Thursday, March 30, 2017

hitting the trail...in the middle of the city

for this week's monday shenanigans with the old lady, we decided to switch things up a bit.  not that we didn't want to go to disneyland again, but we thought maybe it would be fun to do something a little different.  we hadn't been out on a hike in a long time, and i'd recently come across a facebook post about the baldwin hills scenic overlook.  apparently it's in culver city and involves some pretty steep stairs to the top that provide one hell of a leg workout.  we invited a friend to join us (but she had to back out at the last minute), and once we dropped the bean off at school we jumped on the freeway to get out there.

after making a couple of pitstops first (more on those later), we made our way towards culver city and found that a ton of other people had had the same idea.  parking wasn't easy to find, but we managed to snag a spot about a country mile away.



you start out on this trail that's partly paved, part dirt.  not too bad of an incline.


after a little while, the paved part ends and it's all dirt.


and then around the bend, you see them...the dreaded stairs.  you can see from the bottom that they're all different heights and widths, and this climb is gonna be a bitch.  there's an option of a trail to hike too, but takes longer...windy and twisty and turny and stuff.  besides, we came to tackle those stairs and so that's what we did.


every so often, there's a break in the stairs where you can stop for a second, catch your breath, check out the view.  because some of those steps are crazy high - almost like having to do a box jump - i really appreciated the breaks.  a lot of the steps were really wide, too, so i found myself having to consciously switch out my legs so i wasn't using the same one to climb up the steps every time.




at the last break before the top, you find this marker.



there's one last flight of stairs, and luckily they're a lot less uneven and jagged...much easier to get through.  then you turn around and you're looking out at a fantastic view of los angeles - from the beach to hollywood and over to downtown l.a.





we spent a little time up there, enjoying the breeze and looking out at the city.  total time to get up there was about 13 minutes or so, and we decided to try going down via the trail.  the idea of potentially misjudging some of those steps and eating shit on the way down was not an appealing one to either of us, so there you go.



the paved road was closed to vehicles because of some construction going on, and we came to this detour on our way down.



going down is always a lot easier than coming up, and we were done in no time.  at least one of us was happy.


i made a rookie mistake, though - i hadn't grabbed my water when we got out of the car and i ended up down for the count once we got home.  i was stuck with a massive headache that took me out for the rest of the day, and i'm pretty sure it was dehydration.  damn.

but i'm glad we went, and i'd totally do it again.  next time maybe the hub will come along with us too!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

a little nostalgia for my saturday

saturday was somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster for me.  not only was it the old lady's BFF rock-ell's wedding day (WEDDING DAY.  WUT), but it was my aunt's birthday...the one who passed away just a few weeks ago.  my cousins had decided to host an informal gathering at their house for the family to come together, celebrate my aunt's life, tell stories, share food.  our plan was to drop the bean off at the party to play with her cousins while the hub and i went to rock-ell's wedding ceremony.

the old lady got an early start on her day, getting ready for her role as bridesmaid in the wedding.  when i asked her how things were going, she sent me this screenshot that her co-worker had snapchatted:


so preeeeeetttttyyyy.  i loved it all, and surprisingly so did she.  she almost always hates the outcome when someone else does her hair and make-up and typically ends up doing some sort of correction.  but this time, she was satisfied and left it all alone.  yay!

when the hub and i arrived at the church, we found her waiting in the hall along with the rest of the wedding party.  it was just about ten minutes till showtime and most of them were nervously hanging around, ready to go.


we took a seat near the back of the church and turned as the music began and the wedding party made their way down the aisle.  i stifled a giggle at first when i saw that the old lady had her perma-kool-aid smile on, most likely trying to keep from having her RBF captured for wedding photographs.


and then for some reason, as i watched her glide down with her perfect hair and make-up, clutching that pretty bouquet of flowers on the arm of some random dude in a tux, it hit me.  one day - granted, not anytime soon, but one day - i'll be watching her do this all done up and wearing a dress in a different color.  she'll be smiling not just for the photographer, but because she'll be so excited and happy to be in that place at that time.  the person she'll have chosen to be her partner in life will be waiting for her at the altar, and she's going to be walking up to join him and say the words that will bind them together forever.  that smile is going to be so full of joy, and i'll be sitting in the very front row ready to explode with pride...and a little sadness because that's my baby, and she'll be getting married.


i pretty much always cry when i watch a bride appear and make her way towards her fiancĂ©.  it's such a beautiful moment, and this time was no exception.  but this was rock-ell...the little girl who was the old lady's first friend when she started middle school.  the one who would come over all the time and beg me to make potato tacos.  she was always there during our food truck chasing shenanigans and birthdays and random fun stuff like that.


it was a nice ceremony, and she looked radiant as she walked back up the aisle with her new husband.  he's in the navy, currently stationed in virginia, and they're road tripping across the country in her little car as i type this.  afterwards, we joined the old lady up at the front of the church as the photographer did his thing with the bride, the groom and their families.  i'm not quite sure why she didn't want to open her eyes here, but there you go.


i managed to get these shots as we left the church:



and then the hub and i grabbed a late lunch before parting ways - the lounge for him and the family gathering for me.  when i got there, some folks had come and gone, a bunch more remained, and the bean was still hard at play with her cousins.  a look of alarm crossed their faces as they saw me arrive, so i put them at ease and told them they had plenty of time to keep playing.


later on, they busted out the cake we'd brought to light candles and sing happy birthday for my aunt.  an old family tradition was revived as we gave the kids the job of blowing the candles out, which they happily accepted.


after a solid eight hours of playing and running and ball throwing and scooter-ing and who knows what else, we finally headed home.  the bean proudly announced that her fitbit showed a total of almost 11,000 steps taken that day, and when we pulled into the garage i turned around to this:


that was one heck of a successful day, i'd say.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

third grade school daze

the bean's third trimester of third grade is going by so fast, it's hard to keep up.  with the last cheer competition of the year done and no spring sports to cheer at, there's nothing left to practice for.  the end-of-season banquet was last week, and the old lady and i attended along with the bean.  she ran off to sit with her friends and we headed over to a table of parents to socialize and get caught up on all the news.

when the awards began, i was pleasantly surprised to hear the coach praise the bean for her positive attitude throughout the season.  i'm not unaware of my kid's optimistic and friendly outlook on life, although i will say that there were definitely a handful of times when she really didn't want to go to cheer practice because she said that the coach did a lot of yelling at them.  heh.  i'm also pretty sure that she wasn't a big fan of the laps they had to run as warm-up or as a penalty if they dropped their flyer during stunting practice.  anyway, it was nice to watch her walk up to accept the award and beam happily with pride.


the third grade did a field trip to a local planetarium last week as well, to complement the work they've been doing during science class.  she came home full of information about how they'd gotten to build a rocket and told me all about what they did and how they got to launch the rockets.  since i hadn't been lucky enough to be chosen as a chaperone for this trip, one of the moms was kind enough to send me this picture:


they have another field trip coming up next week to JPL, which i'd heard about last year when her older friends got to go.  i signed that permission form as soon as it came home and checked the "i'm available to chaperone" box in the hopes that i'd get to go too, because a trip to JPL sounds super cool.  alas, luck was not on my side and when the list of chaperones went out i was really bummed not to be on it.  dang it.

about a month or so ago, the bean came home all excited about auditions for a play that the class was going to put on for the school.  everyone would have a part unless they just wanted to be part of the chorus, and she was excited to audition to see if she could get one.  it was a storybook/fairy tale-themed play, so there were all sorts of parts available from princesses to a troll to billy goats gruff.  and i had to stifle a guffaw when she came home with a disgusted look on her face and announced that she'd been assigned to be half of a duo...of rats.  oh man, she was so annoyed.  it was so funny, and i tried to assure her that she would do a great job and would have a lot of fun working with her partner.

they worked hard on practicing those parts, memorizing their lines, learning the songs that they'd be singing.  and then the day finally came for the big performance.  i managed to snag front-row seats for me and the hub, and snapped this when they came in to take their places onstage.


the play was really funny and super cute, and we enjoyed watching them give their all on that stage.  there were a few kids who had surprisingly good singing voices, and i won't be surprised to see a good number of these students in the drama department once they get old enough for it.  they seemed to have a great time during the performance, and were rightfully proud of themselves when the play came to an end.


of course, we had to get a quick selfie with our little rat before she had to get back to class.


they're doing standardized testing all next week, and then they'll have spring break not long after that.  when they get back to class after break they'll have about a month left before the last day of the year comes, just before memorial day.  this year has definitely flown by...i can't believe i'm already having to think about summer plans.  seriously, time needs to slow down.

Monday, March 27, 2017

trying new things sucks sometimes

mondays are becoming a regular disneyland day for me and the old lady.  yeah, i kinda feel bad that we're doing this while the bean toils away at school, but i figure i'll make up for it with her during spring and summer breaks while the old lady's at work.

although easter isn't for a couple of weeks yet, spring break is definitely in effect at the 'land.  schools everywhere started shutting down for breaks starting in early march, and the lines at the security checkpoint were feeling it.


when it's crowded like this, we usually don't make any solid plans for our day.  and in this case, we just wanted to try more of the specialty foods that were available in the parks - no other rides or attractions necessary.  our first stop was to find the golden sparkly churros that are available for a limited time, as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of the pirates ride:


there was a pretty decent line for these, but as most lines at disney do it moved pretty quickly as the cast member whipped right through everyone's orders in a friendly and efficient manner.  and in no time, we had our hands on these babies:


these are no ordinary churros, aside from the pretty, sparkly edible bling.  instead of traditional cinnamon, the gold-dusted churro is lemon flavored.  that sounds weird, and it seems that you either love it or hate it.  i personally loved it, and the old lady liked the lingering sparkle on her fingers when she was done eating hers.


our next stop was the mint julep bar, where these were currently the featured treat:


it's always crowded over there, and so we made our way around to find a bench to sit and enjoy our second shimmery snack.  it just so happened that it was in front of the exclusive club 33, and someone was checking in for a fabulous lunch as we sat down.


as for that beignet?  well, it was okay.  i'm glad we tried them, but i can safely say that we wouldn't go back for another round.


the obligatory castle shot.  we'd left our sunglasses in the car and it was starting to get bright out there, so here's a nice squinty picture for you.


it was starting to get VERY crowded in there.


as we headed out towards california adventure so we could have more food & wine grub, we stopped in at the disneyana store to look at their fun merchandise.






looks like they've figured out another way to squeeze more cash out of people.  for a mere $30 you can rent a portable charger so your phone never runs outta juice.


this time, we decided to check out the AP corner to see if there was anything good there.



there really wasn't much.  just a commemorative button, a photo op and a display of the exclusive AP merchandise for food & wine season.




so we got outta there and headed off to get some food.


this is the bay shrimp louie salad served in a mini sourdough boule.  pretty tasty.


the old lady decided to try the almond milk tea with pudding.  it wasn't bad, but it was super sweet.


we also found the elusive dole whip/pineapple-flavored cotton candy.  i'll save you the effort - it's still a mouthful of sugar with a very subtle hint of pineapple.  stick to the regular stuff.


these were the korean bbq tacos, and all that green stuff is chopped cilantro.  it was a nightmare for me as i tried to pick off as much of it as i could.  i DESPISE cilantro with the fire of a thousand suns.


as for the old lady, she had the teriyaki chicken slider.  it was good, but like her almond milk tea it was rather sweet.


i was kinda bummed that our food & wine adventure this time was pretty much a bust.  next time we're just going to stick to what we know is good...and wash it down with a full-sized glass of sangria!
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