people who are subject of speculation as far as possible Independent presidential candidates.  On this list was former Governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura.  Is it just me, or does anyone else think he would make a fantastic VP candidate to run with Perot?

So those are the predictions hopes for entertainment purposes.  Whether you are excited about it or not, it won't be long until we start seeing more in the news about people filing as candidates with the FEC.  Ready or not, here they come.

Keep It Real!

P.S. Los Alamos Trails Goals Update: 7.2 of 29.5 miles completed 

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Wider Perspective

I don't like pro-life paraphernalia.  The bumper stickers, the t-shirts, the billboards.  I don't even like the rallies.

I bet that was hard for some of my friends to read, but it is true.

 My beef is not with the "stuff" so much as the narrow meaning behind it all.  I'll be as clear as I can here....I love me some anti-abortion sentiments and legislation.  The problem is that I think that the anti-abortion movement is only part of what it should mean to be "pro-life".  There's so much more to it than just this stuff:

For me, to be pro-life is to be pro-all-life, not just unborn babies.  That means providing the most excellent health care we can and making sure it is available to everyone.  It means caring for the environment.  It means making decisions as a nation that will put troops in combat only as a last resort.  It means having a judicial system that keeps criminals in check.  It means having laws and law enforcement that will keep citizens safe and healthy.  It means having a great public education system so that children can grow up to make good decisions regarding all these things.  It means not executing prisoners.  And yes....of COURSE it means being anti-abortion.

I think everyone is called to fight their own part of the battle.  In my life, the thing that tugs the heart strings the most is the health insurance issue.  The reason behind this calling is, of course, the experience that my family has had with insurance as it has related to my mom's battle with cancer in the past.  

For those of you who aren't up to date with that, here's the cliff notes version (dates are estimations in some instances):
  • Early 1994: Diagnosis
  • 1995: Remission
  • 2003: It's back
  • 2004: Things are pretty bad.  I flew home from college during the week of mid-terms to be with the family
  • 2006: Still pretty bad.  To plan around treatment, my brother and sister-in-law's wedding gets moved up 4 months 
  • October 2006: Bone Marrow Transplant
  • Today: Cancer free!  One more year of being cancer free and we can officially use the word "cured"!
It seems like nothing when you boil it down to a couple bullet points.  See me for more details if interested :)  But rest assured that a more in depth narrative would be littered with stories of battles with insurance companies.

This all brings me (finally) to this past weekend.  We journeyed down to my parents' home in Tucson to be present for an incredible event put on by a non-profit organization called Building More Tomorrows, which has an association with the Arizona Cancer Center where my mom receives treatment.  The mission of Building More Tomorrows is to provide support to patients (and patient families) who undergo a bone marrow transplant (BMT).

A BMT is an incredibly involved process.  Due to the risk and side effects involved, it is nothing short of a last ditch effort.  When discussing a BMT as an option for my mom, her oncologist, Dr. Yeager, suggested a "famliy meeting".  I flew from Texas to AZ.  My brother and sister-in-law drove down from Flagstaff.  We gathered in a tiny exam room to talk about the details of the "procedure".  It sounded awful.  As Dr. Yeager was telling us about risks, including the risk of it not working, my brother asked for a percentage.  I don't recall if he asked for the odds of the BMT working (for some patients, the first one bombs and it has to be repeated) or the odds of survival.  I don't even recall the number that Dr. Yeager reported, but I do remember the thick feeling of heaviness in the tiny room at the sound of a number that was nowhere near desirable.  

The Building More Tomorrows event this weekend was a symposium  in raising awareness for and educating about BMTs.  It was a luncheon event with three speakers.  THE man....Dr. Yeager himself...spoke first about BMT in a nutshell: what's it is really about.  The next speaker had a short presentation about the desperate need for more people on the Bone Marrow Registry.  The final speaker shared about the real-life financial and insurance implications of such treatment.  

So what really does a BMT entail?  Dr. Yeager did a good job boiling it all down.

His care and treatment saved my mom's life!
  • Secure a suitable donor 
  • On what is referred to as "Day 1", the donor is given a drug (over a period of days) that increases the rate at which their own marrow is produced and causes it to move out of the bones and into their blood
  • Blood is drawn and marrow cells are separated from the red blood cells, which are then returned to the donor
  • BMT patient is given extremely high doses of chemotherapy and radiation to eradicate.....everything.  The bad stuff is hopefully killed off and, along with that, some good things go too.  Good parts of blood?  Gone.  Childhood immunizations?  Gone.  You get the picture.  Imagine how awful this must be for the patient and how fragile it makes them.
  • Once the doctor has a clean slate to work with, the new marrow is given intravenously and starts making healthy stuff.  This typically happens anywhere between Day 15 and Day 30.
During all this time, the patient is in the hospital and miserable as hell, if they have even survived up until this point.  Some people are in the hospital for as little as 2 or 3 weeks (lucky ducks!).  My mom was in the hospital, with few short-lived trips "home" until after Christmas (it started in October).  After final hospital discharge, the patient has to remain in very close proximity to the hospital (usually 30 minutes) where they received their treatment for a significant period of time, typically several months.  Since my parents' home was 4 hours away, this meant having to rent an apartment and essentially move to Tucson.  One can see where insurance and financial resources are really starting to become important!

There's so much I'm leaving out and it is exhausting to think/talk/type about it.  Let's just boil it down to this: there must be something very important that God has planned for my mom still because she has survived not only cancer, but a bone marrow transplant with a relatively low chance of survival.

My mom's BMT was made possible by my aunt, who was the donor.  There's a 25% chance that a patient's sibling will be a match.  Those who aren't as lucky to have such a match, must turn to the National Marrow Donor Registry, a list of amazing people who are ready and willing to be a donor, should they ever be matched to a patient in need.  For these matches, ethnicity matters and (surprise, surprise), there are not enough donors of minor ethnicities.  If I needed a transplant and my brother was not a match, I'd have, at best, at 70% chance of finding a donor on the registry.  I heard a presentation from a Puerto Rican whose mother died before finding a donor...she only had a 3% chance of find one to begin with.

The symposium was great and I could see a lot of light bulbs switching on over a lot of people.  The real reason Leni and I attended, however, was for the entertainment at the end.  Some very amazing people, my mom included, were asked to be models in a survivor fashion show.  

The fashion show was pretty legit!  There was a runway, lights, photographers, music...the works!  Before each model came out, the MC read their "survival story" which they had each written about their battle with cancer.  They then worked the runway to the song of their own choice (personal fav choice: Survivor by Destiny's Child).  It was such a physical, tangible representation of the battle these people have won.  At one point, each of them was, let's face it, close to death.  But now, LIFE is shooting through all of them.  Some were young enough that they are now healthy and have had their own kids.  Some are older but living their own lives and improving the lives of others around them.  Surely, this is pro-life as much as anything else.

It was an incredible honor to be able to make the trek down to Tucson for this event and see what a joy it was for my mom.  I will end this absurdly long post with two things:
  1. A plug for you to save a life and become a bone marrow donor, especially if you are of an ethnic minority
  2. Pictures that portray my viewpoint of being pro-life:

My mom!

Because a BMT saved his life, he now has twin sons and is a 3rd year med student.
How many more lives might be created and saved because he is alive?

His family!

Awaiting a donor.  Been given a 40% chance of survival
 Keep It Real!

Monday, November 1, 2010


Halloweekend was the name of an event that happened here in town this past weekend, but I also thought it would make a fantastic blog title.  Hope it wasn't copyrighted.

Not a crazy Halloween around here.  The biggest festivity was carving our pumpkins:

Leni's pumpkin on the right may be confusing for most.  It keeps with his (now established) tradition of his pumpkin carvings symbolizing his love of toyotas and off-roading (see his pumpkin from last year).  In case you didn't recognize it, it's the logo of a rock crawling performance parts company:

I'd say he did a pretty decent job, given the difficulty!

Hope everyone else had a good weekend.

P.S. Los Alamos Trails Goal Update: 7.2 of 29.5 miles completed - I have now completed all trails that can be reasonably be accessed on foot from my home.  

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Beginnings

This weekend, the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande got a fresh start.  After a couple years without a bishop seated at the cathedral, we finally now have one!  I can't even begin to know first-had how difficult it was to operate as long as the diocese did without a bishop, but from what I've heard from people who have been here longer than I, it's been a tough road.

On Friday morning, Leni and I had the distinct pleasure of being part of the roughly 1200 people who attended the Consecration of Bishop Michael Vono.  It was truly amazing.  We got there more than an hour ahead of time and got some slammin' seats and had a pretty good view of the whole 3 hour event.  It really didn't seem that long to me.  I'd never been to a consecration before so seeing new things in a church I've known my whole life was refreshing.  

Kudos go to the scores of people who came together to plan the event. I counted 7 languages used in the context of the service: English, Hebrew, Sign, Spanish, Latin, Italian, and Navajo.  The 80-voice diocesan choir was outstanding...especially since I was seated about 15 feet from them!  Here are a couple pictures I took, although crumby in quality because flash photography was not permitted:

Singing of  a Hebrew call to prayer by a Rabbi in honor of our Jewish roots

Bishop-elect Vono standing before the consecrating bishops
This video doesn't have much action in it however it is meaningful.  It is of the bishops surrounding Michael Vono and laying hands on him while the choir is singing "Come Holy Spirit" in latin

As mentioned before, the people of this diocese have been without a bishop for some time.  Without going into the history, I'll just say that the departure of the past bishop had been hurtful for many.  Needless to say, this consecration of Michael Vono has been much anticipated and prayed for and there is great hope that he will be the shepherd and leader that is so very much needed.  Immediately following the actual consecration, he and his family were officially introduced and the applause went on for quite some time before he speaks a few words in the video below.  The excitement in the crowd was palpable:

Many congrats to Bishop Vono, and to the diocese as, together, we start a new chapter of ministry!

On another subject, this is officially the 100th post of Snack for Later.  In celebration of that, you have hopefully noticed that the blog got a cosmetic face-lift.  Hope you enjoy the new look!

Keep It Real!

P.S. - Los Alamos Trails Goal Update: 4.1 of 29.5 miles completed

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

House Blessing

This past weekend, we took part in a combination progressive dinner-house blessing event with two other families.  It was quite fun and meaningful too!

We started at one home and had appetizers there.  We then walked around the home blessing each of the rooms as the priest sprinkled holy water in them and said some brief but wonderful prayers specifically for each room.

Next, we moved on to another family's home.  There, we enjoyed the main dish of dinner and the blessing of their home.

Finally, we moved on to our place for some dessert of creme brulee (see recipe here) and the blessing of our house.  

We were together for about 4 hours and it was great to see people chatting, getting to know each other better, and having a wonderful time.

All 3 families plus Fr. Kelly and his lovely wife!
The pooches got blessings too!
All in all, it was one great evening.  

Keep It Real!

P.S. - Los Alamos Trails Goal Update: 4.1 of 29.5 miles completed

 Ranch School Trail - 25 minutes from  my front door

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Turn Left, Turn Right, Repeat as Needed

The bug is working its way in and I'm getting the itch.

I want to ski soon.  I'm enjoying this fall weather right now but soon, the leaves will be down and I'll be ready to get out there.

Between the equipment I already had and the stuff we got Leni at the ski swap this afternoon, we're all set.

The pink boots aren't mine!
At this point, there's just one problem.  The ski mountain that looms over our city looks like this right now:

I need it to look like this:

Sigh....I guess I'll just have to wait!

In other news, just two more posts until my 100th post and subsequent blog facelift.  Stay tuned.

Keep It Real!

P.S. Los Alamos Trails Goal Update: 2.8 of 29.5 miles completed.

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Car, New States

This past Columbus Day Weekend was a 4 day weekend for us since it happened to fall on a weekend that Leni had Friday off from work.  And boy did we need that time!

We'd been talking lately of getting Leni a new (to us) car to serve as a daily driver.  We had a few needs to be met and we had been trying to find a vehicle that would meet them all.  Specifically, something that could comfortably hold people, something with better safety ratings than Leni's 4runner, and something that could tow.

The answer: a 1997 Toyota
(duh!) Landcruiser.  Also known as an FZJ-80.

We weren't really planning on getting this vehicle until next year but when one in really good condition popped up on craigslist at a STEAL of a price, it was foolish not to jump on it.  We called up the guy, asked all the right questions, and made the arrangements to buy it.

: Waking up in a state that borders Mexico and falling asleep in a state that borders Canada.

Early on Friday morning, we jumped in the car with the dogs and a cooler of food.  The destination: Boise, Idaho.  Fifteen to sixteen hours away.  A stretch for one driver, but doable with two.  

On this trek, we graced two states that Leni had never visited: Utah and Idaho.  I think I was more excited about this than was Leni.  Utah is AMAZING.  We have to go back there to spend more time someday.  Moab is beautiful and just outside of it, there are entrances to two national parks within a few minutes of each other.  There was also snow above 11,000 feet on the peaks looking down on Salt Lake City.

Got to the hotel at about 8:30 pm and had some dinner in the room.  Watched a movie in bed, and passed out.

: We brake for...nothing...yet

Tired but excited, we made our way to the designated meeting spot.  We met the seller and his wife - they were a delightful couple in their 50s or 60s who were sad to let their beloved car go but knew they didn't need it anymore.  Despite some brake issues, which we had been made aware of ahead of time, the car checked out, the guys did the paperwork, exchanged the money, and it was a done deal by 10am.

At 13 years old, let me introduce to you the newest car Leni has ever purchased:

The car was a good deal because, as I mentioned, it did need a little brake work.  While Leni got to work diagnosing this, Lucy and I were doing what we do best - laying in bed watching a movie:

Hotel rooms mean dogs on bed - a special treat NEVER afforded at home
Sierra is so well-behaved that she won't get on a bed, even when invited!
In the afternoon, while taking the car out on a test drive after Leni had done some things to the brakes, we visited a dog park and our labs saw the first dog they'd ever seen that was bigger then them - a great dane!  Then it was back to work on the brakes.  There was a late dinner break for Dominos.  Due to the recent Dominos TV commercials, I succumbed and tried their new pizza that they claim is better these days than it used to be.  I think it is better, but it still doesn't beat Papa John's!

: Invasion of the RVs

Of all things, I was most excited for the journey home.  Shorter days, the ability to stop more often to see things if we wanted, and the prospect of picking my own music since I was driving my car alone :) We were on the road with both vehicles by 7:30am and throughout the day, I got quite acquainted with the back of Leni's new car. Luckily, the landscape was changing:

At 5:30pm, we got to our campsite in Moab.  We had selected this particular camp ground because Leni knew some guys who had been there all weekend in their trucks wheelin'.  This was unlike any camping spot I'd ever seen.  Mostly because it catered mostly to RV types and less to tent types like us, although it did have a few spots for tents.  

RV people are really a breed of themselves.  Not bad people by any means, just very different.  In my world, tent people are more hard core.  They live simply and make due with what they have.  But in that campground, we were the bottom of the totem pole, sleeping in JUST a tent.  It it amazing the things some of these people had on their alloted camping space.  Some were clearly not passing through for a holiday weekend but rather full time residents.  Some of the permanent structures that they had erected were incredible:

A simple fence

A sodded dog run

A saloon?

A more serious fence with a "garage" entrance for a car
I couldn't complain about the view from our tent when I woke up this morning:

I did, however, have some complaining to do about the elongated toilet bowls with the normal, round toilet seats:

Unlike my normal personal rule, I donned white cotton socks in my Tevas in the morning:

Don't's okay....I'm in an RV park
Residency at this particular RV park came complete with free wifi.  I guess that is standard now but it seemed crazy to me and I'm proud to say that we did not partake in this amenity.  I did learn, however, that when the signal is bad, you can just drive to the Super 8 parking lot and use theirs.  The password, if you are ever in the area, is "adventure".

Favorite thing to see in the RV park?  A family watching Robin Williams' movie "RV" while in their RV. The sight of a guy trying to drive a rental RV around a corner was a very close second.

: Just get home

Thank God for Columbus, without whose holiday this trip never would have been made.

This day was filled mostly with the continuing view of the lay of the land around the Landcruiser:

Just outside Moab

Windshield getting dirtier - cool arch though!
Back in northern New Mexico
On a dirt road "short cut" about an hour from home.  Leni left me in the dust
By 4:15pm we were home and happy to be there!

Keep It Real!

P.S.  Los Alamos Trails Goal Update: 2.8 of 29.5 miles completed