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We headed out early Monday morning to get the best parking in Santa Monica. It was overcast and almost chilly when we parked at the beachfront near Santa Monica Pier, but Laurel was happy to get wet before we changed her into her swimsuit and played in the sand con brio.

Everyone had fun with Laurel's new sand set, which included a gargoyle mold and enough tower/wall molds to go around, but the Ariel figurine returned to the sea after Laurel pitched it in to wash the sand off it. Little James found a small crab and put it in an empty juice bottle with intent to bring it home, but I think he was talked out of it. I took a photo of it for him, as well as the girls' handiwork burying Laurel's legs and molding the sand to look like a mermaid.

After everyone changed out of their suits, all the kids had sandwiches out of the cooler to whet their appetite before leaving the beach and we went up to the carousel where nearly everyone rode the carousel while Dad and I took pictures and I made a smashed penny. Afterward we headed down to the playground and stopped to see if the dragon would squirt water (it didn't, but it looked like it had shortly before we got to it) and for me to take a picture of Laurel in the dragon's mouth.

While coming down from the pier, we spotted an area knotted with what looked like another film production crew (we'd already seen one when we parked) so my older sister, Vogon and I walked over while Dad and the kids stayed at the playground. We weren't sure what they were filming, but I was sure I heard Tenacious D music as we waited to walk through the area. As we walked back around the filming area, we spotted Jack Black but were too far away for me to get a non-grainy shot with my camera. I was so excited that I called revme to tell him about it after we rejoined the rest of the family and I promised to blog it after I got home. (I tried doing it from Vogon's PDA, but logging into LJ from it didn't work. I checked the IMDb after we returned from vacation and found the set was for Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny.)

The kids were looking forward to snacks from the original Hot Dog on a Stick, so my sister organized an order for nine and we ordered an assortment of hot dogs and cheese on a stick and regular and cherry lemonade. Vogon wanted something a bit stronger to drink, so he went off to a restaurant facing on the pier for what I thought was a glass of wine, but he hadn't returned by the time we were done eating and headed back onto the pier. We stopped at the carousel gift shop, where I received a text message from Vogon that he'd had mahi tacos with that wine. d:

After eating, we returned to the pier to go to Pacific Park; Dad chaperoned my cousin's kids around the adult rides and my sisters and I took Laurel over to the kiddie rides. She went on the Crazy Submarine with my older sister, the Ship-A-Hoy sitting with another little girl, and was on the Red Baron when Vogon rejoined us. He talked to my sister while I was taking pictures of Laurel and cheering her on, then my little sister took Laurel's things I'd been carrying and told me to have fun.

Vogon and I spent some time looking at things along the pier, buying a ladybug kite for Laurel, sunglasses with flames on the side for Vogon and Laurel, a bucket hat for him, and two wide-brimmed straw hats for me (one black, one natural with black ribbon trim). I described them as looking like I'd stolen one from Zorro and the other from a Mary Engelbreit design, but he swore they both looked good on me and I'm taking his word on it.

We looked at another film crew with signs for a production called "Jane Doe", but I didn't find anything on IMDb about it later. Vogon wanted to duck into a photo booth, so we went off in search of one he'd seen and got a blue raspberry Icee along the way. After that fun, we stopped to look at pretty sarongs and summery dresses on another vendor's cart (bought a sarong, no pictures yet) and saw they'd gotten two of the kites up.

I took a photo of the kites from the pier, then we rejoined them down on the beach and got all four kites up. I took more photos while flying the ladybug kite after Laurel decided it was more fun to wander between the kite fliers (my older sister was flying a Chinese dragon, a large eagle was passed around, and Vogon helped Dad get the triplane up) and play with her new sunglasses.

We hit stop-and-go traffic a few miles from the beach so the drive home took much longer than the drive out, then Laurel nodded off on my arm (so much for stitching in the car) and Vogon took a picture of that too. The other kids in our car, little James and Andrew, fell asleep too, so the ride home was cool and quiet.

After dinner -- and Vogon loved all the homemade Mexican food, especially the fresh chile sauce on the table at every meal -- I accompanied Dad to Home Depot, where we picked up a few items for the house and found the 25 c.f. side-by-side refrigerator I'd priced out online at my sister's request during a visit (by other members of my immediate family, not me) a few months before on sale, so Dad chatted up a salesgirl named Joanna while doing all the paperwork for that purchase.

I returned home to find Vogon still up with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which he'd started reading on the flight out, and I think I fell asleep with the light still on while he was reading.

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oddharmonic
Melissa, starry-eyed soy-lovin' Expatriated Zulu

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