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Making our way through Boomers took less time than I’d planned, so David and I improvised the next stop. We brought Jen back to our place, where we kicked back with a glass of wine and went head-to-head in the strategic board game Blokus.

After “letting” Jen win every round, we set off for the last planned event. “Okay, I give. I have no idea where we’re going for dinner,” Jen said as I drove past the airport.

“We told you, we’re taking you to Mexico and selling you into slavery,” said David.

“There’s no way you’d ever get this one,” I said. “It’s so off your beaten path; I’ve never even been there before.” I waited until I’d turned left past Humphrey’s by the Bay on Shelter Island before announcing, “While gazing upon a spectacular vista of the city lights sparkling across the bay, we’ll be dining at... Bali Hai! Oh, and we’re going to have some crazy Hawaiian drinks, too.”

“This is awesome,” Jen said after we’d taken our seats against the giant window in the restaurant. “This has been the most wonderful day. So easy, no stress — all fun. Just great. Thank you.”

“We’re happy you think so,” said David, raising his mai tai.

I lifted the giant ceramic tiki head that contained my slushy girl drink. “Thanks for being a great friend,” I said. “Oh, and happy belated birthday.”

We clinked our wild Hawaiian libations. A moment later, after glancing out the window, Jen said, “Hey, there’s a sea lion!” David and I followed her gaze and watched in silent awe as the animal materialized and dove once more, its flipper feet slipping into the shimmering water. As I stared at the ripples, I marveled at how cool it was to be so close to such wonderful creatures. The sea lion was pretty awesome too.

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snackycakes420 Aug. 6, 2008 @ 4:24 p.m.

I totally agree with you about not wanting to buy presents out of obligation. I love the idea of giving presents "just because" and not because a holiday tells me I should. My husband and I usually skip Valentine's Day all together and for my daughter's next birthday the invitations will read, "In lieu of gifts, please donate to your favorite charity." She all ready has more toys than she can play with, so why should other parents have to buy her more just to come hang out and eat cake with us?


Barbarella Fokos Aug. 6, 2008 @ 4:58 p.m.

I'm not a religious woman, but in response to your comment, I feel compelled to say, Hallelujah, sister! I'm happy to have company in the "give 'cause you want to, not 'cause you have to" faith.


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