Sunday, September 27, 2009

Santa Barbara

This weekend April and I drove up to Santa Barbara for a mini “babymoon.” A babymoon, as I just learned, is a sort of last hurrah before that little gift from heaven anchors you to your apartment for the next few months.  I guess the analogy is more akin to a bachelor party than a honeymoon.  We also wanted to visit Solvang so that I could get in touch with my Danish roots.  It was nice of our friends Scott and Rebecca to let us crash at their place and show us city dwellers around.

April and I got up to Santa Barbara first thing Friday morning.  We had a nice early morning stroll on the pier.

We visited the old courthouse as seen in Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, which is possibly the best law-themed show ever.  The courthouse, which is still in use, is spectacular. 

They even let you go up on top of the tower.

Fortunately Scott was able to get the afternoon off from his residency shifts at the hospital so we all drove up to Solvang.  Solvang is just like Koreatown except that it is smaller, was made by Danish people, and they don’t speak Korean.  As far as I could tell, nobody spoke Danish either.  For you Simpsons fans out there, Solvang is where Millhouse’s uncle is from. 

We toured the beautiful streets and shops and saw the old mission.  We also went to this really strange place called Solvang Ranch that was a mix between the Old West and Denmark.  They had cowboy boots and Wrangler jeans next to traditional Danish dresses. There were also depictions of Danish monarchs along side of photos of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.   It almost made me feel as if we had teleported to a “red state.” 

The town offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and vineyards. 

The other thing about Solvang is that the entire town is obsessed with Hans Christian Anderson.  There are at least ten statues of the guy (giant nose and all), a couple of streets named after him, a museum, and a square in his honor.  It’s almost as if he is the only cool guy to ever be Danish.  What about Niels Bohr, I might ask?  Or what about Søren Kierkegaard (who is way cool, by the way), or even Beowulf? Oh yeah, plus I’m Danish (ethnically speaking that is).  Where’s my statue?

But the best thing about Solvang is that I was finally able to get my hands on some imported salt licorice.   Salt licorice is basically like crack for licorice junkies.  I also found some marzipan, and to my pleasant surprise, some amar bidder stang (it was fifteen dollars a pound and worth every penny). 

The next morning we hung out on the wharf and then went sea kayaking.  We got within a few feet of some sea lions which was way cool.

Thanks Scott and Rebecca. We’ll have to come back sometime.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mulholland Hike

On Saturday April and I drove up to Mulholland Drive and hiked along the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains.
Nike got into the spirit of the wild and showed some intimidating fang.

The view of the LA skyline.  You can see Century City to the left and Westwood to the right.   Notice also the smoke from the fires.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Office Baby Shower

Last night, my office threw me a baby shower! A little awkward being the center of attention, but so much fun!!! Thanks so much to all of you for all your hard work, effort, and creativity! I am so lucky to have coworkers like you! 

The best part of baby showers is always the games.  My favorite was "Measure the Belly" where everyone had to guess how big my belly was and rip off streamers.  We measured to see who was closest.  

Ashlee was not (her estimate wrapped around me twice).

Neither was Maria (1.5X)

Esther won, by virtue of having the smallest measurements (Steve was a very close second, measurements obtained by using his own belly). 

Another fun game we did was to chug KoolAid out of baby bottles.  Janel won by biting the nipple and gulping it all down.

Our office tradition for birthdays and other celebrations is to have the guest of honor cut their own cake.  Here I am with the delicious Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Cake that Ruby made:

I have great coworkers.  They all pitched in (even the boys, who opted out of actually coming to the shower, probably for fear of becoming too girly) to get me some blankets and a jogging stroller!  I love that they know me so well and chose the perfect gift!!! I'll think of them every time Liam and I run together. Thanks everyone!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How 'bout a little fire, Scarecrow?

Last night April and I walked down to City Hall to watch one of my all time favorite movies; The Wizard of Oz.  The Wizard of Oz was filmed at Sony Studios (formerly MGM) just down the street from our apartment.  To celebrate the 70th anniversary of its release the city put on a free screening of the film as part of the Made in Culver City series.
Judy Garland's son was there, which was cool enough.  But even better, Jerry Maren, one of the original Munchkins showed up.  He was the leader of the Lollypop Guild and was the one who gave the giant lollypop to Dorothy.   
Maren talked about what it was like shooting the movie in Culver City back in the 1930's and shared some stories about hanging out in the Culver Hotel with all the other Munchkins. It was the largest gathering of little people in history and their hijinks there are the stuff of legend.
But it gets even better.  Maren actually performed the Lollypop Guild song and dance on the stage for us.  I'm so glad I brought my camera.

It's really fun to have all this stuff right here in Culver City.
There's no place like home.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

You've Got it in Print

Steven got his law school diploma this week.  For a graduation gift, I got him a frame to put it in. Since we had to wait for the actual diploma to get mailed, it's just been an empty frame on the wall. Well, no more!  Everything else we've said about law school and graduation was inadmissable heresay, but Steve has graduated from law school and now we have proof!!!

My favorite part about getting the diploma (other than the fact that it means Steve did, in fact, graduate and having something to put in the frame) is that now we have Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph:
Update by Steve:  I have to add that Arnold is not the only celebrity to sign my diploma.  My law school dean, Dean Schill, was (unwittingly) on The Daily Show.  He was interviewed as part of one of the show's mock news segments.  Here's the video. I should warn you that there is some crude language, though the worst offenders are bleeped.  Dean Schill appears about 2 minutes and 45 seconds into the clip.
I think he did an excellent job.  When the interviewer started getting offensive, he told him so and then ended the interview instead of letting himself fall into the trap like so many Sacha Baron Cohen victims.