Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Summer: A Few of my Favorite Things @lucyburdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Wow, it's been one crazy season since May, rocketing from family to food to friends to family. Here are a few of my favorite things so far--and then I'd love to hear about yours!

1. Old friends are the best friends! Is there anything better than reconnecting with people who knew you a million years ago and still love you in spite of your quirks? Nancy Parent was my absolute best pal in high school--we shared lovesick yearnings and terrible poetry. I met up with Yvonne and Wendy at Motown the Musical to reprise goofiness from grad school days....






2.  Writing pals are the gravy with my biscuits. So happy to share a booksigning with Barbara Ross and Liz Mugavero, and to help celebrate Hallie's new book You'll Never Know, Dear with Hank...



3. The garden has been amazing this summer (thanks to John, who is winning the battle of the woodchucks and weeding like a champion!) Here's our best crop so far....


4. I've been cooking a lot of Cuban food to go along with my Key West food critic mystery #8, coming next summer. Here's the best thing I've made: Mojito cake, flavored with rum, lime, and mint...recipe to follow later...


5. Best silly moment: With our favorite babies in residence, there has been plenty of silliness. I thought the first picture might capture my favorite (with great-nephew Lewis), but then our son Andrew showed me the wonders of Snapchat...



6.  Best Sport of the season: When I mentioned to John that we were attending a pirate-themed wedding and that I'd ordered him a costume, he didn't bat an eyelash. "Argggg!" he said. (As his sister suggested, maybe too much time in Key West has sent him over to the dark side...)


7. Best Innovative Work-around: Can there be anything more fun than watching a baby figure things out that we take for granted? Dorothea is the poster child for diving in if you really want something. We could all use a little of her gumption! 




How's your summer going so far? Tell us a highlight!

73 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Ah, summer. Sometimes I seriously consider that perhaps my favorite thing about summer is that there is absolutely no snow . . . .

    Let’s see . . . gardens, fresh vegetables, and farmer’s markets . . . blooming flowers everywhere . . . getting to spend time with all the grandbabies [and their moms, too -- what a treat!]
    And, if all that wasn’t enough, it’s almost time for the new grandbaby to make her debut.

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    1. so exciting Joan, and your summer sounds utterly relaxing!

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  3. Good summer so far! Finished first draft of 16th novel in six weeks. Ate first BLT with local everything except the bread and the mayo. Had fabulous local strawberries and raspberries, now picking blueberries. Best of all so far, a full day Sunday with both my sons and both their sweehearts, plus my goddaughter, her sweetheart, and their baby-to-be!

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    1. I'm in awe of your novel in 6 weeks Edith. I have a rather crushing deadline coming now, so I keep reminding myself to just hit the word count every day (like Edith does LOL). The rest sounds amazing! are the raspberries gone already?

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  4. For me, the best thing about the summer is that it is concert season. I'm going to see Iron Maiden in concert this week. And while I'm sure no on here listens to them, for me they are the best active band going today. And their shows are freaking legendary.

    Baseball is on TV and if you are lucky enough to afford tickets you can go to a game.

    I don't know about catching up with old friends, but I've actually begun finding some potential new friends as part of group of people with similar interests. More surprisingly is that I've kind of hit it off with a couple of them quite nicely.

    As for my fruit adventures, I always love green grapes, strawberries and blueberries.

    And of course, my weekend "old man" afternoon naps. Nothing like a good nap on the weekend.

    All this offsets the drudgery of working for a living and household chores. Or at least makes them bearable.

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    1. Great highlights Jay, and we are delighted about your new friends:)!

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    2. Jay -- this is one of the delights of living in a city with a AAA ball club -- we can actually afford to go to a game! And the quality of the players is quite high,making it well worth doing.

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    3. I am with you on the "old man" naps, Jay. My husband always teases me about "reading" on weekend afternoons. There's a little reading that goes on, at least at the beginning!

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    4. Lucy, thanks! Glad you like the highlights. I'm pretty happy with the new friends too. Hell, it actually made me finally give in and get texting on my phone.

      Susan, I have won 3 pairs of tickets to the Red Sox for late August, but yes otherwise I don't go to pro games much because I can't afford. But I have a college summer league team in town, so I get to see up and comers all the time. Triple A team is a drive for me, but doable if I wanted.

      Ingrid, keep up this similarity contest with me and people will talk! LOL But seriously, I used to try and fight the "old man" naps but I have given up on that. Since I turned 40, it's been one wacky thing after another. Day I turned 40, I literally couldn't remember which toothbrush was mine and there were only two to choose from. I had to ask so I used the right one.

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  5. I pretty much dread summer because of the heat, and the fact that work doesn't let up despite my dragging around, heat exhausted. Still, this year has had its triumphs. My very humble perennial garden is beginning to look like an actual garden, and I have gotten rid of one more strip of the much-despised original foundation plantings. I can't wait for fall, cooler weather, and the chance to put pretty new plants on that side of my house. Also, I hit one perfect light cue at work that may keep me smiling through all the August heat. This cue required me to read a musical score (which I'm not adept at) coordinate what was on the page with what I was hearing, and tell the lighting guy when and how to bring up the lights for a dramatic reveal onstage. I was able to rehearse aspects of it beforehand, but never had all the different bits together until the actual moment when--BAM! The lights came up right on the beat, and the audience went nuts as 100 piccolo players launched into Yankee Doodle. Nailed it!

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    1. wow Gigi, you make that one small detail sound so--as you said it--triumphant!

      You must live in Texas with Deb, because I know summer is a trial there with the heat and the storms...whereas in New England, most people live for this season...

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    2. Gigi! Awesome! I smiled just reading about 100 piccolos!

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    3. I do live in Texas, and though I've thought about moving to another part of the country, I figure any place with pleasant summers would have brutal winters, so unless I could afford to move with the seasons as you do, I'd be out of luck one way or the other. And yes, there was great celebration on the Clear-com backstage radio channel when we hit that light cue. It's the small, perfect details that make the concert experience worth the price of the tickets for the folks out in the seats.

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    4. Thanks, Hank. There's video, if you're interested: https://youtu.be/YccdRVnjAdY It was the way we opened the concert.

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    5. Gigi, thanks for the link! What a wonderful performance!

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    6. Gigi, that's so cool, perfectly done! You guys, copy and paste the link she listed above to see and hear a real treat...

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    7. Gigi, that was brilliant!! You can see that the light cue had to be perfect and you aced it!! And I love the piccolos!

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    8. Oh my, that was truly triumphant!!

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    9. That gave me goosebumps, Gigi!

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    10. Gigi, it brought tears to my eyes!

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    11. Me, too, Ann. Every single time.

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  6. Cincinnati Opera including an incredible "Magic Flute" production, and FC Cincinnati soccer, their last tournament game in UC Nippert Stadium with 32,000+ fans rocking the concrete bleachers.

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    1. two wonderful highlights! We saw the Magic Flute in the Sydney Opera house--spectacular!

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  7. Love Dorothea DIVING into her food. Those strawberries... GORGEOUS! And I guess I'll have to wait for that recipe. Sounds like a fantastic cake.

    My summer: GREAT book launch so far for YOU'LL NEVER KNOW, DEAR which immediately went to a second printing (YAY!). Just back from NYC & Thrillerfest. Playing ball with our 1+ year old grandson (he's figuring out throwing and catching). Watching ballerinas on the Internet with the 4-year-old granddaughter and watching her dance. Anticipating a trip to Alaska to cleanse the brain and spirit!

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    1. Congratulations on the second printing, Hallie. YOU'LL NEVER KNOW, DEAR is a great read.

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    2. Yes, that is great news, Hallie!!

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  8. Dorothea is a problem solver! And so determined. Don't get between that girl and her food!

    Margaret, I saw the Cincinnati Opera's production of "La Boheme". First opera ie been able to see in years.

    Also, my garden is bursting, we are gearing up to build a new house, hopefully in the next year, and my youngest daughter just got married. Her new husband has two children, so we suddenly went from having one grandchild to having three!

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    1. Two new grandchildren should be fun Karen! And you've inspired me to try planting garlic this year...

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    2. We go see every Live At the Met performance in our local AMC, great seats (recliners), great backstage viewing during intermissions, and the only way I am ever going to see one because I get claustrophobic just thinking about the knees-in-your-chin seating. For anyone who loves opera, this is a fab experience. And anyone who doesn't, give it a try. You might be surprised.

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  9. The last six weeks have been just a bit busy around here. We moved from our 2500-sq. ft. house of 11 years into a very nice 1500-sq. ft. apartment. We've been prepping for this for most of the year, and we almost managed to give away enough stuff. We're getting a good look at where we'll need a little more space in the next place. After we started getting settled, we made the drive north to see our two grandkids (who will turn six and two next month) and those people who drive them around. Such fun to see them both doing many new things! Returning to Durham, I got my second (right) knee replaced, which seems to have gone quite well. I'm just about coherent enough now to read some new books; for the last week I've been rereading a couple of old favorite fantasies. We're definitely looking forward to a month or two of minimal excitement as we return to our new normal.

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    1. Congrats on your recovery, and your move, Jim. I'm going to have to pass "and those people who drive them around" on to my daughter:-)

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    2. Love that description too, Jim, and may the recovery continue to go well. Knees are not easy.

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    3. Glad the surgery went well, Jim!

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  10. Just now I was standing at the sink, looking out into the garden, which is the best it's ever been this year, and feeling the sun on my face, and I thought:

    "The sun is too hot today said no one in Rochester ever."

    Today I might turn on the AC, at least by afternoon, depends. 90 outside is my limit. Right now it is 70 with a cooling breeze.

    We have a ton of veggies in the fridge from a friends garden. Local tomatoes aren't in yet but my three plants that I bought plus the three volunteers from last year are promising a bumper crop. The yellow wax bean and the haricots vert will be ready next week, and then we will be eating beans and new potatoes cooked with a slice of bacon, an onion and a lot of fresh dill.

    It is beet season, which means time to pickle them. I love beet pickles with anything except maybe ice cream. I also am famous for my bread and butter pickles, but the canning will be at a minimum this year, beets only I think.

    It's not my best summer, had hernia surgery two weeks ago, all better now. Today I have a laser procedure on one eye, capsular opacification after cataract surgery last year. Then the bad news, have a stress fracture in my femur, around the knee prosthesis. Long boring story, but the upshot is that I am at high risk for displacing it, so surgery is scheduled for mid-August, another total knee.

    In the mean time I am hobbling around, chair to chair, not allowed to walk the dogs but have a fabulous neighbor who does that for me, 2-3 times a day. They don't need that much, have a nice fenced yard to go potty in, but she likes it. So do I!

    Also my daughter is making a godawful move, first to Texas where they have a home on Grapevine, settle all their worldly possessions in there, then she and her husband are off to Chester, England, for three years. It will be wonderful once it is over and done, but I wish I could help her. Feeling rather useless.

    Gigi, the summer heat in Texas is amongst the reasons I can't live there. Even tho I did for 20 years. I've had too many years in California and now upstate NY ever to live again where AC is necessary half the year. I do miss the long growing season tho.

    Lucy/Roberta, the pictures are great. Lucky you to have those babies to love and spoil. And strawberries all day! Wow

    Edith, good show on finishing the first draft in such a short time. That has to be the best feeling. Do we get a preview?

    Jay, we have a wonderful ball team here, the Rochester Red Wings, a AAA affiliate of the Twins, franchise since 1899. Frontier Field is gorgeous, and the tickets are nine bucks a pop. It's the best bang for the buck in the summer, full of fans and families and kids and noise and a real guy playing a real organ. Every time I go I wonder why I'm not there at least once a week.

    OK guys, off to get a laser beam poked in my eye. See you tomorrow

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    1. Laughing. Don't think about it that way!

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    2. Thanks, Ann! Revising away now, still a bit early for a preview, but let me drum up a quick blurb: With contraception and abortion illegal and being prosecuted in the winter of 1889, Quaker midwife Rose Carroll has to be careful about providing clients with advice on family spacing. But when one of her women bleeds out, Rose suspects a botched abortion rather than an early miscarriage. She discovers the dead woman's husband was having an affair with a woman whose mother was an abortionist. The victim's cousin thought he could get his hands on an inheritance if she was dead, and a pediatric orthopedist now straightens out pregnant women's lives (or so he claims) rather than children's legs. Rose works to help the detective on the case before any more pregnant mothers die.

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    3. You poke 'em right back, Ann! Catch up with you on the other side.

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    4. Ann, once you get that new knee healed up, you and Julie can start planning your trip to Chester. You know I lived there, right? It's a lovely town (apart from the summer hordes of tourists) and you can even drive a few miles to Nantwich and visit Duncan's parents' bookshop. Oh, wait, that's fictional, isn't it? But you can at least see Nantwich:-)

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    5. Deborah, no! I didn't know you lived in Chester. We definitely have a trip planned for next summer if not before. And of course we'll go see Duncan's parents, really like them.

      Laser procedure done, home in time for lunch, which is very important, because eating is what I'm doing best these days. Sigh

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    6. Good luck with that knee--you've had enough and deserve to eat whatever you want!

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  11. The main thing about his summer is how quickly it's going by. Wow. Well, it's been crazy-busy and wonderful.. My book got a title and a pub date, I wrote two new proposals, taught classes and seminars in Pennsylvania and Toronto, and had events in Chicagoland--pant pant. And got a lot of frequent flyer miles. AND I went to my 50th high school reunion. Now THAT was an event. Fascinating.

    But! We still have a whole half-a-summer left! Yay.

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    1. Yes what I was thinking Hank, must seize every day remaining. But this should be our mantra anyway, right?

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    2. Hank, congratulations, and when did you get old enough to celebrate a 50 year anything?

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    3. Exactly, Roberta! And awww… Thank you Ann!

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  12. Great pictures! Those strawberries are amazing and mojito cake? Yes, please.

    My summer is...going. I had plans. That's not what's happened. I took The Girl on her grand D.C. college tour, but it used up all my vacation time. So I will have to get as much deck-lounging as I can cram into the next month! Fortunately, I have a stack of books to help with that.

    Mary/Liz

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    1. thanks Mary. Books help everything don't they? Hope your daughter found a place that will suit her perfectly!

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    2. They do indeed. We came away with George Washington University as her #1 choice - and now she's learned Elizabeth Warren is an alumnae, so she's even more excited!

      Mary/Liz

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    3. Our son went there--if she's interested in political science especially, it's a great choice...

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    4. That is exactly what she's interested in.

      Mary/Liz

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  13. Lucy, love the photos! Looks like you and yours are having great times! I love summer--open windows, cool nights, puttering around outside--my glads are going to bloom early, I think--haven't gone to any concerts recently--but the house is usually filled with music and now it spills out the opened windows as I'm doing my puttering or just relaxing in the swing.

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    1. Flora, I am sighing at the thought of open windows and cool nights...

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    2. Deb, it is high 70s out, dry, beautiful, and you really need a trip to upstate NY one of these summers. It is pure heaven.

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  14. Lucy, great photos! And the video of Dorothea is hysterical. I think this girl is going to get ahead in life!

    I'm not sure what to say about this summer except that it's HOT. Actually, for Texas in the second half of July, it's not really that bad, but, still, we're never really prepared for it. All the work and enthusiasm for the garden all spring and early summer, then when it hits 95 and up, I don't even want to stick my nose out the door.

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    1. I think what we mostly say about summer around here is, "Thank God we don't live in Houston!"

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  15. Well, it's hot. And humid. And we're wondering if this will be the year for a hurricane. It's been a while since Ike. I did get to enjoy cooler weather in the Black Hills of South Dakota earlier this summer. My sister and I did a road trip. A Looooong one. We listened to books on cd so time passed pretty well.

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    1. No no no to hurricanes Pat! Can't you see me holding up my crossed fingers?

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  16. It has been a very family-oriented summer for us so far. Spent one weekend in Evansville, Indiana, visiting our goddaughter and her husband and adorable almost-two-year-old daughter. Another in Midland, Michigan for a niece's high school graduation party. One weekend at Indian Lake, Ohio, where one of my husband's brothers was performing onstage at a waterfront bar. Last weekend about 30 members of my husband's family came to Columbus for a reunion.

    We have a week of vacation scheduled for the end of August and are still up in the air about what to do with it. That wasn't when we actually wanted to go, but when circumstances dictated that we could get away. We don't want to spend a bundle and fly somewhere, so we're torn between the Nashville visit we had contemplated for September (but may find less fun in the heat of a Tennessee August) or driving north into Michigan or maybe upstate New York. Or possibly make it more of a staycation, just doing some day trips around Ohio.

    But other than all those travel notes, our summer has been characterized by good, fresh food -- mostly fruits and vegetables -- plenty of happy hours on decks and patios, and for me, an above-average amount of reading time. Thank you, Jungle Reds, for getting me to stop and reflect on what a good summer I really am having!

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    1. Sounds like an excellent summer Susan! and none of the vacation options sound bad. Though I agree, Nashville in August could be hot and sticky. I still want to get to the Bluebird Cafe, though I gave up on that Nashville show this season...

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  17. My summer league team has a winning record! I think we're in the middle somewhere in the rankings, but I'll take a winning record over a perfect losing streak.

    I'm head to New Orleans on Thursday to hang out with friends for a few days. I've never been and I'm really looking forward to it.

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  18. Our evening at Breakwater Books was wonderful! Great crowd, great questions and, of course, great author friends. Thanks so much for making a cake for Bill's birthday afterward. I am dying to try that mojito cake (hint, hint).

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    1. I will definitely make again! and hope to see you soon

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  19. I need that mojito cake recipe, too, Lucy!! I love the produce of summer, sunshine in Seattle, the fresh flowers in the market, and eating on patios overlooking the water. I'm on deadline, so there's a lot of writing and book ruminating going on!

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    1. me too Ingrid, especially now that the company's gone home!!

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    2. Ingrid, Ingrid, cannot wait until you're ready to tell us about the book!

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    3. I'm with Hank...breathless anticipation for the new story from the mind of Ingrid Thoft!

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  20. Highlights include lots of great weather on Cape Cod where we have had fun with all six grandchildren (and the people who drove them here) == and plans for more. Water aerobics at my neighbor's pool. local theater, and lobster/steamers/bluefish/scallops.
    Imagining the taste of mojito cake!!!

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  21. With a 'summer' that lasts 7 months and a car that died today, I was too fagged out to
    reply until now. The strawberries do look delicious, and if the mojito cake can be alcohol free, I would love the recipe too. My highlight so far is borrowing Ann's idea for fruit infusions. Pure refreshment with minimum calories. thanks Ann.

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    1. Oh, your poor car! Hope all gets better…

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  22. Love the pirate wedding, Lucy! And I have a mojito cupcake recipe - we must compare. Just got back from Oregon - loved it! White water rafting, zip lining, a family reunion, fishing, birthdays, poker nights, glass art, outdoor concerts, all crammed together into a fun filled week of awesome! Can I go again? Right now?

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