The Day I Worked at the Alicyn Drew Photography Studio

You may remember that I had my amazing head shots done by my close personal friend and photography phenom Alicyn Drew. With just a few keystrokes she can transport you (or your Mini) almost anywhere in the world! She also takes amazing fashion and boudoir pictures and needed an assistant for a shoot. I’d helped her out at the Minis On the Dragon and it was great fun so I could not wait to help out in the studio!

Ali’s model was our friend Brandy. She wanted some sultry boudoir shots to send to her husband after he deploys this summer (we are going to miss you, Corey!). I picked up some coffee (like any good assistant would) and headed over to the studio.

Hard to drive My Precious without spilling. I had to go a little slower than normal and let's just say that not the way I usually take the corners.

Hard to drive My Precious without spilling. I had to go a little slower than normal and let’s just say that is not the way I usually take the corners, my friends.

Everyone else arrived right on time and Brandy’s friend Jackie joined us as well. The studio is a converted industrial space with a few different rooms rented by the hour. It was perfect for our shoot! All we had to do was rearrange things a bit…

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The studio before we began moving lights and furniture.

Brandy had brought her wardrobe and some serious shoes.

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Seriously, Brandy has some really impressive shoes. I could never fill them!

I was also prepared. I really like Brandy and Corey so I brought a big part of my tiara collection in case she wanted to borrow any to glam things up.

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Seriously, I have some really impressive tiaras. Brandi and Ali nixed my flower crown right away but that made sense, this definitely called for some sparkle.

And I was ready to help Ali out.

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The best assistants carry everything they need to take care of their photographer and ensure they stay moisturized.

Ali put the lights in place to start things off.

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This light was really dangerous. Very top heavy. It’s a christmas miracle that it didn’t tip over and kill one of us!

I had to get in position so she could check them.

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Yes, lights look good. Lights look REAL good!

Everything looked great and Brandy came out. She looked amazing! I’d show you the pictures but I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise for Corey. Take it from me he’s a very lucky man! Jackie plumped up a few of the important bits (boobs) and stepped in to adjust various straps and hair. Ali began shooting and I DJed the entire event. I’d tried to pick songs that would put everyone “in the mood” and pay homage to Brandy’s love of 80s music. After the first few poses, Ali decided to add some extra lights to the headboard.

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A photographer’s assistant plays many roles, my friends. DJ, lighting crew, artistic design crew, chief Chapstick holder, fan operator… The list is endless.

We took a few more and then Ali opened the floor for suggested poses. I suggested a shot on her knees looking back at the camera. Brandy tried it and it looked fantastic, but that was easy for her to do since she’s one of the most beautiful models in the world. And then suddenly I was thinking of my future career as a stylist!

Brandy finally agreed to pose with a tiara. I gave her the blingiest one. She looked like a slutty beauty queen. Best shot of the day if you ask me! I also talked Ali into trying one on as well, because I think every woman should sparkle!

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Ali wanted to get low to shoot Brady on the settee. That’s when Brandy glammed it up with one of my sparkliest tiaras. Best shot of the day!

She looked stunning, and so did Ali!

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Ali looked really, really fantastic in my tiara. I wonder when her birthday will be coming up…

We packed up our gear when the shoot ended and headed out to the parking lot. While we were standing around talking about the shoot I decided to mod my car again and add my new Dragon Slayer license plate frame. Sadly, the screws Passport Mini had used were not the proper screws for the bolt holes and I had a really hard time getting my Mini Fillini Badge Holder back on. Ali and Brandy tried to help, but it wasn’t working. Ali suggested I visit the newest #DCMM vendor David Rockwell at Liberty Automotive on North Henry Street (if you need an automotive shop, run don’t walk, this one is the very best!) She sent him a text to let him know I was on my way.

David was waiting for me and waved me in as I drove up. I pulled in next to a beautiful Mini with a custom paint job (David’s car and he’s going to pass it down to his daughter when she learns to drive a stick shift “well enough”).

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There was a Mini outside and a Mini inside the garage. It’s clearly a Mini friendly shop!

David was amazing. I will never take My Precious to any other garages, ever! It took him a while to find bolts that would fit, but he refused to quit. Even when I offered to just take her to the dealer! He finally found some, added my badges, screwed everything in, and told me if I had any problems to just come back and he’d replace the piece that everything screws into. He gave me a high five and sent me on my way!

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I am officially a Dragon Slayer now. Thanks Liberty Automotive! Joining the DCMM club was the second best decision I’ve ever made!

It’s a good thing I bought a Mini, joined a club, made new friends, and volunteered to help out at a photo shoot!

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Just Another #DCMM Happy Hour at Ted’s

The DC Metro Mini Club sure knows how to have a good time! This week the good time was at Ted’s Bulletin in Merrifields. We’d been there before with The American Job guys and they were so kind to seat all 20 of us again, we were eager to revisit them!

I arrived early and so did Laura. She parked Cricket right next to My Precious because Ted’s also has lots of parking options but we’d arranged to meet at the top of the Target parking deck so we mod My Precious before the group arrived.

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Helping Laura install my newest vinyl.

Afterwards we walked over to Ted’s to secure our club table. We were a small group so Ali had suggested we stay in the bar area. It’s got a large table that seats 8 and the last time we had the entire area to ourselves. Rey and Melissa arrived first and we all ordered our drinks.

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Rey is very good at smizing.

Melissa and I caught up on what’s been going on since the #MOTD13

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Former roommates, it’s good to keep in touch!

Ali arrived next and then we really started having fun!

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Remembering our Wifi Run at #MOTD13

Hilary, Alex, and Craig showed up while the rest of us were reminiscing about our adventures on the Dragon but talk soon turned to a new adventure, Minis on the Mack! Suddenly I realized I really, really can’t miss that, somebody has to blog it, amiright?

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I don’t know what was going on at the other end of the table but I do know this. Ali, Melissa, and I had a good time!

We all ordered dinner and then we settled in for a long discussion about our favorite things… our Minis and where we can take them next! Laura reported that she’d found a site for the DCMM annual picnic and had been trying to check on the available dates. Apparently the super helpful park staff had told her the pavilion “may have availability on the days that it isn’t reserved.”

We discussed a possible Pot Luck Picnic Run to Sky Meadows State Park. As a state park employee (it’s just one of my jobs) I was tasked with confirming the costs and logistics.

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Rey has great posture and manly hair. We all agreed that Alex, Craig, and Haemish should consider growing their hair out as well.

Craig arrived and we talked some more about the Dragon, because #MOTD13 was kinda like the most fun week EVAH. Then Ali arranged for a birthday surprise for Laura!

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This was before Ali fingered the cake. It was still delicious and frosted with marshmallows! Thanks for celebrating your birthday with us Laura!

After some more strategizing for enhancing our club’s bingo skills (and if any of you know where we can acquire dobbers in bulk, please comment below!) and of course stickers. Ali complained that her commuter car Fluffy is not as fun as Tigger (Fluffy has no soul and is NOT a Mini).

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This was also before Ali fingered the cake. It was really tall, like 10 or 12 layers or something!

And then Haemish joined us as well.

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Hamish working on his lumberjack look but refuses to consider growing manly hair like Rey.

We lingered for a while because nobody wanted to leave while Haemish was finishing his dinner and because we were having a fantastic time. Everyone had parked in the Target garage so we all walked over and of course paused for our group selfie.

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These are my people!

Melissa and I had parked together and when we got to our cars we discovered they’d found a friend!

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Cabrio sandwich. No, wait, adorable carbrio sandwich!

It was a long lonely drive home. It’s always sad to leave my people. Until I open my car door…

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Always cheers me up!

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The Day Flat Colin Came to Town

My first assignment as the official Blogger for DCMM and I was unable to attend. Lucky for me I know people…

Flat Colin is actually from Ohio, but has been at Minis on the Dragon (MOTD) for many years and has gotten to know quite a few of our DCMM members. He drives a Justa Cooper, but super fast! I’d heard stories about him even before I heard he was coming to town. Flat Colin is one of the fastest drivers at MOTD and while I doubt if I could keep up, apparently Mark and Tyler love to drive with him.

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Flat Colin is a celebrity. A super fast celebrity.

 

He was staying at Rey’s house, which apparently has a magnificent basement. Colin said it was like a suite and he really enjoyed staying there. I’m not surprised, when we had the MOTD Caravan Meet Up there, the rest of the house looked quite lovely. We should all try to wrangle an invitation!

There were 18 DCMM folks attending the event at the Musashi Japanese Steakhouse in Gainesville. As soon as Flat Colin arrived the chanting began, “Dragon run! Dragon run!” Among the crowd were Ali and Mark, Haemish and Susan, Jim and Jennifer, Tyler and Sara, German and Krystal, Hilary, Celia, and Rey, Jesse and their adorable kids.

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I got this photo recently and nobody could remember what Tyler was doing when they captured this shot.

 

Turns out Flat Colin has an unnatural love of Tootsie Rolls. He takes them everywhere he goes and he must have quite a stash given the number he was dropping at the DCMM event. There was some hilarity at dinner as he tossed them at Ali across two grills. He even made an epic shot that landed in her iced tea! Had I been there, I’d have captured a photo but alas…

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DCMM members sure know how to have a good time!

Before they left they captured a group shot.

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Flat Colin hunted down a stranger in the parking lot to capture the group photo. There were a lot of group photos to chose from, apparently the stranger was channeling his inner Alicyn Drew and shot quite a few!

And Colin left a few treats for Ali… on her dash, in her boot, even tossing them in while she took her top off!

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Tootsie Rolls were everywhere that night, my friends!

Hope I am in town the next time Flat Colin visits, looks like a lot of fun!

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The #MOTD13 Slide Show

For those of you who couldn’t make it to the Minis On the Dragon 13, Here is a little recap!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loSGzkRyFn4&feature=youtu.be

You should also check out Craig Baron’s YouTube channel for some super cooL videos he captured during his stay.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC19atbFNBkHPmQXOaaOeW2w

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DCMM Welcomes The American Job to the DC Area

While many of us were at the MOTD13 we were lucky enough to meet The American Job guys Alex Charlton, Peter Price, and Dudley Brooke. If you haven’t heard of them yet, Google it (or click on my link)! They brought three classic Minis to the US to travel 4,000 miles to raise money for Jack.

Jack is a 4-year-old twin who was diagnosed with spastic diplegic Cerebral Palsy and needs to have the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) operation available in St. Louis, Missouri. The American Job guys are trying to raise 30,000 pounds to help pay for the operation and so far they’ve raised 31% of their goal.

When the crew left MOTD and headed this way, there was a bit of trouble with one of the cars. They ARE classic, after all! Fortunately, they got it fixed and made it to the DC area.

Ali made the guys dinner before they had to Rock, Paper, Scissor for the best room. Alex won!

Ali made the guys dinner before they had to Rock, Paper, Scissor for the best room. Alex won!

Ali and Mark Drew hosted a couple of them and Haemish Edgerton hosted another. Hilary Brown showed them around the town, and then a bunch of DCMM folks met them at a Mexican restaurant to celebrate Cinco De Mayo. Truly an international event!

Sadly, there were about 20 of us and without a reservation, there was no way we were getting a table! Ali took charge and ran over to Ted’s Bulletin to find out if they could take us.

While they didn’t have a giant table for us, there was plenty of room at the bar! We had a lovely time, though it wasn’t until we finished dinner that I became the Official DCMM Blogger. Which was when I realized I hadn’t captured any pictures!

Luckily, there were a few of us still around and we were able to capture a quick selfie on our way out the door!

The last of the DCMM crew and American Job guys to leave the bar!

The last of the DCMM crew and American Job guys to leave the bar!

They’ve come so far and still have miles go. You can help the American Job guys help Jack by donating at https://www.justgiving.com/theamericanjob/ today!

 

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Happy Birthday to Me at MOTD13

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All my friends helping me have a happy birthday!

The last day of any vacation usually brings me down, but how can you be sad when you are about to caravan down the Dragon with some of your favorite people? And after all the fun all week, I’d totally forgotten it was my actual birthday! In fact, I might not have remembered at all except that my cabin mates did and they all sang Happy Birthday to me!

We had a lot of packing and cleaning to do. Melissa and I offered to cook breakfast. I made pancakes and homemade syrup. Melissa cooked bacon, eggs, and hash browns. Hilary did the dishes and all of us chipped in to pack the gear and load the cars. Krystal and German arrived to join our cabin just in time to join us for breakfast. Poor Haemish got there a little too late!

We loaded up and headed out. Our first stop was the general store so we could take a group photo and upload it before we hit the road.

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Sad to go, but I’ll be back! See you at the MOTD14

We were going home by way of the Dragon. I heard it was quicker, I know it was more fun!

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Tigger chasing My Precious down the Dragon!

There are 318 curves on the 11 miles that make up the tail of the Dragon. I never did have time to count them since they were whizzing by so fast, but it felt like 318 curves, for sure!

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Tigger chasing My Precious down the Dragon!

The only cop we saw was at the very end and thankfully I had slowed way down before we got there. We met up with the rest of our gang and took off. We stopped for gas in a small town along the way and after everyone gassed up we all took a minute to update our status.

Wifi deprivation leads to binging.

Wifi deprivation leads to binging.

Originally the plan was to stop at a rest area and have a picnic with out leftover food on the way home. We pulled into a Subway along the way to pick up some sandwiches and the blissfully cool air conditioning caused us to rethink our plan. We decided to stay in and eat instead.

Minis Take the Subway!

Minis Take the Subway!

When we got ready to take off again, I was delighted to learn that Krystal wanted to ride with me! While her husband German is a super nice guy, the lure of the carboy cannot be denied! I was super excited she was joining me since she was not only taking over the radio duties, she was also DJing and I was ready to switch up the playlists.

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Krystal plays the jams, takes the selfies, mans the radio, what more do you need?

A few hours later and Ali let us know she was feeling really tired. Krystal offered to ride with her. I was terribly sad to see her go, but it was for a good cause! We stopped at a gas station and made the switch.

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A bunch of mean Minis

By the time we got to the 66 we started to run out of steam. I mean I guess that’s what happened because our convoy slowed way down. I can’t hear much on the radio when the top is off and I’m singing at the top of my lungs. But suddenly the cars behind me started to pass me. Sadly I waved goodbye to Haemish, and then Hilary, and Melissa and Craig one by one as they passed me by.

When we got to Arlington Mark and Ali began to pull away to drop Krystal off. I waved goodbye and headed home but I haven’t ever had as much fun, and my bar was set pretty high! Joining the DC Metro Mini club was the second best decision I have ever made.

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MOTD13 was 1,624 miles, 1,010 friends, 699 Minis, 5 days, and 1 birthday cake.

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Dragon Slaying at MOTD13

I wanted to drive the Cherohala Skyway before I left and since I didn’t have any plans for Saturday and the weather was glorious, I decided to head out. Lucky for me Mark and Craig didn’t have anything better to do and decided to come along! Because Craig is awesome, you can watch our run on his YouTube channel. We drove down the Hellbender and stopped in at the Tail of the Dragon store so I could load up on stickers.

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Helping Mark and Craig slay the dragon!

I found some awesome hand painted Chucks with dragons, but they must be ordered online. Outside there was a tent with bug repellent and they salesman applied it to the front of my car. That was awesome because I was about to be photographed leading a run down the Dragon! As we left Mark let me go first so My Precious would look nice in the pictures. And boy howdy, did she ever!

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Look at My Precious leading the run down the Dragon! I’m so proud right now…

We stopped at an overlook along the way and got out to take a few pictures. Then we loaded up again and headed back out. I think I was supposed to stop at the base of the dragon, but I overshot the mark and blasted right past. I was a little tense about going first and keeping an eye out for radar. Poor Craig didn’t need another ticket and I’m not terribly slow in My Precious! Luckily we made it into town without getting pulled over. We all filled up and then Mark led the way to the Skyway. We stopped at the first overlook and the view was breathtaking!

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Overlooking Tennessee on the Skyway

We stopped at the second overlook and there wasn’t anyone else around so we lined up our cars to take a group shot. As we were climbing out, a VW Beetle rolled past. And then another, and another, and another… Forty of them pulled in together!

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Photobombed by 40 bugs!

They were kind enough to pull in far enough away so that we could still take our shot.

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A bunch of mean Minis on the Cherohala Skyway

And then we went to check out their cars, like we do. That’s when I saw the second most beautiful car in the entire world, Sunshine!

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Second most beautiful car in the world. (Sorry Kenna! But My Precious will always be first in my book ;-)

I met her driver (Kenna) and told her how much I loved her car. One thing led to another and then we ended up at my car, which she also loved. Before we parted we totally decided to become Facebook friends (Hi Kenna!) While we were admiring the view our friends Shelly and Melissa pulled up!

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Hard to take good selfies on windy mountaintops. I’ve got skillz!

Then we all piled in and headed back towards Robbinsville. Shelly and Melissa peeled off towards the Dragon. And I mean that literally, Shelly is super speedy! Mark and Craig and I decided to top off our tanks and grab a quick lunch. The Southern Gals Diner was open and had really interesting decor.

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The taxidermied animals in the foyer were a little off putting. I had the chicken just in case…

We made it back to the Alicyn Drew Photography tent in time to catch the fashion shoot. Even though it was Stephanie’s day to assist, Melissa was drafted to run the fog machine. I was tapped to play the music. As I blared Whitesnake over and over and over, Melissa really smoked it up. Our model was busting out all over that car, like a real life Tawny Kitaen.

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It wasn’t that it was taking so long, it was just really, really hot up in there!

Thank God Melissa was there, she’s a master packer. Craig also stayed to help out, because he’s the most helpful one. We had the tent packed and cleared in time to meet a bunch of other DCMM folks back at our cabin to make a dinner run to The Hub in Robbinsville. As we left somehow I ended up being the sweeper. The sweeper is the car at the end that makes sure everyone stays together and reports out if any of the cars get left behind at lights and such. It’s a job that is much easier if the rest of your line doesn’t leave you so far behind you are out of radio range!

I finally caught up and we turned into The Hub. It’s the only place in town with an actual smoker and as Ali says, they sure know how to use it!

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Once a gas station, now they have the only smoker and the only espresso machine in Robbinsville. I’m guessing they are very, very popular.

Dinner was fantastic and it was even better when were joined by another couple from the Rocket City Motor Club. They used to live in Alexandria and then moved to Huntsville. Coincidentally I used to do work in Hunstville and then I moved to Alexandria! Also, they were super interesting. Sadly, they are being transferred back to their native country (Germany) and they will miss our twisties very, very much.

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True story, I got a ticket on the Autobahn once. Turns out there are some places with speed limits. Who knew? Well, I guess they did…

We went back to the tent to pick up the remaining items and then headed up to the cabin. Mark and Craig left for a darkness run and Hilary was out with the American Job guys helping them arrange a visit to DC. Melissa, Ali and I made a quick trip to the lodge to pay our balance and reserve our cabin for next year. I also got to say goodbye to Al and Miriam.

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Sad to see Al and Miriam return to Florida. Come back Miriam!

We went back to the cabin to start packing. Ali doesn’t drink so Melissa and I had to polish off the last bottle of wine ourselves. Sadly, the travel corkscrew I carry with me is not terribly effective and neither one of us had much luck. I suggested using a knife to pry the cork out. Melissa was making great progress until the bottle slipped, the cork sank, and wine spewed out across the kitchen.

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In hindsight this might not have been the most effective way to uncork the wine.

As soon as I snapped a couple of pictures I rushed to help her clean up.

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Hard to tell in this photo but there was wine literally everywhere.

Then she suggested using some coffee filters to strain the cork as we poured. Genius!

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We had an excessive number of coffee filters anyway.

By the time we actually got the wine into the glasses we were laughing so hard we couldn’t drink it. When Mark and Craig came home we were giggling hysterically and decided it was too much fun not to share it with the world. We decided to make a Wifi Run. One of the only places in Fontana that has reliable wifi is the General Store. It was already closed by the time we arrived but we didn’t care, we were topless in My Precious and finally back online!

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Next year we are going to volunteer to lead a Wifi Run. Hell, I’ll even be sweeper for that one!

Mark had given Ali his phone to post a picture and it suddenly occurred to us, he’d probably want to take a picture of his lovely wife ‘fluttering” with her butterfly game because she looks so hot when she does it. I borrowed the phone to snap the picture (sorry Mark, but she was fluttering with her phone, what else could I do?) Once Ali posted it on his wall, Melissa and I decided we should like it. We wanted him to know we thought it was great that he was so supportive of Ali’s hobby. And of course we needed to post comments, that’s very validating.

We went home to clean up our mess, but it was late and it looked like a lot of work, so we gave up! After all tomorrow is another day!

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This is what the morning after looked like…

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