wan-na find something?

Thursday, August 26, 2021

getting caught in the webb

earlier this year, one of my favorite mom friends showed me a website for a summer camp at the webb schools, a local private boarding school for high schoolers.  they were offering several different programs - digital arts, global ethics, science and paleontology - and the session was ten days long, during which the students would stay on campus in the dorms.  it would be the first time that the bean was away from home and on her own, which sounded both exciting and a little scary.  to be honest, i wasn't at all sure that she'd go for it, but when she found out that her two besties were also going for it, she warmed to the idea.

i knew that her heart would probably lead her towards the digital arts program, but i encouraged her to step out of the box and try something different.  it seemed like a good idea to expand her horizons a little and learn something completely new, and when she expressed some interest in the paleontology program i definitely gave her a bit of nudge.  

okay, maybe a big nudge.  heh.

and so we filled out the application, which also involved an essay and a questionnaire that was to be filled out by the student, plus a recommendation from one of her current teachers at school.  we joined in on a parent information session via zoom, where we got to see pictures of the campus and ask the program director questions if we had any.  apparently, they were reading all of the applications carefully to get an idea of each student's maturity level to make sure that they were ready for a sleepaway camp for ten days without parent visits - especially this year, with covid being a factor.

to no one's surprise all three girls were accepted, with each of them choosing a different program.  this meant that they wouldn't be in classes together, but there was plenty of downtime for them to hang out.  and before we knew it, it was time to get the bean packed up and drop her off.

with the hub stuck in a meeting for work, the old lady was able to take a couple of hours off to come with us and get her sister settled into her room.

after we got her checked in, we got to hop into a golf cart for a ride up the hill to her dorm since we had her luggage and everything with us.

once we lugged everything up those steps, we got our first glimpse of where she'd be living for the next ten days.

and there was swag - i didn't get a picture of all of it, but there was a t-shirt, water bottle, notebook and pen all tucked neatly into a drawstring backpack.

she was pretty stoked when she found out that her room was right next to both of her friends.  we'd requested that they be close to each other, but you know nothing is ever guaranteed.  but i think everyone was relieved to see that they'd be together as much as possible, and they'd help each other whenever one of them was feeling homesick or something like that.  we ran into one of them as we finished unpacking and started heading down to the dining hall for lunch.

once we were done with lunch, we headed back down towards the front of the school and joined the rest of the program participants in the tent.  her other friend had been given an earlier check-in time, so that's where we finally got to see her and her mom.

the program director introduced herself and said a few words of welcome before handing the podium over to the "fellows," current and former webb students who would be there acting as counselors and dorm leaders throughout the session.  and then it was time to say goodbye.

bye, kid!  we'll miss you!

the old lady and i accepted an invitation to take a campus tour with one of the fellows, a 2020 graduate named sydney who was assigned to the bean's dorm and had just finished up her first year at dartmouth.  she was really friendly and chatted with us about her high school experience at webb.  she showed us the paleontology museum, which is a nationally accredited museum that houses almost 200,000 fossils and things that were dug up by students and faculty over the years.

we walked up the hill to see the chapel, built over several years in the late 1930s.

the community center, which was recently remodeled and where the students would go for movie night sometime during the session.

we both came away from that tour feeling like we'd learned a lot about the campus, life as a student and the school as a whole.  since neither of us really knew much about it until then, it was all really interesting and made us both kind of wish we'd had the opportunity to attend the school ourselves.

maybe the bean will.  who knows?  at the very least, she can apply and maybe next year we'll find ourselves returning to the campus as a webb family.  we'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

almost like going to camp

the girls and i had the chance to head out for a girls' brunch together one weekend, and after perusing our options on yelp we settled on messhall kitchen out in the los feliz area.

the old lady ordered herself a glass of some sort of fresh pressed green juice.  she may or may not have been a little hungover.

it was very cute in there, with lots of memorabilia and props from summer camps (real or made up?  i don't know).

i opted for the los feliz benny, with poached eggs, spinach, wild mushrooms and bearnaise sauce served on cheesy toast.  it was so good, and the tater tots on the side were perfectly seasoned and crunchy.

the ever-predictable bean went with the fried chicken sandwich.  she said it was really tasty.

and as for the old lady, she opted for the morning rice.  this had spam, kimchi, peas and carrots and eggs.  again, i'm not sure if she was actually hung over or not, but this sounds like the perfect meal if that were the case.

looking at the rest of the menu, i think it's a spot the hub and the fiance would like too, so maybe we'll head out there again someday.  never hurts to have restaurant ideas in the back pocket, amirite?

Monday, August 23, 2021

return of the night market

one of the things we missed last summer was the 626 night market, so when we found out that it was returning this yearn we made sure to snag tickets when they became available.  you could only buy them online - no sales at the door - which would help in limiting entrance to a safe number of attendees.  we decided to go on the first night of the second weekend, which turned out to be a great decision based on the angry posts i read online from the first weekend.  apparently there were crazy lines for entry, long lines at every booth and vendors running out of food.  yikes.

tickets allowed entry in two sessions - from 4:00pm till 8:00 and then 8:00 till closing.  ours were for the earlier session on friday evening, which seemed like the better choice because the majority of complaints i'd seen were from those who arrived later.  when we arrived at santa anita racetrack, we found that there was no option for preferred parking this time but managed to score a spot that wasn't too far from the entrance.

it wasn't too crowded at that hour, which was nice.  the market opened at 4 and we've been there that early in the past.  it's a tradeoff - you either get there early with little to no lines for food but you're in direct sunlight, or you wait a bit till it cools off a bit but end up waiting longer at each booth.

we'd seen these noodles on the night market's instagram page, so we decided to give it a try.  they were good, but we were all glad we hadn't waited too long for them.

this was the bean's top choice for the evening.  she loves korean-style corn dogs, and we were both pretty intrigued by the unicorn version.  it was okay, but not nearly as good as the ones we get at a little shop just down the street from the racetrack.

the old lady and the fiance grabbed other tasty treats - tacos made with flamin' hot cheetos and hot chicken tenders.  they love spicy food way more than the bean and i do.

all that deep fried cheese made the bean pretty thirsty, and she picked up a giant baby bottle filled with mango juice.

by then the sun had gone down, bringing more and more people to the night market and making the lines for everything much longer.  the old lady made one more stop - to try some fresh pressed sugarcane juice.  she shared it with all of us, and it was as delicious as it sounds.

the crowds everywhere grew so big that it was uncomfortable, with about 70% wearing masks.  since we were still hungry we decided to head out of there and stop next door at the mall to grab some delcious xiao long bao at din tai fung.  as we made our way through the exit and back towards the car we were pretty dumbfounded at the sheer number of people waiting to get inside.  the line twisted and turned and snaked its way down practically to the main entrance, and we were even more glad to be leaving.

we ended up ordering din tai fung to go since it was too late to be seated inside, and we grabbed a table outside on the promenade level and stuffed ourselves full of those delicious dumplings.  we stopped at the bean's favorite boba shop on the way home and called it a night.

there are two more weekends coming up of the night market for this summer, but i think we got our fill of it with this visit.  i'm glad for their sake that they had such a great turnout, but we're totally fine with waiting to see how things are next year.

besides, that'll be here before we know it.

a visit to the forgotten fantasy

also during spring break, we scooped up the bean’s bestie and headed out to l.a. for a super fun outing. luna luna originally opened in 198...