My friend Ela had a birthday this Saturday. But we started celebrating on Friday. You see, originally we (Chris, I and Ela's husband, David) were planning a great big surprise for her. Namely, we were working on getting Ela's mom, Olga, to travel from Ukraine to Florida just in time for Ela's birthday. Due to the stupidity of the staff at the American Embassy in Kiev, she was refused a visa. So much for this plan...
Well, last Friday we all decided to go to a baseball game, but there was none (imagine that!). So we had to re-group and choose some other sporting venue. And so we ended up at an ice-rink. Now, I should note here that none of us can skate. The only difference is that some of us can't skate more than others. Unfortunately, these "some of us" included Ela. At first she refused to even get on the ice. We had to resort to the carrot and stick method, alternately shaming her for wasting our time and money and telling her that she'll do great in no time and that it's very good for toning butt and thighs. After about 2 hours she made much progress and was able to peel herself away from the railings and skate more or less on her own.
At this point we decided to stop. Our feet were hurting from the improperly sized rental skates anyway. Plus we had to celebrate Ela's success, right?! So we went to Stock Exchange, an 80-ies themed bar in the Halifax Marina. Yes, the place is a bit cheesy in its attempt at catering to young professionals. And yes, they even have a tiny dance floor and a disco ball. And yes, they play 80-ies music, but only for the first hour or so. After that the whole thing degenerates into a more "normal" rap party. Which is hilarious considering that most clients are well past their prime. Oh, and DON'T drink beer there - it'll kill you with its sour taste! Apperently, other drinks aren't all that great either, since we all woke up with headaches next morning.
On Saturday, Ela and I went shopping for her gift. We decided that she needed some awesome club outfit for two reasons. One is that she and David are going on a cruise later this year. The more important reason is that we decided to have a total "party" year - eat, drink, do crazy things, travel, and be merry so that we can have a sense of accomplishement in the partying department before having children. Ok, so the outfit thing... Here in Daytona, clothes shopping (or any shopping at all for that matter) is an excruciating experience. We only have one mall and it's tiny. To make matters worse, it doesn't have ANY good stores. The only reason to go there at all is to eat at Mr. Dunderdack's. It's a German-themed deli with walls covered floor to ceiling with hundreds of jars, bottles, cans, bags, and boxes full of delicious or just plain weird food stuff from Europe and with a scattering of tiny tables that only accentuate the generouse portion sizes of the delicious sandwiches served there... A mere recollection makes my mouth water!
We did buy a little hoochy outfit for Ela, after hours and hours of combing through the racks mostly filled with crap destined to become dish rags in some Third World country. Then it was time to go grocery shop for a barbeque on Sunday.
Now, yesterday we had this epic barbeque. Those in attendance (Ela, David, I, Chris, Albina with Bianca, Tanya, and Mike) had plenty to eat and even more to drink. The general atmosphere was that of merriment. Unfortunately, the designated photographer (me) got too involved in eating, drinking, and generally having fun to care about her primary duties. Sorry, no pix this time.