Saturday was Groundhog Day and it was the first annual Rheumatoid Awareness Day; for patients with Rheumatoid Disease, previously known as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) or Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease (RAD). February 2 was picked as Rheumatoid Awareness Day because just as Punxsutawney Phil pokes his head out of his burrow to see if his shadow is visible or not, Rheumatoid Awareness Day was started in the hopes of getting the truth about this disease to the masses and to help bring it out of the shadows.

Groundhog Day has long been a favorite day of mine, beginning back in the 70’s when I worked at the telephone company. In addition to the standard holidays that most union employees expect to have off with pay (Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th of July), we were given “floating holidays” that were days off with pay that we could take whenever we want. I always chose February 2 since there were so many holidays between November and January, and the next one would not be until the end of May, so it made for a nice break.

This year, CNN’s iReport set up a project for people to take photos of their shadows. I already had plans to go one a nice bike ride and thought I would be able to get some cool shots of the shadows cast by me and my bike; but it was far too overcast for there to be anything in the way of shadows. Luckily, I had my point & shoot camera with me when I took the dogs on their morning walk, so I did my best to get some shadow pics with them.

After walking the dogs, my buddy Phil and I headed off to Moorpark for a return visit to Enegren Brewing as they were having a Superbowl warmup party featuring their fine brews and guest restaurant, Custom Melt. Custom Melt is a sandwich shop in Moorpark that uses Enegren’s beers in a few of their dishes. We tried the EBC Melt sandwich which was a braised short-rib sandwich and was delicious. As Phil said, “It is much better than a McRib sandwich.” No argument there.

After we had the sandwich and a couple tasters of Enegren’s IPAs and the oatmeal stout, we headed out to Agoura Hills and stopped in at Ladyface Ale Companie. I am not sure if I have ever had a Ladyface product before, but I know I was not prepared for the number of in-house brews they had available. With more than 15 brews available I did not even know where to start so I let their bartender pick eight for us to try with their flight. Their IPAs were great, the tripel was quite flavorful and the porter was almost like drinking a cup of coffee. I know I will have to return when I can spend more time and have a designated driver with me. They have a very impressive beer selection.

We ended the ride with a stop by El Segundo Brewing Company to see if they had any beer left after their amazing Bottle Release Party the night before. It turns out they did and people were still talking about what an amazing turnout they had. I heard talk that it is time for a larger facility; after seeing how many people showed up for the release party, I have to agree.

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