Interview With Lauren Potter–"Becky Jackson" on Glee **GenXMoms Exclusive**

The moms love Glee. The 80’s tunes are a throwback to our own high school days, the actors are fabulous, the storyline is addicting, and who doesn’t think it’s awesome to just burst out in song every once in a while? I know I do.

But one thing we’re particularly excited about is Glee’s portrayal of a number of different kinds of students. And I’ll admit it–my favorite character on the series is Becky Jackson, Cheerio and Sue Sylvester’s personal assistant. It’s so refreshing to me to see a character with Down syndrome portrayed not just positively, but as though the disability didn’t exist at all. Which is exactly how it should be.

I was thrilled to get an opportunity to interview Lauren Potter, the young woman who plays Becky, and here’s our chance to let you get to know Lauren a little better.

So Lauren, tell us a little bit about yourself–favorite movies, books, music?

I love everything Disney! Right now I’m reading the “Pretty Little Liars” series and they are so good! I like the show too. My favorite music of course is all the music from Glee, but I also like Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber, and I love the guys from Big Time Rush…I met them at Paramount while I was filming and they are sooo nice!

So tell the truth–is working on Glee as much fun as it looks?

Oh my gosh, it is so much fun. It is a lot of work too, but I love the cast and crew and all the producers. It gets pretty crazy sometimes, but it is a blast!

Sue Sylvester is one tough cookie but through the character of Becky Jackson, we get to see her softer side. Is actress Jane Lynch really like Sue Sylvester?

No way! She is so nice in person. She is really nice to talk to and she helps me a lot on set!

One of my favorite episodes was the Christmas episode with the Glee version of the Grinch. I was so thrilled to see Becky Jackson featured. Tell us about that episode.

I loved that episode. I had a huge crush on the director, he is really cute! It took a long time to film that episode but it was really fun, and I loved watching it when it was finished

Can you give us a hint of what’s in store for Becky and Glee?

I really never know, but I hope a lot more episodes!

What other projects are you working on?

I just got home from New York City. I was on CNN and ABC News. My Mom and I did a PSA to stop Bullying of kids with special needs and we went there to talk about it. It is through www.abilitypath.org I also did an interview with People Magazine with my Mom so we can stop bullying.

You’ve been a real inspiration and role model for many young people with disabilities. What advice do you have to give to others who have dreams as big as yours?

To never stop dreaming, no matter what the dream is. I feel so lucky and honored to be acting, but kids with disabilities need to know that they can do anything that they put their mind to! Just “don’t stop believin”!

And here’s the moving Public Service Announcement of Lauren and her mom, Robin, as they work to “disable” bullying.

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Holiday Magic at the Disneyland Resort

I live just a few miles away from Disneyland and we’ve had annual passes every year since we moved here (except when I worked at Downtown Disney and had a cast member pass). I love love love Disneyland, and the holiday transformation of the park is absolutely second to none. The entire park looks great–but there are two absolute must-do’s: the fireworks and the Holiday Small World.

Train Guy and Mouse enjoying the snow (you can't really see it, but it's there)

(also, the holiday Haunted Mansion, but that starts in October so I don’t consider that 100% Christmas holiday–but do that too)

The fireworks were a total bust last year. One, I didn’t get to see them because we were so busy leading up to the holiday (we were in Europe for the first half of December) we just didn’t go that often, and the one time I went at night determined to see the fireworks, they were canceled due to weather. Train Guy and Mouse went on a different night, and Mouse was pretty much terrified and cried the whole time. So much for Disney Magic. So this year we decided to give the fireworks another try.

Mouse did much better. He didn’t actually, like, smile or anything, but spent the whole time pointing and saying, “wow! Wow! WOW!” And as expected, the fireworks were amazing. Seriously, after being spoiled by years of Disney fireworks, every other fireworks display pales in comparison. I’m always left saying, “that’s IT?” This year we stood in the middle of Main Street about halfway down the street. It turned out to be a good spot because we were right up against a crosswalk rope so there was a gap between us and the people in front of us. It was still quite crowded.

After the fireworks, it “snows”, which involves bubble machines spewing out small bubbles that fall like snow. It’s actually really cool–the best part being the faces of the kids as they realize it’s snowing.

The clock face is wearing a Santa hat! What do you mean, you can't see it?

And if you do nothing else in Disneyland at the holiday, ride on It’s A Small World. I know, I know, Small World gets a bad rap because the song is repetitious and annoying, but it’s actually a very cool ride, and they change pretty much every single detail for the holiday. Plus they intersperse the Small World song with Jingle Bells and Deck the Halls, so instead of just an endless loop of It’s A Small World After All, it’s an endless loop of Small World/Jingle Bells/Deck the Halls. Which doesn’t sound better, but it really is.

Of course, now I have It’s A Small World After All stuck in my head, but anyway…

Actually a short while ago they refurbished Small World. One of the main problems was that the boats kept getting stuck. You see, when Small World was built (in 1966), Disneyland guests were–how shall I say this–less hefty than they are now. Therefore, the boats ran in a trough propelled by water current alone. Which was fine until the average guest started gaining weight. The boats would get a bit weighted down and sort of creep along, often stopping completely. It was actually kind of fun when that happened, because you’d kind of reach out and help your boat along by grabbing the sides of the trough which is pretty much as anti-Disney as you can possibly get (“come and ride the ride that doesn’t really work and you can pull yourself along!”). All the dolls in the ride were getting a little tired too, so Disney shut the whole thing down for major renovation and when they brought it back, there were different (presumably more bouyant) boats, a track to help the boats along when they needed it, and awesome-looking dolls inside. They even added Disney characters (like adding Ariel in the underwater scene) which I thought would be really lame but they actually did it very well. So anyway, the holiday Small World is pretty much the most awesome holiday thing in the park.

Peace on Earth--now with new and improved boats!

Oh, also, they do this projection music thing on the Small World facade that I personally call the “Psychedelic Nutcracker.” It happens every ten minutes or so and it’s a short medley of songs including, but not limited to, selections from the Nutcracker, that plays while a sort of movie/cartoon/lights/flashing thingies goes on in a bit of a frantic way. But it’s very cool. And I’m sure that after that vague, somewhat bizarre description, you’re sitting there thinking, “We are SO making a special trip to Disneyland next year to see the Psychedelic Nutcracker at the Small World, whateverthehell that is!”

And of course, no Disneyland holiday trip is complete without family pictures at the castle and tree!

It was too much of a hassle to take Mouse out of the stroller. Merry Christmas, kid!

See? We took you out for the tree picture!

I AM AN AWESOME PHOTOGRAPHER!

Random Tuesday Thoughts

The first full lunar eclipse on a winter solstice since the 17th century, and Southern California, the place of eternal sunshine, is in the middle of an unending rainstorm.  Hopefully some of you were able to enjoy it.

I am looking forward to the big royal wedding. Hopefully, this marriage actually lasts more than a few years . . .

The Big Cheese is rather obsessed with The Grinch.  She’s really afraid he’s going to steal her toys on Christmas.  She asks us several times a day if we’re “really sure the Grinch isn’t real.” She loves the movies, the book, and stuffed Grinches, and she is a huge fan of the song. But some part of her just can’t give up on the fact that the Grinch might steal her Christmas presents.

My little bro is getting married in June, and The Big Cheese is gearing up to be the flower girl.  I am taking her dress shopping this week, and I am so excited to see her try on the “princess” dresses and tiaras.  She’s going to be gorgeous!

It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of the holidays, but I want to take a second to make a little public service announcement.  Remember that the extra time off right now is a chance to spend time together as a family, doing things you don’t normally do.  Take a morning and head to Chuck E. Cheese, and leave your cell phones in the car.  Go to a theme park or museum you’ve been meaning to hit and just haven’t gotten around to it.  Also, call up friends you don’t see very often and make a point to get together. 

I tried Kraft’s new Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese tonight.  It requires that you make a cheese sauce, add crumb topping, and throw in some shredded cheese.  Dear Hubby and I thought it was some of the best mac and cheese we’ve actually ever had, but the kids weren’t such big fans.  Bugster really didn’t like the visible herbs on her pasta, and The Big Cheese also wasn’t a fan of the green stuff.  I personally thought it was scrumptious!

OK, Gleeks. What do you think about Sam?  I just don’t think he’s hot enough to be with Quinn, and I really think he’s pretty mousy.  His voice is just O.K.  I just can’t jump on the Sam train.  What am I missing?

Totally scarred The Bugster.  We visited Santa over Thanksgiving weekend, and I went up to him with the girls.  The Big Cheese wasn’t overly enthusiastic about the whole thing, but she was O.K. since I was up there, too.  The Bugster started screaming and asking for Daddy, but we stuck it out.  The Santa picture is priceless, with her bawling at the top of her lungs.  Now, whenever Santa is mentioned, seen, or even comes in to her thoughts, The Bugster says, “No Santa bup.” (Bup = Bugster-speak for sit.)  We have assured her repeatedly that she doesn’t have to sit on his lap at all this, but I don’t think she believes us.  Dear Hubby is convinced she’ll forget by next Christmas.  I’m not so sure . . .

Oh, and I need to tell you about my Christmas present to myself, because I think you, our readers, will actually appreciate it, unlike some of my “friends.”  I bought a ticket to see the New Kids on The Block in concert in July.  They’re performing with The Backstreet Boys, but NKOTB is all I really care about.  I have wanted to see them since I was about 12, so I am having a lot of trouble containing my excitement!

Have you heard our new tagline?  Gen X Moms Blog: For when you don’t get carded anymore

Some Cyber Monday Highlights

Today is Cyber Monday, the day for amazing online shopping deals.  To save you a couple minutes of web surfing, I hightlighted a few of today’s deals for you here.

Borders.com has sales on most eReaders today, with prices reduced by $20-50.  They have 100,000 book titles on sale, and all children’s holiday books are half off the list price.

Amazon is offering lightning deals. They started Friday and are slated to go through the end of the day.  Every 30-40 minutes, new items go on sale.  Amazon has a limited supply off these items and lets you know how many are left (Ex: “34% now claimed.”  These lightning deals cover all of their departments, including Baby, Toys and Games, Electronics, and Movies. As always, the $25 Super Saver shipping deal is in effect, giving you free shipping on most items with a $25 minimum purchase.

Target is getting in to the fray with Cyber Week deals.  Their highlight is a Canon PowerShot Digital Camera for $89 (regularly $159.99).  VTech’s V.Reader Reading System is $10 off.  And, Target is offering free shipping on most of its products, as long as you spend a $50 minimum.

 Babies R Us is offering several items in an online-only clearance sale, with items as much as 70% off.  The largest discounts appear to be on strollers and baby/toddler feeding items (think bottles, bibs, spoons, etc.).  While also offering free shipping, you must have a $100 purchase to qualify.

Best Buy is offering discounts of up to 40% off on digital camcorders and has an HP 20″ widescreen LCD computer monitor for only $99.99. They are also offering a Wireless-N ethernet router for only $24.99 — if you’re in the market for high speed and secure wireless internet at home, this is a really incredible deal. Most iPods are on sale. They are only $5-20 off, but an iPod sale is a good thing.

Disclaimer:  These prices are subject to change. Neither Gen X Moms Blog nor The Legal Eagle endorse these sites or guarantee any of the deals listed here.

Overlooked Black Friday Myths Debunked

Lots and lots of websites come up with their “debunking Black Friday myths” posts (eg. Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year–wrong! That’s the Saturday before Christmas), but I’ve been dismayed that there are Black Friday myths that continue to be perpetuated that nobody seems to care about debunking.

Well dear readers, it’s time to put an end to that here and now. I present to you: Overlooked Black Friday Myths DEBUNKED!

OMG GET OUT OF MY WAY!!!!!

Myth: Black Friday is the beginning of the Zombie uprising

Not true. The Zombie uprising is no more likely to happen on Black Friday than on any other day of the year. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security–the Zombie apocalypse will occur, so remain vigilant and keep your machete nearby at all times.

Myth: The fewer teeth you have, the more likely you are to score the $10 DVD players at Wal-Mart

Again, false. There is no correlation between tooth count and deal-scoring at Wal-Mart.

Myth: If I camp out in front of the store in freezing conditions all night to be the first one in, people are going to be envious of the great deals I got and be impressed by my shopping acumen

Wrong. Those of us who actually sleep think you’re an idiot.

Myth: That $10 DVD player I got from Wal-Mart will make an awesome gift.

Wrong again. Nobody wants your piece-of-crap $10 Wal-Mart DVD player. For one, there’s a reason why it was $10, and two, we watch TV and recognize that DVD player. Thanks for spending ten bucks on me, cheapskate.

Myth: It’s a great holiday tradition!

Really? That’s what you want to tell your great-grandchildren every year? About that time you scored a $10 DVD player? The one that broke two weeks later? Seriously, people–let’s just stop and think about that one a little harder.

So there you have some sadly overlooked Black Friday myths, officially debunked. Happy shopping!

We Remember: Girls Just Want to Have Fun

This cheesy dance movie starring young Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt epitomizes 80s culture. Released in 1985, I actually didn’t discover it until it came out on video (VHS!). My girlfriends and I loved it. And we watched it. Over and over. I have never been a dancer but wanted to be Janey Glenn in this movie. She moves into a Chicago neighborhood, finds a cool best friend and a hot boyfriend and competes to be a regular dancer on Dance TV. Of course, her strict military father doesn’t approve so she has to sneak around. And there is a villainess in the form of a bitchy dancer trying to steal her boyfriend and throw the competition. All is pretty predictable but we watched for the music, dance and fashion statements more than for plot. Shannon Doherty plays the little sister of the boyfriend (whatever happened to Lee Montgomery?) and Jonathan Silverman is comic relief. Although the songs from the movie always bring good memories when I hear them, as far as I can tell, the soundtrack can only be found on cassette tape. Can you believe it? I did manage to find one site that offers samplers of the songs but I was always disappointed not to get the soundtrack in its entirety. If anyone has insight as to where to get the songs as played in the movie, let me know! Also, I have heard rumors of a remake to which I would like to just say no.

To Facebook or Not to Facebook

My best friend in Canada bugged me for years about joining facebook. Apparently it caught on in Canada before it got big here. I never really got the point since not that many people I knew were on it. Then one day I was urged to revisit it by another friend. Low and behold there were several people I knew on it. When did they show up? Out of curiosity to view other people’s profiles I set one up, friended one person and, seriously, within the hour, three other friends popped up. How did they find out so quickly? So much for lying low…

It has been a couple of years now and I still have mixed feelings about facebook.

First, the good. I am an introvert with loner tendencies. Facebook helps me stay plugged in with others in a way that e-mail never did. Especially ones who aren’t near. The sharing of photos, the knowledge that someone I care about is doing well, or not so well, prompts me to take action. They, in turn can see what I’m up to, watch my kid grow up (at least in photos) and can encourage or support me with just a simple “like” comment. It’s nice to know someone is hearing you.

Here’s the bad. Safety can be compromised. If you don’t learn all you can about how to use the privacy system, your identity can be at risk. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take rather than abandon the whole thing:

  • Never put the year of your birth on there, say the cops.
  • Don’t list your current city.
  • If you don’t want strangers viewing pictures of your kids (perverts are out there), make sure you choose the “friends only” option on all your photos.
  • Try not to list your kids’ names. This one is tough because you get tagged in photos where you can‘t control if the name is listed. Also, people who write on your wall tend to use the child’s name when talking about him/her. I don’t want to walk on eggshells about this so I let that one go but don’t list his name on my profile.

Beyond safety issues, there are facebook etiquette issues. You may agree to friend someone and discover too late that she is a serial poster. Do you pretend to care what this person eats for breakfast every day or risk the friendship altogether by clicking “ignore” or unfriending? Perhaps there are some relationships you wish to keep separate from your fb ones. Like relatives. Or old friend’s mothers. The crazy aunt that no one talks to because, well, she’s a little loca. How to get around this one without hurting someone’s feelings? I’ve heard there is a way to separate family and friends or co-workers but I haven’t quite figured that one out yet. I’ve also been on the receiving end when requesting so called friends who confirmed me and then never said a word to me. They gave me the privilege to look into their world but never gave a damn about mine. I, too, have been guilty of this. In this instance, better to just say no and get it over with. What about ex co-workers you barely knew? If they keep the comments coming, should you then take an interest in them? It’s a strange world. Speaking of which, did anyone see the South Park episode where facebook was featured? It’s hilarious. Facebook is definately not a good thing for our youth as far as socialization skills go.


I’ve decided to stick around for a while and we’ll see what happens. I won’t be posting my every move but I can keep track of my, let’s see, 72 friends! Clearly, I am not aiming for numbers. Baby steps. Oh and another plus is the birthday wishes you get because your date pops up on others’ screens to remind them.