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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend

Our 3-day weekend started earlier than usual. Thursday night, Jojo and I threw a backyard barbecue for some of my friends who were visiting L.A. The group was made up of folks I knew from way back in high school – Jeff (one of my best friends), Tim, and Kris. Some that I met a few years ago – Yam (Jeff’s sister). And some I just met that night, Wendy (Tim’s wife) and Cassie (Kris’ wife).

Backyard Barbecue (From left to right: Kris, Yam, Wendy, Cassie, me, Tim, and Jeff)

It was really nice seeing such familiar faces after so long (well, maybe not Jeff, since he was at our wedding!) and welcoming them to our home. It was a bit surreal though - since I’ve known these guys since I was 14, yet have not seen them in so long, and now we were sitting around a table with our spouses, well, it was kinda strange for me. Nice but strange. It was great catching up with them and also getting to know the rest better -- Yam, Wendy and Cassie are all super easy to be with. We barbecued ribs, sausages, corn and had a pitcher of Sangria to wash it all down. Kris and Cassie left that night to stay at their aunt’s place – but the rest of the group was staying with us.

Friday, they all headed for Six Flags, while Jojo and I had to go to work. But we did meet up for dinner that night. After careful deliberation, we decided to go to Red Lobster (Wendy had never been there and wanted to try it). Now, I’m not at all blaming her for choosing Red Lobster cause there was no way she could know that we would be having the worst seafood dinner ever! The food was awful! The calamari rings were tiny and overcooked, the trout was bland, the fried shrimp was lost in all that batter, and the crab legs were obviously frozen and reheated. Plus our server was so sweaty (yes, you read that right) and so out of breath all the time - doing what god only knows! The only saving grace was the lobster tail – which was ok - and the fudge cake for dessert – which was good and complimentary.

Saturday was shopping day and we (together with my brother, Jules) headed up to the Camarillo Premium Outlets. There we met up with some of my brother’s grad school friends – as well as half of LA County. The stores were very crowded, the lines were very long and parking was crazy. But the sales made up for all that. Inspite of trying to set meeting times and places that kept changing and looking for one another throughout the day, I did manage to get a couple of interesting things (Nine West sandals, Liz Claiborne sweater, Eddie Bauer shorts and shirts for my hubby, etc). After 6 hours at the outlets, we were all pretty shopped out and drove back to Torrance. We gad dinner at everyone’s favorite place – BCD Tofu House.

Now, as usual, Tofu House did not disappoint – you can’t go wrong with soon tofu, beef ribs, and pork bulgogi. We did over-order (which is usually the case when Jeff and I get together) but everyone was hungry so it worked out well. Every time we have out of town guests, Jojo ad I bring them to Tofu House, and every time we sit down to dinner, we ask them if they think franchising Tofu House in Manila would be a good idea. FYI, we have never brought anyone here (and believe me we have brought a LOT of people) who did not think it would be an awesome idea! I guess this will be Jojo's and my PLAN B.

After dinner, we headed over to the Rolling Hills Centre theaters to watch X-Men 3.

It was the worst of the 3 X-Men movies I’ve seen. First of all, the title should have been “Wolverine Saves the Day” and second, they’ve killed everyone off. Anyway, suffice it to say we all left the theater quite disappointed about the way the movie ended.

Sunday was Costco shopping for pasalubong and pabilin. Later that day, our friend, Marc, from Phoenix stopped by (he was in LA with his cousins for the weekend) to attach our brand new digital thermostat thingamabob. Marc joined us for mass at St. Philomena and dinner at Hof’s Hut – where the food was so-so. The ribs were really good (we had to order a second full rack mid-way) but the Asian chicken wrap was pretty bad and so we pretty much just picked out the chicken pieces.

Monday we joined the family for a Memorial Day barbecue at Tracy and Jojo’s place in Cerritos. We are still drooling over the pot roast they served! It was the hit of the day. After quick stops at 99-Cent Store, Walmart and Island Pacific Supermarket, we dropped off the last of our guests at LAX before heading home.

That night, over bacon and tomato sandwiches, I was telling Jules and Jojo how much I enjoy having guests over. It’s like my mini-vacation without having to go anywhere. I like having people stay over. I’m proud of our home and glad when people tell us it’s charming, and cozy, and nice. I like waking up to a house full of people and having dinner conversations. I like cooking for groups. I like planning things to do and having people to do them with. I like the change in routine and getting to do things we normally don’t do. I like staying up late and talking. I like hearing laughter around the house. I like how being a tour guide allows me to play “tourist” as well. But best of all, I like being surrounded by family and friends.


jol said...

Happy are those who are hospitable to their friends and family; they shall have a full and enjoyable life.

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