Thursday, April 16, 2015


This past week I had the honor of attending a work convention in LA for my company. Did I say the honor? It was the coolest big trip I've done in years!! And one of the first where I had a budget in mind....more signs that I've transitioned in to adulthood. 

Flying is a neat experience. If you've flown in the last 10+ year you know you cant bring any drinks through security. You're also limited in your carry on capacity so if you want to bring snacks you have to balance them with what you really feel you'll need to carry on.

Airports have every item you could possibly need to travel within their stores. There is so much temptation. Things range from books to magazines, fancy coffee to booze, and fast food to sit down steaks. It's tempting to spend a lot of money before you ever get to your destination.

I decided to take the midway and brought my own snacks from home, a book from home (thanks mom!), and then bought my drinks. I had a long layover where I bought a salad, then called a friend and caught up for a while. I was surprised to find that most airports now have charging stations for mobile devices. This is the first time I have flown in three years, it seems the airports have modified themselves only slightly. Charging stations were the only difference I noticed overall.

 I was fortunate to have my hotel and airfare paid for by my company. The host for the company provided all meals while there. Any incidental expenses such as taxi fair or miscellaneous drinks will be reimbursed, but only if I can provide a receipt. 

While at the conference I was able to take in the scenery of LA and spend time in the former Tonight Show studios where both Jay Leno and Johnny Carson recorded their shows for years. The stage has now been made over for concert venues, shows, interviews, and conferences. 

Some memorabilia of the past can still be found in the building.

While the stage itself has been updated significantly. 

The most important part of the trip for me was meeting friends from work, some who I had never met in person before. It was like a high school reunion. I loved every minute of it! Did I mention I learned tons of new things about what I do for a living? EQ'ing was my favorite session. Yes, I'm geek!!!

The second night I was there my friend Roger who had driven up from Colorado and I went for a drive up in to the hills to see the Hollywood sign and drive past the Chinese Theatre. Strangely looking at the houses was the most interesting part for me. I loved seeing how homes were built on the hillside. One area we drove around in had their trash bins out, I couldn't imagine a school bus or garbage truck driving up and down those steep inclines. We also saw a coyote....this was a highlight for me, I would have thought it was a skinny dog, but Rodge insured me it was in fact a coyote.

After the conference was over some of us with flights leaving later in the day were able to tour our company studios in LA. It was pretty awesome!!! We had a great tour led by a woman Lisa Marie, who had worked in the company for 17 years. She had so much insight, I dont think we could have thanked her enough for giving us such an informative tour of the building chock full of stories, introducing us along the way. The studio tour was a highlight.

Event getting back to the hotel after that was a highlight. Let's just say 6 people in an the smallest Hundai I've ever seen was questionable, especially on the steep incline to the Las Angeles Hilton drive way. Making memories are my favorite thing.

Did I mention I ate at In N Out Burger for the first time? The trip had so many highlights. LA is definitely a place I'd like to go again!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Harvesting Loquats

I spy with my little eye something yellow!!!

Loquats have been in season in Southern Florida for a little over a month now. I remember when we first moved in to the house during May two years ago I didn't know what these things that had fallen on the ground were....they were kind of a nuisance. Last year I knew their name and knew they were edible, my friend and I tried one but it was very bitter....very bitter. Perhaps not ripe though.

This year, I decided to reach out to my friends and neighbors through a website called nextdoor, and see if anyone would be interested in having some of the loquats from our yard and lo and behold I was able to find two couples in the neighborhood that loved them and had plans for canning, pies, and chutney with the little things.

So what is a loquat like? It has the flesh of peach, but the taste of a lemon. They're small and are a bit of work to get to the flesh too, they have 2 to 3 large seeds in the center giving less fruit. Because loquats have a short season and the flesh of the fruit is so small, they're rarely for sale in markets. Perhaps in more tropical climates like the islands. But here, not so much. Nor are there any tree groves that I know of for the fruit specifically. However, since I have not one but two loquat trees in my yard.....I knew giving them away was far more prudent than letting them fall. The experience of meeting neighbors was great too.