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Wednesday, September 30, 2009


so i forgot to show off the finished amish friendship bread. unlike my boss, who'd given me the starter to begin with, i followed the recipe exactly as listed. she'd chosen to substitute whole wheat flour, reduce the sugar, and omit the pudding mix - basically, she removed all the good shit. nope, not me. i'd gleefully poured in all the sweet stuff called for, mixed it in, and baked it up to a pretty golden brown. see?

as i told her, "when i bake, i bake. i'm not all about counting calories with homebaked goodies." the look on her face was half-amused, half-horrified. heh. whatever, my shit is goooooood. and i kept one of the four starters to use later - i found out online that it can be frozen, so i'll bust it out later, after the hub's no-carbs diet is well and truly over.

the day after the big bash, after managing to stay awake during church, we decided to head down to the beach. it was still hot as the surface of the sun, and since we hadn't been able to spend much time with my folks during the party, we thought it would be nice to head over for a little visit. after calling to confirm that they were available, we packed up and drove down.

it was awesome down there - cloudy, cool, breezy. oh, how i envy my mother's day-to-day weather. we sat and chatted for a while, the teen stuffed herself silly with some delicious sinigang that she managed to sweet-talk her lola into making for her, and then we decided to go for a walk down to the beach.

we spotted this store across the street and despite my empty checkbook, the teen and i decided to torture ourselves and go in to browse a bit.

and torture it was. we left the store empty-handed and dejected, and trudged down the street with the hub and the bean leading the way. we passed the corporate office of skechers, located on some prime real estate on manhattan beach boulevard.

and as we approached the pier, there was a group of teenagers standing on the corner in front of boxes that contained this precious cargo:

the teen and i listened as a passing dogwalker stopped to scold them for trying to sell dogs on the street - that dude was going off on those kids. as he walked away in a huff, the man standing next to me (i assumed he was one of their dads) mumbled "thanks for the advice, bye." yikes all around that mess.

we happened upon the last round of the u.s. open beach volleyball mens' tournament, which was just starting.

we stopped to watch, and giggled at the cheesy play-by-play commentators, perched on the makeshift stage near the court.

the teen and i got into the game, "ooh"ing and "aah"ing at the spikes and volleys. it was fun to watch, and the half-nekkid hot boy volleyball players had nothing to do with it. [snicker]

being total catty girls, the teen and i exchanged glances at this girl's outfit. the bean wasn't quite so subtle.

we didn't tear ourselves away from the game until it was over. the hub had taken the bean for a walk to the end of the pier and back, and when they returned we decided to head back to the folks' house via the strand to look at the gorgeous homes that faced the beach.

look at this one! it was amazing - albeit slightly out-of-place, we thought.

not a bad view, huh? i could totally see waking up and throwing the drapes open to this.

some of the homes were rather...um, institutional.

this one was pretty fabulous.

as was this one.

i'd take this one, too.

but maybe not this one. well, okay, i'd still take it, but that stupid ass awning would get ripped down immediately.

heading up marine avenue was a fun uphill hike.

this one was definitely out of place. a desert oasis, complete with cacti, at the beach? um, no.

back at the house, i went for a tinkle and then caught sight of what the humidity had done to my hair. ew.

as we bid them farewell and got into the car, i remarked on the drastic difference between here and home - a 30-degree spread. thirty degrees!

we picked up some grub and then headed over to the grandparents', where the rest of the bean's birthday presents were (and still are), waiting to be opened. the teen was heading back to her dad's the next day and i wanted to be sure that the bean got to open the present from her before she left. of course, the moment we walked in, she made a beeline for her new favorite toy.

and then when we said "come over here and open a present!" she complied happily.

the cute little pink playhouse from her sister was a big hit. she opened it right up and started playing with it. when she realized there was a little toilet in there, she decided to try it out herself as we laughed our asses off at her.

next up was a giant wrapped package from her uncle, brother wan. as she recognized the character on the box, she leaned over, exclaimed "hiiiiiiiiii!" and gave it a kiss.

her first trike! she was fascinated by all the buttons and sounds on the control panel.

and then the fatigue hit and the meltdown began. time to go home!

oh man, we have SO many presents still for her to open. tomorrow's her actual birthday, though, so we'll toss her right in the middle of all of them then. it should be fun.

squeezing in all the sightseeing

this was our NYC home for a whole week: it was one of only a few hotels that i could find that offered two beds in a room rather than, say, ...