Clara

Christmas wish list

Dear loved ones: If you are looking for ideas for things to get me, here are some things I have a yen for:

Birthday Party stuff:

The theme this year is The Red Scare! I'm on the hunt for great '50s music. If you want to burn me a disc that would be hugely appreciated.

And any random '50s artifacts and kitch - iconic, weird, whatever - that you could loan me would also be great.

I am still on the hunt for an awesome '50s costume & accessories! If you've got vintage dresses burning a hole in your closet, give me a call.

Housey stuff:

When LB moves out in March, so do her many nice things. To wit:

Kitchen timer

Toaster oven

Blender (actually, the blender is mine. But I am a genius and I left the bottom half of it on vacation in Vermont. Do you know what it's like to be the Bashionista without the ability to make frothy blended drinks? The past few months have been . . . difficult.)

Cuisinart

Slow cooker

Stand-Up mixer (holy shit those things are expensive! I think 50% of marriages are caused by needing one.)

Flat-screen tv

Fancy-pants living room audio system

Hammock for the backyard

String of porch lights

Then there are the perennial items on my wish-list:

Last year I splurged on a really nice fancy scented candle in a glass jar with a sandalwood wick (I tend to like spicy, rich, perfumy scents, nothing floral or fruity). I like to light it while I'm cleaning my house. Whatever. It's what I do. It's lasted me the whole year, but last night it gave its little death rattle. The candle is dead! Long live the new candle?

I would love some new sheets with a high thread count. A couple years ago I splurged on sheets for the first time ever . . . they actually make it difficult to get out of bed. It would be great to have a second set for when they're in the wash.

Last year I finally started making good use of my front porch on a regular basis. Hallelujah! Having an outdoor folding table would make it even more usable. Also, hey! Let's go crazy and admit it; I would love some Adirondack chairs. And some cool outdoor lighting concepts - candlelit storm lanterns perhaps? Or the above string lights?

I'd really like a composter - apparently the gardeners at my building are not cool with piles of rotting food being left in a heap in the back yard. Oopsies!

I adore the folding table I have (that opens out in two big leaves and stores four chairs inside), but it is about one clumsily placed beer stein away from total collapse. So I should probably think about replacing it.

I received a great storage solution for my movie games a couple years ago, but now it's overflowing. I am fantasizing about getting a credenza from Ikea with deep drawers for storing games in. Bonus if it's sturdy enough for people to sit on if I've got a ton of people over to watch a movie.

Other stuff:
I have this great set of bike maps for Brookline and JP - they're laminated and they come in a pack of 5 or 6 routes. There are a bunch of other sets for all around Boston that I've had my eye on for ages.

Fancy beer to try

Fun clothes for teaching dance in

Calendars with 50's images, or hilarious daily calendars

Subscription to Marie Claire

Massage at Inman Oasis in Cambridge

Yoga classes at Blissful Monkey in JP

Cookbooks

Books that you think I will love reading in San Francisco!

Snapfish gift certificate for my all my photo projects. Also, I could really use nice photo albums with the plastic film photo holders and space to write next to or underneath. PaperSource stopped carrying my favorite brand and now they just have weird and expensive odds and ends.

Fujifilm Instax (the credit-card size film)

Music I don't know I like yet. Or an itunes gift certificate.

A new ipod nano. My current ipod is old enough to graduate high school. Some days the menu button works on the first try, sometimes on the 85th try. The thing is gaslighting me.

A new, fancy camera with more manual functions/lenses. And photography lessons to go with it.

Gift certificate to Ten Tables

A wine bar (the piece of furniture, not the business)

A townhouse in JP

My own dance studio

A bill of sale for The (old) Milky Way and all its contents
  • Current Music
    My Morning Jacket
Clara

Wedding season comes to a close

Back in October I rolled home from my 6th wedding this year - if you count my cousin's marriage to God back in June. I have eaten make-your-own fajitas! Cake pops! S'mores! The most heavenly little grilled cheese passed appetizers with teeny cups of tomato soup for dipping them in! I have eaten an entire ball of goat cheese, mistaking it for fresh mozzarella!

I have spent about 12 hours dancing like a crazed lunatic in 2 superhot recycled dresses. Made movie night box sets and popcorn seasonings, bought pasta acoutrements, knives, serving platters, cookbooks, an air mattress and bedding and books, books, books. I spent three solid hours photographing people with my instant camera. I've driven - and I do not exagerate - 50 hours. I saw my cousin chip a tooth on her sister's face. I've lost a bocce tournament, delivered a maid of honor speech, DeeJayed parts of two weddings, and officiated at my sister's wedding.

I forget where I was going with this. I started writing this post ages ago, but now I need to wrap it up as we are knee-deep in Christmas and I still haven't posted my annual Christmas list!
  • Current Music
    Kings of Leon
Clara

Victory and Defea(s)t

Hey Livejournal, how's it going? Wow, it's kind of . . . echoey in here. You must hate Facebook as much as video stores hate netflix.

SO MUCH has been going on. My sister got married! (Summer camp weddings are the BEST). So have about 10 of my friends - 8 of them last weekend! And I have another wedding to go to this weekend, and three already for the coming year. Weddings are my new hobby, apparently.

My band had our first four-hour gig at Costello's on a Saturday night and we crushed it! And now our guitarist has left for paternity leave so we're going to have to start from scratch with someone else. Siiiigh. I am going to hope with all my might that Robbie from the Nickel & Dime Band will be interested in filling in, since I'm sure he knows at least 80% of the songs in our lineup.

At the risk of sounding completely juvenile, last week for the first time ever I admitted to Facebook that I have a boyfriend. Awww. His name is Julian and he is lovely. We met at my cousin's priestly ordination. In a church. In front of my entire family. This is a radically unlikely occurrance unless perhaps you are Amish. Julian's only major character flaw is that he currently resides in Oklahoma, but he's working on it. ETA January 1. Someone give this man a job!

This past weekend I threw my annual Feast for 15 people - four courses with wine pairings. We had been suffering through some unseasonably dreary weather for a week or so, but right as the guests started to arrive, the sun came out, the sky was blue, and it was something like 75F. So I shepherded everyone onto the porch for the first course: baba ganoush and garlic parmesan pita chips; and two types of crostini - a bruschetta and an olive tapenade - with melted gruyere, paired with a hearty burgundy.

Second course was an elaborate make-your-own salad situation, paired with a nice Barbera.

For the main course we had: white bean salad with fresh herbs; a lemon, herb and parmesan risotto; and NY steak sliced thinly and served with a nugget of Saint Andre cheese - that is the only way to eat steak in my opinion. This was paired with a velvety Bordeaux.

And finally, for dessert I gave a little yelp of happiness at the pairing of mixed berry salad and a nice tawny Port, and we passed around an assortment of Taza chocolate for everyone to sample; Guajiro pepper, cinnamon, salt & pepper, and salted almond.

How much did I enjoy the wine, you ask? I can say with confidence that I have never been that drunk at a party I have thrown in my entire life. When the party broke up around 11pm I was incapable of carrying even one dish from the table, and I had to take the next day off to recover . . . and run the dishwasher about 6 times. All totally worth it.

And now I'm going to be a complete nerd and relive September 2010 under the cut. This was my life on Facebook with guest commentors: Joey Arbeely, Melissa Becker, Hugh Beckett, Kristen Bonstein, Danielle Bowlin, Rich Burns, Lisa Cahill, Dave Chin, Shannon Daly, Denise Davis, Zach Davis, Susan Doran, Maureen Festa, Healey Gabison, Ken Hart, Kristina Horacek, Liz Laneri, Steph Luzzi, Craig Maher, Greg Marano, Matt Marrone, David Mayhew, Cara McAvoy, Lauren McAvoy, Rachel Moliere, Catherine Moniz, Kristopher Moreau, Brian Moyer, Sue Nyoni, Andy O'Brien, Scott O'Riordan, Bennett Ostroff, Maak Pelletier, Carol Pyper, Jenny Rainey, Mike Torres, Jen Toth, Mary V, Lindalea Wells, Abby Williams, Austin Williams, Darin Woolpert, Sander Zulauf

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Clara

Christmas Wish List

Dear loved ones: If you are looking for ideas for things to get me, here are some things I have a yen for:

Birthday Party stuff:

The theme this year is Goldfinger! I'm planning on utterly transforming my house. Anyone with the means or supplies for erecting a Turkish bazaar tent in my living room, I'm looking at you. Also I want to turn my dining room into The Factory which is going to require a sick amount of aluminum foil. Also, mylar balloons - giant pillow-shaped ones would be ideal. Art that uses mirror mosaics. And for the kitchen, I would love any hippie-type posters - you know, the kind that perennially show up in college dorms.

I am also on the hunt for great '60's music! If you want to burn me a disc that would be hugely appreciated.

And any random 60's stuff - iconic, weird, whatever - that you could loan me would also be great.

I am still on the hunt for an awesome 60's costume & accessories! If you've got vintage dresses burning a hole in your closet, give me a call.

Housey stuff:

Tupperware! Mom, the set of nesting containers you got me last year was perfect. I could totally use another set so I can finally throw away all my Chinese-food soup containers.

My garlic press up and died on me! So did my immersion blender! Not cool! I miss these items very much and having them replaced would add hours to my life.

I used to have a small, very nice bamboo cutting board, but it went for a walk. I still look for it every couple of months when I'm looking for a cheeseboard. I miss you, old girl.

Oh yeah, I also have no idea what tragedy befell my nice big pyrex baking dish, but it's time to move on and get a new one.

I've been looking at my dishes and they just. look. sad. I love my roommate's dishes, but she just has a set of four. In a perfect world, I would have a set of 10 dishes, salad plates and bowls. Pretty much any pattern would be nicer than my old chipped, mismatched ones.

I would love some new sheets with a high thread count. A couple years ago I splurged on sheets for the first time ever . . . they actually make it difficult to get out of bed. It would be great to have a second set for when they're in the wash.

After 13 long years and one really aggressive cat, it is finally time for a new yoga mat. Nothing fancy, just a nice sticky mat. That would be lovely. 

Is this the year where I will finally utilize my outdoor porches? Probably not. But an outdoor folding table would really help. Also, hey! Let's go crazy and admit it; I would love some Adirondack chairs. And a hammock. And some cool outdoor lighting concepts - candlelit storm lanterns perhaps?

I'd really like a composter - apparently the gardeners at my building are not cool with piles of rotting food being left in a heap in the back yard. Oopsies!

I adore the folding table I have (that opens out in two big leaves and stores four chairs inside), but it is about one clumsily placed beer stein away from total collapse. So I should probably think about replacing it.

I received a great storage solution for my movie games a couple years ago, but now it's overflowing. I am fantasizing about getting a credenza from Ikea with deep drawers for storing games in. Bonus if it's sturdy enough for people to sit on if I've got a ton of people over to watch a movie.

Other stuff:

I need a logo for TheBashionista! And then I want to put it on some shirts. And matchbooks.

Fun clothes for teaching dance in.

A microphone! This was recommended to me by one of my bandmates: When you have $70-$100 burning a hole in your pocket, I would recommend buying a Shure SM58 microphone. They make one with an On/Off switch on the mic, I think they call it a Beta SM58. This a great microphone for the price. You can find a used one on Craigslist>For Sale>Musical Instruments or try www.musiciansfriend.com for a new one.

Fancy scented candles

Calendars with 60's images, or hilarious daily calendars

Subscriptions to Newsweek and Marie Claire

Massage at Inman Oasis in Cambridge

Yoga classes at Blissful Monkey in JP

Cookbooks

Books that you think I will love reading in California!

Snapfish gift certificate for my all my photo projects.

Music I don't know I like yet. Or an itunes gift certificate.

Any Polaroid film that you, your loved ones and business associates might still be hoarding. I say this every year, but I still mean it. Alternatively, Fujifilm Instax (the credit-card size film). I finally broke down and bought the Instax camera last year and I adore it - but the film is pricey, so I've only been using it once a year for my birthday party.

A new ipod nano.

A new computer. The Lenovo (Thinkpad) was recommended to me, as it'll do exactly what I need, and not a whole lot more. Photo storage, internet multitasking, iTunes, word processing. That's about it.

A new, fancy camera with more manual functions/lenses. And photography lessons to go with it.

Gift certificate to Ten Tables.

Season tickets to the A.R.T.

A mansion in JP with a carriage house converted to a dance studio.

A bill of sale for The (old) Milky Way and all its contents.


Clara

Gearshift

This past week marked the end of an era and that's never easy. But it was also a monumental week in several other ways.

I marked my 10 year college graduation with quite possibly the lamest reunion "celebration" of all time (once we accepted that every Drew-sponsored event was going to be excrutiatingly awkward, we split off and made our own party. Which . . . is not all that different from what going to Drew was like. At least we were trained for this!).

I also joined a new cover band as the lead singer and this week we picked our name: Who Wants Cake? We are performing for the very first time at Jacques on Friday, Oct. 7 - if you're in Boston, come check us out!

And this was the week where I hit 4,000 pageviews on my other blog - www.TheBashionista.blogspot.com. For the past 10 weeks I've been posting every weekday, and trying to build up a following. Every Tuesday launches with a how-to guide for throwing a new party. Wednesdays I write an advice column ranging from what to do to make your guests feel right at home, to what to do when your guests feel so at home that they are puking on every available surface. Thursdays I have a column written by one of my two guest chefs. Every Friday I roll out a playlist, fully downloadable on iTunes. And Monday is a recap day - a winning recipe, a photogallery, or what I learned in my Bashionista test kitchen.

Oh right, and I'm also still teaching my Nia class (every Thursday at Spontaneous Celebrations in JP - this week's class is a 2-for-1; an hour of yoga followed by an hour of Nia, 6:45-8:45 for the low price of $13). And, y'know, belonging to two book clubs, throwing a weekly supper club, traveling every other weekend, helping my sister plan her wedding, visiting my friends' adorable babies, working full time and trying to keep an herb garden alive. It's . . . a lot. But I'm grateful - for all the beautiful things in my life that remain, and the amazing friends who've got my back, and for the exciting projects that continue to evolve.

Oh, weird. I am so behind on facebook archieving that I am only up to August 2010 - which is right when the aforementioned era began. Well, here goes. Here's what I was up to a little over a year ago. With comments by Liz Bean, Hugh Beckett, Kristen Bonstein, Danielle Bowlin, Rich Burns, Dave Chin, Shannon Daly, Zach Davis, Susan Doran, Mary Ferrara, Amanda Gordon, Kristina Horacek, Dan Kotler, Liz Laneri, Shawn Lucas, Steph Luzzi, Greg Marano, Sachin Master, Cara McAvoy, James McGregor, Chuck Meyer, Mike Mosey, John Perich, Jenny Rainey, Brad Reed, Roberto Reyes, Katie Taylor, Jen Toth, Mike Torres, Stacy Vachon.
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Clara

Well, hello there

Lordylou! It has been a long time since I've posted. Things have been going fantastically well. Spent a great Easter in the homeland - Craig & I seem to have the perfect balance between time with our two families and time by ourselves; managed to fit in a quick hike up Breakneck and still keep everyone happy, so that's excellent.

This week's main event: teaming up with Linda and teaching an hour of yoga + an hour of Nia for only $13! I'm . . . trying not to get my hopes up, but it seeeeems like we're going to get an awesome turnout. Hope so! I hatched this plan a couple months ago when Nia attendance was particularly dire; since then things have picked up and stayed steady, but I'm hoping that this will bring people back in a big way. Also have some new people saying they're definitely coming, so fingers crossed.

And now I'd just like to keep archiving old facebook posts. Here's what I was up to last July. Featured commentors: Hugh Beckett, Rich Burns, Lisa Cahill, Kyle Capogna, Jason Cristofaro, Zach Davis, Susan Doran, Debbie Finkelstein, Healey Gabison, Artie Ledger, Steph Luzzi, Kristin MacDougall, Greg Marano, John Perich, Susan Rubin, Jen Toth, Darin Woolpert

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Clara

Christmas wish list

Dear loved ones: If you are looking for ideas for things to get me, here are some things I have a yen for:

Birthday Party stuff:

The theme this year is Summer of Sam. I am hoping to get a DJ who specializes in 70's funk, punk, soul, and disco. However, I have zero leads at this point, so I may have to be creating a playlist on my own. Either way, I saw this box set entitled "What it Is" and fell in love with it. It seemed like more than I wanted to spend at the time, but now I regret not buying it.

In general, if anyone would care to beef up my collection of awesome '70's music, I welcome CD mixes rated by danceability. 1=passed out in the fondue pot. 2=making out by the light of the lava lamp. 3=flitting about the room getting used to the platform shoes. 4=persistent head bop and occasional disco pointing finger. 5=disco inferno.

I could also use a lava lamp or three - as a gift or a loan. [whitefire, I'm looking at you.]

I am also desperate for a big old square of shag carpeting. And bean bag chairs - more of a loaner situation, as I have limited storage space.

I would also love a projector that I can hook up to a computer. These are mad expensive, so I usually find a way to borrow one, but hey, a girl can dream.

I would also love blue Christmas lights, since SOME IDIOT SEEMS TO HAVE DECIDED TO STOP MAKING THEM. Or at least, some idiot at Home Depot has decided not to stock them. Don't punish me for decorating like a college kid. Actual college kids: I feel for you.

Housey stuff:

Tupperware! I officially have food storage envy, as Liz Bean has a great set of things that all match and have lids, rather than my hodgepodge of mismatched crap mostly recycled from Indian food takeout. However, I would need the lids to be something other than maroon - that's how we keep straight which tupperware is gluten-free.

Is this the year where I will finally utilize my outdoor porches? Probably not. But an outdoor folding table would really help.

I adore the folding table I have (that opens out in two big leaves and stores four chairs inside), but it is about one clumsily placed beer stein away from total collapse. So I should probably think about replacing it.

I received a great storage solution for my movie games a couple years ago, but now it's overflowing. I am fantasizing about getting some kind of floor-to-ceiling wooden cabinet with letterbox size openings, that would hold about five big flat envelopes.

I would really like a nice fruit bowl. The one I picture in my mind is made of wood and shaped like a cross between an open seed pod and a canoe. Just a thought. Any dedicated fruit bowl would be nice.


Other stuff:

A Cooler - I have a teeny one, but a full-size one would be pretty rad. Alternatively, a beer bucket that *doesn't* leak like the one I recently bought.

Fun clothes for teaching dance in.

A hookah.

Subscriptions to Newsweek and Marie Claire

Massage at Inman Oasis in Cambridge

Yoga classes at Blissful Monkey in JP

Cookbooks

Books that you think I will love reading in California!

Snapfish gift certificate for my all my photo projects.

Music I don't know I like yet. Or an itunes gift certificate.

Any Polaroid film that you, your loved ones and business associates might still be hoarding. I say this every year, but I still mean it. Alternatively, I am considering making the switch to Fujifilm - they make a camera that's similar to Polaroid. Actually they make two, one which takes pics the size of a credit card, and one that takes pics that are twice as long. I can't tell you how sad I am that for the first year in awhile, I will not be able to create a yearbook/guestbook at my birthday party. I don't think that Fujifilm will ever be to me what Polaroid was, but if I could use this once a year for my birthday, it would be pretty lifechanging and hugely appreciated.

A new or refurbished MacBook that runs on OS 8. Or an Apple gift certificate towards this. I have two seven- or eight-year-old laptops. One has no functional CD drive, and the other has no battery power and every time the cord gets jostled it turns off and then you have to convince it that it is not January 1, 1970 so that it will actually run. Heavy sigh. I realize two things: 1) I am lucky that I am still able to limp along with these geriatric computer twins, and that it is only a matter of time before they go to that Circuit City in the sky, and 2) Apple is eventually going to stop carrying batteries for my four-year-old ipod, and I will have to get a new one, and all the new ones will only run on the #$&)(&$)(&@ latest operating system. Help a brother out.

A ticket to Grassroots

Season tickets to the A.R.T.

A Prius.

A mansion in JP with a carriage house converted to a dance studio.

A bill of sale for The (old) Milky Way and all its contents.

A bullet train from Poughkeepsie to Boston.
Clara

Just, wow

I don't mind saying, the past two weekends have been absolutely stellar.

Friday night our house turned into the place to be, as a little roommate hangout time ballooned into dinner for seven, one of whom was my long lost cousin Lauren!!! who told us outrageous stories from her recent travels to Spain, Wales, Morocco, and Italy.

Saturday we welcomed Liz Bean good and proper, and I have now christened the apartment The Liz Institute. We had an excellent time. Craig came up from New York, and stuck around for the rest of the weekend, which gave me a chance to show him some of my favorite New England haunts; Forest Hills Cemetery, Decordova Sculpture Park, and swimming in Walden Pond. On top of that, we packed in some great hangout times with friends AND came in second at trivia.

Here's what I was up to last June, under the cut. Featured commentors include: Liz Bean, Julie Berenzweig, Danielle Bowlin, Dave Chin, Jason Cristofaro, Ryan Dowd, Jameel Haque, Kristina Horacek, Alex Hurst, Liz Laneri, Lauren McAvoy, Jamie Mink, Rachel Moliere, Kristopher Moreau, Patrick O'Hanlon, Maak Pelletier, Kelly Ralabate, Brad Reed, Katie Taylor, Jen Toth, Mary V

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Clara

I only have four months to plan this party

The theme for my birthday this year is Summer of Sam! a world of punk, disco, and senseless killing sprees. So far I've rented the space, I've started soliciting people for 70's dance music, and I am starting to shop for costume pieces. It's September right now. My party will be in January. My birthday preparations are starting to feel like a presidential reelection campaign.

One thing that I am particularly excited about is my lack of a set costume. I have decided to spend the next few months shopping Goodwill and different thrift/vintage stores, and just dressing more 70's in general. If you've seen Serpico, I'm thinking my life will be similar to his undercover evolution.

So far I've had two shopping excursions: $17 for a huge, billowing, b&w sundress AND a pair of ankle-lace black closed-toe espadrilles (sadly, while those shoes were adorable and comfortable, the dang glue holding the shoe to the espadrille part came completely undone. DRAT. That is what you get for buying cheap second-hand shoes. I wish I knew a place that would fix them . . .). And last night $27 for a brown and white spotted ring from Salmagundi AND an awesome pendant of an owl in four linked sections so it moves with you, and hangs about sternum level. I have never been much of a shopper, so this is pretty exciting for me, and I am kind of psyched about my campaign of 70's immersion. I have a whole bunch of 40YO movies on my netflix queue.

Also, if you have seen Summer of Sam, there's a part where Jennifer Esposito says, "blonde me!" because David Berkowitz is only murdering brunettes. In the immortal words of Jennifer Esposito . . . I just might. My sister suggested this, and I think it's kind of a brilliant idea. However, I've never died my hair EVER and I'm not sure I have the guts. we'll see.

Here is a flashback to last May. Featured commentors include: Hugh Beckett, Rich Burns, Lisa Cahill, Susan Doran, Debbie Finkelstein, Jameel Haque, Liz Laneri, Matt Marrone, Patrick O'Hanlon, Maak Pelletier, Kelly Ralabate, Brad Reed, Tim Sawicki, Larry Shiman, Jen Toth, Lindalea Wells, Darin Woolpert.

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Clara

Fall is upon us/Remembering last April

It's been an incredible summer. I hate talking about it in the past tense, but I did give it the perfect send-off last weekend.

July was full of my favorite things: Reunion with family and good times with Matty, a trip to Italy with my parents, a long weekend dancing with hippies at Grassroots. I was able to make my one pilgrimage of the year to Horseneck Beach, and one action-packed trip to NYC and my old stomping grounds. I made the best use of what little Boston time I had - painted my hallway, kitchen and dining room almost single-handedly (I'm endebted to Susan for coming up and helping me on one of my sweltering kitchen days); went to Liz Bean's awesome pool party, and took Luna on her first ever hike! Also got to spend a great day shadowing Kristen for her day-in-the-life photo shoot.

This past weekend was quite possibly the Lizzest of them all. I managed to assemble a team of adventurers who were almost complete strangers to each other, and together we took on the wilds of Pennsylvania. Rachel-from-the-Footlight and I drove down on Friday morning, and met Greg-from-high-school at our campsite, where he greeted us with some of his famous avocado/clementine salad, and we made short work of my monster tent. We checked out the "neighborhood" for the next couple of hours, which included a boardwalk trail to some waterfalls, and some strolling through the quiet backstreets of Milford looking at cool houses.

For dinner we met Martin (my old mentor from Dodge), his wife Cheryl, and Ken (one of my old poets) at a great cafe in town, which houses a reconstructed and fully functional waterwheel; this was the only cultural outpost for miles when M&C moved here. We ate great food, had quite a few drinks, and swapped our favorite Italian curses. My new fave: She's such a bitch, I hope she dies on her birthday.

Saturday morning at 8:25 sharp, Craig (Steph's friend) showed up at our camp and we all headed down to Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom. It was The Perfect Day for it - 80degrees and sky so clear and blue you ached to look at it. We spent six hours all over the water park, acting like a pack of kids. Then we spent the next five hours at the action park, where we rode every single frikkin' roller coaster, some of them three times. It's days later and I think we're all still hoarse from screaming.

That night, exhausted from sun, adrenaline and laughing our faces off, we were stubbornly determined to get the fire going. It took hours, but the vigil was worth it.

Sunday was no less idyllic; after brunch on Main Street USA we went for a great hike along a ridge in the Poconos, and descended a ravine to see a series of waterfall pools. I said goodbye to summer with a quick swim in a rock grotto with the light coming in at a dramatic slant. Blissed out.

And now I'm going to flash back to last April under the cut. Featured commentors include: Hugh Beckett, Jack Bennett, Kristen Bonstein, Rich Burns, Denise Davis, Zach Davis, Debbie Finkelstein, Emily Hennessse, Eleza Kort, Liz Laneri, Steph Luzzi, Little Fio Maher, Matt Marrone, Lauren McAvoy, Angus Merry, Chuck Meyer, Jon Myers, Zach Minton, Kristopher Moreau, Patrick O'Hanlon, Rodney Raftery, Jenny Rainey, Brad Reed, Susan Rice, Abby Ruby, Mike Torres, Jen Toth, Mary V, Darin Woolpert

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