j: Over the weekend, my friend Jay came over. He brought wine and  a dip made of lentils and magic. He also brought a plastic bag, which he set on my counter. “What’s that?” I asked him.

“Prickly pears!” he said as if he’d just brought me the meaning of life, dipped in chocolate. And then, in answer to my blank (but appreciative) stare, he added, “We’ll figure something out.”

And we did, of course. We always do.

Trying new stuff is part of the reason this particular group gets together every few weeks. We make things we’ve never made before, try wines we’ve never tasted, have conversations I’m pretty sure no one has ever had, like the one where we considered opening a restaurant that only serves toast, or the one where we discussed the merits of public nudity and then calculated the odds that any of us would ever bare our bums at a nude beach.

Filled as it was with silliness, experimentation and love, the night was a tremendous success. The prickly pear margaritas? Not so much. (But they were pretty!)

jb: The last day of the last camping trip of the (too short!) summer. My nieces rented a little boat and drove me around the lake, just before sunset. (My favorite time of day, especially for taking pictures). The luxury of being a lazy passenger, the hum of the motor, the lap of the waves against our metal boat, the sparkle of the sun on the water — all mixed together, bringing back back happy memories of other summer water adventures and added to the bliss of the moment. A perfect ending to summer vacation.