Forensic Flashback




Words on the wall know the score.

I had the opportunity recently to judge a high school forensics meet. No, there are no bodies, no ballistics to study or fibers to test. As a matter of fact, it’s about as far as you can get from a police procedural drama as you can get. In this case, forensics is a speech competition where students participate in different categories like interpretation, extemporaneous, and my favorite category, informative.


That’s right, I competed in high school and in college. I loved it, in a masochistic kind of way. You stand up in front of six or eight students and a judge who listened to your speech/performance and rank you against the other people in the round. Considering most people are not fans of public speaking, doing it for fun and competition makes you a special kind of strange. Or at least a special kind of attention seeker.

It was really exciting for me to be back at a meet as a judge (I judged a bit while I was in college too), and I was surprised at just how familiar it all was. It’s been….let’s leave it at a while, shall we…since I was competing, or judging for that matter. But the nervous energy when you walk into the room is the same (whether you’re a competitor or judge). The pieces were different – we would have had points taken off for four-letter words when I competed, but the feeling was the same.20170129_174823

I didn’t realize how much I missed it. Okay, I encouraged my daughter to join her HS team this year, and I helped her work on her piece, but I didn’t realize how much I missed being part of the competitions. Was it nostalgia? Probably. But it was also the love of performing, competing, watching your fellow competitors get better and better (and maybe hoping  just a little that they would get a case of brain freeze), and the feeling of being in a cafeteria or auditorium in a school somewhere filled with people just as excited and nervous as you.

The good news is that I’ve been asked back to judge another competition – I’m not saying when or where to try to keep things fair. But I’m really looking forward to it.

New Year, New Look, New Outlook


As my intelligent and beautiful ones of readers have already noticed, I’ve not only changed the look and feel of my blog, I’ve changed the title too. A Look Through Lorie’s Lens was created when I was working in video, and while video production will always be my first love, it doesn’t reflect me or what I want to do any more.

laptop-820274_960_720I want to tell stories, my own and other people’s. So, We’re All Just Stories in the End was born from what was on editing room floor. (Bonus points to anyone WHO knows where I got the title from.) With the change in title comes a change in perspective.

We’re All Just Stories in the End is going to focus on telling stories. I’m going to look at how business and individuals can use stories in their marketing to grow their reach and their profit. I’ll be talking about how different mediums can help tell stories. Of course, I’m also going to talk about telling my stories.

Regulars readers will also notice that I’ve added a page with samples of some of my writing. This is all part of my plan to continue to work as a freelancer to help people tell their stories. If you’d like to talk to me about your story, and what I can do to assist, just drop me a message here.

I’m really excited about the opportunities that lay ahead in 2017. I hope you’ll join me.






My mother loved movies from when she was young, what we call classics now. One of my early movie memories was being sick at home with a stomach bug one Easter. While my brother and sister were off hunting eggs, my mom introduced me to one of her favorites – Tammy and the Bachelor. As mom pointed out the gorgeous clothes, clever lines and how simple but beautiful the story was, I fell in love with it all. That day Tammy and the Bachelor became one of my all-time favorite movies, and Debbie Reynolds one of my all-time favorite actresses.


Over the years I saw more of her movies, and each time I became more enthralled with her work and the stories she told. Her acting was simple and pure, and somehow larger than life at the same time. The simple sad words of Tammy as she sang by a moonlit window. The strength and heartbreak of Molly Brown as she grew and changed before refusing to go down on the Titanic. And of course the beautiful innocence of a small-town girl dreaming of stardom in one of the best know and just plain best movie musicals ever made – Singing in the Rain. Stories so beautiful and full of life it was impossible to not get completely mesmerized.

annex20-20reynolds20debbie_04As a teenager I read her first autobiography and admired her even more. From the literal blood, sweat and tears during Singing in the Rain, to the little details she put into films, I learned about dedication to craft. From the grace she displayed when her first husband, Eddie Fisher, left her with two small children while he went off to be with Elizabeth Taylor – and the strength of character she had later in life when she faced Taylor in the bathroom of a ship as they sailed across the Atlantic. There was her poor choices in men that became obvious when two husbands left her penniless and forced to start all over, all with her kids by her side.

I was a fan of her daughter Carrie since I was a little girl. I read and heard about their relationship through books both wrote and through interviews. And yes, there were periods of time when they didn’t speak. But they never stopped loving each other. They always had each other’s back. Through the ups and down…through marriages and addiction, mental illness and bankruptcy, they always found their way back to one another.

debbie-reynolds-carrie-fisher-e97d69fe-4bde-4d7d-85a8-0b768581a72fWhen I learned that Carrie passed, I knew that Debbie wouldn’t be far behind. I had a feeling that Debbie hadn’t been well (it’s been over a year since I’ve heard that she was performing). I knew that they were close, and I know as a mother, having to bury your child would be horrific and a stress that many could not survive. I had a feeling that another amazing and talented actress would soon be moving on. I just didn’t think it would be so soon.

There are so many people who don’t give “old movies” a chance. But they are missing out on so much. They’re missing out on talent and and glamour that seems to be so rare in Hollywood today. They’re missing out on woman who was unsinkable as the characters she played. They’re missing out on movies that have can capture the imagination and unite a mother and daughter.

My Kind of Princess


princessleia1This week has been a strange one for me. Some of the news I’ll share with you later in another post. For now, I have to find the words to talk about Carrie Fisher. My princess. My hero. My inspiration. Someone I had always hoped to meet. Her death has shook me in a way I never expected.

I am just one of a generation of women who had their outlook on the universe, and what being a princess means, when a young woman (with a somewhat unfortunate choice in hairstyle) grabbed a gun of one of the guys there to rescue her and saved them instead. tumblr_n1430cie4d1r09qfio5_r1_250We saw a woman who was as tough as nails, who didn’t take crap from anyone, was snarky and amazing. She didn’t use her looks to get ahead. She was as smart, or smarter, than the men around her. And, maybe best of all, the men accepted her for who she was and what she brought to the table – no one questioned her ability to lead because she was female. Princess Leia was the very definition of a badass in the best possible ways.

Up until then all the princesses we knew were rescued by a prince in shinning armor. They were bright, but not as bright as the men around them. They were pretty and important for what they could bring to the world as a wife and mother. They weren’t warriors. They weren’t heroes. They didn’t do the rescuing and they weren’t they weren’t leaders.

Princess Leia instantly became my hero. I wanted to be her in the worst way possible. I insisted on a homemade Halloween costume of long white silk and a black wig. My brother and cousin decided to do our own version of Star Wars and took my role as the princess very seriously. Princess Leia was, and is, my example of one of the best female characters ever to grace the big screen.

But it wasn’t just Leia, it was the actress behind her that made all the difference. Many other actresses could have played the part, but none of them could have combined the snark, the layers and the strength that Carrie Fisher did.


For me, the admiration for Carrie Fisher didn’t stop with one character. She was a brilliant writer, and I studied her writing in both novel and scripts to try to gain some understanding of what made her writing so honest. Her dialogue was always so real, so funny, and so perfect it made me wish she could be in my head and feeding me smart and witty things to say.

I admired the way she talked about all the things she’d been through. She was so honest, and usually brutally so, about her addiction and her mental health. She did so much to help normalize the discussion of mental health care and overcoming addiction that it’s hard to imagine what the world would be like if she didn’t go there.

Most of us can’t imagine what her life was like from the very start. She was the daughter of America’s Sweethearts. She was watched and photographed from the day she was born. When her father left her mother for Elizabeth Taylor it made international news. She was only three years old and she in the media spot-light beside her mother. Her mother didn’t have the best eye for men and Carrie was there to help her get the family back up on their feet more than once. They fought, they didn’t speak, but they never really stopped loving each other. The difference between their story and most families was that they did it with the world watching.

When I heard that she was rushed to the hospital, my stomach dropped. When I heard she had passed I was stunned. She was a huge part of the world that captured my imagination in Star Wars. She changed the way I looked at writing. She wasn’t fearless, but she refused to let fear control her. I admired her in so many ways and it was a shock to the system to realize that one of my heroes was gone. I still want to be like her when I grow up.

Carrie Fisher, just like Princess Leia, was strong, she was brave, she was intelligent, she was witty, she was talented. Ms Fisher was a storyteller that made a difference on and off the screen. Something most of us could only hope to do.

Update: Waiting on Pins & Needles


I’m sure at least one of my tens of readers has been waiting since I wrote my Waiting on Pins & Needles post to find out if my daughter was accepted to her top choice college. It took a little longer for us to get the letter than we thought it would, but we got it…She was accepted!

Girl finding out she was accepted to her first choice college


My daughter is excited to become a President next fall! It’s a beautiful campus, an incredible school, and their Sociology Department is top notch. She’ll have opportunities that her dad and I could only dream of, which I think is one of the goals for a parent.

I know for most parents this is a time of mixed emotions. I’m not much different. I know she’s going to do great things. I know she’s going to be amazing. I know I’m going to miss her like crazy.

For now, I’m going to focus on today and dreams coming true.

Recommending Recommended


I told you about the website Recommended  a short time ago. In this time of shopping and searching for great service, I thought it was to talk about it again. This free site is a cross between LinkedIn and Facebook for businesses and freelancers. Like other sites, Recommended lets people set up a page with information about their business or services and then get recommended by their customers. But it goes a little deeper than that, they’re working to fill a gap between social media and business in a way that no one else is.getrecommended1graph

Full disclosure, I first learned about Recommended, and its founder Aaron Lee, when I did a little freelance user experience testing for them. I was very impressed with what I learned about the site during the testing, so much so that I joined the site and have been sharing it with friends and business contacts. Let me tell you why.

Websites like LinkedIn and Facebook are great and have their place in marketing, public relations, recruiting and brand awareness. LinkedIn is a great place to find contacts, that is what it was made to do, but it doesn’t do much to really give small business and freelancers to show off their skills. Facebook is a great way to market, but it doesn’t necessarily give people a full picture of the services someone offers, and how their clients feel about them. It’s these things that Recommended does best.

Recommended allows users to market and make connections, but it’s more about what the business does. It also does recommendations better than I’ve seen anywhere else. As a consumer looking for a business or service, you get a user friendly website that allows you to dive past the hype and glitter of marketing and look more closely at what the business or freelancer does. You get the opportunity to read recommendations and leave them in a way that feels more honest and real than other sites. As a freelancer or business owner you get a site that looks clean and professional and lets you get your message out without the clutter and advertising that are all over other sites.homepage-illus-large-real_people

Since I first mentioned the site, they’ve added new functionality, and have even more in the works. One of the new additions to the site is “Work” – a portfolio like  option that allows the business or freelancer to showcase some of their best work. For example, a software developer could provide information for the kind of work they specialize in and pictures of what they’ve done. They haven’t finished perfecting the Work pages yes, they’ll be expanding it to accept different file types to allow someone (like a freelance writer) to add different kinds of examples. You can check out examples of Work at work

These are still early days for Recommended. They’re adding new functionality all the time. As I’ve told everyone I’ve discussed Recommended with, I think that this has the potential to be huge. It could be a real game changer for small businesses and freelancers by giving them more freedom and options than are currently available.

I recommend Recommended wholeheartedly. I encourage you to get in on the ground floor and be part of this effort before it explodes. Take a look around, I think you’ll be impressed.

Waiting on Pin and Needles


As you, my dear ones of readers, know, I have a teenage daughter. We reached a new milestone this summer as we piled in the car to visit her top five colleges. My husband and I gave her advice on things to consider like the size of the student body, the community the school is located in, living on campus versus commuting and so on. She put a name to what she wanted to study, sociology, and we researched the best schools for it that met her other wants. The list narrowed further and she decided on the top two choices and applied.

Needless to say, things have been a little tense as we wait for the mail each day.

Teenager covers mouth in shock at being accepted to college.

1st college acceptance (from the 2nd choice).

She got a big envelope in the mail from her second choice a couple of weeks ago.She also received $11,500 in merit scholarship, which is really awesome considering it’s a private school and more expensive. She was so excited that she was accepted – she jumped up and down, she screamed, it was indescribable to watch.

Last weekend we took her back to her first choice for an interview, and then for an over night visit. We should know something in the next few days. We checked her admission portal page and there was a link to fill out the form saying she’ll be attending and to pay the non-refundable deposit. We’re kind of figuring they don’t usually put the link on the page for people they’re not accepting, but until we get that big envelope we’re being cautiously optimistic.

It’s nice to be on pins and needles for a good reason. In the last few months we’ve been anxious for a lot of reasons, and few of them could be considered good. My husband eventually got his long-term disability, and my unemployment resumed after a mix-up in paperwork…all good things we waited to hear about. But it’s not the same.

Getting a letter of acceptance in the next day or so will mean so much to all of us. It means that despite the crap show that our lives have been lately, something has gone right for us. It means that somehow my husband and I managed to raise a smart, amazing, beautiful kid even with all the setbacks we’ve had. It means that we’ve helped her dreams come true even with the odds against us.20161010_131814

Of course, there’s still the matter of paying for it. We’re working on that. Fortunately, there’s are a lot of options for a family struggling financially and trying send a child to a private school. That’s something for us to wait anxiously to hear about in the near future.

Today, we wait for the mail and a large envelope on pins and needles.