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I spent the morning calling bee removal services and wincing at the estimates for removing the honeybees in the wall behind the pool. I finally sucked it up and booked an appointment with a service that will exterminate the bees for $125 with a one-month guarantee.

They didn't show up within the four-hour window they gave me nor did they call to cancel, so I suspect Grandpa Art will use kerosene to get them to pack up and move again. Hopefully this time they'll leave the wall altogether; last time, they moved a few feet down the wall to their present location.

Dad and David came back with pastrami sandwiches and fried zucchini from the Golden Ox for lunch. We went out after lunch to close out a few of Grandma's store accounts and David, Sarah, Laurel and I wandered around Montebello Town Center for awhile after Dad encouraged us to "do something fun".

We took Laurel into the Sanrio store and enjoyed her saying "Oh my gosh, look at this!" to everything before buying a coloring book, found her a Sally car in the Disney Store, and tried on silk flower leis in Hawaiian Boutique (she bought a pink one; I bought a hair clip with silk plumerias on it). She dutifully tagged along with me as my siblings went into Hot Topic and PacSun, then we indulged her and let her get some time in at the playground in front of Mervyn's.

We went out to the cemetery with a cake for Grandma's birthday. Irma and Nadine stopped for flowers on the way over and we planned to as well, but chose to stop at a florist closer to the cemetery than the florist I had looked up and they were too busy to help anyone waiting at the counter. (Note to self: stop at Lupita's House of Flowers next time. NW corner of Paramount and Arroyo, 626-280-0706.) We met up with Irma and Nadine, sang "Happy Birthday" to Grandma, and had a brief conversation explaining to Laurel that yes, Grandma's in heaven but this is where we leave her flowers.

We had another wonderful grilled dinner, although I nearly did a spit-take several times at some of the stories my cousin's boyfriend told about bumping into celebrities at work. (He's in PR.)

Mom, Sarah and I got our things packed after dinner so we just have a change of clothes and toiletries out for the morning and were getting ready for bed when Irma asked if we want to look through Grandma's closet. We spent close to two hours looking through everything and filled the small suitcase Laurel brought to the seams with a ton of hand-me-down clothing (much of it never worn), some beautiful folk pieces, and the embroidery pieces Grandma left in varying stages of completion. I was told one piece she was going to stitch for Grandpa Art and that's now at the top of my to-do list.

I didn't sleep well after that because I kept dreaming that Grandma was in the room putting things back into drawers. (The contents of her dressers have been transferred into Rubbermaid totes.)

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Melissa, starry-eyed soy-lovin' Expatriated Zulu

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