Saturday, November 29, 2008

Curiosity cultivated the cat.

When I was in tenth grade, I had an English teacher named Mrs. Zuzga. I will save the numerous wonderful things that came out of that class for another time (e.g.: Siddhartha, Brave New World, The Bridge Over the River Kwai) and get right to my point. One day during the school year, she made us promise that if we ever came across a word we did not know, we would look it up. I thought that was a pretty good promise - and so 17 years later, I not only remember that unofficial oath, I continue to uphold it. (Don't believe me? Check out the margins of any of my books!)

Somewhere along the way (probably with the advent of the Internet) this vow of mine developed into something more. In short, why stop at words? There are far too many things that make me say, "I wonder why," or, "I wonder how." And it is far too easy to discover the responses to let these questions simply go unanswered. So today's blog is not only to encourage you to go out and look for the answers to your burning curiosities, it is also to share with you the two things I found myself wondering about this Thanksgiving holiday:

Q: Why aren't turkey eggs available at the grocery store? Why is it mainly chicken eggs??

A: "Barnyard economics. Turkeys don't lay that many eggs, and the ones they do lay are used to produce more turkeys. The average egg-laying chicken lays 300 or so eggs per year, while the average turkey produces only 100 to 120. Chickens come into production at 19 to 20 weeks of age, but turkeys don't get going until 32 weeks. Turkeys are also much larger, averaging 16 to 17 pounds compared to 3.5 pounds for chickens. So you'd need a lot more room for a bird that would take a lot  longer to produce a lot fewer eggs. Another problem is that turkeys go 'broody' easily - they want to sit on their eggs and incubate them. In contrast, egg-producing white leghorn chickens have had the broodiness bred out of them. They lay and lay and have no desire to incubate their offspring or otherwise be maternal."


The other thing I wondered about, as Jamie stood crying in the kitchen while making homemade winter squash soup...

Q: Why do onions make us cry?

A: "As onions are sliced, cells are broken, allowing enzymes to break down amino acid sulphoxides and generate sulphenic acids. These acids are unstable and spontaneously rearrange into a volatile gas. The gas diffuses through the air and eventually reaches the eye where it reacts with the water to form a diluted solution of sulphuric acid [holy shit!]. This acid irritates the nerve endings in the eye making them sting. Tear glands produce tears to dilute and flush out the irritant."

Sometimes my initial searches lead to other searches... 

Q: How can I reduce the painful stinging when cutting onions in the future?

A: "Reduce tearing when cutting onions by first chilling the onions for 30 minutes. Cut off the top and peel the outer layers leaving the root end intact. (The root end has the largest concentration of sulphuric compounds.)


Obviously the Wikipedias of the world must be read with critical eyes but, that being said, they are wonderful tools for those nagging questions that just need superficial explanations. (Which brings me to another caveat: beware of talking about your new found knowledge with too much bravado...)

I'm pretty sure this path of curiosity I am on is why I love doing research, why I love my job ... and why I long to do it professionally in other fields. But it is Saturday, and I'm on vacation, so I will leave work at work and look into things I am thinking about today. Namely the disposition of french bulldogs and what exactly the 15 executive departments of a President's cabinet do.

(And by the way, I had been composing this blog in my head for days now, but was compelled to get my thoughts out today because... Mrs. Zuzga sent me an email this morning! How crazy is that?!?!)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The 'D' in GLAAD

Plenty of jokes are made about the acronym for which I work... Many people, upon first asking me what I do and where I work, believe I sell reusable plasticware. Many others know that it's a gay organization, but don't really think about what it stands for or what we do... beyond helping the gays.

Well, in case anyone reading this isn't clear, I'm going to clarify a couple things right now. I don't mean to take this blog in any kind of political direction, but as I sit at my desk and process the phone call I just had to overhear, I need an outlet where I can vent. (And fear not loyal readers, this blog will go back to "fun stuff" in no time - Thanksgiving is fast approaching, after all.)

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation

We exist, and have since 1985, to promote and ensure fair, accurate, and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. I am the Grants and Research Manager here, and I just celebrated my two year anniversary at GLAAD with a nice promotion. Like any other organization, we have our ups and downs and group dynamic dysfunctions - but no matter what, I love the mission of this place, and I know firsthand how important and necessary our work is.

It's sometimes hard to sum up what we do because we're an advocacy organization. Meaning, we're not feeding or clothing anyone, nor are we teaching kids to read... Instead, we are in the business of shaping media images -- whether it's national news (CNN, The New York Times), regional news (your local CBS affiliate, your local newspaper), entertainment media (Grey's Anatomy, People magazine), media outlets in communities of color (Sing Tao Daily, La Opinion, Washington Informer), for people of faith (Associated Baptist Press), or for young adults (CosmoGIRL!, ABC Family) -- because we know that whether its consciously or subconsciously, what people see on TV or read in the paper shapes how they view and treat gay people. We at GLAAD see that as an opportunity (and a responsibility) to make sure those images foster awareness, understanding, and respect.

Sometimes people come to us - reporters, producers, editors - they come to us to look for story ideas about gay and transgender people; or maybe they want to interview a newly married California couple with kids (and yes, we have a database of people that fit a variety of criteria that we have provided Media Literacy Training to for just these occasions); or maybe they are unclear about terminology and want to make sure they don't use an offensive term (did you know that the terms 'gay' and 'lesbian' are preferred over 'homosexual?' Why? Because of the clinical history of the word. It has been adopted by anti-gay extremists to suggest that gay men and women are somehow psychologically disordered - a notion discredited by the APA in the 1970s.)

But sometimes (dun, dun, duuuunnn) - we have to reach out to reporters, producers, and editors. Every day at my office (and at our sister office in NY) people are monitoring every type of media you can imagine. People here get paid to read stuff and watch stuff. (And we have a volunteer army of media monitors across the country.) When we see or hear offensive things - for example, terms like sexual preference, homosexual lifestyle, admitted homosexual, gay agenda, special rights, fag, dyke, tranny, he-she, deviant, perverted, or equating same-sex relationships with pedophilia, child abuse, adultery or incest - WE STEP IN!

GLAAD believes absolutely in the freedom of speech - but we draw the line at hate speech. If someone writes or airs a defamatory piece of journalism, it is time to pick up the phone and educate the powers that be what they did to offend. (I don't know the statistics off hand, but a great many of these phone calls go very smoothly - often times the person on the other end is apologetic, did not know the correct terminology, and makes the requested changes immediately.)

An hour or so ago, the friend and co-worker that I sit beside had to make a defamation call to The Daily of the University of Washington. This was my first time witnessing a defamation call. (I have only been sitting by this man since the beginning of the month - my promotion came with a bigger cube on this side of the office.) I did not expect to be so affected. I mean, sure, I have good days and bad days at GLAAD - sometimes I can just come in and do my work without dealing with too much homophobia - but other days are downright shitty. This was pretty shitty.

The title of the piece is called, "Gay Marriage? Let's stop and think about this."
This is the accompanying picture:

The piece is an opinion piece, and it is so poorly argued it should not make me mad... I get that... but the conversation I had to hear... it lasted approximately 25 minutes or so. I was sealing 200 envelopes at my desk, a mindless, redundant task that practically forced me to eavesdrop...

And so I endured listening to my co-worker repeatedly having to explain why it is defamatory to equate two consenting adults who love each other and want to marry to bestiality and child rape... I had to listen to him explain that being gay is actually NOT an "emotional condition"... I sat here and heard him defend gay people from the description that they are "a problem that needs to be dealt with."

So here I am an hour after I should have left work... blogging. The only things that bring me solace are the comments left for the "writer," and the tenacity of my awesome co-workers who deal with these issues so professionally day in and day out. (Though I must say, as time goes by, and in no small part thanks to GLAAD, the defamation calls grow fewer and fewer.)

It did not sound like a happy ending from this side of the cube wall - I don't think the editor over at The Daily agreed to remove the offensive piece.

It's just so disturbing to me - I may have the privilege of being a well-adjusted and secure gay adult who knows fallacious arguments when I see them... but there are plenty of others (straight and gay) who see these words and take them to have value because they are in print.

The 'D' in GLAAD stands for defamation, and tonight, I understand a little better what it feels like.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Did somebody say 10K?

One day this summer, Jamie received a mysterious text message from an unidentified 626 number: "You and your girl should do the muddy buddy."

Puzzled, Jamie looked at me and asked, "What's a muddy buddy?" 

Our minds began trying to make sense of this... Well, we had just purchased a Buddy scooter... so it must have been some type of scooter rally! But who on earth was this faceless 626 knower of scooter events? The friendly lesbian salesperson from NoHo Scooters?! That's weird... and kinda creepy...

Eager to know more, I turned to the world wide web. 
Muddy Buddy - (noun) A race consisting of teams of two running and mountain biking through 10 kilometers of trails, challenging obstacles, and a mud pit. 

You had us at mud pit. (Clearly we chose to ignore the parts about 'race,' 'running,' 'mountain biking,' '10 kilometers,' 'trails,' and 'challenging obstacles.')

And before I go any further, I should clear up that the sender of the text turned out to be a friend of Jamie's who had simply changed her phone number - sorry there was no big shocking reveal there.

After reading about the event and watching video clips from previous events on MySpace (this thing's been around for years and shows up in Chicago, Dallas, Boulder, Atlanta, and Orlando, among others), we decided we actually wanted to give this thing a shot - what a great motivator to get in shape! 

But because as partners, you're alternating throughout legs of a race, we realized we would not get to do this together. Solution? Find another couple to do this with!! Our friends Bridgett and Kelly got equally excited and, just like that, we all signed up! I became Kelly's partner, and Jamie became Bridgett's. My team was the Gold Stars, and Jamie's, the Mudflap Girls - but we ended up merging into one giant non-competing team, and made jerseys that reflected both names!

I'd like to tell you about the rigid training schedule to which we all religiously adhered... the sore muscles... my aching calves... but I wouldn't want to bore you (or lie to you for that matter). Full disclosure: I made and printed out a beautiful 12 week training schedule - and it sat on the dining room table pretty much untouched. So why don't I just speed things up and get to race day!!

I believe we were out of the house by 5:30am in order to be in San Dimas by 6:15. Um. It was still dark when we arrived.

The four of us met up, got checked in, received our bibs and helmet stickers, and headed to the start line. This was photo-op time:

Okay... there was no turning back now!

* * * * * 

Leg one: Jamie and I were on bicycles, Bridgett and Kelly were on foot. The thought running through my head? "HAHA, we're on bikes and you have to run HAHA!" Only... 
This race, we quickly discovered, had A LOT OF UPHILL in it!! I pretty much felt like I was unable to peddle any more within the first mile. They threw a reservoir in our path early on, which gave me a much needed break -- to carry my bike through shin-high water. The first obstacle was a rock wall - it was tough with wet, muddy, slippery feet, but we both made it over pretty quickly. We left the bikes behind for Bridgett and Kelly to find for Leg two.

Leg two: Surprisingly, we were relieved to be on foot. (It was much easier than hiking uphill with bikes!) Plus, there were a lot of lost items along the trail, and it was much easier to pillage this way (I scored a sweet beanie. Is that wrong?) Obstacle two was some kind of "under and over" contraption, and our feet couldn't touch the ground:

Leg three: Jamie and I were back on the bikes. (UGH.) This picture makes me laugh out loud.

Somehow, we made it to the third obstacle - balance beams - and were off again on foot!

Leg four: This was my favorite part of the race. Jamie and I, after assisting our partners and the bikes up a virtual mountainside, got to run on asphalt. Downhill. IN THE RAIN! It was incredible... it had been a bit sprinkly on and off all morning, but this was a nice, soft, steady rain - and we just giggled as we ran into it! I didn't even mind that our teammates got to cruise down a great big hill! As we approached the fourth obstacle, we were pretty excited - which was a nice motivating factor to keep up the pace. When we finally got to it, it loomed high above our head... we had to climb a gridded rope ladder to get to the top - and then slide down into a small pool of water. It was so exhilarating - much steeper than it may look in this photo. And sure enough, there were our bikes waiting for us.

Leg five: Back on the bikes and five miles already completed, this was gonna be a tough one. And... cue Jamie's charlie horse!! Ow, ow, let's stop for a drink of water. And... cue Jamie's coughing attack. But, she persevered and we desperately tried to inch our way to the fifth and final obstacle (the mud pit, in case you lost track). There was a lot of uphill, but we got up and over it. And as we "rode" our bicycles down the precipitously rocky hill - constantly pulsating the brakes - Jamie recounted to me the time she went off the trail and over her handlebars onto her face. (Good story. You should ask her about it sometime.) 

And there at the bottom of the hill were Bridgett and Kelly, waiting for us to arrive, ready to face the mud...


So... are you wondering what one does after completing a Muddy Buddy...?

You try to get clean...

6.2 miles, and we lived to tell about it!
Hope you'll join us next year!
(Jamie? We are doing this next year, aren't we...?)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A word from your sponsors...

Living in California, jen and I are deeply affected by one of the propositions this year. There are a lot of people trying to pass Prop 8, which will eliminate our right to get married if we ever choose to do so. Not cool...right?  

I know I mentioned it in a previous blog, but as we're getting closer to the election, jen and I started feeling more and more like we should do something. We've donated money. We've attended fundraisers. We've talked to our friends and family. Jen's been phone-banking. I sport my "I heart civil liberties" shirt around town.  

But it still didn't feel like we were doing enough. So last week we got an idea. "Let's make a video!" Now I haven't edited in years. Actually, I don't think I've even taken my video camera out of its case in years, which is truly a shame because I used to have such a passion for making home videos. Growing up I drove my friends and family crazy always having a camera in their face. But I guess now that I work in the industry, I have taken up other hobbies to escape the media in my free time. But the thought of making THIS video really reignited my passion.

It reignited it so much, we went out and bought a new computer over the weekend, new editing software, and came up with a concept for our video. We shot it Monday night.  I couldn't even sleep that night I was so excited to get started editing. I worked vigorously Tuesday and Wednesday night to get it finished in time to upload it before people started voting. We were both so inspired by the situation and felt so proud when we posted it to YouTube this morning. 


We've gotten so much positive feedback. Numerous people have told us that it made them tear up. And when we were eating dinner tonight, Francy, our neighbor and friend, knocked on the door and was bawling when we answered it. She had just watched the video and was so proud of us and couldn't wait to forward it to her family and friends in California. I still can't get over how our little video is affecting people. It's truly heartwarming. 

I personally had a hard time posting the video at first. After it all came together, it was so personal. People would see things about us. See our lives. See how upset we are about this proposition. But then, that's the point right? Getting our message heard. Making it personal. And as of tonight, we've gotten 260 views on YouTube! So, if you subtract the 20 times that I'm sure jen watched it, that leaves 240 people that we urged to Vote NO on Prop 8...all because of a girl...a dream...and a video camera. 

And now that we've caught the bug, you can expect more videos from us in the future. Turns out we've got plenty to talk about...and at least 240 people that want to listen. 

*Addendum...we're up to 329 now!  And jen promises it wasn't her.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Soup, there it is...

So in honor of one of my favorite SNL skits, I thought I would do a blog about soup. I love soup. Jen loves soup. Justin Timberlake loves soup. Obviously, so should you.

Recently, jen got her wisdom teeth pulled, so being the good nurse that I am, I gathered up all my amazing soup recipes to prepare for her week sans solid food.

She's doing much better by the way...

So two of jen's favorite foods, believe it or not, are spinach & zucchini. So first, I'll share this delicious and easy recipe I made to ease her pain.
Spinach & Zucchini Soup

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
big pinch of salt
2 medium potatoes, cut into cubes
2 medium zucchini, chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
4 handfuls fresh spinach leaves

In a large pot, heat up the olive oil, then add the garlic and onions and saute for a few minutes along with a big pinch of salt - just until they soften up a bit. Stir in the potatoes and zucchini. Add the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are soft throughout, roughly 10-15 minutes.

Stir in the spinach, and wait for it to wilt - just 10 seconds or so.

Puree with a hand blender until smooth.

Now salt to taste and serve with a spoonful of our absolute favorite addition to any bowl of soup...light sour cream.
It's so easy and delicious...we promise! Cook it on a Sunday night, and you can take it to work for lunch all week. It's a great way to get your daily dose of greens, and watch the waistline if you're so inclined.  


Next, I'm going to post two soup recipes that I love making because of all the compliments I get. Seriously, I'm a hit at parties when I show up with my aroma-friendly crock pot. Now that fall is upon us, you MUST try these soups!


Sassy Salsa Pumpkin Soup

4 cups fat-free vegetable stock
One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
One 15-ounce can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup canned sweet corn kernels
3/4 cup salsa
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Optional toppings:  shredded low-fat cheese, light sour cream, chopped scallions

Spray a medium pot with nonstick spray and bring to medium heat on the stove. Place garlic in the pot. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add stock and spices, and bring to a simmer. 

Add pumpkin and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. 

If you like (and we do!), top each cup with any of the optional ingredients before serving. This soup is packed with fiber and incredibly healthy.  How can you resist?


Winter Squash & Sweet Potato Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 medium-size sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
4 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the cooked vegetables to a 4 to 6-quart slow cooker. Add the sweet potatoes, squash, stock, thyme, and sage; season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook on Low for 6 hours. 

Puree the soup in a blender (or with a handy-dandy hand blender like me!). Taste to adjust the seasonings, and serve hot. 

*Warning...this soup will seriously make your house smell delicious for days!  Just ask jen...


Now, just so you all know...I didn't JUST make soup for a week.  Jen also got to indulge in this delicious smoothie I learned how to make: 

1 ripe medium banana
3/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
3/4 cut skim milk
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup crushed ice

Just put it all in the blender and puree until it's smooth and YUMMY!  


So those are a few of my favorite recipes. Enjoy! And please let me know how they turn out if you give them a try. 

I'm off to eat because now I'm STARVING!!! 

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Grass is overrated...

Seriously. Who needs a lawn to be political these days? When I left for work the other morning, I opened the back door to discover that jen had posted our Obama lawn sign for all to see. Well, when I say "all," I actually mean the 6 people that walk their dogs past our back door, and the annoying little girl who rides her bike back and forth, back and forth, back and forth upsetting Katie and Bodhi to the fullest extent. But if our little sign has impacted just one of those 7 people, then we have done our part.  

We also passed some Pro-bama graffiti the other day in the Wilshire district.

I guess those people, just like us, have discovered how easy it is to work with what 'cha got.  

Monday, October 13, 2008

I've taken up tagging!

I love my iPhone for many, many reasons. But my new favorite reason is that it led us to Shazam!  Shazam is an application you can download that basically identifies music for you.  I love products that make me feel like a Jetson, so I thought I'd share.  

Elizabeth was the first to tell us about Shazam.  We were at a party and she was raving about it.  "I don't get it" I exclaimed.  And then she held her iPhone in the air, much like John Cusack in Say Anything, and pushed "Tag Now."  The phone literally listened to the song that was playing on the radio, and after 15 seconds, told us what it was.  It listed the name of the song, the artist, and linked us to iTunes where we could then purchase the song if we were so inclined.  "Wow! I've got to get that!"  

So I did.  I downloaded the application that night for FREE and have been hooked ever since.  I love that moment when Jen and I are in a store and we hear a song that we like.  I'll say, "man I love this song.  I wonder what it is..."  And then there's a slight pause...we both look at each other...and at the same time shout out "SHAZAM!"  We then hurry to pull out my iPhone and "tag" the song.  

Shazam has led us to the new Pink song So What.  You must buy it now!


And we've discovered new artists like Meiko & Kings of Leon by using Shazam.  I'm telling you...this shit is bananas...b-a-n-a-n-a-s.  (If you Shazam'd that, you'd know I'm quoting Gwen Stefani.)  

So you want it now, right?  Well I don't think you need an iPhone to get it.  Just go to the website and check it out.  I will warn you that there are times when Shazam has let us down.  It's not that great at identifying obscure NPR songs. And when Christine tried singing to it, it didn't work. (Although, that was a long shot.)  So download it, and let me know what you think!  

Until then, I'll just be taggin' away over here...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Celebrity sightings.

Or perhaps I should say, "
celebrity" sightings.

I just returned from the Starbucks on Wilshire at La Brea and who was there in front of me? None other than Analeigh, from the current season of America's Next Top Model!

It was cool to see her, but i was more excited about my Pinkberry Sorbetto...


My sighting on Monday night at my local L.A. Fitness (the one on Cahuenga), was pretty good.
B-list good.
L Word good.

Dana, you live on forever in our hearts... and apparently in our North Hollywood gyms.

She looked smokin' in grey workout pants and an orange t-shirt.
In case you were wondering.
(And at least one of you was.)

So now i'm left wondering... do celebrity sightings come in threes
like celebrity deaths?

And if so, can i
please spot an A-lister?!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

National Stay At Home Week...

So being the rebels that we are, jen and I decided to plan the busiest week of our summer on National Stay At Home Week.  We missed a lot of great TV, but we sure did have a lot of fun in the process. Wednesday started off the marathon with the long-awaited So You Think You Can Dance Tour.  We had gotten tickets months ago, and were SO excited to finally see our SYTYCD'ers live on stage.  It was our first time at the Nokia Live in Downtown LA.  What a great venue!  We got to see all our favorite dances from Season 4 performed again.  Joshua and Katee lit up the stage.  Gev made us laugh.  And Will stole our hearts once again.  We also finally found out the real meaning behind "4-Real."  

Christine and Michelle met us for the show.  It was so great to share the experience with them after watching all the episodes together this summer over fondue and Michelle's infamous chicken wings.  Jen had so much fun Wednesday night that she has been practicing her new moves ever since.  

We truly can't wait for next summer. 
Season 5 baby!!! 


Neil Diamond at the Hollywood Bowl

Thursday night, we TIVO'd the debate and headed to the Hollywood Bowl to see the one and only, Neil Diamond. Helen had gotten a bunch of us tickets earlier in the summer, and we're so glad she did.  Neil's voice is incredible.  It soothes me.  Seriously.  He was very engaging and fun to watch.  He did all his old standards, and even some songs from his new album.  

Unfortunately,  I didn't take my camera that night.  (so unlike me!)  But if I had, you'd see a wonderful picture of Helen & Sarah drunk and eating pastries...Claudia & Nancy singing along to every word...and jen and I holding up the phone for Caroline during, yes, you guessed it, Sweet Caroline.  


Rachel Getting Married Screening

So after 8 years of producing in L.A., I finally joined the Producers Guild of America (aka The PGA.) (No has nothing to do with golf.)  Being a member of the PGA has lots of being that you get to attend lots of free screenings.  So when I got my first invite for Rachel Getting Married, I jumped at the chance.  I was allowed to bring guests, so Caroline and Amanda met up with Jen and me at the Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills.  

I have to admit, when I heard the title of this movie, I assumed it was going to be one of my beloved chick flicks about a wedding.  Boy was I wrong.  I won't ruin the movie for those who haven't seen it, but it deals with the struggles of an addict who leaves rehab to attend her sister's wedding. If you think your family is dysfunctional, watch this movie. It will make you feel better about yourself.  Promise.  

We all had our own opinions about the movie, but one thing we agreed on was how uncomfortable it made us feel.  To me, that's a good thing.  I love it when a movie can spark such an emotion.  I get stuck in a rut of watching movies that either make me sad or happy.  I sometimes forget that there are other emotions out there that need to be stimulated once in a while.  

Overall, I recommend seeing it once.  Once will be enough.  



So Disneyland was having their annual (unofficial) GayDays this weekend.  Basically, if you're gay or support the gays, you wear a red shirt to the park.  (Funny story...Ramdath, Helen & I went a few years back on accident.)  But this year it was planned, and highly anticipated!  

Now jen and I go to Disneyland way more than the average American.  Like once-a-month more.   You might say it's our happy place.  It never gets old, and every trip brings new adventures.  We spent most of Saturday with jen's co-worker Adam, and his friend Milton.  We had a blast!  Especially on Splash Mountain, which is quite obvious from the picture.  

It was the first time jen had seen The Haunted Mansion decorated for Halloween/Christmas.  I kicked her butt on Buzz Lightyear, but then she made me eat my words on Toy Story (as did everyone else in our group).  After the sunset, and discovering we could avoid the long line on Soarin' by becoming "Single Riders," we headed to The Lost Bar at the Disneyland Hotel to meet up with Jonathan and the gang.  

After a few drinks, and the realization that Katie hadn't peed in 9 hours, we decided to hit the road.  We planned on going back on Sunday, but after the busy day we had (which you'll read about next) we simply couldn't make it.  Plus, I didn't have another red shirt.  


NoHo Arts Festival

Our week came full-circle on Sunday when I discovered that a SYTYCD choreographer, Shane Sparks, was going to be judging a dance contest at the NoHo Arts Festival about a mile from our home.  So after a lovely breakfast, jen and I walked down to check out the scene.  It was a cute festival, and we had a blast watching the kids in the contest pop and lock, etc. Shane Sparks ended up being 5'2", which neither of us were expecting.  

After the dance contest, some art/photography browsing, and fro-yo indulging, we followed the crowd to XMA.  Xtreme Martial Arts is a studio in NoHo that was putting on quite a show.  I wish you could tell from this picture that there's a little 8-year-old kid doing a triple-flip through the air. If you're ever in NoHo, you've got to check this place out. Watch a class through the window.  We were truly enthralled.   


So that concludes my essay on what I did this "National Stay At Home Week."  
Now we're off to catch up on some much-needed zzzzzzzzzzzzz's.  

(oh, and Labor Day Weekend Part III is coming...I swear!)
(obviously, I've been a little busy.)