Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Week Before Christmas

Each year I write a poem for my recruitment team. Those of you in the staffing industry can appreciate the intensity this time of year brings as we near year end and our clients are dizzy with holiday joy and cheer. Last year I wrote a poem called "Working in Recruiting Wonderland". This year I decided to do a twist on "The Night Before Christmas". The names have been changed to protect... well... all of us.

The Week Before Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house,
Recruitment was working like a busy little mouse.

Resumes were submitted to the client with care,
In hopes that offers soon would be there.

The Partners were frantic and had much to dread,
While visions of low profits danced in their heads.

With free cokes in the kitchen (but really wanting beer on tap),
The recruiters were exhausted and each needed a nap

When out in reception there arose such a clatter,
Recruiting sprang from their seats to see what was the matter.

They ran to the front quicker than a flash,
Fearing it was a candidate demanding more cash.

When what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But candidates pouring in from both far and near.

More rapid than eagles the resumes came,
As they applied from firms with a reputable name.

On E&Y, BDO, Deloitte and KPMG,
On Grant Thornton, Moss Adams and PwC.

They had all quit their jobs and heeded the call,
To work for McGladrey, each, one and all.

Jackie spoke not a work but went straight to her work,
Handing out applications and going over the perks.

Then Bill laid a finger aside of his nose,
Working on ways to get each candidate to close.

While Alan did interviews and then heard a grumble in his belly,
It was now 11:30 and he was off to the deli.

Jennifer was excited to know cold calls would stop,
As candidates were accepting and the pipeline did pop.

Managers, Supervisors, and Seniors had been hired,
It was exactly the outcome that the client had desired.

Jim was pleased with how the recruiters stepped up to the task,
Despite thinking they spend their days just drinking from a flask.

But they heard him exclaim as in his Porsche, he drove out of site,
Merry Christmas to all and keep sourcing tonight!

Happy Holidays!!!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Today, my good friend Brian shared a touching and tender story with me that moved my soul in such a way, that I just had to pass it on. I have to preface this anecdote by saying that Brian is a single dad of an adorable two year-old baby girl, Alana. Over the past two years, I’ve watched Brian evolve into a wonderful father and wholly embrace his initiation into fatherhood. He often tells me how Alana is the love and light of his life. With Brian you know he’s speaking directly from his heart when addressing any topic regarding his daughter.

One of the activities he shares with his daughter is a weekly Kindermusik class. Kindermusik is a wonderful program designed to teach infants and toddlers preliminary musical skills all the while promoting parental bonding and interaction. During Brian's and Alana’s recent Kindermusik class the teacher instructed both parent and child to draw physically close to each other to feel and share each others’ heartbeats. What a brilliant concept and powerfully moving time of bonding!

Fast forward two days later. Brian is dressing and primping Alana for the day. Any of you who’ve been adventurous enough to meticulous groom a two year-old know all too well that such an activity could have rattled even Gandhi; however, thankfully, such was not the case this morning. Clearly Brian had some good karma coming to him. As Brian was brushing Alana’s hair there was a tender spirit about her. Brian pulled her close and encouraged her to share their heartbeats; to which she readily obliged. In doing so, she heard both hers and her fathers’ heartbeats as one. Being caught up in the moment she gave a gentle smile and cooed. It was such a moving moment for both that Brian had Alana do it again. No words, just bonding through the unified beating of their hearts. A heartbeat symbolizes life and love. Both of which were very present.
If every child could have such deep, affectionate moments with their parents just think of the beautiful, peaceful generation of children we’d raise.

When Brian shared this story with me, I was touch by how incredibly blessed both he and Alana were to have had this priceless moment of bonding. I was also reminded that there is a heart beating inside every child and it needs to be heard and tended to. Too often as busy parents we get caught up in the demands of our day. We forget to take something as simple as grooming our children and making the moment special and building lasting memories. We let valued moments slip through our hands. All too soon our children will be off on their own and our homes will be agonizingly quiet. Instead of listening to the current deafening din around us, we need to make some quiet time with our children. Time so quiet we can hear the precious beating of their hearts and be reminded of the priceless gift they are to us. Then, when they’re grown up and eventually leave the nest, you can gently put your hand on your own heart, feel its tender beating and know they’re still close by.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Merry Bells of Christmas

I know, I know. It's only September 4th and I'm already writing a blog about Christmas.

I'd be remiss if I didn't share with you the wonderful nostalgic experience I encountered this past weekend at the Pasadena Flea Market. As an experienced shopper, I know all too well the pre-shopping ritual that must take place. I was dubious to properly stretch, apply sunscreen, don my baseball cap and sunglasses, chant to the shopping gods for great bargains, and most importantly, grab my non-fat venti vanilla latte with whip. All by 7:30 a.m., mind you. That's right, 7:30 a.m. on a weekend. Bargain hunting requires exemplary skills and a strategy equal to that of a well executed military operation.

The temperature was a disgusting 99 degrees and climbing. It was an optimal environment for hatching baby chicks, not antique shopping. Being the ardent bargain hunter that I am, I was not going to let the sweltering heat deter me. I browsed through countless items with childlike glee. Silverware, paintings, furniture, toys, collectibles, apparel, and every conceivable chachkey you could imagine.

Before I go further, I need to interject here with a story from my youth. Hang with me. It will all make sense in a few minutes.

Every year, on the Friday after Thanksgiving my mother would don this lovely Christmas bell pin. She’d wear it on her wool coat and sweaters. Hearing the first sweet sounds of the tinkling bell would signify the start of the Christmas season. I can remember hearing my mother walking down the church aisle at Christmas all the while hearing her jingle until she properly took her seat. As the years passed, I would search jewelry store after jewelry store in an effort to procure the same pin my mother had. I liked the symbolism it held for me and wanted to one day impart the same to my child(ren). For almost 30 years I diligently searched, but to no avail.

Now here’s where we get back to my original story. See, I told you it would all make sense.

I happened upon a table with a display of antique jewelry. I normally don’t browse the jewelry tables because I know the one thing that catches my eye will undoubtedly be from some Royal family and have a price tag far beyond what my humble purse can afford. Thankfully, today was different. As I quickly surveyed the beautiful baubles, one piece of jewelry in particular caught my eye. It was an exact replica of the Christmas bell pin my mother wore. I gasped with excitement and the largest of smiles crossed my face. I quickly snatched up the pin and inquired as to its cost. The vendor replied “Uh, that one. It’s $7.00.” To which I immediately replied “I’ll take it”.

I made several other modest purchases throughout the morning, but nothing held greater value to me than having found my long sought after Christmas pin. It’s not because of the material value of the pin but rather the sentimental value; which to me is priceless. Hearing the gentle ringing of the pin’s bells has flooded my heart and mind with wonderful memories of my childhood Christmas’s.

In Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, the character of ZuZu Bailey is quoted as saying “When a bell rings an angel gets its wings”. For me, when I hear the sweet sounds of the bell ringing, I’m reminded of an angel of a mother who created this wonderful holiday memory and how on the wings of this tradition I can share the same with my child.

Oh, and for the record, there are only 109 shopping days until Christmas.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Avon Breast Cancer Walk

This coming September 15th & 16th I have committed myself to walk almost 40 miles, with thousands of other men and women to help find a cure for breast cancer. We will forge new friendships, get blisters on our feet, drink countless bottles of water, sleep in tents, and walk 26 miles one day and 13 miles the next; all the while raising money for breast cancer research. We have committed to the training and fundraising required to participate in this life changing event known as The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer . The net proceeds from this event (and others across America) will support non-profit breast health programs, as well as medical research to help find a cure for breast cancer.

I've been touched my so many stories from my friends and loved ones on how they were personally affected by breast cancer. Whether they themselves are a survivor, know someone battling breast cancer, or have lost a loved one to the disease. I've been humbled and challenged by your personal accounts and will walk in tribute to them.

My story is pretty simple, but at the time was quite a scare. I awoke one Saturday morning, over two years ago, and inadvertently found a lump in my right breast. By Monday morning I was in the doctors office. On Tuesday I had undergone a mammogram and breast sonogram. On Thursday I was in surgery having not one, but three lumps removed as well as several small masses. Two of the lumps removed hadn't shown on the mammogram. Within the span of one week my life had drastically stopped and I was confronted with the possibility of having breast cancer. The morning of my surgery there were several other women going in for breast related surgeries. When all was said and done, my lumps were benign, however, I've never forgotten the other women who went into surgery that same day and received the difficult diagnosis of breast cancer. From that day on, I promised myself that I would do my part to help those who despite optimism, prayers and the best of medical care, suffer from breast cancer. The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer is a great way for me to show my gratitude for my positive outcome as well as help those who suffer from this terrible disease. I'm asking for your help as well.

This year, over 180,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Over 40,000 will die.

That's why we're walking.

To do something big.

To be a part of something special, and something very, very important.
We hope that you'll be a partner with us in this effort.

Each walker must commit to raising at least $2,000. Maybe we're crazy--but if this is what it takes to find a cure, and help our many friends and family who are breast cancer survivors--we'll be there.

I'm asking for your support. Would you commit to making a fully tax-deductible donation toward my efforts to help us meet our goal? I'd like to personally thank each one of you for joining us in this fight. You can make your donation on-line at: – click on Make a Donation – then click on Donate to a Participate, select Los Angeles and then type in my name (LoriAnn Boyer - for those of you who've already forgotten who sent this email). You can make a single donation or spread your contribution over several months. Any support will be most graciously appreciated.

In the time it has taken you to read this, another woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States.

Please help us change that statistic.

Thank you ALL from the bottom of my heart.


First Crush

For the past several months my son has had a crush on a girl at school. It wasn’t until the last month that he finally opened up and shared his hearts intended with me. I had had my suspicions. He was showering more thoroughly and was actually using the soap and shampoo. A huge feat when you’re parenting a pre-teen. He readied himself for school one half hour earlier than usual, paying careful attention to wardrobe and hair. Dressing out of the hamper and walking out the door with bed head is apparently SO yesterday. He requested a lesson on how to apply deodorant and inquired as to whether he should start wearing cologne. Furthermore, he would walk around on weekends forlorn and anxious for Monday morning to arrive. With the exception of Pastor’s and Priests, I don’t know anyone who looks forward to Monday’s.

While driving home from Baskin Robins (please don’t tell my Weight Watcher’s instructor), my son asked me what it felt like to be in love. WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO BE IN LOVE? Why… it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world. It’s euphoric, beautiful, silly, tender, invigorating, heart thumping. It’s sky rockets in the night. In love is the most amazing place to be.

My son asked me what my first crush was like. I love when I can give my son a peek into my past. A connection to who I was as a child. He’s always comforted to know that I’ve been where he is and that it’s all part of the growing up process.

My first crush came in 5th grade. I fell madly, deeply, and unabashedly in love with my teacher, Mr. Pontes. He was gorgeous, by a ten year-olds standards. I was giddy with excitement at the start of each school day and hated when the day came to a close. That meant a long bus ride home and a night of counting the hours until I could be reunited with my beloved.

In an effort to impress Mr. Pontes, I worked diligently on all of my assignments. After all, I had to show him I was his intellectual equal. I had read that men like women with long, silky hair so I kept my hair long and combed perfectly. I could have been in a coma or traction and, yet, wouldn’t miss a day of school. I watched Mr. Pontes with adoration as he would glide through the classroom dispensing his knowledge upon us. I found him to be so dreamy. I loved the feelings I was experiencing; joy, exhilaration, butterflies, and intense fondness. I was convinced that Mr. Pontes felt the same way but that he chose to maintain a modicum of professionalism in the classroom, all the while pining for me when we weren’t together. I was frustrated beyond words when he called in sick one day and I had to endure a substitute for the day. How dare he not consider my feelings.

I didn’t care that there was a 20 year age difference, or that he was married with two kids. I was convince that Mr. Pontes was just as enraptured with me as I him and would patiently wait for me to turn 18. At which point he would divorce his wife, profess his love to me, we’d get married, have seven children and live happily every after. Of course, I had no idea that I was positioning myself to be a home wrecker. Great; a home wrecker at 10 years-old. Clearly my morals and goals needed some maturation in ethical standards.

One Friday afternoon Mr. Pontes called me out into the hall to speak with him. I was certain that this was the moment I’d been waiting for; the moment when he would reveal his love for me. To make it even more romantic, I had also envisioned that he would also inform me that I was his most favorite student… EVER! With heart pounding anticipation and a sweet dizziness, I walked out to the hall with him. He asked me to take a seat and then crouched down to my level. Oh my heavens I thought, he’s going to propose right here and now. This was beyond phenomenal. “Lori”… Mr. Pontes began. “Yes”, I said; ready to leap off my chair, throw my arms around his neck and kiss him passionately. (Well, as passionately as a 10 year-old knows how to kiss.) Mr. Pontes continued. “Ms. Almeda informed me that you were somewhat unruly in the lunch room today and despite repeated warnings you chose not to modify your behavior. Is this true?” My heart sank. Not only was Mr. Pontes not going to propose to me, but I was being chastised for acting up during lunch. How utterly embarrassing! I so regretted my actions and wished for the floor to open up and swallow me whole. This couldn’t be happening. Mr. Pontes was the love of my life and I was standing before him a convicted lunch room anarchist. I was mortified beyond words. I burst into tears and fest up to my actions. I apologized incessantly. For my punishment I had to write all 50 state and capitals 3 times. For days I had knots in my stomach and behaved sheepishly around him. I realized by day two that I was now experiencing heartbreak. Sadly, something I’d experience several more times in my life.

I finished my year still in admiration of Mr. Pontes, but not in love. I was much more mature now. Mr. Pontes was SO yesterday. Besides, now I was in crazily in love with Erik Estrada. At least he wasn’t married with a family.

I now have the pleasure of watching my son go through his first crush. It’s reignited some very special memories. Despite my heartbreak, it was a special time and one that had a profound impact on my life. More importantly, I love that my son is open to sharing with me what he’s feeling and looking to me for advice. I’m sure I’ll walk this road with him countless times in his life. It’s a walk and road I’m thankful to share with him.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Pinewood Derby

Today was our cub scout packs' Pinewood Derby. For those of you who aren’t scouts, the Pinewood Derby is an annual scout tradition; pitting scout against scout in pulse jumping, nail biting derby races. About a month before the event, each scout is given a 6” x 2” block of pinewood with the charge to create a racing vehicle that will shoot like a bullet down the 40 foot derby track.

Every year I’m moved to see grown men revert back to their childhood as they reminisce on stories of working with their dad’s on their Pinewood Derbys. Some have even admitted to still proudly displaying their derbys despite their being middle aged. I believe this is more for the memories than the glory. It’s always fun to watch the 10 year-old come out in grown men as they regale their derby days.

This year, due to my ex-husband’s busy schedule, I was tasked with overseeing my son’s block of pinewood transform into a mini NASCARish creation. I should interject here that I’m a bit of a perfectionist, especially when it comes to aesthetics; however, this was not my project, and I had to step aside and let my son take hold of his creative process. My job was simply to purchase the paints, decals, and weights, and let the metamorphosis of his block of wood into a championship derby take place. By relinquishing my ideas (and, OK, a little .... um... control) on how I thought my son’s derby should look like, I was utterly amazed at the car he ultimately turned out. Wow! A lesson for mom’s in the Pinewood Derby? How novel.

My son was knocked out of the competition mid-way through. Not due to lack of effort. He placed second in most of the races, eventually making way for the other scouts to vie for top prize. One would think this would bring about a sense of discouragement given the hard-work and build up over the past several weeks; however, this was not so with my son or the other scouts competing.

During the final heats, one of my son’s friends, (whom we’ll call Jack) was coming in as the front runner. When it was Jack’s turn to race, all of the boys were enthusiastically shouting his name. JACK! JACK! JACK! Each heat that passed, Jack was quickly becoming the front runner and his posse was screaming JACK, JACK, JACK, louder and louder. It didn’t matter that each had lost and now Jack was in the spotlight. They were all genuinely cheering for their friend, Jack. In essence, his wins were their wins. When the final heat had ended, the Cub Master read off the third place winner. All applauded the winner. Then the second place winner. Again, we applauded the winner. As we awaited the announcement of the Grand Prize winner, all of Jack’s friends were huddled around him, fingers crossed, and anticipation high. Then the Cub Master announced, "And the grand prize winner for the 2007 Pinewood Derby is… JACK". The room erupted into frenzied screams and ovations. Jack’s friends were jumping up and down with excitement and hugging him so tightly that he could barely break loose to go up and collect his award. I was touched by the sincerity of sportsmanship and overall true friendship. This was truly Jack’s day. It was clear that Jack had won much more than the Pinewood Derby today.

They say we can learn a lot from children if we look with the right eyes and an open heart, and today was no exception. I learned that the genuine love and support in friendship are gifts far greater than any trophy we could take home. I also learned that even when I don’t place for the grand prize in various areas of my life, to stand by my friends with heartfelt enthusiasm and applause when they succeed.

Although the other scouts didn’t take top prize, as far as I’m concerned, they all came in number one as friends. Way to go guys!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A New Beginning

There’s a symbolic nature about the dawn of a new year. It’s as if every January 1st, life graciously affords us a “do over”; the opportunity to start anew. For most, it’s a time to cleanse the previous years’ slate of failures, missed opportunities, broken resolutions, hurt, pain, drama, and mistakes and initiate or reignite our goals and purpose. It’s like the sweetness and sense of renewal you feel after a rain storm. Everything is fresh, beautiful and hopeful again. We thrust ourselves into the new year with great expectations. Not that we approach them in a quixotic nature, but rather with a genuine zeal. We have the best of intentions. For many, unfortunately, the fervor is lost within the first month. Whether it’s trying to lose weight, stop smoking or drinking, start that new career, or taking that long awaited trip, many simply give up all too quickly, only to face the same regret of another failure the following new year. For those that remain steadfast in passionately pursuing their resolutions and dreams, they have the pure satisfactin of knowing they stayed the course and can now partake in the sweet taste of accomplishment and victory.

As I look back at this past year there are countless accomplishments I’m proud of. I set numerous goals for myself, from learning to start a fire in my fireplace to taking my business to a higher level. I experienced the satisfaction of reaching one goal after another. On the flip side, there are also moments in which I wished I handled things differently, whether with more grace and compassion, better judgment, or had disciplined myself to stay wholly focused on the all of the objectives I had set for myself. All in all, I feel I emerged from 2006 a more grounded, compassionate, insightful, intellectually wealthy, and driven individual. I can’t undo the pain, hurt, failures or mistakes I encountered during 2006. I can only learn from them and center my thoughts on the future that is at hand, set new aspirations, and endeavor to reach them with the utmost of commitment. I feel with each passing year, I have come more and more into my own. I’ve finally learned who I am and love the course my life is taking. It’s not the easiest of courses by far, but one I’m eager to embark on as 2007 unfolds. I'm eager to see where life takes me this year and where I'll be this time come December 31st. I lift my cyberspace glass of champagne and enthusiastically toast 2007. A year I'm certain will be filled with elation, joy, successes, and of course, unexpected turns. All of which I passionately embrace. Here's to a wonderful New Year!