Monday, October 29, 2012


This weekend I checked another activity off of my Portland bucket list. My friend Mike and I have been talking about brewing beer together for a while now and we finally coordinated our schedules, got all the ingredients at the local home brew store, and Mike dusted off all of his brewing equipment. We decided to make a nice dark porter that will be ready to drink just in time for the holidays.

It felt like we were working on a science project as we sterilized pots and carboys, mixed and heated ingredients to a very specific temperature and then added yeast for fermentation. The beer will ferment for about a month before it is ready for consumption. I can totally see why Portlanders are so into this. It’s a science and an art. And after you’ve experimented with it enough, you can get creative with it and really make some tasty drinks (such as pumpkin ale). We’ll see how this first batch goes and then who knows… we might be opening up our own local brewery (as if Portland doesn’t have enough of those)! Prost!

mixing the malt extract with the mulling barley

Cascade hops

filtering into the carboy

topping it off at 5 gallons

the hardest part... waiting.
and when we weren't busy in the lab/kitchen, we got to play with this little chunk! Mike's 5-month old daughter, Eleanor.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall Weekend

Fall is definitely here! This weekend was full of fun fall activities.  Saturday morning, I harvested grapes at a local vineyard. This party was sold at the auction last year, so this was part of my job: hanging out at a vineyard with great people, eating great food and drinking wine all day. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it!

After I left the vineyard, I met up with some friends and headed out to the pumpkin patch and corn maze at Kruger Farm on Sauvie Island. We ran around and got completely lost in the corn maize. Then when it started down pouring, we went undercover and enjoyed fresh corn on the cob and caramel apples.

We headed home to enjoy some nice, hot chili (thanks, Ben!) and watch a scary movie, What Lies Beneath, in preparation for Halloween. I just love a good thriller.

Laura and I finished off our fall weekend by turning on the heater in our house (it's cold outside!) and cuddled up on the couch with some good books. After a long, busy summer, the fall hibernation season is here in Portland!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Great Adventure Auction 2012

This past Saturday was the 7th Annual Medical Teams International Great Adventure Auction - the 4th that I have been a part of.  "Auction season" is always quite a whirlwind, but it's also one of my favorite times of year.  Volunteers fill the office, phones are continually ringing, emails are received and sent like rapid fire, candy and carbs lurk around every corner (which I love/hate), pumpkin spice lattes flow like the Columbia River, and delirious laughter fills our office where you can usually hear a pen drop.
Our auction team which includes Deb, Chiqui, Katie and I spend lots of time together during the weeks leading up to auction night.  We start reading each other's minds, completing each other's sentences and Katie and I creepily started dressing alike and causing people to believe that we are actually twins.
This year, my parents were able to come up to Portland to see the auction first-hand.  They've heard me talk about it for years and now they've actually experienced this huge part of my life.  I think they win the award for Longest Distance Traveled for the Great Adventure.
Our goal for this year's auction was $1.4 million.  And the total raised for the 2012 auction is $1.43 million!!!  All of the hard work paid off and we were all amazed at the generosity of our wonderful guests.  What a blessing to be a part of such an amazing event for an incredible organization.  Just think of all of the people around the world who will directly benefit from the generosity of 600 people gathered in Portland on October 13th.  It really is quite miraculous!

our MC - weatherman Matt Zaffino, our auction chair - Phil Lane and our amazing auctioneer - Johnna Wells

our new CEO and his wife welcoming everyone

a glimpse of the live auction