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Monday, October 31, 2022

last minute duran-ing

i think i've mentioned before that i was a huge duran duran fan back in the day, although i didn't get to see them live for the first time until fairly recently.  they still put out new music pretty regularly, and like most artists that typically means a new tour.  i got to see them a second time a few years ago out in palm springs too, and simon & co. still look and sounded as amazing as ever.

they announced another tour earlier this year, with a three-night stop at the hollywood bowl scheduled for early september.  cousin seven had sent out save-the-dates for their destination wedding in portugal, scheduled during the same week.  and since we were really hoping that we'd be able to make the trip out, i didn't bother to try and snag tickets for any of the shows.

as it turned out, we weren't able to swing the trip after all, which was a huge bummer.  we really wanted to be there for seven and her new mr., but because of a handful of reasons it was not to be.  i've seen a few pictures from the big event, and it was beautiful and i definitely suffered from a huge case of FOMO while it was all happening.

anyway, i'd been seeing a pretty good number of people posting from the first night of the duran duran concert...mostly because it happened to go on at the very same time as one of those super rare southern california rainstorms.  durannies are pretty die-hard fans though, and water falling from the sky failed to dampen their spirits and enthusiasm.  it looked like a really good show, and that FOMO started kicking in. i think i must have been looking at posts right before i fell asleep, because i woke up the next morning and the first thing i did was check online to see if there were seats still available for that night's performance (of course, there were).

the hub is not a fan, and i'd just dragged him to see the chicks a few weeks prior.  and i knew i had several friends who would likely be interested in coming, as long as they didn't already have plans.  i sent out a few texts, and about an hour later i was good to go - with lilcee and dailygluttony.  woohoo!

the easiest way to do the bowl is to take one of their park and ride shuttles, and since we were going last minute presale tickets were no longer available.  and so we just planned to get there super early with cash in hand and buy food at the bowl instead of coordinating a picnic like we usually do.

while there was a pretty long line already when we arrived - a full half hour before the first bus was scheduled to depart - it was still a pretty easy process to secure our seats.  we did get stuck sitting on a school bus vs. a larger, more comfy charter bus, but we were just happy to be on our way.  sweet view, right?  heh.

we were among the first few buses to arrive, but it was already pretty crowded at the entrance.  

after picking up some burgers and fries from one of the concession stands, we made our way to our seats.  because of the last-minute-ness of this outing, we'd had to take what we could get and that meant spots in the bench seats instead of the more spacious boxes we've become accustomed to.  beggars can't be choosers, and all that.  still, we had a pretty good view from where we were.

i'm also pretty amused that i've now worn the same t-shirt to all three duran duran concerts i've attended.

our opening act for the evening was kelis - you know, of "milkshake" fame.  she was entertaining, and i guess the connection is that she did a song with the band on one of their albums.

after the band made their grand entrance and got through a couple of songs, this flashed on the monitors:

they looked and sounded as amazing as ever, performing a nice mix of old and new music.

nile rodgers came out for one song.

we got a really fun fireworks show for the finale.

and that was that.

we made our way back down to the buses as quickly as we could, and i was back home before midnight.  such a great time, and i was really glad we'd gone - especially since it was my friends' first time seeing duran duran live.  nothing like a little spontaneity to shake up the weekend, amirite??

Thursday, October 20, 2022

the big chop

the bean has always wanted to cut their hair short, and we've always had to hold off because of cheer - had to have enough hair for those big ponytails and comp braids, you know.  and then the other thing that held us back was when puberty hit and that hair went from stick-straight to big, thick curls.  i didn't know if cutting it short was going to work with the shape of their face, and we were going to have to figure out the right products to use and how much to use and how often.  i just didn't want them to have regrets - which is likely me projecting because of the many, many bad haircuts i've had and kicked myself for.  heh.

but with cheer in the rearview mirror and with the help of our wonderfully talented stylist, we finally made the call and secured an appointment for the big shearing - which happened to coincide with my monthly visit for covering up the grays.

here's the before shots:

and then snip, snip, snip...

and those unruly curls that had been weighed down by the heaviness of the bean's incredibly thick and lustrous mane became light, bouncy, beautiful.

we left the salon that day super happy campers with our freshly done 'dos.

i'd been so worried that the bean would lose patience with the few extra steps to get ready in the morning, not to mention not being able to brush their hair like they were used to.  but i think the maintenance is actually easier than we'd both anticipated.  and the bean is thrilled to finally have the cut they've always wanted.  it even works perfectly for the halloween costume they'd been envisioning for months - i can't wait to see it all put together.

and now, neither can you.  whee!

Monday, October 17, 2022

our little freshman

i just realized that i haven't gotten around to sharing the annual first day of school photo yet!  i guess maybe it's because we were so distracted with the new school and trying to make sure that we had everything turned in and uniforms ordered and school supplies ready.  you know...the usual.

plus, this year we had the added bonus of the freshman retreat that kicked off the first week of school.  to help with breaking the ice and give them all a kickstart in bonding with their classmates, they headed out to the beach for a 2.5-day camping trip.  and yup, that included setting up their own tents, making their meals together, heading out on a kayaking expedition...all kinds of fun.  we had a whole checklist of items to gather together, and we got it all packed up the night before.

we got to campus bright and early the next day, and met up with the bean's BFF before snapping a couple of pictures and driving away, leaving them to board the bus for the 2-hour drive to the beachside campsite.

they were pretty relieved when i got to campus a couple of days later to pick them up.  relieved...and tired...and a little smelly.  heh.

and then the next day was the first day of classes, so that's what i'm counting as the real first day of school.  the chalkboard came out and they posed for me...reluctantly, but that's to be expected.

all i wanted was one good group picture, but i got...these.  sigh.

and of course, the annual comparison photo.  because i have to.

it's been a tough transition, with everything being new to the bean (and her BFF) and adjusting to the tougher classes and homework load.  but they've made a new group of friends and they all hang out at school to have dinner together and get a head start on homework most days - i don't even get the "please pick me up" text till around 7pm most nights.  

phew.  i just know these next four years are going to fly by.  yikes.

Friday, October 14, 2022

get ya head in the (maru)game

instagram is always good for giving us ideas of places to go, things to see, and of course, delicious food to try. that's how we ended up heading out to little tokyo one day, on a quest to try some amazing-sounding udon at marugame monzo.  after looking at the map, i realized that it was pretty close to japanese village plaza and so that's where we parked.  we were about an hour early so we browsed through the shops there, starting with the sanrio store.

the bean was excited to go into the mokuyobi store, full of all kinds of colorful retro bags and clothing and accessories.

but not quite as excited as they were to pick out snacks at fugetsu-do, the mochi shop just down the street from the restaurant.  it's been there since 1903, and remains family-owned and operated.

i thought we'd killed enough time, but when we got to marugame monzo i realized that i'd looked at the wrong day for their hours and we had another half hour to hang out.  oops. although there were already a few others who had put their names on the list and were standing around waiting for them to open, so we added ours and didn't go far.  

there are markers on the ground in front of most of these establishments, noting what businesses used to be there and when they were in operation.  i always find it really interesting to read them and see how long the building has been in that same spot.

once the restaurant opened for business, we were seated pretty quickly.  the service was a little slow, but let me tell you - 100% worth the wait.  the miso carbonara udon was pretty much everything i hoped it would be - creamy, savory, chewy, amazing.

the old lady ordered the gratin udon - noodles covered in a chicken cream sauce topped with cheese and baked.  this was also delicious.

and for the bean, the beef udon with fluffy egg.  they were in seventh heaven with this bowl of goodness.

those plates were damn near licked clean.  and after all that rich food, we decided to head off on a walk - browsing through a few stores, doing some window shopping, and then we took a brief detour here:

because, of course, instagram told us to go and check this out.  

yelp had told us that there's a pretty little rooftop garden here that's worth a visit for a moment of peace and serenity in the middle of the city.  apparently it's meant for hotel guests and those attending a private event, so we just sashayed our happy asses in there and headed right to the elevators.  no one stopped us or even glanced our way, so we were good.  we pressed the "G" button - garden?  ground?  that doesn't make sense.  oh, whatever - and up we went.

while there was not a single soul anywhere around when we emerged, this sign was placed in front of the doors to the garden:

we went out there anyway.  such rebels.  and it was indeed pretty and peaceful up there, although we could see tables and chairs that were out there waiting to either be set up or taken down.  again, not a soul in sight.

afterwards, we headed into the shopping center just down the street and browsed around the japanese grocery store.  we have one close to home though, so we didn't go crazy with stocking up on snacks and things.

this was out in the courtyard on our way back to the car.

and then we made one last stop - i've followed milk + tea on instagram since we were on lockdown, even ordered boba kits from them once or twice.  but this was the first time we had a chance to visit their actual shop.  it was a great way to get a blast of caffeine before battling the traffic on the drive home.

i really want to go back for another bowl of that miso carbonara udon.  seriously, it's the stuff dreams are made of.  if you get the chance to visit, i HIGHLY recommend it.  

you're welcome.

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...