Listen: Good Help (Is So Hard To Find)

Just a good song that’s a current earworm of mine.

“You’ll never have to hear the word “no”
If you keep all your friends on the payroll…”

Tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff

If you haven’t seen this yet, it’s pretty awesome.

Winnie-the-Pooh-shaped cloud floats over children’s charity event:


And if you’ve never heard the song (where I pulled my title of this post from), here it is as well!

It’s How We Roll: Bicycling, Charity, and Happy Kids

Maddie loves above anything to ride a bicycle. The trouble is, she needs a specially adaptive one, and those aren’t cheap.

Here’s what’s been happening: All this summer, different departments in my company have been supporting a charity of their choice each month. For example, last month, a department chose the Wildlife in Need Center.

This month belonged to my department and Variety: The Children’s Charity. (Here’s their Facebook page.)

It’s a great cause, serving children who are less fortunate due to severe illnesses, disabilities, or disadvantages.

We connected with Variety’s events & communications specialist, Dua Vang-Ramirez, who matched us with a wonderful young woman named Maddie.

Maddie loves above anything to ride a bicycle (she should meet my dad!). Except she has no bike of her own, and has only been able to ride one in gym class. She would love to ride her very own bike at the park across the street from her home.

But to do this, she will need a specially adaptive bicycle. Maddie is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, is vision impaired, and has developmental delays, panhypopituitarism and diabetes insipiday.

As you can imagine, these bicycles can be expensive.

We couldn’t wait to help. We had several fundraising functions throughout July, including “Compliment Cards” (you’ll see why if you keep reading), to give to co-workers, a very tasty food cart, and the T-shirts you see below.


One of our charity T-shirts, temporarily worn by a cube wall

Here’s the other cool part, directly from Dua:

“Our Variety children work directly with Brent Emery, owner of Emerys Cycling Triathlon & Fitness. He is a former Olympic Silver medalist and is “the bike whisperer”. Brent will ensure that Maddie receives a bike that will meet her specific needs. Maddie will meet with Brent for a custom assessment very soon. Brent will custom build her bike depending on her needs. Examples of adaptations may include: adding a seat harness, switching out the bicycle seat, or adding a rear steer bar for the parent to control.”

I am happy to say that even though the month has not yet ended, we have already exceeded our goal amount. Maddie’s going to get her bike!

Nothing slows Maddie down. She loves to give and receive compliments, and has an energetic and enthusiastic personality. She loves music of all kinds. And now she can do it all on her own wheels!

I’m really happy to be part of a company that cares.

More about these bikes:


Miranda & her own bike. 


What Does Yammer Offer That Makes It Great For Knowledge-Building?

Question asked in the O365 Network: “Is there something that Yammer offers that really makes it more appropriate for discussion than Office 365 Groups, or is there a fair amount of overlap?”

The real answer to this actually reframes this in another question: How do you get the knowledge you need to do what you need to do?

When you think of how we tend to form our own phone, IM, email, or any-kind-of-Group circles of “go-to” people, for anything from direct knowledge to “this person will at least direct me to someone who knows,” this exclusive approach can both take time and waste time, even if you get the answer in the end.

Even more importantly, you may never know how much more awesome your idea or project could have been had you only looked outside your usual groups of go-tos.


Whoa! Talk to the paw there

While Yammer is not supposed to be the solution to every single scenario, it is a very viable solution to widening your circle, uncovering skills, and discovering influencers.

And in the process, it can help stitch your company together more firmly because now you’ve got this great big transparent knowledge base that becomes a go-to instead of a “Yam what?”

It does take nurturing and championship, but when you see people start organically thinking, “You should put that on Yammer” as part of their project or idea or decision, well, those are some pretty awesome moments.

Remember, you never know entirely who knows something or who can help. With Yammer, you can start to find out.


Blue Apron: Sweet Chili Chicken

Sweet Chili Chicken was fun to make! And very tasty.

For us, it was the third and final meal from our Blue Apron box for that week. (Here are the others: Empanadas, and Brown Butter Gnocchi.)

This recipe included something I’d never used before: Coconut milk powder. (I’d also never personally used tinkerbell peppers or ponzu sauce, but those were more recognizable.)


All the innards

Another cool thing: For whatever reason, the green beans that were supposed to come in this grouping were replaced by snow peas. There was a very nice, formal-looking card that explained this substitution. I like how Blue Apron strives to ensure that we get quality goods.

Plus, we like snow peas. So does our guinea pig.

I probably started this a little early, but I wanted to get the rice going, so I dumped the coconut milk powder into a saucepan:


Nothing to see here, just coconut milk powder hanging out

And started up the jasmine rice (with water) so that it eventually looked like this, though not as sticky as it also kind of looks:


Really pretty and fragrant, I thought

While in the meantime, I was furiously chopping veggies.


Results of the choppening

Meanwhile to that, on another board with another knife, the chicken was being prepared so that it soon looked like this:


The chickening

And with the addition of garlic, ginger, and the white ends of scallions, it soon looked like this:


Look at that, all nice and unstirred for the moment

But oh! We get to add the sweet chili sauce (hence the name) and the ponzu, so that the whole mass of yum then looked like this:


You can imagine how good the kitchen smelled by then

The rice having been done and patiently waiting all this time, the moment the final bubble in the chicken and vegetable mixture was done bubbling, we swept it all into bowls for the mini-feast.


Yes. Delicious. I’d make it again. Since you get to keep the in-your-face recipe (plus you can find it online at, that takes the guesswork out of your next grocery shopping excursion.

We enjoyed very much our trial run of Blue Apron. In the end, it came down to us realizing that we were perfectly capable of getting our own ingredients; we just needed a bit of a nudge to stop sticking always to the easy course (which alas, includes carry-out), and to start being smarter about what we’re exchanging our money for.

This is not to say we won’t try Blue Apron again–the meals are so tempting, and the service is impeccable!