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The problem with going away for a weekend is that you have to come home again.  And the dishes you didn’t have time to do before you left are still in the sink, your roommates did not suddenly decide to spend the weekend picking up the house and doing their chores for the month (and to be fair, you haven’t done yours either), your bank account is letting you know that it didn’t appreciate you going off to another city and spending money, there’s still three separate construction zones on your 4.6 mile drive to work, and when you check your mail, the only thing waiting for you is a letter from that organization that didn’t hire you letting you know that no, they’re not interested in employing you at this time, thanks so much for applying, etc.  It’s enough to bring anyone down.

Sigh.

Still, it really was a great weekend.  On Friday, Grace, The Duchess and I made our raid on JoMar fabrics, looking for deals, steals, and cloth in Sae’s wedding colors.  There was so much to be found that I had to get The Duchess to go fetch me another shopping cart.  It was kindof awesome, and there may be pictures of the loot in your future.  After the raid, we had lunch, and then went to hang out with a great family of little girls (and one little boy at the wonderful age of almost-two) who live across the street from The Duchess.  We all went for a walk in the golden autumn afternoon, during which the little girls left no pile of leaves un-jumped-in.  It was great.  (There are also pictures of this.)  After we parted from them, we headed home to make dinner for our dinner party guests.

You know, it’s funny.  Having a dinner party sounds like such a, well, grown-up thing.  Socialites in New York have them.  Intellectuals in Paris have them.  Cool, sophisticated people who understand modern art and make bilingual puns about obscure philosophers have them.  At dinner parties, all of the women are elegantly glamorous, all the men are suavely witty, and the golden glow of the candlelight only serves to highlight how unconsciously superior they are.  While it is true that I have been known to make a bilingual pun once or twice, it was about breakfast foods, not philosophers, (Q: Why do the French only eat one egg for breakfast? A: Because in France one egg is an oeuf (enough).) and I got the joke from watching West Wing.  My sort of dinner party is the kind where you throw a bunch of chickens in the oven, make other people bring side dishes, and everyone sits around the living room floor eating off disposable plates perched on their knees because there aren’t enough chairs to go around.  It’s fun, but it’s not really a dinner party.

This, however, was a dinner party.  We had the wine, we had the food, we had the lovely table in a lovely dining room (provided by the even lovelier La Quebecoise), no one sat on the floor, and the conversation flowed as freely as the wine, which PJ not only provided, but personally poured out with a determinedly liberal hand.  There were philosophical and theological discussions, and lots of laughter.  Not even the inadequately sweetened strawberry shortcake could sour the evening.  We sat around the table for hours, then adjourned to the living room to watch a movie.  The Duchess had been wanting to show off the movies we made, but we talked for so long that we only really had time to watch Pagal For You, and then our guests (SJ, PJ, and 007) headed out into the night.

The next day MDoS and The Beautiful T drove up from Princeton to join us, 007 joined us, and we all headed into the city.  Grace had never had a Philadelphia cheesesteak, so we had to make sure she got one right away.  The line at Jim’s Steaks was ridiculous, so we ended up grabbing some at a smaller place down the block, and eating them standing together on the sidewalk.  After we ate, we spent a while just strolling up and down South Street, checking out some of the shops, and hanging out together.  Around three, The Duchess had to head over to the cathedral to practice before cantoring at the evening Mass, so MDoS, Grace, The Beautiful T and I headed up to Loop where I got the pattern for the baby bunting Grace has commissioned me to knit for her friend, and only a sudden attack of shyness prevented me from meeting Franklin Habit (whom I keep calling Franklin Hobbit) whose writing, knitting, drawing, and general coolness I’ve admired for a long time.  I had no idea that he was going to be at Loop that afternoon, and was so startled at suddenly seeing an actual knitting celebrity in the flesh for the first time ever, that I just pretended I didn’t notice, petted yarn, got the pattern, and headed out.  (I know.  I have no idea what came over me too.  So unlike me.)

Anyway, we all met back at the cathedral for Mass.  The Duchess sang, and looked like a Christmas pageant angel in her white liturgical robe (she sounded like one too – an angel, I mean, not a small child dressed up in robes too big for her).  SJ and PJ (who are not related, I swear, even if they are roommates – if I ever get to know them better I promise I’ll give them better nicknames!) met us at Mass, and to my surprise and delight La Principessa joined us too!  After Mass Grace and I changed into our swing dancing clothes, and all of us bundled into cars, and headed straight off to the swing dance.  Everyone in our group took the lesson, and even though I wasn’t impressed with the East Coast lesson, I enjoyed the Lindy Hop lesson pretty well, even if the instructor went into such depth about every aspect of a Lindy swingout that most of the class could only do half of one by the time the class was done.  However, as soon as the music started, everyone was happy to leave the lesson behind, and just start dancing enthusiastically.  I think PJ was the only one of our new friends who had done some dancing before, but everyone jumped right in with such verve that I was impressed!  I also found a few other partners who were a little more experienced, and had a lot of fun.

Sunday morning we got up to have breakfast with The Duchess before she headed off to cantor at the cathedral again, and then Grace and I had a little time to ourselves.  Grace went for a walk.  I did my prayer time, then got to hang out with La Quebecois while she had her breakfast.  The time flew, and before we knew it, Indy had arrived, and it was time to get ourselves back in the car and head home.

One of the fun things about the weekend was getting to meet 007, The Duchess’s new sweetie, and get to know him a little.  I really liked him, and I liked what I saw between him and my sister.  Those two were just ridiculously cute all weekend.  Any time they were within arm’s length of each other, they were holding hands.  It was so sweet.

And now I’m back in Dayton, and it’s Monday.  But then, it’s only a few days until I’ll be headed back to Pennsylvania, this time to Pittsburgh to dance the night away at PittStop!  That’s enough to make anyone cheer up. 😀

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