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Buffy, Popcorn, Open Bar, The Upwelling, Snow, Hot Cocoa, Sleepovers, Brunch...

more than just a few of my favorite things... and ALL smushed together into one fabulous Blizzard-soaked best weekend EVER! - ok, maybe not, but still - so much fun.

Friday night was mom's birthday, so we went to dinner in the frozen tundra known as westchester and then took a ride up to the sub-artic Greenwich to see Finding Neverland (for the second time...) The film, for those of you who are interested is a bit slow moving in parts, but nonetheless an endearing tale of imagination, inspiration and believing in something enough to sustain it. Also, you will ball your eyes out - and if you don't you are a heartless guttersnipe. Of course for me it re-awakened some of my own "Neverland" view of this world I've stepped into - and it begs many questions for me about whether or not you grow up and still manage to keep neverland in your heart.. But that is a rumination for another day.

Blizzard of '05
It hit earlier than I expected, and I wasn't on the road to see Ashley until about 2:30. Right. Probably about the stupidest thing I could have done. I really did think about the train - but I was so lazy about parking at the station and having to transfer subways and blah, blah, blah that I just got in the car - the fact that the pavement couldn't be seen be damned!! riiiight. a well intentioned but not entirely thought-out plan - the storm hit harder and faster than expected, and by the time I realized I had made an error in judgment, exiting the highway became a non-option. And so I plodded along with the rest of the poor fools on the road averaging out at about 7 mph all the way to lower Manhattan. 2.5 hours, 2 tiny fishtails, and a slew of "our father's" later... I actually found a legal, fairly well plowed spot on "not 1st" in front of Stuytown. I greeted Ashley at her door covered in enough snow to make a baby snowman, shed my snow-covered shell, and we got down to the business of our little Buffy-Marathon. 4 hours later we emerged from Joss Whedon's well spun world of sharp dialogue, 90's fashion disasters, and gut wrenching displays of teen angst / doomed lovers.

do NOT attempt to cook microwave popcorn in a convection oven (even if it *is* half-microwave) with the utility shelf still attached. Trust me, you will not appreciate the results.
- This PSA has been brought to you by two college-educated women and a sacrificial bag of Orville Redenbacher.

As we stared out the window at the still madly swirling snow, the lovely Nora called, and we put together a plan of attack that involved breaking up the frightfully long walk to Houston with some pre-gaming (and a light supper) at 7A. I informed her that Ashley and I were about to engage in our traditional ritual of "prettification" before leaving, to which she scoffed "you realize that no matter what we do, we're going to look like hell by the time we get there..." I quickly snapped in reply, "oh no no no no no... Blizzard or not - I'm going to be a pretty-pretty snowbunny tonight!" we erupted into a sea of giggles, confirmed our plans, and set off in search of snow-friendly outfits. This is when life got REALLY good. Having left the power cord to my adorable new hot rollers at home, Ashley offers me the use of her curling iron. [sidebar: aside from my resolution to go glam on the weekends, my hair + precipitation of any kind = out of control. Trust me when I say that beating it to the punch was a necessity] She apologizes a head of time for it being a "relic from the 80's", and then i SEE it. OMG. Now, I don't really have particularly nostalgic reactions to hair appliances - but this was IT. My mother's curling iron, the first one I ever used - the one she kept using years after it's prime - the barrel secured with duct tape because no "new fangled" iron could possibly live up to it. It's green and white and absolutely brilliant. Better still was watching my auburn tresses wind around the barrel... holy deja-vu batman, it was like I was 6 again staring up at my mother steaming shiny red curls into existence.

Bundled up in my new snow bunny finery (including a pink and sparkly scarf created for yours truly by Ms. Ashley because - well, duh, I *am* pink and sparkly), Ashley and I made out way out into the snow. Dear lord it was cold - what with the blowing, and the snowing, and the knee high drifts to wade through... we were ridiculously happy to squeeze ourselves into a table at 7A and warm up with a couple of drinks while waiting on Nora & George. Somewhere mid meal I received a text from Jed who, aware of my fondness for the Upwelling, was concerned that I might not make the show: Still going? Ha! Two parts giddy (snow has that distinct effect on me), one part buzzed, I dialed him straight away and scolded him for daring to doubt my commitment to the band - I'd been safely ensconced in Manhattan's snowy embrace for nearly 6 hours already... of COURSE I was coming.

Our trek to the Merc was as cold and treacherous as the walk to 7A had been, perceptibly different only in the crossing of Houston - which was something of an extravagant affair of dodging an army of skittish taxis... but all was forgotten once we'd checked our coats and bellied up to the bar. To tell the truth we weren't exactly sure what to expect in terms of a crowd, but as we sat in the bar through Hopewell's set (whom just weren't for me, but read about them here as they made an excellent impression on others) the stalwart fans - both old and new - made their way through the icy streets of New York to see these amazing boys rock out... and as per usual, the band did not dissappoint... They played three new songs, all of which I reveled in - each one a new story, a new sonic discovery. My favorite had to be "Worthy Enemy"... there was just something about the intimacy of the lyrics and the experience they detailed - I could feel the song wrap itself around me like a comfy blanket with worn edges. Of course you may remember how much I enjoy American Night, and once again I got sucked into each "ocean" that floated out into the room, and I was equally enthused to hear the blue-collar sounding Annie on the Rooftop again, but the real highlight for me was the particularly apt for the evening, "California Snow". Maybe it was how the blizzard had provided me with some proper visuals for the drifting chorus, or maybe it was how the tremors in Ari's voice during "lay down your head little girl" reduced me to a wide-eyed moppet in pigtails... whatever it was, it was delicious, and I was reluctant for their multiple encores (extended blizzard set!!!) to finally end.

Of course our evening was even then - still beginning. We milled about the Merc for a while, collecting snow while satisfying my pent up nicotine cravings, throwing back another drink... but then we were off to The Skinny for the "official after party". Our three minute walk had hardly begun when much to our drunken and giddy delight, an impromptu snowball fight.broke out. I managed to hit no one, and at least not get nailed in the head - so I was breathless with laughter by the time we strolled into the skinny. Now it's important to not that having come from the Mercury Lounge, our first drinks were to be "on the house". Flash forward to my leaving several hours later.... ALL of our drinks had been on the house. Jed even helped the bartender develop a new drink CALLED "The Skinny". There were shots to be had, dancing to be done, and rousing speeches atop barstools to cheer. A happy blur of an evening, trading stories and laughs with good people, catching up with old friends, making brand new ones... and to cap it all off, Ashley and I found a blizzardcab in RECORD time upon stepping forth into Manhattan's winter playground. I didn't flinch until at least 1 on Sunday and brunch at 3 never tasted so good... but surprisingly enough, I managed to escape a hangover entirely and was in good, if slightly frozen, form to dig the bug out of it's well packed snow-shell. The ride home was tricky... bet you never knew that if ice and snow get frozen INSIDE your rims it can throw your tire balance off and cause the car to vibrate violently at high speeds... yeah, I didn't know that either. Needless to say, I was happy to climb into my own bed early on Sunday evening and simply smile in reflection of my perfect little snowy adventure.