Thursday, December 20, 2007

Family Feud Pictures

We just received these pictures from one of the producers of Family Feud. Pretty good looking family, eh?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jill & I

No, something good bad!, originally uploaded by jilldoughtie.

Here is a picture that we took of ourselves at LACMA on Saturday. :)

Holiday Parties and Other Goings On

"We all start from the same basis of nakedness and ignorance, and must increase by receiving whatever we have the capacity to receive from the torrential universe. Take what is given, respect it, exult in it, multiply it: that is a law as old as man, for then and only then shall you have anything worth giving back. Study something, learn something, risk more than you think you can, care about something, become something -- if in truth you wish to be loved."
-- Michael Drury from Advice to a Young Wife from an Old Mistress

I'm trying to blog a little more frequently. So many wonderful things have been happening, but they're little and sweet and if I don't write them down right away they have a tendency to fade from my memory. I'll just write about some lovely little things from last weekend.

First, on Friday night P. and I went Christmas party hopping. We attended three fantastic fiestas. The first was for my step-daughter's soccer team. You would think that such a party would not be worth much of a mention, but this one definitely was. The very, very generous parents of one of her teammates threw an affair to remember. There were delicious gourmet sushi, steak, pasta, pizza, and gelatto food stations (not to mention the open bar for the parents). The food was extraordinary, and it was with quite a bit of sadness that I saved my appetite for the following parties. There were extravagent gifts for the girls -- professionally created videos of the soccer season and individually embroidered sweatshirts for each of the girls. It was fancy and very special -- I guess that is one of the benefits of sending your kids to school and activities in Beverly Hills.

Next we went to my office Christmas dinner. This was also a beautiful affair (and the reason why I saved my appetite at the aforementioned party). We ate at aptly named Divino Restaurant in Brentwood. It was divine Italian food, and the conversation was great. We had a lovely three course meal and since I'd eaten some at the first party, P. rolled me out the door at the end of that party and packed me in the car to attend the Rhino Records Holiday party. I did not eat anything at the last party. I couldn't even imagine eating more food, but it looked good. The party was held at the Spanish Kitchen in West Hollywood. The DJ was in the corner spinning good music and it was quite a swinging affair. They even had a fortune teller, though the line for that guy was too long and we decided to forego that part of the entertainment. Unfortunately since we'd been partying since 4 p.m., around 11:00 I started to hit the wall. Luckily the restaurant was close to home and I was happily in bed by 11:30.

On Saturday I went to see the Dali exhibit at LACMA with Jill. The exhibit was very interesting, though I was reminded that I don't really like Dali. He's too dark and disturbing for me. I always value a trip to the museum though and come back filled with new creative ideas.

Later that day P. got the Christmas tree. It's a great tree, but sadly during the move to P's house, my Christmas ornaments seem to have gone missing. Thus, the tree is bereft of the ornaments that I've spent the past 10 years collecting. We bought a few lights and simple ball ornaments though and we're sort of enjoying our subtle minimalist tree. Sometimes it's nice to have a change.

Anyway, that's what's new and wonderful with me. I'll try to write again soon.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Game Show Money and other Cash

"Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons."
Woody Allen

Money is on my mind right now. Partially because we did not win any money at Family Feud yesterday (we lost our third game) and partially because I was just informed that I received the grant I applied for from Rhino Records for the NPI Remodel Project!

The latter is super exciting, because it's the first substantial amount of cash I've received for this project. (Buy albums from Rhino, y'all! They rock!) We are so on our way with this!!! Hurray! Our design is done. It's eco-friendly. And we should have our first office done in the next 2-3 months. Yeah!!!

The former is not quite as exciting, but the important thing is that we played well (we were dominating the majority of the game) and we had a blast. :) The Executive Producer came up to us afterwards and whispered to us "I loved your family. I wanted you to win." I'm not sure if she says that to all the families, but we told her that we'd be happy to come back for more "Big Money Tournaments" whenever she wanted us. Anyway, the long and short of this saga is that we had a really good time, we had a wonderful sibling bonding experience, and we've got a story that we'll be able to tell our grandchildren (and anyone else who will listen).

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!

"To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle."

~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

And a bonus quote:

"Most Texans think Hanukkah is some sort of duck call."
~Richard Lewis

Sorry to any Texans out there. I just thought that was funny.

So, today is the second day of Hanukkah. I think. Last night was the first night. Does that make today the first day or the second day? All I know is that tonight is the second night. I feel like I have to get more knowledgeable about Judaism since my beloved hubby is a member of the tribe. He's not very religious and he doesn't really care, but I care. And I LOVE holidays. I'll take any excuse to celebrate.

So the first thing I tried to do was to learn how to spell Hanukkah/Chanukah. Evidently if it begins with an "H" there are two "k's", but if it begins with a "Ch" then there is only one "k." And regardless of the spelling there is only one "n."

The second thing I learned to do was to make potato latkes. We lit the menorah and P. said a prayer. I then got cracking on the latkes, and I have to say they were good! Perfectly crispy golden brown deep friend potato goodness. We had them with applesauce and a delish grilled salmon that P. cooked up.

I'm looking forward to celebrating the rest of the Festival of Lights, but I think for the sake of my waistline, I might take it easy on the potato pancakes.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Feuding Superstars

"To win you've got to stay in the game."
Claude M. Bristol

There's so much more to my life than Family Feud, but I've been so busy with all that stuff that I have not really had time to write. The Family Feud saga is so unique though, that I want to write it down and share it. It's not every day that your family gets on a game show.

So, to continue the story from the postcard, we were invited to come back to rehearse and possibly tape yesterday, December 2nd. The thing about being a family on Family Feud is they don't tell you until literally minutes before you're set to go out there whether or not you're going to get on the air. We arrived around 9 a.m. yesterday morning. Though we'd made the first cut, they reminded us that we still had to do well during the rehearsal to make it on the show that day. They planned on filming 6 episodes and they had 7 families. One of those episodes was for a special Big Money Tournament with returning teams, so each of the 7 families had the chance to be on one of 5 shows. At least one or two families would not make it on that day (or possibly ever).

They ran down some tips (reminded us to be enthusiastic), ran through the rules of the game and then headed us on down to the studio to rehearse. Again they ran us through the rules of the game and how we had to act (enthusiastically) and then began the rehearsals. We rehearsed with the Petersons, a lovely family that had come all the way from Minnesota to play that day. I thought we rocked the rehearsal (though we lost both of the rounds during rehearsal), but all the families seemed to do a good job. I had a good feeling, but was not positive we would make it on. We finished the rehearsal and then prepared to start filming.

Until a family begins playing a game, they're part of the audience. So, they sat us in the stage left section of the audience, and then began to let the rest of the audience come in. I saw my dear hubby, Jojo, Rick and Jeff come in. They arrived at 11 and were our cheering section. I think if they'd had any idea how long of a day it would be, how uncomfortable the chairs were, and that there would be no food or water for anyone they might have rethought their willingness to attend. Alas, none of us knew about that and they arrived on time to cheer and be audience members for the Feud.

Soon after the audience members were all in their seats, Burton Richardson, the announcer for the show, began doing an audience primer. He taught us when to clap, how to clap (at the level of your nose so that the cameras can see), when to "awwww," when to give an ovation, etc. The producers were rather ruthless about making sure that everyone was with the program too. Burton Richardson would call out people before and during the commercial breaks. "Excuse me sir. Yes, you in the fourth row in the blue and white striped shirt. We noticed you were not clapping during that last question. Please make sure that you do so and keep those hands high." "You, the lady in the red in the second row... Yes you. During that last segment you were talking to the guy seated next to you. Because he was listenting to you, he did not hear the question and neither of you clapped at the appropriate time. Please pay attention and no talking during the show." It was like audience boot camp.

The families had to participate in all of that and we had to be super peppy because the producers were watching us the whole time to see if we would be good on the show. So, we were very, very peppy. In addition to our butts hurting (from the aforementioned uncomfortable seats), our hands hurt from clapping, and our mouths hurt from smiling. It paid off in the end, as I will recount further shortly.

The first game went on -- it was a special tournament game (lovable families that had lost before were brought back to compete for $60,000). The two families were great, but one family was totally dominating. The second family however came back to win in a dramatic upset at the end of the game and won the $60,000. John O'Hurley, the host, was funny but he was suffering from some sort of cold or flu. He went back stage after the first game and the crew began redoing the sets -- changing it from the tournament set to the normal set. That mostly entailed popping the thousands of balloons that they'd set up everywhere.

There was a VERY, VERY long break between the first and the second show. Burton Richardson, in addition to being the audience nazi started crooning songs. "Remember to keep clapping. And now here's my rendition of 'I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas'" It was getting to be close to 2:00, they hadn't fed us anything since around 9 a.m. We were starting to hate Burton Richardson. It was getting dreary. I asked one of the producers when we were getting lunch. She told us after two more games, but they would bring us snacks now. They brought the families chips, granola bars, and glasses of water. The rest of the audience watched us salivating.

Finally, they got the show on the road again (evidently a doctor came to check out the host and gave him a shot in the tush during the intermission). The show went on. The Peterson's (the lovely Minnesota family) were selected to play the returning champions. I told myself that they must have been selected because they were the only non-local family. Also, they were lovely and very personable people. And they were also winners. They beat the returning champs and won $20,000. We were thrilled for them!

By that time, we'd done a lot of hanging out with the other families (in the audience and in the briefing room) and we were buddies with them all. Everyone is super personable (hence why there were there), so it was fun. We were thrilled for the Peterson's, but when they told us that we were the next up, we had no mercy. The Peterson's had won their money and now it was time for them to go home.

We played the game and we won! The Peterson's were very fast (beat us on the buzzer every time), but we played well. We won the first round. They won the second and third rounds. The final round was "Name a reason why someone might come home late from work." We stole that round for the victory with the answer "an affair." We were ecstatic! We got together in a huge huddle/hug jumping up and down! It was awesome!

Cookie and I did the fast money round. She was first and I was the second. After putting the mics on us, they stuck some earphones on me with Counting Crows playing. I couldn't hear the host or my sister, but I heard the board and applause. It sounded pretty good. One of the producers came up behind me, whipped off the headphones and told me to run out there. My sister had 107 points. I had to come up with 93. "I can do that," I thought. I sped through the fast money round and thought my answers were pretty good. They just weren't good enough. We ended up with 178 points. It still felt really good, because we knew we were playing again.

The second game, we won the first, second, and fourth rounds. We won the game and went back for the fast money. Again, Cookie was first and I was second. This time I came out from backstage and she'd only made 60 points. I thought I gave good answers too, but we only had 138 points in the end. Bummer! We are coming back though.

John O'Hurley ended up feeling too sick to continue, so they stopped filming after that second game and they sent everyone home. Good thing, it was already past 5 p.m. at that point (we'd been there over 8 hours). I felt like we'd been in cheerleader camp. My feet hurt from standing on my feet during and between the games (mental note: rethink the 3 inch heels for next time), my mouth and cheeks hurt from smiling, my hands hurt from clapping, my butt hurt from the chairs, my ego hurt a bit from missing the $20,000 two times, but it was worth it. We really were just so happy to be there, to be winners, and to be coming back.

I was exhausted after that intense day. Nevertheless, we came home and my hubby reminded me that we still had to run 7 miles. (We're training for a marathon). I asked him to just let me lie down for a minute please. I laid down for about an hour and then we headed out the door around 7 p.m. for our run. It was dark and the roads and trails around us are uneven. Around mile 5.5, I fell and twisted my ankle. Honestly, I think that was rather a relief. Mentally, I couldn't handle any more intensity for the day and that dark, cold run was doing me in. I walked the half a mile home and called it a night. It had been quite a day!